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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Lock your doors alert as Whitby double murder suspect spotted on run

Posted On 08:11 0 comments

Detectives hunting double murder suspect James Allen have urged Yorkshire residents to lock their doors and windows after reported sightings of him on the East Coast raised fears the killer could strike again. Allen, a 35-year-old drug user with previous convictions for violence, is believed to have killed his former next-door neighbour in Middlesbrough and murdered a Whitby housewife while on bail for other offences. Police called on him to hand himself in yesterday as they revealed sightings of the suspect had been reported in Whitby, Scarborough and Middlesbrough. More than 100 officers from the Cleveland and North Yorkshire forces are investigating the murders of Colin Dunford, 81, and Julie Davison, 50. Both victims suffered head injuries. The detective leading the inquiry, Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang of Cleveland Police, said it was a “24/7 operation” that would not stop until Allen is found.


Friday, 27 April 2012

Gas canister man storms office

Posted On 15:07 0 comments

One of the country's busiest shopping streets has been closed as a man wearing gas canisters stormed into an office and threatened to blow himself up, it was reported. Tottenham Court Road in central London was closed after police received emergency calls at midday. Scotland Yard sent a hostage negotiator to the scene amid reports the man had held people hostage inside the building several floors up. Pictures emerged of computer and office equipment being thrown through one of the office windows. A police spokesman said it was "too early to say if the suspect was armed or indeed had taken any hostages" but businesses and nearby buildings were evacuated. Joaqam Ramus, who works at nearby Cafe Fresco, said before being evacuated: "There was talk of a bomb and somebody having a hostage in a building. "All Tottenham Court Road is closed and so are we - the police told us to shut. "We don't know what it is but it seems someone has a hostage."


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Credit card fraud websites shut down on three continents

Posted On 16:42 0 comments

Three men have been arrested and 36 criminal websites selling credit card information and other personal data shut down as part of a two-year international anti-fraud operation, police have confirmed. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), working with the FBI and US Department of Justice, as well as authorities in Germany; the Netherlands; Ukraine; Australia and Romania, swooped after identifying the sites as specialising in selling card and bank details in bulk. The move comes as a blow to what is a growing black market for stolen financial data. Detectives estimated that the card information seized could have been used to extract more than £500m in total by fraudsters. SOCA claimed it has recovered more than two and a half million items of compromised personal and financial information over the past two years. “The authorities have shut down 36 websites but it is difficult to know how many other people had access to that data. They could spring back up somewhere else if a gang is not eradicated completely,” said Graham Cluley of internet security firm Sophos. He added: “This is big business and, just as in any legitimate company there are people who specialise in different things, so there are those who actually get their hands on the personal data and those who sell it on; they are not often the same person.” An investigation by The Independent last summer found that scammers were making a “comfortable living” getting their hands on sensitive information and selling it online. Card details were being offered for sale for between 4p and £60 per card – depending on the quality – according to one source in the business. Some cards would be sold with incomplete or unreliable information; others ready to use. Some of the card details for sale on the websites shut down by SOCA were being sold for as little as £2 each. Investigators said that the alleged fraudsters were using Automated Vending Carts, which allowed them to sell large quantities of stolen data. They are said to be a driver of the growth in banking fraud over the last 18 months because of the speed with which stolen data can be sold. Lee Miles, Head of Cyber Operations for SOCA said: “This operation is an excellent example of the level of international cooperation being focused on tackling online fraud. Our activities have saved business, online retailers and financial institutions potential fraud losses estimated at more than half a billion pounds, and at the same time protected thousands of individuals from the distress caused by being a victim of fraud or identity crime.” An alleged operator in Macedonia was one of those arrested, while two British men accused of buying the information were also detained. Britain’s Dedicated Cheque & Plastic Crime Unit also seized computers suspected of being used to commit fraud.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Shooting a 'warning' from rival bikie gang

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SIMMERING tension between rival bikie gangs exploded on the Gold Coast yesterday with the drive-by shooting of a tattoo parlour in the heart of Bandidos territory. Police fear the attack could be a push for territory by the Hells Angels as the outlaw gang seeks a toehold on the lucrative Glitter Strip. Less than 24 hours after police commissioner Bob Atkinson told the Bulletin that bikie gangs were "one of the greatest challenges to face law enforcement", the Bandido-protected Mermaid Beach tattoo shop was hit by at least four shots in the early hours of yesterday morning.  High-ranking police yesterday said it was "inevitable" that the violence that has plagued Sydney would eventually spill across the border. "We do not believe it is directly connected to the war between the Hells Angels and the Nomads that has been unfolding in New South Wales," said police. "But it is a similar style of attack. "We know the Hells Angels have been pushing to establish a chapter on the Gold Coast -- that push is coming from Sydney. "Tradelink Drive is not their most profitable chapter." While detectives have attempted to play down the shooting, police say there is "no doubt" it was intended as a warning. The Bandidos are the largest and one of the most secretive bikie gangs on the Gold Coast. The club has gained strength as its main rival -- the Finks -- have been severely weakened with so many senior members behind bars and Bandido territory stretches south from Broadbeach. Police said last month's Hells Angels National Run was intended as a direct message to all gangs on the Gold Coast. More than 200 patched gang members descended on Surfers Paradise for the run. "These clubs are so well organised, they do nothing without a reason," police said. "You can bet they had some purpose in coming to the Gold Coast. "They taunted the Finks and nothing happened, now the Bandidos tattoo shop is shot up in the same way the gym controlled by the Hells Angels was hit a few months ago. "You join the dots." The shop is owned by a senior member of the outlaw gang who has been a patched member of the Bandidos "for years", police say. In an exclusive interview with the Bulletin, Mr Atkinson said the danger of bikie gangs was "under-rated" by the community. "The outlaw motorcycle gangs nationally present one of the greatest challenges to police. "I think the degree of that challenge and the risk they present to our society is underrated." The Gold Coast has one of the highest populations of bikie gangs in the country. Mr Atkinson said he would not be surprised if the Hells Angels were not considering a move closer to the Glitter Strip. "They are businesses, they look for opportunity so that wouldn't be a surprise," he said. "They market themselves as a group of mature men who have a love and interest in motorbikes and they do that very cleverly. The reality is they are highly sophisticated, well organised criminal enterprises that pose a genuine risk to the community and many are well represented by the finest and best lawyers who they retain to represent them." South East Region Assistant Commissioner Graham Rynders said the gangs were constantly looking to expand. "One of things about OMCGs is they look for opportunity for criminal enterprise," Mr Rynders said. "Throughout Queensland, throughout the country, probably throughout the world they are looking to expand. It is obviously dictated to by territory, depending on who or what other groups exist in what areas."


