(CNN) -- Shelling hit areas near two key cities in eastern Ukraine on Sunday morning, intensifying fears that a ceasefire that took effect less than two days ago may be falling apart. Why is the ceasefire under strain? A variety of fighting factions in the conflict zone -- on both sides -- may not fall directly under a military chain of command. The pro-Russian rebels are mostly volunteer militias; fighting against them on the Ukrainian side are at least some far-right nationalist militias. Controlling these groups is difficult and some may have different aims, including sabotaging the truce. At this point it's been nearly impossible to figure out who's doing the firing and why. The conditions of the ceasefire agreement don't help either. The conditions are vague and at this point there doesn't seem to be an effective mechanism in place inside the conflict zone to monitor and enforce the agreement. Why can't the two sides' leaders control their forces? It's unclear if Kiev has control over all of the fighting forces in eastern Ukraine. Some of the volunteer militias fighting alongside Ukrainian soldiers are far-right nationalists who've been critical of the current government in Kiev, but they're still fighting because they feel Ukraine is under attack by Russia. And who controls the pro-Russian rebels? Is it the local commanders? Is it Russian President Vladimir Putin? None of that is clear. Which side has the most to gain from the truce? If the truce leads to good-faith negotiations and a compromise, then both sides can gain. A compromise could look like something like this: The pro-Russian region of Donbas gets autonomy and self-determination under a federalized Ukrainian government, and in return the rebels drop their demand for independence and Kiev gets to protect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. There are elements on both sides that don't want a compromise, and they could certainly have the potential of undermining the truce. What happens next? We wait to see if the overnight shellings and firings are an anomaly or if they're a sign of more violence and more fighting. If the ceasefire sticks, both sides have agreed to hold talks that will address the core issues and demands on both sides that are still unresolved -- including the disarming of the rebels, a guarantee of self-determination for the pro-Russian Donbas region, the fate of Russian-annexed Crimea, constitutional reform, and a solution to the humanitarian crisis in the conflict zone. Obviously if the fighting continues, all bets are off. What effect does this have on the rest of the world? What happens in the coming days will determine the next move by NATO and Western leaders. If the ceasefire falls apart, the West will likely turn up the pressure by following through with sanctions and bolstering Western forces in NATO's Baltic-member states. Moscow has already threatened to respond if that happens. The bottom line is, the conflict will escalate and so will the prospects of a regional conflict -- although at this point that seems unlikely.
Shelling in eastern Ukraine raises fears that a ceasefire may fall apart . Reza Sayah: It's been nearly impossible to say who's doing firing and why . It's unclear who has control over fighting forces on either side in east Ukraine . There are elements on both sides that don't want a compromise .
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Killer instincts? Lacey Spears, 26, is pictured with her 5-year-old son Garnett (right) who she's now accused of killing . A New York State mom blogger who gained a widespread following with posts about her son's near-constant health problems could soon be charged in the 5-year-old's suspicious January death. Authorities in Westchester County almost immediately looked to Lacey Spears when her son Garnett died and have since determined the boy died from acute sodium poisoning. Now, a source close to the investigation has revealed that the 26-year-old southern transplant could soon find herself in a New York jail as authorities prepare to press charges in what they've deemed a homicide. 'It's evident by the nature of what was found in his body that somebody, in effect, poisoned him,' the source told FoxNews.com. 'He died at the hands of somebody else.' Should Spears be charged, it will be the culmination of months of speculation over her involvement in the death, the state of her mental health and of her possible motivations. Spears could potentially get charged with anything from murder to negligent homicide or manslaughter. Since her son's death, Spears has fled New York, where the Alabama native lived in a 'fellowship community' of back-to-the-land types, for Kentucky. Her attorney David Sachs denied his client had anything to do with her son's death. 'Lacey is completely devastated by the loss of her son and absolutely denies harming her son in any way,' Sachs told FoxNews.com . Agonizing: The boy died from acute sodium intoxication days after he was rushed to a Westchester County, New York hospital complaining of severe stomach pains . Garnett Spears died at Westchester . Medical Center in January after Spears rushed him to the emergency room . on suffering intense abdominal pains from what appeared to be a stomach . virus. The little boy's condition worsened and he died four days later with what appeared to be dangerously high amounts of sodium in his system - leading investigators to question whether Garnett was deliberately given the salt. Indeed, before he tragically passed away, hospital officials told police that the levels were suspiciously high - which caused the investigation to be opened into the Chestnut Ridge mother. Following this, police sought and obtained a search warrant for her home in mid-January. Suspicious: A neighbor claims Spears asked that he hide one of the many feeding tube bags that she used--unnecessarily many say--to feed Garnett as he lay dying in January . They took food from her home, her cell phone and computer. They have also questioned Lacey Spears' friends and family and obtained Garnett's past medical records after discovering that he had been hospitalized 23-times during his short life. As the investigation continued, a neighbor who asked not to be named told USA Today that as Spears' son lay dying she asked her to go to her home and dispose of one of the boy's feeding bags - which allegedly contained a large amount of sodium. Police have not released why Garnett . had a feeding tube - believed to be in his abdomen - but have pointed to . his history of illness and repeated hospital visits. The . neighbor who asked not to be named said that they did initially remove . the bag - but then phoned the police and turned it over when they heard . about the circumstances surrounding the boys death. Those circumstances, it became clear all too late, were nothing new. The . same questionable parenting and suggestions of the child-harming mental . illness Munchhausen by proxy surrounded Garnett and his mom starting . from just after the boy was born and across the states of Alabama, . Florida and New York. The . Florida Department of Children and Families revealed in April that . they've had a file on Spears since 2011, when an anonymous call voicing . concerns about her parenting was made to their abuse hotline. And . prior to that, in 2009 while the family lived in Alabama, Garnett . suffered severe seizures and had to be flown by helicopter to a Decatur . hospital and resuscitated. The . Journal News reported last month that the Florida agency is sharing all . information they have on the mother with New York authorities. Sad: Garnett was hospitalized more than 23 times during his five years of life and his mother Lacey updated social media to update her followers on her sons progress . Munchausen by proxy, is a psychiatric disorder which makes a parent purposely hurt their child — to get attention. 'It is so counter-intuitive to all our ideas of what parenthood is supposed to be,' said Dr. Marc D. Feldman who has written extensively about Munchausen syndrome. 'But medical child abuse can and does occur.' Feldmen told USA Today that this case has at least four distinct red-flags for him that indicate the possibility of abuse. 1) Garnett had a feeding tube for unknown reasons. In case of Munchausen by proxy the child will be sick enough to have a feeding tube or intravenous line that gives the abuser access to the body internally. 'That's an avenue for medical chaos,' Feldman said. 'A feeding tube is a real red flag.' 2) It is almost physically impossible to ingest or force feed a lethal does of salt. However, introducing it over time through a feeding tube is possible. 3) Feldman points out that those with Munchausen often exhibit pseudologia fantastica — compulsive lying - Spears told lies about her partner and about being a mother . 4) Exaggerated stories of their child being ill is another symptom - and in this case Spears obsessively detailed her child's illnesses online . People with the condition also have borderline personality disorder, a psychiatric condition marked by problems with impulsive and reckless behavior, leading to unstable relationships. Signs of Munchausen by proxy can include: .
Suspicion has rested almost solely on Lacey Spears since the January death of her little boy Garnett . A source now says authorities in Westchester County, New York have deemed the boy's death a homicide by sodium poisoning . Spears could now face charges ranging from murder to manslaughter or negligent homicide . Spears allegedly asked a neighbor to dispose of one of the many stomach feeding bags she claimed her son needed as he lay dying .
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Ed Miliband pitched Labour into disarray on the economy and welfare yesterday when he was unable to answer basic questions about his party’s policies. The Labour leader’s performance in a radio interview was described as ‘a car crash’ and ‘a Milishambles’. Mr Miliband refused on ten occasions to admit that his party would increase government borrowing, despite outlining plans that would require more than £28billion of borrowing. Labour leader Ed Miliband, pictured campaigning in Worcester, refused to admit he would be borrowing more if he was in power . He then revealed that Labour’s policy review would investigate whether . to axe universal benefits for pensioners such as the winter fuel . allowance and free bus and television licences. His aides were later forced to insist that they would stay. The Labour leader lost his temper in an interview with Martha Kearney, host of Radio 4’s World at One. At one point, he snapped ‘You don’t understand’ to Miss Kearney as she . pressed him on Labour’s position on the economy – while failing to spell . out what it is. The interview came as Mr Miliband unveiled Labour’s alternative Queen’s . Speech, which repeated the party’s pledge to bring in a temporary VAT . cut to 17.5 per cent, which would cost £13 billion. Labour published an Alternative Queen's Speech today, but the Tories suggested it contained £28.1billion in unfunded spending promises . It also outlined . pledges to reintroduce the 10p tax rate, at a cost of £7.3billion paid . for with a mansion tax that would only raise £2billion. The Tories claim . there is a £28billion black hole in the plans. Borrowing fell only slightly last year to £120.6billion, just £300million lower than in 2011-12. Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has previously admitted that Labour would . have to raise borrowing in an attempt to foster economic growth, in the . hope that means borrowing can be cut later. But Mr Miliband flatly . refused to admit that borrowing would increase, angrily dodging ten . different questions on the subject. Asked whether he thinks the Government needs to borrow more now, Mr . Miliband said: ‘No, well [what] I would say is that we need to get . borrowing down.’ Pressed again, he added: ‘I don’t accept that borrowing . would be higher under a Labour government because borrowing would be . lower over the medium term.’ Asked to agree with Mr Balls that borrowing would rise in the short-term he refused. Tory MP Brooks Newmark branded Mr Miliband’s performance ‘a . Milishambles’, while the Liberal Democrat press office tweeted that it . was ‘a car crash’. Tory Party chairman Grant Shapps said: ‘Ed Miliband is too weak to admit . what his Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, has already said: that Labour’s . plans mean more spending, more borrowing and more debt, exactly how . Labour got us into this mess in the first place.’ The grilling of Ed Miliband by Radio 4’s World at One presenter Martha Kearney was described as a ‘car crash’ interview. Here is an edited transcript:MK: Would it be fair to say, looking at your plans overall, that you think that the Government needs to borrow more now and that’s in order to boost growth in the economy.EM: No, well [what] I would say is that we need to get borrowing down.MK: In order to produce more growth, if you were PM at the moment you would be spending and borrowing more wouldn’t you? EM: Well I don’t accept that borrowing would be higher under Labour… because borrowing would be lower over the medium term.MK: When Ed Balls was asked about this very question he was more open. He answered it. When he was asked if he would borrow more if he were chancellor he said now and I quote ‘that is what I would do right now’.EM: Look the Government is cutting too far and too fast. Ed Balls is absolutely right about that.MK: All I am asking you is to explain how you are going to boost growth and that is by spending more and that is by borrowing more if you were PM at the moment, straight answer to that? EM: Well I am giving you a very straight answer. I think borrowing would be lower under a Labour government over the medium term.MK: In the medium term, but I am asking you what you would do right now? If I made you PM right now.EM: What we would do right now is the five-point plan for growth and jobs. A VAT cut which I think would get our economy moving.MK: [That] Wouldn’t contribute to growth tomorrow. If you were PM now cut VAT for a year you are going to spend £12billion and you hope you will get the money back in the medium term but you don’t know that. So you will have to borrow more wouldn’t you?EM: No you don’t understand Martha, I don’t think you are quite accepting this point. Why has George Osborne’s borrowing gone from nought to £61billion? Why do you think that is? MK: I’m asking you about your plans....EM: No, no, but it’s very relevant.MK: I want to ask you....EM: But it’s very relevant. It’s very relevant to this point.MK: I understand you want to change the subject.EM: I am not changing the subject at all...
Labour leader under pressure over expensive spending promises . VAT cuts, housing pledges and jobs guarantees ramp up costs . Tories say Labour's economic policy is 'in a mess'
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By . Andrew Young . PUBLISHED: . 19:06 EST, 7 December 2013 . | . UPDATED: . 19:06 EST, 7 December 2013 . Scores of grey seal pups are feared to have died after being swept from beaches by last week’s devastating surge tide. The National Trust confirmed that 263 pups were reported missing on Thursday night from a breeding colony at Horsey Gap, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. A rescue operation is under way after about 190 of the pups were washed up alive on nearby beaches, along with the bodies of several others. The rest are feared drowned. An unknown number of pups are also missing from the National Trust reserve at Blakeney Point in north Norfolk, along with 20 from an offshore colony at Scroby Sands, near Great Yarmouth. Tragedy: A dead seal pup washed up on Heacham beach in Norfolk after being swept from a breeding colony by strong tides . The RSPCA rescue centre at East Winch, near King’s Lynn, took in 17 pups on Friday and 20 more yesterday – on top of the 50 it was already looking after. An RSPCA spokesman said: ‘We are concerned about the pups as it is the height of the pupping season and they are vulnerable. Our inspectors are patrolling beaches between Great Yarmouth and Cromer and responding to reports of seals that have washed up. We are taking them in if they are distressed or injured.’ Eilish Rothney of the Friends of Horsey Seals said 130 of the 190 pups that had washed up were under three weeks old and needed their mothers’ milk. She said: ‘It is possible many of them might die.’ A National Trust spokesman said seal pups washed up on beaches should only be approached by wildlife experts from approved groups or RSPCA staff. Survivor: One of the lucky survivors pictured on a beach in Norfolk after the strong tides . Many of the pups that have been rescued are less than three weeks old and still need to be fed by their mothers . The spokesman said: ‘Please do not attempt to move them or encourage them to return to the sea.’ Meanwhile, it has emerged that residents who ignored warnings to evacuate seaside homes at risk of flooding last week were asked to sign disclaimer forms by police. The forms stated that anyone who signed accepted that they were putting themselves at risk from sea water ‘up to a depth of three metres’ by staying in their homes. A clause added that emergency services would be ‘stretched to their capacity’ in the event of flooding, meaning people might not be rescued until waters had subsided. More than 1,000 residents of Jaywick, near Clacton, Essex, were asked to sign after refusing to evacuate on Thursday. Men take pictures of a seal pup as they try to move it away away from a house which fell into the sea during a storm surge in Hemsby, eastern England . This photograph shows the mass flooding experienced across north Lincolnshire following high tides . One villager said: ‘I got the impression they wanted me to sign as  they were worried about being sued if I drowned.’ In the event, the water was kept back by the sea wall at Jaywick when the surge tide struck in the early hours of Friday and no homes were flooded. An Essex Police spokesman confirmed leaflets were handed out in Jaywick but added: ‘It was not done to absolve emergency services of responsibility should the occupants have got into difficulty.’ A clean-up operation was still under way yesterday after 1,400 homes and businesses around Britain were flooded. One of the worst affected areas was Boston, Lincolnshire, where 300 homes were flooded. Five clifftop bungalows were washed away at Hemsby, near Great Yarmouth. The Environment Agency said damage had been minimised by improved flood defences, protecting at least 800,000 homes. Workers assess the damage caused by the sea surge to Scarborough Foreshore, at North Bay, in Scarborugh . Devastation: The Cromer seafront was left strewn with twisted railings and lumps of concrete after the storm surge .
Seal pups were swept away from a breeding colony at Horsey Gap, Norfolk . About 190 of the pups were washed up alive on nearby beaches . More than 80 are being cared for at the RSPCA rescue centre at East Winch . Several pups were found dead and the rest are feared drowned .
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Lawyers for the captain of the capsized Costa Concordia have made a last-ditch appeal, asking the Italian court trying him for the 2012 shipwreck to consider errors of other crew, not just his conduct. The court in Grosseto will soon deliberate the fate of Francesco Schettino, who is charged with manslaughter in the deaths of 32 people, abandoning ship before all of the 4,200 passengers and crew were evacuated, and causing the shipwreck. The Concordia smashed into a reef when sailing too close to Giglio Island, causing the vessel the capsize. Schettino's lawyers have denied that their client acted like a 'reckless idiot'. Survivors have previously spoken of their shock of seeing the skipper - who has been dubbed 'Captain Coward' - standing on the shore after the disaster without even getting his feet wet. Scroll down for video . Plea: Lawyers for Francesco Schettino (pictured arriving in Grosseto this morning) have made a last-ditch appeal for the court trying him for the 2012 shipwreck to consider errors of other crew, not just his conduct . Awaiting his fate: Schettino is pictured arriving at the courthouse in Grosseto, Tuscany this morning . Claim: The Concordia smashed into a reef when sailing too close to Giglio Island. Lawyers for Francesco Schettino (pictured in court earlier in the trial) have denied that their client acted like a 'reckless idiot' This morning lawyer Donato Laino says prosecutors built their case 'around one person, not the facts', adding that Mr Schettino believes he is being made a scapegoat for wider failings. Schettino faces up to 26 years in prison on charges of causing the shipwreck, with the Grosseto court handing potentially down a verdict as early as this evening. Investigators have severely criticised his handling of the disaster, accusing him of bringing the 290 metre-long vessel too close to shore when it struck rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio, tearing a hole in its side and setting off a chaotic night evacuation of more than 4,000 passengers and crew. He has also been accused of delaying evacuation and losing control of the operation during which he abandoned ship before all the 4,200 passengers and crew had been rescued. Prosecutors have asked for a sentence of 26 years in prison for Schettino, who has admitted some responsibility as captain of the ship but denies blame for deaths that occurred during evacuation. This morning he was left alone in the dock to answer for the disaster after the ship's owners Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corp, paid a €1 million fine to settle. Prosecutors also accepted plea bargains from five other officials, none of whom were jailed. Moniker: Survivors have previously spoken of their shock of seeing Francesco Schettino (pictured) - who has been dubbed 'Captain Coward'- standing on the shore after the disaster without even getting his feet wet . Disaster: The wreck of the Costa Concordia lying on its side after it smashed into a reef near Giglio Island, with 32 people on board losing their lives . The Costa Concordia wreck was one of the highest-profile shipping disasters of recent years, leaving the massive hulk abandoned on its side for two-and-a-half years before it was towed away in the most expensive maritime wreck recovery in history. Schettino's defence team argued he prevented an even worse disaster by steering the ship close to the island as it sank. They say the sentence sought by prosecutors goes beyond even sentences sought for mafia killers. 'I believe and hope that the court will be able to establish the fact that the deaths happened after the impact,' his lawyer Domenico Pepe told reporters. Schettino, a distinctive figure with his sharp suits and pomaded hair, has been a constant presence throughout the trial in a makeshift courtroom set up in a theatre in Grosseto. Questions have also been asked about the safety procedures and the wider responsibilities of ship operators Carnival. Giuliano Leuzzi, a lawyer representing consumer organisation Codacons, a civil party in the case said: 'We need to establish the real responsibilities and each party should take responsibility for their share.'
