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Found 112 results

  1. A device which exploded in Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland has been described as an attempt to kill police. A device exploded Tuesday at around 2030hrs in close proximity to officers on patrol. "They" have not gone away unfortunately. BBC News NI:
  2. New London Police and Crime plan to provide extra PC in each ward 1 hour ago From the section London An extra police constable will be added to every ward in London under plans unveiled by the city's mayor. Each borough will also focus on priorities set for their local area while there will be improved support for victims, Sadiq Khan said. Mr Khan said the plan "restores real neighbourhood policing" and "puts victims... at the heart of what we do". The Conservatives accused the mayor of having "noble intentions" but "a distinct lack of detail". Each of the 629 wards currently has one dedicated PC and one police community support officer (PCSO). Under the plan at least one more officer will be assigned to work in every area by the end of 2017 to "provide greater visibility, contact and reassurance in communities". Other ideas set out by Mr Khan include: Appointing London's first independent Victims' Commissioner to improve support given to victims More specialist firearms officers to protect against potential terror attacks More officers working in London school's to help protect children Improving training for police officers on the handling of cases of sexual and domestic abuse Launching an online hate crime hub to provide a dedicated response to web-based hate crimes The Met will also no longer be given fixed crime reduction targets but focus on how well they tackle set local priorities in each borough. Sophie Linden, deputy mayor for Policing and Crime, said the plan "enables the police... to make the biggest difference we can with the resources we have." But Conservative London Assembly member Steve O'Connell said the change "to borough-specific targets will make it difficult to assess progress across London as a whole". "We will have to wait and see what impact this plan has in real terms on our streets," he said LINK:
  3. Reality Check: Did the government protect police funding? 1 hour ago From the section UK Share The claim: Failing police forces have "no excuse" because their budgets have been protected. Reality Check verdict: Overall the police budget in England and Wales has been protected in real terms, but not every individual force will feel the benefit because the money is being targeted at specialist areas of policing. This relatively small funding boost comes off the back of five years of deep cuts. In 2015, the government announced that overall police budgets would be protected. This meant the amount of money the police receive from the government would increase each year in line with inflation for the following five years. The Minister for Policing, Brandon Lewis, flagged this in response to a report by the independent inspector of police forces, which found a "worrying" variation in the quality of policing across England and Wales, despite improvements overall. Police funding in Scotland is devolved and Northern Ireland has different funding arrangements so they were not included in the report. 'No excuse' The report was compiled by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Mr Lewis said: "This Government has protected police funding, through the 2015 Spending Review. "There can be no excuse for any force that fails to deliver on its obligations - those identified as inadequate or requiring improvement must take HMIC's findings very seriously and I expect to see rapid improvements." The inspectorate had warned that some police forces were "struggling to respond to shrinking resources". It is true to say that the overall policing budget was protected in real terms in 2015 but this figure disguises some regional variation. Part of the £900m extra funding over the following five years is going on specific areas of policing like cybercrime and tackling child sexual exploitation which are often dealt with regionally, so not every individual force will see the benefit of this uplift. Austerity cuts A Home Office statement at the time of the announcement said that it would provide funding to maintain individual police force budgets at current cash levels. Not every police force will necessarily receive enough money to keep up with inflation. Spending on policing had been rising steadily for at least 15 years until austerity cuts began to kick in from 2010. It rose particularly rapidly in the 10 years to this date, going up by more than 30%. Following the 2008 crash and the swathe of cuts to public spending that followed, the part of police forces' budgets that are paid for by central government shrunk by 22% on average. Click to see content: Police_funding Before the 2015 announcement there was already regional variation. This is in large part because of the two main ways policing is funded: through a grant from central government and council tax. Different areas rely to different extents on the central government grant; for example last year Northumbria and the West Midlands police forces raised 12% of their revenue through council tax while Surrey raised almost half (49%) of its revenue in this way. This often corresponds to how well-off an area is - generally poorer areas have lower tax takes and rely more on government grants. As these grants have reduced, a larger proportion of budgets is coming from council tax. Since the grant was cut by the same percentage around the country, areas that lean most heavily on central government money, and are the least able to raise money through council tax, will have felt those cuts most sharply. Lean years You can see this in the real-term reductions to funding in different police forces. Between 2010 and 2016 Northumbria suffered a 23% cut while in Surrey it was only 12%. The areas that raised funding by the smallest amount during the previous good years have also experienced the biggest cuts in the lean years. However, it is also worth noting that the variation in quality raised in the HMIC report does not correspond directly to how much budgets have been cut. Bedfordshire, the only force to be rated inadequate, experienced a cut over the last five years that was about average for the country - a 17% fall compared with a fall of 18% across England and Wales. Durham, the only force to be rated outstanding, suffered an above average 20% cut. Demographic differences Of course, simply comparing budget cuts to performance does not take account of demographic differences and crime levels. So while it is true to say that policing is being protected at least to some extent, this comes off the back of five years of deep cuts - cuts which feel larger relative to large increases in spending in the preceding years.
