James Murdoch resigns as News International chairman

The 39 year-old has relinquished his newspaper position to focus on expanding the company’s international television business, News Corporation, NI’s parent company, said in a statement.

During his five-year term he oversaw the closure of the News of the World, News International’s biggest selling newspaper.

He also faced fierce criticism of his handling of the hacking scandal and was accused of misleading parliament over his knowledge of phone hacking at the newspaper.

And he oversaw the decision to put The Times’ website behind an online paywall.

Following the announcement the News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch, James’s father, praised his son’s leadership, saying: “We are all grateful for James’ leadership at News International…where he has made lasting contributions to the group’s strategy in paid digital content and its efforts to improve and enhance governance programs.

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Health workers ‘should be sacked’ for patronising elderly

Sir Keith Pearson, co-chair of the Commission on Dignity in Care, said some carers and nurses treated older people with “contempt”.

He warned that some workers would be dismissed if they could not provide dignified care.

His comments came in the wake of a wide-ranging report by a commission of senior NHS managers, charities and council chiefs designed to stamp out neglect and abuse in hospitals and in the care system.

The commission concluded that older people are suffering humiliation and degrading treatment on a daily basis while basic “respect for human rights” is too often ignored.

It called for an overhaul to give respect for human dignity the same importance as medical success rates or financial targets.

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Handy Woman

A blonde, wanting to earn some extra money, decided to hire herself out as a “handy-woman” and started canvassing a nearby well-to-do neighbourhood.

She went to the front door of the first house, and asked the owner if he had any odd jobs for her to do.

 “Well, I guess I could use somebody to paint my porch,” he said, how much will you charge me?”

The blonde quickly responded, “How about £50?”

The man agreed and told her that the paint and everything she would need was in the garage.

The man’s wife, hearing the conversation, said to her husband, “Does she realize that our porch goes all the way around the house?”

He responded, “That’s a bit cynical, isn’t it?

The wife replied, “You’re right. I guess I’m starting to believe all
those dumb blonde jokes we’ve been getting by e-mail lately.”

A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money.

“You’re finished already?” the husband asked.

“Yes,” the blonde replied, “and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats.”

Impressed, the man reached into his pocket for the £50.00 and handed it to her.

“And by the way,” the Blonde added, “it’s not a Porch, it’s a Lexus.


Thank God, the St Paul’s protesters have left, restoring one of the great views of Europe

had some sympathy with the protesters when I went along on the first day of the Occupy demonstration before Christmas.

But what began as a principled protest against the undeniable incompetence and greed of the international banking system turned into an egofest of virtue grossly advertised.

A protest that was intended to attack selfishness itself became extremely selfish. The right to block a busy thoroughfare was deemed by the protesters to trump the rights of City workers, tourists, parishioners and St Paul’s clergy. Fine to do it for an hour – or for a day, perhaps, outside cathedral services – but for months on end? Utterly unjustified.

The protesters also destroyed one of the great views of Europe, if not the world. As you turn up Ludgate Hill, you get an agreeably off-kilter, angled view of Wren’s great portico – inspired by Inigo Jones’s old cathedral facade, heavily damaged in the Great Fire of London – and his triple dome above, fronted by two baroque towers.

For the last few months, that view has been badly marred by the tent city that has crept across the facade, snaking around the north front, and at times closing off the cathedral altogether. One of the pleasures of visiting St Paul’

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Britain’s broken tax system

Some points on the Barclays tax “scandal”.

1. Both tax “loopholes” Barclays was intending to exploit are quite widely used by UK banks, so much so that Barclays, advised by both its auditors and lawyers, really didn’t think there would be in any problem with them. It assumed they would be approved.

2. The fact that they weren’t shows that the environment around big corporations and tax has changed. It’s becoming politicised and quite unpredictable.

3. In the past, the Revenue has tended to tolerate tax avoidance by big multinationals as a way of keeping the UK tax competitive with overseas jurisdictions. There are far more global corporations headquartered in the UK than any other European country, bringing abundant, high value employment to the capital, and that’s plainly got something to do with a relatively lenient tax environment.

4. The Coalition managed to stem the flow of corporate exits from the UK by killing off the previous Government’s threat to tax the profits of overseas subsidiaries, though it has not succeeded in reversing it. WPP, the advertising goliath, said it would consider redomiciling back to the UK as a result of the change, but hasn’t yet done so. The crack down on tax avoidance may partially undo Coalition attempts to ensure the UK remains competitive on business taxation.

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Costa Allegra passengers face three day voyage to safety

Costa Cruises, the Italian company that owns the ship, announced that instead of being disembarked at Desroches island in the south-west of the Seychelles, the vessel will be towed all the way to Mahe, the main island, more than 200 miles away.

Trying to disembark the passengers, including 31 Britons, into small boats and then transport them across a reef to the shore of the tiny island was too risky, the company said in a statement.

The island, which has just one luxury £1,000-a-night resort with 24 rooms and 24 beach villas, would have been swamped by the influx of 1,050 passengers and crew.

Prince William and his then girlfriend, Kate Middleton, spent a week on the island in 2007, a holiday that the Prince later reportedly said was “the best” he had ever had.

“Costa Cruises informs that in view of extensive and accurate checks carried out with local maritime experts’ support, in order to ensure the safety of our guests on board, the disembarkation on Desroches island cannot be performed and therefore it has been decided that the ship will be towed to Mahe.

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Occupy London: St Paul’s Cathedral protesters ‘invited back for official meetings’

The anti-capitalist tent encampment, which has been in the shadows of one of the capital’s most recognisable buildings since last October, was dismantled in a largely peaceful night-time operation early yesterday.

Up to 300 riot police and 100 bailiffs arrived just after midnight and took two hours and 17 minutes to dismantle wooden structures and loaded tents, placards and banners into rubbish lorries. Around 23 people were arrested amid minor scuffles.

The Occupy the London Stock Exchange (Occupylsx) protesters are now considering a Cathedral proposal to host official “general assemblies” on the steps outside the central London building.

Under the plans, the anti-capitalist group would host debates and meetings on the Cathedral’s steps once a week on a Saturday afternoon.

The debates, backed by Cathedral officials, would last a couple of hours but would finish by 5pm in time for evening church services.

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