#AceNewsReport – June.24: The former constable denied the 24 serious sexual and physical assaults but was convicted following a trial at Durham Crown Court:
#AceDailyNews says ……Police officer now retired from Durham Police, subjected his victims – five women and a girl – to “horrific abuse” and has now been jailed Bentley, 69, of Pearson Street, Spennymoor, was jailed for 28 years and will have to spend an extra six years under licence supervision following a trial where he pleaded not guilty
The conviction followed a report of sexual assault by one of his victims in 2018, and five others were traced during a three-year investigation.
Bentley retired as a constable in 2006 and none of his offences related to his police work.
However, he had tried to use his job as a form of “shield” to prevent the victims reporting his actions.
Sentencing Bentley, Judge James Adkin said such was his “hubris” that after he was aggressive to one of the women, he urged her to ring the police.
“You described yourself as being ‘Teflon’, i.e., there was no point in complaining, it would not stick,” the judge said.
He described him as dangerous offender who posed “a significant risk” of committing further sexual attacks against younger women.
Det Con David Hannan, who led the Durham Police investigation, said: “Kevin Bentley repeatedly subjected his victims to horrific abuse and now faces many years in prison to reflect on the trail of damaged lives he has left behind.”
Det Ch Insp Dave Cuthbert, head of the force’s Professional Standards Department, said: “While these offences were not related to Bentley’s role as a police officer, they do not reflect the high standards of Durham Constabulary, the standards exemplified by the diligent and dedicated officers who worked to bring him to justice.”
#AceNewsReport – June.24: Editor says decisions are being made by leaders daily and l follow many and agree that some are control of the publics ‘ Freedom of Rights ‘ but as with everything laws exist to control and must not become all controlling as protesting should not become an alienable right for violence for not getting their own way …..as peaceful agreement works and any impasse for self fails at every turn …NEWS & VIEWS welcome in comments thanks for reading and thanks for your understanding
#AceDailyNews – EFF.Org/ says ……Now is the Time To Tell Congress to Ban Federal Use of Face Recognition: And many U.S. cities have done so, including San Francisco and Boston. Now is our chance to end the federal government’s use of this spying technology but in the end will their have to be a trade-off for protecting citizens security
Tell your Senators and Representatives they must pass Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act, HR 3907/S.2052. It was recently introduced by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and by Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13).
This important bill would be a critical step to ensuring that mass surveillance systems don’t use your face to track, identify, or harm you. The bill would ban the use of face surveillance by the federal government, as well as withhold certain federal funds for local and state governments that use the technology:
#AceNewsReport – June.24: The superseding indictment charged Sezgin Baran Korkmaz with one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, 10 counts of wire fraud, and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding:
DOJ: A Turkish businessman was arrested in Austria on June 19, at the request of the U.S: This arrest followed a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City, Utah, on April 28, which was unsealed today.
According to the superseding indictment, Korkmaz laundered over $133 million in fraud proceeds through bank accounts that he controlled in Turkey and Luxembourg. The proceeds allegedly related to a scheme by Jacob Kingston, Isaiah Kingston, and Levon Termendzhyan to defraud the U.S. Treasury by filing false claims for over $1 billion in refundable renewable fuel tax credits for the production and sale of biodiesel by their company, Washakie Renewable Energy LLC, in Plymouth, Utah.
Korkmaz and his co-conspirators allegedly used proceeds from the fraud to acquire the Turkish airline Borajet, hotels in Turkey and Switzerland, a yacht named the Queen Anne, and a villa and apartment on the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul.
The indictment further charges Korkmaz with 10 counts of wire fraud. As alleged, Korkmaz devised a scheme to defraud Jacob Kingston and Isaiah Kingston by falsely representing that he could provide them with protection, through unnamed government officials, from a federal grand jury investigation and civil lawsuits.
The United States will seek to extradite Korkmaz to the United States so that he can appear before U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish of the District of Utah to face these charges. If convicted, Korkmaz faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy count, 20 years in prison for each of the wire fraud counts, and five years in prison for the obstruction count. Judge Parrish will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Andrea T. Martinez for the District of Utah made the announcement.
IRS Criminal Investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division, and the Department of Defense DCIS are investigating the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs is providing significant assistance.
Trial Attorneys Richard Rolwing and Arthur Ewenczyk, and Senior Litigation Counsel John Sullivan of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Coast Guard, NOAA enforce Lacey Act off Florida coast
The EEZ generally extends approximately 200 miles off the U.S. coast; however, The Bahamas is less than that. Depending on where a person is going fishing, the distance between The Bahamas and Florida needs to be calculated.
“If you are fishing between Key Largo and Red Bay, Bahamas, that’s approximately 140 miles,” said Jeremy Munkelt, a NOAA fisheries enforcement officer. “Divide that number by two and you get 70 miles, which means fishing off Key Largo within 70 miles subjects you to U.S. fishing law.”
Editor’s Note: Click on images to download high-resolution infographics and photos.
Other areas, such as offshore from Marathon, the distance gets shortened due to its close proximity with Cay Sal, Bahamas.
“It is extremely important you check where the EEZ is in the particular area that you are fishing,” said Munkelt. “This can be done by locating the NOAA chart for the area you are in.”
If caught fishing outside of U.S. waters, fishermen are subject to the Lacey Act. An example violation is fishing in Bahamian waters without a permit and bringing the catch back to the U.S.
Overlapping jurisdictions can make sport fishing complicated, so it is important to know where you are fishing and the laws for the area on a state, federal, and international level.
