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Mubarak in the dock: historic trial of former Egyptian president begins

Millions tune in to see former leader face charges as confusion reigns in Cairo courtroom and violence continues outside Page 2

Silvio Berlusconi fails to stem rising panic in financial markets No word on much needed reform of Italy’s economy • Fall in US factory orders adds to mounting fears Page 3

Syria condemned by UN security council as tanks storm Hama The vote, which required approval by all 15 council members, resulted in Lebanon dissociating itself Page 4

Heather Mills claims Mirror Group journalist admitted hacking her phone Page 5 Forensic Science Service closure forces police to use untested private firms Page 6

Sydney teenager in 10hour bomb hoax ordeal Page 6

Child abuse website investigation brings multiple arrests Page 8

Sellafield Mox nuclear fuel plant to close Page 9

Shell accepts liability for two oil spills in Nigeria Page 7

Famine is spreading in Somalia, says UN Page 9

Cocaine worth £300m found on luxury yacht in Southampton Page 10

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007 Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: Number 1 Scott Place, Manchester M3 3GG

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Page  G24 Top stories

Mubarak in the dock: historic trial of former Egyptian president begins Millions tune in to see former leader face charges as confusion reigns in Cairo courtroom and violence continues outside Jack Shenker in Cairo

The last time Hosni Mubarak [http://tinyurl.com/6652qm5] visited New Cairo’s police academy building, his name was written above the door – one institution among hundreds around the country, from schools to metro stations, that had been named after the wartime pilot who rose to become president and transformed Egypt [http://tinyurl.com/3wdcb2] into his private fiefdom. On that day – 23 January this year, only 48 hours before revolution swept the streets – Mubarak thanked his police force, the group he relied upon to continue his three decades in power. “I and all Egyptians salute policemen on their day of celebration and affirm our pride in their role and sacrifice,” he said to an apparently devoted audience. Just over six months later, Mubarak returned to the police academy on Wednesday morning to find his name unceremoniously stripped from the walls. His lectern had been replaced by a metal cage, his suit swapped for standard-issue prison overalls, his security forces and judiciary now tasked with locking him up and deciding his culpability, a verdict that could lead to his execution. The struggles against dictatorship that have consumed the Arab world this year boast many historic moments, but few were as dramatic, or cathartic, as this. Lying on a stretcher under the gaze of state television cameras and accompanied by his two sons and codefendants, Alaa and Gamal, the 83-year-old spoke only once to confirm his presence and enter a plea. “I deny all these charges and accusations categorically,” he said. The case was adjourned until 15 August. At times, the trial that most Egyptians thought could never happen – at least partly because there was widespread scepticism that Egypt’s ruling generals would ever bow to public pressure and turn so decisively against their former commander-in-chief – descended into a bawdy cocktail of confusion and farce. As rocks flew outside the temporary court house, courtesy of running battles between supporters and opponents of Mubarak which left 53 people injured, mayhem often prevailed within. Lawyers squabbled and shouted to gain the beleaguered judge’s attention as he tried to deal with procedural matters; at one point, an attorney even demanded Mubarak be given a DNA test, claiming he had actually died in 2004 and had been replaced by an impostor. But moments of levity, including a camera shot of the former tyrant picking his nose, quickly melted away as the prosecutor read to Mubarak the accusations against him. This was still history in the making. The three charges – profiteering, illegal business-dealing involving Israeli gas exports, and the unlawful killing of protesters who rose up to challenge his rule – may not even begin to encompass the crimes committed by his regime, but they all spoke to key aspects of the nation Mubarak created. guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

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Twenty years after Egypt first accepted an IMF “structural adjustment package” and embarked on aggressive neo-liberal reforms that left 90% of the country worse off but enriched the elite to unimaginable levels, corruption remains one of the defining features of modern Egypt. So does political stagnation, symbolised by the country’s declining status in the region and the pursuit of a slavish pro-US and pro-Israeli foreign policy, of which subsidised gas exports to Israel were only one component. And the state-sponsored murder of demonstrators in January and February this year arose from a security apparatus in which torture and abuse had become systematically embedded. As the litany of wrongdoing continued and the names of some of those who died in the uprising were read, many onlookers wept. “It’s a glorious day,” said Hossam Bahgat, head of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. “Many of us were worried Mubarak would use the trial to turn public opinion in his favour and plea for sympathy, but in fact it revived that sense of achievement we felt when he was unseated back in February. This can only be good for the revolution.” The court could extend its current remit. Other people and institutions were implicated by lawyers and may be dragged in – including state media officials accused of spreading disinformation during the protests, mobile firms who agreed to shut down their networks at the height of the revolt, and Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s intelligence chief and, briefly, vicepresident, who is yet to face any charges. “We’re now getting a sense of the byproducts that may come out of Mubarak’s prosecution,” said Bahgat. “These are examples of how the trial will not just provide justice for victims of the uprising and their families, but also shed real light on the truth of what happened during those 18 days. That’s particularly important given the military council’s refusal to initiate a fact-finding mission into all the past crimes of the Mubarak regime.” The army generals will also be watching proceedings nervously. They can expect a short-term popularity boost after keeping their promise to put Mubarak in the dock, but remain uneasy about what revelations may emerge when he takes the stand. Samer Shehata, an assistant professor and Egypt expert at Georgetown University, said: “Some of the lawyers have already requested that [Egypt’s current de facto leader, field marshall Mohamed Hussein] Tantawi, [army chief of staff] Sami Anan and other senior generals come to the court and bear witness. I don’t think their attendance is likely, but there’s certainly a possibility that Mubarak, if cornered, might start speaking about the extent of corruption within the military council and pinpoint Tantawi in particular.” Relations between the military and revolutionaries are at an all-time low following a brutal assault by soldiers in Tahrir Square this week and the persistent use of military trials, a timely reminder of just how far Egypt still has to go in its battle for meaningful reform. As Mubarak’s case was concluded for the day, only a few miles across town, demonstrators who had been participating in the Tahrir sit-in were being interrogated at a different courthouse, accused of breaking a new law created by the generals which forbids protests. Tantawi and his fellow officers have done their best to paint these young people as baltagiyya, or thugs, but were it not for their street rallies, there is little guardian.co.uk


