lunes, 30 de septiembre de 2013

Ford's Mulalley, Not Nokia's Elop, 'Just What Microsoft Needs' - Channel Partners

* *Editor's Note: Click here  to see which channel people were on the move in June and July.**

Despite Microsoft's recent announcement that it's buying Nokia's devices and services unit, Stephen Elop is not the front runner to take over Microsoft when Steve Ballmer leaves. So say "sources close to the situation," All Things D reported. Ford CEO Alan Mulalley is seriously being considered to head the technological giant when Steve Ballmer retires.

Mulalley has shown interest in the job, despite being reluctant at first, the report said. Mulalley helped Ballmer put together Microsoft's new management structure.

Neither exec would comment on the story, but Ford recently gave its CEO approval to step down earlier than specified in his contract.

"I think Mulalley would be an excellent choice for Microsoft because he satisfies the three criteria we identified as critical for the next CEO of Microsoft back in August," said Yankee Group research vice president Carl Howe. "At that time, we said Microsoft's next CEO must be an outsider to today's Microsoft organization, have professional big-company management experience and build confidence in Microsoft's direction on Wall Street. While we identified three other executives, Mulalley nicely fits the bill. I hope Microsoft can reach a deal with Mulalley, because he could be just what Microsoft needs to turn itself around."

Stalemate in Congress on eve of government shutdown - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Congress shows no sign of heading off the first government shutdown in 17 years as House Republicans were holding firm Monday against a stopgap bill that does not in some way affect President Obama's health care law.

President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., maintain that the only way to avoid a shutdown is to approve a stopgap spending bill with no extraneous provisions on Obamacare.

House Republicans were scheduled to huddle at 2 p.m. The Senate comes in to session at the same time, and Reid is expected to quickly move to table two House-passed amendments to the spending resolution that would delay the implementation of some parts of the law for one year and to repeal a 2.3% tax on medical devices.

Much of the health care law is already in place, including provisions that expand prescription drug discounts and allow children up to age 26 to remain on their parents' health insurance policies. Tuesday is the first day for uninsured Americans to shop for and buy health insurance policies on state websites, also called exchanges.

Obama said Monday that he is not resigned to a government shutdown and that he would speak to some members of Congress later in the day.

GOP members should "set aside short-term politics and look at the long-term here," Obama told reporters after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is unclear what Republicans will do next. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has said the House is prepared to volley back to the Senate for a third time provisions affecting Obamacare, but Republicans have not solidified around a plan.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is unlikely to put the Senate-passed spending resolution to keep the government running through Dec. 15 on the House floor unless it is clear that a critical mass of Republicans will support it. House Republicans could also put forward an even shorter stopgap measure for one week or less to keep the government open and buy leaders more time.

The last time the government shut down was in 1995-1996 for a combined period of 28 days during budget standoffs between the Clinton administration and a Republican Congress. Most Americans would not feel the affects of a short-term shutdown because most essential government operations would continue, but a longer-term shutdown could negatively affect the economy and federal workers and inconvenience Americans in need of government services.

Contributing: David Jackson

Michael Owen: Moyes will get it right at Man United - Irish Independent

Michael Owen insists David Moyes will come through the rocky start to his Manchester United career and prove to be the right choice to replace Sir Alex Ferguson.

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United have suffered three defeats in their opening six Barclays Premier League games to leave Moyes reeling.

Some fans have been critical of his team selection, in particular his use of Shinji Kagawa and decision not to give new-boy Wilfried Zaha any time on the pitch.

Others acknowledge the squad Moyes inherited is nowhere near as strong as last season's 11-point title win indicated, a fact the Scot himself has seemed to endorse over the weekend.

In addition, Eric Steele has claimed Moyes went against the advice of Ferguson by dispensing with the services of the former goalkeeping coach and senior coaches Rene Meulensteen and Mike Phelan in the summer, denying United the continuity that could be invaluable at the present time.

It has created a pretty unhappy backdrop ahead of Wednesday night's Champions League encounter with Shakhtar Donetsk, who slammed five past Real Sociedad in their opening Group A game a fortnight ago.

Yet Owen, who spent three years with the Old Trafford outfit before leaving for Stoke in 2012, insists Moyes will eventually get it right.

"It was always going to change quite dramatically," he told

"When someone has been there for over 25 years, whoever was going to take the job was going to have big question marks put against them.

"It was going to be a change for everybody within the club.

"Manchester United have appointed the right man in David Moyes, he has had a good career so far and has done fantastically well at Everton.

"In time he will prove to be a very good choice.

"They've had a bit of a slow start to the season, but they've had a difficult start to the season.

"I'm sure they'll get it right though and will still be one of the main challengers at the end of the season."

That opinion is not shared by the bookmakers, who have pushed United out to fourth favourites for the title at odds that would suggest they are expected to be battling with Tottenham for the final Champions League berth.

United did make a winning start to their European campaign, though, by beating Bayer Leverkusen and will have Nani back from suspension in Ukraine this week.

George Osborne's surplus will need yet more cuts - The Guardian (blog)

It's not over. The job is only half done. There's hard graft ahead. Dealing with debt addiction will take time. That was the message from George Osborne as he offered voters what he called "a serious plan for a grown-up country".

The chancellor's speech to the Conservative party conference was both a statement of the obvious and a piece of political positioning. It has taken far, far longer than the Treasury expected for growth to return to the economy, but, fortunately for Osborne, voters still blame the last Labour government rather than the current administration for the delay. When the chancellor said "the battle to turn Britain around" was not over, the subtext was that voters should think twice before putting Ed Miliband and Ed Balls in charge.

In place of Labour's failure to "mend the roof while the sun was shining," the next Conservative government would start to pay down the national debt by running a budget surplus during the course of the next parliament.

This was making a virtue of necessity. The 2010 forecasts made when Osborne took over at the Treasury from Alistair Darling saw the economy growing at almost 3% in both 2012 and 2013, with deep cuts in the budget deficit as a result. The chancellor boasted on Monday that public borrowing had been cut by a third since the coalition came to power; what he did not say was that it is still expected to be £120bn this year – double what was envisaged in 2010.

Osborne has already abandoned his original aim of sorting out the public finances in one parliament, with two extra years of deficit reduction pencilled in during the first two years after the 2015 election. on Monday, the chancellor went further, announcing that a Conservative government would run a budget surplus in the next parliament.

This is some commitment. Capital spending on the UK's infrastructure will be £25bn a year on existing plans and will rise in line with economic growth during the next parliament. The Treasury will need to squeeze current spending if it is to achieve an overall surplus.

Is this possible? The ringfencing of spending on the NHS, schools and overseas development means that there have already been deep cuts in the budgets of other Whitehall departments. Researchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Britain's leading thinktank on tax and spending matters, were already sceptical about whether spending on the police, the courts and other non-ringfenced activities could be cut much further even before Osborne's latest pledge.

That's not to say it is impossible for a surplus to be run in the next parliament. It will, however, require two things: reductions in welfare spending and a prolonged period of steady growth. The chancellor admitted that without the latter, his plan would be a dead duck.

Growth prospects look good in the short term. The economy grew by 0.7% in the second quarter of 2013 and the City is expecting a similar rate of expansion in the third quarter. Bringing forward phase two of Help to Buy, the government scheme to subsidise house buying, from early 2014 to next week will help to keep the property market humming.

Osborne staunchly defended Help to Buy, and it is backed by the CBI, which says it was vital in turning the economy around earlier this year. But by pushing up house prices it will result in higher mortgages and more private borrowing. The chancellor said victory would not be achieved until he had weaned Britain off its debt addiction. Don't hold your breath. As with the pledge to run a budget surplus, it may be some time in coming.

