Kim Wall: Headless body identified as missing journalist

Kim WallImage copyright Tom Wall Image caption Kim Wall was researching a feature about submarines before she disappeared

A headless torso found in waters off Denmark has been identified as missing Swedish journalist Kim Wall, Danish police say.

There was a "DNA match between [the] torso and Kim Wall", Copenhagen police said on Twitter.

Ms Wall was last seen alive on 10 August as she departed on a submarine trip with inventor Peter Madsen.

It sank hours after the search for Ms Wall began, and Mr Madsen was charged with negligent manslaughter.

He initially said he had dropped her off safely near Copenhagen, but has since said she died in an accident and that he had "buried" her at sea.

Danish police believe the 40-tonne submarine was deliberately sunk by Mr Madsen.He denies any wrongdoing.

Copenhagen police[2] will give a press briefing at 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT) and say they will not comment further until then.

The torso was found on Monday - police said the arms, legs and head had been deliberately cut off.

Ms Wall, 30, was reported missing by her boyfriend after she failed to return after departing on the submarine.

The freelance journalist, who has written for The Guardian and The New York Times, had been researching a feature about Mr Madsen and his submarine, the Nautilus.

The missing vessel was located on 11 August, and Mr Madsen was rescued before it sank.

Mr Madsen's lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, said her client had not confessed to anything and was pleading not guilty....

Image copyright Ritzau Foto Image caption Mr Madsen and Ms Wall were photographed just before departing on 10 August

References

  1. ^ Who is DIY submariner Peter Madsen? (www.bbc.co.uk)
  2. ^ Copenhagen police (twitter.com)

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Feeling squeezed? It may be all in your head...

Bank statement

Household bills are rising more slowly than the rate of inflation, new research has found.

The figures suggested that the "cost of living squeeze" may be less severe than previously thought.

Research by MoneySavingExpert, based on official data, revealed the rise in the total cost of household bills was less than the inflation rate.

It found costs including rent, energy bills, council tax and insurance have risen by 2.1% in the past year.

That rise is in line with average earnings growth and lower than the 2.6% rise in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in July[1].

CPIH, a measure of inflation that includes housing costs and council tax, also rose by 2.6% over the period.

Although the numbers show only a small increase across household running costs as whole, they also revealed large price hikes for electricity and insurance in particular.

The cost of insurance rose by 7.6% over the year, including a 12% jump in car insurance premiums.Energy bills went up 5.1%, including a 9% increase for electricity.The data was compiled before British Gas announced a 12.5% price hike[2] on 1 August.

Image copyright PA

Council tax rose by an average of 3.8%, the data showed, while rents went up by 1%.

However, some other bills may have fallen over the last year, with a modest 1.2% fall for mobile phone bills and a 1% decline for other financial services.

MoneySavingExpert managing director Guy Anker said consumers could save considerable amounts by switching providers.

Household bills inflation over the last 12 months peaked in February at 3.2%, but has been falling since then.

CPI inflation hit a 12-month peak of 2.9% in May before falling back, but remains above the Bank of England's 2% target.

In its quarterly Inflation Report earlier this month, the Bank said higher import prices caused by the weaker pound have contributed to higher inflation, but that it expected inflation to ease back towards the target next year.

Image copyright MSE

Meanwhile, wage growth is not quite keeping pace with consumer prices, as average weekly earnings rose 2.1% in the three months to June, according to the Office for National Statistics.This means wages are falling in real terms.

But this data, compiled for BBC Radio 5 Live's Wake up to Money, shows that the widely reported pressure on household budgets may in fact be overblown.

Following the EU referendum last June, Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, said the financial crisis had had a psychological impact on consumers, meaning the perception of hardship continues "long after the original trigger becomes remote"....

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No 'direct jurisdiction' for EU court after Brexit, say ministers

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Media captionWhy the fuss about the European Court of Justice?

The UK will no longer be under the "direct jurisdiction" of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) after Brexit, a government policy paper will say.

Ministers say they want a "special partnership" with the EU, but it is "neither necessary nor appropriate" for the ECJ to police it.

Critics say the word "direct" leaves room for the ECJ to still play a part.

The pro-EU Open Britain group said the phrase paved the way for a "climbdown" over the jurisdiction of the court.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Labour MP Chuka Umunna said:"Nothing the government says it wants to deliver from Brexit - be it on trade, citizens' rights, or judicial co-operation - can be achieved without a dispute resolution system involving some role for European judges."

But Leave campaigner Bernard Jenkin told the Daily Telegraph[1] the court "should not have any role" post-Brexit.

"No non-EU country will be much interested in talking to us about a free trade agreement if we still look hobbled by our relationship to the EU," added the Conservative MP.

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to take the UK out of the Luxembourg-based ECJ's jurisdiction after Brexit.

But the question of how future agreements between the UK and the EU will be enforced is proving contentious.

The policy paper will be released later as ministers argue there are plenty of other ways of resolving disputes without the European courts.

The ECJ is in charge of ensuring member states abide by EU law.

Its rulings are binding on all member states, and it also settles disputes between countries and EU institutions.

