After a debate in parliament, MPs decided that ‘animal sentience’ will not be included in the EU Withdrawal Bill. Every single Conservative and DUP MP present voted to reject inclusion of the term, which recognises that animals are capable of feeling pain and emotion. All MPs from the Labour, Green and SNP parties voted to include it.
This vote could jeopardise efforts to protect animals. One of the arguments the government used to justify voting in this way was that sentience is already covered in the Animal Welfare Act. But many say this just isn’t true.
A step in the wrong direction
Environment Secretary Michael Gove pledged that Brexit could enhance animal welfare standards. But this vote on animal sentience undermines Gove’s promise, according to the RSPCA.
The government is picking and choosing which EU laws are made into UK law following Brexit. Green MP Caroline Lucas proposed an amendment that would ensure animal sentience is carried over. But 313 MPs voted against recognising animals as sentient beings.
If the law doesn’t recognise animals as sentient, as capable of feeling pain and emotion, then this could weaken our obligation to consider their welfare. For example, after the EU included animal sentience in the Lisbon Treaty, it banned animal testing for cosmetic purposes
David Bowles, Head of Public Affairs at RSPCA, said this is a “truly backward step” for the protection of animals.
The RSPCA says the term ‘sentience’ does not appear once in the Animal Welfare Act. But MPs argued the act covered it. Bowles added:
only domestic animals are really covered by the provsions of the Act anyway and animals in the wild and laboratories are expressly exempt. It is simply wrong for the Government to claim that the Act protects animal sentience.
Both the RSPCA and Lucas said the decision was “disappointing”. Lucas also highlighted during the debate:
By way of background, in 1997—20 years ago—the UK Government, during their presidency of the EU, convinced the then 14 other member states that EU law should explicitly recognise that animals were sentient beings, and not simply agricultural goods like bags of potatoes that could be maltreated with impunity.
It was important enough for the British Government to use all their influence in the EU to have it included in the Lisbon treaty, and we should continue to have it in UK law.
This puts animals in danger.
As previously reported at The Canary, Brexit has offered hope for raising animal welfare standards, as well as fears about lowering them. But by keeping animal sentience out of British law, the government could be putting untold numbers of animals at risk of exploitation and abuse. Animals are still suffering on factory farms, in the wild, in labs, in circuses, in sport and in zoos. If we want to ensure that animals are afforded the protections they deserve, then the law has to recognise their sentience.
With many thanks to: The Canary for the origional story.
But prosecutors said the sentence failed to recognise the seriousness of his offences.
Three judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh agreed and increased Hume’s jail term to six years.
In the judgement, Lord Brodie wrote that Lady Scott, who presided over the trial, should have imposed a lengthier sentence on Hume by following the example of similar cases .
He wrote: “The respondent pleaded guilty to two very serious offences.
“Other than the fact that he had no previous convictions, there is little if anything by way of mitigation in the respondent’s personal circumstances or his response to his offending as recorded in the background reports.
“Looking to the cumulative effect of these various factors we have concluded that the headline sentence selected by the sentencing judge was not only a lenient one but an unduly lenient one.”
Lord Brodie, who considered the case alongside Lady Dorrian and Lord Turnbull, said the fact Hume videoed his crime amounted to a “material aggravation” that merited a higher sentence.
During proceedings earlier this year, the court head how the boy’s father left the Glasgow flat in the afternoon to pick up his wife and asked Hume to babysit.
Prosecutor Angela Gray said: “The accused took the opportunity to rape the boy and whilst doing so filmed the act using his mobile telephone.”
When the parents returned home, Hume was sitting on the couch and the boy was in his bedroom.
The child then entered the living room and accused Hume of sexually abusing him.
At this point, the court heard how Hume became irate and started to wave his arms and told the boy: “Mate, you were the one that was being bad and pulling down your trousers.”
He added: “I am no having this” and swore at the boy.
Hume then ran away leaving behind his two mobile phones and his jacket.
The family contacted Police Scotland and the force’s cyber-crime unit managed to extract the footage from Hume’s phone.
The footage lasts for approximately 5 minutes.
During the recording, the accused is heard to call the complainer a “good boy”.