Jury hears grisly details about murder scene

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Police discovered a grisly scene on Sept. 10, 2000, when they entered a Cogmagun Road home in Hants County. “It was a very brutal scene,” Cpl. Shawn Sweeney, who was a constable with the Windsor rural RCMP detachment that day, testified Tuesday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Kentville. It was the second day of trial for Leslie Douglas Greenwood, 42, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Barry Kirk Mersereau, 48, and his wife, Nancy Paula Christensen, 47. Sweeney, a Crown witness, testified that he and four other police officers who responded to a 911 call found Christensen sitting upright in a chair in the living room of her Centre Burlington home with a bullet wound in her left cheek, under her glasses. She had a cup of tea in her hand and a small dog was sitting in her lap. There were several bullet casings and lead fragments scattered on the floor. Mersereau was lying face down, with pools of blood around his head and body. Another dog, believed to be a German shepherd-Rottweiler mix, was hiding under covers on the bed in the master bedroom. A third dog was tied to the front porch and another had run off into the woods. Sweeney told Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy and the seven-woman, five-man jury hearing the case that the house appeared to be neat and orderly, with no signs of struggle. “It didn’t appear to be a house that was rifled through or things thrown around,” Sweeney testified. Const. Glenn Bonvie told the court it was immediately obvious that Mersereau and Christensen were dead. “There was no movement. There was no doubt that they were deceased.” Crown witness Ronald Connors owned a hunting cabin in the woods about half a kilometre away from the couple’s house. He testifed that he heard several shots at about 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 9. Connors said he heard six shots fired in quick succession, followed by a pause and a couple more shots. Moments later, there were more shots. He said he thought at first someone might be jacking deer, but Connors concluded that the shots didn’t sound like those from a high-powered hunting rifle. The jury was shown a video of the two bodies as they were found. Former RCMP officer David Clace, then in charge of the RCMP’s forensics identification unit in New Minas, said a large amount of money was found in plastic bags in a gym bag in one of the bedroom closets. The bag was later determined to contain about $65,000 in cash. Crown attorney Peter Craig has told the court that the victims were shot to death in their home in an execution-style killing as part of a Hells Angels-ordered killing. “They were killed in their home in a quiet community, with a teapot on the stove, with no signs of struggle and their baby in the next room,” Craig told the jury. He said evidence presented by as many as 40 Crown witnesses will show that Michael Lawrence and Greenwood murdered the couple on the orders of Jeffrey Lynds, a former Hells Angels operative who died recently in a Montreal jail of an apparent suicide. Lawrence, who owed Lynds money, pleaded guilty last January to three charges of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years. Also killed that day, by Lawrence, was Charles Maddison, an innocent man who picked Lawrence up hitchhiking. Lawrence shot him to take his truck to commit a planned robbery. Craig said Lawrence, expected to be a crucial Crown witness, will testify that he and Greenwood shot the couple, one with a .357 Magnum, the other with a 32-calibre handgun, in what he called “planned and deliberate” killings. The couple’s 18-month-old baby boy was safely recovered from the house by neighbour Ruby McKenzie, who went to the victim’s home the day after the shootings. McKenzie said she brought the baby back to her mobile home and called police. Greenwood sat quietly during the proceedings, occasionally exchanging comments with his lawyer, Alain Begin. Begin is expected to argue that Greenwood went to the Mersereau house the day of the shootings to buy drugs, and that Lawrence shot the couple while Greenwood was waiting outside. Also charged with first-degree murder in the killings is Curtis Blair Lynds, 36, who is serving time in a federal prison for drug trafficking. A preliminary inquiry in his case is scheduled to begin July 16.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

police hunt for Michael Brown's missing millions

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British police are still trying to trace £18m allegedly stolen by the Liberal Democrats' fugitive donor Michael Brown, who is expected to be extradited to Britain within the next 10 days. Brown, 46, was in a holding cell near Madrid airport on Sunday, having been deported from the Dominican Republic, where he had been on the run from UK authorities for three years. Brown, who gave £2.4m to the Liberal Democrats before the 2005 general election, is not expected to challenge a formal move to extradite him to London which has already been set in motion. He was convicted of theft and false accounting in his absence in Britain in 2008 and sentenced to seven years in jail. Detectives are still trying to trace around £18m of Brown's stolen money, which had been moved between his accounts in the US, Britain and Switzerland, the Guardian understands. Brown was estimated to have stolen more than £60m in a number of frauds. Most of his assets have been accounted for in property deals, a Bentley, a yacht and the private jet once used to fly senior Lib Dems across the UK. However, more than £18m has not yet been accounted for. "The file at Interpol on Brown and his associates remains open," a source told the Guardian. Brown's return will be another embarrassing development in the long-running saga over the Lib Dems' biggest single donation. The party has refused to compensate any of Brown's victims, claiming it received the money in good faith and spent it on the 2005 election campaign. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg welcomed Brown's return to Britain but said on Sunday that the party would not be returning his donation because the Electoral Commission had concluded the money had been received in good faith. The deputy prime minister, who pointed out that the donation was made before he was elected to Westminster, told BBC1's Sunday Politics: "I'm very pleased he's coming back to serve his sentence. This is a convicted fraudster. "I should stress that this is something which happened as far as the Liberal Democrats are concerned before I was even an MP, yet alone leader of the Liberal Democrats. What I've been told is that the Electoral Commission in 2009 looked at this exhaustively – as far as the receipt of that money by the Liberal Democrats from one of his companies. They categorically concluded that the money was received in good faith and all the controls, all the checks that should have been made were reasonably made by the Liberal Democrats at the time. If we'd been shown wanting on those accounts then of course we should pay the money back." But Brown's return will increase focus on the Electoral Commission inquiry into Brown's donations. The inquiry failed to call the Lib Dems' former treasurer, Reg Clark, who resigned over Brown in 2005 and warned advisers to the former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy that Brown should be treated with extreme caution. One of Brown's victims said the Lib Dems should return the money. Tony Brown, managing partner at law firm Bivonas which represents US attorney Robert Mann who lost more than $5m (£3m), said Brown may be asked to give evidence as part of his client's claim against the Lib Dems. "The Lib Dems have refused to repay this money to our client even though they know that this is the proceeds of crime. The Electoral Commission has failed to investigate this properly in our view. So now that Brown is returning to the jurisdiction, we can investigate again and establish the basis on which the Lib Dems received this money." Brown is expected to appear before a Spanish court to confirm his name and will then appear before an extradition hearing within 10 days. City of London police, who first uncovered Brown's fraud, confirmed his deportation. Detective Superintendent Bob Wishart said: "We hope that him facing justice will bring some closure to the victims who suffered as a result of his frauds." A close friend of Brown's told the Guardian on Sunday that he had arrived in Spain on Saturday after "volunteering" for deportation from the Dominican Republic, where he has been hiding for three years under the name of Darren Nally. "He asked to return to Britain. He is going home to face the music," the friend said. Brown appeared to come from nowhere when the party was paid £2.4m in the runup to the 2005 election from his company 5th Avenue Partners. A fast-talking and brash Glaswegian, he had walked into the party's then headquarters in Cowley Street and offered it money. He was not registered to vote, had no interest in politics and had never been a party member, but said he was giving the money to create an even playing field. Brown wined and dined with Charles Kennedy and other party grandees, and used his private jet to fly Kennedy across the country during the election campaign. Former Lib Dem insiders say he dazzled them with stories of Gordonstoun public school, St Andrews University and his connections with royalty and the US government. The truth was that he had attended his local school and completed a City and Guilds in catering at Glasgow College of Food Technology. He had no US government links – although he was wanted in Florida for cheque fraud. He was arrested in late 2005 after four former clients said he had duped them out of more than £40m in a high-yield fraud. His victims included Martin Edwards, the former Manchester United chairman, who had invested £8m with 5th Avenue Partners. The court would later be told that 5th Avenue Partners was wholly fraudulent and Brown had given money to the Lib Dems to give himself an air of respectability while duping his victims. The party had been used as part of his cover story, a judge said. In June 2008, while awaiting trial, Brown fled and a warrant was issued for his arrest. In the weeks before he disappeared, from his Hampstead bail address in north London, he changed his name on the electoral roll to Campbell-Brown and allowed his hair to turn grey. He travelled to the Dominican Republic where he enjoyed a millionaire's lifestyle while on the run. He lived in gated communities yards from some of the most pristine beaches in the Caribbean, drove a series of 4x4 vehicles and was a regular at exclusive golf courses. In Punta Cana, an exclusive resort on the eastern tip of the island, he could often be seen walking his dog – named Charles, after the former Lib Dem leader. He was arrested in Punta Cana in January on unrelated fraud allegations.