“Fishing in Bahamian waters means you are subject to Bahamian fishing laws,” said Ensign Alex Hughes, Coast Guard Sector Key West fisheries enforcement. “When you come back to the U.S., you are subject to Bahamian and U.S. fishing laws.”
Common U.S. fishing violations include having more than 18 migratory fish, such as Kingfish, Dolphin, or Tuna, aboard a vessel at any time. In Florida, no vessel may have conches aboard.
Fishermen can use The Bahamian Click2Clear electronic system to declare entry into the country and pay for a permit, but it is still necessary to go in person and obtain official documentation. When leaving, it is also important to officially exit the country at the point-of-entry.
In The Bahamas, a person can be fined up to $100,000 and/or sent to prison for three years. Under the U.S. Lacey Act, a person can be fined up to $250,000 and/or sent to prison for five years.
#AceNewsReport – June.24: On Oct. 22, 2020, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated IRTVU as a Specially Designated National (SDN) for being owned or controlled:
DOJ: Today, pursuant to court orders, the United States to Seize Websites Used by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union and Kata’ib Hizballah that are Owned and Controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC). SDNs are prohibited from obtaining services, including website and domain services, in the United States without an OFAC license. OFAC’s announcement explained that components of the government of Iran, to include IRTVU and others like it, disguised as news organizations or media outlets, targeted the United States with disinformation campaigns and malign influence operations.
Thirty-three of the websites seized today were operated by IRTVU. The 33 domains are owned by a United States company. IRTVU did not obtain a license from OFAC prior to utilizing the domain names.
Three additional websites seized today were operated by KH. On July 2, 2009, OFAC designated KH an SDN, and the Department of State designated KH a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The announcements described KH as an Iraqi terrorist organization that committed, directed, supported or posed a significant risk of committing acts of violence against Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. OFAC further explained that the IRGC provides lethal support to KH and other Iraqi Shia militia groups who target and kill Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. The three domains operated by KH were owned by a United States company. KH did not obtain a license from OFAC prior to utilizing the domain names.
These website seizures were investigated by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement and the FBI. The National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section prosecuted the seizure.
Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division; Special Agent in Charge J.C. (Chris) Hacker, of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Ariel Joshua Leinwand, of the Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement’s Atlanta Office, made the announcement.
The National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section is investigating this matter in coordination with the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and Atlanta Field Office.
#AceNewsReport – June.24: Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, has sat in a maximum-security prison cell since a jury found him guilty of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter April 20. Chauvin, who has never expressed remorse for Floyd’s death, will have the opportunity to speak for the first time at the hearing.
MINNESOTA: UPDATE: Derek Chauvin Murder of George Floyd that is more than a year after, the ex-cop who murdered him will face a judge Friday and receive a sentence of up to 30 years in prison: Click here to read USA Today, by Tami Abdollah
Though he’s a first-time offender, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill found that Chauvin should face a higher sentence because his crimes involved abusing his position of trust and authority and killing Floyd in the presence of children, among other aggravating factors.
Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson asked for probation or far less prison time. The prosecution argued that Chauvin deserves the maximum penalty for actions that “traumatized Mr. Floyd’s family, the bystanders who watched Mr. Floyd die and the community. And his conduct shocked the nation’s conscience.”
Legal observers expect Chauvin will receive prison time near or at the 30-year maximum, but Cahill has “pretty wide latitude in determining what sentence to impose” and both parties will try to convince the judge to “exercise his discretion in their favor,” said Ted Sampsell-Jones, a professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
Whatever the sentence, per Minnesota law, Chauvin will serve two-thirds of it behind bars and the remainder under a type of supervised release that’s similar to parole. Chauvin, 45, will get credit for time served in prison while awaiting sentencing.
Floyd, 46, was killed in May 2020 after officers responded to a report that he had used a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd was handcuffed face-down on the street and repeatedly yelled, “I can’t breathe” as Chauvin pressed a knee to his neck for more than nine minutes.
#AceNewsReport – June.24: She was reassured she wouldn’t see my abuser – then I saw him in Sainsbury’s and it shook me to my core,” she said.
WALES: Sex abuse victim’s shock at seeing attacker back in community: A victim of sexual abuse has said she cannot heal with her attacker now living back in her community: Despite being told she would not see the man when he left prison because he was housebound due to his poor health, Leah Walker was “devastated” when she bumped into him at a supermarket but monitoringdangerous prison leavers in a pandemic has become even more difficult with onein 40′ young women sexually assaulted per year
By Jenny Rees BBC Wales home affairs correspondentLeah Walker says she cannot heal knowing her abuser is in the community
The Ministry of Justice has been asked to comment.
Leah, 32, was sexually abused from the age of seven through to adulthood. Her abuser was jailed in 2017 for 25 counts of indecent and sexual assault.
She was finally starting to heal when he was released into the community having served half of his six-year sentence.
“They reassured me that he’s of such ill health that he won’t be out of his home. But he’s still really close to me – I was absolutely devastated,” said Leah, who has waived her right to anonymity.
Within a few months, she bumped into him while food shopping.
“I feel like back when I was a child and I wasn’t listened to, it was brushed under the carpet – this is how I’m feeling again.
“I’ve voiced my concerns and let them know that I’m really not happy and I’m not comfortable with him being there and they reassured me that I won’t see him – but I did.”
“It shook me to my core when I saw him”, said Leah Walker
Leah also said a relative saw her abuser at a nearby takeaway on the weekend and she has raised it again with probation.
She explained the resultant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression could leave her with flashbacks.
“Whilst he was in prison you start to build yourself up. I told myself: ‘I’m a stronger person. I went to court. I got justice,’ and my life was on a better track.
“But then you get knocked back and everything just seemed to unravel.
