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February 15 - 21 2012
μWorld News PAGES 14-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 30-32
Shame on us Celebrity supporters of Gary McKinnon attack extradition laws
What does India want? Why the sending of aid to the subcontinent does us no favours
Riding the storm British film-makers are doing swimmingly at the Sundance festival
The proof of greatness A new show has the largest ever selection of Lucian Freud’s work
13 7 16 31 36 44 1 23 24 31 45 49
Bonus Ball 26
Bonus Ball 6
There was one winner of Saturday’s £4.5m jackpot & three winners of Wednesday’s £7.1m prize
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David Barrett and Robert Mendick RUPERT MURDOCH was due to fly into London this week for a crisis meeting over the future of The Sun following the arrests of five senior journalists on the newspaper.
The journalists, including The Sun’s deputy editor, were detained at dawn as part of the Metropolitan Police investigation into corruption of public officials.
A serving officer with the Armed Forces and his wife, who is a Ministry of Defence official, were also arrested in Wiltshire.
Their arrest significantly widens the police inquiry launched following phone hacking revelations at The Sun’s now-defunct sister title, the News of the World.
There was speculation that The Sun may also be closed down or that Mr Murdoch might choose to sell it.
But last Saturday night, News International’s chief executive said he had been personally assured of Mr Murdoch’s “total commitment” to a newspaper that he is said to cherish above all others in his empire. Tom Mockridge said in a memo to staff: “You should know that I have had a personal assurance today from Rupert Murdoch about his total commitment to continue to own and publish The Sun newspaper.”
News Corporation, News International’s parent firm,
said it was committed to stamping out “unacceptable news-gathering practices by individuals carried out in the past”.
The Army officer, a 36 yearold described as “relatively senior”, and his wife, 39, who works for the Ministry of Defence, were arrested at their home in Wiltshire. They were questioned regarding misconduct in a public office and conspiracy. It is not known in which branch of the Army the man serves, or what position his wife holds.
The couple, who have not been named, were among eight people arrested by Operation Elveden, set up to investigate illegal payments to police officers. The arrests suggest it is now focusing on a wider range of alleged illegal activity, including money possibly given to other officials. Of the other six arrested, five are senior Sun journalists and one, a 39 yearold, is an officer with Surrey Police.
The five journalists are Geoff Webster, the tabloid’s deputy editor; John Kay, the former chief reporter who joined in 1974 and more recently described himself as an “ambassador” for the newspaper; Nick Parker, the chief foreign correspondent; John Edwards, the picture editor, and John Sturgis, the deputy news editor. They were all released on bail.
Detectives searched The Sun newsroom in Wapping, east London, and the homes of the eight, all arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. The widening of the investigation was prompted by detectives trawling through 300 million individual email messages from the archives of The Sun and the News of the World. They were given access to them by News International’s Management and Standards Committee, set up last year to handle the company’s response to the investigation into phonehacking allegations at the now-defunct Sunday tabloid.
As many as 100 people, including forensic accountants, computer experts and lawyers, are combing through emails and accounts. Scotland Yard has allocated 120 officers and staff to Operation Elveden and related investigations into phone and computer hacking.
A source close to the standards committee said: “It is a very sad and very unfortunate day. The management committee is committed to getting to the bottom of this problem and making sure the journalism at News International newspapers is done in full compliance with the law.”
When the former Sun and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks appeared before a Commons committee in 2003, she was asked about payments to police. She said: “We have paid the police for information in the past.”
Andy Coulson, her successor as News of the World editor, who later worked as David Cameron’s director of communications, rapidly moved to suggest to the committee that any payments were made “within the law”.
Allegations of police payments are based on a series of emails passed by News International to the law firm Harbottle &Lewis, shortly after Clive Goodman, the News of the World’s royal reporter was jailed for phone hacking in 2007.
That file was passed to the police only in June last year, prompting accusations of a widespread cover-up at a very senior level. Operation Elveden has now arrested 22 suspects, including Mrs Brooks, who is on police bail.
But worries were expressed about the investigation. Mark Stephens, the media lawyer, said: “I am concerned that in the longer term, this will have a chilling effect on journalists and their sources, not just at News International but at all titles. The police are effectively working towards criminalising the relationship between the media and their sources, and that is a bad thing for democracy.”
The arrests come after four current and former Sun executives were arrested three weeks ago. The four – Fergus Shanahan, 57, who was Mrs Brooks’s deputy at The Sun; Graham Dudman, 49, the former managing editor; Chris Pharo, 42, head of news; and Mike Sullivan, 48, the crime editor – are all on bail.
By John Bingham BISHOPS and MPs said last Friday that a ruling banning local councils from saying prayers during meetings was an assault on Britain’s Christian heritage.
A High Court judge ruled that there was no “lawful” place for prayer during formal proceedings after an atheist former councillor objected that the tradition excluded non-believers.
Secular campaigners insisted that the case had only “modest” implications and would not interfere with anyone’s freedom of religion. But church leaders said it amounted to a victory for an “aggressive secularist agenda”.
There were also fears that the ruling could throw local preparations to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee into doubt by opening the door to legal challenges from opponents of the monarchy. Practices such as singing the national anthem could also come under threat, it was claimed.
The comments followed a legal challenge by Clive Bone, a former member of Bideford town council, in Devon, who objected to the tradition on grounds of conscience, supported by the National Secular Society. At the High Court in London last Friday, Mr Justice Ouseley ruled that it did not breach Mr Bone’s human rights or amount to discrimination.
‘He had a prayer book and
I think he was planning to use it’
But he nevertheless concluded that it was “not lawful” to say prayers as part of formal meetings under a clause of the Local Government Act 1972.
He issued a formal legal declaration stating that councils had “no power” to include prayers in meetings – although they could be held in council chambers before the formal proceedings get under way.
Simon Calvert, a director of The Christian Institute, which supported the council’s case, said: “We are talking about something that has gone on for centuries in a constitutionally Christian country; this outlaws it at a stroke and is another example of the courts siding with an aggressive secularist agenda.”
He added: “Local authority lawyers are going to be asking themselves: what about singing the national anthem? What about celebrating the Diamond Jubilee? Do they fall outside the Act?”
Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, is understood to be concerned about the fear of legal action affecting councils’ plans for Jubilee street parties. His lawyers are preparing to issue emergency legal guidance, effectively urging them to ignore the ruling. He said freedom to worship was a “fundamental and hardfought [for] British liberty”.
The Rt Rev Michael NazirAli, the former Bishop of Rochester, said prayer was “central to public life”, and Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, the Islamic group, said the judgment was an “attack on all faith”. “We are a religious country, a majority Christian country,” he said. “As people of faith – whether we take inspiration from Christianity, Islam, Judaism or Hinduism – we should take pride in that and be able to say prayers. I think this judgment is a step back, it is an attack against freedom.”
Mr Bone, a retired engineer, said he was “delighted” by the ruling. “This will stop sending out the wrong message — that local government is for a certain type of person.”