The Weekly Report – 07/12/12

Andrew Thorpe-Apps reviews the week’s top stories.

Chancellor George Osborne has announced a fresh squeeze on benefits, as he admitted the UK economy was performing less well than expected. Austerity measures will be extended to 2018 and Mr Osborne looks set to miss key debt-reduction targets. He also announced more money for roads and schools and axed a planned 3p fuel duty rise, in his Autumn Statement.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby. The Duchess, who is thought to be 12 weeks pregnant, stayed for several days in King Edward VII hospital with acute morning sickness.

Starbucks has agreed to pay more UK corporation tax. The extra tax could amount to £20m over the next two years, regardless of whether the company is profitable during these years.

Liberty’s Shami Chakrabarti, one of six assessors who worked on the Leveson Inquiry, has said his plan for compulsory press regulation would be illegal because it would breach the Human Rights Act.

Max Clifford, one of the UK’s leading public relations experts, was arrested by Metropolitan Police investigating historic sex offences as part of Operation Yewtree.

In Egypt, clashes between opponents and supporters of Mr Morsi left five people dead and 644 injured. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters were set on fire during violence.

NATO has approved Turkey’s request for the deployment of Patriot anti-missile batteries along its border with Syria. The Turkish government is concerned about a potential spill over of the civil war in Syria onto its territory.

Israel authorised the construction of 3,000 additional settler homes. This followed a UN vote to upgrade the Palestinians to a non-member observer state. The UK, France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden summoned Israeli ambassadors in protest at the plans.

Four sailors died, and a further seven are presumed dead, after a cargo ship sank in the North Sea following a collision. The accident took place off the coast of Belgium and the Netherlands, after the Baltic Ace collided with the Cyprus-registered container ship, the Corvus J.

Four police officers were injured during loyalist violence in Carrickfergus on Wednesday night. It followed Belfast City Council’s decision to stop flying the union flag at City Hall every day.

Japan’s Sasago tunnel collapsed, trapping a number of vehicles. Nine people were confirmed dead.

Cash payments for metal at recycling yards in England and Wales have been made illegal under new laws aimed at reducing cable theft. Penalties for those breaking the law have also been increased in amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

Snow fell in parts of southern England and north-eastern Scotland. Dozens of schools closed in Essex, Hertfordshire and Aberdeenshire and at least 10 people were injured in crashes in Essex.

 And finally… 
Pope Benedict XVI is to begin Tweeting from his personal account @pontifex. The first tweet from his account, whose name means both pontiff and builder of bridges, is expected on 12 December.



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