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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Savile charity 'to fight against payouts for victims'

A charity set up by Jimmy Savile is to challenge a compensation scheme for victims of the sex attacker. The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust will take its case to the Court of Appeal later this year, victims' lawyers said. It wants to overturn an agreed scheme, under which the Savile estate, which is separate to the trust, the BBC and the NHS are liable to compensate victims. Liz Dux, who represents 176 of the late DJ's victims, said her clients would be "angry and disappointed" by the move. The charitable trust controls £3.7m and is a separate entity to the Savile estate. Ms Dux said the estate had its own pot of funds, which is where its share of payouts are to come from. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote The victims deserve redress and closure. They have suffered enough” Liz Dux Abuse lawyer She said she could therefore not understand why the charity trustees were taking the legal action. "For one, it's going to mean that more precious funds that should have gone to victims are being spent on legal costs, which is exactly what the settlement scheme was designed to avoid," she told the BBC. "And secondly, the charitable trust is not even responsible for compensating victims - that is for the estate to do." Unrestricted access Savile is said to have abused more than 200 people over a 60-year period. Last month, investigators found the ex-BBC DJ sexually assaulted victims aged five to 75 in NHS hospitals over decades of unrestricted access. The High Court approved a compensation scheme for victims earlier this year. The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust was granted leave in mid-July by the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling. Victims' lawyers were informed by the court last week. The appeal is expected to take place between September and January, Ms Dux said. Under the agreed settlement scheme, abuse victims will be able to claim against the BBC, the NHS and the Savile estate. 'In the dark' Ms Dux said all three bodies agreed they would make payouts and that claims to the BBC and the NHS would not deplete the estate's available funds. "The victims, the Savile estate, the NHS and the BBC are all acting on the same side. We all want and support the approved scheme," she said. "The scheme is a pragmatic and sensible solution to what will otherwise be protracted and hugely expensive litigation." The abuse lawyer added: "The charitable trust offered no explanation then as to why it objected to the scheme and even now we and the victims remain in the dark. No money can be paid from the charitable trust to compensate victims. "The victims deserve redress and closure. They have suffered enough. We urge the Court of Appeal to back the original scheme as previously agreed so this process can move towards a much-desired conclusion." Ms Dux said the Savile estate had funds of about £3.2m last year, but had probably been "haemorrhaging" money in legal fees.

British airlines are on alert for cases of the deadly virus, after tests revealed a man died in Nigeria from the disease, having been allowed to board an international flight from Liberia.

 A British man has also been tested for the Ebola virus, putting doctors on red alert that it could be on its way to the UK. A spokesman for Hong Kong's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) will be notified if it is confirmed the patient is suffering from the Ebola virus. In Nigeria health officials said today, they are in the process of tracing 30,000 people at risk of contracting the disease after coming into contact with a Liberian man who died on Friday. Meanwhile, the British man was taken to hospital in Birmingham after complaining of feeling ‘feverish’ on a flight back to the Midlands from West Africa. He had been travelling from Benin, Nigeria via Paris, France when he became unwell on Monday. However, after undergoing a number of tests he was given the all-clear for the virus which has already killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and infected more than 1,200 since it was first diagnosed in February. In another scare, medical staff at Charing Cross Hospital in London became concerned a man in his twenties had caught the virus this week. But his symptoms were quickly confirmed as not being linked to the bug and doctors ruled out the need for an Ebola test.

Ex-policeman on Azelle Rodney murder charge

A former policeman is to be charged with murdering a man who was shot dead after a car was stopped by officers in north London nine years ago. Azelle Rodney, 24, was travelling in a car that was stopped by police, who were looking for a group they believed were on their way to an armed robbery. An inquiry last year chaired by Sir Christopher Holland ruled there was "no lawful justification" for the shooting. The CPS has now made a decision to charge the man, identified only as E7. The former police marksman will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court for a preliminary hearing on 10 September. 'Waited a long time' Mr Rodney was shot six times - in the arm, back and head - in Edgware in April 2005. He was travelling with two other men when officers stopped the car and opened fire. His mother Susan Alexander said: "I am very pleased at the CPS's decision to prosecute the officer who killed my son. "I have waited a long time to see this day and hope this prosecution will lead to justice for Azelle. "Whilst I am disappointed at the decision not to prosecute the commissioner in relation to the failures which were found by Sir Christopher Holland regarding the planning and control of the operation, his report makes clear that there were significant failures on the part of the Metropolitan Police and we deserve an immediate and unreserved apology for those failures."