Lawyers for Francesco Schettino make last-ditch appeal in Italian court . Have asked court to consider errors made by crew in causing the disaster . Schettino is charged with manslaughter of 32 people and causing crash . Also accused of abandoning ship before 4,200 on board were evacuated . Verdict could be given today, with skipper facing up to 26 years in prison .
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(CNN) -- Remember when oil giant BP paid billions of dollars to clean up its own mess from the 2010 Gulf oil spill? Then the company agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay an unprecedented $4 billion fine for the spill. In the latest development, Wednesday, BP was essentially told to stand in the corner when it comes to winning new federal contracts -- a potentially huge blow to the company's bottom line. And it's still likely on the hook for civil penalties the federal government hopes to recover for environmental damages. So, is BP being punished enough for the deadly and destructive Deepwater Horizon spill, or too much? It depends on who you ask. This matters. BP says it supports nearly a quarter of a million American jobs and has invested $52 billion in the United States since 2007. Experts suggest punishments ranging from massive fines to banning the company from offshore drilling. However this all shakes out, it likely will send a powerful message to the industry. Families of killed rig workers react to BP settlement . First, here's what happened Wednesday: . The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it will block BP from new government contracts due to its "lack of business integrity" stemming from the 2010 explosion and oil spill. It was a tragedy that killed 11 oil workers and dumped 205 million gallons of oil into the Gulf in a slow-moving, 85-day national drama that prosecutors called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. This month hasn't been good to BP. The decision follows the London-based company's agreement November 15 to plead guilty to criminal charges including manslaughter, obstruction of Congress and environmental violations related to the explosion and spill -- an agreement that still requires a judge's approval. What it means . Wednesday's EPA decision means BP won't be allowed to compete for new contracts, grants or other business until the company shows it meets federal business standards. As of February, BP had $9 billion in contracts to supply the U.S. government with fuel, most of it destined for military users, said Christine Tiscareno, a London-based analyst with S&P Capital IQ. Those contracts aren't affected by the EPA decision, the agency said. BP said it's already filed paperwork to get back in good graces with the EPA, said the agency is already preparing an administrative agreement to lift the suspension and highlighted what the company says it's done to rectify the situation. "As BP's submissions to the EPA have made clear, the company has made significant enhancements since the accident," the company said in a statement. "The company launched an internal investigation immediately after the accident, publicly released the results, and has been implementing all 26 of the investigation's recommendations." What's ahead . The next big step in the case comes in February, when a civil trial is expected to begin over the government's demand for civil damages under the Clean Water Act. That case could draw huge new fines for the company. The disaster, in addition to claiming 11 lives, caused disruption to countless residents and businesses, many of whom counted on the Gulf for their livelihoods, whether in the oil fields, fishing grounds or tourist beaches. For some, including environmentalists, the company couldn't be fined enough or spend enough money to get back on their good side. "Well, you know, we're discussing the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history," said Matt Dundas, acting campaign director at the environmental group Oceana. "The punishment needs to fit the crime." But, he said, the record $4 billion fine BP is expected to pay as a result of the criminal case is a tenth of the maximum it could have faced, making it small consolation to BP's harshest critics. The fine, while a record for the U.S. justice system, represents less than three months worth of profits for BP. The company reported $5.2 billion in profits in the quarter that ended September 30. Dundas is now rooting for the maximum possible verdict in the civil case -- $50 billion in fines. But he says there's only one punishment that would really get BP and other oil companies to sit up and take steps to prevent what Dundas says is the overwhelming risk of another large oil spill: being kicked out of the game entirely. "I think a terrific minimum would be to bar them from offshore drilling," he said. "That's really the only standard that's going to get oil companies to pay attention." The head of a trade association representing BP and other oil and gas operators in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico said Wednesday that BP has already complied with government requirements. "BP has done everything that the federal government has asked and more. ... This new EPA designation is another layer," said Chris John, president of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association. "How much is enough, when the economy in America is trying to dig out of the recession, and energy ... is a very important component to getting Americans back to work?" The EPA's decision could have a negative impact beyond BP, he said, affecting other companies in the industry who have also complied with regulators. "The companies that operate out in the Gulf of Mexico, they can go anywhere, they're global. They can drill anywhere in the world," John said. "They have chosen to come back to the Gulf in the past few years. ... This additional statement and designation by the EPA has to play into their decision of where to put their capital." BP didn't directly address whether it believes it has paid enough for the disaster, but noted Wednesday that it has spent $14 billion in response and cleanup costs, $1 million on restoration projects and $9 billion in compensation and expects to spend $7.8 billion more to resolve the majority of outstanding claims. Owning up . The company also pointed out it has acknowledged criminal responsibility, carried out recommendations made by investigators who studied the incident and has taken actions to strengthen safety and drilling standards that exceed federal regulations. Tiscareno, the oil analyst, said that while the costs to BP have been steep, they are bearable for the company. The big question is what happens in February, when the civil case goes to trial. Tiscareno said she expects BP, which has taken a long-term approach to recovering from the spill, will recover financially unless the civil trial nets an "irrational" decision. A huge verdict could pose problems for BP, Tiscareno said, but she said the government can't go too far in gutting the firm because of all the jobs and tax revenues the company provides. BP has invested $52 billion in the U.S. in the last five years, employs 23,000 U.S. residents and indirectly supports nearly 250,000 jobs, the company said Wednesday. "The U.S. needs BP as much as BP needs the U.S.," Tiscareno said. CNN's Kendra Wates and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.
NEW: Trade association: "BP has done everything that the federal government has asked" Two years after the oil spill, experts weigh in on possible punishments for BP . BP says it expects the temporary ban will be lifted soon . The EPA says the oil giant showed a "lack of business integrity"
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Many RBS customers were left seething today after a glitch left them unable to use their credit or debit cards at store checkouts and ATMs. The issue, which comes just one day after the bank was fined £56million for a huge IT meltdown in 2012, also affected those with sister banks NatWest and Ulster Bank. An RBS spokesman insisted the issue only affected those attempting to make higher-value payments or transactions abroad - resulting in 'minimal customer impact'. Scroll down for video . Many Royal Bank of Scotland customers were left seething today after a glitch left them unable to use their cards at store checkouts and ATMs . But many customers vented their fury on Twitter over the glitch - slamming RBS as 'pathetic' and a 'bunch of clowns' on the bank's helpline page. One frustrated customer asked the bank: 'When can we expect a resolution to the card issue? Trying to book an emergency flight home and this is extremely time sensitive.' Another complained on Natwest's website of payments failing to be processed. The customer wrote: 'Did a Tesco shop yesterday, everything went through. Advised this morning by Tesco that the payment did not go through.' The customer, who described the situation as 'very poor', said they had been told by the bank that an issue was affecting a number of Visa debit card customers. Another customer, who registered his complaint on Twitter, said: 'Debit card transactions not working! When is this going to be resolved? Pathetic.' Frustration: Customers vented their fury on Twiiter this morning after finding themselves unable to use their cards at ATMs and in stores . RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton has said that since the 2012 IT crash, which cost the firm a £56million fine yesterday, the bank has spent hundreds of millions of pounds on increasing the resilience of its systems . The problems started at 7.45am and were resolved by 9.15am, the bank said. A statement from RBS said: 'A small number of customers experienced issues early this morning while using their RBS, NatWest and Ulster Visa debit and credit cards. 'There was minimal customer impact and the issue was quickly resolved.' Yesterday, the bank was landed with penalties totalling £56million by regulators over its huge systems crash in 2012, which also affected customers of RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank. Former chief executive Stephen Hester forfeited his bonus of up to £2.4million over the 2012 IT fiasco at a bank which is still 81 per cent owned by the taxpayer . RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton has said that since the incident, the bank has spent hundreds of millions of pounds on increasing the resilience of its IT systems. RBS admitted to 'unacceptable weaknesses' in its computer systems as around 6.5 million customers - equivalent to 10% of the UK population - suffered disruption lasting for several weeks in some cases. RBS bosses admitted previously they had failed to invest enough in their IT systems for decades, following a computer meltdown that hit millions of customers. The extraordinary admission a after a string of glitches where millions of debit card cash withdrawals and purchases, some credit card transactions, plus online banking and banking via mobile phone, were blocked. RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said the most recent systems failure was ‘unacceptable’, and admitted: ‘For decades, RBS failed to invest properly in its systems. We know we have to do better.’ In 2012 a junior technician in India was blamed for causing the RBS computer meltdown which froze millions of British bank accounts. But it later emerged it came from their Edinburgh headquarters. They were unable to use online banking facilities or obtain accurate account balances from ATMs. Mortgage payments were delayed and customers left without cash in foreign countries. The issues in summer 2012 stemmed from a botched upgrade to the software that processed updates to customers' accounts overnight. When it noticed problems with the upgrade the bank's central IT function decided to uninstall it without first testing the consequences of that action. The bank is investigating the underlying cause of today's problems, which it said are unrelated to the meltdown of two years ago. The IT meltdown fine came just days after RBS was one of six banks fined £2.6billion for rigging the £3trillion a day foreign exchange market. The bank was hit with a £400million penalty by UK and US regulators, with regulators publishing damning transcripts of its traders bragging about the conspiracy. The IT failure has raised concerns about the state backed lender’s creaking computer systems which have continued to let down customers in recent years. RBS suffered another systems outage in December on the busiest online shopping day of the year, the third time in about 18 months that such a problem had prevented customers from using cards, cash machines and online banking services. It says it has been ploughing billions of pounds into bolstering its IT systems to help ensure that similar problems do not reoccur. The lender recently pledged to invest an extra £1billion in its digital and IT services as it attempts to persuade more of its customers to bank online and on their mobile phones. Before the 2008 financial crisis, Royal Bank of Scotland was one of the largest and most aggressive banks in the world. The bank was founded in Edinburgh in 1727, but by the end of the 20th century it was a major player in the City of London too as the UK capital became the world's leading financial centre. RBS sealed its place at the top table of British banking in 2000 when it bought NatWest, which dates back to 1650 and was considered one of the 'Big Four' retail banks in the UK. Fred Goodwin, right, became chief executive of RBS the following year and pioneered a gung-ho expansion strategy with resources poured into its investment banking division. One of the biggest deals came when RBS joined a consortium to buy Dutch bank ABN Amro for £49billion, which was later revealed as a major overvaluation. With the advent of the 2007 credit crunch and subsequent global financial turmoil, RBS was exposed as being dangerously indebted and unable to meet its obligations. The Labour Government felt it had no option but to step in, and in October 2008 it took a 57 per cent stake in the bank in return for £37billion of new capital. As the bank's losses spiralled and it required even more bail-out money, the state share of the firm rose to 82 per cent. Much of the blame for RBS's troubles was attributed to Goodwin, who was forced to resign and subsequently stripped of the knighthood he had received in 2004. But it has repeatedly denied reports that the problems in the summer of 2012 were caused by workers in the Indian city of Hyderabad, where it set up an IT support centre to cut costs. The results of its internal investigation into the source of the failure have yet to be published as it waits for the FCA’s verdict. Last night one expert suggested RBS has escaped lightly. David Buik from broker Panmure Gordon said: ‘Given the size of the trangression and the damage caused to customers this fine is nothing more than symbolic. We are talking about a bank which could not even get the basics right - stuff that affects people in their day to day life. It’s little wonder there is a complete lack of trust between banks and their customers.’
Today's glitch left thousands struggling to use cards at ATMs and in stores . Bank says problem had 'minimal customer impact' and only affected a few . But customers blasted problem on Twitter as 'pathetic' and 'very poor' Yesterday bank was forced to pay hefty fine for its 2012 IT meltdown . Also recently hit with £400million penalty for part in Libor-fixing scandal .
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Barack Obama's Pastor-in-Chief has revealed how the President comforted Sandy Hook victims' families in the days after last year's elementary school massacre. 'The president took a deep breath and . steeled himself, and went into the first classroom. And what happened next I will never forget,' Joshua DuBois, who joined the U.S. President in Newtown, Connecticut, said. 'Person . after person received an engulfing hug from our commander in chief. He’d say, 'Tell me about your son. . . . Tell me about your daughter', . and then hold pictures of the lost beloved as their parents described . favorite foods, television shows, and the sound of their laughter.' Spiritual guide: Joshua DuBois, Barack Obama's 'Pastor-in-Chief', has revealed in a new book how the U.S. President comforted families of Sandy Hook victims . Devastating: Mourner Jeanne Walker of Newtown walks through an overflowing memorial to the shooting victims in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Connecticut . Dubois has shared Obama's 'secret' tender moments with the devastated families in his new book, The President's Devotional: The Daily Readings That Inspired President Obama. The day after the 14 December shooting, in which 26 people were gunned down by 20-year-old Adam Lanza, Obama asked Dubois to accompany him to Newtown to meet with victims' families. Before Dubois left, FBI officials briefed him on the horrors of the massacre, including that the children were lined up and executed. 'How the gunman treated the children like criminals, lining them up to shoot them down,' Dubois wrote, according to Huffington Post. 'How so many bullets penetrated them that many were left unrecognizable. 'How the killer went from one classroom to another and would have gone farther if his rifle would’ve let him.' Survivors: Connecticut State Police lead a line of children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School after the massacre which claimed the lives of 26 people . Tragic: Adam Lanza opened fire on staff and students at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 . Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother at their home and then opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before taking his own life . When Obama arrived at Newtown High School where the meetings would take place, he was briefed on the circumstances of each family. He then took a deep breath, and met with each grieving family in various classrooms over several hours and asked them to tell him their story. 'For . the younger siblings of those who had passed away—many of them two, . three, or four years old, too young to understand it all—the president . would grab them and toss them, laughing, up into the air, and then hand . them a box of White House M&M’s, which were always kept close at . hand,' Dubois wrote. 'In each room, I saw his eyes water, but he did not break...Even a president’s comfort was woefully inadequate for these families in the face of this particularly unspeakable loss. 'But it became some small measure of love, on a weekend when evil reigned. 'And the funny thing is—President Obama has never spoken about these meetings...It must have been one of the defining moments of his presidency, quiet hours in solemn classrooms, extending as much healing as was in his power to extend. But he kept it to himself.' Tender: U.S. President Barack Obama embraces family members of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School students at the White House . Mark Barden, the father of a victim at Sandy Hook Elementary School, joins U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss gun violence .
Obama's chief pastor, Joshua Dubois, reveals how the President personally comforted the families of Sandy Hook victims in Connecticut . He says in his new book that Obama hugged the families, listened to their stories and gave the victims' young siblings a box of White House M&M's . Dubois also reveals gunman Adam Lanza lined up the children like criminals before shooting them .
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Adel Taarabt appeared for QPR for the first time since his public fall-out with Harry Redknapp in Monday afternoon's reserve game against Ipswich Town. The Moroccan's days at Loftus Road appeared to be numbered after his extraordinary spat with Redknapp last month. Taarabt claimed his manager never takes a training session after Redknapp had accused the midfielder of being 'three stone overweight' following the 3-2 defeat to Liverpool. VIDEO Scroll down to watch Harry Redknapp say Taarabt's camp have told blatant lies . Adel Taarabt has played just three first-team games for QPR this season after returning from loan at AC Milan . Taarabt laughed off claims by QPR manager Harry Redknapp that the midfielder was 'three stone overweight' The 25-year-old was due to play for the club's Under 21s last week, but wasn't included in the draw against Swansea. However, Taarabt came through 90 minutes in the 3-0 win against Ipswich Town as he tries to prove his fitness to his boss. The former Spurs man, who has been hampered by an ankle injury, has been limited to just three appearances for the R's this season after returning from a loan spell at AC Milan. Taarabt hit back at Redknapp during an exclusive interview with Sportsmail last month . Taarabt spent last campaign on loan at Fulham and then Serie A side AC Milan .