Donaldson enjoyed a lavish lifestyle in Marbella and Tenerife, trafficking accused found hiding in loft with £70k in cash

Posted On 11:54 0 comments

 A SUSPECTED drug trafficker was found by police hiding in a farmhouse loft in Scotland with a bag stuffed with £70,000, a Spanish court was told last week. Ian Donaldson, 32, is accused of helping fund an international drugs ring smuggling cocaine and speed from Spain to Scotland The former amateur racing driver – who drove a Lamborghini with the distinctive Lambo 88 plate – was tracked down to the farm by officers from the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency. Donaldson – who enjoyed a lavish lifestyle in Marbella and Tenerife– is one of six Brits facing court in Madrid accused of making millions from the drugs trade. Detective Inspector James Wallace of the SCDEA told the court: “I arrested him on February 27, 2009. He was hiding in a loft area in a farm building. We also found £70,000 hidden in a bag.” Eight SCDEA detectives gave evidence to the National Court in the Spanish capital last week via a video link from Edinburgh. The court heard Scottish police mounted a surveillance operation after Donaldson, from Renton, Dunbartonshire, was released on bail. Detectives watched him in a series of meetings in Glasgow and Hamilton in April 2009, as he tried to hide the origins of his fortune, prosecutors allege. Donaldson met with fellow accused Mary Hendry and Joseph Campbell and was observed discussing large sums of money and swapping paperwork for a nightclub in Gran Canaria. It was alleged they were secretly plotting to make it look like Donaldson had made some of his wealth from the club. Meetings took place at supermarkets in Glasgow and Hamilton and the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. DI Wallace told the court: “We saw he (Donaldson) was creating a defence for the Spanish charges. “I believe they (Hendry and Campbell) were both subservient to Donaldson, who instructed them on what to do.” The detective said Donaldson and his company IRD Services were also investigated for money- laundering in Scotland. He added: “There is evidence he purchased seven vehicles in Scotland, worth up to £900,000, between 2006 and 2008.” Mary Hendry told the court she only met Donaldson twice for legitimate business meetings. She said: “Joseph Campbell introduced me to Ian Donaldson because I was trying to sell my restaurant. “I met him the next day and he said he was not interested. I never saw him again.” It is alleged Donaldson was the money man for a gang of drug smugglers based in Tenerife and Marbella, led by Glaswegian Ronald O’Dea, 45. The gang are alleged to have spent millions on luxury villas, fast cars and yachts. In October 2008, police seized a a haul of amphetamines worth £660,000 heading to Scotland after stopping a lorry in Oxfordshire. Donaldson, Hendry and O’Dea share the dock in Madrid with fellow Scot James MacDonald, 62, and Londoners Steve Brown, 45, and Deborah Learmouth, 49. The gang face charges ranging from drug-trafficking to money-laundering. They deny all charges. Two other defendants – Brian Rawlings and Joseph Campbell – failed to show up at the trial. The judges will give their verdict at a later date.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Wayne Rooney launches phone-hacking claim

Posted On 13:26 0 comments

Wayne Rooney and England rugby union World Cup winner Matt Dawson are among the new wave of high-profile figures suing Rupert Murdoch's News International over alleged News of the World phone hacking. The England and Manchester United football star, his agent Paul Stretford, Dawson, now a BBC rugby commentator and Question of Sport team captain, actor James Nesbitt and Sir John Major's former daughter-in-law, Emma Noble, are among 46 new phone-hacking cases filed at the high court in London. Times Newspapers, the News International subsidiary that publishes the Times and Sunday Times, is also facing its first civil damages claim, from Northern Ireland human rights campaigner Jane Winter, who is also suing NoW publisher, News Group Newspapers. Winter's claim is related to an article in the Sunday Times in August 2006, her solicitor confirmed. A reference to the article was made in a witness statement she submitted to the Leveson inquiry in February. Winter alleged in evidence to the inquiry that her emails to the former British army intelligence officer Ian Hurst were hacked by NoW. A News International spokeswoman said Winter's case would be "defended vigorously". Others who have filed claims in the past few days seeking damages for alleged invasion of privacy from News Group, the News International subsidiary that published the now-closed Sunday tabloid, include former Conservative cabinet minister and chief whip Lord Blencathra and former Fire Brigades Union general secretary Andy Gilchrist. The list of new claimants also features Michelle Bayford, the former girlfriend of the victim of the 2006 so-called "elephant man" drug trial case. Her then boyfriend, Ryan Wilson, spent three weeks in a coma and lost all his toes and parts of his fingers to gangrene. Another claimant, Anne Colvin, was a witness in the Tommy Sheridan perjury trial. At a case management conference at the high court in London , Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing victims of alleged phone hacking, told Mr Justice Vos that he had 44 new cases filed while two others had submitted their claims via another legal representative. The court also heard that law firm Harbottle & Lewis has a number of "sensitive clients" who wish to remain anonymous. It is expected that up to 200 new claims will be filed over the coming months, Tomlinson told the court in a previous hearing. Claims filed in the past week bring the number of new cases against News International to 46. This figure includes earlier claims filed by public figures including Cherie Booth, Alex Best, the former wife of the late footballer George Best, and Colin Stagg, the man wrongly accused of murdering Rachel Nickell. Others who have filed claims include comedian Bobby Davro, actor Tina Hobley's former husband Steve Wallington, TV personalities Jamie Theakston and Jeff Brazier, the former boxer Chris Eubank, and footballers Peter Crouch, Kieron Dyer and Jermaine Jenas. The cases are part of a second wave of civil actions which Vos is managing following the settlement of more than 50 cases earlier this year including claims by Jude Law, Charlotte Church and Lord Prescott. Tomlinson did not disclose the names of the claimants on Friday, but court documents show that new cases submitted to the high court in the past week bring the number of new actions faced by News International to nearly 50, a number that is expected to rise considerably. Tomlinson told the court that News International had received 100 requests for discovery of preliminary disclosure. He said there were 4,791 potential phone-hacking victims, of which 1,892 had been contacted by the police. The police believed 1,174 were "likely victims". Court 30 in the Rolls Building of the high court was packed, with more than 50 law firms acting for victims. Vos said there were 58 firms of solicitors representing only 100 victims, which he told Tomlinson was "unbelievable". The judge added that he wanted to ensure costs are reduced for claimants. "Many of them have seen the light and have instructed lawyers who have specialist knowledge of this case," said Vos. He suggested possible tariffs of costs for each element of the legal action. This would mean fresh claimants could access to information relating to the News of the World's phone-hacking activity already produced on discovery in earlier cases, without incurring the costs associated with a full action. "I will have no sympathy for outrageous cost estimates," he said. "A claimant is entitled to have a solicitor, but what he is not entitled to have is a solicitor who knows nothing about the case and charges the defendant for that."


Friday, 20 April 2012

Mike Tyson has for the first time revealed his lowest point ever in a searingly candid interview.