Nigel Farage rejects calls for election pact with Tories accusing David Cameron ... -

Nigel Farage today slapped down calls for a pact with David Cameron at the next election - amid desperate pleas from Tory backbenchers to save them from a Labour defeat.

Mr Farage accused the Prime Minister of showing "contempt" for UKIP and its supporters and could not be trusted.

He added: "There isn't going to be a deal between us and the Conservative Party at the next General Election.

"They regard us as members of the lower orders," he added.

But the UKIP leader said he was happy for rabid anti-European MPs, from Labour and the Tories, to run on a joint ticket.

Mr Farage said there are many MPs who take a different view from the Tory leadership on Europe, naming Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

He said: "If either they, or others like them, even Labour MPs, with their local associations, chose to propose running on a joint ticket then I would leave the local Ukip association to have those negotiations ...

"After all we are a party that believes in real localism and doesn't think that the centre is the repository of all wisdom."

Mr Farage suggested there are "a couple of dozen" Conservative MPs with whom his party could come to an agreement at a local level and said they had already held informal discussions with a "handful" of them.

"There are a couple of dozen Tory MPs who hold a range of views on several issues, not just Europe, that are very close to our own," he told BBC Radio 4's The World At One.

"We have had informal discussions with a handful, no more than that."

The development came after backbench rebel Bill Cash pleaded with Mr Farage to "be sensible" and not let Labour win.

Mr Cash said UKIP could cost the Tories 60 seats at the next election - handing the keys to Downing Street to Ed Miliband.

But Mr Farage accused the Tories of being "hopelessly out of date".

He added that Mr Cameron had broken his promise before to hold a referendum on Europe - on the Lisbon Treaty.

"He let us down like a cheap pair of braces," Mr Farage said.

Mr Farage said that he could change his mind - if Mr Cameron blocked all immigration from Romania and Bulgaria.

He said: "If Mr Cameron is bold enough and brave enough to do what the vast majority of this country demands, namely to go to Brussels between now and Christmas and to say 'we simple cannot open the door up unconditionally to the whole of Bulgaria and Romania next year'.

"I have to say that if David Cameron did that then I might rethink completely my attitude towards him, but I don't see any sign of it happening," he added.


The Tory leadership was adamant that no-one standing for the party will be allowed to appear on the ballot paper on a joint ticket with UKIP.

Chancellor George Osborne said: "There aren't going to be any deals with UKIP and there are not going to be Conservative-UKIP candidates locally.

"The only candidates who will stand for the Conservative party at the election are Conservative candidates - a sort of statement of the obvious.

"There's a very clear rule in our country, which is that candidates have to be approved by the party and the Conservative party will be fielding Conservative-only candidates."

The Tories also accused UKIP of using "racially insensitive" language - after it emerged an aide had refereed to an Asian reporter as "a female journalist (of some form of ethnic extraction)".

Nick de Bois, secretary of the 1922 backbench committee, said: "There's no room in any walk of life, let alone politics, for this type of racially insensitive language."

The aide, Gawain Towler subsequently apologised to the Evening Standard reporter Kiran Randhawa.

He said: "If in any way Kiran is upset, I'm terribly sorry.

"I'm finding this absolutely absurd because it is so evidently alien to who I am and what I am."

Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, said that Mr Towler was not being racist and that he is married to an Asian woman and that they have a mixed-race daughter.

Kenya's Westgate siege: Number of missing reduced to 39 - BBC News

Watch: Nairobi's Asian Muslim community join hands for a human chain around the Westgate mall

The Kenyan Red Cross has said the number of missing in the Westgate shopping centre attack has gone down to 39 from an earlier figure of 61.

Fourteen of the missing have been found alive and seven bodies were in the morgue, it said.

The government has said 67 people were killed after al-Shabab militants stormed the Westgate centre in the capital, Nairobi, on 21 September.

MPs have started a probe into alleged intelligence failings over the attack.

The Red Cross says some relatives were not updating them when they found people who had been reported as missing.

A Red Cross tracing manager has told the BBC that "some were reports from people who could not get through to their relatives on the phone and thought they might have been at the mall".

The organisation has been calling those who reported people missing for updates.

The government has said there are hardly any people still unaccounted for after the attack and that it did not think any hostages were killed when a car park collapsed inside the mall, ending the siege.

However, the rubble is still being moved, so Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku accepted that some more bodies might still be discovered.

Red Cross head Abbas Gullet told the Associated Press by telephone that: "The only way to verify this is when the government declares the Westgate Mall 100% cleared."


Five militants were killed by the security forces during the four-day siege, while nine people are in custody after being arrested in connection with the attacks, the authorities say.

Al-Shabab, a Somali Islamist group, said the attack was in retaliation for Kenya's military involvement in Somalia.

Security sources have told the BBC that the militants rented a shop at Westgate in the weeks leading up to the siege.

Kenya's joint parliamentary defence and national security committees met briefly on Monday morning to begin their investigation into possible lapses in the country's security system.

They have now adjourned and later visited Westgate. They will start calling people on Tuesday to testify before the joint committees.

Committee head Ndung'u Gethenji had said the questioning of the security chiefs, including the head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), Michael Gichangi, would begin on Monday.

He told the BBC last week that "people need to know the exact lapses in the security system that possibly allowed this event to take place".

He also said they needed to understand "the anatomy of the entire rescue operation" amid allegations of confusion over who was in charge.

Kenyan newspapers have reported that the NIS warned a year ago of the presence of suspected al-Shabab militants in the capital and that they were planning suicide attacks, including on the Westgate shopping centre.

Briefings were given to the ministers "informing them of increasing threat of terrorism and of plans to launch simultaneous attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa around September 13 and 20, 2013", Kenya's Daily Nation had quoted counter-terrorism reports as saying.

A dossier from the NIS - amounting to more than 8,000 pages according to Kenya's Standard newspaper - also suggests the Israelis issued warnings that buildings owned by its citizens could be attacked between 4 and 28 September.

Westgate is partly Israeli-owned.

The Daily Nation has reported that Kenyan intelligence had established that al-Shabab leaders had begun singling out Westgate and the Holy Family Basilica for attack early this year.

Government figures said to have received the intelligence briefings include Mr Lenku, Treasury Minister Julius Rotich, Foreign Affairs Minister Amina Mohammed, Defence Minister Raychelle Omamo and Kenya Defence Forces chief Julius Karangi.

On Sunday, Mr Lenku refused to answer questions on the issue, saying the information was confidential and would not be discussed in public.

However, a senior interior ministry official earlier denied that ministers had ignored intelligence warnings.

The official - who was speaking on condition of anonymity - told the BBC the government received intelligence daily, that action was taken and that many attacks had been averted.

Amanda Knox retrial over killing of Meredith Kercher begins in Italy - CNN

(CNN) -- The latest chapter in Amanda Knox's long legal battle began Monday in Florence, Italy, with a retrial over the 2007 killing of her British roommate Meredith Kercher.

But Knox, 26, who has expressed concern about returning to a country where she spent four years behind bars, was not in court.

She was convicted in 2009 of murdering Kercher, a 21-year old British exchange student who was found stabbed to death in November 2007 in the villa the two young women rented in the central Italian university town of Perugia.

Family: Amanda Knox won't return to Italy for new trial

The convictions of Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were overturned in 2011 for "lack of evidence."

After her acquittal, Knox returned to her hometown of Seattle where she has been living since.

Knox: Sometimes, I can't stop crying

But Italy's Supreme Court decided last year to retry the case, saying the jury that acquitted Knox didn't consider all the evidence, and that discrepancies in testimony needed to be answered.

Afraid to go back

Knox has said she's scared to return to Italy.

"I'm afraid to go back there," she said in an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo in May. "I don't want to go back into prison."