Page  G24 Top stories doubt Mubarak would not be on trial. Mona Seif, a cancer researcher who campaigns against arbitrary arrests and military trials, and who has been involved in the occupation of Tahrir, said: “We’re celebrating today because it’s not just about seeing Mubarak in court, it’s also about regaining a bit of the popular support that we seem to have lost recently. “We keep on getting framed by the media as people who don’t have anything better to do than sit in the road and make trouble, so for those of us who have been detained and beaten in the process, the knowledge that it was our pressure that forced them to have this public trial – that’s very uplifting.” Millions were glued to their TVs as the trial unfolded, turning central Cairo into a ghost town and sending the stock exchange to a 10-year low as traders stopped work to follow proceedings. Many companies set up viewing areas for staff; others stayed at home, such as Gelal Faisal Ali, whose brother was killed during the uprising. “The martyrs’ families had lost faith in the judicial system, and we thought that today the court would do little other than try to calm public anger,” Ali said. “Forgive me, but I am still concerned that this is what’s happening. Mubarak deserves nothing less than the death penalty.” Some took a different view, arguing that the sight of a former leader behind bars was a national humiliation. Reda Tohami Ibrahim, the owner of a Cairo clothing store, was one: “If there has to be a court case, it shouldn’t be public – this is a man with a long history. The entire world is watching this charade, and as an Egyptian I say it’s not fitting or appropriate.” Ibrahim’s objections put him in a minority on a day that, for all the procedural wrangling, will stand as a symbolic landmark not just for Egypt, but for much of the world beyond. “We don’t know what will happen next, because none of this has been scripted,” said Shehata at Georgetown University. After three decades of having the script written for them by one of modern history’s most entrenched dictators, that messy uncertainty is just what many Egyptians have been looking forward to. Additional reporting by Mohamed El-Dahshan Judge Ahmed Refaat, the silver-haired head of the fifth district at the Cairo criminal court, who is presiding over the case, has a reputation as Mr Clean and a track record of judging politically sensitive cases during the Mubarak era. In one case, in an apparent challenge to the regime, he ordered the release of 16 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was then banned. “In God’s words, if you are to judge people, you must do so with justice,” he said this week. Mubarak’s lawyer, Farid el-Deeb – highly regarded, charismatic and a snappy dresser – is perhaps Egypt’s most famous lawyer. Acquaintances say his exquisite politeness masks a combative style in court. If there is one man capable of destroying the case against his client, it is El-Deeb. However, he has made dramatic claims about Mubarak’s health in the past that have been questioned. He has also reportedly claimed the former president has accounts only in Egyptian banks and not abroad. certainly planning to earn his money: El-Deeb, who favours brightly coloured silk ties and a handkerchief in his suit breast pocket, has said he wants to bring 1,600 witnesses to court.

Ian Black

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

Thursday August 4 2011

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Silvio Berlusconi fails to stem rising panic in financial markets • No word on much needed reform of Italy’s economy • Fall in US factory orders adds to mounting fears John Hooper in Rome, Jill Treanor and Dominic Rushe in New York

Fears that the eurozone crisis is escalating and further evidence of the weakness in the US economy drove stock markets [http:// tinyurl.com/2wyxypl] lower on Wednesday as policy makers failed to restore confidence in global markets. The FTSE 100 index closed at its lowest level since November, after its biggest one day fall for nine months of 133 points. After a nerve-racking day Wall Street narrowly avoided its ninth consecutive day of falls – a losing streak unseen since 1978. A much anticipated speech by Italy [http://tinyurl.com/ 3nx5e8]’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi [http://tinyurl. com/6mz5sx], was delayed until European markets closed but failed to calm the storm on international financial markets that threatens to engulf his country and imperil the entire eurozone. Italy and Spain – whose prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has cut short his summer holiday – are now at the centre of the eurozone debt crisis that began with Greece more than a year ago and has enveloped Ireland and Portugal. European commission president José Manuel Barroso tried to inject calm into the markets by insisting that record high yields – interest rates – on Spanish and Italian government bonds [http://tinyurl.com/3gdctne] were “unwarranted”. “Developments in the sovereign bond markets of Italy and Spain are a cause of deep concern,” Barroso said. “These developments are clearly unwarranted on the basis of economic and budgetary fundamentals in these two member states and the steps that they are taking to reinforce those fundamentals.” The Swiss central bank stunned markets by attempting to reverse the “massive overvaluation” [http://tinyurl.com/ 3edyv9e] of the Swiss franc, which hit record highs against the dollar as a perceived haven, by cutting interest rates. Amid the anxieties in Europe [http://tinyurl.com/3qx4k43], concerns about the US economy were compounded when the service sector survey was weaker than expected and other data showed a fall in factory orders in June. Investors bet on gold as a safe haven driving prices to a record $1,663.40 an ounce. European politicians had hoped their deal on 21 July to bailout Greece [http://tinyurl.com/3opdx3l] for a second time and impose losses on bond holders would restore confidence in the eurozone. Their efforts have failed, particularly as US debt crisis compounded the febrile atmosphere in the markets. In France, shares in the second largest bank Société Générale were temporarily suspended – they eventually closed 9% lower in heavy turnover – after it took a €395m (£345m) hit on its exposure to Greece because of its contribution to the bailout plan. Concerns were also mounting that banks across the eurozone were finding difficulties in funding themselves on the markets. Huw van Steenis, banks analyst at Morgan Stanley, guardian.co.uk