“For me to be able to heal in the way that I should – and the way that I deserve to – he shouldn’t be in an area that I am. I feel my needs should be listened to and heard.”
The victims’ commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird QC, said victims should always be considered by the Probation Service when releasing offenders to avoid such “shock or distress”.
“Victims who are in the government’s Victim Contact Scheme are offered the opportunity to request licence conditions, such as exclusion zones or no contact, so as to provide them with the peace of mind they will not meet the offender by chance close to where they live or work,” she said.
“Victims sometimes attach great importance to these conditions, not least as it gives them a sense of control – something they did not have when the crimes against them were committed.”
Leah says she was not taken seriously when she first spoke up as a child
For Leah, it took years – and a global movement – to have the courage to speak up again.
Aged seven, she disclosed what was happening, but was not taken seriously.
It was only years later that the #MeToo movement gave her the confidence to seek justice.
“I started to think ‘OK, so I’m not on my own. This has happened to other women and they seem like they’re coping, so maybe I can have the courage to speak out as well.’
“Seeing things in the media helped me come to my decision to take it to court and I think it’s really, really important that other people going through the same thing see a face out there that’s been through it.
“And even though I’m still struggling – there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
#AceNewsReport – June.24: The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched its investigation into leaseholds in 2019 because it was worried that leaseholders were facing huge and unexpected increases in the cost of buying a freehold or massive increases in ground rents:
LONDON: Leasehold firms agree changes after watchdog investigation: House-builder Persimmon will allow its leaseholders to buy the freehold of their property at a discount: Insurance company Aviva, which buys leaseholds from house builders, will repay homeowners who saw their ground rents double.
Campaigners for leaseholders said the commitments were a “massive milestone”.
It said the said the commitments by Persimmon and Aviva were a “real win”.
CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said the watchdog now expected other housing developers and investors to take similar action.
“This is a real win for thousands of leaseholders – for too long people have found themselves trapped in homes they can struggle to sell or been faced with unexpectedly high prices to buy their freehold.
“But our work isn’t done. We now expect other housing developers and investors to follow the lead of Aviva and Persimmon. If not, they can expect to face legal action.”
What is a leasehold?
With a leasehold, the person owns a lease which gives them the right to use the property. But they still have to get their landlord’s permission for any work or changes to their homes.
When a leasehold flat or house is first sold, a lease is granted for a fixed period of time, typically between 99 and 125 years, but sometimes up to 999 years – although people may extend their lease or buy the freehold.
But leasehold house owners are often charged expensive ground rent as well as fees if they want to make changes to their homes. A leasehold house can also be difficult to sell.
Under the new commitments Aviva will remove ground rent terms the CMA considers unfair and repay homeowners who saw rents doubled.
The CMA’s George Lusty told the BBC: “If Aviva is now the freeholder for your property and your lease contains a term that doubles the ground rent every ten or 15 years, that doubling won’t apply, so you’ll just pay the initial ground rent that you signed up to at the beginning and if you’ve already started to pay an increased fee, they’ll refund that.”
Persimmon Homes has extended its existing Right to Buy scheme to cap the purchase price of a freehold at £2,000. It said the extended scheme applied to any leases sold on or after 1 January 2000 and would run until 31 December 2026.
It said customers who had already acquired their freeholds from Persimmon under the existing Right to Buy scheme, and who still own the freehold, could apply to be reimbursed for the difference between the price paid and £2,000.
Persimmon group chief executive Dean Finch said the agreement showed the company’s “determination to operate with integrity”.
“Building on our existing Right to Buy scheme, this agreement provides a fair deal for all leaseholders of Persimmon built houses, extending the opportunity to purchase their freehold at a price well below market value.”
The National Leasehold Campaign, many of many of whose members gave evidence to the CMA, tweeted that the watchdog had secured “landmark commitments for leaseholders. Another massive milestone. Persimmon & Aviva have eventually done the right thing at last, now other developers & freeholders MUST FOLLOW.”
The CMA launched enforcement action against four housing developers in September 2020. It has also been investigating several investment firms that bought a large number of freeholds from two of these developers and continued to use the same ground rent terms.
The rest of the investigation is continuing against housebuilders Countryside Properties, Taylor Wimpey and Barrett.
Mr Lusty said: “We hope today’s announcement will send a clear signal to other housing developers and investors that they need to sort out this really difficult issue for leasehold home owners.
“These other investigations… are continuing and we’ll hope to be able to say more about those in the coming months.”
Company-linked assets worth HK$18m ($2.3m; £1.64m) were later frozen. Police also detained its chief editor and five other executives.
The tabloid has been critical of the Hong Kong and Chinese leadership.
Its founder Jimmy Lai is already in jail on a string of charges.
Board members said said in a statement that the 26-year old paper would publish its last edition “no later than Saturday” and that the digital version would go offline no later than 11:59 on Saturday evening.
The announcement also thanked the readers for their “loyal support” as well as its journalists, staff and advertisers.
Mark Simon, a close adviser of Jimmy Lai, told the BBC that police had disrupted a board meeting earlier on Wednesday and arrested one journalist.
“We are already closing to be honest, but they still had to show up and to make an arrest,” he said. “[The police wanted to] influence the outcome of the board meeting… they wanted to make sure [Apple Daily] closes quickly.”
It later emerged that a 55-year-old man, identified as an Apple Daily columnist, had been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to collude with a foreign country or foreign forces, local media reports said.
EPAAfter last week’s raid, the paper sold record numbers
Last Thursday, some 500 police officers raided the publication’s newsroom, saying its reports had breached the city’s controversial national security law.
