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Archive for October 27th, 2009

Jail for conman who pretended to be top lawyer

Independent: A swindler who pretended to be the country’s top lawyer and dressed in pinstripe suits, wigs and robes to trick women is behind bars after being convicted of a string of offences including fraud and theft.

Paul Bint, who has spent a lifetime “worming” his way into the “hearts and homes” of the opposite sex, wined and dined victims he met through lonely hearts ads or the internet.

The unlikely-looking lothario sported all the trappings of a barrister enjoying high-powered connections.

The 47-year-old told some of his “conquests” he was the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer.

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Tony Blair warned: fight or you’ll lose EU job

Guardian: Gordon Brown has asked two of his most senior civil servants to lobby discreetly within Europe for Tony Blair to become its new president amid warnings from allies in government that the former prime minister will lose his chance unless he launches a dynamic campaign.

John Cunliffe, the prime minister’s most senior Europe adviser, and Kim Darroch, Britain’s EU ambassador, are taking soundings at senior levels. David Miliband, meanwhile, has also intensified Britain’s campaign for Blair to become the first president of the European council.

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Police forces challenged over files held on law-abiding protesters

Guardian: Chief constables will be forced to justify the legality of recording thousands of law-abiding protesters on secret nationwide databases, the government’s privacy watchdog announced today.

Christopher Graham, the information commissioner, said he had “genuine concerns about the ever increasing amount” of personal data held by police.

Graham’s move came after the Guardian revealed how police have developed a covert apparatus to monitor people they consider are, or could be, “domestic extremists”, a term which has no legal basis.

Photographs and personal details of thousands of activists who attend demonstrations, rallies and political meetings are being stored on the databases. Surveillance officers are given so-called “spotter cards” to identify individuals who may “instigate offences or disorder” at demonstrations.

Alan Johnson, the home secretary, was today forced to defend the police for labelling protesters “domestic extremists”. He said: “I haven’t issued any guidance [to police] on the definition of that phrase. The police know what they are doing, they know how to tackle these demonstrations, they do it very effectively.”

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UK wants claims of complicity to be heard in secret

Guardian: The government wants allegations that it was complicit in the torture by the US of Britons held as terrorism suspects to be heard in secret.

In documents seen by the Guardian, lawyers for the government argue it must be allowed to present evidence to the high court with the public excluded, otherwise Britain’s relations with other countries and its national security could be damaged. The government also wants its evidence kept secret from defence lawyers.

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Jewish school JFS in Supreme Court to deny it broke law by turning boy away

Times: A leading Jewish state school goes to the new Supreme Court today to challenge a ruling that it broke race laws.

JFS, formerly the Jewish Free School, which is heavily oversubscribed, refused to admit a boy because his mother had converted to the religion at a Progressive rather than an Orthodox synagogue.

This summer the Court of Appeal found that the school in Brent, northwest London, had discriminated against the child on racial grounds.

The ruling put the court at loggerheads with the Office of the Chief Rabbi (OCR) and had serious ramifications for admissions to Jewish schools.

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Alan Johnson ‘stops the clock’ on Gary McKinnon’s extradition proceedings

Times: The Home Secretary has thrown a lifeline to Gary McKinnon, the alleged computer hacker, with a promise to examine new medical evidence “very carefully” before deciding on his extradition to the United States.

In an eleventh-hour intervention, Alan Johnson told MPs that he had “stopped the clock” on proceedings to give Mr McKinnon’s lawyers time to consider medical reports and make legal representations.

Mr McKinnon, 43, from Wood Green, North London, suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. He says that his hacking of Pentagon computers was nothing more than him searching for reports of UFO sightings.

His lawyers say that he is at risk of suicide if extradited.

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