  4. Elections to be held in Northern Ireland on 2 March 16 January 2017 From the section Northern Ireland Northern Ireland will go to the polls on 2 March to elect a new Assembly after the power-sharing executive collapsed over a botched green energy scheme. Stormont was plunged into crisis after the resignation of Martin McGuinness as deputy first minister last week. The catalyst was the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, which is likely to cost taxpayers £490m. View the full article
  5. Nigerian jet 'kills at least 50' civilians in accidental attack 17 January 2017 From the section Africa A Nigerian air force jet has accidentally killed and injured many civilians in the north-east of the country, the military has said. International aid agency MSF says at least 50 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in the incident. Aid workers are among the casualties - the Red Cross says six of its workers are confirmed dead. The attack took place near Nigeria's border with Cameroon where the army has been fighting Boko Haram militants. Army spokesman Maj-Gen Lucky Irabor said the jet's pilot mistakenly believed he was attacking insurgents. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a message expressing his dismay at the loss of life. View the full article
  6. Search for MH370 suspended 17 January 2017 From the section Asia Search for Malaysian plane MH370 that disappeared in 2014 with 239 on board is suspended This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. If you want to receive Breaking News alerts via email, or on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App then details on how to do so are available on this help page. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. View the full article
  7. Japan has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world. In 2014 there were just six gun deaths, compared to 33,599 in the US. What is the secret? If you want to buy a gun in Japan you need patience and determination. You have to attend an all-day class, take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95%. There are also mental health and drugs tests. Your criminal record is checked and police look for links to extremist groups. Then they check your relatives too - and even your work colleagues. And as well as having the power to deny gun licences, police also have sweeping powers to search and seize weapons. That's not all. Handguns are banned outright. Only shotguns and air rifles are allowed. The law restricts the number of gun shops. In most of Japan's 40 or so prefectures there can be no more than three, and you can only buy fresh cartridges by returning the spent cartridges you bought on your last visit. Police must be notified where the gun and the ammunition are stored - and they must be stored separately under lock and key. Police will also inspect guns once a year. And after three years your licence runs out, at which point you have to attend the course and pass the tests again. This helps explain why mass shootings in Japan are extremely rare. When mass killings occur, the killer most often wields a knife. The current gun control law was introduced in 1958, but the idea behind the policy dates back centuries. "Ever since guns entered the country, Japan has always had strict gun laws," says Iain Overton, executive director of Action on Armed Violence and the author of Gun Baby Gun. "They are the first nation to impose gun laws in the whole world and I think it laid down a bedrock saying that guns really don't play a part in civilian society." People were being rewarded for giving up firearms as far back as 1685, a policy Overton describes as "perhaps the first ever gun buyback initiative". The result is a very low level of gun ownership - 0.6 guns per 100 people in 2007, according to the Small Arms Survey, compared to 6.2 in England and Wales and 88.8 in the US. "The moment you have guns in society, you will have gun violence but I think it's about the quantity," says Overton. "If you have very few guns in society, you will almost inevitably have low levels of violence." Japanese police officers rarely use guns and put much greater emphasis on martial arts - all are expected to become a black belt in judo. They spend more time practising kendo (fighting with bamboo swords) than learning how to use firearms. "The response to violence is never violence, it's always to de-escalate it. Only six shots were fired by Japanese police nationwide [in 2015]," says journalist Anthony Berteaux. "What most Japanese police will do is get huge futons and essentially roll up a person who is being violent or drunk into a little burrito and carry them back to the station to calm them down." Overton contrasts this with the American model, which he says has been "to militarise the police". "If you have too many police pulling out guns at the first instance of crime, you lead to a miniature arms race between police and criminals," he says. To underline the taboo attached to inappropriate use of weapons, an officer who used his gun to kill himself was charged posthumously with a criminal offence. He carried out the act while on duty - policemen never carry weapons off-duty, leaving them at the station when they finish their shift. The care police take with firearms is mirrored in the self-defence forces. Journalist Jake Adelstein once attended a shooting practice, which ended with the gathering up of the bullet casings - and there was great concern when one turned out to be missing. "One bullet shell was unaccounted for - one shell had fallen behind one of the targets - and nobody was allowed to leave the facilities until they found the shell," he says. There is no clamour in Japan for gun regulations to be relaxed, says Berteaux. "A lot of it stems from this post-war sentiment of pacifism that the war was horrible and we can never have that again," he explains. "People assume that peace is always going to exist and when you have a culture like that you don't really feel the need to arm yourself or have an object that disrupts that peace." In fact, moves to expand the role of Japan's self-defence forces in foreign peacekeeping operations have caused concern in some quarters. "It is unknown territory," says political science professor Koichi Nakano. "Maybe the government will try to normalise occasional death in the self-defence force and perhaps even try to glorify the exercise of weapons?" According to Iain Overton, the "almost taboo level of rejection" of guns in Japan means that the country is "edging towards a perfect place" - though he points out that Iceland also achieves a very low rate of gun crime, despite a much higher level of gun ownership. Henrietta Moore of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London applauds the Japanese for not viewing gun ownership as "a civil liberty", and rejecting the idea of firearms as "something you use to defend your property against others". But for Japanese gangsters the tight gun control laws are a problem. Yakuza gun crime has sharply declined in the last 15 years, but those who continue to carry firearms have to find ingenious ways of smuggling them into the country. "The criminals pack the guns inside of a tuna so it looks like a frozen tuna," says retired police officer Tahei Ogawa. "But we have discovered cases where they have actually hidden a gun inside." Probably too late for the police in the UK and US to take this approach, but certainly an interesting article.