Following the court case, prosecutors launched an appeal against Hume’s sentence.
Summarising the Crown’s argument, Lord Brodie wrote: “It is submitted that the sentence failed to satisfy the need for retribution, deterrence and protection of the public.”
Thousands of people on universal credit will not be paid over the festive season or will get a reduced payment, the BBC Moneybox show has highlighted.
Those hit will be some of the 67,000 people who claim the benefit while working and who are paid weekly.
This is because there are five paydays in December, so their monthly income will be too high to get any or some of the benefit. Some will have to reapply.
The government said only a “minority” of claimants would be affected.
What is universal credit – and what’s the problem?
Universal credit callers face five minutes on hold
Universal credit rollout ‘should be paused’
Universal credit merges six benefits for working-age people into one new payment, which is reduced gradually as you earn more.
The Department for Work and Pensions warns on its website that people who are paid five times in a month may have an income that is too high to qualify for the benefit in that period.
It says people will be notified if this happens and told to reapply for the benefit the following month.
Other people who are paid fives times in a month but do not earn enough for universal credit to end will have their benefit reduced.
Kayley Hignell, from Citizens Advice, said the way universal credit was calculated brought some benefits but also “significant budget challenges”.
She said: “The key thing here is about communication.
“People need to know that if they’re getting extra income in one month… it may stop their universal credit payment, and that they then subsequently need to put in a new claim to make sure that they continue to get those payments.
“If you’ve got extra money in the month, don’t necessarily bank on the fact that your universal credit is going to stay the same, because it could change it either in this month or the next.”
The government said the payments balance out, as claimants will receive more in the following month.
It said those who reapplied for the benefits would not have to submit new forms and would have their current claims restarted.
Universal credit is being rolled out across the UK in stages, but its implementation, particularly the six-week wait to receive the benefit, has caused controversy.
This week Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told Prime Minister’s Questions that hundreds of families have been issued with eviction notices by a landlord concerned about the impact of universal credit.
With many thanks to: BBC England for the origional story
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) called for a super surveillance watchdog to oversee all state surveillance activities — to include not just communication data but interception of communications, deployment of surveillance devices, and use of informants.
The organisation, along with the National Union of Journalists, appeared before the Oireachtas justice committee for hearings on the General Scheme of the Communications (Data Retention) Bill 2007.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan published the draft heads of bill in early October along with the Murray report, which reviewed the law in the area.
The report said the current Irish system amounted to mass surveillance and said it “may no longer be lawful” to compel service providers to retain indiscriminate private communication data.
Communication data does not include content of telephone or digital messages but covers all traffic and location details, including on the sender and receiver, time and frequency of messages, as well as websites visited.
The Murray report called for the replacement of the current system, with no independent authorisation of requests, with prior authorisation from a district court judge (High Court for journalists) or from an independent agency. He also called for an independent monitoring body for the communication companies.
While the Government’s bill provides for district court authorisation, it does not include High Court authorisation for journalist data. Neither does it allow for an independent agency to authorise requests, nor a monitoring body for the industry.
In a joint submission with Digital Rights Ireland, the ICCL said the bill failed to bring Irish law into line with European jurisprudence.
Elizabeth Farries, ICCL information rights project manager, said the current bill is “invalid according to European Union law”, citing two landmark cases known as Tele2 and Digital Rights Ireland.
TJ McIntyre of Digital Rights Ireland previously told the committee that the bill as proposed would end up being tested in the courts.
Ms Farries said the Murray recommendations represented the “minimum standard and reflected EU law” and must be implemented to bring Irish law into line.
She said the bill allowed for emergency requests for journalists’ data without judicial approval — again contrary to EU law.
She said that, despite the claims of the Department of Justice, the current oversight system was “not working”, citing the part-time nature of current High Court reviews, the formulaic one-page reports produced, and the general lack of data.
The ICCL said the bill’s proposal for district court judges to grant authorisation was not sufficient in that the judges were busy and did not have sufficient resources and competence — including technical knowledge — to exercise full control.
The ICCL and Digital Rights Ireland argued for a resourced, independent agency dedicated to this purpose — and said this agency should examine all surveillance activities.