Moroccan played 90 minutes for Under 21s in 3-0 win against Ipswich Town . Taarabt has made just three first-team appearances for the R's this season . Midfielder was accused of being 'overweight' by manager Harry Redknapp . Taarabt hit back and claimed Redknapp never took training sessions .
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By . Wills Robinson . PUBLISHED: . 11:14 EST, 6 March 2014 . | . UPDATED: . 12:19 EST, 6 March 2014 . Members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot have been attacked by a gang of men inside a Russian McDonalds. Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina were covered in paint while they sat and had breakfast in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. The pair, who were jailed for hooliganism in 2012, also had pepper spray, green antispetic and metal thrown in their faces during the assault. Scroll down for video . Attacked: Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina were covered in paint during the assault while they sat and had breakfast in the city of Nizhny Novgorod . Distressed: The pair spoke directly into the camera after the incident . They were visiting the area to inspect a local prison with Peter Verzilov and members of NGO 'Zone of the Rights'. Tolonnikova allegedly left the restaurant with a 'cut forehead' and the group have complained to the police. She was seen getting up from her seat and clutching her face during the incident. while the gang of men continually shouted abuse. When the attack eventually stopped, one of the men held up a sign to the camera while another was seen shouting down the lens. At around 7.00 am the group barged into the fast food restaurant where the musicians and their crew were eating. Gang: They were covered in paint, antiseptic and pepper spray by the group of men . Prolonged: The gang shouted abuse while they continued to launch the liquids at the members of the feminist band . Close: One of the attackers faced up to Nadya Tolokonnikova, preparing to throw something at her . Abuse: The individuals continued to shout at the musicians while a crowd built up behind them . It is not the first time the group have been targeted by members of the public. At the start of the Sochi winter . Olympics, members of the group were whipped and tackled to the ground by Cossacks as . they sang in protest. The . band started to perform an anti-Putin song under a sign advertising the . Winter Olympics. But singer Tolokonnikova was brutally whipped . in the attack and the guitarist was left bloodied and bruised. Last month, Tolokonnikova was filmed saying the anti-government protests in Ukraine were an 'inspiation'. She was also among those arrested during protests outside a Moscow courthouse. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were released from seperate prisons on December 23, 2013 after the Russian State Duma approved an amnesty. Speech: An attacker spoke into a camera owned by the NGO 'Zone of the Rights' in the aftermath of the assault . Slogan: One man holds up a sign to the camera before the group leave the restaurant .
Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina were also pepper sprayed . The pair were in city of Nizhny Novgorod visiting a local prison . Alyokhina reportedly left the fast food restaurant with a 'cut forehead'
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England can still win the 2015 World Cup but the right lessons need to be learned from this tour — and there needs to be fundamental changes in the way we play which will have a considerable knock-on effect on selection. What we saw in the first half in Hamilton last night only reinforced what we witnessed in third quarter in Dunedin last week. Head coach Stuart Lancaster faces some major decisions, but the clock is not his friend. He has one huge factor in his favour and that is ‘home’ advantage. But even that will be lost unless some real soul-searching is carried out ... and quickly. Whitewash: England were on the end of a 3-0 series defeat against New Zealand . Job on his hands: Stuart Lancaster has got work to do if England want to win the World Cup on home soil next year . Is he content for England to be competitive in 2015 — and with home advantage they will definitely be that — or is he prepared to aim for the ultimate and change the way his team plays? My worry is that there is already talk about winning in 2019, and to look that far ahead is nonsense . Quite simply, England are not quick enough man for man and as a collective at the very highest level. Everybody in the All Blacks’ back division has pace and poses a massive threat individually and in unison, whereas England yesterday only had Marland Yarde and Ben Youngs firing any bullets in the 36-13 defeat. And then Kieran Read, Richie McCaw and Jerome Kaino in the backrow looked a yard quicker than the England trio throughout the game. Pace is absolutely everything at this level — you are not going to bully yourself to victory against the top southern hemisphere teams. Talk about a decent second half is misguided. That was a really disappointing England performance, much more than a bad day at the office. That was a step backwards and the gulf in class was alarming. Yet, so too was the way in which the game was played and that must come down to Lancaster and his coaching staff. Nor do I want to hear any more about the England rugby culture and values. Quickstep: Kieran Read was one of New Zealand's star performers during the match . Paceman: Marland Yarde was one of the few players offering England a threat of pace . That has to be an absolute ‘given’ and to me the values have always been there despite the highly publicised issues at the last World Cup. A great rugby culture isn’t going to win you a World Cup, although its absence can lose you a tournament. South Africa, Australia and especially New Zealand have all five-star rugby cultures themselves; ask any Kiwi what the shirt means in New Zealand. What can really win England the World Cup is world-class coaching and selection, followed by execution by the players. So the core question is this: Do England continue to go down the current path or do they change before it’s too late? Do England stick with a big strong pack, but at this level a yard short of pace, augmented by big strong backs and an international class goal-kicker? Or do they look for a much more dynamic and adaptable game plan with pace throughout the team to prize open opposition defences. To me, this is not a gamble but a necessity for the growth of the game in England. It has to be the latter. It doesn’t matter how big and powerful you are because New Zealand and South Africa will simply knock you over. For me, Manu Tuilagi is potentially a great player but his physicality is nothing special when you play against these guys. He didn’t look in the same league as the Ma’a Nonu and Malakai Fekitoa yesterday. England would get so much more out of him if they developed his passing game and used him as a decoy rather than just a battering ram. He has to be much more than that. He could yet play inside centre if they adopted a game plan that brings out those skills. We saw a brilliant off-load from him to create a try for Chris Ashton last week. You will see the best of Manu when you have the likes of Danny Cipriani at fly-half and Anthony Watson adding his pace and X-factor on the right wing. Yarde will be much more effective if he has like-minded attacking players in support and we will then begin to see the best of Mike Brown again as an attacking force. The more pace and invention, the better. Players will  feed off each other and become even more dangerous. Potential: Manu Tuilagi has what it takes to be a great player . Invetion: Mike Brown tackled by two New Zealand players during the match . Just look at New Zealand. If England take that route then they must change the composition of the backrow. It’s just too slow if you are going to play at the sort of pace I am talking about. But if they decide that type of game is beyond them then Lancaster’s current selection is perfect. Against the very best you just can’t have Tom Wood and Billy Vunipola starting together. Which brings us back to an issue that will not go away — Steffon Armitage. He has to be included because he is the best natural openside England have and the artificial circumstances of his non-selection are ridiculous. I would move Chris Robshaw to No 8 and bring in a fit-again Tom Croft at blindside wing forward for the first game of the autumn, which just happens to be against New  Zealand at Twickenham. England aren’t a million miles away and they looked very tired at an end of a long season playing in the toughest of rugby environments. The players we need have been knocking around for a while. We just haven’t had them on the pitch at the same time, with everybody singing from the same hymn sheet. Selection headache: Steffon Armitage must start for England in the future, believes Woodward . Deflated: Tom Wood (left) and Ben Morgan reflect on their defeat . England have some serious thinking to do and, while the focus must be firmly on the future, I would demand a special meeting with the RFU if I was Lancaster and make it clear that they have badly let him and English rugby down. In fact he should have made that clear a year ago when the end-of-season farce became apparent. It is utterly unacceptable that England embark on a three-match Test series against the world champions on their own patch with almost half his first-choice players unavailable because of club commitments. There can be no debate on this. Such a cock-up must never happen again. Those absentees had a huge knock-on effect and led to selection  confusion. The First Test is vital and if England had arrived with their ‘Gun’ team, fully prepared and raring to go, they would probably have won and the series might have been unfolded differently. England were ambushed and what followed has been a huge wake-up call. All is not lost — but it is now decision time. My team for England's next test (vs New Zealand on November 8):Backs: 15 Brown, 14 Watson, 13 Burrell ,12 Tuilagi, 11 Yarde, 10 Cipriani, 9 CareForwards: 1 Corbisiero, 2 Hartley, 3 Cole, 4 Launchbury, 5 Lawes, 6 Croft, 7 Armitage, 8 Robshaw (c)
England can still win 2015 World Cup, according to Sir Clive Woodward . But lessons must be learned from disappointing tour of New Zealand . Stuart Lancaster's side lost the series 3-0 with 36-13 defeat in final Test . Woodward believes England coach was given impossible job on the tour .
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By . Sarah Michael . and Sarah Dean . A young dance troupe were stranded on a hot plane on the tarmac for hours and eventually forced to sleep in a storeroom by hotel staff after their Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Sydney was delayed. Dance teacher Marianne Howard and the 19 performers she is chaperoning, aged 12-21, were subjected to a long ordeal which saw them stuck on a plane at LAX airport with no food, water or air con before being told their flight was cancelled, she has claimed. The dance troupe from Village Performing Arts Centre in Sydney had been on a three-week trip to New York with Miss Universe runner up Briden Starr, 22, who was not on the flight back to Australia on Monday. Their nightmare journey began when their first connecting plane - from NY to LA - was delayed over a fuel issue. 'We got on the plane in New York and had problems - the plane was so ridiculously old,’ Ms Howard told MailOnline. Stranded: 19 teenage dancers from Sydney were left with nowhere to sleep after their Qantas flight home was cancelled . 'It took ages for them to refuel,' she added. When they eventually arrived at LA airport at 10pm they couldn't board their next flight back home to Sydney until 3am. 'They kept saying to us we're having problems we’re trying to fix it,' Ms Howard said. 'These things happen and I'm a really reasonable person but the treatment of us has just been disgusting, absolutely disgusting,' the angry teacher added. Once they finally boarded the plane at LA they had to wait for another three hours on the tarmac with 'no food and water' before being told the flight was cancelled. The troupe had been on a three-week trip to New York with Miss Universe runner up Briden Starr (pictured), 22, who was not on the flight back to Australia . Deserted: Dance teacher Marianne Howard and the performers she is chaperoning were subjected to a long ordeal which saw them stuck on a plane with no food, water or air con before being told their flight was cancelled, she has claimed . 'We sat on the plane down the back with no air con, we were absolutely cooking… my 12 year old daughter was in tears we were so hot,' Ms Howard explained. Then their journey from hell got even worse. 'When they finally announced close to 6am that the flight was cancelled we lined up for ages to get booked on another flight…. We then all got put into hotels,' she said. The 19 dancers were taken to a hotel in Santa Monica but when they arrived at 6.30am Qantas allegedly hadn't booked or paid for their rooms. 'We get to our hotel by this stage we are all really hungry. We hadn't had dinner and it's after 6am in the morning. 'The hotel there said "we’re really sorry we haven’t received an email from Qantas making payments". 'By this stage I had kids in tears - they were so tired and hungry,’ she explained. 'I asked “Who can we call?” and they said “I don’t know we don’t have a number”.’ Ms Howard complained: ‘They just shuttled us dropped off in the hotel, I didn’t even know who to call we were just shuttled here. ‘ . Bed for three hours: Ms Howard explained how the dancers were all students and didn't have any money and were taken to a storeroom to sleep . The dancers didn’t have a room at first but the hotel staff said they weren’t allowed to sleep in the lobby. 'In the foyer the kids all started falling asleep. Then a man came over and said “Sorry guys but you’re messing up my foyer you’re not allowed to sleep here. If anyone falls asleep I’ll order a shuttle back to the airport”,’ she said. The group were taken to a storeroom to sleep by the hotel staff member. 'It was like where they store tables and chairs for functions – there was no light. We were in that room for three hours,’ she added. 'We said “Please we are hungry can we get cups of tea”. They said “no you can purchase water if you like”,’ she claimed. Ms Howard explained how the dancers were all students and didn’t have any money. It was about 9am when Qantas finally paid and they were given rooms. Tired and hungry, they were given $16 breakfast vouchers for the buffet which actually cost $19.50 – in the end they decided to just eat anyway. On Monday evening, they were taken from the hotel to the airport by a shuttle at about 7pm and at last boarded their plane back to Sydney at about 10.30pm LA time. 'It’s just been fight after fight after fight. I did not speak to anyone from Qantas the entire time. I left messages. I said I needed to speak to someone urgently. The hotel said someone would call me back and to wait in the room,’ Ms Howard said. A Qantas spokesperson told MailOnline: 'Our staff on the ground work hard to minimise the impact of significant delays. This means organising food, transport and accommodation for hundreds of passengers at the last minute. 'In this instance the delay happened at 3am, so that made alternative arrangements challenging. 'We understand as a result that some passengers had a less than satisfactory experience getting from the airport to their accommodation. 'We regret the discomfort and inconvenience caused and have apologised directly to the group affected.' It is understood a small number of passengers reached their hotels ahead of their booking requests and experienced a delay in getting rooms allocated. MailOnline has attempted to contact the hotel for comment but they were unable to speak at the time and said they were not aware of any incident.
Dance teacher Marianne Howard was chaperoning 19 dancers aged 12-21 . They had been in New York for three-weeks on a dance tour . Then their flight from New York to LA was delayed . Their flight from LA to Sydney was cancelled . They were kept on a 'hot plane' for three hours on the tarmac at LAX . Finally taken to a hotel but hotel staff forced them to sleep in a storeroom .
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Juggling your job while driving might seem like an all-too difficult task for some, and that proved to be just the case for Melbourne radio's Mark Allen on Monday. Allen, a former Australian golfing professional and regular on SEN radio, was talking major moot points from the Ryder Cup Golf Tournament with SEN host Kevin Bartlett when the hands-free interview he was conducting went horribly wrong. The golfing guru was halfway through his expert commentary, when the sound of two cars colliding burst through the speakers of listeners' airwaves during their drive home from work. Scroll down for Audio . The black Mercedes Mark Allen was driving when he hit the driver in front during Monday's The Run Home segment . The pair were chatting on the radio network's The Run Home segment, before the sound of Allen's shiny black Mercedes was heard crashing in to the car in front. The pair joked about the fact he was 'obviously on hands free' before Allen was immediately instructed not to say anything further following about the crash due to 'legal reasons.' Host Kevin Bartlett said it was 'the first time we've had a crash on live radio.' 'Can you believe that he's had a crash while speaking on radio, that is a first, that is an absolute first,' he said. 'I reckon's that'd make a good promo, don't you think?' he asked listeners. Twitter users compared the golfer's skills to his poor driving capabilities . Mark Allen, left, was talking with AFL great and host of The Run Home when the incident occurred on Monday afternoon . Prior to the mid-afternoon bingle Allen had been providing expert commentary on the Ryder Cup tournament where he was breaking-down the swings of each European and US golfer. He was just about to start getting started on world number 11 Phil Mickelson before crashing into the car in front. He had been referring to statistics inside the car of each golfer, but insisted he was driving and talking in a legal manner when he came to rest on a Melbourne road. 'Ohh, I've just crashed KB, I've just crashed...I've just crashed my car.' He confirmed he and the woman were both uninjured. Most concerning to Kevin Bartlett was not the safety of the occupants involved, however, but the mere fact he'd just buckled his bright looking Mercedes. 'Not the Mercedes?' Bartlett said. Allen, upon reassuring listeners about his rear-end bingle, told Bartlett the situation was under control. 'Yeah, I'm OK, everybody's OK, the lady in front is OK.' To Bartlett's surprise, he thought Allen had pulled over on the side of the road but was in fact using his hands-free device to talk and drive at the same time. Moments after the incident Allen put a call out to his Mercedes dealer in a plug for the car company to tell him that the vehicle was 'OK.' 'If Craig Howard is listening from Berry Mercedes Benz, everything is OK Craig.' It appeared Mr Howard was listening, and he instructed Bartlett to tell Allen not to say anything further 'for legal reasons.' 'Don't say anything for legal reasons that's what's coming through from Craig Howard at the moment.' Bartlett said the network were considering using the crash audio as a future 'promo' for the show.
Radio segment ended swiftly when caller crashed during live interview . Mark Allen was talking to Kevin Bartlett on Melbourne's Radio SEN about the Ryder Cup Golf Tournament . He was referring to statistics during his regular segment before crashing, but insisted he was driving hands-free . The Mercedes came to rest after rear-ending the car driven by a female in front . Bartlett said it was the first car accident the station had heard about during a live interview .
