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Archive for November 26th, 2009

Warders sacked after female Beefeater bullying probe

Independent: In 1598 Sir John Peyton, the Lieutenant of the Tower of London, declared that some of the Yeoman Warders tasked with guarding prisoners and looking after the crown jewels were “given to drunckeness [sic], disorders and quarrels”. If he were still alive, Sir John could be forgiven for thinking that little has changed in the last 400 years.

Today, two Yeoman Warders at the Tower were dismissed following an investigation into allegations of harassment of the first female Beefeater, 44-year-old Moira Cameron.

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Partying rabbi cleared of drug dealing

Independent: A multi-millionaire rabbi who enjoyed cocaine-fuelled parties with prostitutes wept today as he was cleared of dealing drugs.

Rabbi Baruch Chalomish, 54, held his head in his hands, head bowed, muttering to himself as he wiped tears from his eyes before leaving the dock on bail at Manchester Crown Court.

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Radical shake-up of devolution revealed

Independent: New plans unveiled by the Government could see a swathe of new powers including control of income tax transferred from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament, in the most radical shake-up of devolution.

Westminster will cut the UK rate of income tax by 10p in Scotland, alongside a corresponding cut in Holyrood’s share of public spending. This will require Holyrood to impose a Scottish income tax of 10p if it wants its budget to remain unchanged, or more if it wants extra money.

The Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy, told the Commons: “Since the first day of devolution, the Scottish government has been accountable for how it spends taxpayers’ money. Under today’s proposals they will also be held to account for how they raise it.”

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Officials knew WMD evidence was tainted

Independent: Intelligence revealing that Saddam Hussein’s WMD had been dismantled was received by the Government just days before Tony Blair sent troops into the country, senior officials have admitted.

Ministers were also given repeated warnings that intelligence gathered on Iraq’s weapons programmes was unreliable. However, Mr Blair told the Commons that Saddam Hussein did have chemical and biological weapons as he prepared the way for the invasion in March 2003.

Sir William Ehrman, who was a senior official within the Foreign Office, told the inquiry into the Iraq war yesterday that “in the final days before military action”, the department received information that Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons may have remained broken up.

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Banks forced to reveal numbers of millionaire staff

Guardian: New laws created in the wake of Sir David Walker’s report will compel banks to say how many of their staff earn more than £1m, but ‘high end’ earners’ names will not be revealed

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Labour’s plan to dismantle Whitehall revealed

Guardian: Exclusive: Review would cut senior civil servants and move thousands out of capital

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G20 report lays down the law to police on use of force

Guardian: A blueprint for wholesale reform of British policing to create a service “anchored in public consent” was unveiled today by the inquiry prompted by Scotland Yard’s controversial handling of the G20 protests in London.

Denis O’Connor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, used his report to demand wide-ranging reforms and a return to an ideal of policing based on “approachability, impartiality, accountability and … minimum force”.

The findings received almost unanimous support across the political spectrum. The prime minister, Gordon Brown, said the government would “take the action” needed to reassure the public that policing is fair.

The report – instigated after the Guardian revealed that a newspaper seller, Ian Tomlinson, had died after an attack by a police officer – was broader and more critical than many had expected.

O’Connor warned of a “hardening” of policing style in recent years and the erosion of the British approach to policing developed by the 19th-century prime minister Sir Robert Peel and based on consent.

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