Evidence of ancient WORLD SMASHER planet Theia – FOUND ON MOON

Traces of mysterious planet Theia have been found on the surface of Earth’s Moon.

Boffins have analysed samples of rock brought back by Apollo astronauts, and claimed they contain bits of another world. The discovery appears to back up the theory that the Moon was formed when Theia slammed into Earth some 4.5 billion years ago.

Lead researcher Dr Daniel Herwartz, from the University of Goettingen, said that people were beginning to doubt the prevailing theory.

“It was getting to the stage where some people were suggesting that the collision had not taken place,” he told the BBC.

Moon

Continue reading “Evidence of ancient WORLD SMASHER planet Theia – FOUND ON MOON”

Athens bans protests for EU meeting

Athens bans protests for EU meeting

 

Greek police have banned protests in central Athens ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers in the capital.

Demonstrators will be barred from areas including Syntagma Square, the focus of recent anti-austerity protests.

EU finance ministers are expected to sign off the next instalment of Greece’s bailout when they meet in the city later. Continue reading “Athens bans protests for EU meeting”

Britain opposes curb on Russian trade over Ukraine crisis – BBC says

Source: Reuters – Mon, 3 Mar 2014 09:50 PM

David Cameron
David Cameron (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Author: Reuters

By Kylie MacLellan

LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) – Britain opposes trade sanctions on Russia and does not want to shut London’s financial capital to Russians in response to the Kremlin’s intervention in Ukraine, the BBC reported, citing a document which was inadvertently shown to a photographer.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned President Vladimir Putin that Russia will have to pay ‘significant costs’ unless the Kremlin changes course on Ukraine whose Crimea region is now controlled by Russian forces.

But an official document which was photographed as a senior official carried it into a meeting in Cameron’s Downing Street residence on Monday showed Britain may oppose sanctions that might undermine London’s reputation as a haven for Russian capital. Continue reading “Britain opposes curb on Russian trade over Ukraine crisis – BBC says”

‘Memories’ pass between generations

By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News

Generations of a family

 

Behaviour can be affected by events in previous generations which have been passed on through a form of genetic memory, animal studies suggest.

Experiments showed that a traumatic event could affect the DNA in sperm and alter the brains and behaviour of subsequent generations.

A Nature Neuroscience study shows mice trained to avoid a smell passed their aversion on to their “grandchildren”.

Continue reading “‘Memories’ pass between generations”

Is your TV spying on YOU? It sounds like science fiction but many new TVs can watch you – telling advertisers your favourite shows or even filming you on the sofa. And there’s no off switch!

By  Guy Adams

PUBLISHED: 20:37 EST, 25  November 2013 |  UPDATED: 20:39 EST, 25 November 2013

You are sitting in bed in your pyjamas,  drinking a cup of cocoa. A loved one lies next to you, watching late-night  television. Pillow talk is exchanged. An alarm clock is set. Eventually the  lights are turned out.

Earlier, you sat on the living-room sofa  eating supper, before loading the dishwasher and heading  upstairs.

You have, in other words, just enjoyed a  perfectly normal night, in a perfectly normal home. The curtains are drawn, the  central heating turned up. It’s cosy, relaxing and, above all, completely  private. Or so you thought.

The truth turns out to be quite the opposite.  For on the other side of the world, people you didn’t know existed are keeping a  beady eye on your every move.

On the other side of the world, people you didn't know existed are keeping a beady eye on your every move 

On the other side of the world, people you didn’t know  existed are keeping a beady eye on your every move

 

These characters can see what clothes you  have been wearing and what food you’ve eaten. They heard every word you said,  and logged every TV show you watched. Some are criminals, others work for major  corporations. And now they know your most intimate secrets.

Continue reading “Is your TV spying on YOU? It sounds like science fiction but many new TVs can watch you – telling advertisers your favourite shows or even filming you on the sofa. And there’s no off switch!”

Prince Harry ‘drugs slur’ puts BBC in the line of fire

BBC faces pressure to apologise after Jo Brand insinuated on Have I Got News   For You that Prince Harry took cocaine

Prince Harry targeted in fatal Taliban attack on 'impregnable' military base

Prince Harry is a captain with the Army Air Corps and has served on two tours of duty in Afghanistan Photo: John Stillwell/REUTERS

 

By , and Edward Malnick

9:03PM BST 26 Oct 2013

The BBC was under pressure on Saturday night to make a public apology for one   of its presenters insinuating that Prince Harry took cocaine.

The corporation’s satirical news programme Have I Got News For You (HIGNFY)   suggested that the Prince snorted cocaine, in an item related to the   christening of Prince George.

Jo Brand, the comedian and the show’s guest presenter, began by making jokes   about the names of Prince George’s godparents and then – reading from an   autocue – said: “George’s godparents include Hugh van Cutsem… I presume   that’s a nickname as in Hugh van cuts ’em and Harry then snorts ’em.”

The camera then cut to Paul Merton, who genuinely appeared aghast at the joke,   and that was then followed by a shot of the other team captain, Ian Hislop,   who remarked: “Have we lost the lawyers?”

Hislop’s acknowledgement on air that Brand’s comment was defamatory suggests   that the BBC was aware of the allegations it was broadcasting.

The programme is recorded on Thursdays, edited and then shown on Friday   nights. All “risky” comments would have been vetted by a senior BBC   executive.

Brand insisted on Saturday night that she did not write the joke but accepted    “culpability” for reading it out.

The BBC also made a mistake in naming Hugh van Cutsem as a godparent. Prince   George’s godfather is actually William van Cutsem. Hugh van Cutsem could   refer to either William’s brother or else his father who died last month.

On Saturday critics rounded on the BBC for defaming the Queen’s grandson, who   is a captain with the Army Air Corps and has served on two tours of duty in   Afghanistan.

Lord Dannatt, the former head of the Army who presided over Prince Harry’s   first tour of Afghanistan, said: “It might have been said as a joke but the   suggestion is outrageous. It is a very unfortunate joke to make and most   inappropriate.

“The Army operates random drugs tests. Drugs and being an attack helicopter   pilot don’t go together.”

Anna Soubry, the Conservative defence minister, said: “That is disgraceful,   shoddy, appalling and out of order. Prince Harry does an outstanding job in   the Army and always goes the extra mile to help wounded service personnel   and veterans.

“Jo Brand should not have stooped to that level and both she and the BBC   should apologise. It is a really cheap shot at somebody who has no right of   reply and they know will not sue for libel.

“The BBC should know better than to broadcast this. The programme is not live   and this should have been edited out.”

Mrs Soubry, who was appointed the first female MP to become a defence minister   in the recent reshuffle, added: “I would expect a full explanation from the   BBC as to why this was allowed.”

Penny Junor, the Royal author and journalist, described the joke as a “cheap”    shot.

Miss Junor said: “That sort of remark is the meat and drink of HIGNFY; very   witty but just not fair. It’s too easy to get a cheap laugh at the expense   of someone who won’t retaliate.”

Lance Corporal James Wharton, a gay soldier who has told how Prince Harry once   rescued him from a homophobic attack by soldiers from a rival regiment,   said: “Prince Harry is a tremendous role model for a lot of young people and   remarks like that are just wrong.”

When he was 16, Prince Harry admitted to his father that he had smoked   cannabis with older teenagers at his father’s house at Highgrove in   Gloucestershire although there has never been any suggestion – until the   BBC’s claim on HIGNFY – that he has ever taken class A drugs such as   cocaine.

Prince Harry was recently photographed stripped naked at a party in Las Vegas   after completing a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

On Saturday night Brand, a member of Republic, a pressure group which   campaigns to abolish the monarchy, said she would not apologise for the   comment.

She said: “I didn’t write it. I read it out from the autocue. I thought it was   funny. I don’t really understand what the fuss is about.

“I am not going to apologise. I didn’t write it but I did say it so I am   culpable in some way.”

A BBC spokesman said: “Have I Got News For You is a satirical news quiz and   the audience is used to the often irreverent humour. This was clearly a   tongue-in-cheek comment.”

A BBC source dismissed the joke as no more than a “play on words on the name   Cutsem” combined with Prince Harry’s reputation as a “playboy” prince.

A Clarence House spokesman said: “This is not something we would respond to.   It is not something we would comment on.”

The corporation was criticised last week for its coverage of the Royal   christening, devoting only two minutes to the event on the flagship news   programmes at 6pm and 10pm on BBC One.

Prince George has seven godparents, among them William van Cutsem, who is a   friend of the Duke of Cambridge.

HIGNFY is made for the BBC by Hat Trick Productions, an independent programme   maker with its content overseen by an executive producer from the BBC.

The corporation’s rules stipulate that independent producers should have a   formal “compliance conversation” with a programme’s BBC executive producer   when it is commissioned.

“These conversations should identify the specific problems and risks, and   discuss and draw up a plan for compliance accordingly,” the BBC’s website   says.

Hat Trick will also have had to fill in a BBC compliance form after the   recording to flag up any possible conflict with the corporation’s editorial   guidelines, including whether the programme included any language “which may   offend”.

David Jordan, the BBC’s director of editorial policy and standards, also   maintains an “early warning” list of programmes which might need to be   handled with “extra care” because of the risks involved. It is not clear   whether HIGNFY is on the list.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/10406768/Prince-Harry-drugs-slur-puts-BBC-in-the-line-of-fire.html

Britain’s anger at EC opposition to restriction on migrant benefits : Benefit Tourism is OK, and so is Corruption ( EU )

The European Commission and the BBC are facing new questions over a   controversial report into the effect of European Union migration to the UK.

David Cameron’s official spokesman said last week that there was “widespread and understandable concern” in the UK about benefit tourism.

David Cameron’s official spokesman said last week that there was “widespread and understandable concern” in the UK about benefit tourism.  Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Robert Mendick

By , Chief reporter

9:00PM BST 19 Oct 2013

The study — whose details were first disclosed in The Telegraph — showed that   more than 600,000 “non-active” EU migrants were living in the UK at a   possible cost to the NHS alone of £1.5 billion a year.

But the   EC report’s main conclusions — that the impact on the welfare   state and on the NHS is “very low” — are now the subject of intense debate.   In a series of developments:

Þ Senior Labour and Conservative politicians made public their opposition to   the findings, which have been used by the EC to try to show that “benefit   tourism” — the practice of going to a country to claim state benefits — is    “neither widespread nor systematic”.

Þ Oxford University’s migration research unit said the conclusions drawn by   the report were open to interpretation, given the statistical evidence   available.

Þ Inquiries by The Telegraph found that the independent consultancies who   wrote the report were awarded EU contracts worth more than £70 million over   six years.

Þ The BBC was drawn into the row over its flagship news bulletin on the   report, which Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, accused of   lacking “balance”.

Evidence of mounting public concern in the EU’s biggest economies over   migration emerged in a poll yesterday which showed that the introduction of   restrictions on EU migrants’ rights is backed by 83 per cent of Britons, 73   per cent of Germans and 72 per cent of French respondents, in a survey of   5,206 adults.

David Cameron’s official spokesman said last week that there was “widespread   and understandable concern” in the UK about benefit tourism.

He was speaking in response to the report, which last night was questioned by   Frank Field, a former Labour welfare minister, who chairs Balanced   Migration, a group made up of cross-party MPs.

“The conclusion of this report is genuinely mystifying when the issue over   what is going on is quite clear,” he said. “Many migrants are here and they   are not in work. So how are they living?”

The report shows that between 2008 and 2011, the number of job-seeking EU   migrants coming to the UK increased by 73 per cent, while during the same   period the total EU migrant population rose by only 28 per cent. It found   that 611,779 economically “non-active” EU migrants aged 15 and over were in   the UK in 2011. This includes job-seekers, students, stay-at-home spouses   and pensioners.

The European Commission insists the study supports the conclusion “that   economically non-active EU mobile citizens account for a very small share of   beneficiaries and that the budgetary impact of such claims on national   welfare budgets is very low”.

But writing in The Telegraph, Douglas Carswell, a prominent Euro-sceptic   Conservative MP, accused the EC of “spinning the facts to downplay the   impact of benefit tourism”.

Separately, Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, a senior researcher with Oxford   University’s Migration Observatory, regarded as the most respected body on   UK migration, suggested the report’s analysis was open to interpretation.    “There is no problem with the numbers [in the report],” he said. “The issue   is the interpretation of those numbers.

“If this report was done by academics, it would have been just about purely   the facts without putting interpretation into the numbers. What is “big” for   somebody is “small” for someone else. This is where political interpretation   comes in.”

Criticisms of the report’s conclusions were vehemently rejected by the office   of Laszlo Andor, the European commissioner for employment, social affairs   and inclusion, which published the study.

Mr Andor, a socialist, said: “The study makes clear that the majority of   mobile EU citizens move to another member state to work and puts into   perspective the dimension of the so-called benefit tourism which is neither   widespread nor systematic. The commission remains committed to ensuring that   EU citizens that would like to work in another EU country can do so without   facing discrimination or obstacles.”

However, Mr Andor said he recognised the “local” and “regional” strains    “created by a large, sudden influx of people from other EU countries into a   particular geographical area”.

The study cost the EU, paid for out of taxpayers’ funds, about £190,000 and   took nine months to complete.

A Telegraph analysis of the EU’s   Financial Transparency database showed that the consultancies who   tendered successfully to write the report — ICF GHK and the Brussels-based   Milieu Limited — had been awarded more than £70  million of contracts in the   past six years, covering 440 projects. A key chapter in the 276-page report   on Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in the UK was written by a consultant who   specialises in environmental law.

Both firms rejected any suggestion their impartiality had been compromised. Mr   Andor’s spokesman said: “The European Commission selects contractors in   strict compliance with public procurement rules to ensure value for   taxpayers’ money, high quality and independence.”

It also emerged that one of the main supporters of the report — a   senior economist who expressed backing for it in a debate on the BBC and on   The Guardian’s website — was in receipt of more than £600,000 of   EU funding for the year ending March 2012 for his think tank.

Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social   Research (NIESR) and a former senior economics adviser to the last Labour   government, said it was public knowledge that his institution received   funding from the EU, a fact stated on the NIESR website.

Mr Portes said: “It’s no secret that NIESR … secures funding for specific   research projects from the European Commission, as it does from the UK   government, usually via competitive tender. It’s also no secret that this   hasn’t stopped NIESR from criticising commission or UK government policy.”

On the report itself, Mr Portes said: “My view is that there’s nothing in it   that’s particularly surprising or new as regards the UK — it confirms what   economists already knew, that EU migrants to the UK are more likely to be in   work and less likely to be claiming benefits, and hence overall are likely   to make a significant net contribution to the financing of the welfare   state.”

He was accused by one Conservative MP of being like “Pavlov’s dog”, eager to    “pop up” in support of large-scale immigration “every time somebody   criticises” it.

Stewart Jackson, the Conservative MP for Peterborough, said Mr Portes should   have declared the EU funding received by NIESR — worth more than a quarter   of its total income — during a debate on the report on BBC Radio 4’s PM   programme. The row has spread to the BBC’s flagship 10 O’Clock News   programme over its handling of the report. Mr Duncan Smith last night   accused the corporation of biased reporting on the bulletin on Monday, which   is analysed (above) by The Sunday Telegraph.

A spokesman for Mr Duncan Smith said: “It is difficult to see any balance in   this [BBC News] report and sadly there seems to be no attempt to fairly   reflect the Government’s view.”

The BBC stood by its report, saying: “Our coverage of this report was fair,   balanced and impartial. We also included criticism of the UK Government by   the commission and the Government’s position.” The study’s publication last   week came ahead of a court dispute between the European Commission and the   Government over payments to potentially tens of thousands of EU benefit   claimants.

Currently, all people seeking work in Britain are eligible for Jobseeker’s   Allowance, of £56.80 a week. They do not need to have previously paid   tax or National Insurance, making the benefit “non-contributory”. This also   applies to other benefits, including housing benefit, child benefit and   child tax credit.

In 2004, the Government introduced a “right to reside” test which asks   immigrants to prove that they are “economically active”, which can include   actively seeking work, or are self-supporting, before they can claim many   non-contributory benefits, in particular Jobseeker’s Allowance.

But the EC says this breaks EU law because non-contributory benefits should be   equally available to all EU citizens. The right to reside test is not   applied to UK citizens. Later this year it will formally start a case at the   European Court of Justice to try to stop the use of the right to reside   test.

Ministers fiercely oppose the action, which they say will make Britain seem   far more generous than other countries and encourage “benefit tourism” —    precisely the phenomenon the report says there is “little evidence of”.

Many other countries only allow benefits — including access to health care —    to be given to people who have spent qualifying periods working or living in   the country and paying towards their welfare systems. The EC says that this   is legal because it applies equally to citizens of those countries and to EU   migrants to them. But critics say it allows other EU countries to limit the   burden to the state of European migrants.

The legal action will come a few weeks ahead of the lifting of restrictions on   migrants from Romania and Bulgaria.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/10391338/Britains-anger-at-EC-opposition-to-restriction-on-migrant-benefits.html

 

Mentally ill tied to trees and left to die in Somalia

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation – Mon, 7 Oct 2013 01:28 PM

Men walk on a beach in front of a building destroyed during a war in Mogadishu June 27, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

    

 

In Somalia there’s a belief that a mentally ill person can be cured by shutting them in a room with a hyena.

Mentally ill people in the war-ravaged country are often chained or locked up. Others are tied to trees and abandoned when their families are forced to flee fighting.

In one of the most moving radio interviews I’ve heard in a long time, psychiatric nurse Abdirahman Ali Awale, who is commonly known as Dr Habeeb, told how he was reduced to tears every day by what he sees.

