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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

'Black Madam' charged with murder after giving bottom injections to British model

Claudia Seye Aderotimi, 20, collapsed and died hours after receiving the injections in February 2011. The aspiring actress and model from London had travelled to Philadelphia to get the treatment. But shortly afterwards she complained of chest pains and shortness of breath. She died hours later in a Philadelphia hospital. Now, more than a year later, Padge Victoria Windslowe, 42, has been charged with third-degree murder. Windslowe, who also performs as a musician and uses the stage name the Black Madam, was free for more than a year before being arrested for a separate similar incident involving another woman. Prosecutors said that they knew Windslowe had also injected Miss Aderotimi but awaited the outcome of tests from the Food and Drug Administration before determining the cause of death.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Invasion of the pickpockets

Britain is in the grip of a pickpocketing epidemic as Eastern European gangs descend on London ahead of the Olympic Games.

A surge in sneak street thefts means more than 1,700 people fall victim every day – an increase of nearly a fifth in only two years, according to official crime  figures released yesterday.

At the same time, police warned that professional gangs from Romania, Lithuania and even South America who operate in capitals across Europe are heading to Britain, intent on cashing in on unwitting tourists at London 2012.

How they do it: A member of the pickpocket gang approaches a BBC reporter investigating the rise in thefts ahead of the Olympics

How they do it: A member of the pickpocket gang approaches a BBC reporter investigating the rise in thefts ahead of the Olympics

Keeping him occupied: The man speaks to the victim on the pretense of needing directions while another gang member approaches from behind

Keeping him occupied: The man speaks to the victim on the pretense of needing directions while another gang member approaches from behind

A BBC investigation exposed the tactics used by Romanian thieves, who were previously operating in Barcelona, to dupe their victims.

The criminals boasted of their ‘one-second’ theft techniques which leave targets unaware that anything has happened until  it is too late. They can make £4,000 a week taking wallets, smartphones and laptop bags. The goods are then shipped back to Romania and sold on the black market.

 Scotland Yard has made more than 80 arrests already and warned thieves the capital will be a ‘hostile environment’ in the coming weeks.

The Met has even drafted in a team of Romanian police officers to deal with the problem and patrol in the West End of London and Westminster during the Games. They will not have arrest powers.

Distracted: An accomplice (left) then plays drunk so he can get close enough to the target to strike

Distracted: An accomplice (left) then plays drunk so he can get close enough to the target to strike

 

Sleight of hand: The 'drunk' man jostles around with the BBC reporter, making it harder for him to notice what is going on

Sleight of hand: The 'drunk' man jostles around with the BBC reporter, making it harder for him to notice what is going on

 

 

Rich pickings: The sneering thief walks away with the wallet from the unsuspecting victim

Rich pickings: The sneering thief walks away with the wallet from the unsuspecting victim

Teamwork: The thief quickly hands the wallet to another member of the gang, who spirits it away

Teamwork: The thief quickly hands the wallet to another member of the gang, who spirits it away

 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘These Romanian officers will prove to be a huge asset in cracking down on certain criminal networks who are targeting tourists in central London.’

Official statistics released yesterday showed pickpocketing thefts rose 17 per cent in the past two years.

In 2011/12, a total of 625,000 people fell victim, the Crime Survey of England and Wales showed.

That is an increase of more than 102,000 since 2009/10.

The vast majority of the total are classified as ‘stealth thefts’, but in 83,000 cases the victims’ possessions were ‘snatched’.



Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Handcuffed man shot twice by San Francisco police

