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  1. Kevin Spacey: Old Vic lists 20 staff allegations against him 16 November 2017 From the section Entertainment & Arts Related TopicsHollywood sexual harassment scandal Image copyright AFP Image caption Spacey said he is now seeking treatment The Old Vic theatre said it has received 20 personal testimonies of alleged inappropriate behaviour by Kevin Spacey during his 11-year tenure as artistic director. Those affected said they "felt unable to raise concerns" adding he "operated without sufficient accountability". The acclaimed London theatre said it "truly apologises for not creating an environment or culture where people felt able to speak freely. It will "commit to a new way forward." Kevin Spacey timeline: How the story unfolded The Old Vic's announcement follows recent allegations of sexual harassment and predatory behaviour made against the double Oscar winner and former House of Cards actor. Spacey has not responded to them. The theatre's investigation found that "his stardom and status at The Old Vic may have prevented people, and in particular junior staff or young actors, from feeling that they could speak up or raise a hand for help". The investigation is continuing so more people may come forward if they wish to. With the exception of one of the claims, none of the reported incidents was raised formally or informally with management. Image copyright AFP Image caption Spacey has previously described the Old Vic as a "national treasure" Three people told the Old Vic they have contacted the police. All except two of the testimonies predate 2009 and all of them are alleged to have taken place between 1995 to 2013. Spacey's behaviour is alleged to have ranged from making people feel uncomfortable to sexually inappropriate behaviour. No one alleged rape. There are 20 individual allegations and 16 are former staff, all of whom are men. Lewis Silkin, the external law firm engaged by the theatre to conduct the investigation, said there was not widespread knowledge of the allegations. Spacey was invited to participate in the investigation but the Old Vic said he did not respond. The BBC has contacted his legal representatives for comment. Current artistic director Matthew Warchus said he had "genuine and deep sympathy for all those who have come forward and said they were hurt in some way by my predecessor's actions. Image copyright Getty Images "Everyone is entitled to work in an environment free from harassment and intimidation. The Old Vic is now actively engaged in the process of healing and the process of prevention." 'Unfair to say everybody knew' He described the allegations as "a shock and a disturbing surprise to many of us". "It is incorrect, unfair and irresponsible to say that everybody knew. But as a result of the investigation, what we have learnt is how better to call out this behaviour in future." He added that he findings would help "our industry as a whole, as together we rapidly evolve an intelligent new standard of protection and support in and around the workplace". The theatre's executive director Kate Varah added that they did not want to "just rush out a statement", saying: "We have not slept since this came out because we have been doing it in a robust, careful way." On 31 October, the Old Vic set up a confidential complaints process for people involved with the theatre. On 3 November police in the UK confirmed they were investigating an alleged assault on a man from 2008. Former television news anchor Heather Unruh told a press conference in Boston that her son had been sexually assaulted by Mr Spacey, at the age of 18 in a bar in Nantucket, Massachusetts, in July 2016. She said a criminal investigation was now under way. Spacey replaced in upcoming film Spacey's career has been affected by the allegations, with US network Netflix ending further production of House of Cards, while the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced it will no longer give the actor a special Emmy award. His agent and publicist has also dropped him as a client. He was also been removed from upcoming film, All the Money in the World, which has already been shot. He will be replaced by Christopher Plummer in the role of late oil tycoon John Paul Getty. Spacey said on 2 November he was seeking treatment, in the wake of the allegations. A representative for the actor said he "is taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment". They did not give any information about what kind of treatment he wanted. Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk. View the full article
  2. Grenfell Tower final death toll stands at 71 16 November 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Getty Images Seventy one victims of the Grenfell Tower fire have been formally identified and police believe that all those who died have now been recovered. The number of victims includes baby Logan Gomes, who was stillborn in hospital on 14 June, the day the 24-storey blaze broke out. The identities of the last two bodies found in the west London block were confirmed by the coroner on Tuesday. The Met said it was providing "every support we can" to the bereaved. Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said: "I have been clear from the start that a priority for us was recovering all those who died, and identifying and returning them to their families. "Specialist teams working inside Grenfell Tower and the mortuary have pushed the boundaries of what was scientifically possible to identify people. "After the fire was finally put out, I entered Grenfell Tower and was genuinely concerned that due to the intensity and duration of the fire, that we may not find, recover and then identify all those who died. "I know that each and every member of the team has done absolutely all they can to make this possible." Grenfell Tower fire: Who were the victims? Visual guide to the Grenfell Tower fire Inside the 21st floor of the Grenfell Tower fire In June, the Met had a list of 400 missing people - some of whom were reported a number of times under different names or spellings, with one person in particular recorded 46 separate times. The work to investigate and locate all those reported as missing was only concluded in the last few weeks, the Met said. Commander Cundy told BBC News: "There was only one way in and out of the tower and [CCTV] footage shows 223 people came out and survived." He said not all 223 people were residents, some were visitors, and some residents were not in the tower at the time. While the final stage of the search operation is not expected to conclude until early December, the Met said in a statement: "Based on all the work carried out so far and the expert advice, it is highly unlikely there is anyone who remains inside Grenfell Tower". Specially trained officers from the Met, City of London Police and British Transport Police have been involved in the search and recovery operation, thoroughly searching every single flat on every single floor. Officers have examined 15.5 tonnes of debris on each floor, helped by forensic anthropologists, archaeologists and forensic dentists, or odontologists. View the full article
  3. Theresa May to meet EU business leaders 13 November 2017 From the section Business Related Topics Brexit Image copyright AFP European business leaders will meet Prime Minister Theresa May later on Monday to voice concerns about the future of UK-EU trade. Experts from groups including the CBI and BusinessEurope will stress the need for a transitional deal that preserves the status quo after Brexit. They will urge the government to clarify the future relationship between the UK and the rest of the EU. The next round of Brexit talks is due to start in mid-December. They will meet Mrs May at No 10, as well as Business Secretary Greg Clark, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Economic Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay, Brexit: All you need to know How are the talks really progressing? Barnier: UK has 'two weeks' to clarify issues The CBI and the Institute of Directors will be represented, as will business organisations from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic and Belgium. But there are concerns that future trade talks could collapse ahead of December's EU summit. EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has warned that the talks will only go ahead if the UK first clarifies its financial obligations to the EU. Mr Davis has said the UK was "ready and willing" to engage with Brussels "as often and as quickly as needed". Shared input The business leaders are set to tell the prime minister they want real progress on a future free trade agreement, as well as a transitional arrangement until that can be implemented. Mrs May is expected to reiterate the UK's commitment to securing an implementation period of about two years once the country leaves the EU in March 2019. She will also ask the business experts to share their input on how the UK and EU can continue to thrive side by side in industry and economic development. Image copyright AFP Image caption Michel Barnier warned of the possible collapse of upcoming Brexit negotiations The BBC's business editor, Simon Jack, says some UK business leaders in favour of Brexit are concerned that a transition period maintaining the current arrangements will delay and frustrate Britain's attempts to strike new independent deals. Our editor says that while hoping a deal with the EU can be achieved, some are concerned that the lack of progress so far plays into the EU's hands. They are therefore recommending the government uses its time to prepare for a "no deal" scenario which would see the UK trade with Europe on the same terms - and tariffs - as the rest of the world. View the full article
  4. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Husband fears for her health 12 November 2017 From the section UK Politics Image copyright PA Image caption Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is serving a five-year sentence in Iran Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman being held in Iran, has seen a specialist after finding lumps in her breasts, her husband has said. Richard Ratcliffe also expressed concern that his wife appeared to be "on the verge of a nervous breakdown". Iran held her in April 2016, saying she had tried to overthrow the regime. The news comes after Mr Johnson and Michael Gove, the environment secretary, were accused of bungling the government's handling of the case. View the full article
  5. Remembrance Sunday: UK events mark the nation's war dead 12 November 2017 From the section UK Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionWatch live coverage of Remembrance SundayPoliticians, members of the Royal Family and veterans will honour those who lost their lives in conflict as the UK marks Remembrance Sunday. A two-minute silence will be held across the country and wreaths will be laid at memorials. Prince Charles will attend the annual ceremony at the Cenotaph in London and Big Ben will chime at 11:00 GMT. For the first time the Queen will not lay a wreath but instead watch from the Foreign Office's balcony. Queen will not lay Remembrance wreath Landmarks lit up red for Poppy Scotland Appeal Thankful villages: The shame of surviving World War One In pictures: Armistice Day around the world At the Cenotaph on Whitehall, the Last Post will be played shortly before the Prince of Wales lays the wreath. The royals will be joined by Prime Minister Theresa May, other senior politicians, religious leaders and dignitaries from around the Commonwealth. A wreath will also be laid at the memorial for the Welsh Guards in London. As part of services being held across Scotland, more than 100 wreaths will be laid at Edinburgh's City Chambers and Binyon's Lines will be read out. