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Archive for December 4th, 2009

Photographers snap over use of Section 44 by police officers

Independent: The heavy-handed use of anti-terror laws is making innocent people feel like criminals, complain civil liberties groups

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Hoon ‘banned armed forces from preparing for Iraq war’

Independent: Geoff Hoon held back military preparations for the Iraq invasion when he was Defence Secretary, because he wanted to keep the plans secret from the public, his armed forces chief has revealed.

Admiral Lord Boyce, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, said that he was blocked from ordering equipment and mobilising troops for several months in the run-up to the Iraq war. Instead, he was limited to top secret “high-level” planning within the Ministry of Defence, meaning he was left with “some very short timelines” in which to prepare troops for the invasion.

Final preparations for one army brigade were only completed the day before the invasion began. The 7th Armoured Brigade, also known as the Desert Rats, reached “full operational capability” on 19 March 2003.

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Gordon Brown trails at 324th in public sector pay league

Guardian: Gordon Brown is the 324th highest paid person in Britain’s public sector, according to figures showing that record levels of pay were awarded during the recession.

Public sector pay is “completely divorced” from the reality of the country’s fiscal crisis, the Taxpayers’ Alliance declares in its latest report on salaries.

The pressure group campaigning for lower taxes says that in the public sector in 2008-09:

• At least 806 people were paid more than £150,000.

• There are 323 people who earn more than the prime minister, who is entitled to a salary of £194,250. This means that 323 public servants will have to appear before George Osborne if the Conservatives win the election. The shadow chancellor told the Tory conference in October: “Anyone who wishes to pay a public servant more than the prime minister will have to put it before the chancellor.”

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Bankers told: join the real world on pay

Guardian: Lord Mandelson and Harriet Harman turn up the heat on City over bonuses amid calls for tax on banks

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OFT faces new legal fight as builders line up to challenge their fines for bid-rigging

Times: The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is facing another costly legal battle after 25 construction companies contested penalties imposed by the competition regulator for illegally inflating bids for building tenders.

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Axe may fall on 5,000 City lawyers in fresh round of cuts

Times: Another 5,000 lawyers could find themselves out of work next year as City law firms undergo a new round of swingeing job cuts, bankers close to the profession have forecast.

Royal Bank of Scotland, which handles the corporate bank accounts of 80 of Britain’s top 100 law firms, believes that the slump in demand for legal services will continue through next year, leading to further drastic cutbacks.

In a report obtained by The Times, RBS’s legal practices group said that the legal market would need to shrink by another 5 to 10 per cent next year if it was to return to the levels of profitability that existed before the financial crisis began.

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Law school BPP accused of exploiting demand to rake in more fees

Times: One of London’s most prestigious law schools is under investigation amid allegations that it exploited student demand, packing in extra numbers to boost income by almost £1 million.

BPP, which takes more than 1,000 aspiring lawyers in London a year — many for top “magic circle” law firms — is under inquiry by the Bar’s regulatory body after exceeding its approved quota by more than 25 per cent.

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