Page  G24 Top stories said: “Investors, we and some banks are increasingly concerned that funding markets won’t reopen with sufficient depth or at good enough terms for Italian and Spanish issuers, requiring banks to take offsetting measures”. Berlusconi’s statement to the lower house of parliament faced immediate criticism for failing to tackle the problems facing the Italian economy even though he promised to work with unions and employers on a reform of Italy’s notoriously rigid employment laws. He drew attention to the fact that his government had earlier given the green light to €9bn of infrastructure projects which he said would promote growth, especially in the poorer south. But his keenly awaited speech contained neither an appeal to the nation for painful sacrifices in the common interest, nor an announcement that his government would force through the radical, structural reforms that most economists believe Italy badly needs. There were few indications that Berlusconi intended stiffening the budget-reduction measures his government approved last month. And he flatly ruled out any change of government. “Stability has always been a winning weapon against speculation,” Berlusconi declared. He was speaking at the end of a day that saw Italy’s borrowing rates soar to their highest levels since the launch of the euro [http://tinyurl.com/32nyncm]. The yield on its benchmark, 10-year treasury bonds touched 6.21% before dropping back to 6.09%. His economy minister Giulio Tremonti had earlier met eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss the crisis. Berlusconi had originally intended to deliver the first of two speeches to the legislature earlier in the day. But it was decided that, given the sensitivity of the situation, he should hold off until after the close of markets in Europe. Despite calls for his resignation, the prime minister said he fully intended seeing out his mandate, which does not expire until 2013. The nearest he came to self-criticism was an admission that “we know there is more to do.” Quite what remained elusive. His pledge on labour reform was tentative. The government had some time ago proposed to the unions and employers a revision of Italy’s keystone employment law, he said. “Now is the time to check the level of agreement”.

Syria condemned by UN security council as tanks storm Hama The vote, which required approval by all 15 council members, resulted in Lebanon dissociating itself Ed Pilkington in New York and agencies

The UN security council finally broke through months of indecision over the bloodshed in Syria [http://tinyurl. com/4ooew7] on Wednesday night to pass a near-unanimous statement condemning President Bashar al-Assad [http:// tinyurl.com/32kwhbm] for unleashing his forces on civilians and violating human rights. Though the presidential statement has no teeth and was less than the full security council resolution that had been pressed for by the US, UK and France, it is an indication of growing guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

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impatience within the international community towards the Syrian crackdown. Syrian forces are continuing to attack the city of Hama where protests have been intense, with troops loyal to the government engaging civilians with tanks and gun fire. The statement came after Syrian tanks stormed Hama under heavy shelling Wednesday, taking over a main square at the heart of the city and cutting off electricity, water and phone lines on the fourth day of an offensive. Opposition figures and activists accused the regime of striking hard at a moment when world and media attention were distracted by the trial in Egypt of former President Hosni Mubarak. “Hama is being collectively punished for its peaceful protests calling for the downfall of Bashar Assad,” said Suheir Atassi, a prominent pro-democracy activist. Like many others Syria-based activists, Atassi has gone largely into hiding and spoke to The Associated Press via email. “The Syrian regime is committing crimes against humanity. Where are the free people of the world?” she said. At least three tanks took up positions in Hama’s central Assi square, which in recent weeks had been the site of carnival-like demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of protesters calling for the downfall of President Assad’s regime. Reports suggest at least 100 people have died in the past four days of violence. Residents said last night that Syrian tanks now occupied the city’s central square. In its statement, 14 members of the security council expressed their “profound regret at the death of many hundreds of people” and called for an immediate end to all violence. They added that they regretted “the lack of progress in implementation” of the reforms that the Assad government had promised to the Syrian population. The one member of the 15-strong council that did not back the statement was Lebanon [http://tinyurl.com/5o3972], which has close relations with Syria. In a move last used by China in 1976, the Lebanese delegation to the UN disassociated itself from the statement after it was read by Hardeep Singh Puri, UN ambassador of the current president of the security council, India. Lebanon’s deputy UN ambassador Caroline Ziade said that “while we express our deep regret for the loss of innocent victims,” the presidential statement “does not help in addressing the current situation in Syria.” The past five weeks of violence in Syria has seen the UN unable to find a common voice over how to react. While France, the US and UK have all been in favour of strong criticism of Assad, the other two members of the five permanent representatives of the security council – Russia and China – have taken a characteristically more cautionary position. They were backed by India, Brazil and South Africa who collectively pointed to the events in Libya where a security council resolution became the prelude of aerial bombing of the Gaddafi regime. The scepticism of Russia, China and their supporters forced the council to accept the less stringent presidential statement as the only possible means of securing unanimity. Assad’s regime has been using force since mid-March to put down citizen protests demanding political reforms, and activists say some 1,700 civilians have been killed. The Syrian leader has promised reforms but the council expressed regret at guardian.co.uk


Page  G24 Top stories “the lack of progress”. The bloodshed in Hama appeared to have broken the logjam in the council, diplomats said. The agreeing of the statement signalled limits to Russia’s backing. The statement contains no provision for sanctions or other punitive measures against Syria, nor does it call for a referral of Syrian leaders to the International Criminal Court, as some have demanded. The only future action provided for is a request to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon to report back to the council within seven days on the situation in Syria. It does not specify what follow-up there might be to his report. The British ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, said the security council “will continue to watch the situation closely and to consider further action as necessary … So, we expect to see a change in the approach of the Syrian regime.”