The high court also said evidence could support prosecutors' initial argument -- that Kercher was killed in a twisted sex game gone wrong.

Knox has said such claims are "a bombardment of falsehood and fantasy."

Italian court on reason for retrial: Evidence neglected

"No one has ever claimed that I was ever taking part in deviant sexual activity. None of my roommates, none of my friends, none of the people who knew me there. This is simply coming out of the prosecution," she told CNN in May. "I was not strapping on leather and bearing a whip. I have never done that. I have never taken part in an orgy. Ever."

The Supreme Court's decision to send the case back to the appeal court for retrial "may be interpreted by the American authorities as double jeopardy -- twice tried for the same fact or the same case," said Riccardo Montana, a law lecturer at City University in London. "In Italy it's not like this, because this is still the same trial."

Watching from afar

If the court convicts her, Knox will be ordered to return to Italy. If she refuses, Italy could request her extradition from the United States. But it's not clear if American authorities would comply.

Knox has said she would be willing to take a lie detector test.

"I'd do anything to prove my innocence," she told CNN affiliate ITV earlier this month. "I don't think that is necessary. But like I said, I'm doing everything to prove my innocence. It's just very sad that's what it has come to."

Knox isn't the only person watching the retrial from afar.

Opinion: We're obsessed when it's white women in trouble

Sollecito, her former boyfriend, told CNN he plans to stay in the Dominican Republic with a friend. At the moment he says he has no immediate plans to return to Italy.

And as the legal saga continues over Kercher's death, her family remains in Britain.

"It took us as a family nearly five years to even begin to feel ready to lay Mez to rest and it is still extremely painful now," they said in a statement Sunday, according to ITV.

Timeline of the case

They also appeared to respond to recent comments by Knox that she would like to visit Kercher's grave.

"She now has a place near to us that we and her friends can visit to take flowers and spend time...her grave is now her safe place to sleep in peace and be with us and we hope that is respected by all," the family statement said.

CNN's Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong; Erin McLaughlin reported from London

Police chief: Class A drugs should be legalised - Metro

Police chief: Class A drugs should be legalised
Durham chief constable Mike Barton wants hard drugs to be legalised (Picture: File)

A top police officer has said class A drugs such as cocaine and heroin should be legalised.

Durham chief constable Mike Barton argues the best way to tackle the problem of drugs, and criminal gangs who control them, would be to decriminalise the hard substances.

'Not all crime gangs raise income through selling drugs, but most of them do in my experience,' he writes in The Observer.

'So offering an alternative route of supply to users cuts off the gang's income stream.'

The national intelligence leader for the Association of Chief Police Officers said if an addict was able to get his fix from the NHS they would not be forced to buy 'illegal drugs'.

He added this supply method would also avoid the spread of HIV and hepatitis C among needle users.

Despite wanting a change to the drug laws, Chf Const Barton said he didn't want them to be freely available and the substances should be controlled.

He added: 'Drugs should be controlled. They should not, of course, be freely available.

'I think addiction to anything – drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc – is not a good thing, but outright prohibition hands revenue streams to villains.'

The police chief has focused on fighting criminal gangs in recent years and launched Operation Sledgehammer, which targeted them, in his Durham Constabulary.

Cameron says Britain should not ban Islamic face veils - The Nation

MANCHESTER - Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday Britain should not follow other European countries and ban Islamic face veils but certain institutions such as schools and courts should be allowed to set their own rules.
The issue of Muslim women wearing full veils has risen up the agenda after a judge ruled that a woman could not give evidence at a trial wearing a niqab and a school tried to ban veils before backtracking due to heavy criticism and protests. One cabinet minister also suggested the British government should consider a full ban.
"We are a free country and people should be free to wear whatever clothes they like in public or in private," Cameron told BBC Television on the first day of the annual Conservative party conference in Manchester.
"But we should support institutions that need to put in place rules so that those institutions can work properly. In court a jury needs to be able to look at someone's face." Britain, which is looking at ways to better integrate its 2.7 million Muslims without restricting the right to freedom of religious expression, has avoided following France and Belgium, where it is illegal for women to wear full-face veils in public.
France introduced its law in 2010, saying the adoption of burqa and niqab that conceal the face went against the country's traditions and values.
But the ruling has remained controversial and rioting occurred near Paris in July this year after a police check on a woman.
The British judge who made the recent court ruling has said he hoped parliament would provide a definitive verdict and Cameron said he would be very happy to look at the need for national guidelines.

Tourists rescued from Thames after London Duck boat catches fire -

Donna Wood, an Australian passenger, said: "We saw smoke, we saw fire and my husband and I said 'I think we better jump into the river', and we did. We're Australian, we can swim."

Londoner Elissa Wood, who was on the tour with her parents, who were visiting from Australia, said the first they knew of the fire was when they noticed smoke pouring from the front of the craft.

She said: "We saw the tour guide and the captain look at each other like 'this is a real problem' and then they encouraged us to put life jackets on and jump off. It was really hot. The flames were really hot and it was confusing. We weren't sure what was happening so it was scary."

While all of the passengers and crew were quickly accounted for, the emergency services admitted the incident could have easily had tragic consequences.

London Fire Brigade station manager Simon Tuhill said most of those on board were visitors to the UK, with some coming from Holland, Sweden, Brazil and Australia.

"They were pretty pragmatic about it all," Mr Tuhill said.

"Obviously it was pretty scary for them. It isn't every day you sink in a boat in the Thames."

The boat is one of a number of amphibious vessels belonging to the London Duck Tours company, which offers pleasure cruises along the Thames.

Similar tours operate in other parts of the country and the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh took a trip on one last year during a trip to Liverpool.

But the refurbished craft, which are the same style as those used to ferry troops during the D-Day landings, have been beset with problems in recent months.

In June, 31 people had to be rescued from Albert Dock on the River Mersey when a duck boat got into difficulties and sank.

In July the Marine and Coastguard Agency grounded seven out of nine of the boats operated by London Duck Tours over safety concerns.

The company has been running tourist services on the River Thames since 2002, carrying more than 200,000 passengers.

The fire ravaged vessel was towed away from the scene by the London Fire Brigade and the Port of London Authority announced it would be holding an investigation into the incident.

Amanda Knox retrial over Kercher murder to open in Italy - BBC News

The retrial of Amanda Knox over the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher is due to open in Italy, but the American will not be in court.

Ms Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty in 2009, but acquitted on appeal in 2011.

In March, Italy's highest court overturned both acquittals, ordering a fresh appeals process.

Ms Knox spent four years in prison before her acquittal. She has always insisted that she is innocent.

'So scary'

The retrial is due to open in the central Italian city of Florence, and the first session is expected to discuss procedural issues such as dates for further hearings.

Raffaele Sollecito: "I'm fighting and striving to see the light"

The retrial was ordered after the prosecution had taken the case to Italy's Supreme Court.

The court strongly criticised the way the appeals court had dismissed important DNA evidence, ordering the whole process to begin all over again.

Ms Knox, 26, is not required to be present for the retrial.

Earlier this month, she said she expected to win another acquittal, but that "common sense" told her not to return to Italy.

"I was already imprisoned as an innocent person in Italy," she told America's NBC television. "I just can't relive that."

"I thought about what it would be like to live my entire life in prison and to lose everything, to lose what I've been able to come back to and rebuild.

"I think about it all the time. It's so scary. Everything is at stake.''

However, if her previous conviction is confirmed, Italy would be expected to request her extradition.

Meredith Kercher, from Coulsdon, south London, was found dead in a flat she shared in Perugia with Ms Knox, a fellow exchange student.

Prosecutors said Miss Kercher, who had been repeatedly stabbed, died in a sex game that went wrong. She was 21.