  8. Jerusalem 'lorry attack' injures 15 8 January 2017 From the section Middle East Police in Jerusalem have shot a suspected terrorist who rammed a lorry into a group of pedestrians, injuring at least 15, reports say. The attack occurred on a popular promenade overlooking the walled Old City of Jerusalem. "It is a terrorist attack, a ramming attack," a police spokeswoman said on Israel Radio, which reported that bodies were "strewn on the street". The attack comes weeks after 12 people died in a lorry attack in Berlin. View the full article
  9. Israel PM backs pardon for soldier 4 January 2017 From the section Middle East Israeli PM Netanyahu calls for pardon of soldier convicted of manslaughter for the killing of wounded Palestinian This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. If you want to receive Breaking News alerts via email, or on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App then details on how to do so are available on this help page. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. View the full article
  10. Five arrests after fatal hit-and-run 1 January 2017 From the section UK Five men arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after girl aged 12 killed in Oldham hit-and-run This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. If you want to receive Breaking News alerts via email, or on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App then details on how to do so are available on this help page. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. View the full article
  11. US expels Russian diplomats over cyber attacks 29 December 2016 From the section US & Canada The US has expelled 35 Russian diplomats as punishment for alleged interference into the presidential election. It will also close two Russian compounds used for intelligence-gathering, in Maryland and New York, as part of a raft of retaliatory measures. President Barack Obama had vowed action against Russia amid US accusations it directed hacks against the Democratic party and Hillary Clinton's campaign. Russia has denied any involvement. View the full article
  12. US police investigating a murder have tussled with Amazon over access to data gathered by one of its Echo speakers. The voice-controlled device was found near to a hot tub where the victim was found dead amid signs of a struggle. According to court filings, Amazon was issued with two search warrants but refused to share information sent by the smart device to its servers. However, the police said a detective found a way to extract data from the device itself. The accused killer has yet to be put on trial and it is not clear whether the information ultimately proved useful to the investigation. Blood spots Details of the case were first reported by the Information news site. But it dates back to November 2015, when the suspect, James Bates, called the Bentonville, Arkansas police department to say he had found the body of a friend, Victor Collins, face down in water. The court records say one of deceased's eyes and lips appeared to be swollen and suspected blood spots were found around the rim of the hot tub. Detectives say they learned that music had been streamed to the back patio at the time of death, which they thought might have been controlled via the Echo's smart assistant Alexa. The "always on" machine makes recordings of audio it hears from a fraction of a second before it detects a wake word - either Alexa or Amazon - until it judges the command to be over. This audio is then transmitted to Amazon's computer servers, which interpret the request and tell it how to respond. Although no recordings are meant to be made at other times, the device often becomes activated when it misinterprets speech as being its wake command. Any captured audio might therefore have identified who was active in the early hours of the morning when the alleged murder is thought to have taken place, as well as what was said. Mr Bates claims to have been asleep at the time. 'Overbroad demands' The case has echoes of Apple's refusal to help the FBI bypass the security code of an iPhone used by a gunman in 2015. In that case, the authorities said they were also able to ultimately extract information without the tech firm's co-operation. "Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us," a spokesman for the company told the BBC. "Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course." He added that utterances are not stored by Echo devices, and the associated audio is only accessible via the cloud and can be deleted by the relevant account holder. The Bentonville police department said it was also able to extract data from Mr Collins' LG smartphone. But it added that it had been unable to access Mr Bates' Huawei Nexus handset because it had been "encrypted at the chipset level" and was protected by a passcode lock. However, the court papers indicate that the property's smart water meter may have yielded the most useful evidence. The police say it showed that 140 gallons (636 litres) of water was used around the time of the alleged killing. They suggest this was down to Mr Bates using a garden hose to wash away evidence from his porch before he alerted them to the death.