Heather Mills claims Mirror Group journalist admitted hacking her phone Former model told BBC’s Newsnight that in 2001 journalist admitted listening to message following row with Paul McCartney James Robinson

Heather Mills on Wednesday claimed that a journalist from the Mirror Group admitted to her that he had obtained a story about her and her former husband Sir Paul McCartney by hacking into her mobile phone messages. Mills told BBC2’s Newsnight that the unidentified journalist called her in 2001, following a row with the ex-Beatle, who was then her boyfriend, and quoted parts of a message McCartney had left on her voicemail after she had travelled to India. According to Mills, the journalist rang her and “started quoting verbatim the messages from my machine”. She said she challenged the journalist, saying: “You’ve obviously hacked my phone and if you do anything with this story … I’ll go to the police.” Mills said he responded: “OK, OK, yeah, we did hear it on your voice messages, I won’t run it.” Nancy Dell’Olio, the former partner of Sven-Göran Eriksson, also told Newsnight that she believes the Mirror hacked the couple’s voicemails. “There were strange coincidences that made me believe it absolutely,” Dell’Olio said. “How they could get hold of some information? I do know that in some particular circumstances the only person who knew was me and my ex-partner.” The Mills accusation will place the spotlight back on the Mirror’s publisher, Trinity Mirror [http://tinyurl.com/ b2s469], and the paper’s editor at the time, Piers Morgan [http://tinyurl.com/cftyfk]. Mills told the BBC it was not Morgan who called her, but the corporation has chosen not to identify the journalist. Morgan, who now hosts a chatshow for CNN, has consistently denied hacking into phones, having any knowledge about hacking at the title, or running stories obtained by using the method. Morgan, who was in charge of the Daily Mirror [http:// tinyurl.com/cxpsv9] for nearly a decade until 2004, issued a guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

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statement after Mills made her claim. Trinity Mirror owns over 200 papers including the Daily Mirror and its two national stablemates, the Sunday Mirror and the People. previous comments about the dark arts of Fleet Street, made in print and on the airwaves, have been recycled in recent weeks as claims emerged that phone hacking was not restricted to the News of the World. “Heather Mills has made unsubstantiated claims about a conversation she may or may not have had with a senior executive from a Trinity Mirror newspaper in 2001,” Morgan said. “The BBC has confirmed to me that this executive was not employed by the Daily Mirror. “I have no knowledge of any conversation any executive from other newspapers [http://tinyurl.com/9ceax3] at Trinity Mirror may or may not have had with Heather Mills. “What I can say and have knowledge of is that Sir Paul McCartney asserted that Heather Mills illegally intercepted his telephones, and leaked confidential material to the media. This is well documented, and was stated in their divorce case. Further, in his judgment, The Honourable Mr. Justice Bennett wrote of Heather Mills: ‘I am driven to the conclusion that much of her evidence, both written and oral, was not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid. Overall she was a less than impressive witness.’ “No doubt everyone will take this and other instances of somewhat extravagant claims by Ms Mills into account in assessing what credibility and platform her assertions are given. “And to reiterate, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone.” A spokesman for Trinity Mirror said: “Trinity Mirror’s position is clear: all our journalists work within the criminal law and the PCC code of conduct.” Mills was the subject of intense tabloid interest before, during and after her marriage to the former Beatle. She is considering launching legal action against the News of the World [http://tinyurl.com/5t9obby] after police confirmed to her earlier this year that her mobile number and other details had been found in notebooks belonging to Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who worked for the News of the World. Morgan wrote in his published diary, The Insider, that following a personal request from McCartney he pulled a story about Mills and McCartney arguing in 2001 over her decision to go to India to help the victims of an earthquake. Newsnight also says it has established that other celebrities, including Ulrika Jonsson, believe their phones were hacked by the Daily Mirror or Sunday Mirror. Conservative MP Therese Coffey, a member of the select committee which is investigating phone hacking, called on Morgan to return to Britain from the US to help the police with their inquiries in the light of the “very strong” new evidence. “I just hope that the police take the evidence and go with it and if Mr Morgan wants to come back to the UK and help them with their inquiries, and I don’t mean being arrested in any way, I’m sure he can add more light,” she told Newsnight. “I don’t see any point in him necessarily just staying in the US and issuing statements. I think it would help everybody, including himself and this investigation, if he was able to say more about why he wrote what he did in 2006. Asked about Mills’ latest allegations, she said: “I find them guardian.co.uk


Page  G24 Top stories very strong. Although her credibility is being attacked, and has been in the past, there is no doubt she feels her privacy was infringed.” • To get the latest media news to your desktop or mobile, follow MediaGuardian on Twitter [http://tinyurl.com/65h6xqg] and Facebook [http://tinyurl.com/65gd8yr]

Forensic Science Service closure forces police to use untested private firms Forces employing suppliers without ‘due diligence’ after rushed closure of lossmaking central service Alan Travis, home affairs editor

The closure of the Forensic Science [http://tinyurl.com/ch6y5h] Service has been so rushed that police [http://tinyurl.com/ yfo7a7s] forces have been forced to turn to untested private suppliers to fill the gap, a police authority has warned. Andrew White, the chief executive of the Hertfordshire police authority, said he had no choice but to sign off new contracts without doing the usual due diligence after being told that if they were not in place by the middle of July, there would be no access to forensic services in October. “This was not considered an option,” he said. Hertfordshire is one of 10 forces, including Hampshire, Kent and the City of London, in a joint competitive tendering exercise to replace the Forensic Science Service (FSS). The contracts range from simple DNA analysis from swabs taken when people are arrested, through to specialist support at crime [http://tinyurl.com/5t8755] scenes, including murder and rape. Closure of the FSS was announced last December by the home secretary, Theresa May [http://tinyurl.com/c7xbej], because the government-owned company had been losing £2m a month and was at risk of going into administration. Its operations are to be sold or transferred before it closes next March. The process has already been sharply criticised by MPs, with the Commons science and technology select committee calling last month for a six-month extension to the closure deadline because they were not confident an orderly transition could be achieved. “Unfortunately, the process was extremely rushed and it was not possible to exercise the usual due diligence before signing these contracts,” White said in a report to the last meeting of Hertfordshire police authority. “The contracts seek to ensure quality standards, as did the procurement process, but it should be noted that many of these suppliers are relatively untested in this country and they are all having to build capability to cope with additional work from the UK police service. “It has also not been possible to undertake any comprehensive benchmarking of pricing and some of the awarded prices do appear to be higher than that currently being paid to the FSS,” he added. White said that “in normal circumstances” he would have delayed signing the two-year contracts until further assurances on cost, quality and resilience had been obtained. But, he said, “given the clear statement that if we did not have signed contracts in place by the middle of July, we would not have guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

