Police chief ‘was told of Damian Green pornography claims’

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Former Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said the allegations against Mr Green showed “no criminality”

A former Scotland Yard chief was aware pornography had allegedly been found on Damian Green’s office computer during a 2008-9 police probe, he has said.

Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner between 2009-11, said he was briefed about the claims but regarded them as a “side issue”.

The allegations were first made public last week by former Met Assistant Commissioner, Bob Quick.

First Secretary of State Mr Green said his accusers had “ulterior motives”.

Mr Green, who is Prime Minister Theresa May’s second-in-command, said: “I reiterate that no allegations about the presence of improper material on my parliamentary computers have ever been put to me or to the parliamentary authorities by the police.

“I can only assume that they are being made now, nine years later, for ulterior motives.”

But Mr Quick, who led the investigation into Home Office leaks which saw Mr Green’s Commons office being searched, says pornography was found on a computer there.

Both Sir Paul and Mr Quick gave evidence to a Cabinet Office inquiry into Mr Green’s conduct last week, led by senior Cabinet Office official Sue Gray.

The inquiry, which is being held behind closed doors, is also looking at a separate claim that Mr Green, made inappropriate advances towards a female Conservative activist in 2015. He also denies that allegation.

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Damian Green denies claims police found pornography on a computer in his office

Speaking to the BBC, Sir Paul said he thought the claim about Mr Green “wasn’t relevant to the criminal inquiry” into Home Office leaks, which began in October 2008.

Mr Green’s home and office were searched as part of that probe and he was briefly arrested in November that year, but the then shadow immigration minister faced no further action.

A review of the police inquiry found that “less intrusive methods” could have been used.

Referring to the pornography allegations, Sir Paul said: “I regret it’s in the public domain.

“There was no criminality involved, there were no victims, there was no vulnerability and it was not a matter of extraordinary public interest.”

Sir Paul added that it was not Scotland Yard’s role to “police the workplace”.

The Met declined to say whether it was helping the Cabinet Office investigate the claims, but said in a statement: “As this is not our inquiry the MPS does not believe it is appropriate to comment upon it.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41958392

Remembrance Sunday: UK events mark the nation’s war dead

Media captionWatch live coverage of Remembrance Sunday

Politicians, members of the Royal Family and veterans are commemorating those who lost their lives in conflict as the UK marks Remembrance Sunday.

A two-minute silence was held across the country and wreaths were laid at memorials.

Prince Charles attended the annual ceremony at the Cenotaph in London and Big Ben chimed at 11:00 GMT.

For the first time the Queen did not lay a wreath but instead watched from the Foreign Office’s balcony.

At the Cenotaph on Whitehall, the Last Post was played shortly before the Prince of Wales laid the wreath.

The royals were joined by Prime Minister Theresa May, other senior politicians, religious leaders and dignitaries from around the Commonwealth.

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Prince Charles laid a wreath on behalf of the Queen

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Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also paid their respects

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The Queen watched the ceremony with Prince Philip and the Duchess of Cornwall from a nearby balcony…

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…as did the Duchess of Cambridge and other royals

A wreath was also laid at the memorial for the Welsh Guards in London.

As part of services being held across Scotland, more than 100 wreaths were laid at Edinburgh’s City Chambers. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attended the service.

At the Cenotaph in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar laid a green laurel wreath, 30 years after an IRA bombing there killed 12 people.

Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire and DUP leader Arlene Foster also laid wreaths.

Meanwhile, bell ringers are being sought for 2018 to honour the 1,400 ringers who died in World War One.

Sir Stuart Peach, chief of the defence staff, told the Andrew Marr show that the day was one of remembrance and reconciliation.

“Today we mark and remember over a million British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in both world wars. So it is about remembering the sacrifice they made so that we can enjoy the freedom and liberty that we have today,” he said.

“It’s also very important to understand that this is about reconciliation. That nations move on.”

The new Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said: “We must not forget the continued sacrifices our armed services make, right across the globe serving in 30 countries, making sure that this country remains safe – and that the freedoms that we have today continue to be protected.”

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Veterans gathered for Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph in Whitehall

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Chelsea pensioners were among those at the Cenotaph in London

On Saturday, events were held around the UK to mark the 99th anniversary of Armistice Day with Big Ben chiming for the first time since August.