Officers with the San Francisco Police Department in Northern California shot a man believed to have a knife this morning, but preliminary reports suggest that the victim was in handcuffs while the authorities opened fire. Police officers with the SFPD allegedly opened fire on a man armed with a knife at around 10:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday after responding to reports that someone had been stabbed near the city’s Pier 17. The Bay City News Service reported minutes later that there was an “officer-involved” shooting but did provide any other details. The San Francisco Chronicle reported at 11:30 a.m. local time that the man was shot by police after he refused to drop a knife that they believe was used in a stabbing earlier that morning. Fire Department Capt. Jeanne Seyler confirms to the paper that the victim was being transported for life threatening wounds, but did not provide any more details. A video uploaded to YouTube less than 30 minutes after that report includes a testimony from an eyewitness who alleges that the police shot the suspect after placing him in handcuffs. “So what happened here?” the cameraman asks an unidentified witness. “The police shot somebody. In the chest, twice,” he responds. “They said that the man had a gun or something but he didn’t. He was just a civilian.” “What was he doing?” the videographer asks. “Nothing. They had him in cuffs. And they shot him. Twice.” “They shot him in cuffs?” he asks in bewilderment. The cameraman that runs over to talk to police officers on the scene for confirmation that the man was cuffed before being shot but the cops refuse to answer. At 12 noon local time, the cameraman uploaded a second video to YouTube with different witnesses confirming the account. In the second video, a new witness says “a female officer with fucking short blonde hair” opened fire on the suspect. “While he was in handcuffs?” the cameraman asks. “Yes.” He confirms. “And you witnessed this?” “I saw this.” The witness alleges that the officer in question shot the man twice in the chest. A third witness caught on film confirms reports that the victim was handcuffed during the shooting. Only two days earlier, protesters in San Francisco disrupted service on the local transportation system in remembrance of Kenneth Harding, a 19 year old that was shot and killed one year earlier during a standoff with the police. Local law enforcement has still been at odds with the community in recent times, especially since a New Year’s Day 2009 incident in nearby Oakland sparked nationwide protests. In the early morning hours of January 1, 2009, Officer Johannes Mehserle of the Bay Area Rapid Transit Police shot and killed 22-year-old Oscar Grant after detaining him in handcuffs.Mehserle served 11 months in jail for the crime.

Manchester's most notorious unsolved gang murder cases could be cracked if witnesses broke the walls of silence

Manchester's most notorious unsolved gang murder cases could be cracked if witnesses broke the walls of silence, according to a top cop. Det Chief Supt Darren Shenton, head of GMP’s serious crime division, believes the local community holds the key to bringing killers to justice. There are 22 unsolved murders in Greater Manchester that are thought to be gang-related – and Mr Shenton said that all of them could be solved. These include high-profile cases, such as that of innocent schoolboy Jessie James, 15, who was shot as he cycled through a Moss Side park in September 2006 and hard-working Halton McCollin, 20, killed in a Stretford takeaway in January 2008. Guns and gangs in Manchester: Victims of a sad cycle of revenge... Mr Shenton said: "The key to all of the unsolved murders lies within the community. Every single one of those murders is capable of being solved if people stood up and did the right thing. "In a number of cases we believe we know the circumstances of how somebody has been murdered but have not been able to transfer that into evidence. "There are people within the community who hold the key to unlocking justice and providing families who have lost loved ones in the most tragic of ways with answers. "My appeal would be that if there are people out there who have information about any of the cases to contact us – they can bring the killers to justice. We will receive that information and treat it in confidence. We can protect witnesses at court using special measures and we have a host of ways of giving absolute protection." Despite some murders remaining unsolved, police have made big strides towards ridding the streets of gun crime. Almost six years have passed since anyone was shot dead in Moss Side, the neighbourhood historically most troubled by gangs, and there have been no gang-related murders in the city of Manchester for more than three years. Detectives credit their success to improved police responses and community efforts to steer young people away from trouble. Gun crime in Greater Manchester is down year-on-year since 2007 when there were 146 recorded shootings. It fell to just 39 last year – the biggest reduction made by any police force in Britain. Mr Shenton added: "Back in 2006-2007 we made a commitment to the communities of Manchester that we would commit resources to tackling gun and gang crime in the area, reflecting the concerns of the community, and we aimed for gun free streets. We have continued that activity, coupled with working with multi-agency partners and giving people the chance to get away from that lifestyle. We’ve made efforts to talk to parents to given them support to lead their children away from that gun crime and culture. "A number of families have been robbed of their young people and lives have been lost. As police, we’ve been to too many funerals not to be affected by it. Mr Shenton said that there had been a ‘sea change’ in community relations with police that had helped officers to solve murders like that of Giuseppe Gregory, who was gunned down outside the Robin Hood pub in Stretford in May 2009. Three men – Moses Mathias, Njabulo Ndlovu and Hiruy Zerihun – have since been jailed for life after being convicted of his murder. He said: "We have seen a sea change in the community understanding what we are doing. The example is Giuseppe Gregory and Jessie James. Within a very short time members of the community who recognised we were in a different era had provided information. "We absolutely know we will not solve everything in a couple of years but we are committed to working with the community to try to deliver our aim of gun free streets in Greater Manchester."

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

UN launches campaign against illegal trade, which is worth more than six times the global aid budget and has high human cost

Afghanistan produces around 90% of the world’s opiates

Afghanistan produces around 90% of the world’s opiates. Photograph: Syed Jan Sabawoon/EPA

Organised international crime is worth up to $870bn (£560bn) a year, the United Nations has estimated at the launch of a campaign against illegal trade in everything from people to guns, drugs and endangered species.