Both Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito maintain their innocence. Mr Sollecito is expected to attend some of the hearings, reports in local media say.

Ms Knox insists that on the night of Miss Kercher's death she was at Mr Sollecito's flat, smoking marijuana and watching a film.

Another man - Rudy Guede from Ivory Coast - was convicted in a separate trial and sentenced to 16 years for the killing.

Luis Suarez: Marked his Premier League return with two goals - SkySports

Luis Suarez: Marked his Premier League return with two goals

Luis Suarez: Marked his Premier League return with two goals

Luis Suarez scored twice on his first Premier League appearance of the season as Liverpool increased the pressure on bottom club Sunderland with a 3-1 win at the Stadium of Light.

Liverpool broke the deadlock with a controversial goal in the first half as the ball went in off Daniel Sturridge's arm, before Suarez quickly doubled their lead.

Emanuele Giaccherini reduced Sunderland's arrears on 52 minutes but, despite a spirited performance, Kevin Ball's men could not find an equaliser and Suarez netted again in the closing stages to lift Liverpool to within two points of leaders Arsenal.

Suarez, returning to Premier League action following a 10-match ban, showed that he had not lost any sharpness with an early run and powerful shot just wide, while Martin Skrtel also had a goal disallowed inside the opening 10 minutes for offside after Keiren Westwood had brilliantly kept out a Steven Gerrard free-kick.

Sunderland played their part in a lively first 20 minutes, though, and there was a vibrant atmosphere at the ground as the home players showed an intensity which belied their standing at the foot of the table.

Sebastian Larsson struck the crossbar with a curling free-kick and Giaccherini had a penalty appeal turned down following a challenge by Kolo Toure, before Liverpool took the lead in fortuitous fashion on 28 minutes.

Sturridge leant in for a header from Gerrard's corner but ended up knocking the ball in with his arm and the incident was not spotted by referee Howard Webb or his assistant.

Sturridge turned provider eight minutes later as he collected a sublime Gerrard pass and beat his defender for pace before squaring an inviting cross across the six-yard box for Suarez to add the simplest of finishes at the far post and make it 2-0 to Liverpool.

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, making his first return to Wearside since a summer transfer from Sunderland, had a couple of anxious moments but did make a tremendous save just before the interval, rushing off his line to deny Craig Gardner with an outstretched right leg.

Sunderland Interim Head Coach Kevin Ball thought his side showed character in the second half and that the 1-3 scoreline flattered Liverpool.

Mignolet could perhaps have done better early in the second period, however, as he could only parry Ki Sung-Yueng's low shot from 20 yards straight back out to Giaccherini and the Italian made no mistake from the rebound to pull a goal back for Sunderland.

It was almost level moments later as Mignolet reacted quickly to get down to his left and get the slightest of touches to a Gardner strike from the edge of the area.

Jozy Altidore also hit a ferocious effort from distance straight at Mignolet as Sunderland enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure, before Liverpool started to re-emerge as an attacking force and the game ebbed and flowed in an open finale.

Brendan Rodgers has praised how hard his Liverpool team worked in the 3-1 win away at Sunderland, especially given defeat in midweek.

A rasping 20-yard drive from Victor Moses was tipped over the bar by a strong one-handed stop by Westwood, while the Sunderland keeper also saved well from Toure and Suarez fired wide from the edge of the area.

The crowd spurred Sunderland on in the final 10 minutes and there were some tense times at the back for Liverpool before Suarez finally settled any nerves in the 89th minute with another finish from close range after good work by strike partner Sturridge on the break.

Islamist gunmen attack Nigeria college, 50 students feared killed - Times of India

POTISKUM: Suspected Islamic extremists attacked an agricultural college in the dead of night, gunning down dozens of students as they slept in dormitories and torching classrooms in an ongoing Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria, the school's provost said.

As many as 50 students may have been killed in the attack that began at about 1am Sunday in rural Gujba, provost Molima Idi Mato of the Yobe State College of Agriculture, told Associated Press.

"They attacked our students while they were sleeping in their hostels, they opened fire at them," he said.

He said he could not give an exact death toll as security forces still are recovering bodies.

The Nigerian military has collected 42 bodies and transported 18 injured students to Damaturu Specialist Hospital, said a military intelligence official, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

The school's other 1,000 enrolled students have fled the college that is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the scene of similar school attacks around Damaturu town, said provost Mato.

He said there were no security forces stationed at the college despite government assurances that they would be deployed. The state commissioner for education, Mohammmed Lamin, called a news conference two weeks ago urging all schools to reopen and promising protection from soldiers and police.

Most schools in the area closed after militants on July 6 killed 29 pupils and a teacher, burning some alive in their hostels, at Mamudo outside Damaturu.

Northeastern Nigeria is under a military state of emergency to battle an Islamic uprising prosecuted by Boko Haram militants who have killed more than 1,700 people since 2010 in their quest for an Islamic state. Boko Haram means western education is forbidden in the local Hausa language.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau last week published a video to prove he is alive and prove false military claims that they might have killed him in an ongoing crackdown.

Government and security officials claim they are winning their war on terror in the northeast but Sunday's attack and others belie those assurances.

The Islamic extremists have killed at least 30 other civilians in the past week.

Twenty-seven people died in separate attacks Wednesday and Thursday night on two villages of Borno state near the northeast border with Cameroon, according to the chairman of the Gamboru-Ngala local government council, Modu-Gana Bukar Sheriiff.

The military spokesman did not respond to requests for information on those attacks, but a security official confirmed the death toll. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to give information to journalists.

Also Thursday, police said suspected Islamic militants killed a pastor, his son and a village head and torched their Christian church in Dorawa, about 100 kilometers from Damaturu. They said the gunmen used explosives to set fire to the church and five homes.

Meanwhile, farmers and government officials are fleeing threats of imminent attacks from Boko Haram in the area of the Gwoza Hills, a mountainous area with caves that shelter the militants despite repeated aerial bombardments by the military.

A local government official said there had been a series of attacks in recent weeks and threats of more. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life, said Gwoza town was deserted when he visited it briefly under heavy security escort on Thursday.

He said militants had chased medical officers from the government hospital in Gwoza, which had been treating some victims of attacks. And he said they ahd burned down three public schools in the area.

The official said the Gwoza local government has set up offices in Maiduguri, the state capital to the north.

More than 30,000 people have fled the terrorist attacks to neighboring Cameroon and Chad and the uprising combined with the military emergency has forced farmers from their fields and vendors from their markets.

The attacks come as Nigeria prepares to celebrate 52 years of independence from Britain on Tuesday and amid increasing political jockeying as the country gears up for presidential elections next year.

Chris Froome pulls out of men's road race at World Championships after Sir ... -

Having splashed 10 times up and down the roller-coaster climbs of ­Fiesole and Via Salviati amid a dozen separate crashes, the 26-year-old Movistar rider ended up after nearly 7½ hours of rare slog winning a track-style sprint dice by barely two??bike lengths from Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez.

By that time, the inquest into the British failure had already been under way for three hours, with Ellingworth offering withering criticism of the team. Wiggins and Froome were not spared.

Ellingworth had expected Wiggins, following his time trial silver medal, to be the last Briton standing to aid Froome's push; instead, he was the first to pull out, already 13?mins down on the leaders, after just one of the 10 Fiesole circuits, looking as tentative as when he moaned about "des­cending like a girl" in his ill-fated Giro d'Italia campaign here in May.

"He just couldn't go downhill again. Everybody was surprised he wasn't better out there. I am sure he's walking around with his head down because no one wants to perform like that," Ellingworth said.

"If it had been dry, I think he'd have been okay. You can't win time trial silver and not have the form. When you think he beat Fabian Cancellara on the technical section on Wednesday, you would never believe this would happen.