  13. Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov 'wounded' in gun attack in Turkey 19 December 2016 From the section Europe The Russian ambassador to Ankara, Andrei Karlov, has been shot and seriously injured while visiting an art gallery, Turkish media report. Several other people were reportedly also injured in the attack, a day after protests in Turkey over Russia's military intervention in Syria. View the full article
  14. Four hundred people killed themselves shortly after being released from police custody in England and Wales in the last seven years, a report says. The Equality and Human Rights Commission blamed many of these suicides on "serious gaps" in the care of detained people. Christina Barnes, the EHRC's policy head, called on the NHS to share mental health records with the police. The government said suicides were down but that each death was a "failure". The commission examined data from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) from April 2009 to the end of March 2016. 'Preventable' deaths "There's a lack of accountability and responsibility for these individuals," Ms Barnes told BBC One's Breakfast programme. She said people were "being released without any sort of care or support around them" because police were unaware whether a person had mental health difficulties. Half of those who committed suicide had known mental health issues but were not given support that "could have helped prevented their deaths", she said. "We'd like to see basic pieces of information from the NHS being shared with police so they can be made aware of existing conditions," Ms Barnes said. Durham's Chief Constable, Michael Barton, said that the police had changed its approach to post-custody care but that the deaths were "unacceptably high". Speaking on Breakfast, he said "everybody who is released is now released on a care plan" and that he is "really optimistic" numbers will continue to fall. 'Social exclusion' The report shows there were 400 "apparent suicides" of people who had been detained at police stations during the seven-year period to March 2016. Almost all of the "hidden deaths" included in the statistics occurred within 48 hours of release from custody, although a small number, which happened outside that timeframe, were also among the total. Of those who died, 128 (32%) had been arrested over allegations of sexual abuse. The commission said: "Sexual offences, especially in relation to children, are particularly taboo and lead many offenders to feel high levels of shame and experience high levels of social exclusion." A further 83 people (21%) who had been investigated over crimes of violence took their own lives; 44 (11%) had faced breach of the peace or criminal damage allegations, and 38 (10%) had been in custody on suspicion of driving offences. Image captionThe EHRC's Christina Barnes said police officers have "limited access" to mental health records The underlying trend over the seven years was upwards, although the number of deaths last year - 60 - was the lowest it had been since 2011/12. The Home Office highlighted the fact that there were 10 fewer deaths than in the previous year - down from 70 in 2014/15 - but said it was not "complacent" and had launched an independent review to identify "areas for improvement." A spokeswoman added: "Every death in or following police custody represents a failure and has the potential to dramatically undermine the relationship between the police and the communities they serve. "Over recent years police forces have worked closely with NHS England to improve the quality and provision of custody health services and build better local partnerships. In 2014, Michael Parkes, from Daventry, Northamptonshire, hanged himself a couple of days after being questioned by police on suspicion of sexual offences. Mr Parkes had been caught by an internet "paedophile hunter" having arranged to meet someone he thought was a 12-year-old girl. A separate case, highlighted in the EHRC report, concerned a young person who had been caught in possession of cannabis while on a family holiday. He killed himself after being later wrongly issued with a further summons at his home address. The Home Office said it would "consider all of the findings in detail when the report is published." But the commission called on ministers to set up an "inter-agency summit" to tackle the issue. David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: "When the state detains people, it also has a very high level of responsibility to ensure they are safely rehabilitated back into their communities, particularly those who may be vulnerable. "Our report reveals a fractured state of post-detention care that is potentially leading to hundreds of deaths." The commission said all apparent suicides within two days of release should be referred to the IPCC. As a "minimum requirement" it said custody health care staff should have "prompt access" to NHS records. Its report also looked at cases of prisoners who had died within 28 days after being released. However, these statistics were thought to be less reliable than the police data, showing 66 non-natural deaths over five years, most of which were from a drug overdose. Is it a good idea to give the police access to this basic information from the NHS, or is it to much on top of all their other responsibilities? Should the NHS have a presence in every custody block instead, or perhaps at least a couple per force, maybe in a control room?