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By . Vanessa Allen and Emine Sinmaz . PUBLISHED: . 19:05 EST, 26 April 2013 . | . UPDATED: . 19:09 EST, 26 April 2013 . Thomas Farage, the son of UKIP leader Nigel Farage (pictured) is facing court over a drunk and disorderly charge . The son of UKIP leader Nigel Farage is facing court over a drunk and disorderly charge, it was revealed yesterday. City trader Thomas Farage, 21, was arrested at 3am in a London street earlier this month. He did not appear for his first hearing at City of London Magistrates’ Court yesterday and his lawyers have asked prosecutors to deal with the case away from court. The allegations are embarrassing for UK  Independence Party leader Mr Farage ahead of the May 2 county council elections, in which UKIP hopes to make record gains. But the hearing was yesterday adjourned until May 10. There is no suggestion the case was deliberately delayed until after the elections. Farage was arrested at 3am in St Martin’s Le Grand, a street in the Square Mile near St Paul’s Cathedral. His lawyers asked the Crown Prosecution Service to consider medical evidence in the case, although no further details were given. Prosecutor Catherine Baccas told magistrates: ‘There are discussions between the parties as to a more appropriate outcome.’ CPS guidelines state that low-level crimes by first-time offenders can be dealt with out of court using cautions, fines or community service if it is deemed appropriate. A spokesman said: ‘In this particular case, the defence has asked that we take into consideration medical evidence concerning the defendant before proceeding with this prosecution. ‘It is only sensible that potentially relevant evidence should be taken into account, so we have asked the court to adjourn this case until we have received and reviewed the evidence.’ Thomas Farage did not appear for his first hearing at City of London Magistrates' Court yesterday and his lawyers have asked prosecutors to deal with the case away from court . UKIP leader Mr Farage refused to comment, saying: ‘I have nothing to say, I have nothing to say, you’re ****ing in the wind with me.’ He has two adult sons from his first marriage and two young daughters with second wife Kirsten Mehr, a German broker. His first wife, Grainne Hayes, would only say: ‘I believe it’s all being dealt with by my ex-husband.’ Thomas Farage, who lives with his mother in Rochester, Kent, was unavailable for comment. He was granted unconditional bail. Sorry we are unable to accept comments for legal reasons.
Thomas Farage arrested at 3am in a London street earlier this month . His lawyers have asked prosecutors to deal with case away from court . UKIP leader Nigel Farage hopes to make gains in May 2 elections .
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By . Richard Spillett . A crime tsar compared to David Brent has attempted to defend herself after police officers branded her a 'laughing stock' following an 'embarrassing' Channel 4 documentary about her job. Viewers reacted with fury to last night's Meet The Police Commissioner programme in which Ann Barnes, elected crime chief for Kent, struggled to explain her £85,000-a-year taxpayer-funded role. Mrs Barnes today tried to calm anger over the fly-on-the-wall show, claiming the programme placed 'too much emphasis' on her. Scroll down for video . Ann Barnes is facing mounting criticism of her £85,000-a-year role as Kent police commissioner after a 'car crash' TV documentary, which showed her travelling around the county in her 'Ann Force 1' van . Mrs Barnes was compared to Ricky Gervais's desperate character David Brent after she was filmed struggling to explain her publicly-funded job with Kent Police . The documentary showed Mrs Barnes travelling in a van she dubs 'Ann Force 1', having difficulty explaining an approach to policing priorities called 'the onion' and bringing her dogs into the office. She also failed to write her title correctly on a whiteboard, was filmed painting her 'flaky' nails and compared the force to a tin of paint that she wanted to 'prise' open. Ian . Pointon, chairman of the Kent Police Federation, which represents . rank-and-file officers, told BBC Radio Kent: 'I think it was probably a . disaster from start to finish, in fairness. 'It . was an ill-advised concept and from within Kent Police I know that Mrs . Barnes was advised not to do it. It was never going to end well. 'I . think, sadly, it has turned Kent Police by association into something . of a laughing stock. Social media was alight with comments.' Viewers took to Twitter during and after the hour-long programme to say ex-teacher Mrs Barnes was an 'embarrassment' to Kent Police. Viewers attacked Mrs Barnes on Twitter, comparing her to comedy characters David Brent and Alan Partridge . Website . users compared her to Ricky Gervais' character from The Office, David Brent, with one commenting that the show was 'depressingly hilarious, hilariously depressing'. One viewer . tweeted: 'What an embarrassment Ann Barnes, PCC for Kent Police, is. Anybody watching this car crash TV? I'm not sure if this is a joke or . not.' Another said: 'Ann Barnes was like Kent's very own David Brent. A total embarrassment and waste of taxpayers' money.' The show was seen as a damning indictment of the elected roles, with 88 per cent of the more than 1,000 people who voted in a poll on local news website KentOnline saying they didn't think the Commissioner did a good job. This afternoon, a banner reading '#annbarnesout - resign' was flown over Maidstone, Kent where Mrs Barnes works. A plane towing the banner, whose pilot refused to say to paid for the sign, circled Kent Police HQ for around a quarter of an hour shortly after midday today. Mrs Barnes was branded a 'laughing stock' by a police officers, who said the programme was a 'disaster' After she was attacked by police officers and the public over the show, Mrs Barnes attempted to deflect criticism this morning, claiming that the programme put 'too much emphasis on me as an individual' Mrs Barnes tried to play down public anger at the show this morning, publishing a defence of her decision to appear on TV on her website. On what her 'Crime Onion' means: 'Oh God, I've got no idea - I can't tell you actually - I wasn't thinking I'd be talking about the actual onion (the concentric circles) as we call it - umm I don't know know really - everything's important.' On her job: 'Oh dear, what is a police commissioner? Right, well it's not the Police Commissioner, it's the Police and Crime Commissioner. 'It's a strange job because there is actually no description at all - there are certain responsibilities you have to do, but there is no actual job description.' On her Ann Force One battle bus: 'My budget is £317million, £15,000 is money well spent - I could have had a top of range Mercedes, but it's not my image.' She wrote: 'Many people have given their views on the programme and have speculated about my motivation for doing it. 'The only reason I agreed to do the documentary was to help people to better understand the job of a police and crime commissioner. 'The decision to let a film crew examine the work of the office for four months was not one I took lightly. 'I hoped it would give an insight into what is being done to help achieve the best possible police service for Kent. 'The film does go some way to addressing the complexities of the job and illustrates some of the challenges involved. 'But I am disappointed that there is too much emphasis on me as an individual and not enough on the work of the office. 'I know . that much of what the office has achieved was filmed and I am frustrated . that these scenes did not make it through to the final version.' Mrs Barnes . was elected as the first PCC in Kent in November 2012 despite . previously branding the Government's plan to increase police . accountability a 'wilful waste of money'. Ann Barnes stands next to Paris Brown, Britain's first youth crime commissioner who quit when it was revealed she had posted a series of highly offensive comments online . She . became the most high-profile of the country’s 41 crime tsars a year ago . when The Mail on Sunday revealed her £15,000 youth commissioner, Paris . Brown, 17, had posted a series of highly offensive comments online. Miss . Brown wrote the messages during the last six months before she was . given the role of helping the force ‘stay in touch with young people’. She . called homosexuals ‘fags’, immigrants ‘illegals’ and travellers . ‘pikeys’, and said she had ‘a thing for older men’, an apparent . reference to a teacher at her former school. Mrs Barnes tried to save the teenager's job, but Brown was forced to quit. Scathing: Commissioner Bob Jones claims PCCs have been a £100m waste of money . Police and crime commissioners have the job of ‘bringing communities closer to the police, building confidence in the system and restoring trust’. They were brought in across England and Wales in November 2012 by the Conservatives to set budgets and decide on strategies while also holding chief constables to account. But lack of enthusiasm for the reform meant the polls were held with little publicity, and a record low 15 per cent of voters turned out. They are tasked with creating a police and crime plan, setting the force budget and appointing or dismissing the chief constable. The former police authorities also had the power to hire and fire chief constables but this rarely happened. But one of the elected crime tsars branded them £100million waste of money and spend their time dreaming up gimmicks and clashing with senior officers. The Labour PCC for the West Midlands Bob Jones confessed that in their first year in charge of police forces, Police and Crime Commissioners did not make them run better nor made the public safer. PCCs have become embroiled in a series of  scandals, including: . Cumbria’s Tory PCC Richard Rhodes took two chauffeur-driven trips to meetings, costing taxpayers £700, and when the news was leaked to a local paper, the whistleblower was arrested. PCCs in Gwent and Lincolnshire forced out their chief constables. In each force only one person applied to take over the top job. A dozen or so PCCs handed out well-paid deputy roles to friends and allies without advertising them. At least four PCCs have already been investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission for alleged criminal misconduct. Several PCCs have caused controversy over expenses, including Norfolk’s Stephen Bett who declared his home as his place of work, allowing him to claim mileage for driving to the force HQ. He agreed to repay £3,000.
Police and Crime Commissioner mauled over 'car crash' Channel 4 show . She was shown struggling to explain her job and using management speak . Public have attacked her £85,000-a-year role on Twitter after documentary . She is compared to David Brent and Alan Partridge by viewers on Twitter . Police officers are also angry, branding show 'a disaster from start to finish' She goes online to defend herself, attacking the programme's editors . Critics fly banner over city where she works urging her to resign .
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(CNN) -- Veteran Tommy Haas described his fourth round victory over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Miami Masters as "one of the best wins of my career". The German, who reached No. 2 in the world rankings in 2002, kept his cool to become only the second player this year to beat double defending champion Djokovic in an ATP Tour event. The 6-2 6-4 triumph was Haas' third win over six-time grand slam winner Djokovic in seven career meetings and his first win against a top-ranked player since he beat Andre Agassi in 1999. "I'm just really happy and proud of that tonight, against such a great player who has been dominating the sport the past couple of years, I really took advantage of the opportunities I've gotten," the 34-year-old German told the tournament's official website. "I think I played extremely well. He gave me a lot of looks, and I took advantage of it." "These are the moments I appreciate the most, going on those big stadiums, big stages, playing against the best people in the world. Playing against someone like Novak and coming out on top at this time of my career, it's unbelievable." Djokovic was magnanimous in defeat, praising his opponent while also admitting he was well below his own exceptionally high standards. "All the credit to him," said the Serb, who also lost to Juan Martin del Potro at the recent Indian Wells Masters event. "He played a great match and he was the better player, no question about it. "The results show everything. As far as I'm concerned, it's definitely the worst match I have played in a long time." Haas advanced to play French 11th seed Gilles Simon, in what is the first all-European quarterfinal line-up in the event's history. Djokovic's defeat means second seed Andy Murray is the highest-ranked player left in the draw. The 2012 U.S. Open champion breezed beyond Italy's Andreas Seppi to set up a last-eight meeting with Croatia's Marin Cilic, who upset fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. No. 3 David Ferrer won in straight-sets against Japan's Kei Nishikori, cruising to a 6-4 6-2 success. Spain's Ferrer will play Austria's Juergen Melzer for a place in the semifinals. The quarterfinal line-up is completed by fourth seed Tomas Berdych and Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who defeated Sam Querrey and Nicolas Almagro respectively.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic loses to Tommy Haas at Miami Masters . The defeat is only Djokovic's second the 2013 season . Second seed Andy Murray beats Italian Andreas Seppi to reach the last eight . The event has an all-European quarterfinal line-up for the first time .
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A young couple jailed for burglarizing Miley Cyrus and stealing her $100,000 sports car have said they were inspired by the notorious Bling Ring. Aspiring models Naomi Charles, 21 and boyfriend Tylor Scott, 19, both pleaded guilty to breaking and entering the singer’s home on May 30 this year. It has now emerged that just like the infamous teen gang, the young woman was the leader of the two, and the lure of fame the trigger. Bling ringed: Aspiring models Naomi Charles, 21, and boyfriend Tylor Scott, 19, burglarized Miley Cyrus home in Studio City, LA in May, stealing jewellery and her $100,000 car, after being inspired by the Bling Ring gang . Crime: The couple scaled a fence to enter singer Miley Cyrus' home and stole jewellery, purses, clothing and her $100,000 Maserati . Charles and Scott scaled a fence and entered the We Can’t Stop singer’s home in Studio City, LA, while she was on tour and stole an unknown amount of jewellery, clothing and purses, as well as her 2014 Maserati Quattroporte. Miley Cyrus’ assistant reported the burglary the following day after noticing items out of place in the home. The car was found a few days later in Simi Valley, 45 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, LAPD said at the time. Charles, a Los Angeles resident, and Scott, from Arizona, were arrested on June 5 in North Hollywood, after being recognised from the surveillance video of the theft – just like the infamous Bling Ring members. The Bling Ring was a group of seven teens and young adults based around Calabasas, California who burglarized the homes of several stars, including Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Megan Fox, Rachel Bilson, Ashley Tisdale and Lindsay Lohan, in the late noughties. Bonnie and Clyde: The thieving two appears to have been in a relationship, posing images of them kissing on social media . Inspiration: Charles told police the couple were inspired by the infamous Bling Ring, a group of teen burglars whose story was brought to the big screen in 2013, starring Emma Watson and Katie Chang . Hot wheels: The couple also stole Miley's $100,000 Maserati, which was found abandoned 45 miles from Los Angeles a few days after the burglary . Talk to the hand: Miley, pictured in concert during her Bangerz Tour in Mexico City on Friday, have yet to comment on the guilty verdicts . Last year, the Bling Ring story was turned into . a movie directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Emma Watson as the best . known of the bunch – Alexis Neiers. After . pleading guilty in 2009, Ms Neiers went on to star in a reality-tv show . about her life, in effect, gaining minor fame as a result of her . crimes, something which may have inspired Charles. Before . committing the burglary, Charles shared photos of expensive cars and . wads of cash on Twitter, with the caption: ‘Life goals.’ The ‘fitness model’ also posted on social media that she wished she ‘was like Miley’. The Bonnie and Clyde-couple both pleaded guilty to guilty to felony residential burglary on Monday, September 22, telling police of their inspiration, TMZ reports. Charles was sentenced to one year in county jail and four years probation, while Scott, who has a previous criminal record, was given a harsher sentence. Scott, . who also pled guilty to felony grand theft and admitted to bringing a . firearm to the burglary, was sentenced to five years in state prison. Miley Cyrus, who is currently on her South American leg of her Bangerz Tour, have not made any comments on the verdicts, instead posting snaps of herself in bed and on stage on her Instagram.
Naomi Charles, 21, and Tylor Scott, 19, burglarized Miley Cyrus LA home . Couple stole jewellery, clothing and purses as well as a $100,000 Maserati . Told police they were inspired by fame-crazed teen burglars The Bling Ring .
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By . Simon Tomlinson . PUBLISHED: . 12:35 EST, 29 January 2013 . | . UPDATED: . 12:47 EST, 29 January 2013 . 'Stupid behaviour': Anton Rodgers, the son of Liverpool football boss Brendan Rodgers admitted having a photograph taken exposing himself in front of a girl, his trial heard . The son of Liverpool football manager Brendan Rodgers today admitted having a photograph taken exposing himself in front of a girl, but claimed it was just ‘boy banter', a court heard. Anton Rodgers, 19, denied he and three of his team mates sexually assaulted the teenage girl, saying she was awake and giggling throughout the horseplay. He said he joined in the 'boy banter' because he wanted to fit in as he was a new member of the Brighton and Hove team, but he admitted that with hindsight that it was ‘stupid behaviour’. Rodgers, a midfielder with the Championship club, is alleged to be one of four footballers who took snaps of the drunk blonde, whose drink may have been spiked, as they exposed themselves and made vulgar poses around her. The girl only realised what had happened to her when she woke up semi-naked next to Rodgers in the Jury’s Inn hotel in Brighton the next morning, the court heard. Jurors were told she borrowed Rodgers’ mobile phone and came across the pictures of a blonde woman in a pink dress ‘clearly not awake’ with men masturbating around her. But today Rodgers, 19, denied anything sexual was going on. He told the jury he and his team mates had gone out after celebrating their 2-0 pre-season victory over Eastbourne FC on July 16, 2011 and he saw the girl 'being flirtatious' with another player. Rodgers, who had only signed with the club three to four weeks before on £250 a week, said he only spoke briefly to the girl who wanted to know why first team player Leon Redwood was not paying any attention to her. At around 2am, he returned to the hotel with George Barker, 21, to go to bed, but was a woken half an hour later when his teams mates Steve Cook and Lewis Dunk, both 21, came into his room with the girl. He said there was a 'jovial, laughing atmosphere' and the girl 'seemed content.' He said: 'It was still a jokey atmosphere. I remember Steve being quite drunk but he was being quite funny. He was one of the main characters in the team.' He said the girl who was wearing a tight dress then cuddled up between him and George who were in the double bed adding; 'She moved on to me and tried to kiss my neck but I ended up shrugging her off. 'She tried to grab my penis area and I said to her to get off. I had no interest in what she seemed to be intent on. 'It appeared she was doing the same to George, I can’t recall them snogging but I could hear the same thing.' He said Lewis and Steve were giggling too and they started taking photos on his phone but he denied there was any sexual gratification to it. He said: 'No no. This was never the case. It was just a laugh. I understand now how stupid it was now but honest, it was just a bit of boy banter. It was jokey. As I said it was just boy banter, a good laugh. 'She was just giggling. She seemed to be laughing with us.' Allegation: The girl only realised what had happened to her when she woke up semi-naked next to Rodgers in the Jury's Inn hotel (above) in Brighton the next morning, the court heard . But he added the atmospheres changed when Leon walked into the room. He said: 'It seemed she was laughing, being bubbly and then that’s when she shut her eyes and seemed to be trying to go to sleep. I was awkward but Leon broke the awkwardness by laughing as well. From what I remember he sprayed the shaving foam on her leg.' He said a picture was taken of George grinning with his thumbs up after writing his initials in shaving foam on her thigh and then they all left and they went to sleep. The next morning the girl 'politely' asked to borrow his phone to make a call and then ten minutes later woke him because she had discovered the images and said: 'I think she was embarrassed' He agreed to delete the pictures but forwarded the one with George and the shaving phone via BlackBerry messaging. Rodgers and his team-mates Lewis Dunk (left) and George Barker (right) all deny sexual assault and voyeurism . Steve Cook, who now plays for Bournemouth, also denies sexual assault and voyeurism . He and his team mates thought nothing more of the incident until they were arrested as they got off the team coach after returning from Wrexham in January of last year adding 'This was a shock.' Talking about when he exposed his penis he said: 'I was standing directly above her but that was it. I was not kneeling down or crouching. I was standing on the bed while she was laughing. 'It was a laugh, I was new at the time. It was funny at the time. Looking back at it, it was just the case of fitting in and having a laugh.' It is alleged the ‘pretty, outgoing’ woman, now 21, had asked Rodgers to delete the photos but he just laughed. She later confided in a work colleague what had happened, but was too scared to go to police. It was not until another player told her months later that the pictures were being passed around the club and threatened to post them on the internet that she finally reported it. Rodgers, Barker, Dunk and their former team-mate Cook, 21, who now plays for Bournemouth, all deny charges of sexual assault and voyeurism. The Old Bailey heard they went to several bars and she ended up coming back to their hotel room. But she claims the next thing she remembers is waking up in bed with Rodgers in just his underwear with her bra off and her dress pulled up. When interviewed by police, Rodgers refused to answer questions and the other three gave very basic accounts of what had happened that night. Barker said there was only one picture taken of him with the shaving foam, Dunk claimed he had fallen asleep while Cook admitted he may have been in the background but did not get his penis out. The foam picture was discovered on Barker’s phone when he was arrested. The trial continues. Sorry we are unable to accept comments for legal reasons.