"It's also something for Chris to look at. Chris wasn't good in this weather today and he knows that. They will look at themselves in the mirror tonight and think they didn't do a very good job."

Asked if the team's capitulation had been down to a lack of spirit, Ellingworth said: "Yes. I think it may be that simple. A lot of people were talking the talk beforehand and didn't see it through. No excuses. Each and every one of them underperformed."

Wiggins kept his own counsel but Geraint Thomas, the last of the team to abandon with five laps of the 16.6km Fiesole circuit left, said: "Maybe the whole Giro thing is still playing on Brad's mind a bit. When it comes to fighting for position around corners and stuff, he just puts the brakes on too much and loses position. Once that's happened, it's hard to come back."

Froome himself, troubled with blocked sinuses and a bad back which only worsened with the amount of heavy braking required on the treacherous corners, reckoned only two of the eight team members had pulled their weight.

One was Luke Rowe, the young Welshman who, ironically, had been a late replacement for Tiernan-Locke; the other was Mark Cavendish, who rode "from the heart" at the head of the drenched peloton during the worst of the thunderstorm on the roads from Lucca for much of the 65 miles to Florence, where he was greeted by the madly wonderful sight of thousands of umbrella-shrouded fans huddled beneath Giotto's Campanile.

When the subsequent hilly circuits began, the race, said Froome, was "simply blown to pieces". Cavendish was exhausted, Wiggins went AWOL while a crash for Josh Edmonson and puncture for Steve Cummings saw him lose two more key allies.

Soon, he was friendless and chanceless.

"It was carnage out there," shrugged Thomas.

With not just the Britons suffering. Race commissaires took to the radio to warn riders to be wary but marquee names still skidded out like helpless eels. Little wonder only 61 of 208 actually completed the splashathon.

"All the drains were flooding and at some points we were ankle deep in water," Froome said. "Crashes began because people moving up on the side would get stuck in the gutters."

Still, the last men sliding provided an epic on that final lap, with Rodriguez twice attacking on the hills to eventually break all of his 15 challengers - including the swift danger men Peter Sagan, Cancellara and reigning champ Philippe Gilbert - apart from Costa, who clawed him back to win the decisive sprint.

Vincenzo Nibali, the home favourite who had crashed earlier, returned heroically only to lose out to Spain's Alejandro Valverde for the bronze.

It was epic fare but, for once, the British were nowhere.

The only winner all week? Brian Cookson, the new UCI president.

Froome looked, if possible, even more pale than usual, as he conceded: "It is back to the drawing board for the Olympics."

Areas where one in ten suffer diabetes: Rising obesity causes number suffering ... - Daily Mail

  • Report by Diabetes UK predicts problem will get worse in coming years
  • They say in just seven years 1 in 12 children will suffer from the disease
  • Many of the worst hit areas have large South Asian populations

By Sophie Borland


Close-up of a person's hand taking a blood test for a diabetes test

Concern: The report reveals how the number of cases of diabetes being treated in the UK has more than doubled in the last 20 years

One adult in ten has diabetes in some areas of the country, a report reveals today.

The number of cases being diagnosed has more than  doubled in the last 20 years, largely due to rising obesity.

The borough of Brent in North London has the highest rate, with 10.5 per cent of adults known to have diabetes, the figures show.

In Newham, East London, 9.9  per cent of adults are sufferers, with  9.6 per cent in Wolverhampton  and 9.4 per cent in Harrow, North London.

In Sandwell, West Midlands, the rate is 9.4 per cent and in Leicester it is 9.3 per cent.

The report by Diabetes UK predicts that by 2020, 1 in 12 children will have diabetes. Presently 7.4 per cent of under-16s are diagnosed, but this is set to rise to 8.4 per cent.

There are 2.9million adults and children with diabetes in the UK. Of those, 90 per cent have type 2, which is usually triggered by obesity.

The charity estimates at least another 850,000 people have the condition but do not yet know it. 

Many of the worst-hit areas have large South Asian populations. This group – which includes those from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan – is six times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Scientists believe this is partly down to a genetic difference that means their muscles do not burn fat well. Traditional cooking methods using oil, creamed coconut milk and a high-fat butter called ghee may also play a role.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: 'It is truly alarming that there is now somewhere in England where more than one in ten of the people have diabetes.

'Given that the increase in cases is mainly due to a sharp rise in type 2 diabetes, the only way we will finally bring the increase under control is by getting much better at preventing cases of type 2. 

An obese person

Growing problem: The steady increase of diabetes sufferers has been linked to rising obesity rates

'A vital first step is to ensure that people realise how serious it is and understand their own personal risk so if they are at high risk they can make the simple lifestyle changes that can help prevent it.

'If people are overweight, have a large waist or are over 40, they need to get a risk assessment, as should people who have a family history of diabetes or are South Asian and over 25.' 

The charity urged adults at high risk to speak to their GP or pharmacist for advice.

Diabetes occurs when the body cannot break sugar down into energy. This happens when the hormone insulin does not work properly or the body does not make enough of it.

Symptoms include thirst, tiredness, weight loss and constantly needing to go to the toilet. There is no cure, but it can be treated by tablets, insulin injections or, for mild type 2, by a change of diet.


They're seen as a naughty treat for a sweet tooth,  but Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts, at 7g of sugar each, look saintly next to some 'healthier' offerings, researchers say.

A large Costa Coffee red berry fruit cooler drink has almost 14 times more sugar, at 97.1g – or 24 teaspoons. 

A large Starbucks coffee Frappuccino – without whipped cream – has 61.6g of sugar, as much as nine doughnuts. Glaceau large vitamin water has 15g. 

Even a 'skinny' Starbucks lemon and poppyseed muffin has 44.4g of sugar, while Pret A Manger's Bircher muesli has 32.7g.

Credit Suisse carried out the sugar consumption study. The recommended daily amount is 90g for women, 120g for men.

Surreal style - Khaleej Times

Paris fashion is sometimes cruel, but always fun as Jean Paul Gaultier shows

THE FASHION WORLD can be a cruel place.

No one knows this better than veteran Jean Paul Gaultier who decided to turn his spring-summer 2014 collection on its head and do the criticising for himself.

With a tongue in his cheek, the irreverent designer turned his catwalk collection, one of Saturday's most popular tickets, into a high-octane pastiche of So You Think You Can Dance — the U.S. dance competition show.

Rossy de Palma, the muse of filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, sat on a panel inside the cabaret theatre venue holding up signs such as "boring" and "no thanks" to auditioning models such as Karly Kloss who vogued in vain to energizing music.

A theatrical Almodovar-esque scene of wife-beating interrupted the presentation, with de Palma striking the assailant down — a moment of pure pantomime drawing whoops from the crowd.

Such was the audacity that even the normally poised Catherine Deneuve, who sat in the front row, was clapping in time and laughing by the end.

In other shows of the day, presentations were distinctly more restrained — such as that of Belgian designer Veronique Leroy, whose delicately constructed clothes in black and white did the talking for themselves.

Elsewhere, Vivienne Westwood stayed true to her natural eccentricities and channeled medieval peasants, whereas Viktor & Rolf's collection disappointed by losing the creative energy achieved in their last, abstract couture show.

Veronique Leroy

Like in previous seasons, Veronique Leroy went to the silver screen for inspiration.  For spring-summer — it was award-winning French film Black and White by Claire Devers.

But the designer should know she doesn't need to rest on creative references for her show, as her clothes speak for themselves.  Demure looks in black and white, as well as rippling stripes defined the vibe, and delicate construction defined the aesthetic.

Though there were no huge creative leaps here, the first look — a white and ultra pale peach look which hung in pleats and ruffles with a quiet majesty — was possibly one of the most beautiful constructed creations seen all day. Delicate ripples and curves snuck out from waists and shoulders.