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will attend the service. Meanwhile, bell ringers are being sought for 2018 to honour the 1,400 ringers who died in World War One. On Saturday, events were held around the UK to mark the 99th anniversary of Armistice Day with Big Ben chiming for the first time since August. The evening saw a Festival of Remembrance held at Albert Hall. Members of the Royal Family watched as Emeli Sande, Tom Odell and other stars performed alongside the Queen's Colour Squadron and The Band of HM Royal Marines. The event was held by the Royal British Legion and hosted by the BBC's Huw Edwards. It commemorated all the British military personnel killed in combat since World War One. View the full article
  6. Police chief 'was told of Damian Green pornography claims' 12 November 2017 From the section UK Politics Image copyright PA Image caption Former Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said the allegations against Mr Green showed "no criminality" A former Scotland Yard chief was aware pornography had allegedly been found on Damian Green's computer during a 2008-9 police probe, he has told the BBC. Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner between 2009-11, said he was briefed about the claims but regarded them as a "side issue". The allegations were first made public last week by former Met Assistant Commissioner, Bob Quick. First Secretary of State Mr Green said the claims were a "political smear". Mr Green, who is Prime Minister Theresa May's second-in-command, said the police never told him at the time that any improper material had been found on a parliamentary computer. But Mr Quick, who led the investigation into Home Office leaks which saw Mr Green's Commons office being searched, says pornography was found on a computer there. Both Sir Paul and Mr Quick gave evidence to a Cabinet Office inquiry into Mr Green's conduct last week, led by senior Cabinet Office official Sue Gray. Image copyright Reuters Image caption Damian Green denies claims police found pornography on a computer in his office Speaking to the BBC, Sir Paul said he thought the claim about Mr Green "wasn't relevant to the criminal inquiry" into Home Office leaks, which began in October 2008 and briefly led to Mr Green's arrest. "I regret it's in the public domain," he said. "There was no criminality involved, there were no victims, there was no vulnerability and it was not a matter of extraordinary public interest." Sir Paul added that it was not Scotland Yard's role to "police the workplace". The Met declined to say whether it was helping the Cabinet Office investigate the claims, but said in a statement: "As this is not our inquiry the MPS does not believe it is appropriate to comment upon it." View the full article
  7. Armistice Day: Two minutes' silence to mark remembrance 11 November 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Getty Images Millions of people will fall silent to remember the nation's war dead later, as the UK marks Armistice Day. Big Ben, which has been silent since August while repair work is carried out, will chime at 11:00 GMT. Events will be held around the country to mark the 99th anniversary of the end of World War One. The Queen will later join other members of the Royal Family at the Royal Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall. In Whitehall, the Western Front Association will hold their annual service of remembrance at the Cenotaph, where a two-minute silence will be held. Meanwhile, the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, will host an outdoor service of remembrance within the walls of the Armed Forces Memorial. Image copyright Reuters Image caption The Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire In Brighton, the world's tallest moving observation tower, the British Airways i360, will turn red on Saturday evening. Has poppy mania gone over the top? Thankful villages: The shame of surviving World War One Fake Scottish poppy jewellery seized In London, the prime minister and the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge will be among those at the Royal British Legion's annual Festival of Remembrance, which will include performances from Emeli Sande, Tom Odell, Melanie C, Alfie Boe and the Band of HM Royal Marines. This year, the event will mark the centenaries of the women's service in the regular Armed Forces, the Battle of Passchendaele, the creation of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the 100th birthday of Dame Vera Lynn. Image copyright EPA Image caption The Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey On Sunday, Prince Charles will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph on his mother's behalf. It will be the first time, as head of state, that the Queen will observe the ceremony from a nearby balcony, where she will be joined by the Duke of Edinburgh. Armistice Day Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Soldiers and civilians celebrate Armistice Day on 11 November 1918 Armistice Day falls each year on 11 November to mark the day in 1918 when the fighting in World War One was stopped. The Allies and Germany signed an armistice in a railway carriage in the Forest of Compiegne in France at 05:00. Six hours later, at 11:00, the conflict ceased. King George V announced that a two-minute silence would be observed in 1919, four days before the first anniversary of Armistice Day. The silence continues to be observed every year on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Watch the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance on BBC One on Saturday at 21:00 GMT. View the full article
