Thursday, 27 May 2010

Baroness Scotland's cleaner jailed



An illegal immigrant who conned the former Attorney General into hiring her as a cleaner has been jailed for a total of eight months at the Old Bailey.

Loloahi Tapui, who had overstayed her student visa by four years, duped former chief law officer Baroness Scotland into hiring her as her housekeeper for just £6 per hour.

The 27-year-old Tongan was found guilty of fraud last month at Southwark Crown Court in London. She was bailed to Thursday.


Ex-spy chief reviews 2012 security

Former spy chief Dame Pauline Neville-Jones is carrying out a review of security for the 2012 London Games, Sports and Olympic Minister Hugh Robertson has announced.

The fact that Dame Pauline, a former chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, has been asked to lead the Home Office security review shows "just how serious" an issue Olympics safety is for the Government, Mr Robertson said.

He said: "The new Government regards this (the London 2012 Games) as a top priority. The Home Office has announced they will review security planning - that is as much about procedure as build.


Counter-terrorism funds cut by £10m

Counter-terrorism funding will be slashed by £10 million as part of wholesale Whitehall cuts, the Government has announced.

Police Minister Nick Herbert said the money will come out of police budgets as part of £367 million in Home Office savings.

He said the fight against violent extremism has benefited from "significant growth in funding" over the past decade.


Man charged over prostitute murders

A man has been charged with the murders of three prostitutes.

Stephen Griffiths, 40, was charged with the murders of Suzanne Blamires, Shelley Armitage and Susan Rushworth.

The remains of Ms Blamires, 36, were found in the River Aire at Shipley on Tuesday. She disappeared from Bradford last week.

At a press conference outside Trafalgar House police station in Bradford, Peter Mann of the Crown Prosecution Service said there was sufficient evidence to charge Griffiths with all three murders.


'Public sector pay rises have taken eurozone to its knees'

Big rises in public sector pay in the eurozone contributed to collapses in EU countries' public finances, a senior European Central Bank official said today.

ECB executive board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi said average eurozone public sector pay had risen 36% in the last 10 years compared with a 24% rise in the private sector.

“The pay trend has strongly contributed to the deterioration of public finances. If public sector salaries had increased in line with private ones, Greece's deficit last year would have been more than three percentage points of GDP less,” he wrote in Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The pay rises over the last 10 years have not only weighed on public finances but also on the growth potential of the European economy, he said: “Without a rapid and drastic reversal of the trend public finances will not become healthy again and growth will not pick-up.”



Police quizzing ‘serial killer’ find crossbow murder footage

A university student suspected of murdering three prostitutes in Bradford was arrested after detectives obtained CCTV footage of the moment when a killer fired a crossbow bolt into a woman’s head.

The film, obtained from a block of flats, shows Suzanne Blamires being chased along a corridor by a man who attacked and knocked her to the ground.


BBC’s 40-mile cab ride policy is too generous, says auditor

The BBC’s expenses policy contains “overly generous” allowances that would “leave the BBC open to criticism if scrutinised by the man on the Clapham omnibus”, according to a report.

The review by the auditor KPMG for the BBC Trust, the corporation’s governing body, found that rules allowing staff to claim taxis home late at night or early in the morning for journeys of up to 40 miles “may not be in line with current best practice”.


Capital Gains Tax backbench revolt



Another senior Tory has joined the party's growing backbench revolt over proposed rises in Capital Gains Tax (CGT), warning it risked "punishing the virtuous" and "destroying aspiration".

Former shadow home secretary David Davis argued such a move may not even raise more money, citing evidence from the US which shows a rate cut actually boosts public coffers.

His comments come amid fears the new coalition Government could raise the current 18% levy on certain windfalls such as share and second home sales to the same level as income tax - up to 40% and 50%.


BA talks adjourned until Friday

Talks aimed at resolving the bitter British Airways cabin crew dispute have been adjourned.

Chief executive Willie Walsh met with the joint leaders of the Unite union, Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson, in an attempt to break the deadlocked row which has caused travel problems for thousands of passengers.

The two sides held talks for over six hours and it is believed they will resume negotiations on Friday.


Oil well cap going to plan, says BP

BP has said everything was going as planned as the oil giant began pumping heavy mud into a leaking Gulf of Mexico well.

The "top kill" procedure is the company's boldest attempt yet to plug the gush that has spewed millions of gallons of oil over the last five weeks.

BP hoped the mud could overpower the steady stream of oil, but chief executive Tony Hayward said it would be at least 24 hours before officials knew whether the attempt worked.


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