With some of the striped ensembles it was clear this Belgian designer also had her eye on an older clientele.

Viktor & Rolf

Viktor and Rolf are going back to school.

At least, it appeared so in the Dutch design duo spring-summer 2014 show in Paris which had a vibe of fictional girls' boarding school St Trinian's.

Blazers with badges came in scholarly navy and knee-length double skirts featured knife pleats (layering is the duo's forte), as well as several looks in a black and white plaid, reminiscent of English boarding school uniforms.

Since designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren returned to the couture stage this July after a 13-year hiatus, there was an optimistic sense that they were trying to revitalise themselves after playing it safe in recent seasons.

Sadly, instead of moving on their couture musings, Saturday's show not only went back to school, but brought them back to where they were last year.

The best look in the show was one that captured this abstract mood they excel at: A deceptively-simple white bustier dress, with folded, almost origami-like pleats giving it a shard-like jagged silhouette.

Jean Paul Gaultier

Such was the creative mayhem of the Gaultier presentation, it seemed as if the clothes took second place. The collection opened with several looks in black lace, studs and leather with asymmetrical paneling.

They seemed to channel the movie Grease, with the reference brought home loud and clear when two models danced like Sandy and Danny on the podium to the sound of You're the One That I Want.

The best of the rather confusing collection were the parts to not use gimmicks.

A series of stones coloured coats cut a stylish look, one hanging over the torso in circular, diagonal strips as if ripe for the peeling. Elsewhere, an on-trend metallic jacket and baggy pants came in a great burnt bronze, with a complementary dark orange top.  But the late '70s punk looks and floral sections were harder to reconcile with the collection as a whole.

Vivienne Westwood

Medieval pilgrims that Vivienne Westwood imagined during a visit to Canterbury Cathedral were the unlikely muses for the British designer's collection.

Muddy faces, coloured earth-splashed knees, hanging girdles and earthy brown canvas cotton and yarn upon yarn of glamorous flowing rags provided the peasant-inspired wardrobe.

These features — sometimes minimalist, sometimes festive — combined with colourful page's stripes, medieval short tabard coats and Juliette sleeves to produce a veritable display from yesteryear.

There was even a saintly halo hat.

But collections from eccentric Westwood elude definition — and indeed to define her would be to limit her art.

So, breaking out of the medieval shackles the designer also included a Latin coloured headdress, a gaucho look in yellow ochre and an ode to punk in bright blue — plus her famed peaked shoulders for good measure.

Bags in the show, for example, were made in Kenya in a project organised by the U.N.-supported 'Ethical Fashion Initiative.'

But Westwood flits between the serious and the gay. After describing the origins of the fabrics, the designer chuckled that she'd created a style she referred to as "sexy nun."


Fernando Torres faces fresh ban over gouge - Daily News & Analysis

Fernando Torres could be the first player in the dock under a new Football Association disciplinary system being trialled this season.

The Chelsea striker faces the prospect of his one-match ban for being dismissed at White Hart Lane being extended to four if he is found guilty of violent conduct for gouging the face of Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen. Torres was dismissed in the 82nd minute of an enthralling match on Saturday for his second yellow card, after an aerial clash with Vertonghen.

The pair had been going hammer-and-tongs all afternoon, and the Spaniard received his initial caution in the 50th minute after tripping -Vertonghen, then digging his fingernails into the face and neck of the Belgian defender. The caution appeared to be just for the trip. If this is confirmed in the match report of referee Mike Dean on Monday the FA will ask the official if he saw the gouging incident. If he says he did not a copy will be sent not to the referee, which has previously been the case, but to an independent panel which will be asked if the incident warrants a red card. If they agree Torres will be given a three-match ban on top of his one-match suspension.

This would rule Torres out of league matches against Norwich City, Cardiff City, Manchester City and the Capital One Cup tie with Arsenal. This could be more of a loss than would have been imagined a week ago as there was no doubting the renewed sharpness in Torres's play on Saturday, as he showed a return to the sort of menace that prompted Chelsea to pay Liverpool pounds 50??million for his services.

His return to form was mirrored by a Chelsea side that came back strongly in the second half after being thoroughly outplayed by a Tottenham side who showed they no longer miss Gareth Bale, one of several lessons hammered home here. Both sides are genuine title contenders, with Spurs showing their credentials as challengers in a terrific first-half display of pace and power, while Chelsea displayed the spirit and stamina of former champions to come back strongly after the break.

Both managers demonstrated the tactical nous to suggest the gap between sorcerer and apprentice has narrowed considerably, with Andre Villas-Boas outwitting his former mentor Jose Mourinho for 45 minutes, before the self-proclaimed -Special One showed he still has the ability to make game-changing adjust-ments at half-time.

Juan Mata must be hoping that Mourinho has learned not to take the little Spaniard too lightly, after -turning the game in Chelsea's favour once he replaced the hapless John Obi Mikel at half-time. Mata and his many fans inside and outside Stamford Bridge have been mystified by Mourinho's reluctance to give a starting spot to the man who was Chelsea's player of the year twice in succession.

Yet it was only after he was given playmaking responsibilities, and Ramires was moved into the middle from the right wing, that Chelsea were able to negate Spurs' strong and skilful midfield and turn the tide in their own favour. Andros Townsend, so lively in the first half, has learned he must not throw himself over opponents' legs if he is to avoid taking on Bale's reputation as a diver, and to his credit the young England winger was quick to apologise for the offence that brought him a deserved yellow card. Chelsea's midfield had no answer to the trickery of Townsend, power of Paulinho or craft of Eriksen, and Spurs supporters taunted Mourinho with chants of "You're not special any more".

That they only had Gylffi -Sigurdsson's goal to show for their dominance was down to decisive defending from Branislav Ivanovic and Paulinho finding the post rather than net on the stroke of half time. But Mata made the difference, starting to run the game from a central position and floating in the free-kick from which John Terry equalised.

Chelsea looked likelier to score until Torres saw red, and Frank -Lampard summed up their mood when he said: "In the end we were disappointed to get just a point. If we'd kept 11 men on the pitch we felt we would have won the game." Like his manager, he felt Torres was hard done by.

"I didn't see it clearly but apparently it wasn't a sending off. He looks very sharp and competitive which is what you want. He caused Tottenham lots of problems with his pace and direct play. He was unlucky not to get a goal and to be sent off." Lampard was full of praise for Mata, too: "He played well, linked the play, put in the ball for the goal. He has been a vital player ever since he came to the club. His attitude has been first class. Every player understands there is a lot of competition, especially in midfield. If you are not playing, and we have all been there, you have to stay and train well, keep the right attitude. Juan has done that."

Mata matched Eriksen's first-half magic for Tottenham, and the draw was fair, even if as Lampard said: "It was a great result for [leaders] Arsenal. It's always a cracking atmosphere at White Hart Lane and this was two teams at the top of the table, neither wanting to lose, so it was fast and full-blooded, everything you want to see in a game." Lampard was not pleased when Townsend dived over him shortly before half-time. "I don't mind honest tackles - that is what fans like to see in these games - but they don't like to see people throw themselves around too easily."

But he added: "I don't want to criticise too much. He's a great talent and will be for Tottenham and for England. Maybe he was was waiting for contact and it did not come. You know what, you get a yellow card and move on. We don't need to make a diving campaign out of it." Townsend was contrite.

"As I cut inside [Lampard] his leg was out and at the last minute he pulled out and I went over it. There was no contact and I thoroughly deserved the yellow card. I said to the ref at half-time: 'I was fully in the wrong and you were right to book me.' "It was unfortunate we didn't take our chances when we were on top. We knew Chelsea could not be bad for 90 minutes and in the end we were made to pay. But we'll learn from this and we'll come back stronger."

