Monday , April 23 2018

Ministers 'want to help with Windrush financial losses'

Minister Liz Truss has told BBC Question Time the government will "look sympathetically" at compensation requests from Windrush migrants. She said people "deserved to be properly compensated" for financial losses suffered - giving the example of a man who had lost his job as a teaching assistant "as a result of actions by the government". "We do think that those people do deserve to be properly compensated for the losses they have suffered," the chief secretary to the Treasury said.

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Commonwealth meeting: Leaders discuss who will succeed Queen as head

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption The Queen has endorsed Prince Charles to take over her role as head of the CommonwealthCommonwealth leaders are meeting behind closed doors to discuss whether the Prince of Wales should succeed his mother as head of the 53-nation body. On Thursday the Queen endorsed Prince Charles as future leader at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Buckingham Palace. She said it was her "sincere wish" that he takes over "one day". But the role is not hereditary and will not pass automatically to the Prince of Wales on the Queen's death. The leaders are expected to approve the move when they meet at Windsor Castle, but there has been no confirmation on whether there will be an announcement following the meeting. 'No other options' for Commonwealth head? Commonwealth: Seven things you might not know BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale said there had been some suggestions that the position should be rotated a..

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Carwyn Jones 'caused considerable distress' to Sargeant family

The lawyers of Jack Sargeant have written a strongly-worded letter accusing First Minister Carwyn Jones of causing "considerable distress". Mr Sargeant's father Carl was found dead in November, four days after being dismissed from the cabinet. An inquiry into how Mr Jones handled the sacking will be led by Paul Bowen QC, but has not yet begun. The Welsh Government said it would "not be appropriate to comment" on the letter, sent to Mr Bowen. Family agree Sargeant inquiry chairman Carl Sargeant: Timeline of events But on the eve of the Welsh Labour conference, Jack Sargeant's lawyers have said the first minister's approach is causing "considerable distress to our client and his family". They added: "The inescapable fact here is that someone sadly has lost their life, a much loved family member, and due process must be followed expeditiously to enable to those closest to him to find some closure." Carl Sargeant was dismissed from the cabinet after being subjected to ..

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Tributes as Tessa Jowell visits Commons for cancer debate

Speaker John Bercow was among those who paid tribute to Tessa Jowell, as she returned to the House of Commons to attend a debate on cancer treatment. Baroness Jowell was diagnosed with brain cancer in May last year. She earned a minute-long standing ovation in the House of Lords in January, after making a plea for more cancer treatments to be made available through the NHS.

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Brexit: EU reportedly rejects UK's Irish border solutions

Image copyright AFPThe EU has reportedly rejected the UK's solutions to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit. The Daily Telegraph quoted unnamed sources suggesting British officials had been told on Wednesday that "none" of their proposed ideas would work. The EU has said without a deal Northern Ireland must stay aligned with the Republic of Ireland in many areas of regulation - an outcome the UK opposes. The UK said it had made its position clear and was continuing to "engage". Britain is due to leave the European Union on on 29 March 2019. The EU wants to present an agreed solution on the Irish border issue to an EU summit meeting in June. Chief negotiator Michel Barnier told French TV on Friday that 25% of the final withdrawal deal had still to be settled and it could still be derailed by disagreements over the border and other issues. The first-phase agreement reached in December - officially known as the Joint Report - contains the "backstop" optio..

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Windrush: Alan Johnson says landing cards decision was made in 2009

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionAlan Johnson: "It was an administrative decision taken by the UK Border Agency"The decision to destroy the landing cards for Windrush migrants was taken under Labour, former home secretary Alan Johnson has said. Asked if he knew about the 2009 decision, he told the BBC: "No, it was an administrative decision taken by the UK Border Agency." The cards were then destroyed in 2010, when Theresa May was home secretary. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Mrs May clashed over the issue at prime minister's questions. The government has apologised to the children of Commonwealth citizens, known as the Windrush generation - after the name of the first ship bringing them to the UK in 1948 - for the way they have been treated by the Home Office. Despite being in the UK legally, many have been threatened with deportation, denied access to NHS treatment, benefits and pensions and stripped of their jobs. On Wednesday, Mr Corbyn accuse..

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Brexit divorce cost uncertain, say auditors

Image copyright PA Image caption The government estimated the cost in pounds, but the bill will be paid in eurosThe total cost of the Brexit "divorce" bill remains uncertain, auditors say, as much depends on future events. The National Audit Office said the £35bn-£39bn range put forward by the government was "a reasonable estimate". But even "relatively small changes" to things such as inflation, the exchange rate and the UK's future economic performance could push it up or down. The government said the settlement would be "fair to UK taxpayers" and would honour commitments made. The UK is due to leave the European Union at the end of March 2019 - but a "transitional" period is expected to last until 31 December 2020, during which most of the current trade arrangements would continue. It has agreed to continue to pay into the EU's annual budget until December 2020, and to cover a share of outstanding commitments and liabilities at that date. The largest liability - the ..

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Google's SMS replacement ready to launch

Image caption Chat adds modern features to Android's Messages appGoogle has started the global roll-out of its new Chat messaging service, which is designed to replace SMS text messages on Android phones. Chat has features such as group texts, videos, typing indicators and read receipts, which are not available when sending SMS texts. Chat will be integrated with the default messages app on Android phones. However, it will be up to mobile operators to enable the service and it does not offer encrypted messages. The new system has been in development for several years, but is now beginning to appear on Android phones. Android's messaging mess SMS - the short message service - was widely adopted in the 1990s. It lets mobile phones exchange basic 160-character text messages over the mobile network. Modern messaging apps offer much more advanced features and send messages over the internet rather than using SMS. However, the default messaging app on Android smartphones - M..

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School denies charging pupils for water in heatwave

Image copyright Google Image caption Onslow St Audrey's School in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, made national headlines over claims it was charging children for waterA school criticised on social media for charging for plastic cups on the hottest day of the year has denied claims children had to pay for water. Onslow St Audrey's School in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, made national headlines over claims that children could not get water without paying for it. The high school said pupils were encouraged to bring a reusable bottle in or buy a disposable cup for 5p. But it provided cups free of charge if a child has no money, the school said. National media reported that parents were angry because pupils were being charged 5p for a cup of water. Acting head teacher Joelle Casotti, said: "Water has always been and continues to be freely available to students of the school." Image copyright PA Image caption The school said it was trying to encourage pupils to be "responsible citizens"..

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National Trust needs to be 'radical'

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The National Trust owns land in picturesque Borrowdale in the Lake DistrictThe National Trust needs to be more radical, the charity's new director-general has told the BBC. Hilary McGrady said the organisation needed to reach out to people living in towns and cities. In her first interview since getting the job, she said: "The people that need beauty the most, are the ones that have least access to it." Mrs McGrady is now at the helm of the largest charity in the UK, with a membership of more than five million. On the stony footpath up towards Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, she talks of her childhood growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and being unable to enjoy the surrounding landscape because it was private land. She is now in charge of Britain's largest private landowner. The National Trust owns land equivalent in size to Dorset, or twice the size of Greater Manchester. It also looks after 300 ..

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