The turnover of transnational criminal networks is worth more than six times the global aid budget, or around 7% of the world's legal exports, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said.

There is also a high cost in human lives and economic stability with crime groups bringing "increasing domestic corruption, extortion, racketeering and violence".

"Criminal groups traffic women for sexual exploitation and children for purposes of forced begging, burglary and pickpocketing. Fraudulent medicines and food products enter the licit market and not only defraud the public but can put their lives and health at risk," the UN said at the launch of the campaign that aims to underline that "there is always a victim".

By far the most lucrative trade, well over a third of the total, is in narcotics, which has an annual value the UN estimates at $320bn. Second is the trade in counterfeit goods, which generates around $250bn.

Human trafficking generates $32bn a year, with an estimated 2.4 million victims affected at any one time.

"Transnational organised crime reaches into every region, and every country across the world. Stopping this transnational threat represents one of the international community's greatest global challenges", the UNODC executive director, Yury Fedotov, said.

Police and other security officials needed more sophisticated tools to fight criminal networks that were taking full advantage of technological improvements, the UN said.

More than two-thirds of criminal profits were estimated to be fed through the financial system, but less than 1% were intercepted and confiscated.

"Better intelligence methods need to be developed through the training of more specialised law enforcement units, which should be equipped with state-of-the-art technology," the UN said, suggesting poor nations needed more help.

"Organised crime adds to an increase in public spending for security and policing and undermines the very human rights standards that many countries strive to preserve … Developing countries need assistance in building their capacity to counter these threats."

In Afghanistan, a desperately impoverished country on the frontline of the narcotics trade, criminal networks feed both government corruption and a tenacious insurgency.

The country produces around 90% of the world's opiates – the 2011 crop was nearly 6,000 tonnes – most of it grown in the Taliban's southern strongholds. High value, low volume and easy to store for years if needed, it is a hard crop to convince farmers to replace in poor and volatile areas.

But not just the south is affected; opiates trafficked out of northern Afghanistan alone were worth around $400m in 2010, according to a UN report. As the north is a relatively safe area, this trade is believed to be flourishing with the support of government officials.

"Corruption rather than insecurity appears to be the main corollary to high-volume opiate trafficking in northern Afghanistan," the report said.

Monday, 16 July 2012

South Wales Police officers have been drafted to London to help with the Olympics security crisis.

The Olympic Stadium
The Olympic Stadium

Hundreds of officers from nine police forces, including South Wales, are being drafted in to fill the gaps in Olympics security left by under-fire firm G4S, alongside the extra 3,500 military personnel called in to help with venue security.

With less than two weeks until the opening ceremony, ministers insisted the Games would be secure and dismissed the firm’s failure to provide the promised 10,000 security guards as no more than a “hitch”.

Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, the National Olympic Security Co-ordinator, said: “Whilst some of the activity police officers are undertaking was not anticipated, plans were put in place to allow us to do this.”

A spokesman for South Wales Police added: “South Wales Police officers are supporting the security operation by providing officers to enhance the security arrangements in place, operating to the tight timescales needed to deliver the defensive search regime at athlete facilities in our area.

“Delivering a safe and secure Games is our top priority and we are working closely with our partners to deliver an end-to-end security operation.

Olympics security

“As part of our planning for the Games, we have been sure to build contingency and resilience into our resourcing and we have the capacity to meet this task and we will not compromise on keeping the streets and our local communities safe.”

Meanwhile, as pictured, armed guards have been spotted around Cardiff as athletes arrive for the city’s games, which kick off in just over a week.

Security was heightened at the Hilton hotel in the city centre over the weekend, where it is understood the athletes will be staying over the coming weeks, and South Wales Police confirmed armed officers were making patrols.

The increase in security at Hilton is said to be “protocol” ahead of the event and is not in response to any security alert.

Guards “carrying guns” have been seen at Cardiff International Pool.



Sunday, 15 July 2012

A maid was stabbed to death with a meat skewer and another critically injured with a knife during a bloody fight in a laundry cupboard, police have revealed.

The pair, both Ethiopian women in their 20s, clashed at their employer's villa in Bar Dubai yesterday morning.

Police found them at 11am lying in a pool of their blood after breaking down the door, which had been locked from the outside.

Rashid Hospital: The man was initially taken to the Rashid Hospital for treatment

Violent affair: One maid died on the way to hospital and the other, who had been stabbed with a knife, is recovering in intensive care

One of the maids, identified only as HSS, died on the way to Rashid Hospital, according to The National.

