UK arms exports escape scrutiny under Tory government. London garden bridge users to have mobile phone signals tracked. Visitors to the garden bridge in London will be tracked by their mobile phone signals and supervised by staff with powers to take people’s names and addresses and confiscate and destroy banned items, including kites and musical instruments, according to a planning document.
The lengthy document (pdf) submitted as part of the planning process for the bridge, which will be part-financed by at least £40m of public money, said the trust behind the scheme hoped to “maximise the opportunity provided by the status of the bridge as private land” by imposing rules to “establish expectations for behaviour and conduct”. If it goes ahead, people’s progress across the structure would be tracked by monitors detecting the Wi-Fi signals from their phones, which show up the device’s Mac address, or unique identifying code. The Garden Bridge Trust says it will not store any of this data and is only tracking phones to count numbers and prevent overcrowding. Britain’s ‘Twitter troops’ have ways of making you think… Amid disclosures of mass surveillance and government hacking, the Snowden revelations have exposed a hitherto unknown branch of the British intelligence services dedicated to influencing human behaviour with psychological science.
Reporting has focused on the political implications of the revelation, but the leaked files also give a fascinating insight into new methods deployed by the secret services. The Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group, or JTRIG, specialises in attempting to “discredit, disrupt, delay, deny, degrade, and deter” opponents and has been branded by the press as GCHQ’s “deception unit”.
Controversially, not only were terrorists and hostile states listed as opponents who could pose a national security threat, but also domestic criminals and activist groups. JTRIG’s work seems primarily to involve electronic communications, and can include practical measures such as hacking computers and flooding phones with junk messages.
'Silent peers' claim almost £1.3m despite not speaking in Lords debates. Peers who did not speak once in House of Lords debates over the past year still claimed almost £1.3m in expenses and allowances, according to research by the Electoral Reform Society.
The campaign group analysed speaking and voting records for the Lords – excluding brief interjections, written questions and answers, or attendance in committees – to determine how many peers were claiming their tax-free daily allowance of £300 despite failing to contribute to debates. The research shows that a total of £1,262,670 was claimed in expenses and allowances last year by peers who did not speak. In total, 116 have failed to speak at all since the start of the 2014 parliamentary session, but have claimed £830,418 between them. Fifty-five of those also voted fewer than five times, but together claimed £92,075. Thirty peers claimed more than £750,000 between them over the course of the last parliament, from 2010 to 2015, without speaking. Europe Should See Refugees as a Boon, Not a Burden. Photo Many European leaders have described the refugees who are risking their lives to get to the Continent as a burden.
But there is good reason to believe that these immigrants will contribute more to Europe economically than they will take from it. Numerous studies have found that immigrants bolster growth by increasing the labor force and consumer demand. Rather than being a drain, immigrants generally pay more in taxes than they claim in government benefits. Even a large influx of immigrants does not mean fewer jobs for the existing population, since economies do not have a finite number of jobs. A working paper published last year by four economists found that immigration benefited local populations in 19 of the 20 industrialized countries they studied. School questioned Muslim pupil about Isis after discussion on eco-activism. A Muslim schoolboy was questioned about Islamic State after a classroom discussion about environmental activism, the Guardian has learned.
Freedom of information commission not very free with its information. David Cameron backs MPs’ 10% pay rise as ‘the rate for the job’ David Cameron performed a surprising U-turn last night and claimed that MPs should accept a £7,000 pay rise in the face of opposition from the public.
The prime minister said on Thursday night that the 10% pay increase was “the rate for the job” despite the rest of the public sector being capped at 1% for another four years. His bold position, a reversal of his past statements that the rise is unacceptable, will give cover to many Tory MPs who wish to keep the cash. The prime minister has been noticeably warmer towards backbenchers since the general election, mindful of a slender majority of 12. It follows the decision on Thursday morning by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) to confirm that MPs’ pay should increase from £67,000 to £74,000 a year and be backdated to May. Cameron told ITV News: “My view is this money is paid straight to MPs. Cameron's new cabinet: half of PM's top team went to private school.
Following a majority win for the Conservatives in Thursday’s election, David Cameron has been busy re-shuffling the government cabinet.
Among the announcements so far have been posts for Amber Rudd and Priti Patel – as Cameron tries to increase the number of women in the cabinet line-up – and also news of a political role for the London mayor, Boris Johnson, who is now able to attend cabinet meetings. Previously, only eight of the 33 ministers (24%) able to attend Cameron’s cabinet were women. The number of the women in the new all-Tory cabinet now stands at 10, or 31% of all the ministers allowed to attend meetings. We’ve compared the new all-Tory cabinet (and those allowed to attend cabinet meetings) against the equivalent from Cameron’s third cabinet as it looked before the dissolution of parliament 2015. In Cameron’s old cabinet, 45% of MPs had attended a private school at some point in their life, while 58% had gone to Oxbridge. . • This article was amended on 15 May. The Royal Baby: a winner in Britain's infant mortality lottery.
