As a scene-stealer, he's purrfect.
As a scene-stealer, he's purrfect.
Nicola Sturgeon broke the ministerial code by making "untrue" statements and should step down, a member of the inquiry investigating the Alex Salmond scandal has said the day after her marathon eight-hour appearance. Murdo Fraser, a Tory member of the committee, said he believed some of the First Minister's account was not truthful and that she previously misled the Scottish Parliament. While Ms Sturgeon had denied a litany of claims made by Mr Salmond, Mr Fraser pointed out that he had provided witness statements corroborating key parts of his testimony while she did not. He said the evidence was "clear" that some of her statements had been untrue and predicted that a separate inquiry, being conducted by James Hamilton QC, would conclude that she had broken the ministerial code. Mr Fraser said motions of no confidence in Ms Sturgeon and John Swinney, her deputy, remained on the table but the Tories would see what additional legal advice the Scottish Government hands over before deciding whether to move them. The First Minister is expected to face a further scrutiny at Thursday's First Minister's Questions. However, Mike Russell, a senior SNP minister, said Ms Sturgeon has "demolished the scare stories, the conspiracy theories and lies" during her testimony to the inquiry.
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Myanmar's junta lost a tug of war over leadership of its U.N. mission in New York and the United States unveiled new sanctions targeting military conglomerates after the deaths of dozens of civilians protesting against last month's coup. With tussles going on over diplomatic loyalties overseas, pro-democracy activists said they planned to hold more demonstrations in Myanmar on Friday to oppose the Feb. 1 ouster of the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi."Our federation will be on road to fight the military regime together with the people," the All Burma Federation of Student Unions posted on social media late Thursday.Police broke up rallies with tear gas and gunfire in several cities across Myanmar on Thursday, as protesters returned to the streets after the United Nations said 38 people had been killed on Wednesday in the bloodiest day of protests up to now.U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet demanded the security forces halt what she called their "vicious crackdown on peaceful protesters." Bachelet said more than 1,700 people had been arrested, including 29 journalists.A spokesman for the ruling military council did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.A clash over who represents Myanmar at the United Nations in New York was averted - for now - after the junta's replacement quit and the Myanmar U.N. mission confirmed that Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun remained in the job.The junta fired Kyaw Moe Tun on Saturday after he urged countries at the U.N. General Assembly to use "any means necessary" to reverse the coup.In Washington, it was unclear whether Myanmar's embassy was still representing the junta, after it issued a statement decrying the deaths of civilians protesting the coup and calling on authorities to "fully exercise utmost restraint."One diplomat in the embassy also resigned and at least three others said in posts on social media they were joining the civil disobedience movement against the military government."This is encouragement for us who are going to go out on streets tomorrow," wrote Facebook user U Zay Yan, responding to the news.The U.N. human rights investigator on Myanmar, Thomas Andrews, urged the Security Council - which meets to discuss the situation on Friday - to impose a global arms embargo and targeted economic sanctions on the junta.States should impose sanctions on the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, now controlled by the military and its largest source of revenue, he said in a report.New York Fed freezes $1 blnMyanmar activists continued to call for the release of Suu Kyi, 75, who was detained on the morning of the coup, and recognition of her Nov. 8 election victory. They also reject the junta's promise to hold new elections at an unspecified date.Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party won the election in a landslide but the military has refused to accept the result citing fraud. The election commission said the vote was fair.Hundreds of people on Thursday attended the funeral of a 19-year-old woman who was shot dead at a protest while wearing a T-shirt that read "Everything will be OK". After her death, the slogan went viral as a symbol of defiance..Sources told Reuters that Myanmar's military rulers attempted to move about $1 billion held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York days after seizing power. U.S. officials froze those funds indefinitely, they said.The U.S. Commerce Department designated trading curbs on Myanmar's Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs and two military conglomerates that control swathes of the economy, with interests ranging from beer to real estate.But the measures are expected to have limited impact as the entities are not major importers.“A bigger impact would be to go after the financial assets of the military leaders of the coup," said William Reinsch, a former Commerce Department official.The European Union suspended support for development projects to avoid providing financial assistance to the military. The support in past years has involved more than 200 million euros ($241 million) in separate programmes.Myanmar's generals have long shrugged off outside pressure.The United States has told China, which has declined to condemn the coup, that it expects it to play a constructive role. China has said stability is a top priority in its strategic neighbour.(REUTERS)
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This was a golden opportunity for the royal family and everyone in the UK, as demonstrated by the Oprah interview everyone is talking about. It was squandered terribly
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Homebuyers in Scotland have been dealt a huge blow after SNP's Finance Secretary refused to follow the Chancellor in England by extending Scotland's property sales tax holiday. Rishi Sunak announced in Wednesday's Budget the stamp duty holiday south of the Border, which had been due to end on March 31, would be extended for a further six months. The current nil-rate band for purchases in England up to £500,000 will continue until the end of June, with a "tapered" period running until September. Mr Sunak also handed the SNP government an additional £1.2 billion- more than double the £500 million that the Scottish Government had assumed that they would get when the draft Scottish Budget was published. But Kate Forbes, the SNP's Finance Secretary, said yesterday the equivalent Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) holiday in Scotland will still finish at the end of March. She said there was no need to extend the holiday as it has "achieved its purpose", with "record" levels of home purchases being recorded despite the Covid pandemic.
