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Mar 21, 2012

Budget blow to Osborne as borrowing hits record

LONDON (Reuters) – Budget deficit hit a record for the month in February as income tax receipts dived and spending climbed, in a blow to Chancellor George Osborne just hours before his annual budget on Wednesday.

The figures highlight how little leeway Osborne has to stimulate economy. With triple-A rating now under warning from credit ratings agencies, he must convince markets that he will stick to an ambitious deficit-reduction plan and resist calls to ease back on the pace of cuts.

Mar 20, 2012

Government still hopeful of Eurofighter deal with UAE

LONDON (Reuters) – European defence group Eurofighter is still in the running to sign a multi-billion dollar deal for fighter jets for the United Arab Emirates, ministers said on Tuesday, following reports that France is close to clinching the contract.

The Gulf Arab state had been expected to reach a $10 billion (6.3 billion pounds) agreement with France’s Dassault (AVMD.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) last year, but the talks faltered after the UAE called the proposed terms “uncompetitive and unworkable”.

Mar 20, 2012

UK still hopeful of Eurofighter deal with UAE

LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) – European defence group
Eurofighter is still in the running to sign a multi-billion
dollar deal for fighter jets for the United Arab Emirates,
British ministers said on Tuesday, following reports that France
is close to clinching the contract.

The Gulf Arab state had been expected to reach a $10 billion
agreement with France’s Dassault last year, but the
talks faltered after the UAE called the proposed terms
“uncompetitive and unworkable”.

Mar 15, 2012

Britain lacks proper growth plan -IAG airline boss

LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) – Britain lacks a credible
plan to revive its stuttering economy and risks being left
behind by fast-moving emerging markets, said the head of British
Airways owner IAG, at loggerheads with the government
over airport expansion.

The country is not keeping pace with others that have cut
business taxes, spent more on infrastructure and improved their
schools and universities to drive growth at a time of increased
competition and worries about global output, IAG Chief Executive
Willie Walsh said on Thursday.

Mar 11, 2012

UK’s Hague faces suit over Pakistan drone strikes

LONDON (Reuters) – Lawyers for the family of a man killed in a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan said they would begin legal action against Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday, accusing him of complicity in strikes they say broke international laws.

London law firm Leigh Day & Co said it had “credible, unchallenged” evidence that Hague oversaw a policy of passing British intelligence to U.S. forces planning attacks against militants in Pakistan. It plans to issue formal proceedings against Hague at the High Court in London on behalf of Noor Khan, whose father was died in a drone attack last year.

Mar 2, 2012

UK’s Cameron changes tack in Murdoch horse row

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) – British Prime Minister
David Cameron said on Friday he did ride a horse given by police
to a Rupert Murdoch newspaper editor, seeking to end days of
embarrassing confusion over an animal that has become an
unlikely symbol of the phone hacking scandal.

After his aides had spent days dodging questions about the
horse, Cameron apologised for the lack of clarity and confirmed
that he had ridden it with the husband of Rebekah Brooks, who
used to run Murdoch’s UK newspaper business.

Feb 28, 2012

Police loaned horse to Rebekah Brooks

LONDON (Reuters) – One of Rupert Murdoch’s most senior newspaper executives was given a retired police horse to ride at her country house, police said on Tuesday, one of the more unusual disclosures in a phone-hacking scandal that has shaken the British media.

The London force said it had loaned the horse to Rebekah Brooks — a Murdoch favourite who ran his UK newspaper arm and edited two of his bestselling tabloids.

Feb 28, 2012

UK police loaned horse to key Murdoch executive

LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – One of Rupert Murdoch’s
most senior newspaper executives was given a retired police
horse to ride at her country house, police said on Tuesday, one
of the more unusual disclosures in a phone-hacking scandal that
has shaken the British media.

The London force said it had loaned the horse to Rebekah
Brooks — a Murdoch favourite who ran his UK newspaper arm and
edited two of his bestselling tabloids.

Feb 22, 2012

Commonwealth suspends Maldives from rights group, seeks elections

LONDON (Reuters) – The Commonwealth suspended the Maldives from its democracy and human rights watchdog on Wednesday and called for elections before the end of the year after the island state’s president was forced from power at gunpoint earlier this month.

Commonwealth officials meeting in London stopped short of suspending the Indian Ocean country from the 54-member group of nations, predominantly ex-British colonies.

Feb 13, 2012

Britain frees radical cleric Abu Qatada

LONDON (Reuters) – A radical cleric once described as “Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe” was freed from a British prison to live under virtual house arrest on Monday after a court ruled that his detention without trial was unlawful.

The Jordanian preacher known as Abu Qatada must wear an electronic tag to allow the police to keep track of him, spend 22 hours a day at his family home and is banned from using the Internet and mobile phones.