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forensic provision in October, this was not considered an option.” It is understood that Hertfordshire have received some assurances on price and quality since they signed the contract, but White also says only three days before the contracts were signed the Home Office approached the authority to wait until a private buyer could be found for parts of the FSS. White said this option was rejected as not being viable given the short timescales. Companies awarded the main Hertfordshire contracts include Orchid Cellmark, LGC and Key Forensics. The Home Office said that forces involved in the competitive tendering process, overseen by the National Police Improvement Agency and the Association of Chief Police Officers, were not rushed into a decision. “All police forces had the option to continue as customers of the FSS until a buyer is found, or to procure new contracts. As former customers of the FSS, Hertfordshire police made clear their decision was to seek new arrangements and we are working with them and several other forces to take this forward,” a spokeswoman said. “The national forensic framework agreement procurement process allows all police authorities to secure the best value for money in local forensics provision. This has delivered reduced prices and better turnaround times and will deliver significant savings at a national level.” A shadow Home Office minister, Shabana Mahmood, said police forces were being put in an impossible position: “This is extremely serious. For the home secretary to have put police forces in this position just goes to show the degree of incompetence from this Government on policing and crime policy. “This example shows that because of Government cuts and poor Home Office planning, a high quality service that provided good value for money is in danger of becoming more expensive and with less quality-assurance,” she said. “This work is of vital importance, ranging from DNA analysis, taking swabs in custody and managing crime scenes. Yet the home secretary seems happy for contracts to be awarded to untested companies, lacking capacity, with a rushed procurement process.” “All this at a time when police forces across the country are struggling with cuts to 16,000 police officers, curbs in DNA use for serious offences, and a Home Secretary focused on rhetoric rather than the reality on the ground. She is putting Police Forces in an impossible position.”

Sydney teenager in 10-hour bomb hoax ordeal ‘Explosive device’ strapped to 18-year-old daughter of wealthy businessman turns out to be fake Lizzy Davies and Caroline Davies

An Australian teenager who was trapped in her Sydney home after a stranger in a balaclava reportedly attached a suspicious device around her neck turned out to be the victim of an elaborate hoax. The deception was only discovered, however, after a 10-hour ordeal. Madeleine Pulver, 18, the daughter of a wealthy business

guardian.co.uk


Page  G24 Top stories executive, was released after police, taking advice from the British military, managed to remove the device, described as “very elaborate, very sophisticated”. New South Wales state police assistant commissioner Mark Murdoch said this morning that the device was “a very, very elaborate hoax”. “But it was made and certainly gave the appearance of a legitimate improvised explosive device,” he said outside the high school student’s home at Mosman in Sydney. “We had to treat it seriously until we could prove otherwise and that’s exactly what we did and that’s why it took so long.” The alarm had earlier been raised at 2.30pm Australian time on Wednesday and streets were closed to traffic near the home of William Pulver, chief executive of the technology company Appen, and his wife Belinda in the wealthy north shore suburb of Mosman. Murdoch said it was too early to say whether the device had been placed as part of an extortion attempt. “It was affixed to her by a chain or something similar, which took us a fair while to remove ... and that added to the trauma that Madeleine experienced,” Murdoch said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “There were some instructions left by the offender at the scene and those instructions will provide us with further lines of inquiry,” Murdoch told ABC radio. The teenager was reunited with her parents, who had been kept out of the house during the rescue for their own safety. She was taken to hospital for an examination and released at 3am local time. “She’s good. She’s been kept in a very uncomfortable position. She has been and will be uncomfortable for a little while to come,” he said. “The family are at a loss to explain this,” said Murdoch. “You would hardly think someone would go to this much trouble if there wasn’t a motive behind it.” It was, he added, one of the most bizarre cases he had seen in his career. The investigation was being led by the robbery and serious crime squad. The Australian newspaper reported that police confirmed the teenager had “interaction with the person who was responsible” for placing the device. There were unconfirmed reports that a man wearing a balaclava had broken into the house and strapped a device he claimed was a bomb to the teenager’s neck or wrist. One report said he told her he could trigger it by remote control, and that it had a microphone attached enabling him to hear what she was saying. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported that police believed a ransom note was attached to the girl’s neck, but bomb disposal officers had been unable to read it. Friends of Pulver, who is believed to attend a private school and to be taking her Higher School Certificate, were said to have gathered at the police cordon during the incident. Appen, the company her father works for, provides linguistics technologies to companies including Microsoft, Google and Nokia. The family are reported to be among the wealthiest in Sydney.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

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Shell accepts liability for two oil spills in Nigeria Oil giant faces a bill of hundreds of millions of dollars following class action suit brought on behalf of communities in Bodo, Ogoniland John Vidal in Bodo