Ebola virus a threat

"The risk to UK travellers and people working in [affected countries] of contracting Ebola is very low but we have alerted UK medical practitioners about the situation in West Africa and requested they remain vigilant for unexplained illness in those who have visited the affected area. "It is important to stress that no cases of imported Ebola have ever been reported in the UK and the risk of a traveller going to West Africa and contracting Ebola remains very low since Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person." BBC global health correspondent Tulip Mazumdar said the West African outbreak had been going on for four months. In that time local people had been looking after the sick and carrying out burials, which could actually help to spread the virus, she added. Ebola kills up to 90% of those infected, but patients have a better chance of survival if they receive early treatment. The outbreak - the world's deadliest to date - was first reported in Guinea in February. It then spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Ebola virus disease (EVD) Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage Fatality rate can reach 90% Incubation period is two to 21 days There is no vaccine or cure Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery Fruit bats are considered to be virus' natural host

Massive increase in Brits abroad drug arrests

DRUG arrests of Britons in Spain have soared, with an incredible 68% increase on the previous year. In total, 708 Brits have been arrested overseas on drug charges already this year – a shocking 173 of which were in Spain, according to the UK’s Foreign Office. A worrying trend is the reported rise in the use of a party drug named ‘Cannibal’ – due to its tendency to dramatically increase aggressiveness. It is apparently being distributed widely in parts of Spain, including the Balearics. A British man was arrested in Magaluf, after biting beachgoers while high on the drug. The rapid rise in drug-related arrests is due to a serious crackdown on dealers launched by police this year. The second-largest number of drug arrests involving Britons last year was in America, with 102 cases.

Forest fire in Casares

FOREST fire raged today near Casares. The fire was very near the site of Manilva’s Roman baths, inland from Sabinillas. Three helicopters and an aircraft were sent by Infoca in response, and emergency services rushed to the scene. A second fire station was reported to have sent emergency response teams as support.

EU Must Investigate CIA European Prisons Case

EU member states should carry out a thorough investigation into CIA-run prisons in Europe, where the inmates were subjected to torture, Russian diplomat Konstantin Dolgov said Monday. "Human rights activists are reasonably demanding the government of Poland to finally conduct an effective investigation into secret CIA prisons on its territory. Similar steps should be taken by other EU member states on which territories CIA torture camps operated," the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Special Representative for Human Rights wrote on his Twitter page. Last week, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Poland violated an international treaty to protect human rights by hosting secret CIA prisons on its territory. The case was filed by two men who charge they were taken to a secret CIA black site in a Polish forest and subjected to torture before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay. An investigation into the detainees' treatment was opened in Poland in 2008 but is still not concluded – a situation that has been condemned by the UN's anti-torture body. Poland is one of a number of European countries accused of hosting secret CIA prisons. Meanwhile, Romania, Bulgaria, and Lithuania also have had allegations made against them for being part of the CIA black site network.

Suspicion of attempting to smuggle drugs arrests in Morocco

The Cyprus Foreign Ministry has confirmed that five Cypriots have been arrested in Morocco on suspicion of attempting to smuggle drugs out of the North African country. The Cypriots – whose ages are still unknown but are said to be over “18 years of age” – were arrested last week as they attempted to leave the country and are said to be looking at criminal charges relating to drug trafficking. Although the exact amount was unconfirmed, sources yesterday suggested that the group attempted to smuggle 15 kilos of hashish out of one of the country’s airports. “We can confirm that five Cypriots have been detained in Morocco and we are liaising with our Embassy in Paris, which is also responsible for Morocco, in an attempt to stay in contact with the individuals,” Ministry official Petros Kestoras told The Cyprus Daily on Tuesday. “We are as yet still unaware as to the exact amount of illegal substances they are said to have reportedly attempted to smuggle. We are also unaware of the exact substances. We do know that criminal procedures are ongoing and that the five individuals are obviously in police custody.” Morocco is one of 32 countries that impose capital punishment for offences involving the illegal importing, exporting, sale, or possession of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. But there has only been only one execution since 1983, and it happened in 1993. A total of 198 people were sentenced to death between 1956 and 1993, although there was an 11 year lull in executions between January 1982 and August 1993. The issue over capital punishment is a hot topic in Morocco. Officially, the stance of the current government is for "de facto" abolition but the Ministry of Justice has declared that terrorism is still an obstacle to "de jure" abolition. Figures from the US State Department claim that – until 2010 - a total of 104 inmates were on death row. According to a United Nations report, Morocco is a major source for cannabis, of which several hundreds tons reach mainly European markets every year.