  8. Egypt drugs case: Briton in court over banned pills 11 November 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Facebook Image caption Laura Plummer said the prescription pills were for her partner Omar Caboo A British woman detained in Egypt on drug smuggling charges is due to appear in court in the Hurghada beach resort. Laura Plummer, 33, was arrested last month accused of entering the country with 300 Tramadol tablets, a painkiller legal in the UK but not in Egypt. At the hearing - which is expected to be brief - the judge could extend her detention or free her on bail. The shop assistant from Hull said she had "no idea" the painkillers she was carrying were banned in the country. But local police said that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Back problems Ms Plummer's family hope the judge at her custody hearing will believe she made an innocent mistake, since drug smuggling can be punishable by death in Egypt. Tramadol is legal in the UK with a prescription but banned in Egypt, where many are addicted to the opiate. In a phone call from her cell, Ms Plummer told the BBC she was given the tablets by a colleague for her Egyptian partner, Omar Caboo, who has "back problems". She said the colleague put them in a chemist's bag, which she put in her suitcase. "I didn't even look in bag," she said. "I can't tell you how stupid I feel." View the full article
  9. Theresa May warns rebels as Brexit talks set to resume 10 November 2017 From the section UK Politics Related Topics Brexit Image copyright PA Theresa May has warned she will not "tolerate" any attempt to block Brexit, after setting out the specific hour the UK will leave the EU. She said that "11pm GMT on 29 March 2019" is "there in black and white" in an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill. The bill will be scrutinised by MPs next week - but the PM warned against attempts to stop it or slow it down. Mrs May was writing in the Daily Telegraph as a fresh round of Brexit negotiations are due to begin later. Elsewhere, the author of the Article 50 withdrawal process will say in a speech thsat Brexit could still be reversed and that there is a danger the electorate is being misled. Gordon Brown predicts Brexit 'crisis point' Barnier: 'Time is pressing' in Brexit talks Brexit: All you need to know Reality Check: What would 'no deal' look like Cross-bench peer Lord Kerr, who wrote Article 50, the formal procedure for leaving the EU, will give a speech in London later in which he will say: "We can change our minds at any stage of the process." "We are not required to withdraw just because Mrs May sent her letter [to Brussels]. "Actually, the country still has a free choice about whether to proceed. As new facts emerge, people are entitled to take a different view. And there's nothing in Article 50 to stop them." Image copyright EPA Writing in the Telegraph, Mrs May said the decision to put the date - and time - of Brexit "on the front page" of the Brexit bill showed the government was determined to see the process through. "Let no-one doubt our determination or question our resolve, Brexit is happening," the prime minister wrote. "It will be there in black and white on the front page of this historic piece of legislation: the United Kingdom will be leaving the EU on March 29, 2019 at 11pm GMT." The draft legislation has already passed its second reading, and now faces several attempts to amend it at the next part of its parliamentary journey - the committee stage. Post-Brexit trade proposals published Corbyn: Agree transition deal now Rudd: Brexit without deal 'unthinkable' Mrs May said most people wanted politicians to "come together" to negotiate a good Brexit deal, adding that MPs "on all sides" should help to scrutinising the bill. She said the government would listen to MPs if they had ideas for improving the bill, but warned against attempts to halt the process. "We will not tolerate attempts from any quarter to use the process of amendments to this Bill as a mechanism to try to block the democratic wishes of the British people by attempting to slow down or stop our departure from the European Union." MPs have previously been told there have been 300 amendments and 54 new clauses proposed. Image copyright Getty Images The PM said the "historic" bill was "fundamental to delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit" and would give "the greatest possible clarity and certainty for all businesses and families across the country". Brexit Secretary David Davis said the government had attempted to remove "any confusion or concern about what 'exit day' means". However, the bill is facing stiff resistance from some Conservative rebels and from opposition parties, who have described it as a "power grab" by the government. Border questions It comes as the Daily Telegraph also reported that a leaked European commission document is warning that Northern Ireland may have to abide by the EU's rules on the customs union and single market after Brexit. The document is reported to be an update on talks about the Irish border given by the European Commission to diplomats from the remaining 27 member states in Brussels this week. It suggests that to avoid the introduction of border checks, Northern Ireland would have to stick to the rules of the EU's single market and customs union after Brexit. Both Britain and the EU say they are committed to ensuring that Brexit does not undermine the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement or lead to the emergence of hard-border. However, BBC correspondent Adam Fleming said the commission's suggestion appeared to be at odds with comments made by the Northern Ireland Secretary, James Brokenshire, this week. Mr Brokenshire said it was "difficult to imagine" Northern Ireland remaining in either the customs union of the single market after Brexit. View the full article