“I have saved many, many patients who have been left to die. They have been tied to a tree and abandoned simply because they are mentally ill,” he told the BBC World Service.

Somalia has one of the world’s highest rates of mental illness with one in three people affected, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

But there has traditionally been almost no help. Somalia’s health sector was destroyed over two decades ago as the country descended into civil war.

The relentless shelling, fighting, killing and maiming, along with the repeated displacement of communities, has taken such a toll that Habeeb is on record as saying he doesn’t believe anyone in the whole of southern and central Somalia has good mental health.

The psychiatric nurse was spurred to set up the first of his six clinics in 2005 when he saw five mentally ill women being chased down the road by small boys.

He says his centres have since treated more than 15,000 patients. The most prevalent condition is post-traumatic stress disorder.

“This is usually what we see with many of our younger patients who come in,” says Habeeb. “We also see depression. A lot of our patients are very sad. They exclude themselves from society and they are very quiet and sad and stay in a corner.”

After the war, he believes the second biggest contributor to mental health issues is the widely used stimulant khat. The plant, which is chewed for its euphoric effects, has been linked to psychosis and depression.

HYENA “CURE”

But Habeeb doesn’t just treat people. He is on a mission to dispel the myths and stigma surrounding mental illness and end harmful practices.

This is done through radio broadcasts, lectures and classes.

“We tell them … that mental health illness is just like any other illness,” he told the World Service’s Outlook programme.

Many Somalis attribute behavioural problems to bad spirits and seek help from religious leaders or traditional healers. One of the most extreme treatments involves locking a person up with a hyena.

“In Somalia, there’s this belief that hyenas can see everything including the thing that causes mental illnesses,” says Habeeb.

“Two hyenas were brought from the bushes and brought to Mogadishu. Patients were locked in a room with the hyena with the belief that when the thing that caused the mental problem sees the hyena it would leave the body of the patient and the patient would be fine after that.”

This treatment is not cheap – the cost can be around $560, according to Habeeb. It’s also highly dangerous. Patients are left with long lasting trauma, physical injuries and even die, according to a WHO report on mental health in Somalia.

 “I CRY EVERY DAY”

WHO says most mentally ill people in Somalia are chained up or imprisoned.

Habeeb told the BBC more than 170,000 people have been “locked and … left to die”.  And no one in authority is talking about it.

You don’t have to look hard to find numerous images on the internet showing people chained to trees, rocks and beds. Many are chained for years on end, leading to long-lasting trauma and physical harm. Some commit suicide.

But the use of chains is often an act of desperation by families rather than cruelty, according to WHO. Families may believe they are preventing the person harming themselves or others, and that this is their only option.

Habeeb’s organisation, together with WHO, is pushing for an end to chaining.

But addressing mental illness is a very low priority in a country so devastated by fighting and hunger. It has also been ignored by international agencies.

Habeeb believes this is because treating mental health illness is expensive and does not bring quick results.

Not surprisingly, the work is exhausting.

“I’ve seen countless patients locked and left to die and that takes a toll mentally,” Habeeb says.

“I am alone. I am one person and I’m dealing with big, big, big problems that no one is ready to admit. Personally, I cry seven to eight times a day. I’m a big man, I’m a grown-up man, and in this society it is not common to see a grown man cry.

“I’ve cried on TV, I’ve cried in public places, I’ve even cried in front of presidents for them to speak about this problem, even for one day.”

 

http://www.trust.org/item/20131007132825-oupwe/?source=hpblogs

Leaked report to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows we may be headed for Global Cooling

Global warming? No, actually we’re cooling, claim scientists

A cold Arctic summer has led to a record increase in the ice cap, leading experts to predict a period of global cooling.

Global warming? No, actually we're cooling, claim scientists

Major climate research centres now accept that there has been a “pause” in global warming since 1997.  Photo: ALAMY

9:55AM BST 08 Sep 2013

There has been a 60 per cent increase in the amount of ocean covered with ice compared to this time last year, they equivalent of almost a million square miles.

In a rebound from 2012’s record low an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores, days before the annual re-freeze is even set to begin.

The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year, forcing some ships to change their routes.

A leaked report to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seen by the Mail on Sunday, has led some scientists to claim that the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this century.

If correct, it would contradict computer forecasts of imminent catastrophic warming. The news comes several years after the BBC predicted that the arctic would be ice-free by 2013.

Despite the original forecasts, major climate research centres now accept that there has been a “pause” in global warming since 1997.

The original predictions led to billions being invested in green measures to combat the effects of climate change.

The change in the predictions has led to UN’s climate change’s body holding a crisis meeting, and the the IPCC was due to report on the situation in October. A pre-summit meeting will be held later this month.

But leaked documents show that governments who fund the IPCC are demanding 1,500 changes to the Fifth Assessment Report – a three-volume study issued every six or seven years – as they claim its current draft does not properly explain the pause.

The extent to which temperatures will rise with carbon dioxide levels, as well as how much of the warming over the past 150 year, a total of 0.8C, is down to human greenhouse gas emissions are key issues.

The IPCC says it is “95 per cent confident” that global warming has been caused by humans – up from 90 per cent in 2007 – according to the draft report.

However, US climate expert Professor Judith Curry has questioned how this can be true as that rather than increasing in confidence, “uncertainty is getting bigger” within the academic community.

Long-term cycles in ocean temperature, she said, suggest the world may be approaching a period similar to that from 1965 to 1975, when there was a clear cooling trend.

At the time some scientists forecast an imminent ice age.

Professor Anastasios Tsonis, of the University of Wisconsin, said: ‘We are already in a cooling trend, which I think will continue for the next 15 years at least. There is no doubt the warming of the 1980s and 1990s has stopped.”

The IPCC is said to maintain that their climate change models suggest a pause of 15 years can be expected. Other experts agree that natural cycles cannot explain all of the recorded warming.

Record return of Arctic ice cap as it grows by 60% in a year with top scientists warning of global COOLING

  • Almost a million more square miles of  ocean covered with ice than in 2012
  • BBC reported in 2007 global warming would  leave Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013
  • Publication of UN climate change report  suggesting global warming caused by humans pushed back to later this  month

By  David Rose

PUBLISHED: 18:37 EST, 7  September 2013 |  UPDATED: 18:40 EST, 7 September 2013

A chilly Arctic summer has left nearly a  million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last  year – an increase of 60 per cent.

The rebound from 2012’s record low comes six  years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free  in summer by 2013.

Instead, days before the annual autumn  re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of  Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern  shores.

global cooling

The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to  the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year. More than 20 yachts that  had planned to sail it have been left ice-bound and a cruise ship attempting the  route was forced to turn back.

Some eminent scientists now believe the world  is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this  century – a process that would expose computer forecasts of imminent  catastrophic warming as dangerously misleading.

The disclosure comes 11 months after The Mail  on Sunday triggered intense political and scientific debate by revealing that  global warming has ‘paused’ since the beginning of 1997 – an event that the  computer models used by climate experts failed to predict.

In March, this newspaper further revealed  that temperatures are about to drop below the level that the models forecast  with ‘90 per cent certainty’.

The pause – which has now been accepted as  real by every major climate research centre – is important, because the models’  predictions of ever-increasing global temperatures have made many of the world’s  economies divert billions of pounds into ‘green’ measures to counter   climate change.

Those predictions now appear gravely  flawed.

THERE WON’T BE ANY ICE AT ALL! HOW THE BBC PREDICTED CHAOS  IN 2007

Only six years ago, the BBC reported that the  Arctic would be ice-free in summer by 2013, citing a scientist in the US who  claimed this was a ‘conservative’ forecast. Perhaps it was their confidence that  led more than 20 yachts to try to sail the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic  to  the Pacific this summer. As of last week, all these vessels were stuck  in the ice, some at the eastern end of the passage in Prince Regent Inlet,  others further west at Cape Bathurst.

Shipping experts said the only way these  vessels were likely to be freed was by the icebreakers of the Canadian  coastguard. According to the official Canadian government website, the Northwest  Passage has remained ice-bound and impassable  all summer.

The BBC’s 2007 report quoted scientist   Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, who based his views on super-computer models and  the fact that ‘we use a high-resolution regional model for the Arctic Ocean and  sea ice’.

He was confident his results were ‘much more  realistic’ than other projections, which ‘underestimate the amount of heat  delivered to the sea ice’. Also quoted was Cambridge University  expert

Professor Peter Wadhams. He backed Professor  Maslowski, saying his model was ‘more efficient’ than others because it ‘takes  account of processes that happen internally in the ice’.

He added: ‘This is not a cycle; not just a  fluctuation. In the end, it will all just melt away quite  suddenly.’

BBC

The continuing furore caused by The Mail on  Sunday’s revelations – which will now be amplified by the return of the Arctic  ice sheet – has forced the UN’s climate change body to hold a crisis  meeting.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate  Change (IPCC) was due in October to start publishing its Fifth Assessment Report  – a huge three-volume study issued every six or seven years. It will now hold a  pre-summit in Stockholm later this month.

Leaked documents show that governments which  support and finance the IPCC are demanding more than 1,500 changes to the  report’s ‘summary for policymakers’. They say its current draft does not  properly explain the pause.

At the heart of the row lie two questions:  the extent to which temperatures will rise with carbon dioxide levels, as well  as how much of the warming over the past 150 years – so far, just 0.8C – is down  to human greenhouse gas emissions and how much is due to natural  variability.

In its draft report, the IPCC says it is ‘95  per cent confident’ that global warming has been caused by humans – up from 90  per cent in 2007.

This claim is already hotly disputed. US  climate expert Professor Judith Curry said last night: ‘In fact, the uncertainty  is getting bigger. It’s now clear the models are way too sensitive to carbon  dioxide. I cannot see any basis for the IPCC increasing its confidence  level.’

She pointed  to long-term cycles  in  ocean temperature, which have a huge influence  on climate and  suggest the  world may be approaching a period similar to that from 1965 to 1975, when there  was a clear cooling trend. This led  some scientists at the time to forecast an  imminent ice age.

Professor Anastasios Tsonis, of the  University of Wisconsin, was one of the first to investigate the ocean cycles.  He said: ‘We are already in a cooling  trend, which I think will continue for  the next 15 years at least. There is no doubt the warming of the 1980s and 1990s  has stopped.

Then... NASA satelite images showing the spread of Artic sea ice 27th August 2012Then… NASA satelite images showing the spread of Artic  sea ice 27th August 2012

...And now, much bigger: The spread of Artic sea ice on August 15 2013…And now, much bigger: The same Nasa image taken in  2013

‘The IPCC claims its models show a pause of  15 years can be expected. But that means that after only a very few years more,  they will have to admit they are wrong.’

Others are more cautious. Dr Ed Hawkins, of  Reading University, drew the graph published by The Mail on Sunday in March  showing how far world temperatures have diverged from computer predictions. He  admitted the cycles may have caused some of the recorded warming, but insisted  that natural variability alone could not explain all of the temperature rise  over the past 150 years.

Nonetheless, the belief that summer Arctic  ice is about to disappear remains an IPCC tenet, frequently flung in the face of  critics who point to the pause.

Yet there is mounting evidence that Arctic  ice levels are cyclical. Data uncovered by climate historians show that there  was a massive melt in the 1920s and 1930s, followed by intense re-freezes that  ended only in 1979 – the year the IPCC says that shrinking began.

Professor Curry said the ice’s behaviour over  the next five years would be crucial, both for understanding the climate and for  future policy. ‘Arctic sea ice is the indicator to watch,’ she said

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2415191/Global-cooling-Arctic-ice-caps-grows-60-global-warming-predictions.html#ixzz2eHOF3Pqq Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Was Boston Bomber a white supremacist? Investigation finds Tamerlan Tsarnaev was in possession of right-wing extremist literature in run-up to terror attack

  • Tamerlan  Tsarnaev read right-wing literature that claimed ‘Hitler had a  point’
  • The suspect  had material that claimed the 9/11 was a government  conspiracy
  • Tamerlan,  26, had literature on mass killings and how victims were  murdered

By  Anna Edwards

PUBLISHED: 03:38 EST, 5  August 2013 |  UPDATED: 03:42 EST, 5 August 2013

 

Tamerlan Tsarnaev 'read extreme right wing literature'Tamerlan Tsarnaev ‘read extreme right wing  literature’

One of the Boston Bomber suspects subscribed  to right-wing white supremacy literature and government conspiracy theories  before the horrific attack which killed three people.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev read extreme right-wing  literature that claimed ‘Hitler had a point’ and articles about the ‘rape of our  gun rights’, an investigation has found.

The 26-year-old also had material that  claimed the 9/11 attacks and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing were government  conspiracies.

He and his brother Dzhokhar, originally from  Chechnya, allegedly carried out the bombing at the Boston marathon’s finish line  on April 15 which killed three people and injured more than 260.

Until now the pair are believed to have  carried out the attacks due to their radical jihadist beliefs.

But an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama  programme has learnt that Tamerlan possessed white supremacist literature, and  material on mass killings and how victims were murdered.

After the shoot-out, it emerged that Tamerlan  had become interested in Islam – but to what extent is unclear.

A spokesman for Tamerlan’s mosque in  Cambridge, Massachuessets, said Tamerlan only prayed there occasionally, and  described him as an angry man who latched onto Islam, Panorama  reported.

The older of the two Chechen brothers once  dreamed of representing the U.S. as a boxer, it was reported, but before the  bombings had turned to Islam.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev read extreme right-wing literature  that claimed ‘Hitler had a point’ and articles about the ‘rape of our gun  rights’

Tamerlan wasn’t a devout practicing Muslim,  but within the last two years had begun praying five times a day, his aunt Maret  Tsarnaeva has said.

The relative said that the brothers and their  family came to the United States in 2002 after she helped them apply for refugee  status.

Tsarnaev has a three-year-old daughter called  Zahara with Katherine Russell, 24, who converted to Islam for her  husband.

He received his American citizenship on  September 11, 2012. He traveled to Russia last year and returned to the  U.S.  six months later, government officials told The Associated Press.

The attack at the Boston Marathon killed three and  injured more than 260 people

 

The brothers allegedly dumped two pressure cooker bombs  crammed with shrapnel and detonated them near the finish line

The eldest brother was killed in a police  shootout on April 19 – four days after he and his younger brother Dzhokhar  allegedly set off bombs during the Boston Marathon.

The gun battle happened a day after the FBI  released images of him and his younger brother at the Boston  marathon.

His brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar, was found  hiding in a boat parked in a suburban yard and suffered a self-inflicted gunshot  wound to the neck.

They allegedly dumped two pressure cooker  bombs crammed with shrapnel and detonated them near the finish line, killing  three people, including an eight-year-old boy, and injuring 180 more.

Three people were killed in the cowardly  attack and 264 more were wounded, several of whom lost limbs.

Dzhokhar, 19, has pleaded not guilty to 30  charges, including 17 that carry the death penalty.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2384722/Boston-Bomber-Tamerlan-Tsarnaev-right-wing-extremist-literature-terror-attack.html#ixzz2b72UPgCH Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

GlaxoSmithKline finance head banned from leaving China

The BBC’s Martin Patience in Beijing: “Business leaders say foreign companies operating in China have never faced a tougher time”

Chinese authorities looking into alleged bribery by GlaxoSmithKline have banned the UK drugmaker’s British head of finance from leaving China.

The travel ban was imposed on Steve Nechelput at the end of June, said a company spokesperson.

On Monday, police in China said GSK had transferred 3bn yuan ($489m; £321m) to travel agencies and consultancies to facilitate bribes to doctors.

GSK has said it is deeply “concerned and disappointed” by the allegations.

The company said Mr Nechelput had not been questioned, arrested or detained by police.

The BBC understands that the British embassy in Beijing is providing consular assistance.

‘Abide by law’

Chinese authorities have taken into custody four Chinese executives at GSK in connection with the allegations.

They accuse GSK of using travel agencies to bribe government officials, doctors and hospitals in order to boost sales and prices of their drugs. The investigation began at the end of June, police said.

One of the four executives, vice-president and operations manager Liang Hong, appeared on state television on 16 July and said he had funnelled money through travel agencies for arranged conferences, some of which were never held.

Martin Patience, BBC’s correspondent in Beijing, said the reputation of the drugs giant has taken a huge hit in China where it has been widely condemned in the state media

An article on the China Daily website said: “This case should serve as a warning to other Chinese companies and their transnational counterparts that they must abide by the law when promoting their products”.

GSK’s general manager for China, Mark Reilly, is said to have left the country for Britain last month.

On Monday, Gao Feng, head of the economic crimes investigation unit, said similar transfers had been made by other pharmaceutical multinationals. He did not name any other foreign companies.

GSK has said it is taking immediate action, including terminating links with the travel agencies that the Chinese authorities have identified, and conducting a review of its transactions related to the travel agencies.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23352844

 

Turkish PM’s treason claims against BBC reporter chills other journalists

Turkish journalists see Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s attack on presenter for BBC’s Turkish service as a warning to them all

Protesters take cover from water cannon

Erdogan took offence at the BBC’s coverage of anti-government protests. Photograph: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

Based in London, where she is a presenter for the BBC‘s Turkish service, until last week Selin Girit was little known in her home country. That all changed when the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accused her of treason after her coverage of the recent anti-government protests. The attack struck fear into other journalists, who believe Erdoğan – having consistently blamed the media for fanning the protests – is intent on stifling all dissent.

The campaign against Girit was launched last weekend when the mayor of Ankara, Melih Gökçek, started tweeting aggressively against her. The BBC protested strongly against what it called government intimidation. Erdoğan was clearly unimpressed. Speaking in parliament a day later, he said Girit was “part of a conspiracy against her own country”.