Guardian Global Development Shell faces a bill of hundreds of millions of dollars after accepting full liability for two massive oil [http://tinyurl.com/ c9o9fl] spills that devastated a Nigerian community of 69,000 people and may take at least 20 years to clean up. Experts who studied video footage of the spills at Bodo in Ogoniland say they could together be as large as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, when 10m gallons of oil destroyed the remote coastline. Until now, Shell has claimed that less than 40,000 gallons were spilt in Nigeria [http://tinyurl.com/5r9mh5]. Papers seen by the Guardian show that following a class action suit in London over the past four months, the company has accepted responsibility for the 2008 double rupture of the Bodo-Bonny trans-Niger pipeline that pumps 120,000 barrels of oil a day though the community. Ogoniland is a small region of the Niger delta which threw out Shell in 1994 for its pollution [http://tinyurl.com/5enslo] but then saw eight of its leaders, including the writer Ken SaroWiwa [http://tinyurl.com/nzetlj], executed by the government. The crude oil that gushed unchecked from the two Bodo spills, which occurred within months of each other, in 2008 has clearly devastated the 20 sq km network of creeks and inlets on which Bodo and as many as 30 other smaller settlements depend for food, water and fuel. No attempt has been made to clean up the oil, which has collected on the creek sides, washes in and out on the tides and has seeped deep into the water table and farmland. According to the communities in Bodo, in two years the company has only offered £3,500 together with 50 bags of rice, 50 bags of beans and a few cartons of sugar, tomatoes and groundnut oil. The offers were rejected as “insulting, provocative and beggarly” by the chiefs of Bodo, but later accepted on legal advice. Shell’s acceptance of full liability for the spills follows a class action suit bought on behalf of communities by London law firm Leigh Day and Co [http://tinyurl.com/5slcvpm], which represented the Ivory Coast community [http://tinyurl.com/ 3xpahwp] that suffered health damage following the dumping guardian.co.uk


Page  G24 Top stories of toxic waste by a ship leased to multinational oil company Trafigura in 2006. Many other impoverished communities in the delta are now expected to seek damages for oil pollution against Shell in the British courts. On average, there are three oil spills [http:// tinyurl.com/c3uuwa] a day by Shell and other companies working in the delta. Shell consistently blames the spills on local youths [http://tinyurl.com/2eqp8w5] who, they argue, sabotage their network of pipelines. “The news that Shell has accepted liability in Britain will be greeted with joy in the delta. The British courts may now be inundated with legitimate complaints,” said Patrick Naagbartonm, coordinator for the Centre of Environment and Human Rights [http://tinyurl.com/3ocegtj] in Port Harcourt. Later this week the company will be heavily implicated by the UN for the environmental disaster in the Niger delta which has seen more than 7,000 oil spills in the low lying swamps and farmland since 1989. Shell first discovered oil in the Niger delta in 1956. According to Amnesty International, more than 13m barrels of oil have been spilt in the delta, twice as much as by BP in last year’s Gulf of Mexico spill [http://tinyurl.com/3zku7dn]. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report, funded by Shell, will be presented to president Goodluck Jonathan [http://tinyurl.com/3kwjyhm] on Thursday and is expected to be released on Friday in London. UNEP’s report, the first peer-reviewed scientific study of more than 60 spills, is expected to say that oil pollution in Ogoniland is much worse than previously believed, having sunk deep into the water table. Many spills have not been cleared up since 1970 and the effects on the local economy, health and development have been severe. The report will not apportion blame for individual spills. International oil spill assessment experts who have seen the Bodo spill believe that it could cost the company more than $100m to clean up properly and restore the devastated mangrove forests that used to line the creeks and rivers but which have been killed by the oil. Proceedings against Royal Dutch Shell [http://tinyurl. com/5doe8e] and Shell petroleum development company (SPDC) Nigeria began in the high court on 6 April 2011. Last week Shell Nigeria said: “SPDC accepts responsibility under the Oil Pipelines Act for the two oil spills both of which were due to equipment failure. SPDC acknowledges that it is liable to pay compensation — to those who are entitled to receive such compensation.”

Child abuse website investigation brings multiple arrests Dreamboard bulletin trading in thousands of images to promote paedophilia causes 43 US arrests with 72 charged worldwide Associated Press

Seventy-two people have been charged with participating in an international child abuse network that prosecutors say used an online bulletin board called Dreamboard to trade tens of thousands of images and videos of sexually abused children [http://tinyurl.com/5mx45h]. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland security guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

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secretary Janet Napolitano said on Wednesday that a 20-month law enforcement effort called Operation Delego targeted more than 600 Dreamboard members around the world for allegedly participating in the private, members-only internet [http:// tinyurl.com/6rba8d] club created to promote paedophilia. Numerous participants in the network sexually abused children ages 12 and under, produced images and video of the abuse and then shared it with other club members, according to court papers released in the case. Of the 72 charged in the United States [http://tinyurl. com/3pbcb7], 43 have been arrested there, and nine in other countries. Another 20 are known to authorities only by their internet names and remain at large. Authorities have arrested people in 13 other countries Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hungary, Kenya, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland, but some of those were arrested on local rather than the US charges. At a news conference at the Justice Department, the attorney general called the criminal activity a “nightmare for the children” and said that some of the children featured in the images and videos were just infants. In many cases, the children being victimised were in obvious, and intentional, pain – just as the rules for one area of the bulletin board mandated, the attorney general said. Napolitano said the amount of child abuse material swapped by participants in the network was massive, the equivalent to 16,000 DVDs. To conceal their conduct, members used screen names rather than actual names and accessed the bulletin board via proxy servers, with internet traffic routed through other computers to disguise a user’s location, according to the court papers. Participants were required to continually upload images of child sexual abuse to maintain their membership. Participants who molested children and created new images of child abuse were placed in a “Super VIP” category that gave them access to the entire quantity of child abuse on the bulletin board, the court papers stated. A “super hardcore” section of the bulletin board was limited to posts showing adults having violent sexual intercourse with “very young kids” subjected to physical and sexual abuse.