  10. 9 November 2017 From the section UK Politics Penny Mordaunt set to become international development secretary after Priti Patel resigns over Israel meetings row This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. View the full article
  11. Theresa May faces fresh reshuffle after Priti Patel resignation 9 November 2017 From the section UK Politics Image copyright EPA Theresa May is facing a second cabinet reshuffle in a week, as she comes under pressure to say what the Foreign Office knew of Priti Patel's visit to Israel. Ms Patel resigned as international development secretary on Wednesday after holding a series of unauthorised meetings with Israeli officials. In a letter to the PM, she said she had lacked "transparency and openness". However, Labour has now called on Mrs May to say when government officials knew about the undisclosed meetings. Ms Patel resigned having been told by the prime minister to return from an official trip in Africa and report to Downing Street. It is the second cabinet resignation in the space of seven days, after Sir Michael Fallon quit as defence secretary last week. He was replaced by Gavin Williamson, as Mrs May adjusted her government team. Ms Patel's replacement is expected to be announced later in the day. Kuenssberg: Exit poses problems for May Who is Priti Patel? What is the scandal about? The row began last week, when the BBC revealed Ms Patel held a number of meetings with business and political figures during a family holiday to Israel in August. After the visit, she suggested some of Britain's aid budget go to the Israeli army and asked her officials to see if Britain could support humanitarian operations conducted by the Israeli army in the occupied Golan Heights area. She was formally reprimanded in Downing Street on Monday, where she was asked to give details about the meetings - which were not sanctioned by the Foreign Office. Ms Patel, who has served as the Tory MP for Witham in Essex since 2010, was then forced to correct the record about the number of meetings she attended and when the Foreign Office had been notified. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionWhat went wrong for Priti Patel? The BBC's James Landale explainsShe admitted she had been wrong to suggest Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson knew of the trip in advance. Later, it emerged she held two further meetings in September without government officials present. She was accused of breaching the ministerial code - which sets out the standards of conduct expected of government ministers. Labour has now called on the government to set out what Foreign Office officials knew of the meetings. Writing to Mrs May, Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson said he understood Ms Patel had met UK officials during the holiday. "I have been informed that while she was in Israel, Ms Patel met officials from the British consulate general Jerusalem, but that the fact of this meeting has not been made public," he wrote. "If this were the case, then it would surely be impossible to sustain the claim that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was not aware of Ms Patel's presence in Israel." He added: "The existence of such a meeting or meetings would call into question the official account of Ms Patel's behaviour, and the purpose of her visit." Middle East Minister Alistair Burt told MPs on Tuesday that Foreign Office officials in Israel were made aware of Ms Patel's visit on 24 August and it was likely that her meetings had taken place beforehand. Image caption Priti Patel's resignation letter However, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested disgruntled Remainers could be behind the leak that led to the downfall of Ms Patel, who is a prominent Brexiteer. He told BBC's Newsnight that some people "are still very bitter" about the referendum result and "inevitably that colours their behaviour". Ms Patel only made Mrs May aware of the meetings on Friday, more than two months after they took place. In her resignation letter, Ms Patel said: "While my actions were meant with the best of intentions, my actions also fell below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated. "I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the government for what has happened and offer my resignation." In her reply, Mrs May said: ''As you know the UK and Israel are close allies, and it is right that we should work closely together. But that must be done formally, and through official channels. ''That is why, when we met on Monday I was glad to accept your apology and welcomed your clarification about your trip to Israel over the summer. "Now that further details have come to light it is right you have decided to resign.'' View the full article
