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July 5, 2009

UK Serious Fraud Office to investigate MG Rover collapse

Filed under: Archived,Europe,United Kingdom — admin @ 5:00 am

UK Serious Fraud Office to investigate MG Rover collapse

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

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The United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office is to launch an investigation into the collapse of car manufacturer MG Rover. The move follows the conclusion of a four-year enquiry started immediately after the firm became insolvent.

The group of four who owned MG Rover — John Towers, Nick Stephenson, Peter Beale and John Edwards — have been accused of asset stripping. The quartet, known as the Phoenix Four, paid a symbolic £10 (approximately €15) for Rover in 2000. At that time the company received an interest-free loan from former owner BMW for £427 million (approximately €700 million) and came with a large amount of unsold stock.

Between then and Rover’s April 2005 bankruptcy, by which time there were unpaid debts of £1 billion (approximately €1.5 billion), the Phoenix Four had removed an estimated £40 million worth of assets including pensions and salaries. An enquiry was launched by ministers that was expected to take a year, but the final report was not delivered to business secretary Lord Mandelson until three weeks ago.

The government used taxpayer’s money to fund a £6 million loan to MG Rover and attempted to negotiate a deal with a Chinese company, but these efforts failed. MG Rover’s collapse caused the loss of an estimated 15,000 jobs, including with various suppliers. A former MG Rover factory does still build a small number of MG sports cars in Longbridge by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, who bought most of the designs.

The Phoenix Four released a statement criticising the criminal investigation. “There has never been any suggestion of improper conduct by the directors and this was confirmed in a report by the administrators PWC six months after they took over the running of the company. Four years on, any suggestion [of] another further investigation is frankly ridiculous and smacks of kicking this issue into the long grass. If the government has been so concerned to get to the heart of the matter why has it flatly refused more than 30 requests under the Freedom of Information Act which would have revealed correspondence and documents the directors believe would have shed some light on the government’s role in the affair?”



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Two explosives factories explode in India

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Disasters and accidents,India — admin @ 5:00 am

Two explosives factories explode in India

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Two explosives factories in the town of Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh, India exploded reducing the buildings to fragments on Sunday evening.

Madhya Pradesh, India
Image: PlaneMad.

“The explosions were so severe that both the factories were reduced to rubble under which 30 people were feared dead,” police said. Another 100 have been injured as a result of the blasts.

The Ideal Explosives industries sustained an explosion at about 6:30 p.m. local time. The Rajasthan Explosives Private Limited next door soon followed.

The exact cause of the first blast is unknown. It is reported that ammonium nitrate gas had been leaking from the accident site.

There are several factories situated in the Bairhan Industrial Area. The factories manufactured explosives for use in the local coal fields.



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Ousted president Manuel Zelaya heads back to Honduras

Ousted president Manuel Zelaya heads back to Honduras

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

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Presidente Zelaya is heading for Honduras with the hope of being able of “practice his rights peacefully”.

Manuel Zelaya, the president of Honduras who was removed from power by the Honduran Supreme Court, has begun making his way back to his country. Flying from Washington, Zelaya is to arrive in Honduran air space at around 22:00 (GMT).

The former president had announced his willingness to return to his country, hoping for a reintegration. Zelaya asked his people to be able to “practice his rights peacefully” after his arrival in the Central American country.

Nevertheless, the interim government that deposed Zelaya has announced that the flight would not be allowed to land. Foreign Minister Enrique Ortez said “I have ordered to not allow him to enter, whoever he comes with, to avoid the imprudence of allowing a president of the republic to die, of allowing a president of the republic to get hurt, of allowing a person to die”.

Zelaya travels together with the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel D’Escoto. Other leaders of Latin America, who had promised to travel together with Zelaya, will instead monitor the development of events from El Salvador. Among these leaders are the presidents Rafel Correa (Ecuador), Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Argentina) and Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), together with the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza.

“If Zelaya lands and regards it timely for us to go, we will go”, said Correa. Furthermore, Cristina Fernández added that “there is a clear attempt from Zelaya to return, even if they don’t allow it, and to restore order in the country”.

Zelaya’s return takes place after the Organization of American States (OAS) voted in favour of suspending Honduras from the organization. OAS resolved to suspend “immediately” the de facto Honduran government lead by Roberto Micheletti in accordance with the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

However, fear has aroused that Zelaya’s return could trigger more violence. The archbishop of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, urged Zelaya not to return, fearing a possible “bloodbath”.



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One dead, eighteen injured in Florida lightning strike

One dead, eighteen injured in Florida lightning strike

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

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One person is dead and 18 others injured after lightning struck a church group’s Fourth of July celebration in Lakeland, Florida, United States yesterday. The group were outside playing soccer and volleyball when either a single bolt or a series of them hit.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, “It’s very sad to see folks just celebrating the Fourth, in a way that you would hope people would celebrate the Fourth, with friends and family, and a lightning strike, an act of God occurred, and one person died”. 19 people were transported to hospitals; one was later pronounced dead.

Despite some clouds in the area, the lightning reportedly caught many off guard. Judd noted, “This is Florida. There’s build up every afternoon.”

No buildings or structures sustained damage, so it is unclear exactly where the bolt struck. The church members were described as “exceptionally composed considering the tragedy.”

On average, there are 1.5 million lightning strikes per year in the state, causing more fatalities than hurricanes, tornadoes, and other meteorological hazards.



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Former NFL quarterback Steve McNair shot dead

Former NFL quarterback Steve McNair shot dead

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Steve McNair, while a member of the Baltimore Ravens in 2007. Photo credit: Keith Allison

Steve McNair, former National Football League (NFL) quarterback was found shot to death in an apartment in Nashville, Tennessee, in the United States, around 1:00 PM on July 4, 2009. Sahel Kazemi, a 20-year-old woman, was also found dead with a gunshot wound in the same apartment. A gun, presumably the murder weapon, was found next to Ms. Kazemi’s body. The Tennessean newspaper is calling the death “an apparent murder-suicide.”

McNair played 13 seasons in the NFL, 11 with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise, and two with the Baltimore Ravens. Titan’s owner “Bud” Adams said of McNair: “We are saddened and shocked to hear the news of Steve McNair’s passing today. He was one of the finest players to play for our organization and one of the most beloved players by our fans.”

Kazemi was an employee of the Dave & Buster’s restaurant in Opry Mills, Tennessee, and had been dating McNair for several months, according to The Tennessean. McNair was still married to another woman at the time of his death. Two days prior to their deaths, Kazemi had been arrested for driving under the influence in a black 2007 Cadillac Escalade which had been a gift to her from McNair. He was in the car at the time of the arrest; he was not charged with any crime and later bailed her out of jail.

The bodies were discovered around 1:00 PM on July 4, 2009 by Wayne Neely, a friend of McNair. Another friend, Robert Gaddy, called police to report the deaths at 1:35 PM.

Nashville police are still investigating the deaths, and have not ruled out any scenarios. However, they also state that they are not actively pursuing any suspects at this time. They are awaiting an autopsy report on the two deceased before forming any conclusions about the situation.



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