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Once known as the ‘baddest man on the planet’, his life has taken more than a few dark twists and turns.

But now Mike Tyson has for the first time revealed his lowest point ever in a searingly candid interview.

The former heavyweight champion said that back in 2009 he was in a hotel room with seven prostitutes, a morphine drip in his arm, a pile of cocaine and a bottle of cognac when he began to feel paranoid.

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Candid: The former world champion gave his most honest interview yet - revealing the drug-fuelled night that made him turn his life around and get clean and sober

Convinced the women were trying to steal from him he started beating them up and threw them out - to stop them from 'taking his soul'.

 

 Tyson said: ‘That’s when I realised it wasn’t just demons - it was the devil himself.

‘It was the lowest point of a very low life, but it was my own knockout punch to clean up life, get whole, get well - and I haven’t done anything in three years now. 

‘I’m clean. I’m sober.’

Tyson’s recently swapped the boxing ring for the cabaret stage in a six night comedy show at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, where some of his biggest fights took place.

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World Champion: Mike Tyson lands the knockout punch to the jaw of challenger Larry Holmes during fourth round of the World Heavyweight Championship in Atlantic City 1988

 

In an interview with Las Vegas Weekly to promote the show, he was asked to talk about the moment he realised he had to turn his life around.

Tyson, 45 said: ‘Laying in bed in a hotel room - I try never to be alone, even if it’s a prostitute, a dog. 

‘This is really dark. I am in my hotel suite, I’ve got seven women there, and I have a morphine drip, and I had my cocaine, and I had my (Viagra like pill) Cialis, I had my marijuana, I had the Hennessy, and I am at my lowest point because I got paranoid and I thought these women were trying to rob me and set me up. 

‘I started beating them. I was in a dark place. There was a purpose, though, because I didn’t want to give them any more of my soul.

‘So this is my devil, this is where I am, I am locked up alone. There is nobody there telling me that I’m doing too much. 

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Troubled: Tyson's first marriage to actress Robin Givens fell apart amid allegations of him being violent - he is now married for the third time

 

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Mug shot: In 1992 Tyson was jailed for raping Desiree Washington - a beauty pageant contestant - he was released from prison after three years

‘That is the devil, he won. I kicked them all out. So that was my lowest point. Oh, man. I am just very grateful to be here - my heart should have blown apart. I was sweating wide awake. No more cocaine. No more. Three years clean.’

In his turbulent life Tyson has been married three times, fathered eight children and became the youngest heavyweight champion the world has ever seen at just 20.

But fame ruined him and his troubled upbringing - his mother was a prostitute and he never knew his pimp father - came back to haunt him.

In the interview he claimed to have earned $300million in winnings but admitted that he was so bad with money he was ‘forced to live paycheck to paycheck’.

In 1992, three years after his first marriage to actress Robin Givens fell apart, he was jailed for six years for raping Desiree Washington, a contestant in the Miss Black America pageant.

Released having served three years, he fought Evander Holyfield in the fight that became one of the most notorious bouts in boxing history when he bit part of his opponent’s ear off.

Reflecting on his life Tyson told Las Vegas Weekly that he was now the happiest he has ever been, and is just trying to be a good husband to his third wife, and a good father to his children.

Tyson said: ‘In order to wear the crown, you have to have a miserable life, and that is the one that inherits the crown. 

‘I don’t know, you have to go from the worst to reach the best. I’m just that extreme type of person. That is who I am, the guy that has no limits.’




EU condemns Repsol state seizure

Posted On 15:02 0 comments

 The European Parliament has passed a resolution condemning a nationalisation that has strained relations between Spain and Argentina. Argentina has nationalised YPF, wiping out the Spanish firm Repsol's controlling-stake in the oil firm. The resolution asks the European Commission to consider a "partial suspension" of tariffs that benefit Argentine exports into the EU. Shares in Repsol has another decline, falling 2.3% on Friday. Over the week, Repsol stock has lost almost a fifth of its value. MEPs in the European Parliament said the institution "deplores" the decision taken by Argentina and describes it as an "attack on the exercise of free enterprise". Decisions such as that taken by the Argentine authorities "can put a strain on the climate of understanding and friendship needed to reach" a trade agreement between a South American bloc and the EU, it said. The resolution, which is non-binding, received 458 votes in favour, 71 against and 16 abstentions. 'Not valid' It also emerged that Repsol may be obliged to buy a minority shareholder's YPF stake if it ever lost majority control, which Repsol denied. Twenty-five percent of YPF is owned by Argentina's Eskenazi family through its firm, Peterson. Continue reading the main story Nationalising YPF Spain's Repsol has hitherto owned 57.4% of shares with 25.5% belonging to Argentina's Petersen, 0.02% to the Argentine government and 17% traded on stock exchanges The Argentine government proposes to seize 51% of the shares, all of which will be taken from Repsol's stake, leaving the Spanish firm with 6.4% The expropriated shares will in turn be divided between the Argentine government and provincial governors Following the expropriation, Petersen will retain its 25.5% stake and 17% of the shares will continue to be traded Argentina's risky energy seizure According to regulator filings of a 2008 agreement, Repsol must "maintain directly or indirectly through controlled companies an ownership interest greater than or equal to 50.1%". If it does not, Repsol is obliged to buy back the loans used to secure the Eskenazis' shares. But Repsol told the BBC that the expropriation of its stake in YPF had invalidated the agreement. "The agreement is not valid under Spanish law in these conditions," said Kristian Rix, a Repsol spokesman. "The law is unequivocal, there is no debate." Trade war brewing? Spain has threatened retaliation against Argentina over the forced nationalisation of oil firm YPF, raising the prospects of a trade war between the nations. Spanish Trade Secretary Jaime Garcia Legaz said the European Union would intervene over Argentina's seizure of YPF. Argentina is taking over 51% of YPF, wiping out Repsol's 57.4% majority stake. The move has wide support in Argentina but has provoked outrage in Spain. Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had also offered support. Repsol has said it wants around $10bn (£6.2bn) for its stake in YPF, but Argentina has said it does not accept that valuation. YPF, Argentina's biggest oil company, was privatised in 1993. Last year it announced huge new finds of shale oil and gas.


