Friday, 14 October 2011

uk today news

Philip Hammond to replace Liam Fox as new UK defence minister;  
           LONDON: Philip Hammond will become UK's new defence minister after Liam Fox quit following a spate of revelations and allegations against his former flatmate and best man, Adam Werritty.

55-year-old Hammond, who was appointed transport minister in the Conservative-led coalition in May 2010, has been pushed into the key cabinet post.

Werritty, who posed as an adviser to Fox and accompanied the latter to official meetings and foreign tours, was at the centre of the controversy that dogged Fox at every public engagement in the last week.

In his resignation letter, Fox said he had "mistakenly allowed the distinction between my personal interest and my government activities to become blurred."

New revelations today indicated that financial backers linked to Israel and a private intelligence company helped fund the travels of Werritty.

According to The Times, financial backers from Israel and a private intelligence company helped put in 147,000 pounds in a company set up by Werritty.

Responding to Fox's resignation, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "I understand your reasons for deciding to resign as defence secretary, although I am very sorry to see you go."

"We have worked closely for these last six years, and you have been a key member of my team throughout that time," he was quoted as saying by BBC.

The Oxford-educated transport secretary becomes Britain's seventh defence secretary in ten years.

Hammond, who became an MP in 1997, has worked in a variety of business environments, including manufacturing, property and construction and oil and gas. 

British defence minister Liam Fox quits;

 LONDON: British defence minister Liam Fox resigned on Friday, forced out over his close working relationship with a friend who posed as his advisor despite having no official government role.

In his resignation letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, the Conservative lawmaker admitted he had allowed the distinction between his personal and government activities to be blurred through his work with Adam Werritty.

"I mistakenly allowed the distinction between my personal interest and my government activities to become blurred. The consequences of this have become clearer in recent days. I am very sorry for this," Fox wrote.

In his letter of response, published by Downing Street, Cameron said he understood why Fox was leaving but was "very sorry to see you go" and praised his achievements in 17 months as defence secretary.

"I understand your reasons for deciding to resign as defence secretary, although I am very sorry to see you go," the prime minister wrote, adding that he hoped Fox and his wife Jesme would remain his "good friends".

In his letter of resignation, which comes after days of allegations about his relationship with Werritty, Fox said: "I have also repeatedly said that the national interest must always come before personal interest.

"I now have to hold myself to my own standard.

"I have therefore decided, with great sadness, to resign from my post as secretary of state for defence -- a position which I have been immensely proud and honoured to have held."

Fox's departure leaves a vacancy at the top of the ministry of defence at a crucial time, when British forces are still deployed on a NATO mission in Libya and continue their ten-year operation in Afghanistan.

The minister also had the job of pushing through eight percent cuts to the armed forces budget as part of a government-wide austerity drive, which saw him confront military chiefs over what he described as years of mismanagement.

"I am particularly proud to have overseen the long overdue reforms to the Ministry of Defence and to our armed forces," Fox said.

"I am proud also to have played a part in helping to liberate the people of Libya, and I regret that I will not see through to its conclusion Britain's role in Afghanistan, where so much progress has been made."

Fox is the second member of Cameron's coalition government to resign since it took office in May 2010 -- the first, Liberal Democrat minister David Laws, was forced to stand down within weeks of the election over an expenses scandal.

Cameron said Fox had done a "superb job", saying: "You can be proud of the difference you have made in your time in office, and in helping our party to return to government."


Murdoch's top aide quits after WSJ hit by circulation scam;

     LONDON: Rupert Murdoch's media empire, recently hit by the UK's phone hacking scandal , suffered another setback after one of its senior-most European executives resigned in the wake of an alleged circulation scam at the Wall Street Journal.  

Nick Davies of The Guardian , whose series of reports blew the lid off phone-hacking and other unethical news-gathering practices at News of the World, on Thursday reported the circulation scam at WSJ, a flagship newspaper of Murdoch's News Corporation.

Andrew Langhoff, the European managing director of WSJ's parent company, Dow Jones and Co in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, resigned on Tuesday. Dow Jones and Co was bought by News Corporation in 2007.

Dow Jones said in a statement that Langhoff stepped down "because of a perceived breach of editorial integrity".

The Guardian, however, reported that it found evidence that the WSJ had been channelling money through European companies in order to secretly buy thousands of copies of its own paper at a knock-down rate, misleading readers and advertisers about the WSJ's true circulation . Terming the scheme 'bizarre' , the report said that the scheme included a formal, written contract in which the WSJ persuaded one company to cooperate by agreeing to publish articles that promoted its activities, a move which led some staff to accuse the paper's management of violating journalistic ethics and jeopardizing its treasured reputation for editorial quality.

Internal emails and documents suggest the scam The Guardian reported, was promoted by Langhoff. The highly controversial activities were reportedly organized in London and focused on WSJ's European edition, which circulates in the EU, Russia, and Africa.

87 bombs found at British nudist beach;

The Royal Navy was called in after 26 bombs, including two submarine depth charges and at least six 10-pound mortars, washed up on the beach. A subsequent search unearthed 61 more explosives, The Sun reported Thursday.

The navy's elite team of bomb disposal officers detonated explosives in the sea near the shore.

A string of other items such as bullets were part of the haul found at Leysdown beach on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, the newspaper said.

North Kent coast guard manager Colin Ingram, who oversaw the controlled explosions, said: "It is quite a find. A lot of shooting and plane exercises happened around Leysdown."

"Sometimes the shells wouldn't go off when dropped from a plane or shot from a rifle," he said.

"They were cushioned by the mud and did not explode."

The east side of the beach - often called Shellness - is the official nudist area.

It is listed on the UK's Naturist Factfile, which says: "Recent reports suggest regular use by 20 to 30 naturists, with up to 100 at busy weekends."

The website adds: "This beach is a mixture of sand, shingle, shells and, in places, mud."

A sunken Second World War wreck - the SS Richard Montgomery - lies two miles off the coast and is packed with 1,400 tonnes of explosives. But the bombs on the beach are not thought to have come from the stricken US vessel which went down in 1944, according to the newspaper.
LONDON: A total of 87 bombs, some dating back to the late 19th century, washed ashore at a nudist beach in Britain, as stunned naturists gawked during a two-day sweep of the sands by the Royal Navy.



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