Anton Rodgers tells trial that girl was awake and giggling through horseplay . Claimed he did it to fit in because he was new to Brighton and Hove team . But 19-year-old denies he and three team-mates sexually assaulted teenager .
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Ten-man Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich battled to a 1-1 draw at home to Schalke 04 on Tuesday as they struggled to bounce back from last week's heavy defeat at VfL Wolfsburg. Arjen Robben headed the hosts in front after 67 minutes as Bayern, who suffered their first league setback with a 4-1 loss at second-placed Wolfsburg on Friday, dug deep after Jerome Boateng gave away a penalty and was sent off in the 17th minute. Schalke failed to score from the spot kick with Manuel Neuer saving Eric-Maxim Choupo's weak effort but after Robben's goal Benedikt Hoewedes levelled with a glancing header in the 72nd to rescue a point and keep his team in fourth place on 31. Arjen Robben wheels away in celebration of his 66th-minute goal against Schalke . Pep Guardiola celebrates his team's first and only goal against Schalke on Tuesday night . Benedikt Hoewedes points to the stands after pulling Schalke level just five minutes after Robben's goal . The Schalke players join Howedes in celebration after their captain pulled the away side level . Jerome Boateng (left) was shown a straight red card for this challenge on Sidney Sam . Boateng looks on in disbelief as referee Bastian Dankert brandishes a red card during the first half . Bayern Munich: Neuer; Benatia, Boateng, Alaba; Alonso, Schweinsteiger, Bernat, Weiser (Rode 87'); Gotze (Dante 27'), Muller (Lewandowski 54'), Robben . Subs not used: Pizarro, Gaudino, Badstuber . Sent off: Boateng . Goal: Robben 66' Schalke: Giefer; Howedes, Uchida, Fuchs, Nastasic, Matip; Meyer, Boateng (Barnetta 85'), Neustadter, Sam (Sane 76'); Choupo-Moting . Subs not used: Wellenreuther, Aogo, Ayhan, Sobottka, Platte . Goal: Howedes 71' Champions Bayern managed to protect their eight point lead over a Wolfsburg side who failed to replicate last week's form, rescuing a 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt courtesy of Kevin De Bruyne's 88th minute equaliser, his third goal in two games. Bayern have 46 points ahead of Wolfsburg with 38 while third-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach, on 33, closed the gap on the wolves thanks to a 1-0 win over visiting Freiburg with Patrick Herrmann on target. Last season's Bundesliga runners-up Borussia Dortmund, who are bottom of the table, host in-form Augsburg on Wednesday. Speaking after the game, Robben said: 'It's frustrating. 'We go ahead and then we let him score. We were down a man but we ran and fought, and controlled the game, so it's disappointing. 'Schalke didn't do anything, they only defended. We didn't allow any counter-attacks, we played much better than against Wolfsburg.' Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer dives low to his left and saves Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's penalty . Kevin-Prince Boateng (left) is challenged by Bastian Schweinsteiger during the first half . Juan Bernat (right) and Schalke's Atsuto Uchida challenge for the ball during the Bundesliga clash .
Schalke earned 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich in Bundesliga clash . Arjen Robben gave home side 1-0 lead with second-half header . Benedikt Howedes levelled the scoring with a well timed header . Jerome Boateng shown straight red card for first-half tackle on Sidney Sam . Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting saw resulting penalty saved by Manuel Neuer .
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Melbourne motorists have been urged to stay away from the Monash Freeway this afternoon after it was closed earlier following a major chemical spill. The Country Fire Authority (CFA) reports that a specialist hazardous materials team has controlled the spill from a drum of highly flammable aviation fuel, which occurred just before 11am. 200 litres of the fuel was being transported in a truck also carrying other highly dangerous chemicals - however authorities say the heavy mover did not crash or roll over. The bank-up of traffic on the Monash Freeway in Melbourne  after a truck carrying highly flammable liquid began leaking earlier today . 'Firefighters in fully enclosed gas suits worked successfully for several hours to prevent the chemicals mixing or igniting,' said the CFA. All inbound and outbound lanes were expected to be open by the peak hour period. Earlier, CFA crews had issued urgent advice, which requested that residents turn off all air-conditioning units. Fire authorities urged residents in the area to stay inside and switch off air conditioners while the clean up of the aviation fuel took place . Operations Officer Greg Christison that a passer-by had alerted the truck driver to the chemical leak who then pulled over and contacted emergency services about the problem. Firefighters were immediately sent to the scene at the Heatherton Road overpass. The truck leaked about 200 litres of highly flammable aviation fuel, the CFA said. VicRoads has confirmed that even with the re-opening of the freeway, that motorists making their way home should expect delays throughout the afternoon and evening.
Chemical spill closed Monash Freeway for several hours . Truck carrying 200 litres of highly flammable aviation fuel began leaking . Residents were told to stay inside and not to switch on air-conditioning units . Motorists urged to stay away from area if possible .
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By . Daily Mail Reporter . PUBLISHED: . 21:58 EST, 31 October 2013 . | . UPDATED: . 22:01 EST, 31 October 2013 . A medical examiner has testified saying he was unable to prove how the wife of a Mormon doctor charged with murder died, complicating an eventual decision by jurors in the case. The medical examiner said that Michele MacNeill’s heart could have stopped beating because of a natural reaction to the toxicity of prescription drugs she was using following her recent face lift and latent heart disease. 'I didn't believe I had enough to justify homicide,' Todd Grey testified on Thursday about his finding in the case involving defendant Martin MacNeill. WATCH THE VIDEO HERE . Inconclusive: Medical examiner Todd Grey changed the report of Michele MacNeill's death so that it wasn't necessarily a natural causes but said that it was undetermined . Grey said an irregular heartbeat was the most probable manner of death, but he doesn't know what caused it. A heart arrhythmia 'leaves no footprints' that can be detected by a forensic pathologist, he said. While he did not directly state any alternative theories, the prosecutor laid one out for him, saying: 'If you were to learn that the defendant here drugged up Michele MacNeill, and convinced her to get into the tub, and held her down for a little bit and it caused her death, would that scenario be consistent with how Michele MacNeill may have died here?' 'Yes it certainly is possible,' Grey responded. The assistant medical examiner who drew up the first report has since died, but Grey said that he purposefully made it more open-ended. 'You wonder is something else going on here, if there is motive,' he said of the case. Grey's testimony came a day after one of Martin MacNeill’s mistresses testified that he once described how he could induce a heart attack in someone that would appear natural. Anna Walthall said MacNeill told her over 'pillow talk' in 2005 that '`there's something you can give someone that's natural that's a heart attack that's not detectable after they have a heart attack.'' One of Grey's subordinates initially ruled that Michele MacNeill's 2007 death was natural from heart disease, and that she had high blood pressure and was developing myocardosis, or inflamed heart tissue that could have interfered with a normal heart rate or rhythm, he said. Investigative findings prompted Grey to change the autopsy finding to undetermined - and to add that drug toxicity may have played a role. Staying quiet: Martin MacNeill (left) has yet to be called to the stand, and it is not clear if he ever will . Those investigative findings 'raised a question as to whether this was a simple, straightforward, natural death,' said Grey. He wasn't asked to elaborate on the stand. That said, the change to undetermined opened the way for the murder charge against Martin MacNeill. Prosecutors have said he hounded Michele MacNeill to get cosmetic surgery, then knocked her out with painkillers, Valium and sleeping pills and left her to die in a bathtub. For the first time in the trial, prosecutor Chad Grunander suggested that MacNeill 'held her down to cause her death.' Defense lawyers argue she had a heart attack and fell into the tub. Grey said he couldn't confirm that she drowned, but it is possible. He said her lungs were about twice their normal weight, possibly because they were saturated with fluid or blood congestion, 'but I couldn't use those findings alone to prove drowning.' Family view: Alexis Somers, who is a doctor and is familiar with the drugs her father gave her mother, took the stand for a second day, repeating how she believes 'he killed her' Defense and offense: MacNeill's lawyer Randy Spector (left) tried to poke holes in Somers' credibility and prosecutor Chad Grunader (right) hails her as one of his star witnesses . Emergency medics previously testified Michelle MacNeill expelled two or three cups of fluid from her mouth when they performed chest compressions. Still Grey said it wasn't clear if the water came from her lungs or stomach. In addition to the medical examiner, the court also heard from one of MacNeill’s older daughters Alexis Somers. She first testified on Wednesday and continued on Thursday, when the prosecution tried to poke holes in her credibility. They argue the Somers, who now uses her mother’s maiden name, has based her recollections of the events surrounding her mother’s death on her desire to seek revenge on her father. She has not been shy in offering her opinion, saying explicitly why she was so determined to investigate her mother’s death. ‘Because I believe my father killed her,’ she said in court on Thursday. Picture perfect: Martin and Michele MacNeill, who died in April 2007 after a facelift, had eight children . During her testimony on Wednesday, Somers revealed that just days after Michele was found dead in the family's bathtub, she received a phone call from her father saying that he had found a nanny for her younger siblings. She told the court that he started to say that the nanny's name was Jillian and she cut him off. 'You mean Gypsy Jillian Willis? I know that woman and I know that mom was worried about you having an affair with her and you are not to bring her into this home,' Alexis recalled telling her father. 'He got irate. He was screaming at me, "How dare you, how dare you accuse me?"' The court had never been told that Michele had suspicions about her husband cheating before, but Alexis said that her mother had paid a service to track a phone number that her husband had been calling. That number was registered to Gypsy Jyll Willis.
Medical examiner changed the report of Michele MacNeill's death from originally saying that she died of natural causes to 'undetermined' She was found dead in a tub after an apparent suicide . Now her doctor husband- who told a former mistress he knew how to make a murder look natural- is on trial for Michele's death . The couple's children have testified saying that they believe he is guilty .
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PUBLISHED: . 16:02 EST, 16 June 2012 . | . UPDATED: . 16:02 EST, 16 June 2012 . Crime novelist Reginald Hill, who created the detective characters Dalziel and Pascoe, left £2.6 million in his will. Hill, who died aged 75 in January, wrote 24 bestselling novels featuring Yorkshire detectives Superintendent Andrew Dalziel and Inspector Peter Pascoe. His characters inspired the BBC TV drama Dalziel And Pascoe, which ran for 12 series between 1996 and 2007 and regularly had audiences of more than eight million. Detective work: Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan starred in the BBC adaptation of Dalziel and Pascoe. The show featured Warren Clarke as the politically incorrect Dalziel, while Colin Buchanan played Pascoe, a sociology graduate. Probate records released last  week disclose that Hill left his entire net estate of £2,628,728 to Patricia, his wife of 51 years. The couple had no children. The author, who was born in Hartlepool, County Durham, in 1936, died at his home near Ravenglass, Cumbria, after a year-long battle with cancer. Crime novelist Reginald Hill died in January, aged 75. The son of a professional footballer, he was brought up in Carlisle. At Stanwix primary school, he recalled: "I was always scribbling." Hill once said that he wrote "for fun" from an early age and ended up with "a bottom drawer of first chapters". He passed the 11-plus and at Carlisle Grammar School excelled at English. After National Service between 1955 and . 1957, he went up on a scholarship to St Catherine’s College, Oxford, . where he played rugby. Graduating in English Literature in 1960, . Hill became a schoolmaster and later lectured at Doncaster College of . Education before deciding to become a full-time writer in 1980. By the age of 30, he began looking to writing as a career and the first Dalziel and Pascoe novel was published four years later.Fuelled by the success of the BBC television adaptations, Hill went on to find a worldwide audience. A series of five books set in Luton featuring a black private investigator called Joe Sixsmith followed, with a host of other novels published under other names, including a series of thrillers as Patrick Ruell. Hill won the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement in 1995. Crime fighters: The popular BBC drama Dalziel and Pascoe ran for 12 series between 1996 and 2007 .
Crime novelist wrote 24 bestsellers featuring the popular Yorkshire detectives . Characters inspire long-running BBC crime drama . Famed author died aged 75 after long battle with cancer .
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An Iraq war veteran who was the alleged victim of a racially motivated beating in Mississippi continues to improve but is 'not coming home anytime soon,' his father said. Former U.S. Marine Ralph Weems, 32, suffered a traumatic brain injury after being attacked by a large group of black men in a restaurant parking lot in West Point in August. After the attack, Weems had surgery and was put in a medically induced coma. He began treatment at a VA rehabilitation facility in Texas where he learned to walk again and is now set to move to a facility in either Louisiana or Arkansas. Former U.S. Marine Ralph Weems, 32, suffered a traumatic brain injury after being attacked by a large group of black men in a restaurant parking lot in West Point in August . Weems and his friend were followed to the parking lot of this Huddle House by a group of more than 20 black men who proceeded to attack them . 'He's physically made a lot of improvements,' Weems III told the Clarion-Ledger. 'Traumatic brain injury takes a long time to recover in a lot of ways.' A Gofundme webpage setup to help pay for his medical expenses has so far received over $9,000, but is hoping to raise $25,000. Weems and a friend visited a Waffle House in late August, but soon left after a man politely told the pair that the restaurant was not safe for white people. David Knighten of West Point said the man told him that people were upset by the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson just weeks earlier. The pair went into the restaurant anyway, but Weems started arguing with around seven black men and so they left, said Knighten. A Waffle House employee told police who answered a 1am disturbance call that a patron was creating a disturbance and upsetting other patrons. Courtez McMillian, Constance McFarland and Marquavious McMillian, from left to right, have been charged with aggravated assault in connection with the alleged attack . Weems and a friend visited this Waffle House in late August, but soon left after a man politely told the pair that the restaurant was not safe for white people . After Weems was asked to leave, employees also asked the other patrons to leave. On the way to Weems' house, Knighten said, they went into a Huddle House restaurant with a nearly vacant parking lot but were followed by a group of more than 20 black men. Knighten, who had served with the Air Force in Afghanistan, said he came out of the restroom to find Weems surrounded. 'I was trying to defuse the situation,' he said. After some shoving, he said, the security guard told everyone to leave. Knighten said some people blocked him from leaving with Weems. When he got out, he said, Weems was down and people were kicking him. After the attack, Weems had brain surgery and was put in a medically induced coma. He began treatment at a VA rehabilitation facility in Texas and is now set to move to a facility in either Louisiana or Arkansas . Knighten said others attacked him, adding 'I do remember racial slurs being yelled from the crowd.' Police were called to the Huddle House about 2am and West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said the evidence suggested it was 'a verbal altercation turned physical and somebody got hurt.' The FBI and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation have yet to determine if the case is a hate crime. In November, Constance Levail McFarland, 21, became the third man to be charged with aggravated assault in connection with the alleged attack. Marquavious McMillian, 20, and Courtez McMillian, 22, were arrested in August in connection with the incident.
Ralph Weems, 32, suffered a traumatic brain injury after being attacked by a large group of black men in West Point in August . He began treatment at a rehabilitation facility in Texas where he learned to walk again, but family say he still has a long way to go . 'Traumatic brain injury takes a long time to recover in a lot of ways,' said his father . To date three men have been charged with aggravated assault in connection with the attack . The FBI and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation have yet to determine if the case was a hate crime .