In a press briefing following the raid, police accused the newspaper of publishing more than 30 articles calling on countries to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and mainland China since 2019.
Police also arrested the editor-in-chief and four other executives at their homes and froze assets owned by three companies linked to Apple Daily – Apple Daily Limited, Apple Daily Printing Limited and AD internet Limited.
The paper then said it only had enough cash to continue normal operations for “several weeks”.
Jimmy Lai, the paper’s founder, is currently in jail for a series of charges, including participating in an unauthorised assembly in 2019.
The media tycoon had been one of the most prominent supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
In his last interview with the BBC before he was sentenced to jail, he said he would not give in to intimidation.Jimmy Lai: The Hong Kong billionaire becomes emotional as he faces prison
#AceNewsReport – June.24: At 11:11 a.m., Monday, Sector Honolulu watchstanders received a report from the Kauai Police Department stating that the freediver did not return and his car remained in the parking lot at Glass Beach:
USCG: Coast Guard, partners searching for missing freediver off Kauai and the 47 year-old male freediver was last seen wearing a black wetsuit and using a clear milk jug as a dive float in the vicinity of Glass Beach, Kauai.
U.S. Coast Guard sent this bulletin at 06/22/2021 08:20 PM EDTNews Release
Coast Guard, partners searching for missing freediver off Kauai
Editors’ Note: Click on Coast Guard stock image to download a high-resolution version.
Anyone with information regarding the freedivers whereabouts is requested to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.
Watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast notice to mariners and launched multiple Coast Guard assets. The Japan Coast Guard vessel Kojima, currently in Honolulu for search and rescue exercises, will also be joining the search.
Currently searching are:
An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules airplane aircrew
-An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew
-Coast Guard Station Kauai 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew
-The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126)
-The crew of the Japan Coast Guard vessel Kojima (The 3rd PL21)
#AceNewsReport – June.23: This is the most serious fighting since November, when the Ethiopian government declared victory in the conflict: Thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in the war that started almost eight months ago.
Ethiopia’s Tigray Crisis: Heavy fighting has been reported: ‘The rebel Tigray Defence Force (TDF) said it had seized several towns, where witnesses have told the BBC they have seen its fighters patrolling’ but the federal Ethiopian army dismissed the claim, saying it was fake news:
The reports of the fighting comes as ballots are being counted from Monday’s general election. No voting took place in Tigray because of the security situation.
Rebel spokesman Gebre GebreTsadiq said that the TDF had launched the attack last week targeting several towns. He said the fighters had destroyed military vehicles and captured some soldiers.
Witnesses have told the BBC that rebel forces have entered the strategic town of Adigrat, which is just 45 km (30 miles) from the Eritrean border. If confirmed, this would be the most significant rebel advance since the war began.
TDF fighters have also been seen in several towns both to the north and south of the region’s capital of Mekelle.
Army spokesman Colonel Getnet confirmed there was fighting but denied that any towns, army equipment or soldiers had been captured.
“While the Ethiopian government was busy with the national elections and the GERD [Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam] issues, the terrorist TPLF [a key part of the TDF], along with its young recruits, was actively involved in terrorist activities,” he said.
He added that operations were underway to capture the rebel leaders.
Teklemariam Bekit, BBC Tigrinya This is the rebels’ biggest offensive since the conflict began in November last year. They suffered a series of setbacks at the start of the war, but now seem to have regrouped and are preparing for a long, brutal war.The timing is instructive, it started just days before the election which the ruling party is widely expected to win. The key question is: Will Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed use his electoral mandate to enter into talks with the rebels or he will press ahead with seeking victory on the battlefield? What is not in doubt is the rebels have sent a strong message to the rest of the world that Ethiopia is at war, despite the government’s narrative that the fighting was almost over. The reports of the rebel capture of Adigrat, which is within striking distance of Eritrea, would be significant, suggesting that Eritrean troops will not be withdrawing from Tigray any time soon despite growing international pressure. This war is set to linger for a long time, aggravating Tigray’s already dire food shortages and imminent famine.Ethiopia’s government, aided by troops from neighbouring Eritrea, launched an offensive in November last year to oust the region’s then ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). By the end of the month, it declared victory.The TPLF had had a massive fallout with Mr Abiy over his political reforms though its capture of federal military bases in Tigray was the catalyst for the invasion.The TPLF has since joined forces with other groups in Tigray to form the TDF.Speaking to the BBC on Monday after casting his vote in the twice delayed national election, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he was working with the Eritrean troops to get them to leave but said he would not “push them out”.They are accused of carrying out massacres, mass rape and blocking humanitarian aid – charges Eritrea has denied.He also denied that there was hunger in Tigray. He admitted there was a problem but said the government could fix it.Abiy Ahmed: We’re not pushing out the Eritrean troopsMr Abiy has also ruled out talks with the TPLF, which was labelled a terrorist organisation by the national government, in May.
#AceHealthReport – June.23: Further emails show civil servants had concerns about the timeframe and whether it was in line with the rules: The government said due diligence was followed in awarding the grant:
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Dominic Cummings tried to bypass rules over £530k grant, emails suggest in an email, the PM’s ex-top aide told civil servants to “immediately” issue the cash with “no procurement, no lawyers, no meetings, no delay” and in a series of emails detailing discussions of the grant requested by Our World in Data were leaked to the BBC’s File on 4, the Guardian and Source Material.
Mr Cummings, who left his role in No 10 in November 2020, has been contacted for comment.
