Tuesday, 16 September 2014
The deadly shooting at a court building in Copenhagen was the result of "a family dispute", Danish police say.
One person was shot dead and another wounded when a man reportedly opened fire inside the bailiff's court in the city centre.
According to witnesses, five or six shots were fired. A man was later arrested and a sawn-off shotgun recovered at the scene.
The Danish judges' association is urging action to improve security.
A preliminary custody hearing was taking place in the court when the shooting broke out at about 10:00 (08:00 GMT) Danish media reported.
Danish police told the BBC's Malcolm Brabant that the suspect is the maternal grandfather of the child involved in the case.
The 31-year-old father of the child was shot and critically injured, and his 57-year-old lawyer was killed, they said.
"It is a family tragedy, not an attack on the court or the legal system," said Soeren Axelsen, who runs the Copenhagen City Court.
Both victims were shot inside the court, which handles family-related cases as well as debts and bankruptcy, the official said.
The first reportedly died at the scene and the second was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
One witness told reporters that the gunman fled the court and was later arrested in a street beside the city hall.
The judges' association told our correspondent they were alarmed that the man managed to smuggle the weapon into the building, and had been warning about this type of security incident for years.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is feeling "pretty sick" in hospital as he undergoes testing for tumours in his abdomen and lungs, he has told a local newspaper columnist.
Mr Ford, who withdrew from his re-election campaign last week, told the Toronto Sun doctors went "into my lungs" to take "another biopsy".
Mr Ford has been diagnosed with an abdominal tumour.
His brother Councillor Doug Ford has replaced him on the 27 October ballot.
Doug Ford has not yet held an official campaign event, saying he wants to spend time with family while his brother is in hospital.
At the same time as he withdrew from the mayoral election, Rob Ford's name was added to the ballot papers to run for councillor in his old constituency of Ward 2 in Toronto's Etobicoke North area, signalling his desire to remain a political force in the city.
Rob Ford's sudden announcement of his illness and subsequent withdrawal from the race presented a remarkable turn in a tumultuous tenure in the city hall of Canada's largest city.
Over the past year, Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine while in office, then did a month-long stint in rehab. He resisted pressure to resign even as the city council stripped him of most of his budget and authority.
Rob Ford continued to run for re-election until last week, when he was brought to hospital after complaining of pain in his abdomen.
He has been in hospital since and is reportedly waiting on results from a biopsy test.
"I'm feeling pretty sick," he told the Sun's Joe Warmington, who reported the mayor sounded "horrible" and was "coughing and hacking and talking with a heavy breath".
The mayor said he was trying to get some work done, ringing constituents.
"It's pretty tricky right now," Mr Ford said regarding his health, saying he hoped to recover and go back to "helping people" as councillor.
It remains to be seen whether Doug Ford can pick up his brother's support.
Other top contenders in the race are former NDP MP Olivia Chow and businessman and former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party John Tory.
The US space agency Nasa has picked the companies it hopes can take the country's astronauts back into space.
It is awarding up $6.2bn to the Boeing and SpaceX firms, to help them finish the development of new crew capsules.
Since the space shuttles were retired in 2011, the Americans have relied on Russia and its Soyuz vehicles to get to the International Space Station.
Boeing and SpaceX should have their seven-person crew ships ready to take over the role by late 2017.
Disagreements over Moscow's actions in Ukraine have made the current Soyuz arrangement increasingly unpalatable for Washington.
So has the price per flight now being charged - at $70m (£43m) per US astronaut seat. American officials regard this as excessive.
The Obama administration charged Nasa in 2010 with the job of "seeding" indigenous, competing companies to restore American capability.
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Kathy LeudersCommercial crew programme managerThe companies proposed the value within which they were able to do the work and the government accepted that”
Since then, the agency has released nearly $1.5bn in funding, with most of this money going to Boeing in Texas, California's SpaceX and a third firm - the Colorado-based Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC).
Ideally, the agency would have liked to continue funding all three into the final phase of its commercial crew programme, but its budget is too stretched.
It has meant Nasa having to pick favourites.
The Boeing Corporation is going to receive a fixed-price Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCtCap) contract worth up to $4.2bn.
SpaceX will get a contract for a lesser amount - $2.6bn.
Both companies must meet specified technical milestones to pick up what will be staged payments.
"From day one, the Obama administration has made it clear that the greatest nation on Earth should not be dependent on other nations to get into space," Nasa Administrator Charlie Bolden told reporters.
"Thanks to the leadership of President Obama and the hard work of our Nasa and industry teams, today we are one step closer to launching our astronauts from US soil on American spacecraft and ending the nation's sole reliance on Russia by 2017."
For Boeing, the new money should take its CST-100 capsule through final development and safety certification.
Part of the contract also includes fees for initial crewed flights, up to a maximum of six.