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(CNN) -- I heard on the news that Junior Seau passed away. Seau, 43, ended his life last Wednesday. He did so as purposefully and violently as he played the game of football. Today, a public memorial is planned for him at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Junior, like my former teammate Andre Waters and friend Dave Duerson, both of whom also committed suicide, played the game as they were taught, with reckless abandon. These guys didn't just tackle opponents; they ran through them, never applying the brakes before collision. And they did what all great athletes do: They learned to play with pain. ESPN analyst Marcellus Wiley, a former teammate of Seau with the San Diego Chargers, said of Junior that "he never let you see his pain." He also said that Junior would not get treatment with his teammates but would do so privately, so he was seen only at full strength. The recent spate of suicides committed by former players has the NFL and the entire sports world examining the cumulative impact of concussions over the span of a career and a lifetime. The emerging research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has helped identify at least one culprit in the uncharacteristically fatal behavior of men who lived by the creed, "never give up." But inherent in that creed is a zero sum mentality that teaches us all to "play with pain." This also means that we learned to live with pain. Together with CTE, this is a lethal combination that can be very difficult to see, unless we change our lens. When I received the news about Junior, I had just walked out of my daughter's second-grade classroom. A few dads were helping with a craft for Mother's Day. While in class, I complained to another dad about the painful decision of saving my back or my knees while assisting children with their cutting and gluing. I knew the source of my physical pain, and it is a constant reminder of a proud football career. I accept that I gave my body to the game I love and every day I experience the consequences. That has long been the lament of former athletes: bad knees, bad back and nagging body aches are the battle scars of weekend warriors. During the drive home from school, I thought of the scars that riddle my body and mind. And, for the first time in the discussion of the life expectancy of NFL players, I saw myself. Junior is the 19th player that I played with or knew personally from college and professional football who is dead, all before 50. He is the fifth to commit suicide. Then I thought of Cover 8. In 1986, when I was a quarterback at Syracuse University, we installed a defensive formation called Cover 8. It moved the free safety, a position usually 18 yards away from the line of scrimmage, to just half that distance. The purpose was to stop the quarterback (me). Our free safety was Marcus Paul, now assistant strength coach for Super Bowl champs the New York Giants. For 20 days, we purposely and violently ran through each other several times a day. Each collision brought admiration, respect and a hardening of our resolve. We knew we were making each other better. If we survived each other, no opponent could pose a greater challenge. We played for another 10 years, but we still laugh about the ringing in the ears and the workman-like way we went at each other that spring, conditioning ourselves to raise our threshold for pain. We were young men demonstrating the rules of masculinity and sports. Ignore pain, leave it on the field and never back down. As a businessman, I know the merits of those qualities that transferred from my athletic career. But I wonder (and fear) as a man and as a person about what other physical and emotional qualities transferred? At what costs? And when will I find out? Women are twice as likely to attempt suicide but men are four times more successful. We both suffer from mental illness and seemingly insurmountable stress. But men are also less likely to show signs or ask for help. This leads to the "if you can't fix it, force it" approach that is evident in most violent acts committed by men. Sadly, there were signs with Junior, Andre, Dave and all the other players who have committed suicide. And, they knew it. What they didn't know was how to tell us. And, we didn't know how to see it in them. We assumed that they were like most players who find it hard to adjust to life outside the locker room, without the game. It's easy to see them as warriors without a war. It's harder to see them as men without capacity to say, "I hurt and I need help." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Don McPherson.
Don McPherson: Football's Junior Seau, who committed suicide, to be memorialized today . He says research shows punishing head injury, living with pain leads some to suicide . He says he has his own scars from football; Junior's death a sobering reminder of toll . McPherson: Junior knew there were signs he was in trouble, didn't know how to get help .
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By . Emma Innes . PUBLISHED: . 06:48 EST, 16 April 2013 . | . UPDATED: . 06:52 EST, 16 April 2013 . Women in the UK know more about intimate beauty treatments than they do about serious sexual health conditions, a new survey suggests. While 67 per cent claim to have heard of Brazilian bikini waxing and 48 had heard of vajazzles - made famous by The Only Way is Essex - just 39 per cent know about Bacterial vaginosis (BV). This is a condition that can lead to fertility problems, miscarriage and increased risk of sexually transmitted infections. BV affects one in three women, making it twice as common as thrush, and if untreated during pregnancy it can lead to serious complications. Women in the UK know more about intimate beauty treatments than they do about serious sexual health conditions . The condition can put women at risk of contracting STIs such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia . Pregnant women with the condition are six times more likely to miscarry and twice as likely to give birth prematurely. BV occurs when the balance of internal bacteria is disrupted, leading to an unpleasant odour. It can be treated with antibiotics. The survey, carried out by Balance Activ – producers of a BV treatment – also revealed that the condition often goes undiagnosed as 38 per cent of women only feel comfortable getting intimate health advice from online forums while 19 per cent are too embarrassed to talk to their GP. The research comes shortly after experts warned that women who use shower gels and soaps in intimate areas are putting themselves at higher risk of developing sexually transmitted infections. Researchers at the University of . California, Los Angeles, said that soaps and lubricants can damage . sensitive tissues and raise a woman’s chance of becoming infected with . herpes, chlamydia and HIV. Women who use soaps in intimate areas are putting themselves at higher risk of developing sexually transmitted infections . Study leader Joelle Brown said there is ‘mounting evidence’ that using these products internally can also increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis. Dr Brown's team recruited 141 women in Los Angeles who agreed to answer questionnaires about their product use and undergo lab tests for vaginal infections. The researchers found that 66 per cent of the women reported using lubricants and cleansers internally. The most commonly used products were sexual lubricants - 70 per cent of the product-using group used commercial lubricants, while 17 per cent reported using petroleum jelly and 13 per cent used oils. Test results showed that the women who used products not intended for internal use, such as oils and Vaseline, were more likely to have yeast and bacterial infections. For instance, 40 per cent of the women who used petroleum jelly as a lubricant had bacterial vaginosis - an infection that can be caused by a number of common bacterial species - compared to 18 per cent of women who did not insert petroleum jelly.
67% of women polled had heard of Brazilian bikini waxes, but only 39% knew of bacterial vaginosis (BV) BV affects 1 in 3 women and can cause miscarriages and premature birth if untreated during pregnancy . Also increases the risk of developing STIs .
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When federal safety investigators meet on Tuesday to determine the cause of the Asiana Flight 214 crash, they will have studied not only last summer's deadly accident but also a little-known incident years earlier. In August of 2010, Eugene Francis Arnold, one of the Federal Aviation Administration's top test pilots, was descending into Seattle's Boeing Field when he leveled off to avoid another plane. To his surprise, his speed fell 10 or 15 knots below his target speed, even though he believed the jet's automated speed control, or auto-throttle, was engaged. Arnold pushed the throttle manually to increase the plane's speed and landed safely. Arnold, investigators believe, experienced the same type of "mode confusion" that caught Asiana's pilots off guard -- at a much lower altitude -- shortly before they plowed into the sea wall at San Francisco International Airport. In both cases, the pilots believed they had selected modes of autopilot and auto-throttle that would "wake up" the auto-throttle if necessary, much as a car's cruise control kicks in when the car heads uphill. But they hadn't. Complex system . There lies the big question before the National Transportation Safety Board when it meets Tuesday: Is Boeing to blame for creating a system so complicated that it befuddled even a top FAA test pilot? Are the pilots to blame for not understanding the intricacies of the system and for failing to monitor the plane's speed? Or is Korea-based Asiana Airlines to blame for not adequately training its pilots? At a December hearing on the crash, experts told the safety board that while automation has vastly improved aviation safety, it has a flip side. The same technology that makes it possible for pilots to fly coast to coast without touching a yoke are complicated and hard to master. Thus, flying is getting easier and harder at the same time. "Automation can be extremely supportive of human operators if it is designed properly," expert Nadine Sarter of the University of Michigan testified. "But we also have seen in a number of incidents (where) automation can actually get in the way." "We have heard things like 'clumsy' automation, where automation ... helps the most when the pilot actually might need the help the least. But when they need the help the most -- in very time-critical conditions -- it might be very difficult for them to actually operate the automation," she said. Different opinions . Not surprisingly, Asiana Airlines, the pilots union, and Boeing, which manufactured the 777 involved in the crash, have starkly different opinions of what role the pilots played in the crash, and the role of automation. "The airplane and all airplane systems were functioning as expected prior to impact and did not contribute to the accident," Boeing said in a March submission to the safety board. The accident was caused by the pilots' failure to monitor and control the plane's airspeed and direction, and could have been avoided if they had initiated a timely go-around. Asiana, meanwhile, blamed Boeing and the pilots. The pilots, just three months before the accident, had received "specific instruction" about the possibility the airspeed protection would be disabled in a certain mode, Asiana said. The airline assigned blame to the pilots for not ensuring "a minimum safe airspeed," and Boeing for creating an autopilot system that led to an "unexpected disabling" of speed protections. The warning system, the airline says, also did not give the pilots enough time to recover. The Asiana Pilots Union blamed crew training, saying pilots were not trained that a combination of autopilot and auto-throttle modes would not prevent the plane from going too slowly. "In this case, a key piece of information was not provided as part of the normal training program at Asiana," the union said. Boeing said it was without fault. "All airplane systems were functioning as expected prior to impact and did not contribute to the accident," it told the safety board. Asked why the "hold" mode did not protect against dangerous drop-offs in speed, Boeing told the board, "To do this would violate (Boeing's) design philosophy: the pilot is the final authority for the operation of the airplane." "If the auto-throttle automatically (switched mode to prevent an aerodynamic stall), it would be overriding the crew's selection," Boeing said. Fly the plane manually . If pilots are confused by the technology, there is a simple solution: Fly the plane manually, Boeing said. "This accident would have been avoided had the flight crew followed procedures and initiated a timely go-around," Boeing told the safety board. What no one contests is that by the time the plane's captain recognized the plane was traveling too slowly, it was too late. At 11 seconds before impact, the plane's low airspeed alert was triggered. Eight seconds before impact, one of the pilots pushed the throttles forward. But it takes engines seven to eight seconds to spool up from idle to full power. The plane slammed into the seawall, ripping off the landing gear, the tail and both engines. It spun 330 degrees in a shower of sparks and debris. Of the 307 people on board, three died. Almost 200 were injured. Asiana Airlines fined $500,000 for failing to help families . Asiana crash victims sue Boeing .
NTSB votes Tuesday on cause of 2013 Asiana crash in San Francisco . Focus is on pilots' actions, automation . Pilots confused by auto-throttle modes . Will blame fall on pilots or designers?
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By . Gerri Peev . PUBLISHED: . 17:47 EST, 24 November 2013 . | . UPDATED: . 18:57 EST, 24 November 2013 . One in every four pounds collected in council tax in the last year has gone to funding local government pensions in England. Of the £22.4billion handed over by families in council tax in England in 2012-13, some £5.7billion went towards paying for council workers’ pensions. More than half of all council tax revenue collected in Scotland went on local government pensions in 2011-12. Uncertain future: Pensions expert Michael Johnson claims the figures are a sign that the Local Government Pension Scheme is totally unsustainable . Scottish councils paid £1billion in employer contributions for local government pensions, yet they collected just £1.9billion in council tax. The figures, unveiled by pensions expert Michael Johnson, are a sign that the Local Government Pension Scheme is totally unsustainable, he said. In a report for the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank, he warned that high costs and lax governance are corroding the pension scheme for council workers. This would ultimately end with council taxpayers or the Treasury being landed with the liabilities for paying pensions. Mr Johnson told the Mail: ‘The implications of how much is spent on pensions out of the council tax collected are enormous. There is going to be an absolute societal schism in the years ahead when you compare the average public sector worker to the average private sector worker. ‘The public sector worker’s benefits will on average be three times more than what the private sector employee gets.’ Unlike other public sector schemes, employees do contribute to the Local Government Pension Schemes. Huge disparity: For city of London council workers the administration management costs are £317.30 compared to just £7.60 in West Yorkshire . But an ageing population and a public sector pay freeze has eroded the value of those contributions. Experts predict that within three years the scheme will run out of cash. The weakest funds were already selling off assets just to bankroll existing pensioners. ‘With no realistic prospect of recovery, they are probably in a death spiral, heading to an unfunded status,’ Mr Johnson said. He warned that the ‘ultimate liability will probable fall on council taxpayers’. There was also a ‘quiet assumption … that one day, the Treasury will step in’. ‘Successive governments, irrespective of political hue, have, for decades, acted with irresponsible abandon when making provision for their own staff’s pensions. Pension promises have historically been worth roughly 35 per cent of salary, yet contributions have been only around 21 per cent: pure Madoff economics,’ he said, referring to the pyramid scheme which has been described as the biggest financial fraud of all time. Mr Johnson’s report highlighted the massive disparities in administration management costs: £13.70 in Nottinghamshire per member compared to £119.40 in Durham. Fund management costs were even more varied with City of London council workers paying £317.30 each compared to £7.60 in West Yorkshire. Mr Johnson called for some of the 101 pension schemes to be merged into several regional ones. The also queried why councils were paying so much to fund managers to actively invest their money when studies showed they provided little value when compared to ‘passive’ investments. The Mail understands that ministers and senior civil servants are closely scrutinising his recommendations. A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: ‘The problems identified in this report are already being addressed and many of the suggested reforms are underway and well advanced. ‘The LGPS is one of the lowest cost pension schemes in the country and we will continue to work very hard to improve performance and value for both taxpayers and pension fund members. The steps we are taking to make it possible to compare costs and performance between funds, and make merging easier for those funds that chose to do so, will secure the long-term viability of the scheme. ‘We are in the middle of a formal call for evidence on the future structure of the LGPS which is considering a number of issues including the size of funds, investment strategy, deficit management and cash-flow. That will result in a formal consultation early in the new year.’
Of the £22.4billion handed over by families in council tax in England in 2012-13, some £5.7billion went towards paying for council workers’ pensions . In Scotland the figures are even worse where councils paid £1billion in employer contributions but collected just £1.9billion in council tax . New figures show that high costs and lax governance are corroding the pension scheme predict that within three years it will run out of cash .
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For a manager with a reputation for caution, it seemed a very odd decision to leave out Ashley Cole and plump for a teenager with one cap. Even as Roy Hodgson tried to explain his reasons he did not seem convinced, and yet nobody will have paid more attention to these two left backs set on radically different trajectories. Luke Shaw, at 18, is rising at a breathtaking rate, a seemingly unstoppable force scouted by every top club in Europe. Cole is fading. Finished: Ashley Cole, who has 107 England caps, has retired from international football . Changing of the guard: Luke Shaw will go to the World Cup ahead of long-time left back Cole . In public, Jose Mourinho has been ultra-supportive of a man who has served him loyally. The Chelsea manager has tried his best to credit Cesar Azpilicueta rather than find fault with Cole, but the Cole of old is not replaced at left back by a right back. No more than the Cole of old is replaced at international level by Leighton Baines. No more than the Cole of old spends half an hour struggling to contain Cardiff’s Mats Daehli. Cole’s form has slipped from its very high standards. It is a trend that started last year and continued into this, amplified by the damaged confidence which comes from losing your aura of invincibility. Mourinho and Hodgson have agreed on this. That does not mean he is a spent force. Cole remains a fine player and an attractive free transfer, but Chelsea’s defenders have all been impressive within Mourinho’s strong unit. If he had played left back at Everton this season, the physical limitations of a  33-year-old with delicate ankles would have been more severely tested. Mourinho wants his full backs to defend, not bomb on, and protects them with midfield enforcers in Ramires and Nemanja Matic. Hodgson will want more from his left back, but tactical deliberations are beside the point. Cole has lost his World Cup place because he was not good enough to keep his Chelsea place. By the time he returned in late April, the England manager’s mind was made up. Give youth a chance: Roy Hodgson announced his England squad for the World Cup on Monday . Where next? Ashley Cole is resigned to leaving Chelsea this summer as his contract ends . During Cole’s absence, Hodgson studied Shaw and became convinced he was ready for international football. His emergence also fits into a broader philosophy which can serve England well. Hodgson wants to do well at the World Cup but expectations are low and he can start to extend his vision, because failing to reach Euro 2016 in France looks almost impossible given England’s group. Here is a rare luxury. Hodgson can start by enveloping the best of the young players into the framework and giving them time to train together and play together. At the same time, Shaw and Baines are exciting players. They are quite capable of rewarding the England manager for discarding his cloak of caution. Finished: Cole retired from international football having been left out of England's World Cup squad . Uncertain future: John Terry earned a new contract, but Cole and Frank Lampard are yet to receive an offer .
Ashley Cole was left out of the 23-man England World Cup squad . Luke Shaw will go to the World Cup ahead of the Chelsea defender . Cole, who has 107 caps, will retire from international football . Shaw, 18, is one of eight players in the squad aged under 24 .
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If you’re trying to keep up with the Joneses, then there soon might be another must-have item to add to your dinner party woes. Because according to those in the know, the humble salt cellar is falling out of fashion thanks to its more modern replacement – grated Himalayan pink rock salt. Mined from Himalayan rock and supposedly the purest form of salt, the so-called ‘rivsalt’ is said to resemble a precious gemstone. Himalayan rock salt is said to be the purest form of the seasoning, and is being sold by Harvey Nichols with a stainless steel grater . It comes with a Japanese stainless steel grater and an engraved natural oak holder with a transparent lid – and will set you back £25. A spokesman for department store Harvey Nichols, which is stocking the product from next week, claimed it would give people a ‘unique and original dining experience’, adding: ‘The salt is turned into faceted rocks of various sizes and shades, from rosy pink to translucent white.’ Its creators hope it will become a common sight on tables across the country, and help transform the image of salt, which they feel has been dismissed as unhealthy and unfashionable. But the sales patter failed to impress health campaigners. Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of Consensus Action on Salt and Health, said: ‘They are promoting something that is potentially dangerous for people’s health. ‘With grated salt, you end up with much larger crystals. Oddly enough, they taste less salty than fine grains so you keep adding more to your food and more salt is absorbed into your body. If you are going to eat salt, very fine crystals are better.’
