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January 31, 2012

Elizabeth II annuls Fred Goodwin knighthood

Elizabeth II annuls Fred Goodwin knighthood

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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Queen Elizabeth II, the British monarch, has today withdrawn and annulled a knighthood given to Fred Goodwin in 2004, heeding the advice given to her by a forfeiture committee. Goodwin is the former chief executive at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) and was awarded his knighthood by the British government of the time for services to banking. The committee concluded “that widespread concerns about Fred Goodwin’s decision meant that the retention of a knighthood for services to banking could not be sustained.”

Goodwin was chief executive of RBS when they purchased ABN AMRO, a Netherlands bank, in 2007. The British government subsequently bailed out RBS for £45 billion, amidst the late-2000s financial crisis.

British prime minister David Cameron stated about the annulment: “The proper process has been followed and I think we’ve ended up with the right decision.” Cameron and Ed Miliband, UK Leader of the Opposition, both believed Goodwin’s knighthood should be removed. Miliband called it “the start of the change we need in our boardrooms.”

Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy PM Nick Clegg considered it to be the “right decision”. “[A]ppropriate” was the word George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer used to describe it. “RBS came to symbolise everything that went wrong in the British economy in the last decade,” Osborne stated. Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland stated the title was given “for services to banking which could not therefore be sustained”, calling the decision “correct”.

Goodwin does not have the right to appeal against the decision, nor had the right to provide the forfeiture committee with any representations. The monarch holds sole responsibility for withdrawing all knighthoods; on this occasion Elizabeth II followed the advice of the committee, who decided to recommend the withdrawal to her. The Cabinet Office announced the advice had been given to the queen on the understanding that “Goodwin had brought the honours system in to disrepute”.

Speaking of the “exceptional case”, the committee explained: “In 2008, the government had to provide £20 billion of new equity to recapitalise RBS and ensure its survival and prevent the collapse of confidence in the British banking system. Subsequent increases in government capital have brought the total necessary injection of taxpayers’ money in RBS to £45.5 billion.” The committee understood that “Fred Goodwin was the dominant decision maker at RBS at the time.”

Until this announcement, criminal conviction and professional expulsion were the only causes for which individuals had their knighthoods revoked.



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January 30, 2012

Queensland state election shorts: January 30, 2012

Queensland state election shorts: January 30, 2012

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Monday, January 30, 2012

A compilation of brief news reports relating to the 2012 Queensland, Australia state election.

If you believe any of these stories deserves more in-depth coverage, feel free to write a full article on the issues raised.

DISCLOSURE: This article’s primary contributor, Patrick Gillett, is a member of the Queensland Greens, one of the parties contesting this election.

Clean sweep in north: Katter[]

Its founder claims Katter’s Australian Party will make a clean sweep of seats in the far north of Queensland. “We’ve seen enough in-depth polling to believe that that is not an unreasonable expectation,” Bob Katter told reporters in Cairns.

The federal Member of Parliament indicated that the party was not “not all that interested in talking about preferences.”

Sunshine Coast Greens launch campaign[]

The various Sunshine Coast branches of the Queensland Greens collectively launched their candidates on Friday. Larissa Waters, Queensland Greens senator in the federal parliament; and Adam Stone, Greens candidate for Mt. Coot-tha, were guest speakers.

Candidate for Kawana Gabrielle Roberts with Larissa Waters.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

Candidate for Mt. Coot-tha talks to fellow Greens members.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

The candidates with Larissa Waters.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

Candidate for Nicklin John Law talks to a fellow branch member.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

The candidates meet with Larissa Waters.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

Rainee Skinner + Larissa Waters.JPG
Candidate for Maroochydore Rainee Skinner with Senator Larissa Waters.
Image: Patrick Gillett.

  • This article contains original reporting by Wikinews user Patrick Gillett. Further details can be found on the talk page.

Give bush pollie’s a go: Member for Gregory[]

The current Member for Gregory has objected that the front bench of the Liberal National Party (LNP) lacks regional Members of Parliament. Vaughan Johnson asserted that “it doesn’t all happen in the southeast corner”.

LNP leader Campbell Newman acknowledged the sentiment saying, “Regional Queensland … must be represented [in cabinet].”



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January 29, 2012

Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich for US president

Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich for US president

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Herman Cain in November 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Herman Cain, Georgia businessman and former Republican candidate for President of the United States, endorsed Newt Gingrich for the Republican nomination. Cain, who suspended his own presidential campaign last December, announced his endorsement yesterday at a Republican event in West Palm Beach, Florida.

In his endorsement of the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Cain said, “I hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse Newt Gingrich for president of the United States”. Cain’s endorsement of Gingrich comes days before the Florida Republican primary, scheduled for this Tuesday.

Cain said Gingrich, who vowed to reporters he would stay in the race for the Republican nomination until the national nominating convention this August in Tampa, Florida regardless of Tuesday’s results, has been going through a “sausage grinder” during this election cycle.