The CST-100 is designed to launch into orbit atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and return to Earth with the assistance of a heat shield and parachutes to a land location.
Superficially, there are similarities with the Apollo system, but the new Boeing ship's technologies are, of course, all state-of-the-art.
Many people thought SpaceX might grab a larger tranche of the funding on offer.
It already operates a rocket and capsule system in an unmanned configuration to take cargo to the ISS, and was working to upgrade the design to accommodate the more stringent assurance levels demanded of human spaceflight.
But SpaceX is unlikely to be deterred by getting second billing. It is committed to completing development of its man-rated Dragon capsule.
And it believes that its system will eventually turn out to be much cheaper than the one coming from the more well-established Boeing Corporation.
This could put the California company in a very strong position to win commercial launch contracts further down the road.
The $2.6bn CCtCap contact it is due to receive also covers a certification process and initial crewed missions - again, up to six.
In news conferences held by Nasa to announce the awards, reporters repeatedly pressed agency officials to explain why the sum offered to Boeing was so much larger than the one to SpaceX.
Those officials declined, stating the procurement process was continuing and that it would be inappropriate at this stage to discuss such matters.
But Kathy Leuders, the manager for the commercial crew programme, remarked: "The companies proposed the value within which they were able to do the work and the government accepted that."
The big loser in this final round of Nasa's commercial crew programme is the Sierra Nevada Corporation. It will get no CCtCap support.
But SNC has repeatedly said that its vision is not a hostage to Nasa patronage.
It has already booked a rocket to launch an unmanned demonstration flight of its proposed crew vehicle, which stands out for not being a conical capsule.
Known as the Dream Chaser, this ship looks like a mini space shuttle. And just like the famous winged orbiters, it would glide back to Earth to land on a runway.
SNC has spent a lot of time building partnerships with other companies and with foreign space agencies.
A village in Shropshire would become the exact centre of the UK if Scotland became independent, Ordnance Survey (OS) has calculated.
Scottish independence is the subject of a referendum on Thursday.
OS said the centre of Great Britain had been "hotly disputed" for decades, but for the first time it had calculated the results for the UK as a whole.
It said a field near High Ercall would become the centre if Scotland became independent.
The field south of Shawbury is at grid reference 357767 317879.
With Scotland included the centre point calculated by OS is in the middle of Morecambe Bay, at map coordinates 341575 466760.Balance the UK
The term Great Britain currently refers to England, Scotland, Wales and their collective islands, while the UK also includes Northern Ireland.
"We don't map Northern Ireland, but we got the data and applied it," said Rob Andrews from Ordnance Survey.
He said: "We use the gravitational method of working it out. If you imagine cutting out the whole of the UK with a giant pair of scissors and balancing it on a church spire, it's the balancing point.
"There are other methods, though, which can deliver different results."
Meriden, near Coventry, and Fenny Drayton in Leicestershire both claim to be the geographical centre of England, while Haltwhistle, in Northumberland, and Dunsop Bridge in Lancashire have strong claims to be the centre of Britain depending on which method is used.
An estate agent was sacked after being caught on camera apparently stealing a bar of chocolate while showing a client around a flat.
The outgoing tenant of the flat in Walthamstow, east London, was testing the motion-activated camera, which he intended to use in his new home.
Jon Charter said it felt like "a complete betrayal".
Your Move Sterling & Co said the employee in question no longer worked for them.
The footage, recorded on Friday, shows a viewer walking ahead of the agent, who is at the door of the room where the camera is placed.
The agent is then seen coming back into the room, taking the bar of chocolate and putting it in his coat pocket.
Mr Charter said: "I set up the camera so that they would all be working when we moved to our new house.
"I got alerted by email that there was movement and sound in my flat and it starts recording remotely straight away.
"I then started to watch this and saw the theft. I felt it was a complete betrayal and wondered what else could have happened to others and myself previously."
He said the agent later apologised via text message, claiming that he had been suffering from dizziness and needed the sugar in the chocolate bar.
Manish Somani, director of Your Move Sterling & Co said: "We are very serious about the protection of our reputation and brand.
"Therefore as soon as we were made aware of this incident action was taken and the employee is no longer working for us.
"We have also apologised to both the tenant and landlord for this unfortunate incident. The landlord has fully accepted this apology and the tenant has accepted a payment as a goodwill gesture for both the chocolate bar and any inconvenience caused."
The cost of two new aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy is expected to be almost twice the original estimate, the government is expected to confirm this week.
In the latest budget, the Ministry of Defence is set to estimate the cost of the two ships at £6.2bn.
The department says it is renegotiating the contract to avoid further significant rises.
Six years ago, when the contract was approved, costs were put at £3.65bn.'Financial fiascos'
The defence project is one of the biggest ever undertaken in the UK and has been beset by construction and design delays.
A government source said it had inherited a flawed contract that was now being renegotiated to ensure industry shared the burden of any future rises.