Trendy seasoning comes with stainless steel grater and costs £25 . Mined from Himalayan rock it is the 'purest form of salt' in the world .
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David Axelrod is a smart guy who knows a heck of a lot about politics and the press. Robert Gibbs is also a smart guy who knows a heck of a lot about politics and the press. They will now be dispensing their wisdom as paid contributors at MSNBC, and I'll be interested in what they have to say. But I have to ask: Is NBC's cable channel turning into an Obama administration in exile? It's hardly a news flash that MSNBC long ago decided to be cable's liberal bastion, a left-wing counterweight to Fox News. But the more the studios are populated with people who worked for the president, the more the network may seem like an off-campus adjunct of the West Wing. To be sure, MSNBC was already packed with former Democratic presidential candidates, from Al Sharpton to Howard Dean. Former party chairman and Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell has also become a fixture, as well as former party spokeswoman Karen Finney. Watch: Should Fox News have hired tarnished candidate Herman Cain? But now that the president is into his second term, there is a growing band of alumni available for pundit duty. Jared Bernstein went from Joe Biden's chief economist to MSNBC talking head. Now the former senior adviser and former press secretary will be holding forth on their former boss. Occasionally, the liberals on MSNBC criticize Obama from the left. The network's few conservative commentators, such as former Republican Party chairman Michael Steele, take aim from the right. But isn't that going to be considerably harder for Axelrod and Gibbs, who have devoted their lives to this president? Gibbs tells me he sees his job "as a political analyst and as someone who has been in the room during important meetings and when big decisions are made who can convey what that's like to viewers. I don't see it either as being a cheerleader for the president or as a spokesman for the administration's point of view." Watch: Mark Sanford launches post-affair forgiveness tour . "I will be honest with my opinions and when I believe the White House has made a mistake I will say so. I'm sure no one in the White House thought my comments on Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing were necessarily pro-Obama." Axelrod also sees himself taking a different approach: "My role is not that of a surrogate, but an analyst and commentator. I'm proud of my work for and with the president. But in this role, I will offer observations, based on my experience over 35 years in journalism and politics, and will call them as I see them." He added: "I'd also note that NBC and MSNBC have, on their roster of analysts, both Republicans and Democrats." MSNBC didn't invent this practice; Fox News is the model. For a while, it served as the Bush administration in exile, with such loyalists as Karl Rove, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton and ex-press secretary Dana Perino. Fox also provided Bush with a spokesman when the late Tony Snow made the jump from Roger Ailes' network to the White House. The Fox payroll was soon packed with potential 2012 contenders like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, with the latter two jumping from Rupert Murdoch's team into the presidential primaries. There is no question that the high-profile platform gave them a boost. Now, Herman Cain, who left the race under a cloud after denying allegations of sexual harassment and an extramarital affair, has joined the Fox team. In his first outing the other night, Cain said 51% of Americans were "misled" into voting for Obama, prompting a dissent from Bill O'Reilly. Is this the kind of unvarnished analysis we can expect from Cain? Watch: Obama, Biden learn pitfalls of Google and Facebook chat . CNN is not exempt from this game, having provided a home for Pat Buchanan between his presidential runs and, later, hiring Bush 41 lieutenants John Sununu and Mary Matalin, Clinton alumni Paul Begala and James Carville, and W.'s press secretary, Ari Fleischer. The network also got into the disgraced ex-governor business through its ill-fated fling with Eliot Spitzer. But CNN, at least, makes a point of tapping partisans from both sides. (ABC, for its part, brought in George Stephanopoulos from the Clinton White House, and he gradually earned credibility in his new profession.) When networks employ active partisans such as Rove, who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for GOP candidates in 2012 and has now launched a new super PAC, it's fair for viewers to wonder whether their commentary is subjugated to an agenda. That was the question with Dick Morris, who was recently dumped by Fox after acknowledging that his predictions of a big Mitt Romney victory were in part an effort to boost Republican morale. Watch: How did Washington Post get the Sarah Palin story so wrong? Now that this revolving door is spinning like crazy, are current Obama staffers eyeing a television future? If so, might they be a tad nicer to a future employer? Former Time correspondent Jay Carney was a pretty good television guest before joining the administration; could he follow the well-beaten path to MSNBC? And what if Hillary Clinton gets bored giving big-money speeches? Maybe Axelrod and Gibbs will surprise me and show an independent streak as members of the commentariat. But having labored so long as fierce advocates for Barack Obama, that could be a tough transition.
David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs will become pundits for MSNBC . Howard Kurtz: Is NBC's cable channel turning into an Obama administration in exile? He says MSNBC didn't start this, Fox News did when it served as a platform for Bush officials . Kurtz: As advocates for Obama, it might be tough for Axelrod and Gibbs to show independence .
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By . Associated Press Reporter . PUBLISHED: . 15:26 EST, 29 November 2013 . | . UPDATED: . 17:36 EST, 29 November 2013 . Holly Maniatty creates music — for the deaf. Teaming American Sign Language with dance moves and body language, she brings musical performances alive for those who can't hear. Her clients are a who's who of rock, pop and hip-hop: Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Mumford and Sons, Jay-Z, Billy Joel, Marilyn Manson, U2, Beastie Boys and Wu-Tang Clan, to name a few. Along the way, videos of her fast-motion, helter-skelter signing have become popular online. There's the video of Springsteen jumping down from the stage at the New Orleans Jazz Fest and joining Maniatty and another interpreter. There, he dances and signs to 'Dancing in the Dark'. Scroll down for video . Dancing with the Boss: Holly Maniatty (left) is a professional sign language interpreter who spends nearly half the year interpreting at concerts. Above, with Bruce Springsteen in April 2012 . 'Deaf people were commenting, "Oh, the Boss knows he has deaf fans. That's awesome,"' she said. 'When artists connect with their interpreters, they also connect with their deaf fans.' In another video, rap artist Killer Mike approaches Ms Maniatty in front of the stage after noticing her animated signing. 'I've never seen that before,' he says to her before challenging her to sign a profane phrase, which she does wholeheartedly as the crowd hoots and hollers. In demand: Ms Maniatty has signed for artists from Mumford & Sons to Jay-Z . Festival season: Ms Maniatty spends most of the summer months performing at concerts and music festivals around the country including Bonaroo, the four-day music festival in Manchester, Tennessee . At a Wu-Tang performance, Method Man took notice of her signing, came down from the stage and joined her. 'He said, "That's dope," and gave me a hug and a fist pump,' she said. After studying sign language at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Ms Maniatty decided to make a career our of interpreting despite her counselor's advice against it . This month, she found herself at New England's largest drag queen show, signing as performers from all over sashayed down the runway and lip-synched to booming music. Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who's deaf, took to Twitter this year when she saw a video of Ms Maniatty performing at the Wu-Tang show: 'Wu tang interpreter is rapping in sign BIG time!!' The 33-year-old, who lives outside Portland, learned sign language while studying it at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. She decided to make a living of it despite counselors' advice against it. She works for a company that connects . deaf people with other people over videophones that are connected online . to computers or TVs. But from mid-April to mid-September, she travels . for paid gigs interpreting all types of music — hip-hop, rock, jazz, . country, gospel, rap. It's . hard work. To prepare for concerts and festivals, Ms Maniatty studies the . musicians for whom she'll be signing. She learns their lyrics, their . dialect, their every move. Jay-Z, for instance, is open and boisterous on stage, while Eminem slouches and drops one of his shoulders. 'As . much as you're able to study those movements and incorporate them into . your interpretation,' she said, 'you really breathe that artist in, and . it's more authentic for people'. Signing queen: Ms Maniatty signs at a variety of musical events, including a recent drag queen competition in her home of Portland, Maine .
Holly Maniatty studied sign language at Rochester Institute of Technology and decided to make a career out of translating . The Portland, Maine native now spends half of her year traveling the country to perform as an interpreter for the deaf at live concerts . She has translated at concerts for Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Mumford and oOns, Jay-Z, Marilyn Manson, U2, the Beastie Boys and Wu-Tang Clan .
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By . Nick Enoch . PUBLISHED: . 12:25 EST, 15 May 2012 . | . UPDATED: . 03:12 EST, 16 May 2012 . The Government has terminated a contract with welfare-to-work firm A4e after deciding that continuing would be 'too great a risk'. However, the company still has 11 contracts with the Government, while the one which was terminated was the smallest it held. Employment minister Chris Grayling said the company’s Mandatory Work Activity contract to help up to 1,000 jobless people in the South-East find work was being ended. The Department for Work and Pensions has been auditing its commercial relationships with A4e after receiving an allegation against the company earlier this year. 'While the team found no evidence of fraud, it identified significant weaknesses in A4e’s internal controls on the Mandatory Work Activity contract in the South-East. Employment minister Chris Grayling said A4e's Mandatory Work Activity contract to help up to 1,000 jobless people in the South-East find work was being ended. Emma Harrison resigned as chairman of A4e in February following a wake of arrests, although she has not given up her 85 per cent shareholding . 'The documentation supporting payments was seriously inadequate, and in a small number the claim was erroneous. There was also a high incidence of non-compliance with other relevant guidance (including A4e’s own processes). 'The process established prior to March fell significantly short of our expectations. As a result, the Department has concluded that continuing with this contract presents too great a risk and we have terminated the Mandatory Work Activity contract with A4e for the South-East. 'Contingency plans are in place to ensure there is continuity of support for participants in the Mandatory Work Activity programme,' said Mr Grayling. A4e is still the subject of a police investigation into allegations of fraud relating to government schemes. A number of people have been arrested by police investigating the company's offices in Slough, Berkshire, and are on bail until dates in late May, June and July. An eighth person was arrested on Monday.  Seven others are on bail until dates in late May, June and July. A4e still holds 11 long-term unemployment contracts with the Government . In the wake of those arrests, Emma Harrison resigned as chairman of A4e in February, although she has not given up her 85 per cent shareholding. A4e held the prime contract for delivery of Mandatory Work Activity in the South-East, covering Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Surrey & Sussex, Thames Valley, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.` The programme is aimed at helping Jobseeker’s allowance claimants identified as most in need of support. Participation is mandatory, with sanctions against those who fail to take part, or complete a placement. A4e is keeping other contracts it has with the Department for Work and Pensions, including those under the Work Programme, which tackles long-term unemployment. The original allegation against the company suggested that A4e employees may have claimed payments for Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) claimants who had not been placed in work. Investigations were held into every MWA claim from the office in Epsom, Surrey, where the allegation was centred, as well as 20 per cent of all the other A4e claims under the contract. It was established that 97 per cent of payments related to someone taking part in the programme, while the remaining 3 per cent were attributable to inadequate procedures rather than fraud. Emma Harrison's country mansion in Derbyshire. Mrs Harrison was made a CBE in 2010 . Mr Grayling added: 'We have made clear to A4e that we continue to require the highest standards of governance in relation to all their other contracts. 'We are reminding all our other providers of their obligations and our requirements in this regard and, should any further allegations arise, we will examine the evidence thoroughly. 'The Department will reflect on how it can further improve its processes in the light of these audits to address any remaining control risks across all contracts and providers. 'Recent coverage has also prompted complaints about service levels on past employment programmes where, unlike the Work Programme, the emphasis was on activities undertaken rather than on job outcomes. 'While this has not been part of our investigation, the Department is considering what further steps can best ensure that providers meet their minimum standards, and participants are clear about procedures for complaints.' Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: 'After eight arrests at A4e, the shambles in DWP contracts is now spreading. We demanded that the Government came clean about these contracts months ago. 'Now we hear they have been forced to cancel a contract vital to helping get people back to work just as Britain has hit a double-dip recession made in Downing Street. 'The Government must now stop hiding performance information about the rest of its giant private sector contracts and publish so that Parliament can see whether public money is being well spent.' Emma Harrison was appointed back-to-work tsar by David Cameron in December 2010. Iain Duncan Smith’s department was told about fraud allegations at Ms Harrison’s company a month before she was appointed. But despite this, the PM still made her the 'families' champion'. Through her taxpayer-backed company A4e, she has banked an £8.6million dividend. Mrs Harrison, 48, who founded A4e more than 20 years ago, is worth an estimated £70million. She lives at Thornbridge Hall, a £7million mansion in Derbyshire, with her husband,Jim, 52, their four children, 11 close friends and their six children. In March, a confidential internal audit report seen by the Daily Mail painted a devastating picture of her firm. It revealed that auditors found evidence of potential fraud or rule-breaking in 13 out of 16 A4e offices they visited three years ago. In some cases, employers said they had never heard of A4e clients to whom they had supposedly given a job. In others, A4e staff were suspected of fabricating evidence in order to claim state payments for finding people work. The revelations raise serious questions about checks at the Department for Work and Pensions which has gone on to hand the firm new contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds. A4e welcomed the finding that no fraud had been identified, saying that with reviews by the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assembly Governments, this means that the majority of its business has been fully examined by external auditors. Chief executive Andrew Dutton said: 'These findings demonstrate what I have always maintained to be true - that there is no place for fraud at A4e and make it clear that A4e has strong controls around its flagship contract the Work Programme. 'Our immediate task is to further enhance our controls to cement our position as a trusted provider of front line public services. 'The findings also vindicate the hard work our 3,500 staff do - day in, day out. All over the country we’re helping tens of thousands of people into training and work, knowing we have in place robust levels of quality and assurance. 'As a company, I recognise that we haven’t got it right all of the time, but we are committed to taking responsibility for our mistakes and remedying them. 'No other provider has undergone such a thorough and forensic review of its contracts, and the positive outcome speaks for itself - this is huge reassurance for taxpayers and our customers.' A4e said that following the DWP review of its MWA contract, some specific issues were highlighted which related to a period when the company dealt with an unexpected volume of work which exceeded the anticipated monthly contract volume. 'During this time, A4e’s focus was for staff and service partners to ensure customers swiftly found effective work placements. However, in the same period, our administrative processes fell short of our own standards and those required by DWP, and to this end we have accepted that the MWA contract will be terminated.'
Department for Work and Pensions finds no evidence of fraud . But DWP terminates Mandatory Work Activity contract after finding 'significant weaknesses in A4e's internal controls' Small number of MWA claims were 'erroneous', Government finds . Police fraud probe into A4e is ongoing, with 8 arrests .
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(CNN) -- The Environmental Protection Agency will set a limit on the amount of the chemical perchlorate, as well as other "toxic contaminants," in drinking water, it announced Wednesday. The national regulation on perchlorate will reverse a 2008 decision made by President George W. Bush's administration, the agency said in a statement. It comes after EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson ordered agency scientists to review "the emerging science of perchlorate." "There's going to be a lot of scrutiny of the standard because, again, we are looking at but one of several precursors that can affect iodine uptake in the thyroid," Jackson told CNN's Chief Medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. "It's the first time we've ever regulated a chemical not because of what it does directly to you, but because it has an impact on iodine uptake that might affect your child down the road." Toxic America: Chemicals in our environment . Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and man-made chemical, according to the EPA. It is used in fireworks, road flares, rocket fuel and may be present in bleach and some fertilizers, the agency said. Research has indicated that it can impact the thyroid and disrupt the proper development of fetuses and infants. Some states have already established limits on perchlorate in drinking water, but there has been no national standard. However, monitoring data shows more than 4% of public water systems have detected perchlorate and between 5 and 17 million people may be served drinking water containing it, the EPA said. The decision was made after considering input from nearly 39,000 public comments, the agency said. Once the EPA proposes a formal rule, it will be subject to the public comment process. In addition, the EPA is also establishing a drinking water standard on "a group of up to 16 other toxic chemicals that may cause cancer and pose serious risks to human health," the statement said. The chemicals are a group of volatile organic compounds, such as industrial solvents, and include trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene, along with other regulated and some unregulated substances "discharged from industrial operations." The move is part of a Drinking Water Strategy laid out by Jackson last year, the agency said. The strategy included addressing contaminants as a group so that their presence in drinking water could be addressed "cost-effectively." "Today's action delivers on the promise to strengthen public health protection from contaminants in drinking water," according to the EPA. "The aim is to find solutions that meet the health and economic needs of communities across the country more effectively than the current approach." Jackson said in the statement she believes the decision will spark new innovations. "As improved standards are developed and put in place, America's world-leading clean water technology innovators have an opportunity to create cutting edge solutions that will strengthen health protections and spark economic growth."
The agency will set a national standard for perchlorate in water . An estimated 4% of water systems contain the chemical . The EPA will also set regulations on a group of other chemicals .