The condition of the other woman, known as FYA, is now starting to stabilise.

 

 

More...

  • Woman saves kids from runaway car while her own vehicle rolls away into traffic

 

'She has been moved out of intensive-care unit, but is still in a very bad psychological condition,' said Col Ali Ghanem, director of the Bur Dubai Police station. 

LIFE AS A DUBAI MAID

Most households in Dubai employ foreign maids and some face difficult working conditions.

The majority of large properties - particularly those of wealthy Western expats - are built with cramped living quarters for maids and the staff do their employers' washing, ironing, cleaning, babysitting and cooking.

According to a survey conducted by the Saudi magazine Sayidaty at the end of last year, more than three million maids in the Arab world are living in deplorable conditions and even more incidents of verbal and physical abuse are reported.

Crimes committed by housemaids in Dubai increased by nearly 17 per cent in 2011 and police believe this was mainly because of employers' cruelty as well as workers' ignorance of the region’s traditions.

'She tried to hurt herself and she was banging her head in the wall. We are not sure of her mental condition, but we are still waiting until she gets better to be able to question her.'

Authorities still do not know what caused the fight between the two women, who worked in the same household along with 10 other maids, but police said there had been no previous fights between the two.

'Employers must be careful in selecting their housemaids,' said Dubai police commander Lieutenant General Dahi Tamim, according to Emirates 247.

'They should keep an eye on them for any abnormal behaviour to ensure they do not have any psychiatric problems.'

Another police officer was quoted as saying it was an 'individual crime' which should not be 'generalised'.

Major General Khamis Al Mazinah, Dubai’s deputy police commander, said: 'There could be an old dispute between the two… but it is unfortunate that such a violent and ugly crime takes place inside a house, whose owners are not used to this…

'We are still questioning all other maids about the incident.'




Cops need to work harder - Gugs gangsters

Frustration at what they call a lack of policing and a loss of faith in the justice system are the main reasons for the spate of gang violence in the Western Cape, say two Gugulethu gangs. However, some have also admitted that, for them, it is cool to be a gangster. Twenty-four members of the Moscow and Gaza gangs - rivals in Section Three, Gugulethu - spoke to Weekend Argus in an exclusive interview about the gang wars. Most of them are in their teens. They say they want the violence to end and claim to have made peace with each other, but they vowed to take matters into their own hands when authorities fail to prevail.   The gang members complained to Weekend Argus that many of their friends had been attacked - and some had died - without redress. A Gaza member, who only identified himself as Sihle, said: “Kill before you’re killed. That’s my motto. I watched my friend die next to me and I’ve seen many others fighting for their lives after being attacked. I don’t want that to happen to me.” Anovuyo Maliti, 18, also a Gaza member, said he had no faith in magistrates. “When someone hurts you, you want them to get hurt as badly or even worse. Most of the time police do not follow through when crimes are reported. People are arrested for a day or two, then they’re out again. It’s better for us to address our problems ourselves.” Mbulelo Malgas, 21, a Moscow member, agreed. He was arrested after he and his fellows stabbed a Gaza member to death. “We were at a tavern when he walked past us. We egged each other on to go and shake him up for walking in our area when he knew he was our enemy. We chased after him and we all stabbed him. We didn’t mean to kill him.” Malgas said that, if the justice system was efficient, he would have stayed in prison longer than he did. “I was in Pollsmoor for a month. If someone had done what I did to my family or a friend I would have wanted that person to stay in prison for much longer. “Even though I felt bad about killing him, I consoled myself by remembering that the system failed me too when he killed some of my friends.” Malgas added that police needed to work harder. “The fact that we grew up watching what we do now, means that police weren’t doing enough. We don’t see them much, and even when they patrol they don’t pay much attention to us. The most they’ll do is search us and drive past. “What kids see now is that they can stab someone and nothing will happen to them, that’s why they aren’t scared to form gangs,” said Malgas. Bathembu Sigidi, 16, joined the Gazas in 2007 when he was 11 . He said it was “cool” to be in a gang. “It’s silly, but the violence has picked up because of the cliques that people start in the township. Some kids will notice that a group of friends have given themselves a group name and they will also form a group. That’s how the groups are formed and they become rivals merely because they do not belong to the same friendship group,” he said. Sihle also stressed the need for townships to be equipped with recreational facilities to keep young people out of trouble. “The drugs that some of us use also make us violent. If we could be part of serious sports teams that motivate us to do better with our lives, we would not have time to take drugs or get caught up in fights,” said Sihle.