The shadow defence secretary, Labour's Vernon Coaker, said: "This is the latest in a series of financial fiascos in the MoD under David Cameron.
"The defence secretary's claim that he has balanced the MoD books looks increasingly nonsensical. Britain deserves better than this shambolic approach to our nation's defence."
During the course of the project, an order for carrier jump jets - capable of short take-offs and vertical landings - was switched to jets with a longer range that could carry more weapons.
However, in February last year, the MoD decided to revert to the original jets for logistical and financial reasons.
This "U-turn" saw £74m of taxpayers' money go "down the drain", Labour's Margaret Hodge, the chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said in September.
The cross-party committee, which assesses value for money in government spending, has said it still regards the project as "a huge technical and commercial risk" and was not convinced the MoD had it under control.
It said in its report that officials had made basic errors, such as failing to factor in the cost of inflation and VAT.'Advanced negotiations'
Of the latest cost rises, the Ministry of Defence said: "Negotiations between the MoD and the Aircraft Carrier Alliance [the ship-builders] regarding the re-baselining of the Queen Elizabeth carrier programme are at an advanced stage.
"No final decisions have been taken and the department will make an announcement in due course."
Assembly work is taking place on both of the 65,000-tonne carriers at a specially extended dry dock at Rosyth, on the River Forth in Dunfermline.
HMS Queen Elizabeth, which will not be finished until 2016 at the earliest, will be delivered before HMS Prince of Wales.
The Royal Navy says the ships will carry helicopters until 2020, when the fighter jets will become available.
The £6.2bn cost estimate for the project does not include buying the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The MoD says there are expected to be 48 jets, although this has not been confirmed.
The UK currently has only one aircraft carrier - HMS Illustrious - but this cannot be used for strike aircraft, only helicopters. This has led to warnings of a decade-long capability gap.
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Both sides in the Scottish independence referendum debate have seized on a pledge by the three main Westminster parties to devolve more powers.
The pledge, signed by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, also promises equitable sharing of resources and preserving the Barnett funding formula.
The "Yes" campaign described it as an "insult" to voters and asked why it had taken so long to offer.
Better Together said it was "a vision around which Scotland can unite".
In other developments:
- Three new polls, by Opinium for the Daily Telegraph, ICM for the Scotsman, and Survation for the Daily Mail suggested the "No" vote held a slender lead going into the final day of campaigning. With undecided voters excluded, all three polls suggested a lead for No of 52% to 48%.
- The full breakdown of the Opinium poll was 49% for No, 45% for Yes and 6% undecided, while the ICM survey was 45% No, 41% Yes and 14% undecided. The Survation poll had Yes 44%, No 48% and Undecided 8%.
- Former US President Bill Clinton has urged Scots to vote No, saying "Unity with maximum self-determination sends a powerful message to a world torn by identity conflicts".
- About 1,500 pro-independence supporters bearing Saltire flags, badges and blue campaign T-shirts took part in a rally in the heart of Glasgow.
- Labour leader Ed Miliband and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown are on the campaign trail for Better Together. Mr Brown accused the SNP of "perpetrating a lie" about protecting the NHS. Mr Miliband cancelled a walkabout in Edinburgh after being mobbed by pro and anti independence supporters.
- Spain's Europe Minister told the BBC that an independent Scotland would have to wait years to join the European Union. Inigo Mendez de Vigo also claimed during an interview on Newsnight that a post-Yes Scotland would have to adopt the Euro if it was an EU member. The Yes campaign wants to keep sterling, and has insisted that Scotland would be welcomed into the EU after independence.
- The firm which operates Scotland's two nuclear power plants, EDF Energy, has said there is ongoing uncertainty about the impact of independence on the power sector.
- Confidential papers passed to the BBC suggest a radical cost-saving plan will be implemented in the Scottish NHS after the referendum.
- Business leaders have called for unity on Friday regardless of the outcome of the referendum. The Scottish Chambers of Commerce said, whatever the result, the country must work together to drive Scotland forward.
- Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Finance Secretary John Swinney have met apprentices at Steel Engineering in Renfrew. Ms Sturgeon said independence would allow Scotland's economy to grow by securing job creating powers.
- Social media giant Facebook has seen 10 million interactions concerning the Scottish independence referendum in a five-week period.
- Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson has given his backing for a 'Yes' vote on Thursday. His declaration comes more than a week after the group "Footballers for No" spoke out.
The pledge signed by the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem leaders appears on the front of the Daily Record newspaper.
The first part of the agreement promises "extensive new powers" for the Scottish Parliament "delivered by the process and to the timetable agreed" by the three parties.
The second says the leaders agree that "the UK exists to ensure opportunity and security for all by sharing our resources equitably".
The third "categorically states" that the final say on funding for the NHS will lie with the Scottish government "because of the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources, and the powers of the Scottish Parliament to raise revenue".