  15. Islamic State fighters 're-enter ancient Palmyra' in Syria 10 December 2016 From the section Middle East Islamic State group fighters have re-entered Palmyra, nine months after losing the ancient Syrian desert city, activists say. IS held Palmyra and its nearby ruins for 10 months before it was recaptured by Syrian government forces in March. But the jihadist group launched an offensive earlier this week. "IS entered Palmyra on Saturday and now occupies its north-west," said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "There is also fighting with the army in the city centre," he added. IS destroyed a number of monuments during its 10-month occupation of the Unesco World Heritage site and the adjacent city of Tadmur. Two 2,000-year-old temples, an arch and funerary towers were left in ruins. The jihadist group, which has also demolished several pre-Islamic sites in neighbouring Iraq, believes that such structures are idolatrous. While some treasured monuments were destroyed, much of the historic site was left undamaged. The city was reclaimed with the support of air strikes by the Russian air force. IS subsequently lost large amounts of territory across Syria and Iraq. View the full article
  16. S Korea lawmakers vote to impeach leader 9 December 2016 From the section Asia South Korean parliament has voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye over a corruption scandal. The National Assembly motion passed by 234 votes to 56, meaning some members of Ms Park's ruling Saenuri party voted to impeach her. Ms Park's authority now passes to Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn. She has been embroiled in a political scandal that led thousands of Koreans to take to the streets in recent weeks demanding her removal from power. At the heart of the crisis is the relationship between Ms Park and her close confidante, Choi Soon-sil, who stands accused of using her connections to gain influence and financial benefits. Prosecutors say Ms Park had a "considerable" role in the alleged corruption, which she has denied and over the last few weeks she has repeatedly apologised for her role in scandal. This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. If you want to receive Breaking News alerts via email, or on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App then details on how to do so are available on this help page. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. View the full article
  17. Phone encryption: Police 'mug' suspect to get data By Dominic Casciani and Gaetan PortalBBC News Home Affairs 9 hours ago From the sectionUK Share Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES Image captionUnlocked: But data unretrievable if not Detectives have developed a new tactic to beat criminals using mobile phone encryption - legally "mug" them. The tactic has emerged after Scotland Yard's cybercrime unit smashed a fake credit card fraud racket. Officers realised crucial evidence in the investigation was concealed on a suspect's iPhone - but it would be unobtainable if the device was locked. So a covert team seized it in the street while the suspect was on a call - beating the security settings. The street seizure of the phone was dreamt up by detectives from Operation Falcon, the specialist Metropolitan Police team running investigations into major fraud and related crimes organised online. Image copyrightMETROPOLITAN POLICE Image captionGabriel Yew: Phone seized in the street Gabriel Yew had been under investigation for the suspected manufacture of fake cards that gangs were using across Europe to buy luxury goods. Detectives suspected that he was using an iPhone exclusively to communicate to other members of the network but knew if they arrested him, he could refuse to unlock it and they would never see incriminating evidence. They considered whether they could legally force a suspect's finger or thumb on to the device's fingerprint reader to unlock it, but found they had no such power. However, they concluded their could stage their own lawful "street robbery" - using a similar snatch technique to a thief - and in June a team set out to do precisely that. Undercover surveillance officers trailed Yew and waited for him to unlock his phone to make a call - thereby disabling the encryption. One officer then rushed in to seize the phone from Yew's hand - just as would happen in a criminal mugging. As his colleagues restrained the suspect, the officer continually "swiped" through the phone's screens to prevent it from locking before they had downloaded its data. "The challenges of pin code access and encryption on some phones make it harder to access evidence in a timely fashion than ever before," said Det Ch Insp Andrew Gould who led the operation. "Officers had to seize Yew's phone from him in the street. This evidence was crucial to the prosecution." Image copyrightMETROPOLITAN POLICE Image captionBogus cards: Major racket smashed thanks to iPhone "mugging" The phone revealed a motherlode of information on Yew's efficient business-like practices. He had orders for fake cards and there was evidence linking him to four men who were subsequently convicted and a further 100 potential suspects. Detectives also uncovered Yew's "factory" with thousands of blank credit cards ready to be programmed. Yew pleaded guilty to fraud and weapons offences and at a sentencing hearing this week at Blackfriars Crown Court was jailed for five and a half years. Source BBC News:
  18. France's Hollande decides not to run again 1 December 2016 From the section Europe Francois Hollande has stunned France by declaring he will not seek a second term as president of France. Mr Hollande, faced with very low popularity ratings, has become the first sitting president in modern French history not to seek re-election. In a televised address he said he was aware of the risks of not running and warned of the threat from the far-right National Front. This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. If you want to receive Breaking News alerts via email, or on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App then details on how to do so are available on this help page. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. View the full article