LA sheriff: Man recovers car 42 years after theft

  • sports_car_ebay.jpg

    In this image provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department the stolen car sits on small transport trailer as it is delivered to Robert Russell 's home in Texas. (AP/Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department)

LOS ANGELES –  A man whose prized sports car was stolen 42 years ago recovered the vehicle after spotting it on eBay, authorities said Sunday.

Robert Russell told the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department that he had never given up searching for the 1967 Austin Healy after it was stolen from his Philadelphia home in 1970.

Russell recently spotted what he thought was his car on eBay and checked the vehicle identification number on the website with the one on the car's title certificate, finding they were a match, the department said in a news release.

Russell, who now lives in Texas, contacted the department in May, and Detective Carlos Ortega tracked down the car in East Los Angeles.

"Detective Ortega located the stolen Austin Healey at the dealership listed in the eBay ad and confirmed that the car was the same vehicle reported stolen by Mr. Russell," the department said.

After working with Philadelphia police to resolve vehicle identification issues, the department told Russell he could pick up his car.

He has since brought it back to Texas. His hometown wasn't immediately available.

Russell told deputies that he bought the vehicle for $3,000. It's now valued at $23,000.

He said "he continued his search for the vehicle, not for its monetary value, but because it had sentimental value to him and his wife," the department said.




Thursday, 12 July 2012

Mobile operator O2 hit by nationwide network failure that left users unable to make calls or text

The O2 mobile phone network crashed tonight leaving thousands of customers across the country cut off. Users were left stranded, unable to make or receive calls or send texts, as the firm - which has 23 million customers in the UK - said it did not know when the problem would be fixed. Some customers also had no internet access. O2, Britain's second-largest mobile phone operator, admitted it was unclear exactly how many people had been affected. It said ‘thousands’ may be experiencing problems. The problems began this afternoon for some mobile users, the network said. O2 are urging customers to check their Twitter and Facebook feeds for updates - but the company’s webpage which displays live information about network coverage crashed. A spokeswoman said the problem was not 'location-specific'. ‘The problem is an issue within part of our core network that is preventing some mobile phones from successfully connecting,' she said. ‘The problem is not location-specific. All possible resources across our and our suppliers’ engineering teams are being deployed to restore service as soon as possible.’ Thousands of angry customers took to Twitter to complain. BBC television presenter Huw Edwards (@huwbbc), tweeted: ‘6 hours of non-service and counting, simply not good enough, O2.’ One Twitter user, Kelly Jones (@kelly-92), tweeted: ‘Having a phone that hardly works usually is annoying, but this whole no signal on o2 all afternoon is beyond irritating.’

Friday, 6 July 2012

Bankers face the prospect of jail as Serious Fraud Office launches criminal probe into interest-rate fixing at Barclays

Hearing: Former chief executive Bob Diamond left Barclays over the matter, before appearing before MPs this week

Hearing: Former chief executive Bob Diamond left Barclays over the matter, before appearing before MPs this week

A criminal investigation has been launched into alleged rigging of the Libor rate within the banking industry, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) confirmed today.

SFO director David Green QC formally accepted the Libor issue for investigation after Barclays was fined by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) last week for manipulating the key interbank lending rate which affects mortgages and loans.

The claims ultimately led to the resignation of Barclays boss Bob Diamond and have become the focal point of a fierce political debate over ethics in the banking sector.

The investigation could ultimately lead to criminal prosecutions and bankers facing charges in court.

The SFO's update came after it revealed earlier this week that it had been working closely with the FSA during its investigation and would consider the potential for criminal prosecutions.

The Government department, which is responsible for investigating and prosecuting serious and complex fraud, said on Monday the issues surrounding Libor were "complex" and that assessing the evidence would take time.

Under fire: Barclays former chairman Marcus Agius (right) with former CEO Bob Diamond (centre), and former chief executive John Varley (left)

Under fire: Barclays former chairman Marcus Agius (right) with former CEO Bob Diamond (centre), and former chief executive John Varley (left)

As the SFO prepares its investigation, Labour leader Ed Miliband continued to push for an independent inquiry into the banking scandal despite MPs rejecting the demands.

The Labour leader said that while the party would cooperate with a parliamentary investigation, its remit was too "narrow" and a judge-led probe was still needed.

Mr Miliband also defended the conduct of Ed Balls after the shadow chancellor engaged in a bitter war of words with his opposite number George Osborne in the Commons.