By File on 4 BBC News
“We take these checks extremely seriously to ensure our contracts deliver results and value for money,” the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
The grant was eventually issued to the project: Our World in Data, a research project run by a charitable organisation with academics at Oxford University, in four instalments from summer 2020:
They begin with an email sent by the founder of the project, Max Roser, to William Warr, the prime minister’s health adviser, who had requested details on the funding it needed.
The organisation said it had to retain key members of staff who were generating data on the pandemic. It also wanted to hire extra contractors and needed financial support for the rising costs of servers and technical infrastructure.
The request was passed to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and a minute after he received the email he emailed Matthew Gould, the CEO of NHSX – the unit tasked with the NHS’ digital transformation – saying he supported the grant.
An email from Mr Cummings to Mr Gould followed a couple of hours later, saying: “Someone please ensure that they have the 530k within 24 hours from now and report back to me it’s been sent.
“No procurement, no lawyers, no meetings, no delay please – just send immediately.”
Further emails suggested this caused disquiet among the civil servants because of the request to pay out the grant money much faster than was normal.
The DHSC’s internal guidance, seen by the BBC, says that directly awarding grants without any form of competition is discouraged. But ministers – such as Mr Hancock – have wide-ranging powers to do so.
The guidance is also clear that all grants should be subject to a series of timely checks and criteria. It says in some instances grants of more than £100,000 should be referred to an advice panel in the Cabinet Office.
These safeguards are in place to ensure value for money for taxpayers and to guard against corruption.
PA MediaHealth Secretary Matt Hancock gave his support to the grant
The following day, Mr Gould said his team could meet the request through the DHSC “and have the money in place by tomorrow”, but it would mean “waiving the normal grant-giving process”.
“I don’t want to do anything untoward, but given the secretary of state’s and Dom Cumming’s strong steer I’d really welcome your help/advice/green light,” he wrote to a colleague.
‘Processes weren’t followed’
A more junior civil servant responded saying the team needed to make the appropriate checks “to avoid leaving the accounting officer overly exposed”.
Then, more than 24 hours later, the same civil servant suggested possible solutions, setting out the minimum criteria that needed to be met if the grant was to be paid.
But he wrote: “Matthew [Gould], I need your help please to progress this to a point where there is enough air cover to justify a decision to proceed.”
Peter Smith, a former government commercial director and former senior adviser to the National Audit Office, said the “air cover” reference “means you’re doing something that… is going to go down badly with the media or the public so you need to have some backup, some explanation”.
The civil servant’s final email said: “I’m sorry I couldn’t just ‘make this happen’, but I share your concern about doing anything untoward.”
In fact, the organisation that had been looking for the money then put the brakes on the application. Our World in Data asked for more time to understand the implications of accepting government money and to consult its trustees.
It went on to receive the grant in instalments and the project said it complied with its own procedures.
Max Roser, the founder and director of the project, told the BBC a full grant application was submitted on 25 March 2020 and this was followed by an agreement dated 30 April 2020.
“I have no way to know the internal processes inside the government,” he said.
The project said its work had added value in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, with its testing and vaccination data web pages receiving about 65 million visitors.
Whitehall source told the BBC they had been instructed not to share information about the grant discussion: In my view that’s because it is so damaging to the NHSX: Dominic Cummings, Matt Hancock… everyone is just being very blatant that due process, and procedures, are being thrown out the window,” the source said.Speaking after being shown the leaked emails, Mr Smith said it was “quite clear that processes weren’t followed”, saying: “The attempt was to do it so quickly, clearly there was no time to do a proper due diligence.”He said senior people had put colleagues in the DHSC “into a very difficult position”.”So I think it was unethical, immoral, really, and yes, it was an abuse of power.”
Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project, said: “The government guidance talks about extra safeguards for sums above £100,000. This was well above £100,000.”There was no process that I can see before the decision was made to award this very substantial sum.”
The DHSC said: “Officials carried out due diligence and followed appropriate processes before this grant was awarded.”Every contract agreed by the government with partners has proper due diligence carried out on it.”Mr Warr has been contacted for comment.Reporting by Anna Meisel, Paul Connolly and Emma Harrison.
#AceNewsReport – June.23: Sometimes, it can be a bit confusing figuring out whether an item is ok to bring on a plane or whether it needs to be put in a checked bag. According to the TSA, some travelers in Boston attempted to bring a variety of sharp weapons on a plane, including at least one throwing star.
The TSA New England Twitter account shared images of the confiscated items, which also includes a variety of knives. The tweet doesn’t mention whether or not these items all came from one group of travelers or not.
The tweet states, “Let’s get straight to the point…these items are not allowed in your carry-on bag. Some passengers found that out this weekend when TSA officers at Boston Logan Airport detected these sharp objects. Sheathe these items and put them in your checked bag please!”
These are not the only unusual weapons recently discovered by TSA officers.
Authorities arrested a man at Newark Liberty International Airport when he was caught attempting to sneak a gun past security, NJ.com reports. According to the news outlet, the small weapon was packed in a case within the man’s suitcase and was reportedly designed to look like a belt buckle.
Unfortunately, it was discovered that the gun was functional. The man reportedly claimed that he had forgotten that he had packed the item in his luggage.
In a statement obtained by NJ.com, TSA Federal Security Director for New Jersey Thomas Carter said, “Claiming to forget that you have a gun with you is inexcusable. If you own a gun you need to know where it is at all times. Each of these individuals now faces a stiff federal financial penalty that could cost them thousands of dollars.”
#AceNewsReport – June.23: Unidentified stones that lured thousands of fortune seekers to a rural South African village to mine the land with picks and shovels were not diamonds as hoped, officials said on Sunday, but quartz stones with relatively low, if any, value.