  19. Source: It is one of the most dragged-out divorces in corporate history but it seems that BT and Openreach will definitely go their separate ways. Talks between BT and regulator Ofcom to find a voluntary solution to the problem seem to have broken down. Ofcom has now begun the formal process of forcing a legal split. The big question is what will it all mean for consumers. Why do the two need to split? Image copyright PA The argument for separation centres around whether the firm that provides the vast majority of the UK's broadband infrastructure (Openreach) should be part of the same parent group as one of the UK's leading internet service provides (BT). Rivals have long argued that this is bad for competition and the consumer. TalkTalk's Dido Harding was one of the first to welcome Ofcom's new tough stance: "Openreach has been letting consumers down for far too long, unable to meet promises of even minor improvements and becoming a household name for all the wrong reasons." Ofcom agrees and, now too, does the government: "We've been clear that we need a more independent Openreach. It needs to offer genuinely fair and equal access to the country's telecoms infrastructure to BT's competitors," said a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This is the best way to ensure consumers get the service they need, and the country gets the digital infrastructure it needs," he added. I live in a rural broadband notspot - how would a split improve life for me? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Many farmers are crying out for faster internet connectivity, says the National Farmers' Union Slow and non-existent broadband is still an issue in remote areas and most agree that is unacceptable in an age where telecoms are as important as gas, electricity and water. Openreach has been criticised for the slow rollout of rural broadband and for failing to offer radical new technologies. But, on the flipside, there are no large queues of other operators lining up to fix the problem, which is expensive and technically challenging. The Countryside and Landowners' Alliance pointed out that any split must make sure that the work Openreach is doing to close the digital divide can continue unhindered. "Any formal break between BT and Openreach must not lose sight of the goal to deliver broadband to rural areas. Ofcom must make it clear that the conditions of the separation include guarantees for future investment to further support rural digital connectivity," it said in a statement. Will a split lead to better, cheaper broadband? What consumers really need, according to Andrew Ferguson, founder of the broadband news website ThinkBroadband, is "fibre to the home with gigabit speeds for £20 to £35 per month". Fibre-to-the-home technology offers faster speeds than the majority of current broadband connections, which are known as "fibre to the cabinet", meaning the final connection to homes is delivered over slower copper wire. Mr Ferguson told the BBC that no-one currently knows whether a legal separation will deliver this faster option. "The split has the potential to be very transformational and start the UK down a path of 95% fibre-to-the-premises coverage in 10 years, but that was a possibility yesterday too. The key is whether the split means more money will be available and if a fibre-to-the-premises (home) product is adopted by operators like Sky and TalkTalk," he said. "The hope is that by reducing the influence of BT Group on Openreach, it would be likely to invest more in faster broadband technology that allows more providers, such as Sky and TalkTalk as well as BT, to offer a better service to their customers." But, he added, there is a counter-argument that an independent Openreach could create "a stock market that gets jittery which means that Openreach is starved of capital and struggles to meet what its critics have said are already unambitious rollout targets". Most agree that a separation of BT and Openreach would not alone solve the UK's broadband problems. Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at uSwitch, said: "Ofcom needs to act across the board to ensure competition and service improvements. This includes universal service obligations, quality of service requirements on regulated products and automatic compensation when providers fail to deliver. Some believe that the real problem with the UK's broadband is that the copper network simply does not offer the bandwidth and reliability to support our increasingly data-rich needs. Founder of Mimosa Networks, Jaime Fink thinks it is time to consider other technologies: "Openreach and other UK service providers must change their approach and look at new technologies that can profitably deliver a superfast sustainable broadband network." He pointed to the US where new entrants such as Google and Facebook have shaken up the market with fixed wireless solutions, which are less expensive than fibre. Will a split improve customer service? Image copyright Thinkstockk Image caption Broadband customers do not deal directly with Openreach at the moment You have a broadband fault but it is taking weeks to fix. Sound familiar? One of the biggest arguments in favour of a split is that Openreach has just not provided adequate levels of customer service. Critics say this is because it is not a customer-facing firm so all complaints are channelled via a customer's ISP, giving it no incentive to get on with repairs. "Millions of people have suffered woeful levels of service from Openreach, so these reforms must lead to significant improvements for customers who have been let down for too long," said Which's Alex Neill, managing director of Home and Legal. But will a separation deliver this? It may depend on how the separation looks, thinks Ovum analyst Matthew Howett. "The improvements in quality and availability of service that Ofcom hopes legal separation will bring about will likely to be delivered much sooner if BT can get on and deliver them today as a result of a voluntary agreement, rather than wait for a lengthy and uncertain process to run its course at the EU level," he told the BBC. In order to start the legal separation, Ofcom must now prepare a formal notification to the European Commission to start the process. Mr Howett believes that the door is still open for a voluntary agreement from BT. "In many ways that would be a better outcome than a forced legal separation, not least because the EU route is uncertain, untested and likely to take much longer to achieve. It is also of course made more complex by the decision from Britain to leave the EU."
  20. Man killed after Wood Green 'intelligence-led' police operation 12 minutes ago From the section London Image copyrightPA Image caption The shooting happened in Bracknell Close A man shot during a police operation in north London has died, Scotland Yard has said. Armed officers were in Bracknell Close, Wood Green, at about 09:00 GMT when a man received gunshot wounds, police said. The Met said the operation was "intelligence-led" but not related to terrorism. It added the Directorate of Professional Standards - its internal investigator - had been informed. Image copyrightJosephine McDermott Image copyrightKepceKazan-Lndn Image caption A Twitter user reported seeing 'police everywhere' and a medical helicopter An air ambulance was called to the scene but the man was confirmed dead shortly before 10:30 GMT. BBC London Live for latest updates on this and today's other stories There were no reports of any other injuries. One Twitter user reported seeing "police everywhere" and a "medical helicopter".