Hacking scandal: the net tightens on the Murdochs

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 Rupert Murdoch's grip on his media empire was dramatically challenged yesterday after his company was labelled a "toxic shadow state" which launched a dirty tricks campaign against MPs and now faces a salvo of phone-hacking claims in the United States. On a tumultuous day for the media mogul, the lawyer who brought the first damages claims against the News of the World in Britain said he had uncovered new allegations of the use of "dark arts" by News Corp in America and was ready to file at least three phone-hacking lawsuits in the company's backyard. The sense of a legal net tightening around Mr Murdoch and News Corp was heightened by the announcement that he and his son James will testify separately next week before the Leveson Inquiry into press standards during three days of what is likely to be uncomfortable scrutiny of alleged widespread criminality in their British tabloid newspapers. In a separate development, the royal editor of The Sun became the latest journalist on the paper to be arrested on suspicion of making corrupt payments to public officials. The arrest coincided with the publication of an incendiary book on the scandal which levelled new accusations that the NOTW set out on an extraordinary campaign of intimidation of MPs to try to blunt their investigations into its alleged law breaking. Last night senior MPs called for News International (NI) to be investigated by the Commons for potential contempt of Parliament over the claims that members of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee were targeted by attempts to dig dirt on their private lives. Dial M for Murdoch, written by the Labour MP Tom Watson and The Independent's Martin Hickman, also alleges that: l Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of NI, was bugged in her own office shortly before she resigned last summer over the phone hacking of Milly Dowler, the murdered schoolgirl. l On his release from prison, Glenn Mulcaire, the convicted NOTW hacker, allegedly was contracted to give security advice to a private security company, Quest, whose chairman is Lord Stevens, a former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. l NI intermediaries approached Mr Watson with a "deal" to "give him" former NOTW editor and Downing Street press chief Andy Coulson but that Ms Brooks was "sacred". NI, which runs Mr Murdoch's British newspapers, said it had no comment to make on the book. At a packed Westminster press conference, Mr Watson, who is a member of the Culture, Media and Sport committee, said the claim that the NOTW set out in 2009 to undermine the MPs investigating it came from Neville Thurlbeck, the NOTW's former chief reporter. In the book, Mr Thurlbeck, who has been arrested in connection with phone hacking, says: "An edict came down... and it was find out every single thing you can about every single member: who was gay, who had affairs, anything we can use." Mr Thurlbeck told The Independent last night that the order to target the MPs, which involved assigning two politicians each to a group of six reporters, had not originated from inside the paper but instead came from "elsewhere inside News International". He insisted that NOTW staff had been reluctant and there was a "degree of procrastination" before the plan was "suddenly and unexpectedly halted about 10 days later". Mr Watson, who has received an apology from NI after he was placed under surveillance, said he believed the campaign was nonetheless successful and had contributed to a decision by the media committee not to demand that Ms Brooks give evidence to it in 2010. He added: "Parliament was, in effect, intimidated. News International thought they could do this, that they could get away with it, that no one could touch them; and they actually did it, and it worked." Labelling News Corp a "toxic institution", he added: "We conclude that the web of influence which News Corporation spun in Britain, which effectively bent politicians, police and many others in public life to its will, amounted to a shadow state." Former Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price, who is gay and was a member of the DCMS committee, is described in the book as having been warned by a Conservative colleague that their private lives would be raked over if they called Ms Brooks to give evidence – "effectively they would delve into our personal lives in order to punish us". Hours after publication of the book, Mark Lewis, the lawyer who has doggedly pursued hacking claims, told a press conference in New York that he was investigating allegations of impropriety at Mr Murdoch's US media companies, including Fox News. He said a high-profile trip to America to prepare claims on behalf of victims whose phones were allegedly hacked on US soil had generated a slew of new allegations about wider use of "dark arts" to obtain private information. He said: "The investigation in the UK began with one claim by one client and look where it is now. While it starts in America with three cases, it seems likely it might end up with more." The allegations will provide an awkward backdrop for the Murdochs to their appearances before the Leveson Inquiry. Rupert Murdoch, who is the first witness before the inquiry to be scheduled for two days of testimony, will be questioned about practices in his British newspapers and whether he had knowledge of those activities. Chris Bryant last night confirmed that he would be asking Parliament to investigate the claims that NI carried out targeted intimidation. Royal editor of The Sun arrested The royal editor of The Sun was arrested yesterday after News Corp handed over information to detectives investigating alleged illegal payments to public officials. Duncan Larcombe, 36, who had previously worked as the newspaper's defence editor, was arrested during an early morning raid at his home in Kent on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office. Officers from Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden also arrested a 42-year-old former member of the armed forces and a woman, 38, at their home in Lancashire. All three were later released on bail. Mr Larcombe was the paper's royal correspondent from 2005 to 2009 before being appointed defence editor for 14 months. He returned to the royal beat last year and led the newspaper's coverage of the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William. He was the second Sun defence editor to be arrested during the police inquiry.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

British police arrested three people, including the royal editor of Rupert Murdoch's Sun tabloid

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British police arrested three people, including the royal editor of Rupert Murdoch's Sun tabloid, a source familiar with the situation said, in an escalation of a long-running phone hacking scandal which reaches into Britain's political establishment.

Thursday's arrests and the fact they stemmed from information given to the police by Murdoch's company itself is likely to reignite tensions within the media group, just days before parliament gives its verdict on how the culture of illegality came about.

Next week Rupert Murdoch and son James will also appear before a judicial inquiry to answer questions over the conduct of the press, which will focus on the close ties between Murdoch, his executives and the political establishment.

James Murdoch will appear in court room 73 at the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday while lawyers at the inquiry have cleared a day and a half to grill the 81-year-old Rupert on Wednesday and Thursday.

"This was always going to be an important six weeks in this affair, with the Murdochs and politicians going before the Leveson judicial inquiry, but it will be exacerbated by the arrests and the imminent committee report," said Steven Barnett, communications professor at the University of Westminster.

Police made the arrests one day after prosecutors confirmed they had started to examine the police case against four journalists and seven others to establish whether they should be charged with a range of offences including perverting the course of justice.

Press reports have speculated that one of those named in the files is Rebekah Brooks, a former editor of the News of the World and Sun tabloids and a close friend of both Murdochs and Prime Minister David Cameron.

Brooks has been arrested twice, once for corruption and intercepting communications, and more recently for perverting the course of justice, along with her husband, Charlie Brooks.

The three arrested on Thursday were detained at dawn and questioned over inappropriate payments made to police and public officials.

The source familiar with the situation said one of those was Duncan Larcombe, royal editor and a former defence correspondent at the Sun, Britain's biggest selling daily newspaper.

A spokeswoman for Murdoch's British newspaper arm News International confirmed that one of those arrested was a Sun journalist but declined to give further details.

Larcombe was previously a defence correspondent at the Sun and another person arrested on Thursday was described by police as a 42-year-old former member of the armed forces. A woman aged 38 has also been arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office.

ROUTINE HACKING

Murdoch's British newspaper arm has been rocked in the last year by allegations that journalists at the Sun's sister title, the News of the World, had routinely hacked into phones to generate salacious front-page stories.

The police investigation, which forced the closure of the 168-year-old News of the World, has since moved on to the Sun newspaper and whether its journalists paid police and public officials for stories.

While damaging the reputation of Murdoch, the intense spotlight has also revealed the extremely close links he and his executives have with politicians and senior police officers, embarrassing many with tales of horse rides and Christmas drinks between the upper echelons of Murdoch executives and politicians.

Police said the latest arrests were prompted by information provided by the Management and Standards Committee, a small team set up by Murdoch's News Corp to co-operate closely with the police in a move that has infuriated newspaper staff.

The 81-year-old Murdoch was forced to travel to London in February to reassure journalists of his commitment to the Sun after a string of earlier arrests caused a showdown at the paper by staff who felt they had been abandoned by their management.

Since then, the Sun has launched a Sunday version and both the Sun and Murdoch's Times newspaper have noticeably hardened their position towards the government, which turned on Murdoch at the height of the hacking scandal last year.

That antagonism is likely to be exacerbated in the coming weeks when the parliamentary select committee, which summoned James and Rupert Murdoch at the height of the scandal last year, publishes its findings.

The committee investigated allegations of phone hacking after they first surfaced in 2006 and it has since looked at whether it was misled in its initial inquiry by a host of News International executives who pleaded innocence.

Paul Farrelly, a leading member of the committee, told Reuters they hoped to publish the long-awaited report by May 1.