Turkish journalists see the focus on Girit as a warning to them all – an example to cow the rest of them into submission. Serdar Korucu, editor of a major Turkish news outlet, said: “The prime minister is telling us, ‘Be careful what you say and do, or you can easily be next’.”

The Turkish mainstream media have ignored much of the unrest, with CNNTürk airing a documentary on penguins while the central square in Istanbul became the scene of street protests unprecedented in Erdoğan’s 10-year rule.

The public was outraged, and protests were staged in front of Turkish news outlets. Many journalists, however, were not surprised. Fatma Demirelli, managing editor of the English-language daily Today’s Zaman, explained that self-censorship had long become the norm in Turkish newsrooms. “Journalists now have a sort of split brain: on the one hand you see what the news is, but on the other you immediately try to gauge how to report it without stepping on anyone’s foot. Self-censorship has become an automatic reflex.”

Self-censorship is not new in a country that tops the world list of jailers of journalists, with 67 currently incarcerated, according to Reporters Without Borders. But it has drawn more attention during the protests around Gezi Park.

“The significant difference with the current events is that the censorship has affected a different constituency of people – middle-class Turks – rather than other groups whose causes have been more frequently subjected to censorship, such as activists advocating Kurdish rights and politics,” said Andrew Gardner, Turkey researcher for Amnesty International. “Another difference is that the events were widely covered in international media, exposing the self-censorship in mainstream Turkish media further.”

Censorship and control aside, violence and arbitrary threats against reporters trying to cover the events have also increased.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented a large number of cases of attacks on the press during the protests, including physical assault, detentions, threats and the unlawful confiscation of equipment and protective gear. Several journalists, Turkish and foreign, have sustained injuries from beatings and plastic bullets used by the police.

The organisation singled out police brutality as the biggest threat against journalists working in Turkey, saying that reporters were more at risk than they had been in two decades.

After covering a peaceful protest that was violently dispersed with tear gas and water cannon, journalist Alpbugra Bahadir Gültekin was repeatedly beaten by the police. “I told them that I was with the press, but they first insulted and then started beating me. After I fell to the ground, several officers continued to beat and to kick me,” he said.

Having recovered security camera footage of the incident, he brought charges against the police. He does not expect to be heard. “They operate in an atmosphere of impunity. But we have to start somewhere, and bring these incidents to light.”

Demirelli and Korucu agreed that Erdoğan had become a figure beyond criticism. “News stations have started to correct the prime minister’s slips of the tongue unasked, in order to be on the safe side,” Korucu said. “Nobody wants to ask uncomfortable questions, in order to keep him happy. But how can we begin to understand issues of interest if asking is not free any more?”

Demirelli said: “Journalists now always wonder if they really want to investigate, for fear that they might actually find something.”

Tony Blair strongly denies affair with Wendi Deng as outrageous rumours sweep the internet over reason behind Murdoch divorce

 

  • Rupert Murdoch filed for divorce in New York  Supreme Court on Thursday
  • Wendi Deng is Murdoch’s third wife – they  were together for 14 years
  • Pair were married in 1999 after meeting in  Hong Kong two years before
  • Previous divorce was one of the most  expensive in history at $1.7billion
  • The 82-year-old has two daughters with  Wendi, Grace and Chloe

By  Tom Leonard In New York

PUBLISHED: 12:56 EST, 14  June 2013 |  UPDATED: 18:16 EST, 14 June 2013

Unfounded: Aides for Tony Blair have emphatically denied outrageous Internet rumours that he was romantically involved with Wendi Deng 

Unfounded: Aides for Tony Blair have emphatically denied  outrageous Internet rumours that he was romantically involved with Wendi  Deng

Tony Blair was forced to deny internet  rumours yesterday linking him with the divorce of Rupert Murdoch and Wendi  Deng.

The internet was awash with unfounded  suggestions that the former PM may have been romantically involved with  44-year-old Miss Deng, who is a close friend.

The speculation followed a Twitter claim by  BBC business editor Robert Peston – who has close links with News Corporation  insiders – that he had been ‘told that  undisclosed reasons for Murdoch  divorcing his third wife are jaw-dropping and hate myself for wanting to know  what they are’.

The rumours are understood to have been  emphatically rejected by Blair aides as untrue and also as highly  defamatory.

A spokesman for Mr Blair, 60, told the  Hollywood Reporter: ‘If you are asking if they are having an affair, the answer  is no.’

The spokesman said the former PM would not be  making a public comment on the divorce himself.

With no explanation forthcoming from the  Murdoch camp, rumours started flying within hours of the news on Thursday that  the 82-year-old media tycoon had filed for divorce in a New York  court.

It is no secret that Miss Deng and Mr Blair  are close friends. He is godfather to Grace, her oldest child.

Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff described  him as ‘one of Wendi’s first  official social conquests’ and suggested that  Mr Blair had seen her as a key link in his efforts to woo her politically  powerful husband.

 

Third wife: Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng's marriage came less than a month after his divorce from ex-wife Anna Maria Torv Murdoch Mann was finalized, which was one of the most expensive in history at $1.7billion  

Divorce: Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng’s  marriage came less than a month after his divorce from ex-wife Anna Maria Torv  Murdoch Mann was finalized

dengdeng

 

Strained: Insiders say the marriage has been on the  rocks for several years – at one point friends said the two were living ‘largely  separate lives’

Friends: Wendi Deng and Cherie Blair in Beijing in 2009 

Friends: Wendi Deng and Cherie Blair in Beijing in  2009

Rumours: 

Rumours: BBC financial correspondent Robert Peston, who  is said to be a close friends with some key Murdoch staffers, hinted at a  shocking reason writing on his Twitter page

Close: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and media magnate Rupert Murdoch in 2008Close: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and media  magnate Rupert Murdoch in 2008

Mr Murdoch, who is estimated to be  worth  nearly £6billion, cited as grounds for the divorce ‘that the  relationship has broken down  irretrievably’.

Insiders said the 14-year marriage  has been  strained for years.

Some pointed to an article in the New York  Times last year in which her friends admitted the Murdochs were living   ‘largely separate lives’ as Miss Deng looked after their two children  while her  husband ran his global empire.

They reportedly came close to  splitting up  as long ago as 2006 when she reacted with fury to her  husband’s decision that  their daughters, Grace, 11, and Chloe, nine,  would not have the same say over  the running of the family business as  his children from previous  marriages.

Murdoch biographer Neil Chenoweth  suggested  yesterday that Mr Murdoch had planned the divorce as long ago  as February  because the death of his mother two months earlier gave him  extra shares in the  family business that he could use to pay off his  wife.

In the same month, observers of the couple at  the Oscars saw a noticeable change in Miss Deng’s behaviour towards her  husband.

‘She was snippy with him during the  Oscar  weekend and she’s really impatient with him these days,’ a source  at the time  told Deadline Hollywood, a film industry website which first reported the  divorce.

Michael Wolff recalled reports that  Mr  Murdoch told his oldest son, Lachlan, some years ago that he had  concluded that  marrying the Chinese-born Miss Deng was  a ‘mistake’.

Other sources claimed the  workaholic Mr  Murdoch was more concerned with the imminent division of his media  empire into  publishing and entertainment arms than with his split from  his wife.

New York home: 834 Fifth Avenue where Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng live in a triplex on the top floors. Rupert bought it for $44million in 2005

 

New York home: 834 Fifth Avenue where Rupert Murdoch and  Wendi Deng live in a triplex on the top floors. Rupert bought it for $44million  in 2005

Triplex: Murdoch and Wendi lived in the top three floors of 834 Fifth Avenue in New York 

Triplex: Murdoch and Wendi lived in the top three floors  of 834 Fifth Avenue in New York

 

Beverly Hills Home: One of the many properties Murdoch owns which he could lose in the divorce. Though the couple have a prenup, it depends how water tight it is and Deng is expected to fight for some of his estate 

Beverly Hills Home: One of the many properties Murdoch  owns which he could lose in the divorce. Though the couple have a prenup, it  depends how water tight it is and Deng is expected to fight for some of his  estate

Although the couple have a   pre-nuptial  agreement which should ensure that the Murdoch empire is not affected by the  split, their settlement will have to sort out what  happens to their seven  homes.

They include a Manhattan apartment Mr Murdoch  bought for £30million, a 16-acre Californian vineyard, a flat  in London’s  Mayfair, an 11-bedroom house in Beverly Hills and a period  house outside the  Forbidden City in Beijing.

The Wall Street Journal reported in  2000  that Miss Deng helped to cause the break-up of the marriage of an  American  couple, Jake and Joyce Cherry, who had befriended her when she  was a  student.

In 1988, they arranged for Miss Deng, then  aged 19, to leave China for Los Angeles to learn English.

She reportedly ran off with  53-year-old  Mr Cherry and later married him, enabling her to get a ‘green card’ to work in  the US.

The marriage soon ended after Mr Cherry  discovered she was spending time with a man nearly half his age, said the  Journal.

 

Protection: Wendi Deng lunges towards a man trying to attack her husband during a parliamentary committee hearing on phone hacking on July 19, 2011  

Protection: Wendi Deng lunges towards a man trying to  attack her husband during a parliamentary committee hearing on phone hacking on  July 19, 2011

Unity: The news of their divorce comes just two years after Deng steadfastly supported Murdoch and his son through the phone hacking scandal that brought down the News of the World  

Unity: The news of their divorce comes just two years  after Deng steadfastly supported Murdoch and his son through the phone hacking  scandal that brought down the News of the World

Big day: The couple married on a yacht in 1999, 17 days after his divorce from his second wife Anna Torv 

Big day: The couple married on a yacht in 1999, 17 days  after his divorce from his second wife Anna Torv

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2341825/Tony-Blair-strongly-denies-affair-Wendi-Deng-outrageous-rumours-sweep-internet-reason-Murdoch-divorce.html#ixzz2WFpt8RtO Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

William Hague: Law-abiding Britons have nothing to fear from GCHQ

The Foreign Secretary will appear before the House of Commons tomorrow to try to allay concerns about the Prism spy scheme which enables the USA’s spy agency to mine data from Facebook and other web companies

Andy McSmith

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The only people with anything to fear from the secret activities of British and US intelligence are terrorists, criminals and spies, William Hague has insisted.

The Foreign Secretary will appear before the House of Commons later today to try to allay concerns about the Prism spy scheme which enables the USA’s spy agency to mine data from Facebook and other internet companies.

While he will offer reassuring words, it is unlikely that Mr Hague will offer MPs much by way of hard information. Interviewed on the BBC today, he refused even to say whether the UK government knew of the existence of Prism before this week. “I can’t confirm or deny in public what Britain knows about and what Britain doesn’t, for obvious reasons,” he said

However, he implied that the week’s revelations had not taken him by surprise, and that any request he will have personally sanctioned any request from British intelligence for information gleaned by using Prism.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme that he keeps an almost daily oversight over the work of GCHQ, the spy centre in Cheltenham, and that he would not delegate a decision of that importance to any of his junior ministers.

“It provides for intelligence gathering that is authorised, necessary, proportionate and targeted – targeted on what we really need to know. And of course we share a lot of information with the United States. That’s been the case since the Second World War,” he told interviewer, Sophie Raworth.

“The idea that in GCHQ people are sitting working out how to circumvent a UK law with another agency in another country is fanciful. It is nonsense.”

He added: “if you are a law abiding citizen of this country going about your business and your personal life, you have nothing to fear – nothing to fear about the British state or intelligence agencies listening to the contents of your phone calls or anything like that. But if you are a would-be terrorist or the centre of a criminal network or a foreign intelligence agency trying to spy on Britain, you should be worried because that is what we work on and we are on the whole quite good at it.”

Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, welcome Mr Hagues’ decision to appear in front of the Commons. “It is vital that the government now reassures people who are rightly concerned about these reports.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/william-hague-lawabiding-britons-have-nothing-to-fear-from-gchq-8651013.html#

 

Twelve minutes’ exercise per week ‘enough to stay fit’: Just 4 minutes 3 times a week

*EEV Note: Hmmm, I think we have a different opinion on what is meant by Fit.

Just 12 minutes of intensive exercise per week is enough to improve your health if you are overweight, a study has found.

Just 12 minutes of intensive exercise per week is enough to improve your health if you are overweight, a study has found.

12 minutes of high-intensity exercise across three sessions could be enough to keep us fit and healthy Photo: Alamy

 

Nick Collins

By , Science Correspondent

5:38PM BST 30 May 2013

Four-minute bursts of high-intensity exercise such as running on a treadmill, three times a week are enough to increase fitness, researchers found.

Overweight volunteers who undertook the regime for 10 weeks increased their body’s oxygen uptake – a measure of fitness – by 10 per cent and saw small decreases in their blood pressure and glucose levels.

Health guidelines generally state that we should undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise per week in order to stay healthy.

But the new study suggests that just 12 minutes of high-intensity exercise, spread out across three sessions, could be enough to keep us fit and healthy, researchers said.

The team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim studied the effects of different exercise regimes on 24 men who were overweight but otherwise healthy.

Three times a week for 10 weeks, the men undertook bouts of “vigorous” exercise, which involved running on a treadmill at a speed which raised their heart rate to 90 per cent of its maximum capacity.

For half of the men the regime involved simple four-minute sessions, three times a week, while the other half completed three sixteen-minute sessions, each of which was divided into four-minute segments.

Despite carrying out different amounts of exercise, the results for the two groups were strikingly similar.

Oxygen uptake – the amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise – increased by 10 per cent in the four-minute group, and by 13 per cent in the sixteen-minute group.

Blood pressure and glucose levels lowered by similar amounts in both groups, but the more intensive sixteen-minute sessions was more effective at lowering cholesterol and body fat.

Writing in the Public Library of Science ONE journal, the researchers said that such improvements could lower the risk of death from conditions like heart disease and stroke.

“These data suggest that it may be possible to reduce cardiovascular mortality with substantially less exercise than is generally recommended, provided it is performed in a vigorous manner,” they wrote.

The researchers said the exercises could easily be incorporated into a daily regime, for example by walking quickly up six to ten flights of stairs or by walking up a hill with an eight to 10 per cent gradient.

Some doctors have raised concerns that carrying out intensive exercise could pose a health risk to unfit people. Andrew Marr, the BBC presenter, was told that his stroke earlier this year was caused by a work-out on a rowing machine.

Speaking at the time Dr Thomas Lee, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, said: “Short episodes of very intense exercise can raise one’s risk for a stroke or heart attack or fatal arrhythmia during or right after the burst of exertion.

“I think this approach, which used to be known as “intervals”, is very reasonable and accepted among young athletes…I don’t encourage it among most of my older patients.”

But the researchers said their previous work had showed that “most individuals can engage in this type of exercise training as it has been performed without any adverse events”.

Dr Arnt Erik Tjønna said the programme of brief but intensive exercise sessions could be a “time-efficient” method of staying fit.

Previous studies have found that a lack of free time is one of the most frequently mentioned issues when people are asked what prevents them from exercising.

“Since we know that more and more people are inactive and overweight, the kind of improvement in physical fitness that we saw in this study may provide a real boost for inactive people who are struggling to find the motivation to exercise,” he said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10089411/Twelve-minutes-exercise-per-week-enough-to-stay-fit.html

Saudi religious police boss condemns Twitter users

 

Saudi virtue police condemn Twitter

The head of Saudi Arabia’s religious police has warned citizens against using Twitter, which is rising in popularity among Saudis.

Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said anyone using social media sites – and especially Twitter – “has lost this world and his afterlife”.

Twitter was the platform for those who did not have any platform, he said.

His remarks reflect Riyadh’s concern that Saudis use Twitter to discuss sensitive political and other issues.

The conservative kingdom is believed to have seen the world’s fastest increase in the uptake of Twitter, says the BBC’s Sebastian Usher.

‘Losing battle’

The sheikh’s comments echo those of the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in April who used his sermon – seen by millions on TV – to warn that Twitter was a threat to national unity, our correspondent says.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, the kingdom’s most senior Muslim cleric, had dismissed Twitter users as “fools”.

These rhetorical attacks are part of a concerted offensive by the Saudi establishment on the social network site, our correspondent says.

Many Saudis have seized on Twitter as the most immediate and effective way to open little windows into a traditionally opaque society.

Recent protests in the Eastern Province have been tweeted and images of human rights activists on trial have been uploaded directly from courtrooms, challenging many taboos.

In response, the authorities have mooted moves that could inhibit Twitter users by linking their online accounts to their Saudi ID numbers.

A number of web activists have been detained, including at least one for the alleged apostasy, a charge that could carry the death penalty.

However, some elements of the Saudi elite have also warned against moving too hard on social network users.

Billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who presents himself as a reformist, has described attempts to restrict social media as a losing battle.

http://updatednews.ca/2013/05/15/saudi-religious-police-boss-condemns-twitter-users/

 

‘An opportunistic predator’: Veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall admits 14 sex assaults against girls as young as nine

BBC veteran’s lawyer says he knows his ‘disgrace is complete’

Jonathan Brown

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall was described as an “opportunistic predator” and warned he faces a possible jail sentence after admitting 14 counts of indecent assault involving victims as young as nine.

Preston Crown Court heard that the 83-year-old’s “disgrace was complete” after it can be reported for the first time that he kissed and touched 13 children and teenagers over an 18-year-period.

A charge of rape dating back to 1976 and three other offences against another woman were allowed to lie on file after the victim accepted it was no longer in the public interest to pursue the prosecution.

Hall, who has awarded an OBE in 2012 for services to broadcasting, had previously strenuously denied the charges against him describing them as “pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious”.