The evening saw a Festival of Remembrance held at Albert Hall. Members of the Royal Family watched as Emeli Sande, Tom Odell and other stars performed alongside the Queen’s Colour Squadron and The Band of HM Royal Marines.

The event was held by the Royal British Legion and hosted by the BBC’s Huw Edwards. It commemorated all the British military personnel killed in combat since World War One.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41957783

Sick baby’s treatment ‘should continue’, High Court told

Isaiah Hasstrup and auntImage copyright

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Isaiah, pictured with an aunt, has brain damage

A mother and father are fighting a High Court battle to stop their eight-month-old son’s life support machine being switched off.

Isaiah Hasstrup is brain damaged and dependent on a ventilator to keep him alive at King’s College Hospital, London.

Doctors said giving him further treatment was “futile, burdensome and not in his best interests”.

But father Lanre Hasstrup and mother Takesha Thomas want it to continue.

They also hope an independent assessor will be appointed to give a medical opinion.

Isaiah was born with a severe brain injury believed to have been caused by oxygen deprivation.

Doctors do not think there are any “further investigations or forms of treatment” which would benefit him, the hospital’s barrister Fiona Paterson said.

She told Mr Justice MacDonald relations between hospital bosses and Isaiah’s parents were “difficult”.

The court heard that Mr Hasstrup, of Peckham, south London, had been barred from visiting the hospital following an incident a few days ago.

‘Not a saint’

But Mr Hasstrup said he was considering seeking a judicial review over the ban and insisted there had been “no violence”.

“I am not a saint but I am not a demon either,” he said.

He told the court there had been a “lack of care” for Isaiah.

Mr Justice MacDonald created an order barring the media from identifying medical staff caring for Isaiah and said he hoped mediation could avoid a full trial.

Failing that, the court case will formally begin on 15 January.

A King’s College Hospital spokeswoman said Mr Hasstrup had already made a written application for permission to launch a judicial review but this was refused by a judge earlier this week.

In July, the High Court ruled Great Ormond Street Hospital doctors could stop providing life-support treatment to baby Charlie Gard, following a lengthy and high profile court case.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-41944958

Mum wins legal review over police keeping son’s naked photo details

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Police logged details of the boy’s action under the heading “Obscene Publications”

The mother of a schoolboy who sent a naked photo of himself to a girl has won the right to a judicial review over a police force’s refusal to delete his name from its records.

The boy, aged 14 at the time, was not arrested or prosecuted by Greater Manchester Police.

His mother said she was concerned police could release the information to potential employers when he is older.

The boy sent the naked photograph over social media to a girl at his school.

The girl then shared the image, sent two years ago, with others.

‘Young, naive and silly’

The boy’s mother said she was “in complete shock” when she heard what had happened, but “this had all happened in the privacy of his own bedroom”.

She said even though “he was young, he was naive, he was silly” she believes the subsequent sharing of the photo by others was “malicious”.

Police took no action against him other than to record on their database that he had taken and forwarded an “indecent” image of himself, logged under a section entitled “Obscene Publications”.

Greater Manchester Police has refused to delete the boy’s name from its files, a decision his mother is contesting at the High Court.

She said: “It’s going to be held there infinitum, so for all his adult life it hangs over him.”

‘Penalised children’

Shauneen Lambe, chief executive of Just For Kids Law which is supporting the family, said a generation of children was being “penalised” by a law that was supposed to protect them.

Home Office policy is understood to be that police have to record such incidents but whether their name is included is at the force’s discretion, which may have implications for future job applications especially if working with children.

Ms Lambe said the real fear about discretion was that it creates uncertainty, as one chief officer might take one view while another might take the opposite.

Olivia Pinkney, the chief constable of Hampshire who is lead officer on the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC), expressed concern two years ago that the policy was not consistently applied and said she was “worried for today’s young people”.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-41945498

Brexit bill: Barnier gives UK two weeks to clarify key issues

David Davis (l) and Michel BarnierImage copyright

The UK has two weeks to clarify key issues or make concessions if progress is to be made in Brexit talks, the bloc’s chief negotiator has said.

Michel Barnier was speaking after meeting the Brexit secretary for talks on citizens’ rights, the Irish border, and the UK’s “divorce bill”.

David Davis said it was time for both sides “to work to find solutions”.

Before the talks, Theresa May said she wanted the UK’s exit date set in law, and warned MPs not to block Brexit.

