Headlines: 31st July 2015

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The late Sir Cyril Smith child pornography inquiry has been dropped due to “lack of evidence”.

Simon Danczuk, the current Rochdale MP, made a series of claims about the late Smith’s sexual activities, including that he was stopped by police who discovered he had child pornography while travelling on the motorway through Northamptonshire.

But Northamptonshire Police said they could find no records or witnesses to corroborate the allegations, made by the Labour MP in his book Smile For The Camera: The Double Life Of Cyril Smith.

Detectives interviewed five people who came forward but could only provide third party accounts which could not be used in evidence.’

Read more: Sir Cyril Smith child pornography inquiry dropped due to ‘lack of evidence’


Actor-Ben-Fellows-_3392767b‘An actor has been cleared of perverting the course of justice after being accused of making up a story that he was molested by former chancellor Kenneth Clarke during a cash-for-questions TV sting 20 years ago.

Ben Fellows, 40, from Birmingham, alleged that the leading politician had plied him with alcohol and carried out the sexual assault in the office of a lobbyist while he was working undercover for ITV’s Cook Report in 1994.

Mr Clarke insisted he had never in his life “had the compulsion” to grope another man as he dismissed the claim as “preposterous”, “off the Richter scale” and “like Martians landing”.

After eight hours of deliberations the jury at the Old Bailey found Fellows, of Olton, Solihull, not guilty of perverting the course of justice between November 14 2012 and December 1 2012.’

Read more: Ken Clarke ‘groping’ accuser found not guilty of making a false claim



‘Parents at risk of taking their family to joining ISIS fighters in Syria could be electronically tagged.

Top family judge Sir James Munby suggested the GPS technology could be used to monitor parents caught trying to travel to Syria so that they can be reunited with their children.

He argued it was in the interests of the children to be with their parents and tagging could reduce the chance of them trying to leave the country again.

There have been a number of high profile cases of families from Britain travelling to Syria and Iraq, including parents taking children.’

Read more: Parents could be tagged to stop them taking their children to join ISIS fanatics in Syria, top judge suggests


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‘A joint investigation by Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture found “strong evidence” that the Israeli army carried out war crimes in an attempt to kill an Israeli soldier captured in Gaza last summer and as revenge for his capture.

On 1 August 2014 — a day Palestinians have come to know as Black Friday — the Israeli army initiated its deadliest act of butchery during its 51-day war on Gaza, bombing men, women and children in an effort to kill one of its own soldiers in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city.

When the dust settled, anywhere between 135 to more than 200 Palestinian civilians were dead, including 75 children. With the morgues full to capacity, medical workers were forced to store the corpses of small children in vegetable refrigerators and ice cream coolers to accommodate the high volume of dead bodies, producing some of the most haunting images produced by the 51-day offensive.’

Read more: Israel Intentionally Killed Civilians After Soldier’s Capture in Gaza — Amnesty


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‘Domestic cats in Australia could be banned from going outdoors in an attempt to protect native animals.
The Sydney Morning Herald says the proposals to keep cats under house arrest has been drawn up by Gregory Andrews, Australia’s threatened species commissioner.

He has argued the move would benefit not only the country’s wildlife but pet cats as well, who are happier and healthier when left indoors.

The proposed curfew is part of a wider strategy which could also see as many as two million feral cats culled.’

Read more: Australia ready to ban cats from going outdoors


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‘A North East magistrate has resigned over new court fees that “force the innocent to plead guilty” and means “justice is only going to be for those who can afford it.”

Since April criminal defendants have had to pay an “outrageous” new levy of up to £1,200 for standing trial – with fees potentially quadrupling if someone pleads not guilty and are then convicted.

Now George Lyons, a member of the bench in North Tyneside for 15 years, has turned his back on the role, and written to the Magistrates Association’s Magistrate magazine claiming the fees put pressure on people to admit crimes they did not commit in order to avoid a bigger bill.

“This is a terrible piece of legislation introduced through the back door,” wrote Mr Lyons, who fears the rules – which courts have no discretion over – could “criminalise many people because that is the option” for them.’

Read more: North Tyneside magistrate resigns over new court fee that ‘forces innocent to plead guilty’


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‘German researchers have developed a new technology that can identify a person in poor lighting or even in absolute darkness thus potentially solving one of the main issues of the modern face recognition systems.

Today’s facial recognition systems are based on matching clean and well-lit photos taken in the broad light. This poses a problem for law enforcement and security services when their object is in the shade.

However, a group of German scientists claim to have found a solution to this as they develop a new type of face-recognition system that analyzes a person’s thermal signature instead of relying on traditional methods.’

Read more: Out of Shadows: New tech allows face recognition in utter darkness

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