But his barrister Crispin Aylett QC today apologised to his victims on his behalf. “He is not a man easily moved to self-pity but he is only too aware that his disgrace is complete,” he said.

Hall was released on bail and told and will be sentenced next month. The maximum sentence for indecent assault carries a prison term of 10 years. He was told he must not have unsupervised access to children and will be required to sign the Sex Offenders Register.

The assaults ranged from kissing to “digital penetration” of his victims including one child who he fondled whilst she was in bed at her family home where Hall was attending a dinner party with her parents. Prosecutors praised the women – none of whom knew each other – for coming forward.

The offences occurred between 1968 and 1986 when Hall, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, was at the height of his fame presenting the hit programme It’s a Knockout.

Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor in the North West, said victims of abuse would not be denied justice by the passage of time. He said all of Hall’s victims provided “strikingly similar” accounts of their ordeal.

“Whether in private or public, Hall would first approach under friendly pretences and then bide his time until the victim was isolated. He can only be described as an opportunistic predator,” said Mr Afzal.

Hall admitted the charges at an earlier court hearing. Today dressed in a navy suit and striped blue tie he left the court amid a scrum of cameras telling reporters he had a “heavy cold” before being driven away in a private taxi flanked by his legal advisor.

A statement issued through his solicitors said: “Mr Hall deeply and sincerely regrets his actions. He wishes to issue an unreserved apology to the individuals concerned. He now accepts his behaviour and actions were completely wrong and he is very remorseful.

“Mr Hall also wishes to apologise to his family, friends and supportive members of the public for whom he has high regard and respect.

“The last five months have been a strain and an ordeal for his family, who are standing by him. He asks for privacy during the next few weeks and he emphasises that he is contrite and faces punishment with fortitude and remorse.”

A number of the victims came for forward after Hall’s first appearance in court on three charges of indecent assault.  One of the original charges related to a nine-year-old who was abused in 1983 after Hall went to her and her brother’s room to read them a story whilst dining with her parents.

He approached the pre-pubescent youngster who was pretending to be asleep in bed and touched her under her nightdress on the upper leg and vaginal area.

The court heard that although she did not understand what had happened she was aware it was wrong. Another of the offences happened in 1984 and involved a 13-year-old who he had driven to a local tennis club.

He told the youngster that she needed to demonstrate her thanks for the lift “in other ways”. He pulled over into a lay by and switched off the engine and headlights before turning her head and forcing his tongue into her mouth.

He also admitted fondling the breast of a 16-year-old girl in the 1970s at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. She was introduced to the celebrity who put his arm around her and touched her outside her clothing against her will. She did not see him again.

Hall was arrested by Lancashire Police last year when he was dropped by BBC Radio 5 Live where he worked as a football match summariser.

Hall’s barrister said in his client’s mitigation that with the exception of the admitted offences Hall had an “exemplary character” the most recent case was in 1986 and that the oldest dated back half a century.

He said the broadcaster had “desisted” in his attacks when his victims showed discomfort. “In a number of cases the parents of the complainants were aware at the time of what was said to have taken place but took no action apart from the perfectly sensible one of keeping the child away from the defendant,” Mr Aylett said.

Detective chief inspector Neil Esseen, of Lancashire Police’s major investigation team, said the guilty pleas had allowed the victims to be spared the ordeal of giving evidence at trial.

“The fact that these convictions have come a long time after they were committed shows that we will always take any allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously and will investigate them thoroughly no matter how long ago they happened,” he said.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/an-opportunistic-predator-veteran-broadcaster-stuart-hall-admits-14-sex-assaults-against-girls-as-young-as-nine-8600462.html#

 

Applicants wanted for 1 way trip to Mars

 

 

 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Want to go to Mars? Dutch organisation Mars One says it will open applications imminently. It would be a one-way trip, and the company hopes to build a community of settlers on the planet.

Uncharted waters, mountains or far away lands have always drawn explorers. History books show that desire for adventure, even in the face of extreme danger, did not deter the likes of Columbus or Magellan.

So it is perhaps not surprising that Mars One has already received thousands of prospective applicants. But there is no return – unlike the mission which hopes to fly to Mars and back in 2018.

Future explorers take note. Applicants must be resilient, adaptable, resourceful and must work well within a team. The whole project will be televised, from the reality TV style selection process, to landing and beyond.

On a visit to the BBC’s London office, Mars One’s co-founder Bas Lansdorp explains why this would be a one-way flight.

During the seven-to-eight month journey, astronauts will lose bone and muscle mass. After spending time on Mars’ much weaker gravitational field, it would be almost impossible to readjust back to Earth’s much stronger gravity, says Landsorp.

Successful applicants will be trained physically and psychologically. The team will use existing technology for all aspects of the project. Energy will be generated from solar panels, water will be recycled and extracted from soil and the astronauts will grow their own food – they will also have an emergency ration and regular top-ups as new explorers join every two years.

http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/23143/56/

 

Financial meltdown was caused by too many bankers taking cocaine, says former government drugs tsar Prof David Nutt

Academic, who was sacked for claiming that horse riding was as safe as taking ecstasy, said abuse of cocaine caused the financial meltdown.

Rob Williams

Monday, 15 April 2013

The former Government drugs tsar, Professor David Nutt, has said the financial crisis was caused by too many bankers taking cocaine.

The controversial academic, who was sacked for claiming that ecstasy was as safe as horse riding, told the Sunday Times that abuse of cocaine caused the financial meltdown.

“Bankers use cocaine and got us into this terrible mess,” he told the paper adding that the drug made them “overconfident” and led to them taking more risks.

Nutt, who is professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, claimed that cocaine was perfect for a banking “culture of excitement and drive and more and more and more. It is a ‘more’ drug”.

He goes on to claim in the interview that abuse of cocaine led to the financial meltdown, “and the Barings crash”.

Prof Nutt was sacked from his role as the Government’s most senior drugs advisor in 2009 following the publication of a paper in which he argued there was “not much difference” between the harm caused by riding a horse and taking ecstasy. He also claimed that ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol.

His most recent foray into the drugs debate was equally controversial.

Last week he attacked the Government over the laws dealing with magic mushrooms, ecstasy and cannabis, which he claims hinder medical research. Magic mushrooms were banned in 2005.

Prof Nutt said he deems the laws surrounding mushrooms “absurd” and “insane” and says it makes it hard to procure one of their ingredients – psilocybin, which is used to treat depression.

The Home Office countered that there was no evidence that regulations were a barrier to research.

Prof Nutt told the BBC: “We have regulations which are 50 years old, have never been reviewed and they are holding us back, they’re stopping us doing the science and I think it’s a disgrace actually.”

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/financial-meltdown-was-caused-by-too-many-bankers-taking-cocaine-says-former-government-drugs-tsar-prof-david-nutt-8572948.html#

‘Biggest cyber-attack in history’ slows down global internet after quarrel between web-hosting company and anti-spam group

Internet services across the world have been disrupted and widespread congestion risks jamming crucial online infrastructure say experts

Rob Williams

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

A row between an anti-spam group and a web-hosting company has caused a slowdown in the global internet after what experts are calling the biggest cyber-attack in history.

Internet services across the world have been disrupted and widespread congestion risks jamming crucial online infrastructure, the BBC reported today.

Millions of web users have experienced disruption to services like Netflix along with longer than usual delays in loading websites. Experts are now concerned that the congestion could lead to banking and email systems being slowed down.

The dispute began when Spamhaus, a group that campaigns against spam on the internet, added the Dutch company Cyberbunker to its blacklist.

Spamhaus, which is based in London and Geneva, uses a blacklist to filter unwanted messages from emails.

Cyberbunker is a hosting company that states it will host any website with the exception of terrorism related content or child pornography.

A spokesman for Spamhaus told the New York Times that following the blacklisting Spamhaus were hit with an unprecedented Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

A DDoS attack floods its target with an unmanageable amount of traffic thus slowing down access to the website, or rendering it inaccessible.

The cyber-attack in this instance is thought to have hit the Spamhaus servers with up to 300 billion bits per second (300Gbps) of data.

Making it the largest cyber attack in history. Spamhaus’s Domain Name System (DNS) servers were targeted by attackers.

Prof Alan Woodward, a cybersecurity expert at the University of Surrey, told the BBC the effect of the attack is slowing internet services across the world.

“If you imagine it as a motorway, attacks try and put enough traffic on there to clog up the on and off ramps,” he told the BBC.

“With this attack, there’s so much traffic it’s clogging up the motorway itself.”

The CyberBunker website boasts that the company is “located in a secretive nuclear bunker, rebuking authorities regarding the rights of individuals”.

Sven Olaf Kamphuis, who claims to be a spokesman for Cyberbunker, told the BBC that he believed Spamhaus was abusing its power and should not decide “what goes and does not go on the internet”.

Steve Linford, chief executive for Spamhaus, said that the attacks were “targeting every part of the internet infrastructure that they feel can be brought down.”

According to reports five national cyber-police-forces are investigating the attacks.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/biggest-cyberattack-in-history-slows-down-global-internet-after-quarrel-between-webhosting-company-and-antispam-group-8551815.html#

Ex-soldier suspected of the murder of top US Navy sniper at gun range

Man charged with shooting top US Navy sniper at gun range

 

Ex-soldier suspected of the murder of the Navy Seal, author of American Sniper, and another man

Nikhil Kumar

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A man has been charged with the murder of a former sniper and US Navy Seal who was shot dead at point-blank range in Texas.

Chris Kyle, who documented his career overseas in his best-selling autobiographical book American Sniper and became notorious for notching up the highest number of killings by a sniper in US military history, was one of two men shot dead at a gun range in Erath County on Saturday.

Another ex-soldier, identified as 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh, was charged with two counts of murder today. The suspect was said by local media to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). No reason for the shootings has been revealed.

Authorities responded to the shooting at around 5:30pm local time on Saturday. According to the official account, Mr Routh opened fire on Mr Kyle and Mr Littlefield at around 3:30pm before fleeing in a Ford pick-up truck.

He was later apprehended at his home in Lancaster, around 17 miles south-east of Dallas.

Mr Kyle undertook four tours of duty and won two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars for bravery during his career. While on duty between 1999 and 2009, he killed 160 insurgents, prompting Iraqi insurgents to nickname him “the Devil” and reportedly place a $20,000 bounty on his head.

In an interview with the BBC last year, Mr Kyle said he didn’t feel any remorse for his actions.

“It is a weird feeling. Seeing an actual dead body … knowing that you’re the one that caused it now to no longer move,” he admitted.

He added: “Every person I killed I strongly believe that they were bad. When I do go face God there is going to be lots of things I will have to account for but killing any of those people is not one of them.”

After retiring from the Navy, he founded Craft International, which provided training to military and law enforcement clients, and helped found Fitco Cares, a foundation set up to provide help for veterans suffering from PTSD.

Two weeks ago, in an interview with the Guns.com website, Mr Kyle spoke against the push for greater firearms control in the wake of the Newtown school massacre in December.

“When people aren’t afraid because they know everyone – the populace – is unarmed, what’s going to deter them from attacking someone, robbing or committing a crime?” he said.

Mr Kyle is listed as the co-author of American Gun, A History of the US in Ten Firearms, which is due to be released in May.

In it, Mr Kyle recounts his experiences of firing guns from various stages in US history, “making the sweeping argument that the American story has been tied to and shaped by the gun”, according to the Amazon.com description.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/man-charged-with-shooting-top-us-navy-sniper-at-gun-range-8478912.html#

World heritage disaster: rebels torch Timbuktu’s priceless relics

Fleeing insurgents set fire to buildings containing  20,000 ancient documents as French troops approach

LAST UPDATED AT 14:46 ON Mon 28 Jan  2013

ISLAMIST insurgents have dealt a “devastating blow” to the world’s heritage  by torching buildings in Timbuktu containing thousands of priceless documents,  some of them 900 years old.

Claims that as many as 20,000 historic manuscripts have been destroyed  emerged as French-led troops advanced into the ancient desert trading post today  after seizing the airport.

News of the fires has been greeted with dismay. The documents were described  by The Guardian as “a unique record of sub-Saharan Africa’s  medieval history” and the oldest of them dated back to 1204.

“The manuscripts survived for centuries in Timbuktu on the edge of the Sahara  hidden in wooden trunks, boxes beneath the sand and caves,” the paper said. “The  majority are written in Arabic, with some in African languages, and one in  Hebrew, and cover a diverse range of topics including astronomy, poetry, music,  medicine and women’s rights.”

Halle Ousmani Ciffe, the city’s mayor, said: “This is terrible news. The  manuscripts were a part not only of Mali’s heritage but the world’s heritage. By  destroying them they threaten the world.”

Timbuktu was renowned as a holy city of Sufi saints and learning and it is  feared many saints’ shrines, dotted around the city, have been vandalised. The  Washington Post claims that “the militants have  systematically destroyed UNESCO World Heritage sites” since taking the city last  April, and imposed strict Sharia law.

French forces are being “careful” to avoid combat inside the city, reports Reuters, so as not to cause any further unnecessary  damage.

Timbuktu, a byword for any far-flung destination, remained undiscovered by  Europeans until the 1830s, reports the BBC. Even today there is no tarmac road to the city.

“For centuries, [Europeans] tried to reach the place because it was a  mythological place of trade and Islamic scholars,” explained Marie Rodet,  lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

French and Malian troops have encountered little resistance so far in their  efforts to retake Timbuktu after seizing the eastern city of Gao on  Saturday.

But their relatively rapid advance has been been possible because the  Islamists tend to “melt away” into desert hideouts, taking their vehicles and  weapons with them, says Thomas Fessy of the BBC. “Hunting them down in this vast region they [the  insurgents] know better than any army will be much harder.”

The Independent agrees. “French sources are delighted by the  relative smoothness of their operation to help the Malian government to defeat  the rebels. They have warned, however, that the conflict may soon enter a  hit-and-run guerrilla phase.” ·

Read more:  http://www.theweek.co.uk/world-news/51227/world-heritage-disaster-rebels-torch-timbuktus-priceless-relics#ixzz2JIEhtVYZ

11 EU countries okay transactions tax

Jan 22, 2013 20:18 Moscow Time

The finance ministers of 11 European Union countries supported the idea of a financial transactions tax at a meeting in Luxemburg on Tuesday.

The agreement is yet to be finalized, but the key principles have already been formulated – a tax rate of 0.1% on transactions involving equities and bonds, and 0.01% on derivatives, EU Tax Policy Commissioner Algirdas Semeta told reporters after the meeting.

Governments failed to agree to impose the new tax across the entire Union due to opposition from Britain and 15 other member states.

Voice of Russia, TASS, BBC

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_22/11-EU-countries-okay-transactions-tax/

 

White House told to ‘butt out’ of debate over UK’s role in EU

Eurosceptics furious at senior US official’s call  for Britain to stay a ‘strong’ member of Europe
LAST UPDATED AT 11:26 ON Thu 10 Jan  2013

A SENIOR representative of the Obama administration who said Britain needs  to remain a “strong voice” within the EU or risk damaging its relationship with  the US, has been told to “butt out” of the debate.

Speaking in London yesterday, Philip H Gordon (above centre) ,  Obama’s assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, took the unusual  step of expressing publicly the US’s concerns about proposals for a referendum  to decide on the UK’s future in the EU.

He said the US valued a “strong UK voice in a strong European Union” and said  Britain risked damaging relations with America if it “turned inward” by cutting  ties with Brussels.

ITV says the message from the US administration couldn’t be  clearer given that Gordon is Obama’s “point man” on Europe. And the BBC‘s chief political correspondent Norman Smith described  it as a “significant development” in the debate.

Eurosceptics leading the push for a referendum on whether Britain should pull  out of Europe were naturally unimpressed by Gordon’s intervention. Obama should  “butt out” of plans for a referendum, said The Commentator. “Anti-democratic practices from Brussels  are bad enough without Americans encouraging the eurocrats’ worst instincts,”  the website said.

David Cameron, who wants the UK to stay in Europe, but is under mounting  pressure from within his party to hold a referendum on the issue, played down  the comments today. “The US wants an outward-looking EU with Britain in it, and  so do we,” he said in a statement.

The PM is preparing to give a speech on Europe later this month and The Independent says he’s likely to offer to “renegotiate”  the UK’s membership of the EU and then put the new terms to a referendum.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander told the Radio 4 Today programme this morning that Gordon’s comments had  increased the pressure on Cameron to resist calls to quit the EU. He pointed out  that Gordon’s remarks came just a day after the chiefs of some of the UK’s  biggest companies wrote an open letter saying a major change in the country’s  position within the EU would cause “damaging uncertainty” and stifle  investment.

“There is today a real risk of Britain sleepwalking towards exit because of a  prime minister motivated more by the need for party unity than by the interests  of the country,” Alexander said.

But Eurosceptics are undeterred. The Conservative MP Douglas Carswell  dismissed Gordon’s comments today, tweeting: “A US official believes UK should  continue to be ruled by EU officials. Hardly surprising – it’s how officials  think.” ·

Read more:  http://www.theweek.co.uk/uk-news/50921/white-house-told-butt-out-debate-over-uks-role-eu#ixzz2Hbp45nW8

BBC shuts down Thorn Tree travel forum on Lonely Planet website over ‘uncomfortable themes’

BBC strongly denied speculation discussions concerned paedophilia

Wednesday 26 December 2012

The message that currently greets visitors on the Thorn Tree forum web page

The commercial arm of the BBC has shut down its hugely popular forum for backpackers and travellers because “uncomfortable themes” were being discussed.

BBC Worldwide suspended the Thorn Tree forum on its Lonely Planet website on Saturday. It brought the travel guide company for a total of £132.2m in two deals in 2007 and 2011.