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Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Mr Barnier suggested Britain would have to clarify its position in the next fortnight on what it would pay to settle its obligations to the EU if the talks were to have achieved “sufficient progress” ahead of December’s European Council meeting.

“It is just a matter of settling accounts as in any separation,” Mr Barnier said.

‘Useful clarifications’

Mr Barnier also said both sides had to work towards an “objective interpretation” of Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge that no member of the EU would lose out financially as a result of the Brexit vote.

The Brexit secretary insisted good progress was being made across the board, and that the negotiations had narrowed to a “few outstanding, albeit important, issues”.

Media captionDavid Davis says there cannot be a new border within the UK

Mr Davis and Mr Barnier agreed there had been progress on the issue of settled status for EU citizens in the UK after Brexit.

Mr Barnier said the UK had provided “useful clarifications” on guaranteeing rights, although more work needed to be done on some points including rights of families and exporting welfare payments.

For the UK’s part, Mr Davis said, the government had “listened carefully” to concerns and that there would be a “streamlined and straightforward” process for EU nationals to obtain settled status.

‘Frank discussions’

But Mr Davis rejected a suggestion that Northern Ireland could remain within the European customs union.

He was responding to a European Commission paper, which proposed that Northern Ireland may have to remain a member of the EU’s single market or customs union, if a so-called “hard border” with the Irish Republic is to be avoided.

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Saying there had been “frank discussions” with Mr Barnier and his negotiators on the issue of the Irish border, Mr Davis insisted there could be “no new border” inside the UK.

“We respect the European Union desire to protect the legal order of the single market and the customs union, but that cannot come at cost to the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom,” Mr Davis told reporters in Brussels.

“We recognise the need for specific solutions for the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland. But let me be clear – this cannot amount to creating a new border inside our United Kingdom,” he added.

Mr Barnier said the “unique situation” on the island of Ireland required “technical and regulatory solutions necessary to prevent a hard border”.


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By Adam Fleming, BBC Europe correspondent

Michel Barnier usually says at post-negotiation press conferences that the clock is ticking.

He didn’t this time: he gave a specific timeframe. He wants the UK to provide more clarity in the next two weeks on its positions on the rights of EU citizens who wish to remain after Brexit, the plans for the Irish border and principles for calculating Britain’s financial obligations.

Although the EU doesn’t want a precise figure, it wants the UK to clarify what it’s willing to pay to live up to the financial commitments made as a member.

On Ireland, both sides have pledged to protect the peace process but the EU has suggested that might require Northern Ireland sticking to European rules on customs and the single market – rules that the rest of Britain might not follow in future. David Davis rejected that.

UK sources agree it looks like they’ve been set a deadline but they feel it is a logical reading of the EU’s timetable, under which their officials have to begin preparations for the next summit of EU leaders in December fairly soon.

Looking ahead to December’s EU summit, Mr Davis pledged the UK was “ready and willing” to engage with Brussels “as often and as quickly as needed”.

“But we need to see flexibility, imagination and willingness to make progress on both sides if these negotiations are to succeed and we are able to realise our new deep and special partnership,” he said.

Friday’s update came as Prime Minister Theresa May announced she wanted the date the UK leaves the EU – 29 March 2019 – enshrined in law.

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The prime minister wrote in Friday’s Daily Telegraph she would not tolerate attempts to “block” Brexit

The prime minister said the decision to put the specific time of Brexit “on the front page” of the Brexit bill showed the government was determined to see the process through.

“Let no-one doubt our determination or question our resolve, Brexit is happening,” she wrote.

The draft legislation has already passed its second reading, and now faces several attempts to amend it at the next part of its parliamentary journey – the committee stage.

Mrs May said the government would listen to MPs if they had ideas for improving the bill, but warned against attempts to halt the process.

“We will not tolerate attempts from any quarter to use the process of amendments to this bill as a mechanism to try to block the democratic wishes of the British people by attempting to slow down or stop our departure from the European Union.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41941414

The moment surfer Andrew Cotton breaks back in big wave wipeout

A British surfer has broken his back after falling off while riding a huge wave.

Andrew Cotton, from Devon, suffered the wipeout in Nazare, Portugal and was rescued by a team including local lifeguards.

He posted on social media from his hospital bed: “Thanks to everyone who helped this morning

“Everyone was really calm, you guys really saved my back, which unfortunately is broken but definitely could be worse, so thank you.”

