Archive for January 19, 2012


A MAN has appeared in court charged with stealing drain covers in Redditch.

Graham Andrew Leith, aged 26, of High Street, Studley, Warwickshire, was charged with stealing drain covers to the value of £4,250, belonging to Worcestershire County Council.

He appeared before Redditch magistrates on Wednesday, January 18, and was remanded on conditional bail to reappear at the same court on February 6.

Police recovered 20 drain covers from a van in the Brockhill area of Redditch in the early hours of Tuesday, January 17

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THE debate over who owns Saddam Hussein’s buttock has led to a man being arrested this morning.

Former SAS soldier Nigel Ely has been asked by the Iraqi Government to return the bronze memento that he helped topple from Saddam’s statue to mark Iraq’s liberation on 2003.

The 53-year-old soldier, known as Spud, managed to sneak it out of the country by saying that it was vehicle armour and paid £385 excess baggage to get it to the UK.

He then kept it at his Preston-on-Wye home and has been trying to sell the iconic bronze piece to raise thousands of pounds to help injured ex-servicemen in Britain and the USA.

But now the Iraqi Government is claiming that it is part of the “country’s antiquity” and demanding that Nigel returns it or faces possible theft charges.

“It’s absolutely amazing and I feel gobsmacked,” said Nigel.

“I had a message from Scotland Yard, which came from the Iraqi Embassy in London and initiated from Baghdad, saying that I stole the bronze piece and they wanted it back.

“I had to go to Derby to be interviewed and the police wanted to take the bronze, but I told them that I had a potential buyer for it.”

Nigel is the co-founder of Trebletap, a specialist company based in Derby that promotes “war relic art”, and has turned Saddam’s buttock into an art work.

This, he claims, means that he is the legal owner.

“When I got the piece, it was just scrap metal,” said Nigel.

Mr Ely has since said that director Jim Thorpe was arrested this morning for effectively “hiding Saddam’s buttock.”

“My argument is that was the Americans who gave it me and was under American control as Iraq didn’t have a government.”

Derbyshire Constabulary spokesman Jill Warden confirmed that a 66-year-old man was arrested this morning on suspicion of breaching Section 8 of the Iraqi Sanctions Order 2003 – illegally removing Iraqi cultural property – and will be questioned later today.

RESIDENTS at a Bromsgrove care home have been toasting the opening of their new private pub.

Regents Court Care Home, in Stourbridge Road, has transformed one of its dining rooms into a traditional tavern, complete with a bar, optics, mini juke box and pub-style table and chairs.

The pub gives residents the chance to take a trip down memory lane by tasting traditional pub grub like a ploughman’s lunch or enjoying a favourite tipple.

The project has been set up with part of a £3,750 grant from Worcester Dementia Standard (WDS).

Home administrator Claire Cards said: “Many of our residents are no longer able to get out to the pub like they used to when they were younger – so we thought we would bring the pub to them.

“We have a cassette juke box loaded with songs from the 40s and 50s and for the opening night female staff dressed as old-style serving wenches with the men in flat caps and waistcoats.

“The pub is all about helping residents reminisce and socialise in a different environment.”

The rest of the WDS grant has been used for improvement to a snoozelum at the care home – a room decorated and equipped to resemble a beach scene, with mood lighting, soothing sounds, a fish tank, a giant bean bags for relaxing and clouds painted on the ceiling.

An upstairs corridor has also been decorated with a nature theme, including forest-scene wallpaper.

Jack Dromey, Labour MP, Receives Slap On Wrists From Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for”serious” failure to declare his work for the Unite union £57,867 payments.

Jack Dromey

Jack Dromey Has Repeatedly Apologised For Violating The Standards And Privileges Rules

Labour frontbencher Jack Dromey made a “serious” failure to declare his work for the Unite union when he became an MP, according to the Commons watchdog the Standards and Privileges committee.

However standards commissioner John Lydon said any breaches were “not intentional”, concluding: “We acknowledge Dromey’s co-operation with the inquiry and his immediate and repeated apology.”

The committee acknowledged the Labour MP was a “new and inexperienced member” when he failed to declare money he got from work with the union Unite.

The MP will apologise in parliament and has updated registers to show he received £30,000 after leaving his position as Deputy General Secretary of Unite to become a member of parliament and a further £27,867 payment.

In a letter to Lydon, Dromey said he accepted he was at fault and “took steps to remedy the situation” as soon as possible.

The light slap on the wrist will come as a relief to the shadow housing minister, who was investigated after a complaint by Tory MP Andrew Bridgen.