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Famine is spreading in Somalia, says UN The UN has declared famine in three more regions in Somalia and calls on Somalis everywhere to pull together Mark Tran

Guardian Global Development Another three regions in Somalia [http://tinyurl.com/4s6973] are in famine [http://tinyurl.com/5sz9yhj], the UN declared Wednesday [http://tinyurl.com/3fj6ld8] as it warned that the international humanitrian response to the crisis has been inadequate. The UN said the prevalence of acute malnutrition and rates of crude mortality surpassed the famine thresholds in areas of Middle Shabelle, the Afgoye corridor refugee settlement and internally displaced communities in Mogadishu, the capital. The UN last month said two other regions in southern Somalia — Bakool and Lower Shabelle — were suffering from famine, defined as when acute malnutrition exceeds 30% and when the death rate exceeds two per 10,000 a day. About 450,000 people live in Somalia’s famine zones, said Grainne Moloney, chief technical adviser for the UN’s food security and nutrition analysis unit. The UN’s food arm, the Food and Agriculture Organisation [http://tinyurl.com/og3kk] (FAO), said famine is likely to spread across all regions of Somalia’s south in the next four to six weeks, with famine conditions likely to last until December. A humanitarian emergency exists across all other regions of southern Somalia, and there have already been tens of thousands, according to the UN. “The current humanitarian response remains inadequate, due in part to ongoing access restrictions and difficulties in scaling‐up emergency assistance programmess, as well as funding gaps,” said the UN’s famine early warning system network. As a result, famine is expected to spread across all regions of the south in the coming four to six weeks and is likely to persist until at least December 2011. Continued efforts to implement an immediate, large scale, and comprehensive response are needed.” Aid efforts have been hampered in the south [http:// tinyurl.com/3gg6mz4] as elements of al-Shabaab, the Islamist insurgents, have refused access to western relief agencies. Throughout Somalia, 3.7 million people are in crisis, with 3.2 million people in need of immediate, lifesaving assistance, 2.8 million of whom are in the south. A senior UN official today appealed to all Somalis, both inside and outside the country, to work together to support the peace process and alleviate the plight of those suffering from guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

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famine. “This is a time of great crisis, but also of rare opportunity. It is a time for everyone to pull together to help those suffering and to work towards a better future for all,” Augustine Mahiga, the UN special representative for Somalia, said in a letter to the Somali diaspora [http://tinyurl.com/3em4jg7]. “I appeal to all those who are able – Somalis and the international community alike – to give as much as they can during this holy month (Ramadan) to feed the hungry, heal the sick and prevent the

famine spreading further.” Mahiga noted that one of the contributing factors to the famine has been the fighting in the country and he criticised extremists for preventing the movement of people from the worst-hit areas. “We call for the humanitarian agencies to be given unhindered access to all areas to provide desperately needed help,” he said.

Sellafield Mox nuclear fuel plant to close The mixed-oxide fuel plant will be shut as a consequence of the Fukushima incident, with the loss of about 600 jobs Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent

The Mox nuclear fuel plant at Sellafield [http://tinyurl.com/ 3usskcs] was closed on Wednesday , with the loss of around 600 jobs. The closure is a consequence of the Fukushima incident in Japan [http://tinyurl.com/47yvk85] in March, which has closed down much of the nuclear industry there and led to a rethink of nuclear power [http://tinyurl.com/4wf7t5] around the world. But the government said the move had “no implications” for the UK’s plans for new nuclear reactors. Workers at the plant were told on Wednesday morning that there was “considerable scope” for them to be re-employed in other parts of the Sellafield complex. It will take several months for the plant to close fully. The west Cumbrian mixed-oxide fuel plant has cost the taxpayer £1.4bn since it was commissioned in the early 1990s. The plant, operated by the government-owned Nuclear Decommissioning Authority [http://tinyurl.com/3gwdo8l] (NDA), was set up to create mixed-oxide fuel for use in nuclear power plants, with its chief customers the Japanese nuclear industry, including the Fukushima complex. The plant was built in 1996 and became operational in 2001. The NDA denied there were any repercussions for the troubled Thorp reprocessing plant [http://tinyurl.com/

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Page 10 G24 Top stories 3haxsrx], although Thorp is also involved in generating Mox fuel, which is made from plutonium and uranium. Tony Fountain, chief executive of the NDA, told workers on Wednesday morning: “The reason for this [closure] is directly related to the tragic events in Japan [http://tinyurl.com/ 5ypuzm] following the tsunami and its ongoing impact on the power markets. As a consequence we no longer have a customer for this facility, or funding.” He admitted that the plant had suffered “many years of disappointing performance” that has been funded by the taxpayer. He said the key to attempts to save the plant in recent years had been the commitment of Japanese utilities to reusing nuclear fuel, and their support for the UK as a “centre of excellence”. But with the crisis in the Japanese nuclear industry, that route is no longer viable. Fountain said: “The Hamaoka plant, owned by Chubu, the intended recipient of the first fuel, is currently closed awaiting extensive reinforcement work [http://tinyurl.com/67gnrud]. Following Chubu, Tepco [Tokyo Electric Power Company] were destined to take 50% of the plant output and they as owner of the Fukushima plants are clearly facing the most extreme challenges.” Speculation about the future of the plant has been rife for months, as it became clear that the Japanese nuclear industry was unlikely to recover after Fukushima. The NDA said: “[We have] concluded that in order to ensure that the UK taxpayer does not carry a future financial burden from [Sellafield Mox plant] that the only reasonable course of action is to close [the plant] at the earliest practical opportunity.” The NDA said it would continue to store Japanese plutonium safely, and “further develop discussions with the Japanese customers on a responsible approach to support the Japanese utilities’ policy for the reuse of their material”. The government insisted that the closure of the Sellafield Mox plant had “no implications” for the proposed construction of several new nuclear power stations in the UK. Any such new nuclear power plants would be unlikely to be of the kind that could use Mox as a fuel, because the enormous costs involved in such reprocessing make it uneconomic to do so. However, the government in a recent consultation held open the proposal that a new plant using Mox as fuel could be built, even though industry experts say the possibility of a company wishing to build such a plant are remote. Another question is whether the closure will prompt NDA to close the troubled Thorp reprocessing plant as well. The NDA denied that it was considering closing Thorp, and said the two cases were “unrelated” and that the business case for Thorp, which produces plutonium from other nuclear waste, contined to be strong. However, the Thorp plant was constructed on the same premise as the Sellafield Mox plant — that there would be a market for reprocessed fuels to be used in nuclear reactors. That market has proved extremely small — Japan has been the only customer — and the demise of the Japanese nuclear industry has closed down the market altogether. New nuclear plants, such as the fleet of new reactors the government is hoping that European power utilities such as France’s EDF and Germany’s RWE will want to build in this country, will not use Mox or plutonium. The government’s suggestion that another reactor could be guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