 

 




Thursday, 5 July 2012

Mexico's 'Crime Queen' (aged 27) arrested in LA

Wearing a crumpled white T-shirt, the woman arrested at an ordinary apartment block in East Los Angeles didn't look particularly regal as she was handcuffed and bundled into a police car. Without make-up and designer clothes, it was difficult to see how anyone could call her La Chula (the beautiful), La Bonita (The Pretty One), or the most famous of her various nicknames, La Reina de Crimen, which means, "The Queen of Crime". On Tuesday, US authorities nonetheless announced that the woman brought into custody last week in the largely Spanish-speaking LA suburb of El Monte had been identified as Anel Violeta Noriega Rios, one of the most wanted underworld figures in Mexico. Ms Rios, who is only 27, is believed to be the top US-based representative of La Familia, one of the six large criminal cartels that control the multibillion-dollar business of shipping drugs across the USA's porous southern border. Officials from the US immigration service said they had confirmed the identity of Ms Rios using her fingerprints and handed her to their Mexican counterparts in San Ysidro, a city in southern California next to Tijuana, last Friday. Ms Rios is believed to have overseen the cartel's distribution of methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine in California and Washington. The cartel has managed to maintain a foothold in the two hugely lucrative US markets despite the arrest of several kingpins in recent years, including its founder, Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, and leader, Jose de Jesus Mendez, who was arrested in 2011. A 64-page criminal warrant issued in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas in 2010 had revealed how Ms Rios orchestrated her end of the drug-trafficking network, at one point using a gardening company to import drugs in shipments of fertiliser and other supplies that were brought into LA's Long Beach port. The document led to her becoming one of the country's most notorious female criminals, although her power has waned somewhat with La Familia's falling fortunes in recent years. At the time of her arrest, she still had a 5m-peso (£250,000) reward on her head. A spokesman for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement service declined to say where she had been found, or what sort of tip-off had led to her arrest. She has no criminal convictions in the US, but had been deported for being in the country illegally five times between 2004 and 2005. Sources at the agency told The Los Angeles Times they had caught up with her after being told by their Mexican counterparts that she was believed to be living in the San Gabriel area of Los Angeles, which borders El Monte. After a short surveillance operation, she was brought into custody without incident. The modest apartment block was "the last place you'd expect to find someone who was supposed to have run so many drugs", the newspaper was told. "It's not clear if she was just hiding, or if she'd fallen upon hard times."

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Barclays boss Bob Diamond resigns

Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond has resigned with immediate effect. The move comes less than a week after the bank was fined a record amount for trying to manipulate inter-bank lending rates. Mr Diamond said he was stepping down because the external pressure on the bank risked "damaging the franchise". Chairman Marcus Agius, who said on Monday he was stepping down, will take over the running of Barclays until a replacement is found. "I am deeply disappointed that the impression created by the events announced last week about what Barclays and its people stand for could not be further from the truth," Mr Diamond said in a statement. He will still appear before MPs on the Treasury Committee to answer questions about the Libor affair on Wednesday. "I look forward to fulfilling my obligation to contribute to the Treasury Committee's enquiries related to the settlements that Barclays announced last week without my leadership in question," Mr Diamond said. Last week, regulators in the US and UK fined Barclays £290m ($450m) for attempting to rig Libor and Euribor, the interest rates at which banks lend to each other, which underpin trillions of pounds worth of financial transactions. Staff did this over a number of years, trying to raise them for profit and then, during the financial crisis, lowering them to hide the level to which Barclays was under financial stress. Prime Minister David Cameron has described the rigging of Libor rates as "a scandal". The Serious Fraud Office is also considering whether to bring criminal charges.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Italy fan attacked in England after quarterfinal

Cars were damaged and one person assaulted as England fans targeted Italian supporters living in Bedford following Euro 2012 quarter-final. A group of around 150 football fans forced a town's high street to shut after they tried to confront Italian fans. Bedfordshire Police were forced to close the High Street and the Embankment in Bedford after sporadic disorder broke out following the match against Italy in Kiev last night. Around 1,200 England fans watched the game in the High Street pubs and the vast majority were well behaved and went home after the match without incident, a force spokeswoman said.