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A former top civil servant has agreed one of the biggest civil service pay-offs to settle his dismissal claim after accusing Priti Patel of bullying. Former Home Office permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam has received a £340,000 payout, plus his legal costs, from the Government after agreeing to end his unfair dismissal claim. Sir Philip resigned in February last year, accusing Ms Patel of a "vicious and orchestrated" briefing campaign against him, claiming constructive dismissal and accusing Ms Patel of bullying her subordinates. A 10-day employment tribunal to hear Sir Philip's case was due to take place in September. But, in a statement on Thursday, the Home Office said: "The Government and Sir Philip's representatives have jointly concluded that it is in both parties' best interests to reach a settlement at this stage rather than continuing to prepare for an employment tribunal. "The Government does not accept liability in this matter and it was right that the Government defended the case." In a statement issued via his FDA union, Sir Philip said: "I am pleased to say that the Government has today settled the claims that I brought against them and which were due to be heard in an employment tribunal in September. "This settlement resolves my own case. The FDA is continuing to pursue in separate proceedings the wider issues that have been raised. I now look forward to the next stages of my career." The Government said it "regrets the circumstances" surrounding his resignation but added that both parties were "pleased that a settlement has been reached to these proceedings." Sir Philip’s resignation led the Cabinet Office to launch an inquiry into whether Ms Patel had broken the code governing ministers' behaviour. Boris Johnson's standards chief Sir Alex Allan found that she had - but the Prime Minister rejected his findings and kept her in post. Sir Alex resigned in response. In his report, Sir Alex found Ms Patel's "approach on occasions has amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals." "To that extent her behaviour has been in breach of the ministerial code, even if unintentionally," he concluded. Ms Patel apologised for her alleged behaviour, saying "any upset I have caused was completely unintentional". Mr Johnson said he did not think Ms Patel was a bully, and had "full confidence" in her. The FDA launched a judicial review in a bid to overturn Mr Johnson's decision to stand by Ms Patel. Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour's shadow home secretary, accused the Prime Minister of "terrible judgement", adding: "Taxpayers will be appalled at having to pick up the bill for the Home Secretary's unacceptable behaviour.
The documents related to the botched investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by the former First Minister.
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Europe's volte-face on Oxford Covid vaccine PM faces Tory backlash over masks in classroom Judith Woods: Masks will be the least of our problems when schools return Excess deaths could already be back at normal levels Subscribe to The Telegraph for a month-long free trial Italy is not the problem, AstraZeneca is, an Italian MP has said as she defended the decision by the country to block the export of 250,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses to Australia. Lia Quartapelle, an Italian politician of the Democratic Party (PD), said the move was legal due to EU law, and said: "I'm amazed by the fact that the problem is that Italy bans the export and the problem is not AstraZeneca not delivering what is written in the contracts. "Italy is coming under scrutiny for something that is allowed while AstraZeneca is doing something that is not allowed under the contract it signed. I do not understand why." While Australian prime minister Scott Morrison insisted the blocked shipment of the AstraZeneca jabs would not affect Australia's vaccine programme, former former leader of the Liberal Party of Australia Alexander Downer said a phonecall would have been better than "bludgeoning around with some sort of EU law where you can just terminate arrangements with other countries outside the EU". Follow the latest updates below.