  12. Priti Patel's cabinet future in doubt over Israel trip row 8 November 2017 From the section UK Politics Image copyright PA Priti Patel's future as international development secretary is understood to be increasingly uncertain amid a row over her conduct in a visit to Israel. She has apologised for meeting Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in August without telling the Foreign Office in advance. Labour want an inquiry into whether she has broken the ministerial code. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said sources suggested Ms Patel was in "serious trouble" as new details about unofficial meetings were examined. The Sun reported that No 10 had demanded Ms Patel "come clean" about any other meetings that she had had with foreign politicians. The Press Association said it was understood she had held two further unauthorised meetings with senior Israeli political figures which were not attended by UK government officials. The BBC's political editor said Ms Patel, who is currently on an official trip to Africa, was still in her post and she had not spoken to Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday evening. Ms Patel has been under growing pressure since it emerged last week she met a series of senior Israeli government and business figures while on a private holiday to Israel in August. Patel apologises for Israeli meetings Patel held undisclosed meetings in Israel No diplomats were present at the meetings but Ms Patel was accompanied by Conservative peer and campaigner Lord Polak, president of the Conservative Friends of Israel, Ms Patel was forced to correct the record earlier this week about the number of meetings that she had attended and when the Foreign Office had been notified about them. The MP said she had been wrong to suggest to the Guardian that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson knew of the trip in advance when he had only learnt about it while it was under way. Earlier on Tuesday, it emerged that upon her return Ms Patel had asked the Foreign Office to consider supporting humanitarian operations conducted by the Israeli army in the occupied Golan Heights area - a request that was turned down as "inappropriate" by officials. In the Commons earlier, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said that Downing Street regarded the matter "as closed" after Ms Patel had been reprimanded by the prime minister and reminded of her obligations under the ministerial code. Ms Patel, who has been an MP since 2010, is a long-standing supporter of Israel and a former vice-chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel. View the full article
  13. Paradise Papers: Prince Charles lobbied on climate policy after shares purchase By Paradise Papers reporting team BBC Panorama 7 November 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Getty Images Prince Charles campaigned to alter climate-change agreements without disclosing his private estate had an offshore financial interest in what he was promoting, BBC Panorama has found. The Paradise Papers show the Duchy of Cornwall in 2007 secretly bought shares worth $113,500 in a Bermuda company that would benefit from a rule change. The prince was a friend of a director of Sustainable Forestry Management Ltd. The Duchy of Cornwall says he has no direct involvement in its investments. A Clarence House spokesman said the Prince of Wales had "certainly never chosen to speak out on a topic simply because of a company that it may have invested in. "In the case of climate change his views are well known, indeed he has been warning of the threat of global warming to our environment for over 30 years. "Carbon markets are just one example that the prince has championed since the 1990s and which he continues to promote today." 'Conflict of interest' He added Prince Charles was "free to offer thoughts and suggestions on a wide range of topics" and "cares deeply" about the issue of climate change but "it is for others to decide whether to take the advice". Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said Prince Charles's actions amounted to a serious conflict of interest. He said: "There's a conflict of interest between his own investments of the Duchy of Cornwall and what he's trying to achieve publicly. "And I think it's unfortunate that somebody of his importance, of his influence, becomes involved in such a serious conflict." The leaked documents held by law firm Appleby show the Duchy of Cornwall also made offshore investments totalling $3.9m in four funds in the Cayman Islands in 2007. This is legal and there is no suggestion of tax avoidance. A Duchy of Cornwall spokesman said Prince Charles voluntarily pays income tax on any revenue from his estate. He added the estate's investments "do not derive any tax advantage whatsoever based on their location or any other aspect of their structure and there is no loss of revenue to HMRC as a result". Kept confidential The prince began campaigning for changes to two important environmental agreements weeks after Sustainable Forestry Management (SFM) sent his office lobbying documents. Prince Charles's estate almost tripled its money in just over a year although it is not clear what caused the rise in the share value. Despite his high profile campaign, the environmental agreements were not changed. The documents reveal the Duchy of Cornwall, an £896m private estate that provides Prince Charles with an income and which he is said to be "actively involved" in running, bought the shares in February 2007. At the time $113,500 was worth about £58,000. One of SFM's directors was the late Hugh van Cutsem, a millionaire banker and conservationist who has been described as the one of the Prince's closest friends. The minutes of a company board meeting that approved the Duchy's shareholding say: "The Chairman thanked Mr van Cutsem for his introduction of the Duchy of Cornwall and the Board unanimously agreed that the subscription by the Duchy of Cornwall be kept confidential except in respect of any disclosure required by law." Source document Change in policy SFM traded in carbon credits, a market created by international treaties to tackle global warming. It wanted to trade in credits from "tropical and subtropical forests" but was hampered by two important climate change agreements, the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and