More on this story, and other Devon and Cornwall news

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-41929367

One in six ‘withdraws’ from intensive de-radicalisation scheme

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One in six people placed on the government’s key de-radicalisation scheme in England and Wales refuses to co-operate, Home Office figures show.

Some 63 people withdrew from the scheme, known as Channel, in 2015-16 – despite concerns about their ideology.

The figures also show a third of all 7,631 referrals to the wider Prevent counter-extremism programme in 2015-16 came from the education sector.

Of those referrals, only 381 went on to receive specialist help.

Chief Constable Simon Cole, the national policing lead for Prevent, said the number of referrals showed that “trust and support is growing” for the programme.

Created in 2003, Prevent is designed to support people at risk of joining extremist groups and carrying out terror-related activities.

It is the first time the government has published detailed figures on the initiative.

‘Very alarming’

The Prevent scheme operates in a similar way to social services panels that look at possible cases of abuse.

Every time a case is referred to a local Prevent panel, experts consider the evidence – such as a report from a teacher – and decide whether the individual needs to be steered away from extremist ideology.

Media caption‘I was singled out as a radical aged 14′

The latest figures show that the vast majority of people referred to Prevent required either no official support, or were given help with a problem unrelated to violent extremism.

But 1,072 individuals caused such alarm they were assessed for inclusion in Channel, the government’s intensive de-radicalisation programme, which is voluntary and provides tailored support to individuals in England and Wales.

Of those cases, 381 went on to receive specialist help in an attempt to change their thinking – and 302 were later given the all-clear.

Sixteen of those were still in the process at the time the figures were collated, but a further 63 people withdrew from the scheme – meaning they stopped cooperating with experts mentors altogether.

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Approximately 65% of the Prevent referrals related to Islamist/jihadist extremism and 10% concerned right-wing extremism.

The remaining cases were either impossible to initially categorise, because the individual was flitting between ideologies, or involved smaller threats relating to Northern Ireland, or Sikh extremism.

The highest number of cases came from London – 1,915 individuals – followed by 1,273 the North East, an area covering Yorkshire to the Scottish border.

Far-right member ‘transformed’

A 47-year old man who had been an active member of far-right groups and an “avid collector” of Nazi memorabilia and literature says Prevent helped him to feel “more valued”.

His radicalisation and increasingly violent ideology was fuelled by years of heavy drinking and his association with prominent “white power” advocates, the Home Office said.

He was referred to Prevent by police and assigned a Channel mentor who helped him to turn his life around.

The man said: “The support I have received through this process has allowed me to feel more valued as a person and made me see there is more to life than what I was doing.

“Without the help of this process, I am sure I would be in prison now.”

Entire families referred

Just over 2,500 of the referrals to Prevent came from schools, teachers and colleges, followed by almost 2,800 from the police.

Four hundred alerts came from “community” sources and a further 267 from friends and family.

The vast majority of the cases concerned men under 20-years-old – but officials said some referrals related to entire families with children younger than nine years old.

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The figures suggest there has been an increase in cases involving under-15s, but officials believe this could be due to a greater awareness among teachers of the potential warning signs.

Home Office officials said academic research indicated that while there had been some initial concerns about “over-zealous” referrals by teachers, they now had a good grasp of which young people needed help.

Duty on schools

Security minister Ben Wallace said the Channel scheme was helping to “save lives” and had seen “real results” in helping divert people away from terrorism.

Labour’s Naz Shah, who sits on the Commons Home Affairs committee, said the fact the majority of Islamic extremism referrals required no further action reinforced her concerns about the scheme.

She said: “If you’ve referred a child, a young person, and there turns out to be actually nothing that they’re doing that’s wrong – that’s really worrying for me and it’s very alarming.”

But Dr Usama Hasan, head of Islamic Studies at the counter-extremism organisation Quilliam, said it was not surprising there had been lots of “false” referrals.

She said: “This is a new duty on schools and a lot of teachers are worried that if they miss somebody, they could lose their job for missing a potential terrorist.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41927937

Theresa May faces fresh reshuffle after Priti Patel resignation

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Theresa May is embarking on a second cabinet reshuffle in a week after Priti Patel resigned over her unauthorised meetings with Israeli officials.

The international development secretary – who was in charge of the UK’s foreign aid budget – admitted her actions “lacked transparency”.

Mrs May is facing calls to replace her with another MP who voted for Brexit.

Ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said the PM would want to keep a “balance” of views on the EU in her top team.