Cain suspended his own campaign for the Republican party nomination for the presidency of the United States last December after allegations of sexual misconduct and a decline in his popularity among voters.

In a poll of likely Florida voters released yesterday by Reuters and Ipsos, Mitt Romney led Newt Gingrich by an 11 percentage point margin, three points higher than Friday. Out of those who responded, 43% supported Romney to Gingrich’s 32%. In the poll released Friday, the results were 41% to 33% for Romney and Gingrich, respectively.



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British courts give green light for assisted dying case

British courts give green light for assisted dying case

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

United Kingdom
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Lawyers acting for a stroke victim in Britain have been given approval by the High Court in London to prepare a case asking for judicial review of the guidance on prosecution for assisted suicide released in 2009 by Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The claimant seeking judicial review—known only as ‘Martin’—is a man in his mid forties with locked-in syndrome and can only communicate by eye movements. He believes his life to be “undignified and intolerable”, and he is completely dependent on his wife and full-time carers.

The court granted Martin’s lawyers the right to gather information from third parties including Dignitas in order to prepare the case without risking prosecution. Lawyers acting on Martin’s behalf also claim that this will allow doctors to advise Martin on assisted dying. Rosa Curling, a lawyer with the firm representing Martin, Leigh Day & Co, said: “We can instruct doctors to advise him on his options regarding his wish to die and also take steps to identify an individual who might be willing to assist him in taking his life.” While relatives are unlikely to be prosecuted for assisting suicide under current guidelines, Martin has none willing to assist his.

Lord Justice Toulson, one of the two judges who heard the application, said that the case “raises thorny legal and ethical issues”. The judicial review is brought on the basis that the DPP failed to consider patients in situations like that of the claimant in drafting the advice. Martin hopes that the case could lead to the DPP modifying the guidance on prosecution.



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January 28, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, January 28, 2012.

If you believe any of these stories deserves more in-depth coverage, feel free to write a full article on the issues raised.

EU official resigns over anti-piracy treaty

Rapporteur to the European Parliament Kader Arif has resigned yesterday in protest over the signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) by 22 members of the European Union on Thursday. He said “I will not participate in this masquerade.”

Reaction to the signing treaty, which has still to be ratified, was strong in Poland; thousands protested in Poznan and Lublin, and in the Polish Parliament members of the Palikot’s Movement donned Guy Fawkes masks in protest.

The European Commission website maintains that “Anything you can do legally today is still legal after the ratification of ACTA.”



French troops to end Afghan combat role a year early in 2013

Speaking yesterday after a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced France will end its Afghan combat missions in 2013 — a year earlier than planned.

Following the death of four French soldiers at the hands of an Afghan soldier last week, Sarkozy had threatened early withdrawal of French troops.



United States and Philippines discuss enhanced defense cooperation

The United States and the Philippines are discussing the possibility of enhanced defense cooperation, according to officials of both countries. However, there are no plans for bases along the lines of the former United States bases at Subic Bay and Clark Air Base.

The talks come in the context of a shift of United States strategic focus toward Asia, and Chinese claims in the South China Sea.





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Five arrested over police payments at News International

Five arrested over police payments at News International

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

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Four journalists from The Sun newspaper and one police officer have been arrested today as part of Operation Elveden, the investigation into payments by journalists working at News International to police officers.

The police officer has been identified as a 29-year-old officer in the Territorial Policing Command at the Metropolitan Police. The police have not identified the journalists, but the BBC suggest they are Fergus Shanahan, ex-deputy editor of The Sun; Graham Dudman, ex-managing editor; Mike Sullivan, crime editor; and Chris Pharo, head of news.

The Metropolitan Police have said News Corporation disclosed information leading to the arrests. The offices of News International at Wapping have also been searched today as part of the investigation. Operation Elveden has now arrested a total of fourteen people: 12 journalists and two police officers.



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January 27, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 27, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 27, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: January 27, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Friday, January 27, 2012.

If you believe any of these stories deserves more in-depth coverage, feel free to write a full article on the issues raised.

Medicins Sans Frontieres announces partial withdrawal over Libyan torture abuses

Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) have announced a partial withdrawal from Libya. The medical charity announced they will no longer work at Libyan detention centres due to facing treating torture victims in order to make them well enough to be further tortured. MSF General Director Christopher Stokes said: “Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not to repeatedly treat the same patients between torture sessions”.

The United Nations estimates that some 8,500 former Gaddafi loyalists are being held by a number of unregulated, and unaccountable, armed groups.



Jagger tells World Economic Forum, “can’t always get what you want”

Lead singer of The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger has withdrawn from the ‘Great British Tea Party’ in Davos, Switzerland.

