Coronation Street – Hayley faces more heartbreak

Spoiler Alert!

Roy is worried that Hayley is being taken advantage of as she accepts Christian’s request for money in exchange for seeing her grandkids.

It’s a bittersweet moment for Hayley as she watches Roy happily play with the children and imagines a life she might have had. As Hayley bids goodbye, she’s heartbroken. Could this be the last time she’ll ever see her grandkids?

Meanwhile, Peter tells Tina that the kiss was a mistake and won’t happen again. Tina is not pleased and Peter is left fearing her reaction to being given the brush-off. As a fuming Tina strides over to speak to Carla, what will she say?

Elsewhere, unaware that David is just feet away, Kylie pours her heart out to Audrey. David hears every word of how much pain he’s caused Kylie and reflects on his actions.

Also, Tim is unfazed as Sally shows off her keys to the factory.

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South Africa’s Nelson Mandela dies

South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died, South Africa’s president says.

Mr Mandela, 95, led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison.

He had been receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital.

In a statement on South African national TV, Mr Zuma said Mr Mandela had “departed” and was at peace.

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Autumn Statement: Osborne to make fresh spending cuts

George Osborne will announce a fresh round of spending cuts for Whitehall departments when he gives his Autumn Statement on Thursday.

The chancellor has written to cabinet colleagues to say budgets will face total extra reductions of £1bn a year for the next three financial years.

The first £1bn will come mainly from unspent reserves, he will say.

Health, schools, foreign aid, local government, revenue and customs and the security services will be protected.

Treasury officials said that, although financial discipline and efficiency savings would play their part, departments would have to find cuts of 1.1% in 2014/15 and 2015/16.

The Ministry of Defence will have some flexibility to protect any underspent budgets. So the biggest losers in Whitehall will be those such as the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.
Continue reading the main story
Autumn statement logo

The BBC will have full coverage of the Autumn Statement.

News Channel extensive coverage 08.30 – 21.30 GMT
BBC2 special programme 11.00 – 14.00 GMT
Radio 5 Shelagh Fogarty live from Westminster from 11.15 – 14.00 GMT
Live text and video coverage on the BBC News website

BBC Autumn statement in depth

Officials refused to say what the savings would be used for, but the government does have to find money to pay for recent commitments such as marriage tax breaks, more free school meals and potentially any fuel duty freeze the chancellor may announce.

Officials said the tough decisions showed that this would be a responsible recovery and there would be no giveaways while the government completed its long term plan to fix the economy.

Some of the details of Mr Osborne’s statement have already been announced, including:

An extra £150m to update and build kitchens and dining rooms in English primary schools
A move towards subsidising offshore wind farms instead of onshore wind farms
Plans for £375bn of investment in energy, transport, communications, and water projects
Selling off the government’s 40% stake in the Eurostar rail service
A further £50m to redevelop Gatwick Airport’s railway station
Financial support for the development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa, north Wales
A confirmation that a UK guarantee has now been agreed for the £1bn Northern Line extension to Battersea in London
Improvements to the A50 around Uttoxeter, in Staffordshire, and improvements to the A14 around the port of Felixstowe in Suffolk

The BBC has also learned that the chancellor will cap business rate increases in England and Wales to 2% next year, rather than the rate of inflation, in an effort to boost firms and High Streets.

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MPs ask MI5 boss to justify claim that NSA leaks endangered national security

A committee of MPs challenged the existing system of oversight for the security services by asking the head of MI5 to justify his claims that the Guardian has endangered national security by publishing leaks from the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In an unprecedented step, Keith Vaz, the chairman of the home affairs select committee, announced that spy chief Andrew Parker had been summoned to give evidence in public to the Commons committee next week.

The decision was taken at a private session of the select committee on Tuesday before the body heard evidence from Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger seeking to justify the Guardian’s decision to publish a string of stories based on US and UK intelligence agency files leaked by Snowden to the media.

Although last month the security services appeared in public for the first time to give evidence to parliament, they appeared before the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC). Members of that committee are appointed by the prime minister and tend to have defence or a security background. Commons select committees, by contrast, are parliamentary committees, with the chairs and members elected by MPs.

It is understood that the home affairs select committee rejected inviting Parker to give evidence in private. Julian Huppert, a Lib Dem member of the committee, said: “A precedent has been set and now that the heads of the security services have given evidence once in public they should do so again to us, and not just to MPs they would like to have ask them questions. I would expect Mr Parker to attend.”

Labour committee member David Winnick also pointedly ridiculed the ISC referring to the way in which Britain’s three main spy chiefs had been given prior notice of the questions in its first public evidence session last month. Some committee members want Parker to reveal how much MI6 and MI5 had told the ISC about its mass programme of surveillance, so in effect testing the value of the ISC as a constitutional check on the security services. Deep political divisions over the Guardian’s publication of the Snowden files were exposed throughout the one-hour cross examination of the Guardian’s editor, with Tory MPs rigidly focusing on whether the newspaper had broken the Terrorism Act by sending the names of UK agents abroad as documents were shared with the New York Times.

Cressida Dick, the Met’s Assistant Commissioner who heads London’s Specialist Operations unit, told the committee in subsequent testimony confirmed that the Metropolitan police was looking to see whether individuals had broken Section 58A of the Terrorism Act, saying she would go wherever the evidence took her. “It appears possible … that some people may have committed offences,” she said, but declined to specify whether the Guardian is under investigation.