Tom Watson, a member of the committee who has campaigned against Murdoch, told reporters he thought News Corp had become a toxic institution which operated like a shadow state


Monday, 16 April 2012

British terror supergrass sentence cut by two years

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jailed British terrorist has had his sentence cut by two years in a supergrass deal after giving evidence about an al Qaeda-linked “martyrdom” plot in New York, it was revealed today. Former teacher Saajid Badat was jailed for 13 years in 2005 for plotting with shoe bomber Richard Reid to blow up a transatlantic airliner in 2001 in what an Old Bailey judge said was a “wicked and inhuman” plot. He has now had his term reduced by two years under the first “supergrass” deal involving a terror convict, after providing intelligence to US prosecutors investigating an alleged plot to blow up the New York subway on the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attack. Details of the deal — kept secret for more than two years — were revealed today by the Crown Prosecution Service as a trial of the alleged al Qaeda plotters began in New York. Defendant Adis Medanjanin, a 27-year-old Bosnian-born US citizen, is charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country, and providing “material support” to al Qaeda. He is said to have had terrorist training in Pakistan in 2008 and then returned to begin a plot to use beauty parlour chemicals to blow up the subway. Badat, from Gloucester, joined Reid’s shoe bomb conspiracy but pulled out at the last minute.


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Western embassies targeted in Afghanistan attacks

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Gunmen have launched multiple attacks across the Afghan capital Kabul. Western embassies in the heavily-guarded, central diplomatic area are understood to be among the targets as well as the parliament building in the west. There are reports that up to seven different locations have been hit. The Taliban has admitted responsibility, saying their main targets were the British and German embassies. There is no word at this stage on any casualties.


Taliban free hundreds from Pakistan prison

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Hundreds of prisoners are believed to have escaped from a jail in northwest Pakistan after it was attacked by anti-government fighters armed with guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Some of those who escaped from the facility in the town of Bannu, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, early on Sunday morning were "militants", an intelligence official told the Reuters news agency. "Dozens of militants attacked Bannu's Central Jail in the early hours of the morning, and more 300 prisoners have escaped," Mir Sahib Jan, the official, said. In Depth   Profile: Pakistani Taliban "There was intense gunfire, and rocket-propelled grenades were also used." Many of those who escaped following the raid were convicted Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fighters, Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder reported from Lahore. A prison official in Bannu confirmed that "384 prisoners have escaped". A police official identified one of the inmates who escaped as a "dangerous prisoner", who took part in one of the attempts to kill the former president, Pervez Musharraf. The TTP, an umbrella organisation for anti-government groups that are loosely allied with the Taliban in Afghanistan and al-Qaeda, took responsibility for the attack. A spokesman for Hakeemullah Mehsud, TTP's leader, confirmed to Al Jazeera that the group was responsible for the attack. Another Taliban spokesman told Reuters: "We have freed hundreds of our comrades in Bannu in this attack. Several of our people have reached their destinations, others are on their way.".   Our correspondent said the attack took place in the early morning and had resulted in an exchange of fire that had left several people wounded. "After the attack the paramilitary and regular military forces came to that location and tried to surround the area," he said. "They have arrested up to a dozen men, but most of the people have indeed escaped." The injured were rushed to a local hospital in Bannu. Sources told Al Jazeera that as many as 150 fighters were involved in the attack. After blowing up the gates of the main prison at around 1:30am local time (20:30 GMT on Saturday), they entered the compound and freed the inmates, the sources said. The attackers had arranged for the transportation of the inmates from the facility. A police official told Reuters that Bannu's Central Jail held 944 prisoners in total, and that six cell blocks had been targeted in the attack.


Friday, 13 April 2012

Alaska coast guards found dead at Kodiak Island

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Two members of the US Coast Guard in Alaska have been found dead, prompting concerns that a killer could have struck at a remote island outpost. A captain at the Kodiak Island Station said they were unsure what happened and a suspect could still be at large. The base and schools in the area were put on lockdown and residents of the island were told to remain vigilant. The names of the victims will be released after their families have been notified, the coast guard said. "It is possible that the suspect remains at large," Commanding Officer Captain Jesse Moore said. "Since we don't have all the details, we strongly advise all Kodiak residents to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement officials." The captain also said the unit was "deeply saddened" to have lost two shipmates. Officials were unable to determine whether the deaths were a double murder or a murder-suicide. "This is a rare occurrence and we are going to do everything possible to ensure we find out exactly what happened," he said. Agents from the FBI have been sent to Kodiak from the town of Anchorage, about 250 miles (402km) away. Kodiak has a population of about 6,300 people.


An Albanian fugitive accused of multiple murders in his home country has been arrested in north London after 15 years on the run.

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Ndrieim Sadushi, 41, was last night picked up on an international warrant by police outside his home in Southgate.

An Albanian court found him guilty in his absence of three killings and an attempted murder in the eastern European country in 1997.

At an extradition hearing in Westminster Magistrates' Court today, Sadushi claimed he had been the victim of mistaken identity and was in fact 31-year-old Arjan Kasa.

 

But district Judge Michael Snow ruled police had got the right man after being told his fingerprints matched those of the convicted killer.

Sadushi, who is said to have used at least six aliases while evading the authorities, will face a life sentence if he is sent back to his homeland.

 His barrister Richard Hallam stands by the claim that his client is Arjan Kasa.

Prosecutor James Stansfeld said that, in addition to being wanted by the Albanian police, authorities in Italy accuse Sadushi of drug trafficking, passport fraud and controlling prostitutes.

Italian courts sentenced him to 13 years and four months in his absence.

He has been linked to the notorious Kadeshi armed gang, of which all the other leaders have been arrested.

Sadushi is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court today

Sadushi is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court today

Hannah Pye, representing the Albanian authorities, said: 'The request for extradition comes from Albania, after he was handed a custodial sentence, following a conviction for five offences.'

‘Those were, the creation and participation in an armed gang, three counts of murder and one attempted murder.

‘For that he was sentenced to life imprisonment, and an appeal against the sentence was upheld by the Albanian appeal court in 2000.’

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s extradition unit arrested Sadushi outside a property in High Road, Southgate.

The UK Border Agency holds no record of him claiming asylum and he is thought to have entered Britain on the back of a truck in 2000. 

Last year he was one of 14 suspects to have their mugshots released as part of Operation Sunfire, a coordinated effort to bring some of the UK's most wanted fugitives before extradition courts.

Twelve of the suspected murderers, rapists and robbers pictured were from eastern Europe, while the other two were wanted in connection with crimes in Italy and Australia.

Sadushi will return to court on April 25.