the Kyoto Protocol, which largely excluded carbon credits from rainforests. When the Duchy bought its shares, SFM was lobbying for a "change in policy" on carbon credits, the documents show. It had hired the US former lead negotiator on the Kyoto Protocol, Stuart Eizenstat "to lobby for inclusion of forest carbon credits" in new US and EU laws and regulations. Board minutes from February 2007 show SFM was also taking "steps to influence events to support forest credits" ahead of Kyoto Protocol meetings at the end of the year. On 6 June 2007, four months after the Duchy bought its shares, Mr van Cutsem asked SFM's chairman to send lobbying documents to the office of the prince. Under the heading "public policy and advocacy", minutes of a board meetings held in Paris say "the chairman referred the committee to the bundle of materials which had been prepared by the company for various policymakers... Mr van Cutsem... asked that a set of documents be prepared for the Prince of Wales office. The chairman undertook to do so". Rainforests project Four weeks later, on 2 July, Prince Charles, made a speech that criticised the EU ETS and Kyoto Protocol for excluding carbon credits from rainforests, and called for change. Speaking at the Business in the Community Awards Dinner, the prince said: "As the Kyoto protocol now stands tropical rainforest nations have no way of earning credits from their standing forests other than by cutting them down and planting new ones," he said. "The European Carbon Trading Scheme excludes carbon credits for forests from developing nations. This has got be wrong and we must urge the international community to work together to redress these failings urgently." Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The campaigning was taking place ahead of meetings about the Kyoto Protocol In October 2007, he launched the Prince's Rainforests Project, which aimed to "increase global recognition of the contribution of tropical deforestation to climate change and to find ways to make the rainforests worth more alive than dead." In a speech to mark the launch, he said: "The Kyoto Protocol does not have a mechanism to protect standing rainforests. "Credits are available for afforestation and reforestation projects, but not for maintaining an old growth forest. And the European Trading Scheme excludes carbon credits for forestry in developing nations altogether… surely we have to accept that the pressing urgency of climate change requires a response that embraces rather than excludes primary tropical forests?" Panorama has been unable to find evidence of any speeches the prince made before 2008 about changing Kyoto and EU ETS to include carbon credits for rainforests. The programme asked the prince's office for any such speeches but they did not respond. 'Helping hand' Over the next six months, the future king made further speeches and videos about rainforests. In a video released in January 2008, the prince said: "The immediate priority, I believe, is the need to develop a new credit market which will give a true value to carbon and the ecosystem services the rainforests provide the rest of the world." In February 2008, he reportedly discussed rainforests at a private meeting with the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Days later, he met with the then President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and the EU's environment, energy, trade and agriculture commissioners. Image copyright European Parliament In a speech to 150 MEPs, he said: "I have great hopes that the next version of the European Emissions Trading scheme might extend the helping and very visible hand of a market approach to assist in keeping the rainforests standing… the lives of billions of people depend on your response and none of us will be forgiven by our children and grandchildren if we falter and fail." On 18 June 2008, as the global financial crash was beginning, the Duchy sold its stake in SFM. The documents show it was paid $325,000 for the 50 shares. SFM is no longer in existence. The Duchy was established in 1337 and uses the income to fund the public, private and charitable activities of the Prince of Wales and his children. Its accounts are independently audited and put before Parliament. A Duchy of Cornwall spokesman said the estate followed a "responsible investment policy which governs the sectors that it may invest in". The Paradise Papers documents also showed about £10m of the Queen's private money was invested offshore in 2004-2005 in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. The papers are a huge batch of leaked documents mostly from offshore law firm Appleby, along with corporate registries in 19 tax jurisdictions, which reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders. The 13.4 million records were passed to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Panorama has led research for the BBC as part of a global investigation involving nearly 100 other media organisations, including the Guardian, in 67 countries. The BBC does not know the identity of the source. Paradise Papers: Full coverage; follow reaction on Twitter using #ParadisePapers; in the BBC News app, follow the tag "Paradise Papers" Watch Panorama on the BBC iPlayer (UK viewers only) View the full article