SOUTH AFRICA: ‘Officials Say, ‘Diamond Rush’ Unearths Only Quartz Crystals IN belief they were ALL going to be rich’
Fortune seekers are seen as they flock to the village after pictures and videos were shared on social media showing people celebrating after finding what they believe to be diamonds, in the village of KwaHlathi outside Ladysmith, in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, June 14, 2021. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo
People from across South Africa travelled to KwaHlathi in the country’s eastern KwaZulu-Natal province where villagers had been digging since June 12 after a herder discovered the first stone in an open field and put out the word.
Provincial executive council member for economic development and tourism, Ravi Pillay, told a media briefing on Sunday he had counted some 3,000 there during a visit to the site, where samples were taken to identify the stones.
“The tests conducted conclusively revealed that the stones discovered in the area are not diamonds as some had hoped,” he said, adding they were in fact quartz crystals.
“The value, if any, of the quartz crystals is yet to be established but it must be mentioned that the value of quartz crystals is very low compared to that of diamonds.”
The event had highlighted the socio-economic challenges faced by local people, he continued. Like many areas in South Africa, high levels of unemployment and poverty have left communities living hand to mouth.
People in the area had also raised concerns specifically around roads and water during the visit, which officials at the briefing said they would address.
Meanwhile, the number of people mining the land had dwindled to less than 500, Pillay continued, though significant damage had already been done with an area of around 50 hectares covered in holes of up to one metre, posing a danger to cattle.
He said those that continue to mine in the area, a situation that also risks the spread of COVID-19, would be encouraged to leave, though law enforcement could be drawn upon if necessary.
#AceNewsReport – June.23: Investigators say grainy surveillance video captured the moment Anat Kimchi was attacked from behind around 4 p.m. Saturday in the 400 block of South Wacker Drive Saturday while walking along the sidewalk near Eisenhower Expressway. The unidentified suspect ran off and has not been apprehended:
CHICAGO: ‘Anat Kimchi was a doctoral candidate studying criminal justice: Chicago police continue to hunt for the homeless suspect who fatally stabbed a 31-year-old woman since identified as a doctoral student studying criminal justice at the University of Maryland during a brazen daylight attack over the weekend that happened not far from the city’s financial district according to Danielle Wallace of Fox32’
“As you can see, there is a homeless encampment that is adjacent to where this crime scene is,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown told reporters. “We suspect this likely is a homeless person that secreted themselves in the bushes and came out and committed this heinous crime.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a press conference Monday that officers were “scouring the various homeless encampments downtown” for the suspect responsible for the stabbing – but denied that the attack proves the touristy area near Willis Tower is unsafe, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
“We know who he is. We’ve got good film of him,” she said. “We believe he’s a homeless individual.”
But Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said at a later press conference that police still “are seeking the identity and the eventual arrest of the person who stabbed that female.” A witness told police the suspect – described as a man around age 30 with dreadlocks and wearing a red bandanna, a dark shirt and light-colored pants – came out of D’Angelo Park and stabbed the woman, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The suspect fled and discarded his shirt, which was later found by police. Surveillance footage appeared to capture the suspect throwing the knife he used to stab the woman into the Chicago River, according to the Tribune.
The broad-daylight stabbing happened in an area known as The Loop, which is about a block from the Willis Tower, a popular tourist destination, and not far from the city’s financial district, WJZ reported.
Brown on Saturday stressed that the woman was walking in a secluded area closer to the ramp to the expressway that’s not often frequented by pedestrians. A dispatcher reported over police radio transmission that the woman was found lying on the sidewalk bleeding from the neck, WBBM-TV reported. Kimchi was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Brown said police are using surveillance video to follow the path the suspect fled before disappearing beneath the Interstate 290 overpass. He said at least one witness was cooperating with detectives.
Kimchi was a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland in the department of criminology and criminal justice. She previously attended high school at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Md.
“Anat was already a notably accomplished scholar, but more importantly she was a remarkable woman who was beloved by friends and family,” University of Maryland Professor Gary LaFree wrote in an email disseminated to the campus community, according to Fox 32 Chicago.
“The University of Maryland grieves the loss of Anat Kimchi, a brilliant young scholar,” the school added in a statement. “We offer our condolences to her friends and family during this difficult time.”
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School set up a page to make donations in Kimchi’s honor. Her family said Kimchi was in Chicago visiting friends and asked for privacy while they mourn her death. Kimchi had worked with Choice Research Associates in recent years on projects that focused on disparities in probation sentences and evaluating the impact of placing female juvenile suspects in custody, the Times reported.
#AceNewsReport – June.23: Edwin Poots announced his resignation last week after an internal party revolt, leaving the DUP looking for a third leader in a matter of weeks:
NORTHERN IRELAND: DUP Leadership: Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is only candidate: Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is the only candidate to succeed Edwin Poots as Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader after nominations closed at midday on Tuesday.
Sir Jeffrey’s name will go forward to the party’s electoral college, which is expected to meet on Saturday.
Anyone interested in the position had to submit their names to the party chairman Lord Morrow, backed by a proposer and a seconder.
After the meeting of the electoral college he will have to be ratified as party leader at a meeting of the DUP executive, which could take place next week.
He would become the party’s fifth leader in its 50-year history: BBC News NI looks back at the six weeks that led to Edwin Poots being elected and then resigning as leader of the DUP
In a statement issued after the nomination process closed, Sir Jeffrey said he had the “vision to unite Northern Ireland and heal the divisions of the past”.
“The task ahead is great,” he said.
“I do not underestimate the challenge but I know the overwhelming majority of people who live here want Northern Ireland to keep moving forward.”
Sir Jeffrey has previously said he would leave Westminster to run for the Stormont assembly in order to be Northern Ireland’s first minister if he became DUP leader.