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built in the UK that would use Mox as fuel was greeted with extreme scepticism by nuclear industry experts. They said any replacement Mox processing plant would be “another white elephant” that would cost the UK taxpayer billions but have little or no market for its products. Industry experts noted, however, that the government has an interest in continuing to insist that Mox is still viable. If ministers admitted that Mox was not viable, the government would be forced to acknowledge that the hundreds of millions of pounds worth of plutonium that are stored here would have to be recognised as a liability on government balance sheets. However the pretence that another Mox plant may be built allows the plutonium to be reckoned a zero-value asset. Labour MP Jamie Reed, whose Copeland constituency includes Sellafield, called on the government to lay out details of a potential plan to build a new Mox plant at the site. He said: “It is now absolutely essential that the new Mox plant is brought forward as quickly as possible. The market for Mox fuel exists and is growing, our plutonium disposition strategy relies upon such a facility and the industry requires it.” He warned that “gleeful vultures” would seize upon the decision to close the plant and argue against the “critical national need for new Mox plant”. Green groups Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth said the move showed nuclear power did not make economic sense. Friends of the Earth’s policy and campaigns director, Craig Bennett, said: “Yet again taxpayers are footing the bill for the Alice in Wonderland economics of the nuclear industry. This money could have been spent developing the UK’s vast renewable energy [http://tinyurl.com/5jngcv] potential, creating new green jobs and business opportunities. This announcement will be a tremendous blow to the hundreds of people that work at the plant — we hope their expertise can be redeployed to help safeguard us all from the nuclear industry’s existing legacy of radioactive waste.”

Cocaine worth £300m found on luxury yacht in Southampton Record haul discovered after pleasure cruiser is searched in docks as separate drugs ring jailed in London for similar plot Vikram Dodd, crime correspondent

Two massive consignments of cocaine bound for Britain’s streets have been seized in operations by the police [http:// tinyurl.com/yfo7a7s] and UK border agency. The Home Office said the discovery of 1.2 tonnes of cocaine hidden aboard a pleasure cruiser at Southampton was a record haul in the United Kingdom. In London, members of a smuggling ring were jailed over a separate conspiracy which saw a tonne of cocaine grabbed off the Spanish coast after an operation spearheaded by the Metropolitan police. Scotland Yard believes the jailing is the final link in taking out virtually the entire international network, which involved drug dealers in London who bought a boat in Canada, then shipped the drugs [http://tinyurl.com/clmd64] from South America, through the Caribbean, on to Spain, and eventually into the UK.

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But experts in drugs policy warned the massive seizures, while examples of good work by UK law enforcement, would make little difference to the price of cocaine or its availability on the streets. The seizure of £300m worth of drugs from the pleasure cruiser at Southampton docks followed an international operation. Once the vessel was seized it took six days of searching of the 65ft craft for investigators to find the cocaine. Six people have been arrested. The drugs, with a 90% purity, are believed to have come from Venezuela. Brodie Clark, head of the UKBA said: “It’s a major seizure. It’s about serious crime [http://tinyurl.com/5t8755], it’s about major criminal disruption.” At the end of the Scotland Yard case, two members of the British end of another drugs ring were sentenced for their part in a drugs network which was trying to smuggle one tonne of cocaine into the UK in December 2009 aboard a ship called the Destiny Empress. The breakthrough came when police in London, investigating two seemingly mid-level drug dealers, raided a west London home, during which a detective noticed a piece of paper in their bin. It was a receipt for about £200,000 worth of work on a boat moored in Nova Scotia, Canada. The boat was a former Canadian coastguard vessel which was being refurbished and converted to hide the drugs. It was seized by the Spanish navy 200 miles off the Iberian coast. Fourteen people have been convicted in Britain, and sentenced to a total of 79 years, and trials are still to take place in Spain. Detective Inspector Steve Ellen said: “It’s rare to take out the whole network.” He said some involved were “clean skins”, with no record of involvement in drugs or criminality. Harry Shapiro of the charity Drugscope said the massive seizures were unlikely to have had much effect on the ability of cocaine users to buy the class A drug. He said: “No one is reporting a cocaine drought. “Everyone knows you can’t stamp out drug use and stop drugs getting in, it’s always going to be an exercise in damage limitation. The role of the authorities is to do whatever they can.” The Serious and Organised Crime Agency estimates that 25-30 tonnes of cocaine is smuggled into the UK every year, meaning the record seizure off the waters of Southampton represents 4% of the annual amount.The average price of a gramme of cocaine sold on the streets is £60 to £70, and one way dealers can compensate for a drop in supply is by cutting the purity. A report from MPs on the home affairs committee in 2010 found that purity levels had dropped, meaning one gramme could contain just 5% pure cocaine. Cocaine is the second most popular drug in the UK, with its use having trebled in the last decade.

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