  14. Sacked Labour minister Carl Sargeant found dead 7 November 2017 From the section Wales politics Image caption Carl Sargeant was communities and children's secretary until last Friday Welsh Labour's Carl Sargeant, who faced a party investigation into allegations about his personal conduct, has been found dead. The Alun and Deeside AM had lost his ministerial job as cabinet secretary for communities and children last week. A family statement said his relatives were "devastated beyond words" at the loss of "the glue that bound us together". Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the death was "deeply shocking news". The Welsh Assembly's business for Tuesday has been cancelled as a mark of respect. First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "Carl was a friend as well as a colleague and I am shocked and deeply saddened by his death. "He made a big contribution to Welsh public life and fought tirelessly for those he represented both as a minister and as a local assembly member. "He will be a great loss both to our party and to the Senedd." Elin Jones, assembly presiding officer, said Mr Sargeant "served the people of Alyn and Deeside with pride and determination and he made an enormous contribution to the development of this democratic institution". "On behalf of all the members and those who work at the National Assembly for Wales, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to his family and colleagues," she added. Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said: "Our Parliament has lost a stalwart and many of us have lost a friend." Mr Sargeant was married and had two children. This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. View the full article
  15. Boris Johnson to ring Iran over jailed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 7 November 2017 From the section UK Politics Image copyright Reuters Image caption Boris Johnson said Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been teaching Boris Johnson is expected to phone his counterpart in Iran later, amid fears that comments he made could lead to a woman having her jail sentence doubled. The foreign secretary last week said British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was "teaching" journalism when she was arrested in 2016. She is serving a five-year sentence, imposed over allegations of involvement in "propaganda against the regime". Her family maintains she was on holiday to visit family and is innocent. She was summoned to court on Saturday where Mr Johnson's comment was cited as new evidence as to what she was doing in Iran at the time of her arrest. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said the "worst thing" Mr Johnson could do now was "suddenly go quiet and to create this problem without making any clarifications". "You can't make a muddle and then leave it. That would be the worst of both worlds," he said. Fears after Boris Johnson remark She was 'punished without a crime' Husband's plea for Briton held in Iran Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to jail following a court hearing into whether she was attempting to overthrow the government. She denies all the allegations against her, but lost her final appeal in April. She has since faced two more charges relating to an accusation of plotting to topple the regime in Tehran. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the BBC, but insisted the 2016 visit was for her daughter to meet her grandparents. Image copyright PA Image caption Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is serving a five-year sentence in Iran However, appearing before MPs on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee last week, Mr Johnson appeared to contradict that. He criticised Iran over the case before saying: "When I look at what Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing, she was simply teaching people journalism as I understand it. "[Neither] Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe nor her family has been informed about what crime she has actually committed. And that I find extraordinary, incredible." Four days later, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was summoned to court where the foreign secretary's comments were cited as fresh evidence against her. At the hearing she was accused of engaging in "propaganda against the regime". 'Make amends' The Iranian judiciary's High Council for Human Rights said Mr Johnson's comments "shed new light" on the charity worker and proved Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe "had visited the country for anything but a holiday". Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been eligible for parole under the early release scheme from November 23. However, Mr Ratcliffe told the Press Association that she could now face a fresh trial before that date to block her chance of freedom. "I think the one thing the foreign secretary could do to make amends would be if he went to visit her in the next few weeks before her trial. "That would be a forward step," he said. "Careless talk has a cost and there's been a lot of careless talk." Image copyright Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Image caption Thomson Reuters Foundation says the comments "can only worsen her sentence" Monique Villa, chief executive of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, called on Mr Johnson to "immediately correct the serious mistake he made". Meanwhile, Labour's shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said Mr Johnson had demonstrated a "a fundamental lack of interest or concern". A Foreign Office spokesman said Mr Johnson's remarks "provide no justifiable basis on which to bring any additional charges against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe". "While criticising the Iranian case against Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the foreign secretary sought to explain that even the most extreme set of unproven Iranian allegations against her were insufficient reason for her detention and treatment." Mr Johnson will speak to the Iranian foreign minister "to raise again his serious concerns about the case and ensure his remarks are not misrepresented," they added. View the full article