Such a move would mean a by-election would take place to fill his seat in Lagan Valley.
We know that Sir Jeffrey Donaldson wants to be Northern Ireland’s first minister so that means he needs to find a seat in the Stormont assembly.He will need to get his political ducks in a row to find a path from Westminster to Belfast.The clearest way is through the co-option process, which allows a party to replace an assembly member without a by-election, although it remains to be seen which constituency he would target.
There is no sign that the two DUP MLAs in his political powerbase of Lagan Valley – Paul Givan and Edwin Poots – will be stepping down anytime soon.The only obvious vacancy coming up in the near future is in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, the political home of Arlene Foster.Lord Morrow said the past few weeks had been “difficult for the party and mistakes have been made”.
The peer added: “Now is the time to move forward in a spirit of humility and mindful that our focus must be on serving the people whom we represent.”I look forward to the challenges of rebuilding and reconnecting in the time ahead.”Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said he looked forward to working with Sir Jeffrey and the Stormont executive to “deliver on the shared interests of all the people of Northern Ireland”.’
‘Decisive action’Sir Jeffrey has already outlined his priorities and has said the number one issue is the dealing with the post-Brexit trade arrangements for Northern Ireland, known as the protocol.
The mechanism, which was part of the UK-EU Brexit deal, keeps Northern Ireland aligned with the EU single market for goods, ensuring free trade across the Irish border: However, it has placed additional restrictions on goods moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, prompting unionists to complain of there being an Irish Sea border.
On Tuesday, Sir Jeffrey said he wanted to speak to Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the protocol “at the earliest opportunity”.He said he would “emphasise that it is not realistic to expect stability when every unionist representative in the devolved institutions opposes the Northern Ireland Protocol”.”The government and those who claim to be protectors of peace and stability must step up and deal with the protocol in a manner which respects the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom,” he added: Who is the man set to be the DUP’s new leader?‘
Pacemaker Edwin Poots says there is a section of the DUP that struggled to accept he won the leadershipThe leadership vacancy arose when Mr Poots resigned after just 21 days in the position he took over from Arlene Foster.
He had defeated Sir Jeffrey in the party’s first leadership election on 14 May by 19 votes to 17.Mr Poots’ resignation came after he agreed a deal with Sinn Féin and the UK government over provisions for Irish language legislation.Sinn Féin had refused to nominate a deputy first minister unless such a commitment was made.Without nominations within seven days of Mrs Foster stepping down as first minister within the joint office, an election could have been called.A continued impasse could have led to a suspension of Stormont.A majority of DUP MPs and MLAs opposed Mr Poots’ plans to nominate Paul Givan as first minister in an internal revolt at a party meeting.Mr Poots was then summoned to a meeting of DUP officers on Thursday evening, after which he announced his resignation.Liam McBurney/PA WirePaul Givan looks set to be the shortest-serving first minister of Northern Ireland
Speaking in an interview with Sky News on Monday, he said: “There was a section in the party that struggled to accept that I won the election, that I won it democratically, I won it fairly.”That’s how things are now, that I’ve been forced into a resignation.”In terms of the support I received, it didn’t come from people that it should have and that’s just a reality that everybody knows.”Who is Sir Jeffrey Donaldson?PacemakerSir Jeffrey, born in Kilkeel, County Down, became politically active as a constituency agent for the South Down MP Enoch Powell (above, left) in the mid-1980s before working as a personal assistant to the former Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader James Molyneaux.
After James Molyneaux retired as an MP in 1997, Sir Jeffrey was voted as his successor as MP for Lagan Valley, retaining the seat through six subsequent elections: He is a member of the Orange Order and also served as a corporal in the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) during the Troubles.In 2003, following long-standing opposition to the Good Friday Agreement and the leadership of David Trimble, he announced he would leave the UUP, later joining the DUP, along with Arlene Foster and Norah Beare. He was appointed to the Privy Council, a body which advises the monarchy, in 2007 and stood down as an MLA for Lagan Valley in 2010.He was awarded a knighthood in 2016 for political service.Sir Jeffrey was defeated by 19 votes to 17 in the DUP leadership election to succeed Arlene Foster in May:
#AceNewsReport – June.23: Ross Willox, 42, killed Emma Faulds, 39, after a party at his house in Monkton, South Ayrshire, in April 2019: The youth worker’s body was found six weeks later after CCTV and mobile phone analysis was used to narrow down the remote search area:
Emma Faulds Murder: ‘Ross Willox jailed for at least 20 years after he was convicted of the murder at the High Court in Glasgow last month’
BBC Police Scotland
On Tuesday, he was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 20 years before he can apply for parole.
Judge Lord Mulholland told him: “Only you will know what happened in your house that night that led to you killing your friend.
“Having murdered her you created an elaborate scheme to cover up your crime.”
He said that Willox placed Emma’s body in a shallow grave and covered it up, and tried to ensure it would decompose more quickly by placing it in a wet area.
Lord Mulholland added: “You hoped it would never be found and her devoted family would have to spend the rest of their lives wondering where she was and if she was alive or dead.”
It is still not known why or how Willox killed Emma, whom he had been friends with since they worked together as prison wardens at HMP Kilmarnock.
Detectives said the pair, who had a platonic relationship, had agreed to meet at his house in Monkton for a party on Sunday 28 April 2019.
At about 20:00, Emma messaged a friend to say she planned to have a few drinks and stay over.
Missing posters were distributed soon after Emma disappeared
Emma was usually in frequent contact with her loved ones, but no-one heard from her the following day.
Her mother, Margaret, said this was “totally out of character”.