In his original letter Bridgen claimed: “As a former Labour party treasurer and with a wife, Harriet Harman, who has been an MP since 1982 Mr Dromey would have been fully aware of the need to register payments he was receiving from Unite.”

Making his personal statement to the Commons, Dromey said: “I would like to make an apology to the House.

“A report has been published by the Standards and Privileges Committee following an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

“I failed to update in time my initial registration in respect of payments received from my previous employer during the months of June to October 2010. This I have now done.

“I also failed to declare an interest in speaking in two debates on June 16, 2010 and September 16, 2010.

“Notwithstanding that the commissioner and the committee noted that the breaches were unintentional, I want to apologise unreservedly to the House and I will in future fully abide by the rules of the House.”

Commenting Bridgen said: “Once again, Labour have been found guilty of putting the vested interest of the trade unions ahead of the interest of the British people.

“Ed Miliband can talk all he likes about taking on the unions, but unless he publicly reprimands his Shadow Minister’s misconduct, people will see him for what he is – weak and in the pockets of his union paymasters.”

Body parts found under Hollywoood Sign

More body parts have been discovered close to where hikers stumbled across a severed human head along a trail below the famed Hollywood sign. Two human feet and two hands were found on Wednesday afternoon after Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) launched a murder inquiry. The head, which is believed to belong to a male between 40 and 60 years old and of ‘undetermined’ ethnicity, was found in a bag by two women on Tuesday at 2.30pm (local time) after their dogs started playing around in some shrubbery along the Hollywood Hills hiking trail. Both hands and feet were found within a 50-yard radius of the head and are believed to belong to the decapitated body, the LAPD said. Detectives believe the victim – whose identity still remains a mystery – was killed elsewhere before the perpetrator dumped the body parts near the iconic sign. Police said wild animals roaming in the Canyon Drive area may have moved the body parts.

Upon making the grim discovery, the pair alerted the Canyon Park rangers, who then notified the police. According to police, the murder may have occurred recently due to the “absence of animal bites and decay”.

“Two of the dogs began to play with the bag and what appeared to be an object. While the dogs were playing with it, at some point the object came out of the bag and they discovered that it was a head — a severed head,” Sergeant Mitzi Fierro told KCAL-TV. Detectives from Los Angeles Police Robbery and Homicide Division are seeking help from the Los Angeles County coroner in order to identify the victim through dental records.

Body parts found under Hollywoood Sign

More body parts have been discovered close to where hikers stumbled across a severed human head along a trail below the famed Hollywood sign.
Two human feet and two hands were found on Wednesday afternoon after Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) launched a murder inquiry.
The head, which is believed to belong to a male between 40 and 60 years old and of ‘undetermined’ ethnicity, was found in a bag by two women on Tuesday at 2.30pm (local time) after their dogs started playing around in some shrubbery along the Hollywood Hills hiking trail.
Both hands and feet were found within a 50-yard radius of the head and are believed to belong to the decapitated body, the LAPD said.
Detectives believe the victim – whose identity still remains a mystery – was killed elsewhere before the perpetrator dumped the body parts near the iconic sign.
Police said wild animals roaming in the Canyon Drive area may have moved the body parts.

Upon making the grim discovery, the pair alerted the Canyon Park rangers, who then notified the police.
According to police, the murder may have occurred recently due to the “absence of animal bites and decay”.

“Two of the dogs began to play with the bag and what appeared to be an object. While the dogs were playing with it, at some point the object came out of the bag and they discovered that it was a head — a severed head,” Sergeant Mitzi Fierro told KCAL-TV.
Detectives from Los Angeles Police Robbery and Homicide Division are seeking help from the Los Angeles County coroner in order to identify the victim through dental records.

Two Men Jailed For Walsall Attempt Robbery

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Two men have been sent to prison after being found guilty of attempting to rob an elderly female shopkeeper with an imitation firearm in Walsall.

Dominic Hawkins aged 21 from Walsall was sentenced to 10 years at Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday 18 January) and Julian Downes aged 20 from Birmingham, was sentenced to six years.

Both had been found guilty of attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.

Theis is in relation to an incident at LS Bains Store in Lord Street, Palfrey, Walsall on August 13 2011. The two men, wearing masks and carrying an imitation firearm, threatened a 71 year old woman who was working in the shop at the time. They snatched a necklace from round her neck and attempted to steal money from the till, before being disturbed by other family members who came to see what was going on. The two then dropped the necklace and fled.

They were arrested by police the day after.