George Osborne in crackdown on jobless costs - The Guardian

George Osborne will continue the government's push to reduce welfare spending by announcing a nationwide scheme on Monday to force 200,000 long-term unemployed benefit claimants to either undertake community work, attend a jobcentre every day or go on a full-time intensive programme to tackle the underlying reasons for their failure to find work.

In his set-piece speech to the Conservative party conference in Manchester, the chancellor will also repeatedly warn that the battle to secure Britain's recovery is not yet "even close to being over" – a message designed to remind voters of the risk of returning to Labour.

The £300m jobs programme, appealing to the electorate's demand for stronger welfare measures, will start in April and will be aimed at 200,000 jobseekers allowance claimants.

Polling suggests there is continued public support for ever tougher welfare crackdowns and with the Tories trailing in the polls and in need of a strong response to Ed Miliband's populist conference speech last week, strategists have returned to one of their strongest and most familiar policy areas to push the message that they are on the side of hard-working people.

"For the first time, all long-term unemployed people who are capable of work will be required to do something in return for their benefits to help them find work," Osborne will say, adding: "But no one will get something for nothing. Help to work – and in return work for the dole."

It is significant that Osborne is announcing the plan instead of the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith. Reports at the weekend suggested Duncan Smith and Osborne have clashed over the handling of welfare cuts. The chancellor reportedly described Duncan Smith as "thick", an indication of Treasury frustrations at the management of universal credit, the scheme merging a series of tax credits and benefits.

The chancellor has also put himself at odds with the business secretary, Vince Cable, by bringing forward plans for a state-backed £12bn mortgage guarantee scheme which some Liberal Democrats and economists fear will lead to a debt-fuelled boom based on escalating house prices in southern England. The three-year scheme, due to start in January, will now begin within days as banks rushed to back the scheme.

Cable was not told of Osborne's decision, although the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, was given an advance briefing.

David Cameron explained the decision on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme. "As prime minister, I'm not going to stand back while people's aspirations to get on the housing ladder, to own their own flat, to own their own home are being trashed. That is why we need to act."

Overall, the Tories were insisting they will not try to neuter Miliband's living standards agenda with specific counter-schemes to combat rising energy prices but will instead focus on the return to growth. Cameron told the BBC: "The only way to sustainably raise living standards is to keep the recovery going, and the economy is now moving."

Osborne will make a similar argument in his speech, saying: "If you don't have a credible economic plan, you simply don't have a living standards plan. For we understand that there can be no recovery for all – if there is no recovery at all."

Critics will claim the scheme, aimed at those on the Work Programme for two years, is likely to put yet more pressure on work providers and jobcentre staff as well as meeting resistance from voluntary bodies reluctant to be involved in workfare that takes jobs from the public sector.

Many private sector firms recoiled from a previous controversial temporary work experience scheme after protests at exploiting cheap labour.

The Tories have piloted a community action programme, a six-month scheme of unpaid community work, and Labour has promised a compulsory work scheme, the jobs guarantee for the long-term unemployed.

The Tories argue that the number of households where no member has ever worked doubled under Labour from 136,000 in June 1997 to 269,000 in June 2010. They claim that in the decade to 2010, 1.4 million people had spent nine out of the previous 10 years on out-of-work benefits.

Under the new plans, unemployed people will be transferred to the new Help to Work scheme at the end of the existing two-year Work Programme if they have not found work.

The 200,000 claimants will then be put on one of three schemes. A third will do community work placements; a third will attend a DWP jobcentre every day to search for work, instead of every fortnight; and a third will be placed on a "mandatory intervention regime" with tough, targeted interventions tackling claimants' underlying problems.

Money will be saved because claimants will lose benefits much more quickly than at present if they are deemed not to be co-operating.

A poll conducted for the thinktank Policy Exchange found by a margin of nearly five to one – 56% to 12% – the public supports the introduction of "workfare" for the long-term unemployed compared with the status quo.

Osborne will try to temper his optimism with a warning that the battle for the recovery is not yet over and no victory is won.

He will also promise in his speech to offer straight answers to those worried about whether the recovery will last and whether they will feel it in their pockets soon.

He will say: "What matters most for living standards are jobs, and low mortgage rates, and lower taxes. But family finances will not be transformed overnight. Because Britain was made much poorer by the crash."

Earlier on Sunday, the prime minister attacked what he called the "nuts" plans to tax businesses announced by Miliband at last week's Labour conference.

"It is nuts, frankly, to put up corporation tax. Jaguar Land Rover is now making world-beating cars, selling them all over the world, and Ed Miliband wants to put up their taxes."

Cameron used more cautious language to criticise Miliband's plan to freeze energy bills for the first 20 months in office if he wins the 2015 general election.

"I want low prices not just for 20 months, I want them for 20 years. So what we need to go is go to the reasons why these prices are going up in the first place – we have got to make these markets more competitive, we have got to make sure that companies behave," the prime minister said.

Don't buy votes with reckless loans, Dave - Daily Mail

By Peter McKay


On a mission: David Cameron (pictured today) announced the Help to Buy Scheme will be launched next week

Cameron says measures are in place to combat any malfunction in the Help To Buy scheme

Boasting on TV and in the weekend newspapers about guaranteeing 95 per cent mortgages via the Government's Help To Buy scheme, David Cameron says: 'I am not prepared to be Prime Minister of a country with caps on aspiration.'

But there are always caps on aspiration. The poor, young and old can't always buy what they need, far less what their hearts desire.

Some spend their entire lifetimes aspiring to some level of material comfort which will always elude them, making do as best they can.

Getting on the housing ladder is a dream for many young people. The Tories want to help them, calculating that they're more likely to vote Conservative than those happy to remain in rented accommodation.

Their 12billion Help To Buy scheme is designed to assist 190,000 individuals, or couples, purchase a house or flat with just a five per cent deposit. The maximum purchase price is 600,000 in England and 400,000 in Scotland.

The Government then makes buyers a 20 per cent equity loan. Meaning they have to take out a mortgage for the remaining 75 per cent.

Cameron says: 'I am impatient to help young people get on the housing ladder. The need is now. I have always wanted this to come in and, frankly, the earlier the better.'

It's 'frankly, the earlier the better' because Cameron has a mountain to climb if he wants to win the next election in 2015. He needs house ownership to rise again.

So, a win-win situation — new houses for some and electoral help for the Tories?

No go: David Cameron has ruled out the introduction of the mansion tax if the Conservatives remain in power.

David Cameron says he is 'impatient' to help young people get on the housing ladder

Or, lose-lose — a housing bubble which, if it bursts, leads to a backlash against the Tories for causing it in the first place?

We've had punctured housing bubbles before, most recently after the 2008 economic crash. House prices fell. There were many repossessions of homes their owners could no longer afford.

New owners lured into buying by 'guaranteed 95 per cent loans from the Government' have no more security during a punctured housing bubble than anyone else. But won't they feel the Government owes them a special responsibility?

Without the Government guarantee, they would not have been able to buy. Certainly, that is what they'll argue.

Getting on the housing ladder is a dream for many young people. The Tories want to help them, calculating that they're more likely to vote Conservative than those happy to remain in rented accommodation

Getting on the housing ladder is a dream for many young people. The Tories want to help them, calculating that they're more likely to vote Conservative than those happy to remain in rented accommodation

So won't they feel the Government has to take responsibility for 95 per cent of their loan if the market drops and they can't afford the repayments?

After all, they were told '95 per cent of your mortgage is guaranteed by the Government'.

Cameron says measures are in place to combat any malfunction in the Help To Buy scheme.

'New powers given to the Bank of England last week to watch over the scheme in case it overheats will act as an extra check on it.'