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After yesterday's woeful performance in the 3-0 Community Shield defeat by Arsenal, Manchester City fans may be tempted to press the panic button before the season has even begun. But don't worry too much, City fans, with your star names still to return and history on your side, this could yet transpire to be yet another glorious season for Manuel Pellegrini's men.... VIDEO Scroll down to watch new City signing Mangala score brilliant back heel volley . Not the best start: Manchester City players head up the Wembley steps to receive their runners-up medal following  a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield on Sunday . 1. Best players still to return . Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis, Frank Lampard, Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero were all rested after their World Cup exertions. Other star names such as Joe Hart and David Silva only started on the bench. Many of those players would walk into and transform City's starting line-up. Don't expect to see too much more of Dedryck Boyata and Matija Nastasic in a Manchester City shirt this season. Suited not booted: Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Fernandinho, Alvaro Negredo and Bacary Sagna of Manchester City watch the 3-0 loss to Arsenal in the Community Shield from a Wembley executive box . Touchline chat: Vincent Kompany talks to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger ahead of the match . 2. City were slow starters last season . The Champions lost four of their first 11 games last season and Manuel Pellegrini's side were languishing in 8th position by the middle of November. They were even below David Moyes' Manchester United by that stage. As with all the best title winners, they clicked into gear when it truly mattered, losing only two of their last 27 matches and winning their last five. There will be no panic at Manchester City, although clashes against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea before the end of September will call for a vast improvement. Slow starters: Manuel Pellegrini's side took a little time to get going last season but ended up as champions . VIDEO My team weren't ready - Pellegrini . Just champion: Vincent Kompany lifts the Premier League trophy on the final day last season . 3. Eliaquim Mangala is set to arrive . The Frenchman will add further pace and athleticism to the City rearguard and is expected to form an outstanding partnership with Vincent Kompany. It was a problem position for Pellegrini for much of last season - although Demichelis did come good in the end - and the Chilean will be relieved to now have two centre-backs of elite standing in his ranks. Incoming: City are set to complete the signing of Porto's Eliaquim Mangala to strengthen their defence . 4. The Community Shield is not the best indicator . Come on, now, even David Moyes' Manchester United won it last year. More pertinently, the last time City lost in the Community Shield - in the summer of 2011 - they went on to win the Premier League title. When they won the Community Shield against Chelsea the following summer, they then surrendered their crown and lost to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup final. False dawn: David Moyes lifted the Community Shield this time last year but his tenure at United was a disaster . 5. History suggests the Treble is on . The last team to lose a Community Shield 3-0? The Manchester United team that would go on to win the treble in 1999. On that summer's day in 1998, United were defeated by a Nicholas Anelka-inspired Arsenal. So don't worry too much City fans. Oh, and some bad news for giddy Arsenal followers...the Gunners failed to win the Premier League on the four previous occasions they lifted the Charity or Community Shield (1998-1999, 1999-2000, 2002-2003, 2004-05). No form guide: Arsenal won the 1998 Charity Shield 3-0 against Man United, but Alex Ferguson's side went on to win a Treble of the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup that season .
Manchester City were well beaten 3-0 by Arsenal in the Community Shield . But Manuel Pellegrini's side were missing a number of star names . Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero, Bacary Sagna, Pablo Zabaleta, Frank Lampard and Fernandinho are all still to return . City were slow starters last season but went on to win Premier League title . Eliaquim Mangala will arrive imminently from Porto . Community Shield is rarely a barometer of how season will go .
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"I can't breathe" has become a new slogan in protests against alleged police brutality after a grand jury declined to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner. Garner said it eight times while restrained on the ground by several officers. Police say Garner resisted arrest and video shows him asking police not to harass or touch him after they confronted him on a sidewalk. Here's a transcript of his last words: . "Get away [garbled] ... for what? Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I'm tired of it. It stops today. Why would you...? Everyone standing here will tell you I didn't do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Because every time you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me (garbled) Selling cigarettes. I'm minding my business, officer, I'm minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. please please, don't touch me. Do not touch me." Video of the arrest shows four officers wrestling Garner to the ground and restraining him. " I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe," he said, as officers restrained him. Videos document Garner's last moments .
"I can't breathe," has become a new slogan in protests against police brutality . Eric Garner said it eight times while being restrained by police . He had asked them to leave him alone before being wrestled to the ground . A grand jury declined to indict a police officer is his death .
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By . Chris Pleasance . The key to any good flashmob is the element of surprise, but for these tricksters the surprise was on them when police turned up and began arresting everyone. Prank group Improv Everywhere ran into trouble while pretending to be shop mannequins in a Manhattan branch of Gap after an employee called police. Around 40 people went into the shop dressed in Gap clothing with white bodysuits underneath, before zipping the suits up at a predetermined time and posing next to genuine mannequins. Scroll down for video . Members of a flashmob posing as shop mannequins in a Gap store in Manhattan were handcuffed by police after a member of staff called the authorities . The stunt involved around 40 people who were all asked to go to the store wearing gap clothes and bodysuits . The participants all went into the store separately before zipping the suits up at a predetermined time . While members of the public and some Gap staff were filmed finding the stunt amusing, it wasn't long before one shop assistant called 911. Concerned by a spate of burglaries disguised as flashmobs at other nearby stores, officers promptly cuffed around 20 of the human mannequins before laying them out on the floor. 'We were very surprised at the response,' Improv Everywhere founder Charlie Todd told Mashable. 'It was distressing to see these people who were just helping me out down on the floor in handcuffs.' However, when cops realised people were just part of an innocent stunt, they decided to let them go. The store manager said he considered banning the participants for life, but had decided against it. They then posed next to genuine mannequins dotted around the store (the fake mannequin is on the right) Initially members of the public and staff were filmed laughing at the trick (fake mannequin is on the far right) At a glance the intruders are almost indistinguishable from the real thing (fakes are left, in glasses, and right) By strange coincidence, it turned out that one policeman recognised some of the group's organisers, because he had taken part in one of their flashmobs last summer. On that occasion 7,000 people dressed up like tourists and went to New York's South Street Seaport as part of an MP3 experiment. They were asked to download a track on to their MP3 player, then press play at a predetermined time and follow the instructions they were given. Improv Everywhere has carried out roughly 20 pranks in stores including Staples, Macy's and Starbucks, all of which passed off without much of a fuss. While some people remained oblivious to what was going on, it wasn't long before one staff member called police . By coincidence it turned out that there had been a spate of robberies nearby disguised as flashmobs, so when cops arrived they placed around 20 of the mannequins in handcuffs and laid them on the floor . However, after establishing it was just a harmless prank, officers let the participants go. By coincidence, it turned out that one policeman had actually taken part in another of the group's flashmobs last summer . The last time police were called in was during a prank at Best Buy eight years ago when participants dressed up like employees and stood around the store helping members of the public out. While nobody was handcuffed on that occasion, they were all forced to leave the store after staff became concerned.
Prank group Improv Everywhere targetted Manhattan Gap in latest stunt . Around 40 people went into the store in bodysuits to pose as mannequins . Zipped their suits up at a prearranged time and posed next to real models . Shoppers and staff initially found it funny but one assistant called police . Officers placed 20 people in handcuffs and laid them out on the floor . By coincidence there had been a spate of robberies disguised as flashmobs . However when police realised it was an innocent prank everyone was let go .
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The mother of a beggar raking in money by using a chip and pin machine to target celebrities and millionaires described her son as a 'survivor,'  it has been reported. Damien Preston-Booth, who is on benefits, has the portable card reader to accept donations because the rich 'don't carry much cash.' The 37-year-old, who claims to be homeless, has enjoyed holidays in Paris, Ibiza, Bruges and Monaco in the last year after camping outside upmarket nightclubs and restaurants in London's Mayfair. His mother Elaine Hart, 54, who is also on benefits after losing her job as a cleaner, praised her son for using the chip and pin machine,The Sun reported. 'Fair play to him,' the mum-of-three from Salford, Manchester, reportedly  told the newspaper. 'He seems to have grown up like me and is a survivor. No one would think to use a card machine as a beggar so good on him.' On his Facebook page Mr Preston-Booth posted a picture of himself with music mogul Simon Cowell in the West End with the caption: 'Simon didn't give me 50 pounds it was 20'. Professional beggar: Damien Preston-Booth, 37, commutes from Preston to London to beg in Mayfair and is pictured here taking money from Simon Cowell and offering him a sweet in return . Celebrities: Mr Preston-Booth is pictured here with Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh outside a Mayfair club . Defence: Mr Preston-Booth said that the music mogul gave him £20 and he has also admitted he has a chip and pin card reader for 'regulars' Mr Preston-Booth travels by bus, train or rental car from Preston in Lancashire to Mayfair and spends Thursdays to Sundays taking cash from passers-by and card payments from 'regulars'. He was last seen in the area over Christmas and New Year, local businesses have said. He usually finds a spot outside a Lebanese restaurant but is said to book into a nearby hotel if the weather is inclement. Upset: A friend claims the beggar, pictured in Spain, is 'taking everyone for a ride' and made around £4,500 over the New Year period - including £1,000 from a rich Arab outside the Dorchester Hotel . Using the cash he has travelled to Monaco, Paris, Ibiza and Bruges in the past six months. A friend claims he is 'taking everyone for a ride' and made around £4,500 over the New Year period - including £1,000 from a rich Arab outside the Dorchester Hotel. The 37-year-old is renting a £300-a-month flat but appears to have been saying he has been homeless for five years. Mr Preston-Booth is also believed to be on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for his depression, which could earn him up to £108 a week. It is now likely he will face a benefit fraud investigation, a Government source told MailOnline. Mr Preston-Booth has been contacted for comment by MailOnline. Other beggars have said that they are 'scared' of Mr Preston-Booth, who denies he is a bully and claims he gives cash to others on the streets. His Facebook profile shows he has been flying all over Europe since the summer and he told online friends he had a 'great year'. In July pictures show he spent time in Ibiza and came home to the UK via Paris. A month later he spent some time in Monaco. Mr Preston-Booth says he is £100-a-fortnight in benefits for depression and denies he is pocketing thousands from his begging activities. He told James Mills from The Sun: 'I'm saving up for a little flat and I'm trying to get a CV together so I can get a job. 'I have nothing to hide. I've been homeless and I did beg while I was in London and I have been down since I got my flat in October. I do it to buy things for the flat — not like smackheads who spend it on drugs and beers'. He said his trips abroad were to look for work and he slept rough and got his chip and pin reader when he was selling the Big Issue. His main haunt appears to be the Mamounia Lounge on Curzon Street - a hotspot for the rich and famous. Chief porter Emil Staykov, 45, told the Evening Standard said: 'That guy is really arrogant. He asks our customers for money as they go in and then sleeps in the doorway. 'I have called the police on him loads of times and have been tempted just to throw him out myself. I knew he had money, he always had two phones. 'He was horrible to the restaurant staff but would then be all smiles and jokes with the customers so they gave him money. That is a guy I do not like. We do not want him back'. Well travelled:Mr Preston-Booth has spent time in Ibiza, left, and in Paris, right, in the past six months . Jetting off: The beggar was pictured here at Stansted last year but said his trips abroad were to find work . New home: The beggar says his begging helps him by things for his new £300-a-month flat . Yesterday The Sun said he bought himself a coffee machine, a bathroom cabinet and a plug in grill with more than £100 in total for his new flat. Friends defended him today and one said: 'Everybody has to earn a living damo. There's no judgement here pal'. A female friend told him in an online message: 'You're brill Damien' and another said: 'Damien, you are a legend!' Mayfair business owners alleged Damien Preston-Booth would even arrive in his car before pounding the streets pretending to be disabled to rake in thousands of pounds on the streets of Mayfair. Damien Preston-Booth, 37, is believed to be on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for his depression, which could earn him up to £108 a week. The Government allows ESA to be paid to people of working age who are too ill to work because of a health condition or disability. You must be under state pension age, not getting statutory sick pay or statutory maternity pay and not receiving any jobseeker's allowance. In order to qualify you will have be assessed and after that can earn another £104 a week on top of your benefits for certain types of work. But Mr Preston-Booth's begging - which is illegal in Britain and punishable by a £1,000 fine - could be considered benefit fraud. The Department for Work and Pensions told MailOnline it never comments on individual cases. However a spokesman said: 'Benefit fraud is a crime and our fraud investigaters will look into all suspected cases. 'If you suspect someone of claiming benefits fraudulently you can report it to the Benefit Fraud Hotline on National Benefit Fraud Hotline 0800 854 440'. Manager Emile Salame said: 'He's a clever man – he speaks to the tourists with a bit of French, Spanish or Arabic. 'When the Arabs come over in the summer he says hello to them in Arabic and gets some money. I've seen some of those guys give him £50 at a time. 'I did wonder if he is homeless. He has two or three phones, an iPad, a camera. We see him outside every night but we've not seen him since last week. He's always on the move but he stays in this area. 'As a homeless man I don't think he should be doing that with the card machine. He told me it was given to him by the Big Issue. 'We've given him sandwiches and hot drinks before but we've had to get the police to move him on from sleeping right outside the restaurant. 'He drives a car though and one morning I even saw him arrive and get coffee out of the back of his car for some police officers. 'I don't think it's fair what he is doing. We all work hard and pay taxes and it pays to help out the genuine homeless people. 'I've seen him acting up and hobbling down the road before and pretending to be disabled, even though there is nothing wrong with him. 'And he dresses up for the occasion, so at Christmas he was wearing a Santa outfit. He's a real entrepreneur, he's making a real business out of it.' Police are looking to ban a fraudulent beggar from Mayfair. Local businesses have grown fed-up with his behaviour and now police are urging them to put their complaints in writing to help them secure a ban against him. The 37-year-old was moved on by officers after allegedly harassing a customer at Noura on December 20. Mr Salame received a note from local officers asking him to fill out a business impact statement to help them apply for a criminal behaviour order against Preston-Booth that would prevent him from operating in the area. He said: 'We are in the process of putting together everything in writing. It is not fair when we are trying to run a business and he is simply irritating customers. 'He was harrassing one of the female customers sitting outside, he was insisting on sitting with her and it wasn't really on. 'We called the police and we have an ongoing thing with them about harassment. He's a naughty person, he should be more respectful, especially with what he gets out of the area.'
Damien Preston-Booth commutes from Preston to London to beg for cash . Unemployed man, 37, takes cash from tourists, rich and famous in Mayfair . His mother reportedly branded him a 'survivor' and said 'fair play to him' He said today: 'Simon Cowell didn't give me £50 it was £20' Preston-Booth rents £300-a-month flat but still begs for money in London . He said: 'I do it to buy things for the flat — not like smackheads who spend it on drugs and beers' Department for Work and Pensions expected to launch benefit fraud probe . Police are considering whether to seek order to ban beggar from Mayfair . Friends have rallied around him calling him a 'legend' and 'clever'
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(CNN) -- Don't miss a goal during Euro 2008! Get all the latest goals and match updates on CNN's Euro 2008 mobile site: http://cnnmobile.com/euro2008 . Plus, the first 10,000 people to sign up will get FREE SMS goal and match alerts. To subscribe, send a SMS to +447800001266 with your favorite team's country code as the message: AT, CH, CZ, DE, ES, FR, GR, HR, IT, NL, PL, PT, RO, RU, SE, TR. To unsubscribe, send a SMS with text 'ALERTS STOP' to +447800001266. For questions about the service e-mail help@cnnmobile.com . Visit http://cnnmobile.com for more details. For terms and conditions, click here.
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(Rolling Stone) -- The company that owns "American Idol" is restructuring in light of the show's ratings drop and developing projects for its other assets, including the creative exploitation of Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali, the New York Times reports. CKx, which will change its name to Core Media Group, has especially big plans in store for Presley: an upgrade of the Graceland museum is in the works, as well as a possible drama series based on the singer's early life. Core is also in talks with Sony about a potential duets album, which would pair contemporary singers with Presley in much the same way that past duets albums have done with Frank Sinatra. A subsequent tour may see singers performing alongside an Elvis hologram. Meanwhile, Core is also planning a revamp of "Idol," which comes on the tail of the show's 30% ratings decline in its 11th season this year. The drop coincides with the rise of newer singing competitions, like NBC's "The Voice" and Fox's "The X Factor." "'Idol' is still the gold standard," Core's new president Marc Graboff told the Times. "It's very viable, but it definitely needs to be refreshed and it will be." Graboff says the company will reteam with original "Idol" creator Simon Fuller to help make the changes, which include a likely overhaul of "Idol's" voting system. The current one has produced winners of a similar profile for five seasons straight, most recently 21-year-old Georgia rocker Phillip Phillips. "They're being called W.G.W.G.'s -- white guys with guitars," said Graboff. It's possible that the judges panel (currently Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson) will see a change, too, said Graboff -- but that decision falls under the purview of Fox, which broadcasts "Idol." "We hope it will stay as big a revenue stream as it has been," said Graboff. "But no matter how big the stream is, my job is to diversify us away from it as much as possible." See the full story at RollingStone.com. Copyright © 2011 Rolling Stone.
Core Media Group is planning a possible drama series based on Elvis Presley . The company owns "American Idol" Core is also planning a revamp of "Idol"
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Dataset Card for AutoTrain Evaluator

This repository contains model predictions generated by AutoTrain for the following task and dataset:

  • Task: Summarization
  • Model: facebook/bart-large-cnn
  • Dataset: cnn_dailymail
  • Config: 3.0.0
  • Split: train

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Thanks to @jmsteen for evaluating this model.

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