Hawkins is shown on left, Downes on right

Witness Appeal After Girl Grabbed In Worcester

Police are appealing for witnesses after a schoolgirl was subjected to an attempted abduction in the Dines Green area of Worcester on Monday (16 January).

Some time between 4.45pm and 5pm, the girl, who is a pupil of Dines Green Primary School, was approached on the junction of Tudor Way and Drake Avenue as she made her way home.

A man grabbed her and attempted to drag her towards a car but the girl managed to break free and run off.

A man was arrested in Worcester yesterday in relation to the incident and remains in custody at Worcester Police Station being questioned by detectives.

Detective Inspector Richard Rees, who is leading the investigation, said: “I would like to reassure the local community in Dines Green that we are treating this as a serious incident and I have a team of detectives working on it.

“Uniformed officers from the local policing team continue to patrol the area around Dines Green Primary School to provide reassurance to residents and parents in particular.

“I am making an appeal for anyone who saw anything out of ordinary in the Tudor Way-Drake Avenue area – perhaps an unusual vehicle or someone acting strangely – to contact us straight away.

“It might seem something insignificant to you, but it could be important to our investigations.”

DI Rees can be contacted at West Mercia Police via the non-emergency number 101 or information can be passed on anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

 Letter of Rejection to Oxford

ht facebook elly nowell thg 120118 wblog Student Pens Letter of Rejection to Oxford

Every year, thousands of students are rejected from Oxford, one of the most elite universities in the world. But how many times has Oxford been rejected by a student? The answer is at least once, thanks to Elly Nowell.

“I very much regret to inform you that I will be withdrawing my application,” Nowell, 19, wrote to Oxford’s Magdalen College in a rejection letter that parodied the ones universities send to students who are not admitted.

“I realise you may be disappointed by this decision,” Nowell continued, “but you were in competition with many fantastic universities and following your interview I am afraid you do not quite meet the standard of the universities I will be considering.”

Nowell, of Winchester, Hampshire, said that the school’s interview process made her feel like “the only atheist in a gigantic monastery.”

In the letter, she criticized the school’s choice to hold interviews in “grand formal settings” and the gap she perceived between “minorities and white middle class students” at the school.

A spokesperson for the college confirmed  Nowell had rescinded her application and called it a “non-story.”

Last year, 17,000 people applied for a seat at Oxford. Of that number, only a fraction– 3,200– were admitted.

As for Nowell? According to her Facebook, she’s hoping to attend University College London.

“UCL was the first higher education institution in England to accept students of any race or religious or political belief,” she wrote on her page.

UK admits using fake rock to spy on Russians

Russian TV first reported the fake rock allegations five years ago

Britain has admitted for the first time that it was caught spying when Russia exposed its use of a fake rock in Moscow to conceal electronic equipment.

Russia made the allegations in January 2006, but Britain has not publicly accepted the claims until now.

Jonathan Powell, then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s chief of staff, told a BBC documentary it was “embarrassing”, but “they had us bang to rights”.

He added: “Clearly they had known about it for some time.”

They had been “saving it up for a political purpose”, he said.

The story was first aired on Russian television, which ran a report showing how the rock contained electronic equipment and had been used by British diplomats to receive and transmit information.

It showed a video of a man walking along the pavement of a Moscow street, slowing his pace, glancing at a rock and slowing down, then picking up his pace. Next the camera films another man, who walks by and picks up the rock.

The Russian security service, the FSB, linked the rock with allegations that British security services were making covert payments to pro-democracy and human rights groups.

Shortly afterwards, then President Vladimir Putin introduced a law restricting non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from getting funding from foreign governments. Many closed down as a result.

“We have seen attempts by the secret services to make use of NGOs. NGOs have been financed through secret service channels. No-one can deny that this money stinks,” said Mr Putin.

Tony Brenton

All of our activities with the NGOs were completely above board”

“This law has been adopted to stop foreign powers interfering in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation.”

“All of our activities with the NGOs were completely above board,” said Britain’s ambassador in Moscow at the time, Tony Brenton.

“They were on our website, the sums of money, the projects. All of that was completely public.”

One human rights group accused of receiving secret payments took the FSB to court for slander but lost.

“They said there was no slander and threw out the case,” said Lyudmila Alexeyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group.

The FSB successfully argued that the allegations did not represent slander as the secret payments showed the Moscow Helsinki Group was a “serious organisation”.

The documentary series, Putin, Russia and the West, is on BBC Two on Thursdays at 21:00 GMT from 19 January 2012. Watch online afterwards via iPlayer (UK only) at the above link.