The closure has been met with consternation by travellers who would normally use the forum over the busy Christmas period to swap advice on methods of travel, hotels and hostels.

A BBC World wide spokesman strongly denied speculation that the “uncomfortable themes” were paedophilia.

“We’ve found no evidence of discussions concerning paedophilia on the Thorn Tree forum, but we have discovered instances of inappropriate language and themes,” he said.

“Until we are confident that all rogue posts can be identified and appropriate action taken, we feel we have no option but to temporarily close the site as a precautionary measure.”

He added that the forum would be closed for at least a week as all posts were gone through with a “fine tooth comb”.

“The forum will only return when we are 100 per cent confident that the right moderation systems are in place to ensure there’s no repeat of such language/themes. As you can appreciate, there’s a huge amount of content to be checked – so hard to put a timeline on when it will open again.”

According to newspapers in Australia an unnamed source from the Lonely Planet site said the decision to shut the forum was “all about Jimmy Savile”.

”They discovered that if you looked for terms like ‘paedophile’ or ‘child prostitution’, you got Thorn Tree hits,” the source told the Sydney Morning Herald.

”The hits are mostly discussions of current events or pointless stuff that would have been moderated, like ‘Barney the dinosaur is a big purple paedophile’. However, someone found a thread about ‘what’s the age of consent in Mexico?’ That really set them off.

”They went into full, freak-out, panic attack mode.”

The BBC paid £42.1m in February 2011 to acquire a final 25 per cent share of the Lonely Planet travel guide business, founded in 1972. It already owned 75 per cent following a £88.1m deal in 2007.

Thorn Tree is one of the biggest and most popular travel forums in the world, and users went online to express their anger at its sudden closure.

One traveller, Dustin Dolatowski, Tweeted: “You couldn’t have picked a worse time for closing the Thorn Tree forum.”

Another, Bruce Taylor, wrote: “The state of Lonely Planet is depressing. Shutting Thorn Tree is the latest eg of BBC clearly not understanding what they bought.”

The forum was however also well known for attracting trolls.

Jason Clampet, founder of the travel intelligence website Skift said:

“The best user forum in travel has always battled with trolls. This time, its parent company’s own sins are forcing it to take drastic actions where some careful pruning would do.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/bbc-shuts-down-thorn-tree-travel-forum-on-lonely-planet-website-over-uncomfortable-themes-8431501.html

Scotland Yard investigating allegations senior politicians abused children in the 1980s and used ‘connections’ to escape justice

Metropolitan Police’s child abuse investigation team have interviewed several adults who claim that they were sexually assaulted as children by MPs in a paedophile ring

Martin Hickman

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Scotland Yard detectives are looking into allegations that senior politicians abused children in the 1980s and escaped justice because they were protected by their powerful connections.

During past weeks officers from the Metropolitan Police’s child abuse investigation team have interviewed several adults who claim that they were sexually assaulted as children by MPs in a paedophile ring.

The team was set up following claims by Labour MP Tom Watson in the House Commons that the police should look afresh at claims of a “powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No 10”.

Until today when the Metropolitan Police confirmed its existence, the inquiry, Operation Fairbank, had been operating in secret at the headquarters of the Child Abuse Investigation Team at Empress State Building in Earl’s Court, London.

Officers with the team, part of the Specialist Crimes and Operations Directorate, have spoken regularly to Mr Watson.

The Metropolitan Police stressed that Operation Fairbank was a “scoping exercise” aimed at a preliminary assessment of the evidence rather than a formal inquiry.

However, officers are understood to be taking the witnesses’s claims very seriously and are expected to make arrests in coming weeks.

Raising the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions on 24 October, Mr Watson – who alleged widespread phone hacking at the News of the World before police began a new inquiry – urged police to re-open the evidence file on Peter Righton.

Righton, a former consultant to the National Children’s Bureau, was convicted of importing and possessing illegal homosexual pornographic material in 1992.

Saying that the file contained “clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring”, the MP said: “One of its members boasts of a link to a senior aide of a former Prime Minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad.

“The leads were not followed up, but if the files still exist, I want to ensure that the Metropolitan Police secure the evidence, re-examine it, and investigate clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No 10.”

Five officers are working on the inquiry.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “Officers have spoken with MP Tom Watson who has passed on some information which is now being looked into.

“As a result, officers are continuing to collate information. This is being assessed by officers under Operation Fairbank.
“We would continue to appeal to anyone who has concerns to report them to us. Any information is treated with the utmost seriousness and can be given in confidence.”
Updating the public on the investigation into alleged sexual offences in showbusiness, Scotland Yard said that the number of alleged sex abuse victims of the late BBC TV presenter Jimmy Savile had reached 450.

Commander Peter Spindler, head of Operation Yewtree, suggested Savile – who escaped detection and died aged 84 last October – had been a serial abuser of children.

Commander Spindler said: “Savile’s offending peaked in the 70s and what we can show, or will be showing in the New Year, is how he used his position in society across the country – the crimes relate to 17 different police force areas – how he exploited this position to get his sexual gratification.”

In total, 589 alleged victims have come forward to allege abuse by Savile and others.

Over the past two months, detectives have arrested several high-profile names, including the comedian Freddie Starr, the former BBC disc jockey Dave Lee Travis, the former BBC producer Wilfred De’Ath and the publicist Max Clifford. They all deny any wrongdoing. Gary Glitter, who was also arrested, has not yet issued a statement.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/scotland-yard-investigating-allegations-senior-politicians-abused-children-in-the-1980s-and-used-connections-to-escape-justice-8411989.html#

 

 

Data on 9 million Greeks stolen

Nov 21, 2012 07:08 Moscow Time

Греция полиция Греция полицейский

Photo: EPA

Greek police have arrested a 35-year-old programmer suspected of stealing the personal data of nine million people or two-thirds of the population of the country.

According to investigators he tried to sell the stolen information which included residential addresses, personal tax numbers and the registration numbers of vehicles.

The police are still trying to figure out how he managed to steal the data.

The programmer was arrested but so far no charges have been filed against him.

Voice of Russia, BBC

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_21/Data-on-9-million-Greeks-stolen/

Jimmy Savile scandal affects New York Times new boss:

Nov 17, 2012 22:05 Moscow Time

BBC director general George Entwistle making a statement to the media after giving evidence to Commons Culture Committee on BBC response to Jimmy Savile affair in London

BBC director general George Entwistle making a statement to the media after giving evidence to Commons Culture Committee on BBC response to Jimmy Savile affair in London
Photo: AFP

The New York Times has raised questions about what its newly minted chief executive officer knew about a pedophilia scandal at the BBC and when he knew it.

Thompson quit his post of BBC director-general in September and assumed his new perch at The Times on Monday.

However, Thompson faced allegations that he tried to prevent an expose by one of the network’s investigative programs into claims that children’s TV host Jimmy Savile routinely coerced teenage girls into having sex. Savile, who died in 2011, was one of the BBC’s biggest stars.

Thompson has maintained that he learned of the claims against Savile after leaving the BBC, but a legal letter indicates that he was aware of the accusations before he stepped down from his post. The Times Reporter Matthew Purdy writes that lawyers representing Thompson threatened to sue The Sunday Times over an article it was writing that claimed he had squelched his network’s investigative report on Savile’s sexual behavior. The letter was sent 10 days before Thompson resigned from the BBC.

“There were other moments during Mr. Thompson’s final months at the BBC – involving brief conversations and articles appearing in London news media – when he might have picked up on the gravity of the Savile case,” Purdy writes. “But the letter is different because it shows Mr. Thompson was involved in an aggressive action to challenge an article about the case that was likely to reflect poorly on the BBC and on him.”

After the story broke, speculation mounted that Thompson’s position at The Times might be in jeopardy.

Chicago Tribune

BBC reaches libel deal with Lord McAlpine

The BBC has reached a settlement with a former senior Conservative politician wrongly implicated in a child sex abuse case. Lord McAlpine will receive about $300,000 in damages and the terms of the agreement will be announced in court in a few days, his lawyers said.

The BBC has already apologized for linking McAlpine, a member of the House of Lords, to a child sex abuse that happened decades ago in Wales.

The mistaken report, broadcast nearly two weeks ago, has caused turmoil within BBC management ranks and led to the resignation of George Entwistle, its director general.

The head of the BBC’s Board of Trustees, Chris Patten, said that a major overhaul of the company leadership was imperative for the BBC to continue working efficiently.

Lord McAlpine: sex abuse allegations “complete rubbish”

Lord Alistair McAlpine, a former British politician who was wrongly implicated in child sexual abuse by the BBC “Newsnight” program was quoted on Thursday saying that the allegation was “complete rubbish”.

The former treasurer of the Conservative Party was not identified by name in the Nov2 edition of the program, but it triggered accusations on the Internet relating to a decades-old abuse case at a children’s home near Wrexham in North Wales.

The BBC has acknowledged that Lord McAlpine was not contacted by “Newsnight” to comment on the allegation. His accuser, Steve Messham, a former resident of the children’s home, has withdrawn his accusation and apologized.

“Of course they should have called me and I would have told them exactly what they learnt later on,” Lord McAlpine said in excerpts from the interview posted on the BBC Web site. “That it was complete rubbish and that I’d only ever been to Wrexham once in my life. They could have saved themselves a lot of agonizing and money, actually, if they’d just made that telephone call.”

Lord McAlpine is now seeking a financial settlement with the BBC and redress from anyone who impugned his reputation either in the media or on the Internet.

The scandal forced the resignation of BBC’s director general, George Entwistle.

Voice of Russia, New York Times

BBC going through crisis of purpose and identity – McShane

Denis MacShane, former British Labour Minnister, shared his opinion with the Voice of Russia on the reasons for the BBC decay and talks about how the image of the company may recover.

British public institutions – whether it’s parliament, it’s government, it’s police, it’s media – seem to be going through a very big crisis of purpose and identity and the bad, bad mistakes that some journalists made by making allegations about now long retired politician that he was a pedophile is a symptom, I think, of this malaise. But the BBC as a whole is a very important, trusted world broadcaster and I’m sure it’ll come through this crisis.

But I’m sure that in the aftermath the public image of the company will be hurt pretty much by the scandal. How soon do you think they will recover?

BBC will recover very quickly if it returns to what is basic in its purposes, which is to provide very accurate and honest information. There is no other broadcaster in the world that is so unbiased or on the whole takes more care over the information it broadcast, whether it on World TV News or BBC World Service or domestic news. This was a very, very single big era by one editor and he will pay a price. And indeed it’s to the honour of the BBC that its director general, who knew nothing about the program, that he accepts responsibility. How many times do TV programs in Russia, or France, or America, or Al Jazeera, or any of them put out wrong information and then the actual boss of the whole organization resigns? That I think is to a tribute to the way that BBC is taking this seriously and will deal with it honourably rather than playing people further down the chain of editorial hierarchy.

Settlement between BBC and McAlpine probable

A settlement between Alistair McAlpine, a high-ranking Conservative politician of Margaret Thatcher’s times, wrongly implicating to child sex abuse occurred in Wales decades ago, and the BBC is probable, McAlpine’s lawyer Andrew Reid said.

The BBC has already apologized to McAlpine for the accusations claimed in a report broadcast during the BBC Newsnight program November 2. The mistaken report led to the resignation of the BBC director general.

McAlpine told BBC Radio 4 on Thursday that BBC never contacted him to try to verify the report, otherwise “they could have saved themselves a lot of agonizing, and money.”

UK regulator probes BBC, ITV on abuse programmes

Britain’s media regulator said on Thursday it had started investigations into the airing of child abuse allegations by the BBC and ITV.

The BBC and ITV have both started their own disciplinary proceedings after false allegations were aired earlier this month against a leading Conservative Party figure from the 1980s who has threatened to sue for damages.

“The first (investigation) relates to a Newsnight report broadcast on 2 November into child sex abuse allegations,” Ofcom said in a statement.

“The second relates to the disclosure of a list of individuals alleged to be linked to child sex abuse on ITV’s This Morning, broadcast on 8 November,” it added in a statement.

Voice of Russia, RT, Reuters

‘BBC going through crisis of purpose and identity’

Sergey Duz

Director General of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) George Entwistle has resigned after just 54 days in office amid a scandal over unverified child abuse allegations that proved to be wrong. Mr Entwistle, who took office the middle of September, became the shortest-serving BBC chief.

Earlier, the BBC Newsnight program alleged that an unnamed high-ranking Conservative politician of Margaret Thatcher’s times was implicated in child sex abuse. The man was soon identified on the Internet as Lord Alistair McAlpine. The latter angrily rejected the allegations and threatened with a defamation lawsuit. The next day, Entwistle publicly acknowledged that the report had not been checked and offered apologies on the part of the BBC.

The scandal came on the heels of sensational revelations that a popular BBC host, Jimmy Savile, who died last autumn at the age of 84, had abused underage teens for years. Newsnight prepared a special edition on Savile’s child abuse, but it never went on the air. So it did seem to many that on the one hand the BBC was covering up real criminals, while on the other it was wrongfully defaming decent people.

Unfortunately, Entwistle fell hostage to the situation that had shaped long before he took over as BBC director general. A former BBC employee, Konstantin Eggert, told the Voice of Russia that a reform of the BBC is long overdue. He believes that the trouble with the BBC is that it is poorly adapted to the realities of the modern media market.

“On the one hand, BBC should be absolutely unbiased and thoroughly check all its sources. Even when it conducts journalist probes it should stick to serious regulations stipulated by its basics, including the Royal Charter.

On the other hand, BBC faces competition with other media which is quite tough. Adherence to strict rules on sensations will limit the Corporation’s competitiveness.

Thus, BBC somehow wanted to use the child abuse scandal which is underway in the UK.

Its flagship Newsnight, similar to Russian current affairs programs, wanted to conduct its own investigation but, in my opinion, it hastened.

Thus, Mr Entwistle’s quit is quite an adequate reaction to the situation.”

The British public reacts very sensitively to any scandal surrounding the BBC because the company is being financed through a so-called annual license fee paid by every Brit who owns a TV set. In other words, almost every British family is a kind of BBC sponsor. The level of the fee is set by the government, but its real cost is being pushed down by inflation. Two years ago, Prime Minister David Cameron decided to freeze the license fee, motivating his decision by economic crisis. Combined with other spending cuts, it may slash BBC financing by nearly 25% over four years. In short, the desperately needed reforms are being hampered by a mere lack of funds.

One cannot but feel pity for George Entwistle. He behaved like a gentleman, driven by his own sense of responsibility the way he saw it. But emotions left aside, the British government should share the blame. Because of Premier Cameron’s stinginess, Britain risks losing its number one broadcaster with an 85-year-old history, which has become a national symbol and a stronghold of independent and competent journalism.

BBC going through crisis of purpose and identity – McShane

Denis MacShane, former British Labour Minnister, shared his opinion with the Voice of Russia on the reasons for the BBC decay and talks about how the image of the company may recover.

British public institutions – whether it’s parliament, it’s government, it’s police, it’s media – seem to be going through a very big crisis of purpose and identity and the bad, bad mistakes that some journalists made by making allegations about now long retired politician that he was a pedophile is a symptom, I think, of this malaise. But the BBC as a whole is a very important, trusted world broadcaster and I’m sure it’ll come through this crisis.

But I’m sure that in the aftermath the public image of the company will be hurt pretty much by the scandal. How soon do you think they will recover?

BBC will recover very quickly if it returns to what is basic in its purposes, which is to provide very accurate and honest information. There is no other broadcaster in the world that is so unbiased or on the whole takes more care over the information it broadcast, whether it on World TV News or BBC World Service or domestic news. This was a very, very single big era by one editor and he will pay a price. And indeed it’s to the honour of the BBC that its director general, who knew nothing about the program, that he accepts responsibility. How many times do TV programs in Russia, or France, or America, or Al Jazeera, or any of them put out wrong information and then the actual boss of the whole organization resigns? That I think is to a tribute to the way that BBC is taking this seriously and will deal with it honourably rather than playing people further down the chain of editorial hierarchy.

Journalism standards slipping – expert

Yekaterina Kudashkina

Charlie Beckett, a media expert with the London School of Economics, speaks on the recent scandal that has shaken Britain’s traditional broadcaster BBC and changes we might see in journalism

This latest crisis is certainly not the first time. Like any good journalistic organization the BBC has in the past had clashes with Government, it had clashes with companies or individuals because that’s the nature of good journalism. But in this case it was actually the journalism itself that was at fault. And it wasn’t just that there was particular mad mistake made, I mean that was bad enough, but there was a sense that the management system of editorial decision making at the BBC wasn’t working properly – that they didn’t take up on the risks involved, they didn’t oversee standards properly and then when things went wrong they didn’t respond properly to that either. So, you can see that in that sense Chris Patten is right that it is worth looking at the way the BBC runs internally as well as just trying to find out which journalist made a mistake.

As the member of the trade I can see that journalism standards are generally becoming lower everywhere across the globe, in the eastern and the western parts of the world. But the reforms are always a painful process. If we are talking about the decision making within the BBC – this system has operated during the best times of the corporation. Perhaps it would need something less than just playing reforming.

Well, I think that actually there is a lot of terrific journalism out there in the world. You only have to read great magazines like the Economist. And there is a lot of choice out there and now we’ve got Al Jazeera, people like the Voice of Russia as well as the big traditional companies like the BBC. But the BBC, like all of the journalists today, is facing an upheaval because of new media, because of political pressure, because of economic pressure. It is facing cutbacks in its budget and is having to doubt this whole new media environment. So, it is not surprising that in this time of change sometimes standards are going to slip. And there is a fear that overall standards will slip if people have their budgets reduced too much or if there is too much pressure on people to make a profit. So, I think one of the key tasks for the BBC is to make sure that journalistic standards right across the board, not just for investigative journalism, are maintained.