  21. Iraq suicide bomb: Blast kills 70 Shia pilgrims 24 November 2016 From the section Middle East At least 70 Shia pilgrims have been killed in a truck bomb attack at a road stop in Iraq, officials say. The blast struck at a petrol station and restaurant near al-Hilla, some 100km (60 miles) south of Baghdad. The road stop was full of people returning from the Arbaeen pilgrimage in the city of Karbala. Iranians and Bahrainis were among the victims. The Islamic State group said it carried out the attack, and claimed the death toll was more than 80. View the full article
  22. Turkey failed coup: Officers 'seeking Nato asylum' 18 November 2016 From the section Europe A number of Turkish officers posted to Nato have sought asylum since the country's failed military coup in July, Nato's secretary-general has said. Jens Stoltenberg said the officers had requested asylum in the countries where they had been posted but gave no names, numbers or reasons for the requests. The countries involved will consider the cases individually. Turkey has dismissed, suspended, detained or arrested tens of thousands of people since the July coup attempt. Many have been in the military, although others are teachers, policemen, judges and journalists. The Turkish government's crackdown has targeted those it suspects of links to the man it believes masterminded the coup attempt - the cleric, Fethullah Gulen. He lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania in the United States and has denied any involvement. Mr Stoltenberg said on Friday that "some Turkish officers working in the Nato command structure... have requested asylum in the countries where they are working". German media have carried reports that some members of the Turkish military have requested asylum in Germany. Also on Friday, the UN rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye, warned of a "grim" climate in Turkey since the failed coup. He said: "The conclusions I would say are fairly grim and reflect what I think is a deep sense of restriction on freedom of opinion and expression throughout the country." View the full article
  23. Source: Seven homes have been evacuated after a large sinkhole opened up behind a row of houses in North Yorkshire. Fire crews were called out to Magdalen's Road, Ripon at 22:30 GMT on Wednesday and found a hole measuring about 20m (66ft) by 10m (33ft). The depth of the hole, in the back gardens of two properties, is estimated to be about 9m (30ft) deep. No injuries have been reported, with the area cordoned off. More on this story and other news in North Yorkshire Frances O'Neil, who discovered the sink hole in her garden, said: "I was just going to go down the steps that lead to my garden and realised there were no steps and the ground was moving. "I turned back around, grabbed hold of a metal pole and pulled myself up and back into the house." Image caption The hole stretches close to the back door of a house Ben Bramley, who lives in one of the affected houses, said: "I was a bit drowsy and my missus gave me a shout to say something was happening in the back garden and it sounded like a little landslip. "I went outside and it was all dusty, my neighbour was out there in a dressing gown and it was a real mess." Structural experts were called in to help survey the scene. Image caption Firefighters and structural engineers have been assessing the scene Mr Bramley added: "It's quite traumatic.. it's very close to our back door and the house as you can imagine is uninhabitable at the moment. "The fire brigade and contractors were saying that it's likely to be structurally unsafe for a period of time, so we would need to move out. We might even be officially homeless." Ben Cairns, NYFRS station manager, said: "The area is well-known for gypsum deposits, so it's not the first time we have encountered this - although this particular sinkhole does appear to be quite large." The fire service said the residents of four of the affected homes will not be able to return to their properties any time soon. Image copyright Google Image caption The hole appeared in the back gardens of two homes on Magdalen's Road, Ripon In 2014, a 100-year-old detached house in an adjoining street was demolished after a 25ft-wide sinkhole opened. The British Geological Survey said Ripon lies in one of the most susceptible areas of the UK for sinkholes because of its "Permian gypsum deposits", which can dissolve more quickly than surrounding limestone. Image caption The sinkhole is in two back gardens Eamon Parkin, a landlord at the nearby Magdalen's pub, said he had noticed a visible change in the area's landscape over the last few years. He said: "Growing up here, I know that it's a problem in Ripon and these things do happen, but where will it happen next? "If you look over to where the park is, the land is changing over there. It used to be nice and flat, but now you can see a difference in the structure of the land."