The alarm was raised on 30 April after Mrs Faulds learned that Emma had not turned up for work at Kibble School in Paisley.
When police officers broke in to Emma’s flat in Kilmarnock they found that her pet dog, Maverick, was home alone.
As the last person to see her alive, Willox became the immediate focus of the investigation, codenamed Operation Solzen.
PA Media: Police and forensic teams at Willox’s house in Monkton, South Ayrshire
He told officers that Emma had decided to drive back to her flat, which was less than nine miles away, at about 23:00.
He said Emma had been “positive and upbeat and enjoying herself” and was talking about her forthcoming 40th birthday.
Donald Findlay QC, who was acting for Willox, said it would not be appropriate to express any contrition on behalf of his client, who denies he was responsible.
Mr Findlay added: “He is not the kind of person I would have expected to have found himself guilty of a crime of murder, murder of somebody that he knew and cared for – they cared for each other, not in any romantic sense, but as friends.
“Something catastrophic went wrong in the early hours of the morning, and one life was lost.”
Det Insp Peter Crombie described the killer as “a selfish, arrogant monster” and said he compounded the agony of Emma’s loved ones by failing to admit his crime.
Humid air in front of the boundary will lead to showers and thunderstorms into late Tuesday night: There is a slight risk of heavy rain that could produce localized flooding and flash flooding in urban areas and on roads: Cooler air will then move in behind that frontal boundary, bringing not only lower temperatures but a decrease in humidity values.
Daytime highs from the Midwest to the Northeast will fall back into the 60s and 70s over the next several days: However, Western states will continue to battle high temperatures.
Highs in many Texas cities will climb into the 90s on Tuesday: Additionally, large portions of the West will see highs in the upper 80s and 90s:
#AceNewsReport – June.23: While this city across the border from McAllen, Tx. Is used to cartel violence as a key trafficking point, the 14 victims in Saturday’s attacks appeared to be what Tamaulipas Gov. Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca called “innocent citizens” rather than members of one gang killed by a rival:
Local businessman Misael Chavarria Garza said many businesses closed early Saturday after the attacks and people were very scared as helicopters flew overhead: On Sunday, he said “the people were quiet as if nothing had happened, but with a feeling of anger because now crime has happened to innocent people.”
“It’s not fair,” said taxi driver Rene Guevara, adding that among the dead were two of his fellow taxi drivers whom he defended and said were not involved in crime.
The attacks took place in several neighborhoods in eastern Reynosa, according to the Tamaulipas state agency that coordinates security forces, and sparked a deployment of the military, National Guard and state police across the city. Images posted on social media showed bodies in the streets.
Authorities say they are investigating the attacks and haven’t provided a motive.
But the area’s criminal activity has long been dominated by the Gulf Cartel and there have been fractures within that group: Experts say there has been an internal struggle within the group since 2017 to control key territories for drug and human trafficking. Apparently, one cell from a nearby town may have entered Reynosa to carry out the attacks:
Olga Ruiz, whose 19-year-old brother Fernando Ruiz was killed by the gunmen, said her sibling was working as a plumber and bricklayer in a company owned by his stepfather to pay for his studies.
“They killed him in cold blood, he and two of his companions,” said Olga Ruiz, adding that the gunmen arrived where her brother was fixing a drain.
“They heard the gunshots from afar and my stepfather told him: ‘son, you have to take shelter.’ So he asked permission to enter a house but my brother and his companions were only about to enter when the vehicles arrived,” Ruiz said. “They stopped in front of them and started to shoot.”
On Saturday, authorities detained a person who was transporting two apparently kidnapped women in the trunk of a car.
Security is one of the great challenges facing the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador: He has assured Mexicans that he is fighting the root causes of the violence and since the beginning of his administration in December 2018, he has advocated “hugs, not bullets” in dealing with criminals. He also says he is fighting corruption to stop the infiltration of organized crime among authorities:
But the violence continues.
“Criminal organizations must receive a clear, explicit and forceful signal from the Federal Government that there will be no room for impunity, nor tolerance for their reprehensible criminal behavior,” said García Cabeza de Vaca of the rival National Action Party. “In my government there will be no truce for the violent.”
But García Cabeza de Vaca himself is being investigated by the federal prosecutor’s office for organized crime and money laundering – accusations he says are part of plan by López Obrador’s government to attack him for being an opponent.
Tamaulipas – the state where the Zetas cartel arose and where the Gulf Cartel continues to operate – has seen several of its past governors from the Institutional Revolutionary Party accused of corruption and links to organized crime. One former governor, Tomás Yarrington, was extradited to the United States from Italy in 2018 on drug trafficking charges.
#AceNewsReport – June.23: Stanley Donahue, 36, of Chicago, is now facing charges including robbery and attempted murder following the shooting that occurred late Sunday night at a Casey’s General Store in Coggon, according to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office:
Around 1 p.m. Monday in Coggon, a “KCRG news crew observed a person matching the description in the area being searched and contacted law enforcement,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release. “Law enforcement arrived shortly after and took Donahue into custody.”
Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner called the shooting “tragic and needless,” adding that it “resulted in serious injuries to one of our deputies who was merely doing his job to protect the citizens of Linn County.”
Police say Donahue had escaped the scene after opening fire at the officer, who was responding to an alarm going off at the Casey’s store.
“Upon entering the front door the deputy was immediately met by an armed suspect trying to leave the store,” the sheriff’s office said. “The suspect fired a handgun multiple times striking the deputy.”
Donahue then raced out of the area in a van and was pursued by another responding deputy before crashing the vehicle in Coggon and fleeing on foot, police added.