Wednesday, 4 April 2012

New info about statin safety affects millions

Posted On 07:11 1 comments


U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued new safety information about these cholesterol-lowering drugs that are prescribed to millions of Americans to lower the risk of heart disease. If you're among them, you should understand what the FDA's new guidance means for your health. "Before anyone gets too concerned, you should know that statins are so widely used because they have a long track record of safety and effectiveness," says Dr. Mark Taber, a cardiologist with SSM Heart Institute at St. Joseph Health Center. "All in all, statins have a very high benefit to risk ratio. The widespread use of the drugs, when indicated, probably accounts to a significant degree for the improvement in life expectancy in this country." The FDA called attention to the threat of liver damage as a rare side effect of statins and advised that regular liver enzyme testing is no longer considered useful in predicting or preventing liver injury. "Actually, in general they liberalized the follow up needed for liver function tests on patients taking statins, due to the very low incidence of true liver issues," Taber says. The main warnings related to a slightly higher incidence of developing diabetes while on statins, and a poorly substantiated claim that statins could result in cognitive impairment. Taber points out that cognitive problems, such as confusion or memory problems, were not documented in clinical studies, only by patient reports to the FDA website. "By stating these concerns, the FDA is raising awareness about the potential side effects of statins, but cardiologists already know that there are inherent risks, and we monitor patients appropriately to help ensure that side effects do not occur or are dealt with quickly," Taber notes. "If there is any evidence of a side effect that could be problematic, we can change the medication. But the fact remains that it's important to decrease risk of heart disease, and for many people statins are needed when diet and exercise alone don't result in acceptable cholesterol levels." Whenever a new prescription medication is started, you should look over the package insert to learn about potential side effects. Signs of liver damage, for instance, include fatigue, loss of appetite, right upper abdominal pain, dark urine and jaundice. Any of these symptoms should be reported to your doctor for evaluation. It is important to remember that you should not stop taking a medication without consulting your doctor first. Discontinuing use of a prescribed drug can be far more dangerous than the side effect you're worried about. "All the side effects listed by the FDA are rare, and the risk of heart attack is far more concerning," Taber says. "Some patients may need extra monitoring or may need to try more than one statin before we find the optimal choice, but in general statins are very well tolerated and don't cause problems for the people who take them." The advice above is universal when it comes to your health. Concerns should be discussed with your doctor, and decisions should always be made as part of a team approach to creating a healthy life.


Why don't GPS warn you that statins can harm your memory?

Posted On 07:02 0 comments


John Holliday had been on a higher 40mg dose of cholesterol pills for only a few weeks when he started to lose his concentration. ‘I’d be watching TV and suddenly find myself unable to follow the plot of a drama,’ says John, 52, a telecoms project manager who lives in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, with his wife Jill, 51, and their two children Adam, 20, and Emma, 16. ‘I’d have to read the same page of a book over and over because I couldn’t take any information in. ‘I’d always been known for my amazing memory — I was great on trivia and had total recall of events that happened 20 years ago, but suddenly I couldn’t remember things and my brain felt fuzzy.’ Just like up to seven million other people in Britain, John had been prescribed a statin to lower his blood cholesterol levels. The drugs are credited by the British Heart Foundation as contributing towards the dramatic 50 per cent fall in deaths from heart attacks in the past ten years. But while there is consensus that statins are lifesavers for people who have previously had a heart attack, concern is growing over their debilitating side-effects. They include muscle weakness, depression, sleep disturbance, sexual dysfunction, muscle pain and damage, gastro-intestinal problems, headaches, joint pains and nausea. Now, official bodies here and in the U.S. have ordered that the drugs must carry warnings for cognitive problems, too. Worryingly, it’s claimed GPs are failing to warn patients of the effect statins can have on the mind — meaning they may mistake them for signs of ageing or Alzheimer’s. ‘When I went back to my doctor after six weeks for a blood test, I told him how dreadful I was feeling,’ says John. ‘But he just said all drugs had side-effects and didn’t mention reducing the dose.’ It's claimed GPs are failing to warn patients of the effect statins can have on the mind - meaning they may mistake them for signs of ageing or Alzheimer's Things came to a head when a friend showed John an electrical circuit he’d built for his car. ‘I’d worked with circuits since I was 16 but it made no sense,’ he says. So John insisted on seeing his doctor again and repeated his concerns about his rapidly declining memory. This time the GP told him he could start on another type of statin when he felt well enough, and so John stopped taking the drugs immediately. ‘It took a few months, but gradually my memory returned and I’ve got my concentration back. I can’t say for sure statins caused these problems, but it seems like too much of a coincidence.’ Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. ordered statins must carry warnings that some users have reported cognitive problems including memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion. This followed a decision by the UK’s Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to add memory problems to the list of  possible statin side-effects in late 2009. The FDA said reports about the symptoms were from across all statin products and age groups. Those affected reported feeling fuzzy or unfocused in their thought process — though these were found to be rare and reversible. The FDA also warned, following U.S. research, that patients on statins had a small excess risk of developing Type 2 diabetes — but stressed that the benefits of taking a statin still outweigh this. The MHRA had 2,675 reports for adverse drug reactions connected with statins between 2007 and 2011. Officially, side-effects are rare —affecting only 1 per cent of people on the pills — but some doctors say they are under-reported. Dr Malcolm Kendrick, a GP and author of The Great Cholesterol Con, says he frequently sees patients suffering from mental confusion in his job in hospital intermediary care for the elderly. ‘Many of the patients I see will have been admitted to hospital after a fall or similar crisis,’ he says. ‘If they appear confused I’ll often advise taking them off statins to see if it has any effect — in my experience, about 10 to 15 per cent of people who appeared to have memory problems experienced an improvement in their memory symptoms after being taken off the drug. ‘I had one dramatic case where a lady was admitted to hospital on 40mg a day of simvastatin with such poor memory function her family asked me about power of attorney. 'I suggested taking her off statins and within a week her memory had returned to normal. She went home a fit and independent 83-year-old.’ Dr Kendrick says cholesterol is the main constituent of synapses (structures that allow signals to pass between brain cells and to create new memories) and is essential for brain function. ‘It is still not proven that statins have a significant effect on mortality — it has been calculated that a man who has had a heart attack who took a statin for five years would extend his life by only 14 days. 'Too many statins are being given to people at low risk. ‘Even in the highest risk group you need to treat 200 people a year with statins to delay just one death. 'One day the harm these drugs are doing is going to be obvious — the benefits are being over-hyped and the risks swept under the carpet.’ While Dr Kendrick’s controversial view is in the minority, one large review of 14 studies by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, published by the highly respected Cochrane Library last year, concluded there was ‘little evidence’ cholesterol-lowering drugs protect people who are not at risk of heart disease. This review has been criticised by other doctors who say side-effects are rare and that there are still benefits even for people at lower risk who do not have established heart disease. These defenders of statins include Professor Colin Baigent of the Clinical Trial Service at Oxford University, who published research in 2010 showing statins reduced deaths from all causes by 10 per cent over five years. ‘There is relatively little evidence of cognitive impairment — what evidence there is all comes from observational studies.  ‘People read about side-effects and then put two and two together and blame the statins for their muscle pain or other health problems — it’s just not reliable evidence. ‘If you look at the best-quality randomised controlled trial where patients don’t know if they are taking a statin or placebo, there is no evidence of memory problems. 'Even the FDA says the risks of cognitive problems are very small and go away when statins are discontinued. ‘We’re in danger of forgetting just how effective these drugs are.’ Dr Dermot Neely of the charity Heart UK, and lead consultant at the Lipid and Metabolic Clinic at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, agrees side-effects with statins are rare. ‘I’ve been dealing with patients on statins since 1987 and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number whose memory symptoms turned out to be caused by statins.’ However, he said he often saw patients who had not been told about side-effects. ‘It’s important GPs are clear about the drugs statins can interact with, such as certain antibiotics, as this can get overlooked. ‘If a patient notices an adverse effect after starting statins, they should discuss this with their GP —but not stop their drugs suddenly because this can be dangerous.’ Sonya Porter, 73, decided to stop taking statins after her memory problems became so bad that she walked away from a cashpoint leaving her money behind. ‘I was permanently fuzzy-headed and just couldn’t seem to concentrate,’ says Sonya, a retired PA from Woking, Surrey. Then I started to get scared I might have Alzheimer’s. After reading about memory problems associated with statins, I thought it was at least a possibility. I decided to come off the pills to see if it made any difference. ‘I didn’t ask my GP, I just did it — I’d rather die of a heart attack than Alzheimer’s disease. Within a month I felt normal again and didn’t have any problems with memory. ‘I’m terrified that I could have been misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s.’ John Holliday is also reluctant to go back on statins. ‘I wouldn’t rule it out completely — my latest test showed my cholesterol levels have gone up,’ he says. ‘But on balance, I’d rather take my chances with heart disease than feel as confused as that again. It’s all very well living slightly longer — but it’s about quality of life, too.’