To think of the short term – we are going to see quite a few faces being changed, we are going to see new people coming in. And I think that would be one of the best things if the BBC was able to bring in people from outside because a lot of people understand that the BBC worked all their lives, they love the place and they aren’t doing it just for the money – they do it because they believe in what they are doing, they believe in that kind of objective journalism. But there is a danger that you do get at closed system. So, I think it would be great if the BBC could try and bring in more people to all levels, but especially in the leadership who have got a more critical perspective and fresh ideas.

Feeling of incompetence growing inside BBC

Yekaterina Kudashkina

Former BBC journalist Stephen Dalziel talks on the internal crisis widening inside BBC

It is certainly not the first scandal that the BBC has faced. But I would suggest it is actually the most serious that it’s faced. When you effectively accuse a former Government minister of something as serious as child abuse – wouldn’t it be crazy? Not always certainly because we are alking about sex abuse of children here and that’s what the accusation was. And that is a very very serious accusation because that can destroy someone’s reputation. And even if it is not true people think that there is no smoke without fire. So, this is a very serious offence the BBC has committed. So, the fact that it is so serious means that they do have to do something now.

But it is, as you say, not the first time there’s been a problem. And I think it shows a growing feeling inside the BBC of carelessness, of incompetence. I worked on the BBC for 16 years, from 1988 to 2004, and even then there used to be a half-joke, because there was always some truth in it, that bosses were always promoted two levels above their level of competency. Unfortunately, you do get a lot of incompetent bosses on the BBC because there is a relative low pay ceiling if you are a journalist or a producer. And you may be very good at that, you may be a very good journalist, you may be a very good producer but maybe you want to go on to make more money. And the only way you could earn more money on the BBC if you weren’t one of the top star presenters, the only way you could earn more money would be going to management.

Now, you may be a very good journalist but that certainly doesn’t qualify you as a good manager and you probably weren’t properly trained as a manager either. And so, I can remember a number of my bosses at the BBC whom I’ve known as journalists who then switched to being managers. And they were awful. And now I’ve worked in the private sector in business as well as on the BBC and I can make comparisons. And what tends to happen to the private sector – you used to get some bad managers but they tend to get sacked. On the BBC they genuinely do tend to get moved up. It is rather like, I’ll give a comparison, like Boris Yeltsin’s Government in Russia in the 1990’es. They often removed people from certain posts and very few of them were then just kicked out completely. They were shuffled around, they were put somewhere else. And I think this comparison is quite well actually with the way things work at the BBC.

And we often hear when there are these scandals, either in the media or in many public institutions, of organizational reform, structural reform, some sort of systematic reform. Is it something that is really about personalities or is it something in the process and the procedures of how managers are assessed, how they are chosen? Or is it very much a culture in the institution?

I think it is a bit of a mixture of all those. And I think that the BBC really does need to look to the way it finds and appoints its managers. I think taking many of them from their own ranks, who have been journalists or producers, studio managers perhaps, I think this kind of underlines and I’ve certainly realized that for a long term it doesn’t necessarily work. You want who’ve got managerial experience and if you are going to pay them large sums of money, then you need to pay them for managerial skills which don’t come cheap and that’s fair enough.

I think there is another very important element that should be considered here and that is that the BBC, I would put it as strongly as saying – suffering from developments in modern media which have led it to drop to some of its previously cast iron standards. When I joined the BBC, I was in the World Service, and I think the World Service was always very strict on standards. I joined back in 1988. And for example as a rule – if you were writing something for the radio, and particularly because we were then were talking much about radio and I went to do a lot of television afterwards, but if you were writing a script to the person who’s just given an interview, then you would always get what we called “the second pair of eyes”. You get someone else to look at it because even if you write well and you know your subject, sometimes you write things that make a certain assumption that the general listener or viewer might not know, so you get someone else to look at it so that they can say – what do you mean by that. And little things like that but important things to make sure that what went out was only truthful and accurate but clear.

And I think things like that have been lost. And one of the biggest problems, as you said that they are the victims of modern media, is because you now get so much pressure and the speed of media has increased incredibly because you’ve got 24 hour news and you’ve got breaking news. And when I was there we had an email coming around one day from the head of News Gathering, News Gathering was the organization which, and the name suggests it, gathered news for all parts of the BBC. And then the News Gathering wrote saying how wonderful it was that the BBC TV had got on the air with the story 30 seconds ahead of Sky TV. The only person who is going to know that is some TV executive sitting in an office with the bank of televisions in front of him. I actually had this conversation with a lot of people at the time and they said – hang on, it is not about speed, it is about accuracy and it is far more important. I don’t care whether the Sky gets there an hour before the BBC does as long as the BBC gets it right.

And that sort of mentality has come in and as I say it is not entirely the BBC’s fault but I think that they ought to take a step back and say that actually it should be about standards here. And it is used to be the case also when I worked for the BBC. My title was Russian Affairs Analyst and we had a department within News Gathering in World Service which employed specialists on certain parts of the world. So, I covered Russia, we had an American specialist, we had a Chinese specialist and African specialist, Indian specialist, defense correspondent, diplomatic correspondent. And so we were there and the correspondent on the ground might say this has happened. And then we come to ask for an analysis of why it happened – and because we were specialists, that’s what we were doing all the time, we knew this subject.

My pose was closed in 2004 that’s why I left the BBC. And I said – look I do Russia and I’ll carry on doing Russian and that’s why I went in the business involved with Russia. But it is that coming down of broadcasting, far more important it seems now just to get the story out and actually if you make a few mistakes, if you don’t get the in-depth analysis or it doesn’t really matter as long as we got that first – and that I think is terrible. And I hope, I can’t say I’ll hold my breath on this, but I hope as a result of all this the BBC might actually go back and look at standards across the corporation and say – what are we doing and how are we doing it.

To do that the BBC must be confronting two major trends. One trend is, like you said, something that it should reconsider approaches. But those approaches are general. On the other hand there is another trend which implies that managers should be managers regardless of the trade they are operating in, I mean professional standards of trade are not really considered to be the dominant consideration when they are appointing top managers to a company. Well, you know what I’m talking about, definitely. So, do you think that the BBC might be fit to counter those two major trends?

I just wish that it would have the courage to do it. I hear exactly what you are saying and I agree, I mean that the phrase “coming down” I think can be applied across media and across all media organizations. And I think it is a great shame, I mean I very rarely read a newspaper in Britain now because whereas a few years ago I knew I’d get good journalism and while written it’ll be accurate and now it is so much sensationism, the cult to the celebrities and so on. All I can but regret that.

But I think in terms of the BBC News, the BBC should have the courage, and it is a question of courage to take exactly what you said and say – hang on, we are the BBC, we are the benchmark, we are the oldest broadcasting organization in the world, we are the most respected broadcasting organization in the world, we are the best known broadcasting organization in the world and we have a duty to ourselves and our listeners and viewers therefore to maintain the higher standards. And if that means that we are slightly slower with the news but we get it right, but we provide people with analysis that we put actually into a good context, then so be it. That should be the priority.

And I just wish that if the new bosses coming in or indeed the present ones should take a long hard look at themselves and say – this is what we should be about, we shouldn’t just be about competing with that 30 seconds we-were-there-first but we should be about getting it right and making sure that people trust us and turn to us for news when something happens.

True! And the BBC is not really bound by considerations of profit making, is it?

No, it is not. And quite right that it shouldn’t be.

Which definitely gives a lot of competitive advantage.

And certainly the program in question – the News Night – this is sort of one of the forefront, if you like, sometimes of the regular investigative programs. So, certainly you need people that are going to make those daring decisions and being able to broadcast those things. And it is in a way quite ironic…

But it is about facts checking.

Yes, but in one sense they were being castigated for not broadcasting something about Jimmy Savile and they were castigated for broadcasting something inaccurate about the MP in North Wales. So, it seems to be that you need a very strong sort of system to be able to make those judgment clauses accurately and people with the courage to backup their judgment and to be able to do that.

You do. And I think it shows that there are the two opposites they’ve had with news and it just shows what a mess the situation has got into. What I’m afraid is going to happen, I mean at the same time I hope they’d have the courage to do, but what I’m afraid is going to happen is that they will take a far too heavy handed approach. And so you would see as a result actually weak and boring and uninteresting journalism because people will be too afraid to try and be bold and actually ask challenging questions, they’ll feel that the boss above them will say – oh no, we can’t touch that, that is too risky.

What they need to do is, in the case of the North Wales child abuse program all they had to do was actually go to the person who effectively was being accused of this before they broadcasted. You take your sources, that is who is saying this, and then one of the simple things to do is just show the man who had been or claims to being abused by someone show him the photos and say – is this a man who did it – because as soon as he saw a photo he said – no, it wasn’t him. And that is very simple to check your sources, I mean that should be the foundation of any news organization for their broadcasting, unless it is some sort of completely rubbish newspaper.

But if just purely theoretically, could it be that in this particular case a journalist took every precaution but then the witness was intimidated somehow?

It is not beyond the possibility but I think that the fact that the witness came out very quickly and having seen the photograph said – oh, no – and apologized. And he apologized apparently quite freely, I mean we don’t know of other things. But in any case the fact that they didn’t then check with Lord McAlpine and said – excise me, this is an implication, it is going to go out in a program and have you anything to say – that would have saved a lot of embracement and some people’s jobs.

As I said earlier, this is such a damning condemnation and such an awful accusation to make that with things like that you have to make sure that you are absolutely right. It is not just getting a figure wrong, you know. Was it ten billion or was it twenty billion for some business story? This is a person’s reputation being put on the line. And I would be not at all surprised if he does go ahead and sue the BBC and sue the journalist himself because of this “no smoke without fire” some people will still be thinking – but why was he mentioned in the first place – which is a terrible thing to happen. So, that is a question of basic journalistic standards which it wouldn’t have been difficult to check.

Absolutely! But this is just the implication of the general trend when information has been devalued.

It is. But I think there is also another problem, I mean actually the journalists who made the story were working on contract for the BBC. They weren’t actually the BBC journalists, it was an independent production company. But they seem to being imbued with another thing which I would call it a problem, some people might say it is an issue, but I would say it is a problem at the BBC, and particularly at the BBC television for many years – and that is that there is a long being assessment arrogance about the BBC television.

I used to describe it when I worked for the BBC as saying – if you walk into Bush House which was then, sadly no longer, but then the home of the World Service – you would find that the atmosphere was very friendly and if you look lost someone will come up to you and say – excuse me, hello! Can I help you? Whereas when you walk into the Television Center, and it is still the case, you walk in TV Center and you see people that look away from looking at you and it is kind of – who the hell are you? And there is a certain arrogance to certain BBC journalists, and particularly in television or in Domestic Radio.

By the way, this is really a very bad trap which people tend to undervalue too. This is something which I think results in this type of blunders which are absolutely stupid.

I fully agree! This is the trouble. Once you start thinking that you know better than anyone else – that’s when you become careless, you don’t check your sources. While this whole affair has saddened me greatly because having worked for the BBC, I mean I had a fantastic time for 16 years, I worked with some wonderful and very creative and intelligent people and the organization is still close to my heart in many way. So, I’ve got no pleasure in any way at all as of it, it saddened me greatly that this has happened. Whilst I could have pinpointed it to being this particular story, in some way it doesn’t surprise me – and that’s the unfortunate thing. It doesn’t surprise because of, as I say, a combination of the pressure of 24 hour news, the arrogance of certain BBC journalists and also incompetent bosses throughout the organization, I’m afraid.

Well, I hope this brings you at least some relief to know that this is a universal situation.

Not really, to be honest. I just wish that people would have the courage anywhere, be it Russia or Britain or anywhere, to actually say – don’t forget the quality, don’t forget standards. I mean I hate the cult of celerity, I very rarely watch television these days. It normally has to involve 22 Manchester footballers around the field for me to watch the television. Television potentially is the most wonderful medium for educating people, for bringing something new into people’s lives and far too often it is used to the lowest common denominator.

BBC Chief resigned after false sex abuse claim

This weekend saw the resignation of the BBC’s Director General – the only recently appointed George Entwistle. Mr. Entwistle resigned following a broadcast which falsely accused a Conservative peer of child abuse. It’s all part of the internal fall-out within the BBC concerning the journalistic standards applied to the complex allegations surrounding the TV presenter Jimmy Saville. The whole affair has raised important issues about standards in journalism and the effect of rumours spreading on social media.

As head of the BBC George Entwistle was also its editor-in-chief and it was under his ages that an award-winning news program called Newsnight broadcast allegations linking a senior political man to a pedophile ring in North Wales. Unfortunately, the Newsnight journalist made a serious mistake. They didn’t corroborate the evidence which lead to Lord McAlpine, a former treasurer of the Conservative Party, being labeled as “a pedophile”. Advanced publicity for the Newsnight report led to a flurrying speculation on the Internet and social media, which led many people to believe that Lord McAlpine was guilty of child abuse. This is now known to be completely untrue. Apart from the internal damage this has done to BBC’s reputation, the case is also calling into question the legal issues surrounding social media. Well-known journalists at the Guardian and ITN and personalities, including the wife of the House of Commons Speaker repeated the slander on Twitter. Charlie Beckett has 20 years’ experience of international journalism at BBC and ITN’s channel for news and is director of the Department of Media Communications at the London School of Economics.

On this story the fault was nothing to do with social media. The fault was made by traditional journalist. And, of course, all journalists, including me have made mistakes in the past. The trouble is that this one was particularly colossal thing to get wrong. Journalism is all about getting your facts and then communicating it to somebody else.

David Banks is a journalist and media law expert.

Most of news organizations wouldn’t find themselves in a situation like this. If you are carrying serious allegations against someone, you have to prove it, you confront them with allegations to make and you see what they’ve got to say. Why it didn’t happen in this situation – I don’t know. The target of these allegations wasn’t followed through.

Charlie Beckett explains why the story is so complex.

You really do need to make sure that you’ve got your facts, not just to your satisfaction, but so that you can prove other people that what you’re saying is true. You have to be quite tough on your own story. And then, of course, you have to be honest enough to go to the person you’re accusing of something and say to them, “Look, is this true or now?” And you have to let them make their case, because you may be wrong. This story got even more complicated, because it was linker to social media.

The editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has also left his job, because he commented on Twitter before the broadcast that Newsnight is going to link a senior political figure with pedophilia. Patrick Smith is editor and analyst at The Media Briefing.

They should have been sure of their facts, check them and name the person or they should have found out what the actual story was. It seems to be that they’ve done a little bit of neither. They’ve actually ended up implicating an innocent man without any evidence at all. The trouble is that they tried to hype by saying, “We’re going to name someone later,” which instinctively got everyone thinking about who it is. And it didn’t take people very long to find out who it might be, Philip Schofield made a list of people he got from the Internet within three minutes. I’m not even sure that social media is to blame here. I think it’s old-fashioned journalistic values. You should be sure of your facts before you publish and Twitter is publishing! With traditional news gathering, there’s a chain of command. That turns completely on its head, when a journalist can say something directly to the audience in the matter of seconds. And it takes just a couple of thumb-clicks to potentially label somebody. That’s something really new. If I was in charge at the BBC or other big news organization, I’d be having a chat right around now to moralize everybody about those risks.

Media law expert David Banks says it’s very difficult to legally control what takes place on social media.

It’s one of the main challenges. Earlier the process publishing was in hands of very relatively narrow group of media organizations, publishers, broadcasters. And the fact now is that it has democratized. Now publication is in hands of millions of people. It changes the way in which disinformation laws are being looked at. Parliament should look at it and amend it. That’s going to be very difficult, and there’ll be a lot of hostility infusing legal controls on what people can talk about in social media.

It’s understood, Lord McAlpine is considering seeking damages from the BBC and suing people who named him on Twitter.

Is a 450,000 pound payout too much?

British MPs consider unreasonable the 450,000 pound payout to BBC Director General George Entwistle who stepped down last Saturday due to a scandal about the Newsnight programme in which well-known politician Lord Alistair McAlpine was wrongly accused of pedophilia.

John Whittingdale, the head of the Conservative faction in Parliament, asked the BBC Board of Trustees to explain why they found this size of payout reasonable. This request was supported by Harriet Harman, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

BBC director of news and deputy step aside

The two most senior figures at BBC News stepped aside on Monday a day after the chairman of the broadcaster’s governing body said it needed a radical overhaul to survive a child sex abuse scandal, it said.

Helen Boaden, the director of BBC News, and her deputy Steve Mitchell, stepped aside two days after the director general quit to take the blame for the airing of false child sex abuse allegations against a former politician.

The BBC’s press office said it could not yet confirm the news but the BBC said on its news website that there would be an announcement later in the day.

The development is the latest blow to the corporation, which has been thrown into turmoil by revelations about a historic child sex abuse scandal and the broadcaster’s problems with reporting the issue.

George Entwistle resigned as general director on Saturday, just two months into the job, to take responsibility for a report aired by the flagship Newsnight programme which wrongly accused a former politician of also being involved in child abuse.

Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, said on Sunday that he would work quickly to find a replacement for Entwistle while leading a radical overhaul of the corporation.

BBC Chief Entwistle’s paycheck rises doubts among UK media officials

The BBC Trust on Sunday approved a £450,000 pay-off for Mr Entwistle, equal to a full year’s salary, saying it reflected the fact that he would “continue to help on BBC business”, including two inquiries into the Savile affair.

