Pakistan: Army ordered to hit back


Corps commanders discuss latest US strategy

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Army has been ordered to retaliate against any action by foreign troops inside the country, Geo News quoted ISPR spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas as saying on Thursday night.

Shakil Shaikh adds from Islamabad: Pakistan’s military commanders resolved to defend the country’s borders without allowing any external forces to conduct operations inside Pakistan.

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Jury decides that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law

The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.

Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a “lawful excuse” to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of “lawful excuse” under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.

The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain’s green agenda and could encourage further direct action.

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Cord blood bank ‘will save lives’

Eva was saved by a donation of cord blood like that donated by baby Darcey

A scheme to store blood taken from the umbilical cords of newborns and use it to save lives has been launched.

Cord blood, like bone marrow, can help patients survive deadly diseases such as leukaemia.

For now, the Anthony Nolan Trust Cord Blood Bank can take cord blood at just one hospital, with plans for more UK collection centres.

Even so, the charity predicted the 50,000 expected donations over the next five years would prevent many deaths.

Cord blood provides a way to give a patient the ability to produce new blood cells after this has been lost through illness or aggressive treatment.

As well as patients with blood cancers, those with sickle cell disease and immune problems could benefit.

The thing about cord blood is that it’s just thrown away – but it could save someone’s life
Mark Behan
parent of cord blood patient

It contains potent “stem cells“, which, if placed back into the bone marrow, can start producing the right sort of cells.

The umbilical cord is normally thrown away after birth, so, unlike bone marrow donation, there is no discomfort or risk to the donor.

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Tens of thousands to be laid off every week as UK falls into recession

MPC member warns of ‘horrible surprise’
Gloomy assessment sends London shares falling

Tens of thousands of people could be laid off every week in the run-up to Christmas as the UK economy falls into recession, David Blanchflower of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee warned today.

Blanchflower told MPs to expect “a large increase in unemployment”, and warned that a “horrible surprise” could be just around the corner. The gloomy assessment sent shares in London falling, and also weakened sterling yet further against the dollar.

Blanchflower, who has repeatedly tried and failed in recent months to persuade the MPC to cut interest rates, predicted that the unemployment count will rise by 60,000 a month for several months in a row, probably starting in October.

“I believe we will see a deeper economic decline than other people think,” Blanchflower told the Treasury select committee, ruling out the possibility that the UK GDP will not shrink.

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Recession forecast for Germany, Spain and UK

Germany, the UK and Spain all face recessions this year, the European Commission forecast yesterday, dashing finally any remaining hopes that Europe would avoid a sharp economic downturn. France and Italy would fare little better, it said.

The steep downward revisions in growth forecasts by the European Union’s executive arm showed it had accepted that tumbling business and consumer confidence was hitting economic activity – even though the European economy had been “generally sound” prior to the credit crisis .

Joaquin Almunia, economics and monetary affairs commissioner, described the environment as “difficult and uncertain”. As well as financial turmoil and a near doubling of oil prices over the past year, significant housing market corrections in some countries were taking their toll, he said.

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Park attendants ordered to interrogate adults spotted without children


Telford Town Park in Shropshire, where council workers have been told to confront lone adults in the park to check if they are paedophiles

Park wardens have been ordered to stop and interrogate anyone who is not accompanied by children.

The visitors who are quizzed have to explain their presence and risk being thrown out or reported to police if their answers are not satisfactory.

The policy has been introduced at Telford Town Park in Shropshire. The council which manages the 420-acre area says it is a ‘commonsense approach’ aimed at safeguarding children.

But park users accused it of ‘authoritarian madness’ and said the ruling risked panicking parents about the dangers faced from potential paedophiles.

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Britain is facing its worst harvest for at least 40 years

Britain is facing its worst harvest for at least 40 years as 30 per cent of the country’s grain lies in waterlogged or sodden ground. Hilary Benn, the Rural Affairs Secretary, is expected to give the go-ahead today for farmers to salvage what is left of their crops by using heavy machinery on wet fields.

European Union rules ban farmers from using combine harvesters on wet land to protect soil quality. Those who flout the ban can be prosecuted. The exemption is expected to last for about three weeks.

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Home sales fall to one a week, says Rics


Estate agents are recording the lowest level of sales since 1978. Photo: Getty

Estate agents are selling an average of just one home a week as the number of sales hits a 30-year low, according to a report today.

The latest monthly snapshot of the housing market by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said it had stalled in August as a result of a continued lack of finance for mortgages and uncertainty over stamp duty.

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Shoppers to use fingerprints or eye scans to pay for goods


Barclaycard has announced it is investing a seven-figure sum in “contactless payment” technology Photo: Getty Images

The futuristic systems, like those used by Tom Cruise in the science fiction film Minority Report, are being developed by scientists for Barclaycard.

The company has announced it is investing a seven-figure sum in “contactless payment” technology.

This allows customers to use everyday items they carry around with them – such as mobile phones, key fobs or even their eyes or fingerprints – to make payments.

It means shoppers will no longer have to rely on cards.

Barclaycard, which is part of Barclays, has already introduced a new-style cash machine in the United Arab Emirates enabling people to use their fingerprints to withdraw money and shoppers in the UK may soon be able to use the same technology.

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Sold for £20: just two of India’s million stolen children

In a country with 11 million abandoned children, the fate of those from loving homes who are kidnapped to order goes unnoticed. Many are sold for adoption, often to Westerners; others are trafficked into slavery or the sex trade – yet the police rarely care. Gethin Chamberlain in Delhi reports


Sunita holds up a picture of her son, Rajesh, who was 14 when he disappeared from near their home in Nebsarai Village, south Delhi, last year. Photograph: Gethin Chamberlain

Rajesh was 14 when he disappeared. Beneath a mop of jet black hair, his clear brown eyes glance sideways out of the picture that is all his family have left of him.

Read moreSold for £20: just two of India’s million stolen children