New powers? It would be nice to know what they are.

So how's the scheme going so far? Officially, it starts this week. But housing sales have begun in anticipation of the start date.

A friend in the property business tells me: 'It's already going great guns. I sold nine properties in four days.'

Cameron is right to encourage aspiring families. His predecessors as Tory leader thought the same. But they did it with tax incentives, not outright loans or loan guarantees.

Owning a house is the biggest financial responsibility most of us will take on in our lifetimes. It's right that those lending us the money to buy ask for some proof that we can afford it.

The last great crash occurred largely because banks were dishing out 100 per cent mortgages to people who could not afford them. Buyer and lender relied on the value of the property rising. And when it didn't…

We were told they'd never allow this kind of reckless lending to happen again. Doesn't guaranteeing 95 per cent mortgages — albeit to a limited number of buyers — sound a little reckless to you?

Such bad luck for political commentator Matthew d'Ancona, bringing out his book at the same time as Damian McBride's. The difficulties of coalition was never going to compete with 50 shades of Labour skullduggery.

Gillian Anderson, is perfectly cast for the role of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams's play A Streetcar  Named Desire.

Williams said Blanche, from the Deep South, was 'delicate, refined and sensitive ... Yet she has lived a life that would make the most degenerate person seem timid'.

Twice-married, estranged from another man by whom she has two children, with self-confessed experience of high school lesbian love, the much travelled Ms Anderson, 45 — once voted Sexiest Woman In The World — certainly has a complex life on which to draw in the coming Young Vic production.

Gillian Anderson is perfectly cast for the role of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams's play A Streetcar Named Desire

Gillian Anderson is perfectly cast for the role of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams's play A Streetcar Named Desire

Coronation Street's Natalie Gumede was reported to have put on a 'sizzling' display in Strictly Come Dancing. Her rival, TV presenter Susanna Reid, was also 'sizzling'. It's such a boring word. How about boiling, blistering, roasting, scorching, searing or steamy? Or, towering inferno if it's Vanessa Feltz.

Durham Chief Constable Mike Barton

Durham Chief Constable Mike Barton has urged for a rethink in the way drugs are policed, comparing our current laws to 1920's American prohibition

Another cop-out on drugs

Durham's chief constable Mike Barton is the latest top bobby to urge the decriminalisation of class-A drugs. He says letting the NHS supply addicts would deprive criminal gangs of revenue.

True enough, but isn't this displacing a problem rather than solving it? Hard drugs were criminalised because they wreck lives, not because we disapprove of people amusing themselves by taking them.

The libertarian view is let people do as they please if they don't harm others. And help them if they hurt themselves.

But inadequate individuals on hard drugs, sometimes for life, do hurt others. And they cost us a lot to look after.

Criminal gangs deprived of revenue from drugs will merely find another illegal — and possibly more anti-social — source of income.

Keeping the selling of hard drugs illegal doesn't stop people seeking them, but it limits their number. The truth is we've already more or less given up prosecuting for-their-own-use druggies.

I Admired the East European protesters from Femen who disrupted the Paris fashion show. Based in Kiev and Paris, they oppose patriarchy in all its forms.

Somehow, these topless lassies seem more acceptable than our own, dour womens' groups.  So do the jailed Russian group, Pussy Riot.

Our own feminists need to buck up their ideas.

Ozzy, the ex factor

They're not my cup of tea, but maybe they're yours. So perhaps I should be circumspect when commenting about  X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne and her pop star husband, Ozzy.

She's now saying she demanded a divorce after finding he was back on alcohol and drugs. 'I was a desperate woman,' she tells The Sun on Sunday. Desperate for another blast of publicity, it seems to me.

While Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne have now reconciled, Sharon has admitted she was very close to divorcing him

While Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne have now reconciled, Sharon has admitted she was very close to divorcing him

Mariella would be great box office

Mariella Frostrup says her new Channel 4 show — Sex Box, in which couples are encouraged to copulate, then discuss it afterwards — 'is a really mature look at a subject we've allowed to proliferate in its worst manifestations and refused to confront.'

In other words,  it's providing a valuable public service. This is always Channel 4's line, even when its show was about a man with 10-stone testicles.

But if Mariella thinks having sex in Channel 4's box is a public service, why not volunteer herself?

She could advertise for a partner by inviting would-be participants to enter a bidding process, all proceeds — if there are any — going to charity.

Wearing a suitably scanty outfit, Mariella, 50, could lounge in the box and, in her tipsy-duchess voice, explain the rules of the show. Then get down and do it with the winner.

Much more honest and entertaining than drearily exploiting unknown couples  to maintain C4's reputation  for notoriety.

If Mariella thinks having sex in Channel 4's box is a public service, why not volunteer herself?

If Mariella thinks having sex in Channel 4's box is a public service, why not volunteer herself?

The world is warming up. And it's still our fault. But not as quickly as we thought. So says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Believers always says it's worse than we imagine, deniers that we're led astray by faulty climate modelling.

At the weekend, I asked a farmer friend who is a believer if he'd want a total ban on burning fossil fuels for aesthetic reasons if it were proven that it didn't cause global warming.

Yes, he replied. We'd all be better off if we got back to a natural way of living. He's bought two horses and — when he collects all the proper, old equipment — will begin ploughing with them.

When I was 15, I worked for a time with two enormous Clydesdale horses. I can still smell their perspiring bodies as I groomed them at the end of the day and the pungent smoke when the blacksmith put red-hot iron shoes on their saucepan-sized feet he'd so carefully pared and prepared.

Most of us dream of a world which is simpler, in which we can live in tune with nature.

Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who died in 1778 and is interred in the Pantheon, Paris, saw the independent farmer as the model man, 'free of superiors and self-governing'.

He said: 'You are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.'

Critics such as Voltaire — a former friend — said Rousseau wanted us to 'walk on all fours' liked animals. Sounding like today's Jeremy Clarkson, Voltaire admired 'the superfluous, that most necessary thing'.

Is their 18th century debate so different from our 21st century one?


The comments below have not been moderated.

Of all the things the government could do to try and improve the economy and they do this.

It is obvious from the comments above, that most people understand the flaws and dangers in this scheme. When Cameron, is challenged on these, he brushes the questions away like some Timeshare Salesman. This is all about risk and the risks are considerable, for the lenders, The Government and The Mortgage Lenders themselves. Of course not buying a house at all and renting is also a risk, Banks are in the business of managing risk but should Government be joining in?

This is sub prime lending, pure and simple. People earning good money can't buy a modest property because a massive deposit is required? Why? House prices are in a bubble. Cameron has brought the scheme forward to keep house prices high and try and win some votes. Desperation and panic but it will not work.

@Nick... couldn't have put it better myself! Regarding this so called 'help to Buy' policy alone, the Tories have lost my vote. I already have a 10% deposit and have had a hard enough time this year trying to find a half decent place... this scheme will simply result in the fact that what I can afford will be even smaller in an even more dubious area... no thanks! Personally, I strongly suspect this scheme is NOT going to buy the votes like they think it will.... IMHO, this is going to come back and bit the conservative party in the ass! Neither Cameron or Osborne have considered for one second, the reason why the housing market is dysfunctional is because house prices are outstandingly ridiculous?... What an utter disgrace and abuse of tax-payers money... the medium-long term prospects for this country are being destroyed for personal gain.

This won't buy votes, people see straight through this scam. It will just push bubble prices even higher. It is sub prime lending that caused problems to start with. If they want to 'help', get interest rates back to normal, prices will collapse so we won't need scams, and savers will stop being robbed. This idiot is NOT a Conservative. In fact the Conservatives seemed to have disappeared. That's why I'm voting UKIP from now on.

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