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Archive for October 6th, 2009

General Sir Richard Dannatt reveals Government’s Afghanistan troop refusal

Telegraph: Sir Richard claimed the Armed Forces were having to fight the Taliban with “at least part of one arm” tied behind its back because a call for 2,000 extra troops was refused.

His comments back up reports earlier this summer that he had asked for a surge – something Gordon Brown repeatedly refused to confirm when he was asked by the James Arbuthnot, chairman of the Defence Select Committee.

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‘Independent’ makes legal challenge to closed court cases

Independent: Closed court hearings involving some of the most difficult and sensitive cases in England and Wales could soon be opened to the public following a legal challenge brought by The Independent.

The cases involve vulnerable people incapable of managing their own affairs, including brain-damaged soldiers, people with Alzheimer’s disease and others lacking mental capacity. In a test case before the High Court in London, this newspaper argued that such matters should not be decided in secret by the newly created Court of Public Protection.

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Lehman administrators try to free up assets

Times: The administrator for Lehman Brothers, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is drawing up a plan to give out $17 billion of the defunct bank’s assets directly to creditors, it was announced today.

PwC’s original application to implement a scheme to return assets was turned down by the High Court at the end of August.

Pending an appeal later this month, PwC is drawing up a ‘plan B’ to return billions of dollars of assets to hedge funds and other investors by coming to a contractual agreement with the bank’s creditors.

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Banks hit out at FSA’s tough liquidity rules

Times: The UK’s leading banks today accused the Financial Services Authority (FSA) of putting Britain’s attractiveness as a financial centre at risk with tough new rules which will force them to set aside a financial “buffer” in government bonds.

The City watchdog today published its final rules, drawn up after nearly two years of consultations, designed to force banks to provide larger safety buffers and avoid another collapse in confidence in the system that ended with Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds being part nationalised.

The City regulator is sticking to its proposal to force banks to have a proportion of assets in high-quality government bonds but said that it would delay the implementation of this until an unspecified time when the economy has recovered.

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Calls to scrap short jail terms

BBC: Prison sentences of less than a year should be abolished because they do not work, prison governors will hear at their annual conference later.

The Prison Governors’ Association (PGA) is proposing a motion which says short-term sentences do not reform criminals, and contribute to record overcrowding.

Some 65,000 out of 100,348 prisoners sentenced in 2008 were given sentences of 12 months or under.

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Cash-strapped jails ‘ready to blow’, governor warns

Guardian: The prison population is now so large that there is the potential for a “catastrophe of widespread disorder” by inmates as jails struggle to make savings demanded by ministers, the president of the Prison Governors’ Association warns tomorrow.

Paul Tidball describes the potential for state prisons “to blow”, while private jails are exempt from spending cuts.

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Crimespotting: the new way to make money on the Internet

Times: Britain, already one of the most snooped-upon nations on Earth, is about to become a nation of snoopers.

A network of citizen crimewatchers will be given the chance of winning up to £1,000 by monitoring CCTV security cameras over the internet.

The cameras’ owners will pay a fee to have users watch the footage. The scheme, Internet Eyes, is being promoted as a game and is expected to go “live” next month with a test run in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Subscribers will be able to register free and will be given up to four cameras to monitor.

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