Prince William and I were born 9 months apart, about half way back to the founding of the NHS.
I could do a trite little line here. “The world was a different place back then,” I could quip, “when the Russians were threatening Europe and the media followed every moment of a royal princess’s pregnancy and all the music sounded like it was from the ‘80s.” It would be hilarious but tragically wrong, because it really was a different place. A September baby, I was born into the cold and dark of one of the most brutal winters ever seen in Britain. In the Midlands, temperatures plummeted to an astonishing (for England) -25.2C. EXCLUSIVE: Gove and PM school made forbidden donation request. The state secondary school selected by David Cameron and Michael Gove for their daughters appears to have breached school admission laws by asking parents for money when offering them a place, Schools Week can reveal.
In the past week, it has emerged that the prime minister’s daughter would be attending The Grey Coat Hospital in September, the Westminster school where the former education secretary’s daughter is already a pupil. Parents at the Church of England school – which is less than a mile from Downing Street – have claimed they were asked for a payment of £96 when joining Year 7 of the school, the entry route intended for the Camerons and taken by the Goves. A letter sent out to confirm offers of places in the school sixth form also sought a £120 cheque for school funds. On that letter, which Schools Week has seen, there is no opt-out. It simply notes that the parent should enclose a cheque.
Supreme court clears way for release of secret Prince Charles letters. The UK supreme court has cleared the way for the publication of secret letters written by Prince Charles to British government ministers, declaring that an attempt by the state to keep them concealed was unlawful.
The verdict – the culmination of a 10-year legal fight by the Guardian – is a significant blow for the government, which has been battling to protect the Prince of Wales from scrutiny over his “particularly frank” interventions on public policy. In 2012, Dominic Grieve, then attorney general, said the correspondence contained the prince’s “most deeply held personal views and beliefs” and disclosure might undermine his “position of political neutrality”, which he might not easily be able to recover when king.
The 27 letters were sent between Charles and ministers in seven government departments in 2004 and 2005. Doctors will be asked to help identify people at risk of becoming terrorists. Data from death inquiries lost by Ministry of Justice. 29 January 2015Last updated at 13:52 ET Left to right: Robert Hamill, Mark Duggan and Azelle Rodney. Suspected benefit cheats arrested in early morning Croydon raid. THREE people were arrested on suspicion of benefit fraud after two dawn raids by police officers and council officials.
Residents at both households, in the same West Croydon street, are suspected of falsely claiming their marriages have separated, therefore entitling the women to claim more benefits. Police defended criticism on social media that their approach on Monday morning - involving around a dozen officers clad in riot gear, balaclavas and helmets - was too heavy handed and disproportionate to the crime being alleged. They said the first raid, on a household including two teenage children, was also being carried out with a drugs warrant, while the Advertiser understands one of the youths has a history of anti-social behaviour. At this household the mother, 37, has told the council she and her husband, 35, are no longer with each other and, despite still living together, lead separate lives.
Dozens of arms firm employees on MoD secondments. Dozens of employees of arms firms are currently seconded to positions at the heart of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and other parts of government, under an arrangement that has sparked concerns about the cosy relationships between the public and private sector. More than 10 executives from BAE alone have been seconded into the MoD and the arms sales unit at UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in the last year, according to records obtained by the Guardian. Others include employees of MBDA (makers of missiles including those used by drones) and Babcock (the defence contractor involved in refitting Trident) as well as gunnery systems maker MSI, who have been occupying upper level roles inside the MoD.
Royal Family granted new right of secrecy. How to protect yourself in the event of receiving a counter-terrorism leaflet. It’s counter-terrorism awareness week again. It seems to come round quicker every year. Michael Gove bars Tory minister Amber Rudd from Lima climate change talks. Theresa May accused of personally delaying critical reports on immigration. Journalists demand police destroy 'surveillance' files. 20 November 2014Last updated at 17:00 ET By Dominic Casciani Home affairs correspondent, BBC News.
The surveillance state has failed. Big Brother Watch representatives have frequently been derided as kooky technophobes with an effete obsession with personal privacy when putting forward our critique of the surveillance state. The lines deployed against us are so tired as to have become tedious. “If it saves one life or solves one crime“, people say, “it’ll all be worth it.“ “If you’ve got nothing to hide“, champions of CCTV claim, “you’ve got nothing to fear. Queen confirms government's web surveillance plans. Snowden NSA files: US and UK at odds over security tactics as row escalates. Planes, trains and a redecoration – the Queen sets out accounts. Police want right to see medical records without consent.
Sir Peter Fahy says privacy concerns which either deny officers access to information or slow the process down cost police money and time. Parties should explain why they award peerages, says Lords Appointments Commission. Government in supreme court bid to keep Prince Charles letters secret.