Following the session Julian Smith, the Conservative at the helm of Tory criticism of the Guardian, went so far to accuse Rusbridger of treason. The MP said that Rusbridger had “admitted the names of British agents were in documents he could not bother to read, but he sent abroad to America. The Terrorism Act 2000 makes it an offence to communicate the names of the agents that protect us. It is for the police to take the decisions, but I hope he is prosecuted.”

Rusbridger told the committee he did not know if the police were conducting an inquiry, but promised the paper would not be intimidated from publishing stories that it regarded were in the public interest. He said approximately 1% of the 58,000 intelligence files leaked by US whistleblower Snowden have been published by the paper. He had consulted government officials prior to the publication of every story, but one. He explained the files had originally been placed in four locations – with the Guardian, the Washington Post, a location in Rio de Janeiro and a location in Germany. “That’s the hand of cards we were all dealt – The Guardian, security services and governments.” Vaz referred to Parker’s claim that the Guardian had gifted the terrorists the ability to attack at will, saying “this is severe criticisms of a kind I have not seen before from the head of our security services”.

Rusbridger countered that “the problem with the accusations is they tend to be very vague and not rooted in specific stories” adding the publication of the NSA files “leaps over the hurdle of public interest”. He said: “There is no doubt in my mind … that newspapers have done something that oversight has failed to do”.

He pointed to a series of senior UK and US officials that had described the Guardian’s behaviour as incredibly responsible, insisting the Guardian was not a rogue newspaper, but acting in concert with other responsible newspapers to publish stories .

In possibly the most heated exchanges Conservative MP Michael Ellis insisted he would not be a party to “a Labour love-in”, and asked Rusbridger, “if you’d known about the Enigma code during World War Two would you have transmitted that information to the Nazis?”

Ellis suggested to Rusbridger by using Fed-Ex to communicate some of the NSA files, containing the names of intelligence officers, he had committed a criminal offence. “It isn’t only about what you’ve published, it’s about what you’ve communicated. That is what amounts, or can amount, to a criminal offence,” Ellis asserted.

“You may be a lawyer, Mr Ellis, I’m not, so I will leave that with you,” the editor replied. He also pointed out “We have never used a single name. We have published no names and we have not lost control of any names”. The files sent to the US were encrypted to military grade and had not been compromised, he said.

Ellis also clamed the Guardian may have exposed the identity of gay GCHQ staff, or GCHQ families that had been on a trip to Disneyland in Paris. Rusbridger pointed out the fact that there was a Pride branch of GCHQ was on the website of Stonewall, the gay rights pressure group.

At one point Vaz took an unexpected tack, asking the editor whether he “loved this country.” A startled Rusbridger replied: “We are patriots and one of the things we are patriotic about is the nature of our democracy and of a free press. There are countries and they are not generally democracies where the press are not free to write about this and where the security services do tell editors what to write. That’s not the country we live in, in Britain, and it’s one of the things we love about the country.”

RBS IT meltdown – will I receive compensation?

RBS suffereed a computer glitch on Monday evening, leaving customers unable to use their #debit cards or log in to internet or mobile banking. The problems happened on what was expected to be the busiest online shopping day in the run-up to Christmas, dubbed Cyber Monday.

What went wrong?

Between 6.30pm and 9.30pm customers found they were unable to make payments or withdraw money from ATMs with debit cards, or were unable to log in to the bank’s online banking or mobile systems to check balances or make payments.

RBS says it is unclear why everything stopped working, but Susan Allen, director of customer solutions at RBS, said investigations suggested it was “completely unrelated” to a rush of people using cards on Cyber Monday.

The bank’s chief executive, Ross McEwan, has described the systems failure as “unacceptable” and apologised to customers.

Who was affected?

Customers at the bank’s three brands, RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank. RBS said it would usually expect about 250,000 withdrawals an hour on that period of a Monday evening, so around 750,000 people are likely to have been thwarted in their attempts to take out cash. It does not know how many payments were declined over the period.

Are the problems fixed?

The bank said the problem lasted three hours and has been rectified, but on Tuesday morning some customers were still reporting difficulties logging into the banks’ websites and that their balances were not showing correctly.

I couldn’t fill up my car and had to get a taxi. Will I be compensated?

You should be. RBS has said it will make sure customers are not out of pocket as a result of the failure. Compensation will be arranged “on a case-by-case basis”. To make a claim you need to visit a branch or call the bank and explain that you want to reclaim your money.

I had to ditch my weekly shopping at the checkout. What about me?

There are lots of stories of people being thwarted in their attempts to do their shopping as a result of the meltdown – one man reported rows of full trollies in an Asda store in Newcastle that had been abandoned when people found they couldn’t pay, while others tweeted of being unable to pay for online orders. However, RBS said it would not be compensating for inconvenience or time wasted – it is focusing on reimbusing people who incurred costs.

Does RBS have more IT problems than other banks?

It seems to have a lot – most notably the meltdown in June 2012 that left some people locked out of their accounts for days on end and caused problems with payments to and from RBS accounts.

Since then there have been problems at other banks. For example, in October 2012 Lloyds, Halifax, Co-op Bank and Smile customers were unable to access cash one afternoon. But RBS has also had other issues, and on Tuesday McEwan admitted that “for decades, RBS failed to invest properly in its systems”.

I’ve had an email telling me my security details have been reset. Why?

Because there is already a phishing scam on the go, aiming to trick customers into giving away their security details. Don’t click on the links in any email purporting to be from the bank. If you have done and have concerns, or you have received a different email and are unsure if it is legitimate, call the number you usually use to make sure.



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