The Barnett formula is the method used to determine the distribution of public spending around the UK.
However, in an interview with BBC Radio 4's World Tonight programme, Lord Barnett, who set up the system in 1978 when he was chief secretary to the Treasury, said it was "grossly unfair" and repeated his call for it be scrapped.
First Minister Alex Salmond told the BBC's David Dimbleby the plans for more powers for the Scottish Parliament were: "Nothing like home rule, it's nothing like Devo Max, it's not even Devo-plus.
"It is actually an insult to the intelligence of the people of Scotland.
"To re-hash these proposals last gasp in the campaign and hope beyond hope that people'll think it's anything substantial. It is not."
Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander, speaking for Better Together, denied the powers pledge had come too late in the referendum debate.Penultimate day
He said: "Here in Scotland, we have been talking about these powers for many months. What we are saying today is we can have the best of both worlds. We can have a stronger Scottish parliament but with the strength, stability and security of the United Kingdom.
"That pledge, that vow that we can have faster, safer, better change is actually a vision around which Scotland can unite."
He added: "I don't think there's any embarrassment about placing policies on the front page of papers with just days to go. I think the 'Yes' campaign are struggling.
"The economic risks suddenly became very real last week, and at the same time we are offering what I believe most of us here in Scotland want, which is faster, safer and better change."
Mr Alexander dismissed "Yes" campaign claims that independence is the only way to get the government Scotland votes for.
The pledges were first outlined by the former prime minister, Gordon Brown, and endorsed by the three main unionist parties in Scotland.Power play
Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland Political Editor
Perhaps it might help if we took a little look at the pledge of more powers set out by the pro Union parties today.
The one that was trailed last night by Gordon Brown and covered on the telly and the wireless.
Firstly, it would appear to confirm the prime minister's acknowledgement that any notion of deferring the issue of more powers - conceptually if not yet in agreed detail - has been abandoned.
No more talk of settling the question of independence then turning to more powers. The pro-Union parties have seemingly concluded that they must be more upfront, now, about their plans.
On the penultimate day of campaigning ahead of Thursday's referendum, the "Yes" side was focusing on jobs and the NHS, while the "No" side promised change and a "better Britain".
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Finance Secretary John Swinney met apprentices at an engineering firm in Renfrew where they argued that independence would allow Scotland's economy to grow, creating jobs and opportunities.
Ms Sturgeon said: "In just two days' time, polling stations will open and voters across the country will hold Scotland's future in their hands. Independence is our opportunity to build a better future - creating jobs and protecting our NHS.
"Only a 'Yes' vote will ensure we have full powers over job creation - enabling us to create more and better jobs across the country. So instead of almost 40,000 young people leaving Scotland each year as is currently the case, there will be more opportunities for our young people here at home.
"As part of the UK, our NHS budget faces knock-on impacts of the privatisation, cuts and charging agenda that is ripping the health service south of the border to bits. With a 'Yes' vote we can ensure our NHS is protected for future generations by enshrining it in our written constitution."Uncertain economics
Robert Peston, BBC Economic editor
Here is the bad news if you haven't made up your mind whether to vote for Scotland to become independent - economic analysis cannot give you the answer.
That is partly because this dismal science is not capable of giving wholly (and sometimes even partly) accurate forecasts about the future prosperity of nations.
Look at the case of a comparably sized small country, Ireland. A decade ago many economists (and others) saw it as a rip-roaring success, that had become considerably richer on a per-head basis than the UK.
Then three years ago it looked like a total basket case, as its property sector and banks imploded.
Today it can be seen as a model of how a determined small country can reconstruct its economy in adversity, in stark contrast to the inertia in a bigger country such as Italy.
Read more from Robert Peston's blog here.
Speaking at a Better Together campaign event in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown accused the SNP of "perpetrating a lie" about protecting the NHS with independence.
Mr Brown said: "I think people are going to come to the conclusion that the change they really want is to have a Scottish Parliament as part of the UK, not the change that the SNP want, which is the chaos of a separate state.
"The NHS lie of the Scottish National Party has been exposed.
"The Scottish Parliament can keep the NHS in public hands with its existing powers."
He added: "If the SNP continue to say they are powerless to protect the NHS in Scotland, let them make way for a Labour government in Scotland and we will protect the NHS."
Meanwhile, the BBC's Norman Smith said: "There have been chaotic scenes in Edinburgh city centre as the Labour leader Ed Miliband attempted to do a walkabout amongst shoppers.
"Mr Miliband was surrounded by a melee of pro and anti independence supporters as he tried to walk through the St James' shopping centre in Edinburgh.
"Planned interviews with the media had to be abandoned amidst the scrum. Mr Miliband played down the scenes as he struggled to meet any voters. He eventually had to be escorted out of a rear exit."
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