Beware of missed call to check SIM cloning

Next time if you get a missed call starting with +92; #90 or #09, don't show the courtesy of calling back because chances are it would lead to your SIM card being cloned. The telecom service providers are now issuing alerts to subscribers —particularly about the series mentioned above as the moment one press the call button after dialing the above number, someone at the other end will get your phone and SIM card cloned. According to reports, more than one lakh subscribers have fallen prey to this new telecom terror attack as the frequency of such calls continues to grow. Intelligence agencies have reportedly confirmed to the service providers particularly in UP West telecom division that such a racket is not only under way but the menace is growing fast. "We are sure there must be some more similar combinations that the miscreants are using to clone the handsets and all the information stored in them," an intelligence officer told TOI. General Manager (GM) BSNL, RV Verma, said the department had already issued alerts to all the broadband subscribers and now alert SMSes were being issued to other subscribers as well. As per Rakshit Tandon, an IT expert who also teaches at the police academy (UP), the crooks can use other combination of numbers as well while making a call. "It is better not to respond to calls received from unusual calling numbers," says Tandon. "At the same time one should avoid storing specifics of their bank account, ATM/ Credit/Debit card numbers and passwords in their phone memory because if one falls a prey to such crooks then the moment your cell phone or sim are cloned, the data will be available to the crooks who can withdraw amount from your bank accounts as well," warns Punit Misra; an IT expert who also owns a consultancy in Lucknow. The menace that threatens to steal the subscriber's information stored in the phone or external memory (sim, memory & data cards) has a very scary side as well. Once cloned, the culprits can well use the cloned copy to make calls to any number they wish to. This exposes the subscribers to the threat of their connection being used for terror calls. Though it will be established during the course of investigations that the cellphone has been cloned and misused elsewhere, it is sure to land the subscriber under quite some pressure till the time the fact about his or her phone being cloned and misused is established, intelligence sources said. "It usually starts with a miss call from a number starting with + 92. The moment the subscriber calls back on the miss call, his or her cell phone is cloned. In case the subscribers takes the call before it is dropped as a miss call then the caller on the other end poses as a call center executive checking the connectivity and call flow of the particular service provider. The caller then asks the subscriber to press # 09 or # 90 call back on his number to establish that the connectivity to the subscriber was seamless," says a victim who reported the matter to the BSNL office at Moradabad last week. "The moment I redialed the caller number, my account balance lost a sum of money. Thereafter, in the three days that followed every time I got my cell phone recharged, the balance would be reduced to single digits within the next few minutes," she told the BSNL officials.

France brings in breathalyser law

New motoring laws have come into force in France making it compulsory for drivers to carry breathalyser kits in their vehicles. As of July 1, motorists and motorcyclists will face an on-the-spot fine unless they travel with two single-use devices as part of a government drive to reduce the number of drink-drive related deaths. The new regulations, which excludes mopeds, will be fully enforced and include foreigner drivers from November 1 following a four-month grace period. Anyone failing to produce a breathalyser after that date will receive an 11 euro fine. French police have warned they will be carrying out random checks on drivers crossing into France via ferries and through the Channel Tunnel to enforce the new rules. Retailers in the UK have reported a massive rise in breathalyser sales as British drivers travelling across the Channel ensure they do not fall foul of the new legislation. Car accessory retailer Halfords said it is selling one kit every minute of the day and has rushed extra stock into stores to cope with the unprecedented demand. Six out of 10 Britons travelling to France are not aware they have to carry two NF approved breathalysers at all times, according to the company. The French government hopes to save around 500 lives a year by introducing the new laws, which will encourage drivers who suspect they may be over the limit to test themselves with the kits. The French drink-driving limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - substantially less than the UK limit of 80mg.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Four die after panic set in during scuba dive at popular Italian resort