John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport committee, said he wanted an explanation of the payment. “A lot of people will be very surprised that somebody who was in the job for such a short period of time and then had to leave in these circumstances should be walking away with £450,000 of licence fee payers’ money,” he told the Press Association.

Lord Patten, the former chairman of the Conservative party, said he would not respond to calls for his resignation that had appeared in some Sunday newspapers.

“I think my job is to make sure that we now learn the lessons from the crisis,” he said. “If I don’t do that and don’t restore huge confidence and trust in the BBC then I’m sure people will tell me to take my cards and clear off,” he said. “But I will not take my marching orders from Mr Murdoch’s newspapers.”

‘BBC must reform or face uncertain future’ (VIDEO)

Britain’s BBC must undergo a radical overhaul in the wake of “shoddy” journalism which led to the resignation of its chief or its future will be in doubt, the head of the state-funded broadcaster’s governing body said on Sunday.

Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, said opponents of the BBC, especially Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, would take advantage of the turmoil to up the pressure on its long-term rival.

“If you’re saying, does the BBC need a thorough structural radical overhaul, then absolutely it does and that is what we will have to do,” Patten, a one-time senior figure in Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party and the last British governor of Hong Kong, told BBC TV.

BBC Director General George Entwistle resigned late on Saturday just two months into the job, after the corporation’s flagship news programme aired mistaken allegations of child sex abuse against a former leading politician.

Already under pressure after revelations that a long-time star presenter had been a paedophile, Entwistle quit saying the unacceptable standards of the Newsnight report had damaged the public’s confidence in the 90-year-old BBC.

“As the director general of the BBC, I am ultimately responsible for all content as the editor-in-chief, and I have therefore decided that the honourable thing for me to do is to step down,” he said.

Patten joined critics who said a complex hierarchical management structure at the BBC was partly to blame. One of the BBC’s most prominent journalists Jeremy Paxman, a Newsnight presenter, said in recent years, management had become bloated while cash was cut from programme budgets.

“He (Entwistle) has been brought low by cowards and incompetents,” Paxman said in a statement.

Patten, in charge of finding a successor to sort out the turmoil at an institution affectionately known as “Auntie”, said changes needed to be made after describing the Newsnight journalism as “shoddy”.

BBC director of news and deputy step aside

The two most senior figures at BBC News stepped aside on Monday a day after the chairman of the broadcaster’s governing body said it needed a radical overhaul to survive a child sex abuse scandal, it said.

Helen Boaden, the director of BBC News, and her deputy Steve Mitchell, stepped aside two days after the director general quit to take the blame for the airing of false child sex abuse allegations against a former politician.

The BBC’s press office said it could not yet confirm the news but the BBC said on its news website that there would be an announcement later in the day.

The development is the latest blow to the corporation, which has been thrown into turmoil by revelations about a historic child sex abuse scandal and the broadcaster’s problems with reporting the issue.

George Entwistle resigned as general director on Saturday, just two months into the job, to take responsibility for a report aired by the flagship Newsnight programme which wrongly accused a former politician of also being involved in child abuse.

Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, said on Sunday that he would work quickly to find a replacement for Entwistle while leading a radical overhaul of the corporation.

BBC Director-General resigns over misguided Newsnight broadcast

In a statement Mr Entwistle said: “I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down.” Earlier, Mr Entwistle said the BBC Television program Newsnight, which wrongly implicated a former conservative politician, Lord McAlpine, in a child sex abuse scandal, should never have been broadcast.

The program covered cases of child abuse at North Wales child care homes. Mr Entwistle took up the post of director general on 17 September.

In his statement, Mr Entwistle, who was appointed to the post less than two months ago, said: “In the light of the fact that the director general is also the editor in chief and ultimately responsible for all content, and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the Newsnight film broadcast on Friday 2 November, I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of director general.”

The offending Newsnight program came on the heels of the Jimmy Savile crisis, which was erupted after Newsnight had shelved an earlier investigation into allegations of child abuse.

In October at a parliamentary hearing Mr Entwistle was accused by MPs of showing “an extraordinary lack of curiosity” over the Jimmy Savile affair and was told to “get a grip”.

The BBC still faces very serious questions, not just about its journalism but about how the organisation is run.

BBC leader resigns in wake of scandal

BBC Director General George Entwistle has stepped down over a scandal connected with Lord Alistair McAlpine, falsely suspected by the company of being involved in pedophilia in the 1980s.

This was reported by the BBC on Sunday night. “I have decided the honorable thing is to step down from the post,” – said the journalist.

Entwistle was appointed Director General of the BBC on September 17, 2012, only to resign 54 days later in the wake of the biggest scandal in the history of the information group.

The scandal, which began with allegations against a single former BBC employee, has since engulfed hospitals, children’s homes, even the police.

It also poses questions for Mark Thompson, Entwistle’s immediate predecessor, who on Monday becomes chief executive of The New York Times.

For an entire week, one of the BBC’s key news shows suggested a leading Conservative party politician, who wasn’t named, had been involved in the rape of a young boy in Wales decades ago. The man accused denied it; the victim himself now says it was a case of mistaken identity.

Many networks ran interviews with the victim – one even asked whether a pedophile network had been protected by a masonic conspiracy. Did a judge who led an early inquiry into the abuse at a North Wales children’s home deliberately hide the names of famous or influential abusers?

In front of one million television viewers, a morning TV host handed a list of alleged pedophiles to the British Prime Minister David Cameron live on air. That list, allegedly including the names of other senior politicians, was compiled based on unsubstantiated Internet rumors.

The revelation that all of this was a mistake is once again causing Britain’s media organizations to question their own values, only months after news of newspaper phone-hacking. It has filled Britain with outrage, astonishment and self-doubt.

The scandal had begun with separate claims that BBC – one of the most respected brands in journalism worldwide – had failed to expose the late BBC children’s television personality and fundraiser, Jimmy Savile, as a pedophile even though it had interviewed several victims who made allegations against the star.

It’s now clear those allegations are well founded. Yet the same BBC program, ‘Newsnight’, that shelved the original and apparently accurate Savile story was the first to broadcast the latest false allegations.

‘Newsnight’ has apologized on air for its mistake, another inquiry has been launched, and the program has temporarily suspended all its investigatory work. On Saturday, Entwistle, who took his post in September, resigned in response to the growing scandal after a humiliating interviewon the BBC’s own flagship radio news program, ‘Today’. The BBC is in crisis.

Entwistle only succeeded Mark Thompson, set to take over as chief executive of the New York Times Co, in September and almost immediately faced one of the biggest crises in the history of the BBC, funded by a licence fee paid by TV viewers.

This was the revelation by rival broadcaster ITV that the late Jimmy Savile, one of the most recognisable personalities on British television in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, had sexually abused young girls, some on BBC premises.

Suggestions then surfaced of a paedophile ring inside the BBC at the time, and a cover-up. Police have launched an inquiry and detectives said they had arrested their third suspect on Sunday, a man in his 70s from Cambridgeshire in central England.

Entwistle was condemned for the BBC’s slow response to the Savile furore and then lambasted after it emerged that Newsnight had axed a planned expose into Savile shortly after his death and that the broadcaster had gone ahead with tributes instead.

His appearance before a parliamentary committee provoked mockery, with one lawmaker saying he had shown a “lamentable lack of knowledge” of what was going on at his own organisation.

Thompson has also faced questions from staff at the New York Times over whether he is still the right person to take one of the biggest jobs in American newspaper publishing.

The knives were out for Entwistle on Friday after the BBC apologised for the mistaken allegation that an ex-politician, later identified on the Internet as a close ally of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, had abused children, and had not asked him for a comment before broadcast.

The last straw came when Entwistle was forced to admit on BBC radio that he had not been told about the Newsnight report before it aired nor known – or asked – who the alleged abuser was until the name appeared in social media.

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_17/Jimmy-Savile-scandal-affects-New-York-Times-new-boss/

Jimmy Savile abuse inquiry: third man arrested: “a former BBC producer, Wilfred De’Ath”

Jimmy Savile abuse inquiry: third man arrested

Man in his 70s from Cambridgeshire, reported to be former BBC producer, arrested on suspicion of sexual offences and bailed

Jimmy Savile

Jimmy Savile is at the centre of sexual abuse allegations. Photograph: Getty Images

A man arrested by police investigating sexual abuse claims against Jimmy Savile and others has been bailed.

The man is reported to be a former BBC producer, Wilfred De’Ath. The man, in his 70s, from Cambridgeshire, was detained at 7.15am on Sunday and released on police bail until December after several hours of questioning.

He is the third man to be detained under Operation Yewtree, the criminal inquiry being conducted by the Metropolitan police and the NSPCC.

The Met said the man “falls under the strand of the investigation we have termed ‘others'”.

He was arrested on suspicion of sexual offences and taken into police custody locally, Scotland Yard said.

The arrest came nine days after the arrest and bail of the comedian Freddie Starr, and two weeks after Gary Glitter  was questioned. Glitter, 68, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was arrested at home and questioned at a London police station before being released on bail until mid-December.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/nov/11/jimmy-savile-inquiry-man-arrested

Japanese athletes won’t perform in China: Chinese authorities refused to register them

Nov 10, 2012 20:18 Moscow Time

япония китай япония японский флаг япония флаг китайский флаг китай флаг

© Flickr.com/xioubin low/cc-by-sa 3.0

China has announced that Japanese runners will not take part in the traditional annual marathon in Beijing this year.

About 30,000 Japanese runners have already asked via the Web for participation in the marathon, but the Chinese authorities refused to register them.

The reason is that the relations between China and Japan have worsened because of the aggravation of the two countries’ dispute over a group of islands, which the Japanese call Senkaku, while the Chinese – Diaoyu. Each country claims that the islands should belong to it.

The dispute over the islands has been lasting since the late 19th century, but it aggravated recently after Chinese ships had approached the islands.

Voice of Russia, BBC

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_10/Japanese-athletes-won-t-perform-in-China/

 

UK PM warns of witch-hunt against gays in pedophile scandal

British Prime Minister David Cameron warned on Thursday that speculation about the identity of an unidentified member of his ruling Conservative party accused of sexually abusing children could turn into a witch-hunt against gay people.

Cameron, who leads a troubled two-party coalition, ordered an investigation this week after a victim of child sexual abuse in Wales said a prominent Conservative political figure had abused him during the 1970s.

The claims, which follow the unmasking of late BBC star presenter Jimmy Savile as one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders, have stoked concern that a powerful pedophile ring may have operated in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s.

“I have heard all sorts of names bandied around and what then tends to happen is of course that everyone then sits around and speculates about people, some of whom are alive, some of whom are dead,” Cameron said during an ITV television interview.

“It is very important that anyone who has got any information about any pedophile no matter how high up in the country go to the police,” he said.

Britain’s interior minister warned lawmakers this week that if they named suspected child abusers in parliament they risked jeopardizing future trials.

MPs benefit from “parliamentary privilege” – meaning they can speak inside parliament freely without fear of legal action on a host of legally sensitive issues that might otherwise attract lawsuits.

Reports of child abuse have provoked fevered speculation on the Internet about the identity of the Conservative figure from the era of Margaret Thatcher, prime minister from 1979 to 1990.

When the ITV interviewer passed Cameron a piece of paper with the names of people identified on the Internet as being alleged child abusers, Cameron said:

“There is a danger if we are not careful that this could turn into a sort of witch-hunt particularly against people who are gay.”

“I am worried about the sort of thing you are doing right now – giving me a list of names you have taken off the Internet,” Cameron said.

The BBC aired a program last week in which Steven Messham, one of hundreds of victims of sexual abuse at children’s care homes in Wales over two decades, said he had been sexually abused by a prominent Conservative political figure.

However, the BBC reporter said he could not name the figure because there was “simply not enough evidence to name names”.

(Reuters)

 

http://updatednews.ca/2012/11/08/uk-pm-warns-of-witch-hunt-against-gays-in-pedophile-scandal/

Tory paedophile scandal: will MPs use privilege to name X?

Meanwhile X himself tells Telegraph the sex abuse  allegations are ‘totally without any grounds’

Column LAST UPDATED AT 09:52 ON Tue 6 Nov  2012

EDITOR’S NOTE at 1.20pm: Home Secretary Theresa May warned MPs not to  use Parliamentary privilege to name any suspects including ‘X’ because “they  will risk jeopardising any future trial”. As a result, no MPs named names in the  chamber today, but they could do so in written Parliamentary Questions.

MPS ARE under pressure to use parliamentary privilege to name “X” – the  senior Tory at the centre of an alleged paedophile sex ring – when Home  Secretary Theresa May announces two inquiries into the scandal in the House of  Commons this afternoon.

May said on the Today programme this morning – under some strange  questioning by Evan Davis, who seemed to belittle the evidence – that what had  prompted the fresh inquiries was “serious allegations of shocking behaviour – we  need to make sure they are properly investigated”.

She will tell MPs there will be two inquiries – one into the original 1996-99  investigation by Sir Ronald Waterhouse, a high court judge; and a second into  the police handling of the allegations by the boys from the Bryn Estyn  children’s home near Wrexham in north Wales who claimed that senior police  officers were involved in the sex ring in addition to local businessmen,  traders, politicians and the senior Tory referred to as X in the Waterhouse  inquiry.

All eyes will be on MPs such as Labour’s Tom Watson to see whether one of them will name X under  Commons privilege. It was Watson who brought the dormant scandal back into the  headlines when on 24 October he asked David Cameron to ensure that the police  investigate evidence of a “powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and  Number 10”.

X has been widely named on the internet but he cannot be named by the press  because of a gagging order made by Waterhouse, raising fresh allegations of a  cover-up by the establishment.

Mark Stephens, the lawyer who represented a number of children at the  Waterhouse Inquiry, said: “I am convinced parliamentary privilege will be used  to ask a question as to why this high-ranking politician who was named by a  victim in the north Wales child abuse inquiry has been afforded protection.”

That could be taken as an invitation to name X, who is threatening to sue  anyone who names him outside the confines of Parliament.

The Daily Telegraph has interviewed X anonymously today. He  told the paper that he has only visited Wrexham on one occasion.

He said: “Some guy said I was in the habit of taking young men from Wrexham  in my Rolls-Royce. But I have only been to Wrexham once and I didn’t visit the  children’s home, I made a speech to the constituency. I was with an official at  all times. I never had a Rolls Royce.

“When the inquiry was taking place I hired a lawyer to watch it in case there  was any mention of my name. The point is that it is totally without any grounds  whatsoever.”

The allegations by Steve Messham, who lived at the Bryn Estyn home in the  1970s and claims he was gang-raped by X and others, were supported by a second  victim, who said the politician had taken him for a meal which he paid for with  his “gold credit card” before he abused him. The man also had a Harrods account  card”.

Sir Ronald dismissed the allegations as “embarking on the realm of fantasy”.  He said: “It is obvious on this evidence that we cannot be satisfied that any  member of the X family was involved in paedophile activity.”

Messham will meet David Jones, the Welsh Secretary, this afternoon, to  discuss the allegations in detail.

David Cameron was forced to announce the inquiries after coming under  pressure during his trip to the Gulf yesterday. As The Mole reported, Michael Portillo, a former Tory  Cabinet minister, warned the PM would be open to a charge of double standards if  he refused a fresh inquiry into the alleged Tory sex ring, given the demands by  Culture Secretary Maria Miller for openness at the BBC in its inquiry into the  Jimmy Savile scandal.

The investigation promised by Cameron will examine whether the Waterhouse  inquiry ordered by William Hague, the then Welsh Secretary, was “properly  constituted and properly did its job”. Hague could appear as a witness in the  new inquiry.

Separately, Downing Street confirmed a second inquiry into the police  handling of the scandal, which could be led by a retired Chief Constable or the  Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

Cameron said: “Child abuse is an absolutely hateful and abhorrent crime and  these allegations are truly dreadful and they mustn’t be left hanging in the  air, so I’m taking action today.”

Read more: http://www.theweek.co.uk/politics/49935/tory-paedophile-scandal-will-mps-use-privilege-name-x#ixzz2BVGFQ8VS

Allegations of abuse by a paedophile ring involving politicians. Now has claims of “mysterious early deaths”, suspicious fires and other forms of threats and intimidation as part of a possible cover-up.

David Cameron announces inquiry into ‘dreadful’ Tory child abuse claims

David Cameron has announced an investigation into “truly dreadful” child abuse claims involving a senior Tory at a Welsh children’s home.

Twitter claims identify politician in North Wales child abuse case

Steve Messham told Newsnight that he was abused by a leading Conservative politician while he was a child in care Photo: BBC/Newsnight

3:52PM GMT 05 Nov 2012

The Prime Minister said the historic allegations of abuse by a paedophile ring at children’s homes in Wrexham, North Wales, could not be left “hanging in the air”.

He said a senior independent figure would investigate whether a previous inquiry “properly did its job”.

Mr Cameron said: “Child abuse is an absolutely hateful and abhorrent crime and these allegations are truly dreadful and they mustn’t be left hanging in the air, so I’m taking action today.

“I’m going to be asking a senior independent figure to lead an urgent investigation into whether the original inquiry was properly constituted and properly did its job and to report urgently to the government.”

Steve Messham, the sexual abuse victim who made the claims, will meet David Jones, the Welsh Secretary, tomorrow.

He said a senior Tory politician had abused him in a hotel room with eight other paedophiles. However, he says that when he went to the police in the 1970s he was accused of being a “liar” and his claims were not properly investigated.

He was a witness at an inquiry led by the judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse into allegations spanning 40 homes between 1974 and 1990. The inquiry, which reported in 2000, dismissed the allegations as “embarking on the realm of fantasy”.