  24. Source: Image caption Elizabeth Edwards, 49, and her daughter Katie, 13, were found dead at Dawson Avenue in Spalding in April Two 15-year-olds have been given life sentences with 20-year minimum terms for the murder of a mother and daughter in Lincolnshire in April. Dinner lady Elizabeth Edwards, 49, and Katie, 13, were smothered and stabbed while they slept at home in Spalding. Sentencing them, the judge said it was "a terrible crime which has few parallels in modern criminal history". The killers were 14 at the time, apparently making them Britain's youngest double-murderers. The judge at Nottingham Crown Court, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, said the case had "defining and particularly chilling" features, and condemned the killers' conduct as "grotesque". Jurors heard that the killers went on to share a bath, have sex, and watch four Twilight vampire films after the murders in Dawson Avenue, Spalding, on 13 April. For more on this and other Lincolnshire stories Image copyright Police issue Image caption The knife used in the murders - a black-handled kitchen knife with a 20cm blade - was found discarded in Katie's bedroom Addressing the teenagers, the judge told them: "There is a clear intention to kill both victims - both defendants admitted wanting to murder them. "There was remarkable premeditation and planning - it was, on any view, substantial, meticulous and repeated." He added: "The killings were brutal in the form of executions, and both victims, particularly Elizabeth Edwards, must have suffered terribly in the last minutes of their lives." Mrs Edwards and her daughter were repeatedly stabbed by the couple, who were described in court as having a Bonnie and Clyde-style relationship Mrs Edwards was stabbed by the boy eight times, twice in the throat, in a deliberate attempt to ensure her daughter was not woken by screams or cries for help. Katie was stabbed twice in the neck with severe force before she was smothered by the boy. Image copyright SWNS Image caption Police described the murder of Elizabeth and Katie Edwards as a horrendous crime During his sentencing remarks, the judge said both teenagers were equally responsible for the murders and had "revelled in what you achieved". "I see no reason to distinguish between you in any way," he said. "Had you been adults you may have been facing the whole of your lives in prison for this double murder." Outside court, Karen Thompson, deputy chief crown prosecutor for the East Midlands, said: "This is one of the most distressing and disturbing cases that I have ever encountered. "Our deepest sympathies are now with the extended family and friends of Elizabeth and Katie Edwards as they attempt to come to terms with this horrific crime." Det Ch Insp Martin Holvey, of Lincolnshire Police, said it had been "a rare and unprecedented case". "The planning that went into these brutal murders of Elizabeth and Katie, as they slept in their own beds, was cold, ruthless and chilling - as was the lack of remorse shown by the two juveniles afterwards." In court Peter Joyce QC, prosecuting, detailed for the first time the account given by the boy shortly after he was arrested. He said the pair had met up and both agreed to kill Mrs Edwards and her daughter after "the girl had asked him to kill both of the victims as she did not like the smell of blood". "He went on to describe the killing of the mother, Elizabeth, and said that during the attack she had struggled and scratched his face, back and bum," Mr Joyce told the court. "After about three minutes she had stopped struggling and had gone limp. He had got off the bed and taken off his trainers since they had made the floorboards creak." Image copyright PA Image caption Katie Edwards was stabbed to death after her mother The boy then went into Katie's room, bent down and pushed the knife through her throat before using a pillow to smother her, the court heard. Defending the boy, Simon Myerson QC said the two children "became trapped in a fantasy of their own devising". Andrew Stubbs QC, representing the girl, said the pair were in a "toxic relationship" and were "almost playing chicken with each other" as they spurred each other on to commit the killings. The pair pleaded guilty to manslaughter at a hearing in September but later the boy admitted to murder before the trial began. His girlfriend maintained her innocence to murder but was found guilty of two counts. Image copyright Photoshot Image caption Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said neither teenager would be freed until they had served their minimum term
  25. Source: Four people were injured when a car mounted a pavement and ploughed into a group of pedestrians. A woman was seriously injured in the hit and run in Humberstone Gate, Leicester, shortly before 17:00 GMT, police said. Eyewitnesses told the BBC they saw a car with a smashed windscreen being driven "erratically" after the crash. Others said the car appeared to have been deliberately driven at the group of pedestrians. Liam Mahoney said he had to move out of the way for "a screeching car" travelling the wrong way down Halford Street. 'Like ten pin bowling' "It mounted the kerb at speed, went along Halford Street, collided with two vans, carried on at speed, and then turned along Granby Street and we heard a lot of commotion," he said. Company director, Dr Beejay Bhatt, 36, said he saw a car come "barrelling down the road" and mount a pavement before sending a woman "flying". He said a teenager was then launched into the door of a fast food outlet and "bounced" off, with emergency services arriving minutes later. "It was pandemonium," he said. Image caption Police have closed a number of roads near to where the accident happened "Hundreds of people started crowding and the police had to put up this tape. It was like ten pin bowling." Another eyewitness said: "I was on the side where the car drove over people. I was scared. I only just got out of the way. "Everyone was just scurrying everywhere, like they didn't know what to do. There was quite a lot [of panic]." A black car was found abandoned in nearby Bishop Street. Ch Insp Dan Pedley, of Leicestershire Police, said: "There is considerable police activity in the area and roads are closed as a result of this incident which will understandably cause concern among residents and inconvenience to motorists. "The investigation is in the early stages and officers are working to establish the exact circumstances surrounding this incident." Police have said Humberstone Gate is currently closed, from its junction with Charles Street to its junction with Wharf Street South. Yeoman Street is also closed. Diversions are in place and motorists have been advised to find alternative routes, the force said. Image caption A car was cordoned off in Bishop Street