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

James Murdoch to resign as BSkyB chairman

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James Murdoch is to step down as chairman of UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB, but will remain on the board. He is the son of News Corporation founder Rupert, whose company had to drop its bid for BSkyB after the phone-hacking scandal. In February, James Murdoch stepped down as chairman of News International, which publishes the Sun and the Times in the UK. He said then he had moved to New York to work on News Corp's pay-TV business. News Corp owns almost 40% of BSkyB and had wanted to buy the whole of the firm. But it withdrew its bid as political pressure mounted due to allegations of improper conduct at News International's News of the World Sunday title, which was shut down last July. Sources told Robert Peston, the BBC's business editor, that it was James Murdoch's decision to leave and he did so in an attempt to pre-empt further criticism as investigations continue into phone hacking. James Murdoch has repeatedly denied knowing about phone hacking at the News of the World. Nicholas Ferguson will take over as chairman.


Canadian man detained in Spain 'extremely thin and weak,'

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Philip Halliday, the Nova Scotia man who has been detained in Spain for more than two years on drug-trafficking charges without a trial date, is extremely weak and thin but in good spirits, his family said Monday, hours after returning home from their first visit to him in jail. "It was pretty emotional. It's hard to describe. Definitely a lot of hugs, some tears," Halliday's son, Daren, told Postmedia News. Philip Halliday, 55, was arrested in December 2009 about 300 kilometres off the coast of Spain aboard a converted Canadian Coast Guard research vessel, the Destiny Empress. Inside a hidden compartment, authorities found more than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of $600 million. Halliday, an ex-fisherman who spent more than 30 years dragging scallops off the sea floor, insists he had no idea the drugs were onboard and believed he was simply delivering the vessel to a new owner. Daren Halliday said he, his older brother Cody, and their mother Sheree, were able to spend several hours with Philip in a private room over a span of two days. Recalling the first moments they laid eyes on their father, Daren said, "I don't know if there was a lot said. We hugged him pretty quick. Told him it was good to see him, that we missed him and how much we love him." One thing that was readily apparent to everyone was how much weight Philip, dressed in a buttoned-up shirt and blue jeans, had lost. Since landing in jail, he has had to have his gall bladder removed. He has also had problems with his liver and kidneys. "I thought I'd prepared myself for what Philip would look like, but I must admit I was shocked," Sheree later recalled in a Facebook posting. "He is extremely thin and weak. He walks like an elderly man and is quite emotional." "But," Sheree added, "he still has that beautiful smile that I've missed! And he hasn't lost his sense of humour." Philip was able to buy some pop, juice, chips and some sweets for the occasion, turning it into something of a family picnic, Sheree recalled. Daren said family members peppered Philip with questions about what life was like in jail. Philip, in turn, asked about life back home in Digby, N.S. The family brought Philip some novels, Sudoku game books and some clothes, including a T-shirt that said "Canada" that one of Philip's fellow inmates had requested. Philip gave the family a duffle bag full of letters that people had written to him to bring home. On the third day of their visit, the family was only able to communicate with Philip through a glass partition. "We couldn't physically touch him," Daren said. "He was on a phone. We talked through a mic. Like the movies, we put our hands on the glass. "There was a hallway he had to walk down. And one we walked down. We waved goodbye. And that was it. That was pretty hard." Family and friends back home have been pleading with Canadian officials to help get Halliday released — or at least to get a trial date set. "We're hoping to get him a quick and fair trial, to speed things up," Daren said. "It's very frustrating that nothing's changed." The amount of time someone spends in pre-trial detention varies widely across the European Union. Some countries, including Spain, can hold someone for up to four years, while other countries don't have a limit. Canadian foreign affairs officials have said that while this country cannot interfere with the judicial proceedings of another country, they have been pressing Spanish authorities for a timely and transparent trial. So far, the Halliday family has incurred $90,000 in legal fees and has had to sell their home in Digby. Family friend Peter Dickie said Monday that a Halliday Family Support Society has been formed with the goal of raising $250,000 to help cover expenses.


$10 mln bounty on LeT founder Hafiz Saeed

Posted On 12:36 0 comments

 

The United States has put up a $10 million reward to help arrest Pakistani Islamist leader Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, suspected of masterminding two spectacular attacks on Mumbai and the parliament building in New Delhi. The offer comes at a time of heightened tension between Washington and Pakistan and increases pressure on Pakistan to take action against the former Arabic scholar, who has recently addressed rallies despite an Interpol warrant against him. India has long called for Saeed's arrest and said the bounty - one of the highest on offer - was a sign the United States understood its security concerns. Only last week Saeed evaded police to address an anti-U.S. rally in Islamabad. "India welcomes this new initiative of the government of the United States," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said on Tuesday of the reward announced on the U.S. Rewards for Justice website. "In recent years, India and the United States have moved much closer than ever before in our common endeavour of fighting terrorists." The United States only offers a $10 million reward for three other people it suspects of terrorism, with a single reward of up to $25 million for Egyptian-born Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Saeed, 61, is suspected of masterminding numerous terrorist attacks, including the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. Poor train commuters, foreigners and some of India's wealthy business elite were killed by 10 Pakistani gunmen in a three-day rampage through some of Mumbai's best-known landmarks, including two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre. A total of 166 people died, including six U.S. citizens. In the 1990s, he founded Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), or the Army of the Pure, one of the largest and best-funded Islamist militant organisations in South Asia. He abandoned its leadership after India blamed it and another militant group for an attack on the parliament in December 2001. Saeed, released from prison by a Pakistani court in 2010, now heads an Islamic charity that the United Nations says is a front for the militant group. LeT was nurtured by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency to fight India in disputed Kashmir and analysts say it is still unofficially tolerated by Pakistan, though it was banned in the country in 2002. Admiral Robert Willard, the head of the United States military's Pacific Command, last year expressed concern over the expanding reach of LeT, saying it was no longer solely focused on India, or even in South Asia.


Sunday, 1 April 2012

BRIT Government 'planning new Internet snooping laws'

Posted On 14:08 0 comments

The British government wants to expand its powers to monitor email exchanges and website visits, The Sunday Times reported. Internet companies would be instructed to install hardware to allow the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to go through "on demand" every text message and email sent, websites accessed and phone calls made "in real time, the paper said. The plans are expected to be unveiled next month. The Home Office said ministers were preparing to legislate "as soon as parliamentary time allows" but said the data to be monitored would not include content. "It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public," a spokesman said. "We need to take action to maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes. "Communications data includes time, duration and dialling numbers of a phone call, or an email address. "It does not include the content of any phone call or email and it is not the intention of government to make changes to the existing legal basis for the interception of communications." An attempt to bring in similar measures was abandoned by the Labour government in 2006 amid strong opposition. However, ministers in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government believe it is essential that the police and security services have access to such communications data in order to tackle terrorism and protect the public. The plans would not allow GCHQ to access the content of communications without a warrant. However, they would enable the agency to trace whom a group or individual had contacted, how often and for how long, the report said.


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