Cannabis cultivation is concentrated in the underdeveloped region of the Rif in the North, for which the Government has adopted a national five-year development programme. In addition to the significant illicit trafficking of cannabis resin, the country is affected by growing international trafficking of heroin and cocaine and by related organised crime, including money laundering. As the main supplier country, “Morocco has long been a popular route by which drugs enter Europe”. It is a transit point for the ‘hashish’ consumed in Europe, but also of other illegal drugs principally coming from Latin America and East Asia.

The coast of Spain is the most common landing point of the drug, and to a less extent France, United Kingdom and other European countries Back in December 2012, Spanish police seized eleven metric tons of hashish smuggled from Morocco on trucks with tanks rigged to hide the drugs. Thirty five people were arrested in what was described as the breakup of a major smuggling ring that fed the European market.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Lionel Messi to be prosecuted for alleged tax evasion

A Spanish court will push ahead with prosecuting the Barcelona forward Lionel Messi for alleged tax evasion despite a recommendation from the public prosecutor the charges be dismissed. The prosecutor argued in June that Messi’s father Jorge was responsible for the family’s finances and not the four-times World Player of the Year. However, the court in Barcelona has decided that Lionel Messi could have known about and approved the creation of a web of shell companies that were allegedly used to evade taxes due on income from image rights. The judge in the case ruled that the case against both Messis should continue. Argentina’s Messi and his father were accused last year of defrauding the Spanish state of more than €4m (£3.1m) by filing false returns for the years 2006 to 2009. They have denied wrongdoing.   One of the world’s highest-paid athletes, Messi earns just over $40m (£23.5m) a season in salary and bonuses, according to Forbes magazine, as well as about $23m from sponsors. The magazine has him as the fourth top-earning athlete behind the boxer Floyd Mayweather, Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and basketball player LeBron James.

Third of holidaymakers fall victim to crime in Spain

A new study shows that one in every three Irish people robbed while on a foreign getaway believe they, or a travelling companion, "looked like a tourist" when targeted by thieves. Men are more likely to be robbed with a map in hand or camera around their neck with 33pc of those targeted admitting they were an obvious target for opportunistic thieves, compared to 25pc of women. Overall more than one in every 10 Irish people (12pc) admitted to being robbed while on their holidays in the study by AA Ireland. Men are more commonly targeted than their female counterparts while abroad.

Spain is the holiday destination where most Irish people are robbed with a third of those surveyed revealing they had been robbed there, followed by France and Italy – three of the most popular places for Irish people to holiday. Of the 3,000 holidaymakers surveyed, more than one in every 10 (12pc) said they had been pick pocketed while only slightly less (10pc) said they had items stolen from their accommodation. Another one in 10 had their bank card stolen while the same number revealed they were targeted on public transport. Only 3pc said they were mugged or had their passport or bags stolen. Nearly three out of four (72pc) reported they have never been targeted by thieves while on holidays.

AA Ireland spokesperson Miriam O'Neill said it was important to "blend in" with the locals as much as possible to avoid being targeted. "It's a question of being conscious of your surroundings and making you and your belongings as inaccessible as possible. I'd always advise travellers to know what's covered in their travel insurance too," she said. The majority of robberies are opportunistic, the survey reveals. However, one couple were raided after culprits punctured their tyre then posed as good Samaritans before robbing them. Another person said they were almost robbed by a woman with a baby strapped to a fake arm, leaving her actual hand free to pick pocket.

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