He predicted she would not make “big changes” to the cabinet line-up and although Ms Patel’s replacement would have to be “capable”, their views on Britain’s future relationship with the EU would also be a factor.

“We are all Brexiteers now,” the leading Leave campaigner told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.

“So the question is to what degree do you want someone in that job to be in support of (Brexit Secretary) David Davis and others, and I think therefore the balance on having strong Brexit views is one that in all probability the prime minister will certainly look for.”

Ms Patel is the second cabinet minister to quit in the space of seven days, after Sir Michael Fallon resigned as defence secretary last week. He was replaced by one of Mrs May’s closest allies, Gavin Williamson.

According to The Times, European Union leaders are preparing for the possible “fall of Theresa May before the new year” and either “a change of leadership or elections leading to a Labour victory”.

Mr Duncan Smith said it was “a bit rich” for EU leaders to suggest Mrs May’s position was precarious, at a time when the Netherlands and Germany faced difficulties forming governments, there was “chaos” in Italy and arrests of Catalonian separatists in Spain.

Priti Patel’s difficulties began last week, when the BBC revealed Ms Patel arranged a number of private meetings with business and political figures during a family holiday to Israel in August.

Media captionWhat went wrong for Priti Patel? The BBC’s James Landale explains

It later emerged that after Ms Patel’s visit to Israel, she asked her officials to look into whether Britain could support humanitarian operations conducted by the Israeli army in the occupied Golan Heights area.

But Foreign Office officials strongly advised against this as the need for humanitarian aid was greater elsewhere and giving aid to the military broke aid rules, BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale said.

Ms Patel, who has served as the Tory MP for Witham in Essex since 2010, was formally reprimanded in Downing Street on Monday and had to correct her initial media statements about the August meetings.

But on Wednesday two further meetings arranged without government officials present came to light, one with Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan in Westminster early in September and one with Israeli foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in New York.

Asked if Ms Patel had been foolish or had made a concerted attempt at freelance foreign policy, the BBC’s James Landale told the Today programme: “I think it’s pretty clear that the view within the government is there was an attempt to try to shape British policy within the Middle East.”

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Ms Patel was accused of breaching the ministerial code – which sets out the standards of conduct expected of government ministers.

In her resignation letter, she said: “While my actions were meant with the best of intentions, my actions also fell below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated.”

In her reply, Mrs May said: ”As you know the UK and Israel are close allies, and it is right that we should work closely together. But that must be done formally, and through official channels.

”That is why, when we met on Monday I was glad to accept your apology and welcomed your clarification about your trip to Israel over the summer.

“Now that further details have come to light it is right you have decided to resign.”

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested disgruntled Remainers could be behind the leak that led to the downfall of Ms Patel.

He told BBC’s Newsnight that some people were “still very bitter” about the referendum result and “inevitably that colours their behaviour”.

Meanwhile, Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has suggested there were more questions to answer: “I have been informed that while she was in Israel, Ms Patel met officials from the British consulate general Jerusalem, but that the fact of this meeting has not been made public.

“If this were the case, then it would surely be impossible to sustain the claim that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was not aware of Ms Patel’s presence in Israel.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41923670

Thousands living with advanced cancer, says Macmillan

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Emma Young has three children

Thousands of people in England who have the most advanced cancers are surviving for several years after diagnosis, according to new research.

Macmillan Cancer Support said it was down to new treatments but warned that living longer with advanced cancer can bring its own difficulties.

Emma Young, 39, was diagnosed with breast and bone cancer at 35.

“The not-knowing is the hardest, from scan to scan you don’t know how it will be,” she says.

“From the time you have the scan until you get the results is really hard – ‘scanziety’ is what we call it.”

Her diagnosis in May 2014 was delayed after doctors misdiagnosed her symptoms. Days after being told she had breast cancer she was told it had spread to her bones.

Stage 4 cancer is where the disease has already spread to at least one other part of the body – which in many cases cannot be cured.

Previously, stage 4 cancer patients often had limited options but Macmillan Cancer Support said the new data showed that new and improved treatments mean it can be “more ‘treatable’ and manageable, like other chronic illnesses”.

But living longer with stage 4 cancer can bring other issues for patients, says Adrienne Betteley, the charity’s specialist adviser for end-of-life care.

“This is really positive news, but living with advanced cancer can be a difficult situation to be in.