Cutting short his visit to the 2012 World Economic Forum, as well as pulling out of Prime Minister David Cameron’s event intended to promote UK creativity, Jagger complained of both “being used as a political football” and “comment[s] about my political allegiances which are inaccurate.”



UK Prime Minister calls for European Union to be more competetive

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron called on European Union leaders to be “bold” and “decisive” to boost growth and promote business.

Labelling a proposed financial transactions tax as “madness” he attacked “unnecessary” regulations on business, telling attendees that “Europe’s lack of competitiveness remains its Achilles heel.”



Coup in Papua New Guinea fails

A military coup in Papua New Guinea failed with the capture of at least fifteen mutineers. These supporters of deposed former Prime Minister Sir Michael Thomas Somare seized a military barracks, and the nation’s military head, early on Thursday morning and demanded Somare be reinstated.

The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea previously ruled that Somare be reinstated, concluding that current Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was unlawfully appointed.



Australian Prime Minister rescued from protesters

During an Australia Day function, the country’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard — and the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, had to be rescued after they were surrounded by as many as 200 aboriginal rights protesters at a Canberra restaurant.

The protesters, from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, appear to have been angered by Abbot’s suggestion that it was time for the Embassy, now in its fortieth year, to come down.





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Report indicates Texas state parks still suffering following worst drought on record

Report indicates Texas state parks still suffering following worst drought on record

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Friday, January 27, 2012

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Carter Smith, The Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, told a state legislative committee on Tuesday that together wildfires and drought have caused an estimated $11 million dollars in damage to state parks during 2011. Severe damage was reported to Davis Mountains, Possum Kingdom, and Bastrop state parks.

Mr. Smith stated that in August 2011 alone there was a 25% drop in visitors and noted the loss of nearly 4,000 homes across the state last year due to wildfires. An employee of Tyler State Park told Wikinews on Friday that the park’s lake is currently “…about three feet low”, but went on to state that staff had recently stocked the lake with freshwater trout. When asked about the park’s overall status, the employee stated, “We’re doing OK.”

In the U.S. Texas ranks lowest in state park funding per capita. Reportedly, the drought has impacted wildlife, with increases of sightings of bears, mountain lions and feral hogs in unusual locales.



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January 26, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 26, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 26, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: January 26, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, January 26, 2012.

If you believe any of these stories deserves more in-depth coverage, feel free to write a full article on the issues raised.

US marine may serve no jail time for 2005 Haditha deaths

United States Marine Corp staff sergeant Frank Wuterich, on trial for the manslaughter of 24 innocent Iraqi citizens in 2005, has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of “negligent dereliction of duty”; the result of a plea bargain, this may see Wuterich may serve no jail time.

Wuterich is one of eight marines initially charged with the Haditha killings.



Turkish Prime Minister claims that French bill is: discriminatory, racist and unjust

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned as “discriminatory, racist and unjust” a bill passed by the French Senate criminalising denial of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

Having cleared the National Assembly in December, the bill only needs President Nicolas Sarkozy‘s consent to become law.


Many feared dead in Papua New Guinea landslide

A landslide that struck early Tuesday morning, has engulfed a cluster of hamlets in a remote area of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Initial reports stated at least 60 people died in the disaster; however, with only four bodies recovered the authorities have now become more cautious in their estimates.

Whilst anticipating more deaths, Martin Mose of the PNG’s National Disaster Center said “I am unwilling to put a number on that until I get confirmation from my team.”





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Queensland state Premier announces March 24 election date

Filed under: Archived,Australia,Original reporting — admin @ 5:00 am

Queensland state Premier announces March 24 election date

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

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File photo of Queensland’s State Premier, Anna Bligh
Image: ‘djackmanson’.

Queensland’s premier Anna Bligh has announced the state is to hold its elections on Saturday, March 24; however, in an unusual move, she did not advise the governor to issue the writs for the election.

“I intend to call the 2012 State election for Saturday the 24th of March,” said Bligh, Leader of the incumbent Australian Labor Party.

Local government elections, originally scheduled for March 31, will now be scheduled for late April.

“Why are 73 local government elections around Queensland being pushed back? That adds more months of uncertainty when she has had a year to separate out the two elections,” said Leader of the Liberal National Party, Campbell Newman. Newman will have to win the seat of Ashgrove if he is to become premier.

The two major parties are expected to face some strong competition in a number of seats from the Greens, the recently formed Katter’s Australian Party, and independent candidates.

“There is undeniably a strong mood to change the government, but voters should not feel forced into giving up on their progressive views or their desire for some long-term vision and a more principled approach to politics,” said Greens lead candidate Adam Stone who is contesting the Mt Coot-tha seat.

The election process is expected to formally get underway on February 19 when the premier expects to advise the governor to issue the required writs.



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DISCLOSURE: This article’s primary contributor, Patrick Gillett, is a member of the Queensland Greens, one of the parties contesting this election.


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