However, Mr Cameron has decided to investigate the inquiry after the allegations formed the centrepiece of an investigation featured on BBC’s Newsnight on Friday.

A legally binding order issued by Sir Ronald at the time of the inquiry banned the media from naming the politician and the man also made clear to the BBC last week he would sue if he was named.

But yesterday his name was widely circulating on the internet including through hundreds of messages on the social networking site Twitter. However several other politicians not suspected of any involvement were also included in the messages.

One current public figure was among those posting messages mentioning him and another identifying the man was reposted by other users more than 100 times.

Lawyers involved with the inquiry warned that those behind the Tweets could find themselves facing legal action.

They likened the breaches to a string of cases involving public figures who took out so-called super-injunctions but who were then named on the internet.

As happened on several of those cases, there were predictions last that the man could eventually be named in Parliament using special privilege protecting members from being sued for libel for comments in the Commons or Lords.

The speculation grew as the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Mr Towler, called for a new inquiry into the allegations amid claims that the full scale of the abuse was covered up.

His comments followed a raft of claims that politicians from a previous Government were involved in or had links to those involved in sexual offences involving children.

Tom Watson, the campaigning Labour MP who helped expose the phone hacking scandal, said he had received scores of emails, calls and letters from the public containing potential leads after he raised the matter in the Commons 10 days ago.

He said that the allegations, involving “household names”, could potentially lead to bigger scandal than phone hacking.

In a posting on his blog Mr Watson said he had been reduced to tears by some of the allegations including claims abused children were marked with knives to show “ownership” or driven to golf course car parks to be exploited by paedophiles after they had finished a round of golf.

He said there had even been claims of “mysterious early deaths”, suspicious fires and other forms of threats and intimidation as part of a possible cover-up.

But he also disclosed that since raising the issue he had received warnings about his “personal safety”.

Richard Scorer, who represented Mr Messham said: “My view of this is that nothing would surprise me honestly.”

But he insisted: “The evidenced has to be properly investigated … I don’t say it’s true, I think it is quite possible that public figures could be involved in child abuse as almost certainly Jimmy Savile was.

“My view is that we’ve got to get a decent investigation going and look at it all.”

Mark Stephens, who represented around 15 of the children at the Waterhouse Inquiry, said: “I am convinced parliamentary privilege will be used to ask a question as to why this high-ranking politician who was named by a victim in the north Wales child abuse inquiry has been afforded protection.”

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph last week, the politician strenuously denied ever going to the home concerned. He was unavailable to comment on the internet claims last night.

Fears of a witch hunt as BBC sex abuse scandal spreads

Dead TV presenter’s crimes cast shadow over incoming New York Times CEO.

 October 27, 2012 07:00

Entwhistle 10 26 2012
The BBC under fire: Director general George Entwistle. (Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images)

LONDON, UK — It started as a simple scandal involving a few sordid claims about a dead television presenter. Now revelations about Jimmy Savile have become a “tsunami of filth” that threatens to tear apart the BBC, destroy public careers and even stain the New York Times.

As fresh allegations of abuse, rape, pedophilia and even necrophilia against Savile emerge daily, the British public is fast becoming inured to the horrors he was allowed to perpetrate during a five-decade sex rampage at the BBC, as well as schools, hospitals and other institutions he visited for charity work.

Police are now believed to be following up almost 400 complaints against the presenter. Most have emerged since a rival to the BBC aired a television documentary in September — almost a year after Savile’s death — that carried interviews with alleged victims.

Although public revulsion at Savile’s acts may have reached terminal velocity, the spread of blame continues to accelerate. Questions are being asked about how Savile got away with it for so long, who helped him and, crucially, whether anyone at the BBC is guilty of a cover-up.

A frenzy of finger pointing has targeted BBC figures past and present but has also extended to health officials, police and — following claims in some quarters that aspects of Savile’s sexual preferences were more acceptable in bygone decades — British society as a whole.

Now some believe the campaign threatens to become a witch hunt, amid suggestions some British media are deliberately whipping up opinion against the BBC as payback for the scrutiny they faced during the recent phone-hacking scandal.

Three inquiries have emerged from the Savile affair. The director of public prosecutions will examine why police failed to act on earlier reports against Savile and look into sex-abuse claims against others linked to him. The BBC has launched two more probes.

The broadcaster is under pressure to examine suggestions that senior staff knew Savile was exploiting his celebrity to prey on young people taking part in his television shows. There are also questions about a possible pedophile ring within the BBC.

The broadcaster has also been called on to explain a decision last December to shelve an investigation into Savile by journalists for Newsnight, a BBC current-affairs show. The report would have coincided with another program honoring Savile.

A panel of lawmakers this week grilled the BBC’s new director general. George Entwistle has issued an apology to Savile’s victims, but has drawn criticism for appearing to hang Newsnight editor Peter Rippon out to dry.

Asked whether BBC bosses had leaned on the program to drop the Savile report, Entwistle said: “I have no evidence whatsoever that any kind of managerial pressure was applied. The decision was made by Peter Rippon.”

However, his insistence he was unaware of the Newsnight investigation at the time drew dismay. Panel chairman John Whittingdale said the director general had displayed an “extraordinary lack of curiosity.”

Similar concerns prompted Culture Minister Maria Miller to write to the BBC Trust, the broadcaster’s governing body, this week to express her concerns about upholding the expectations of ordinary householders who fund the television service through a mandatory license fee.

“In all our conversations we have talked about the paramount importance of full public trust in the BBC’s inquiries and agreed that it is essential that license fee payers can be assured that they are being conducted thoroughly and with the full cooperation of the BBC,” she wrote.

BBC Trust Chairman Chris Patten later defended Entwistle, saying he had coped well with the scandal despite his relative inexperience. “It was a very, very difficult baptism of fire for a new director general,” he told the BBC, “this great tsunami of filth broke over him 11 days into the job.”

“Our main concern has to be for the victims of abuse and worse who have been marooned for years, trying to tell their stories and not being believed,” he added, “including, it seems, by the BBC, and to deal with the terrible damage to the BBC.”

Entwistle’s decision to pin the Newsnight blame on Rippon, who has already stepped aside over the controversy, appears to have sparked an internecine squabble at the BBC. The Daily Telegraph newspaper characterized it as a “war.”

The backlash came from Victoria Derbyshire, a well-known BBC radio presenter, who this week tweeted: “If BBC journos/Eds make a poor editorial call, (& most of us hve at some point), will they be treated by mgemnt like Peter Rippon has been?”

Attention has also fallen on Entwistle’s predecessor, Mark Thompson, who was in charge at the time of the Newsnight report. He’s denied quashing it, but has offered conflicting accounts about what he knew of its contents.

Thompson is due to take over as chief executive officer at The New York Times in November, but the Savile affair has raised concerns from Times staff. The paper’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, even questioned whether Thompson still has a future at the paper.

“How likely is it that the Times Company will continue with its plan to bring Mr. Thompson on as chief executive?” she asked. “His integrity and decision-making are bound to affect The Times and its journalism — profoundly. It’s worth considering now whether he is the right person for the job, given this turn of events.”

 

The relentless focus on the BBC has prompted an outcry from those who feel that the broadcaster, its editors and executives are being unjustly pursued while the plight of those who suffered from Savile’s attacks is being sidelined.

“It seems some people are still fundamentally missing the point,” newspaper columnist Suzanne Moore said. “This is a story about an environment of abuse, how it flourished in plain sight, how supposedly ‘good guys’ did nothing to stop it, and how girls are never really to be trusted. Or never actually a priority.”

Mark Damazar, a former BBC news director who is now the master of St. Peter’s College at Oxford University, said the broadcaster is guilty of nothing more than professional miscalculation.

“The BBC lives by noble ideals, of course often imperfectly executed, and is trying to get to the bottom of it,” he said. “I know that many license-payers will feel let down. But the BBC has recovered before from editorial dramas — and we ought not to enjoy its misfortunes.”

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/121026/savile-scandal-bbc-britain-cameron

BBC apologises to the Queen for Abu Hamza disclosure

Security correspondent Frank Gardner prompts crisis by telling how Queen lobbied home secretary for arrest of radical cleri

BBC apologises to the Queen for Abu Hamza disclosure

Abu Hamza, who faces extradition to the US. The BBC reporter Frank Gardner said the Queen was aghast he could not be arrested. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty

An unscripted Today programme revelation about the Queen‘s hostility to the radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri forced the BBC into making an embarrassing apology to Buckingham Palace for breaching royal protocol.

Frank Gardner, the BBC’s security correspondent, prompted the early morning crisis by reporting on Radio 4’s flagship news programme that the Queen had told him she was aghast that Abu Hamza, who faces imminent extradition to the US, could not be arrested during the period when he aired vehemently anti-British views as imam of Finsbury Park mosque in north London.

With the tacit approval of director-general George Entwistle, in only his second week in the job, the BBC’s director of news, Helen Boaden, swiftly authorised the release of a statement of apology that was highly critical of the journalist. Gardner – who corporation insiders said was contrite shortly after the broadcast – penned a personal apology to the palace.

Speaking at about 8.15am, the journalist said: “And actually I can tell you that the Queen was pretty upset … that there was no way to arrest him [Hamza]. She couldn’t understand why – surely there was some law that he had broken.”

Naughtie, interviewing Gardner, paused and said “that’s a fascinating piece of information”. In turn, a clearly pleased Gardner said, “yes, I thought I’d drop that in” – and, revealing his source, he added: “She told me.” Concluding the exchange, Naughtie said “that’s a corker” – and the revelation swiftly topped the programme’s news bulletin.

Behind the scenes, however, BBC executives immediately sounded the alarm, worried that Gardner had revealed the Queen’s private thinking. The monarch never expresses overtly political views in public – and the convention is that whatever is said at palace receptions or other meetings remains off the record.

Although the Queen meets the prime minister weekly where possible, and has regular contact with other ministers, leaks about her views are rare. The veil of secrecy about royal political involvement also extends to other members of the royal family. Earlier this month the Guardian won a long battle to force government departments to disclose “black spider” memos written by the Prince of Wales to ministers and officials, although the ruling is the subject of an appeal.

The reporter’s revelation was “wholly inappropriate,” the BBC said. “The conversation should have remained private and the BBC and Frank deeply regret this breach of confidence … Frank is extremely sorry for the embarrassment caused and has apologised to the Palace.”

Sources at the BBC said that the broadcaster had little choice but to apologise firstly because Gardner had compromised a source – and secondly because “that source was the head of state around which there is a convention that their private conversations are never referred to”.

Gardner had not told anyone on the Today programme, which is edited by Ceri Thomas, that he intended to refer to the Queen on the air. Afterwards the correspondent, who uses a wheelchair after he was shot six times in Saudi Arabia by al-Qaida terrorists, tweeted: “Thanks to all those who’ve posted kind messages. Not exactly the best day but I can think of worse ones I’ve had …”

With Gardner’s story already dominating its own news agenda, the BBC was forced to carry both the original report of the Queen’s concern about Hamza alongside its own apology. The paradox was forced on the broadcaster, because it believed that Gardner’s story was accurate, but that it was in fact wrong to have reported it. One employee said: “We are a big organisation, and we can have more than one thought at any one time.”

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said she had no comment on Gardner’s interview, and hinted that it was unlikely that the palace would respond any further, sparing the BBC any further embarrassment. It is understood that the Queen’s remarks about Hamza were made at a private dinner in 2008 at which there were several other people present.

During the Today programme, Gardner also said the Queen had lobbied ministers about her concerns. Gardner said: “She spoke to the home secretary at the time and said, surely this man must have broken some laws. Why is he still at large? He was conducting these radical activities and he called Britain a toilet. He was incredibly anti-British and yet he was sucking up money from this country for a long time. He was a huge embarrassment to Muslims, who condemned him.”

Gardner did not specify which home secretary was lobbied, although the most likely minister, David Blunkett, who held the post from 2001 to 2004 at the peak of Hamza’s infamy, denied it was him. Following his initial arrest in August 2004, Hamza was convicted in 2006 of 11 charges connected to soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred.

Blunkett said: “I can categorically state that the Queen never raised the issue of Abu Hamza with me. Not surprisingly because my views and attitude in relation to this individual were very well known.”

A spokesman for the republican pressure group Republic said the comments, if true, showed the monarch had needlessly “waded into the debate”.

He said: “It is up to parliament and the courts to deal with these complex issues, not the Queen. Monarchists argue the Queen always remains above politics. Clearly that is not the case.”

The government has battled for eight years to secure Hamza’s extradition to the US, where he is wanted in connection with alleged plans to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon, claims he provided material support to the Taliban, and allegations that he was involved in hostage-taking in Yemen in 1998.

Hamza’s fight against extradition ended on Monday when the European court of human rights rejected his appeal, as well as those of four other terrorism suspects, and agreed an earlier ruling that their human rights would not be violated by the prospect of life sentences and solitary confinement in a US prison.

The director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, is considering whether or not to sanction a private prosecution in the UK of Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, two of the five terrorism suspects facing extradition. Ahmad has been held in detention without trial since 2004.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/sep/25/bbc-apologises-queen-abu-hamza1

World’s richest woman suggests $2 a day wages for Australian miners

By David Edwards Wednesday, September 5, 2012 9:35 EDT

Australia billionaire Gina Rinehart

The world’s most wealthy woman is warning that firms are in danger of having to abandon iron-ore mining in Australia if wages are not cut, pointing out that African miners are “willing to work for less than $2 per day.”

In a video recently posted on the Sydney Mining Club website, 58-year-old Gina Rinehart — who has amassed a $18 billion fortune through iron-ore prospecting — said that Australia could be more competitive by emulating Africa.

“We must be realistic, not just promote class warfare,” the billionaire explained. “Indeed, if we competed at the Olympic games as sluggishly as we compete economically, there would be an outcry.”

“The evidence is unarguable that Australia is indeed becoming too expensive and too uncompetitive to do export- orientated business,” she insisted, adding that “Africans want to work. Its workers are willing to work for less than $2 per day.”

Under current exchange rates, $2 a day in Australia is worth about $2.04 in U.S. dollars.

“It’s not the Australian way to toss people $2, to toss them a $2 gold coin and then ask them to work for a day,” Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters on Wednesday. “We support proper Australian wages and decent working conditions for Australian people.”

Rinehart came under fire last week after she wrote a column urging those “jealous” of the wealthy to “spend less time drinking or smoking and socializing, and more time working.”

Watch this video from BBC, broadcast Sept. 5, 2012

Want to live longer? Ditch the diet, cancel your gym session – just eat less ( Dangerous Misinformation )

Want to live longer? Ditch the diet, cancel your gym session – just eat  less

By Liz Thomas

PUBLISHED:19:44 EST, 30 July  2012 | UPDATED:03:18  EST, 31 July 2012

Dr Michael Mosley said he did not believe it was  necessary to eat three meals a day

Forget exercise, fad diets or so-called  miracle pills – if you want to live longer simply eat less, a leading scientist  has claimed.

Dr Michael Mosley, a presenter on BBC science  show Horizon, said ongoing research suggested that a high metabolic rate – how  much energy the body uses for normal body functions – is a risk factor for  earlier mortality.

And he revealed that communities in Japan and  the U.S. which  follow strict, low-calorie diets  appear to have a  lifespan longer than the global average.

The 55-year-old said of calorie restriction  diets, which are often as low as 600 calories a day: ‘The bottom line is that it  is the only thing that’s ever really been shown to prolong life.

‘Ultimately, ageing is a product of a high  metabolic rate, which in turn increases the number of free radicals we consume.

‘If you stress the body out by restricting  calories or fasting, this seems to cause it to adapt and slow the metabolism  down. It’s a version of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.’

Dr Mosley said he did not believe it was  necessary to eat three meals a day because ‘what we think of as hunger is mainly  habit’.

In a new Horizon programme, he also suggests  that intermittent fasting could offer the same benefits as calorie restriction  by reducing the growth of hormone IGF-1.

While the hormone maintains and repairs  tissue, high levels have been shown to contribute towards cancer and ageing.

New approach: Forget exercise, fad diets or so-called miracle pills ¿ if you want to live longer simply eat less, a leading scientist has claimedNew approach: Forget exercise, fad diets or so-called  miracle pills – if you want to live longer simply eat less, a leading scientist  has claimed

His comments, made to the Radio Times, come  after the Institute of Health Ageing at University College London suggested  eating 40 per cent less could extend a person’s life by 20 years.

A researcher said: ‘If you reduce the diet of  a rat by 40 per cent it will live for 20 per cent longer. So we would be talking  20 years of human life.

‘This has shown on all sorts of organisms,  even labradors.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2181370/Want-live-longer-Ditch-diet-cancel-gym-session–just-eat-less.html#ixzz22oo7jvyN

* Why the Info is Wrong and Evil

It is either the Doctor being Misquoted, or the Reporter Not understanding. Many understand it is the type of nutrition being consumed, not just blind caloric intake. Many foods contain antioxidants that squelch free radicals. At 600 Calories a day, there is no way you can maintain adequate vitamin/mineral intake just from food. You would eventually succumb to malnutrition

Eating less may not extend life, Jan. 13 3009 in advance of print publication in the Journal of Nutrition

New clue into how diet and exercise enhance longevity, July 20, 2007, issue of the journal Science

Even occasional exercise can extend life for older people,  Jul 2004  Journal of Preventive Medicine

Low-level exercise delays heart failure, markedly extends lives, even with hypertension, 2005 November edition of the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology

Good news: Light and moderate physical activity reduces the risk of early death, Aug 2010  International Journal of Epidemiology

Thats just off the top of my head