“As well as dealing with the physical symptoms of cancer, having multiple hospital appointments, scans and treatment options to contend with, there’s also the emotional and psychological impact of having an uncertain future.”

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If you can’t see the NHS Tracker, click or tap here.

The way Emma chose to cope was by refusing to let doctors give her a prognosis.

“I said I didn’t want to know. If you’re given one, you count down to that day and what happens when you get to zero?

“I thought I’d carry on regardless without that hanging over me.”

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Image caption

Living longer with stage 4 cancer often means juggling hospital appointments and treatments

Emma acknowledges such an approach won’t suit everyone but for her, not being given a timescale for her illness meant she could “carry on as usual” for her three children.

“My youngest is 10 and I want to live as long as possible – I want to keep life normal for them.

“Our life is completely normal – I still do everything with them regardless of my diagnosis. Even though there are times when I could easily sleep in and it’s a struggle to get out of bed every day.”

Living longer

  • It is the first time that data showing the number of people in England living several years after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer has been available.
  • The figures are based on people in England who were diagnosed with one of 10 common types of cancer between 2012 and 2013, and were still alive at the end of 2015.
  • The data showed 17,000 people with stage 4 cancer had survived for two years or more.
  • Macmillan Cancer Support says the new figures highlight the changing nature of cancer.
  • The charity warns that these patients often face a complex range of issues, including living with uncertainty over how their cancer will progress, and having to make difficult decisions about potentially life-extending treatment and the effect on their quality of life.

Emma’s cancer is monitored by scans, and bone-strengthening and hormone treatment.

She suffers from fatigue and bone pain, struggles to stand for long, and has had to leave her job as a teaching assistant. She receives personal independence payments (PIPs) which were arranged by a nurse at her hospice when she was first diagnosed although they ran out in the summer.

“I had an absolute nightmare with the PIP forms – they took my car away from me – so I had to walk a half-hour walk to school four times a day.”

It took four months to sort out and they have now been awarded indefinitely – something Emma believes should be the case for everyone with stage 4 cancer.

She has help from cognitive behavioural therapy sessions at her local hospice “which has been invaluable” and she credits really good friends for their constant support.

“You can never get away from the fact you’ve got cancer but you have to shove it to the back of your mind. It’s like a demon that will pop up sometimes – you learn to deal with it and put it back in the box.

“You have to ride the waves of emotion – if you want to have a cry you do that.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41899203

Sky threatens to shut down Sky News to aid Fox takeover

Sky logoImage copyright

Sky has threatened to shut down Sky News if the news channel proves to be a major obstacle in its takeover bid by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.

Regulators are investigating the deal amid concerns that Mr Murdoch’s media empire could become too powerful.

Sky told the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that the regulator should not assume “the continued provision” of Sky News.

BBC media editor Amol Rajan said it was a “credible threat”.

In a submission made to the CMA last month, but published by the regulator on Tuesday, Sky said it “would likely be prompted to review” its position if “the continued provision of Sky News in its current form unduly impeded merger and/or other corporate opportunities available in relation to Sky’s broader business”.

This would particularly be the case if shareholders objected to the merger not happening, Sky said in its submission.

The BBC understands that closing Sky News would only be an option of last resort, and that Sky would try to find a buyer for the media company before that eventuality.


But our media editor said Sky could go through with the closure due to “the sheer amount of time this proposed merger is taking to go through” – it is six years since Fox first put in a bid.

He added that a second “and maybe more pertinent reason is the fact that Sky News loses an awful lot of money.”

“It employs hundreds of journalists, it produces world-class material, but it loses tens of millions of pounds, and I think the independent directors of Sky are sending a very clear message… that if they had to choose, maybe they’d prefer for commercial reasons to do the deal with 21st Century Fox rather than continue to fund the losses at Sky News.”

Probe into Murdoch’s Sky bid confirmed

What are the issues in Fox’s Sky deal?

The submission comes a day after reports that Fox has discussed selling “most” of its business, including its Sky stake, to Disney.

Fox has faced a number of hurdles in its bid to buy Sky, including the CMA investigation and opposition from some politicians.

Fox owns 39% of Sky but wants full control of the satellite broadcaster.

But some fear it would give Rupert Murdoch’s family too much control over the UK media.

Mr Murdoch’s News Corp owns The Times and The Sun newspapers.

Sky News, which has been broadcasting for 28 years, is an influential, 24-hour, international channel.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41909321