Four die after panic set in during scuba dive at popular Italian resort A British scuba diver was one of four to die after becoming trapped in a submerged cave near the tourist Italian port of Palinuro at the weekend the coastguard revealed. Divers and Coast Guard personnel during recovery operations of the four drowned divers at Palinuro in Italy Photo: EPA By Philip Willan, Rome7:18PM BST 01 Jul 2012 Douglas Rizzo, who was born in London but had been living in Rome, is believed to have been the leader of a party of divers who lost their bearings after kicking up mud from the floor of the "Blood Grotto", a popular destination with amateur divers because of its red walls, caused by a bacterial growth. According to Italian investigators the group missed the exit to the cave after becoming confused and instead entered a nearby tunnel which led to a chamber with a dead end. An Italian magistrate has opened an inquiry into the accident at the seaside resort south of Naples. Authorities identified the victims as Rizzo, 41, who leaves a wife and six-month old son, Andrea Pedroni, 40, from Rome, Greek-born Panaiotis Telios, 23, from Reggio Calabria, and Susy Covaccini, 36, also from Rome. Massimo Ruggiero, the coastguard commander in Palinuro, said: "The entrance to the cave is through a tunnel at a depth of 13 to 14 metres. The group should then have swum up to a higher tunnel and made their exit from the cave through that"Beneath this channel there is another tunnel that leads to a dead end in a chamber with a sandy floor. All the victims were found there." Marco Sebastiani, one of four other divers who survived the tragedy said he realised something was wrong when he saw their guide showing signs of agitation, but at that point it was too late. "We suddenly found ourselves in a blind tunnel. We couldn't see anything. At that point it was panic. The agitation of the least experienced took hold. Mud and sand came up from the bottom of the cave and visibility was gone," Mr Sebastiani told Il Messaggero newspaper. "At a certain point I managed to find my way. I took as many people as I could with me and we swam towards the light, which grew bigger all the time. When I came up, I looked around to count us and I realised that Susy, Andrea, Douglas and Panos weren't there." Roberto Navarra, the diving school owner who provided the group's equipment, confirmed yesterday (Sunday) that four of the group had swum into the wrong tunnel. "It's an easy cave but there is a dangerous tunnel that people never use. Four people swam into that channel," Mr Navarra told reporters. He said he had tried repeatedly to save the missing divers but "the visibility was terrible. You could see nothing". Mr Navarra said the group was correctly equipped and carried torches. "Unfortunately there was not one, but an incredible series of negative circumstances. Now we are all shocked and saddened." Valter Ciociano, an expert diver from nearby Marina di Camerota, said many of the 35 underwater caves that draw divers to the area have muddy bottoms. "Often when you go in, the water is clear and you don't notice that your flippers are muddying the water behind you, creating what seems an impenetrable wall. On these occasions it's panic that rules the day." The underwater caves do sometimes contain small air pockets under the roof, but experts say they are no guarantee of safety. In many cases the air would not be breathable because of the presence of poisonous hydrogen sulphate fumes.

Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe arrested in Prague

Randy Blythe, singer with US metal band Lamb of God has been arrested in Prague over the death of a fan at a gig in the Czech Republic two years ago. It is understood that Mr Blythe, 44, was detained at Prague airport on Wednesday, forcing the band to cancel a live appearance the following night. The 19-year-old fan died 14 days after allegedly being pushed from the stage by Mr Blythe at a gig in 2010. It has been reported that the singer has now been released from custody. Writing on the band's Twitter account, Mr Blythe's bandmate, guitarist Mark Morton said: "Finally HOME! 4/5 of us anyway... Thanx for all the support yall!" Lamb of God's record label are understood to be releasing a statement on Monday. Mr Blythe's arrest stems back to the death of a fan who attempted to climb on stage during a concert at Prague's club Abaton on 24 May 2010. According to reports, the fan had repeatedly tried to climb onto the stage before allegedly being pushed by Mr Blythe and hitting the concrete floor. He died 14 days later of his injuries, said Czech TV station TV Nova. A post-mortem examination reportedly found that he had not been drunk or under the influence of drugs. Lamb of God formed in Virginia in 1990 and, in 2007, received a Grammy nomination for their album Sacrament. Last month, they played at the Download festival at Donnington Park in the UK.

The number of Britons arrested overseas is on the rise, official figures have shown.

 The Foreign Office (FO) handled 6,015 arrest cases involving British nationals abroad between April 2011 and March 2012. This was 6% more than in the previous 12 months and included a 2% rise in drug arrests. The figures, which include holidaymakers and Britons resident overseas, showed the highest number of arrests and detentions was in Spain (1,909) followed by the USA (1,305). Spanish arrests rose 9% in 2011/12, while the United States was up 3%. The most arrests of Britons for drugs was in the US (147), followed by Spain (141). The highest percentage of arrests for drugs in 2011/12 was in Peru where there were only 17 arrests in total, although 15 were for drugs. The FO said anecdotal evidence from embassies and consulates overseas suggested many incidents were alcohol-fuelled, particularly in popular holiday destinations such as the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, the Balearics (which include Majorca and Ibiza), Malta and Cyprus. Consular Affairs Minister Jeremy Browne said: "It is important that people understand that taking risks abroad can land them on the wrong side of the law. "The punishments can be very severe, with tougher prison conditions than in the UK. While we will work hard to try and ensure the safety of British nationals abroad, we cannot interfere in another country's legal system. "We find that many people are shocked to discover that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office cannot get them out of jail. We always provide consular support to British nationals in difficulty overseas. However, having a British passport does not make you immune to foreign laws and will not get you special treatment in prison."

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