“We recommend that the designated judge be replaced by an independent supervisory authority, with parliamentary accountability, to be chaired by a judge, and supported by a secretariat with sufficient technical expertise and financial resources to provide detailed support including formalised public reports,” states their joint submission.
“This supervisory authority should also take on the oversight of interception of communications, use of surveillance devices, and the use of covert human intelligence sources.”
With many thanks to: Irish Examiner for the origional story.
Although not illegal, they are depriving the Treasury of juicy tax revenues at a time when many Britons are having their welfare payments slashed, and the National Health Service (NHS) faces a yawning budget black hole.
Philip May, the PM’s husband, is a relationships manager for investment-management firm Capital Group. His is the latest big name to be associated with the papers.
According to the documents, Capital Group allegedly used offshore-registered funds to make investments in a Bermuda-registered company. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party wants ‘flush Phil’ to answer some questions.
“There are some serious questions for Philip May to answer about his firm’s use of tax havens, whether he had any knowledge of it and if he thinks this is an acceptable way to do business,” Jon Trickett, Labour’s shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, told Business Insider.
“Labour has previously asked Theresa May what her government plans to do to clamp down on the tax havens where money is squirrelled away to avoid paying taxes for public services in this country.
“When it comes to paying tax, there is one rule for the super-rich and another for the rest of us and, in refusing to act, the Prime Minister appears to condone this,” said Trickett.
Other notable Brits implicated in the papers include Prince Charles and Her Majesty the Queen. Revelations of the great British tax stitch-up come as the Universal Credit roll-out sees the most vulnerable Brits have their benefits axed.
Earlier this month, a mother was found dead in her flat after her benefits were cut. Elaine Morrall died in her house in Runcorn, Cheshire, amid claims her financial woes meant she switched the heating off until her children got home from school.
A Downing Street spokesman denied Mr May had any involvement in Capital Group’s playful accounting.
“Mr May is involved in the development of Capital Group’s retirement solutions,” he said.
“He is not an investor but consults with other Capital associates on retirement products and solutions for clients.”
With many thanks to: rt.com for the origional story.
Allen Kennedy pleaded guilty at Downpatrick Crown Court
A former RUC/PSNI officer has pleaded guilty to trying to buy a gun, ammunition and a silencer on the so-called dark web.
Allen Kennedy, 31, whose address was given as Strandtown police station, had been due to go on trial on 14 gun, ammunition and drug charges.
On Friday, he pleaded guilty to attempting to possess a 9mm pistol, 10 rounds of ammunition and a silencer.
He also admitted possessing 102 grammes of cocaine with intent to supply.
A prosecution barrister asked that a further eight charges relating to the firearm, ammunition and drug offences be “left on the books in the usual terms”.
The judge ordered the preparation of a probation report ahead of a plea and sentencing hearing next month.
No application for bail was made and the judge remanded Kennedy back into custody at Maghaberry prison.
Cocaine hidden in tins
No details were given in court on Friday about the circumstances surrounding the gun and drug offences.
But a previous court hearing was told the charges related to Kennedy’s involvement in trying to buy the firearm and ammunition over the internet.
Following his arrest in September last year, Kennedy resigned from the PSNI having previously been suspended on an unrelated matter.
The court was told the then serving constable was detained during an undercover sting operation said to have resulted in the seizure of quantities of cocaine hidden inside drinks tins. Kennedy resigned from the PSNI in September of last year
Kennedy was arrested at Annadale Embankment in south Belfast on 5 September 2016 after handing over £500 to receive a package.
A detective said the accused had used an online moniker and tag to arrange to buy a Russian pistol, silencer and ammunition.
Searches of his vehicle were said to have uncovered drugs inside hides disguised as tins of drink and WD-40 oil spray.
Mobile phones containing text messages associated with someone allegedly involved in supplying narcotics were also seized.
Two properties were then raided as part of the investigation which stretched to the north Down area.
In one bedroom where Kennedy stayed police found quantities of ecstasy and cannabis, more drug-related paraphernalia, price lists, ammunition and documents linked to the use of the “dark web”, the court heard.
With many thanks to: BBC News for the origional story