After the UK voted to leave the EU last year, Mrs May promised to make the UK a "fully independent, sovereign country".

But pro-EU campaigners say the government made an "appalling error" by making leaving the ECJ a "red line" in Brexit negotiations, saying new courts will now be needed in all the areas it extends to, including trade, citizens' rights and security.


European Court of Justice

  • Decides whether the institutions of the EU are acting legally, and settles disputes between them
  • Ensures that the member states of the EU are complying with their legal obligations as set out in the EU treaties;and allows member states to challenge EU legislation
  • Interprets EU law at the request of national courts

Brexit Secretary David Davis, who will resume negotiations with Brussels on 28 August, has spoken of the "arbitration arrangements" that will be needed in areas where the UK and the EU make new arrangements - but insists these will not involve the ECJ.

"If Manchester United goes to play Real Madrid, they don't allow Real Madrid to nominate the referee," he said last month.

Wednesday's publication - the latest in a series of papers setting out the UK government's stance on key issues - will say there are a "variety of precedents for resolving disputes that may arise between the UK and the EU" without the ECJ having direct jurisdiction.

These will need to include the free trade deal the UK hopes to strike with the EU to replace its membership of the single market.

Red lines 'blurred'

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, said:"The prime minister's ideological insistence that there can be no future role whatsoever for the ECJ or any similar court-like body risks preventing the deal Britain needs."

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said Mrs May's "red lines are becoming more blurred by the day", saying the ECJ had "served Britain's interests well" and should not be "trashed".

The Institute of Directors called for "flexibility and pragmatism" when leaving the ECJ's jurisdiction.

"The emphasis here should be on ending its direct effect, not trying to throw off the influence of the court altogether," it said.

Image copyright PA Image caption Brexit negotiators David Davis and Michel Barnier do not agree on the role of the European Court of Justice after Brexit

On Monday, the president of the court of the European Free Trade Area (Efta) - which governs Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway's relationship with the single market - suggested his institution could be used.

But this could anger some Eurosceptic Conservative MPs, because the Efta court, also based in Luxembourg, tends to follow closely the ECJ with its rulings.

'Offering certainty'

The ECJ has also emerged as the central stumbling block in reaching a deal on the rights of EU nationals after Brexit.

The EU side believes the ECJ should have a role in enforcing these rights - a proposal rejected by the UK.

The UK government said its paper on Wednesday would offer maximum certainty to businesses and individuals.It will also suggest that dispute resolution mechanisms could be tailored to the issue at stake in each agreement.

"It is in the interests of both the UK and the EU, and of our citizens and businesses, that the rights and obligations agreed between us can be relied upon and enforced in appropriate ways," a spokeswoman said.

"It is also in everyone's interest that, where disputes arise between the UK and the EU on the application or interpretation of these obligations, those disputes can be resolved efficiently and effectively."...

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Trump vows to 'close government' to build Mexico wall

US President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a "Make America Great Again" rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on August 22, 2017Image copyright AFP Image caption Donald Trump touched on immigration, healthcare and his enemies during the Arizona rally

Donald Trump has vowed to close down government if that is what it takes to build his wall along the Mexico border.

The US president told supporters at a "Make America Great Again" rally in Phoenix, Arizona, that the opposition Democrats were being "obstructionist".

During the 90-minute speech, he also took aim at the media, blaming them for giving far right groups "a platform".

Mr Trump also said he thought he would "probably end up terminating Nafta", the trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

On North Korea, the president sounded a hopeful note about the possibility of a reduction in tensions over Pyongyang's missile tests and nuclear programme.

Referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Mr Trump said:"I respect the fact that he is starting to respect us".

"And maybe - probably not, but maybe - something positive can come about,"

President Trump began and finished his speech by urging the American people to come together.

But he quickly turned on familiar foes, beginning with the media which he said had misrepresented his "perfect" words in the wake of the violence at a far-right rally in Charlottesville , which left one woman dead.

He accused "truly dishonest people in the media and the fake media" of "trying to take away our history and heritage" because, he said, they "don't like our country".

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Protesters hold up an inflatable Joe Arpaio, whom Mr Trump hinted he would pardon

Mr Trump also read out part of a speech he had given a few hours after Charlottesville, but left out the controversial claim that "both sides" had to shoulder the blame[1].

Mr Trump's attention then turned to immigration, and to the Democrats who he said were "putting all of America's safety at risk" by opposing the wall he wants to build along the US's southern border with Mexico.

He said immigration officers who worked in the area said it was "vital" to stem the flow of illegal immigrants.

Mr Trump concluded:"If we have to close down government, we are building that wall."

Mr Trump also used the rally to hint he would pardon controversial former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, a man who rose to national prominence because of his tough stance against illegal immigration.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Supporters could be heard to chant "CNN sucks" during the rally

He told the crowd Mr Arpaio - who was found guilty of criminal contempt[3] in July - "is going to be just fine", but would not formally pardon him at the moment because "I don't want to cause any controversy".

His comments directly contradicted those of White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, who said on Tuesday "there will be no discussion of that today".

Mr Arpaio, 85, was found to have violated a judge's 2001 order that he cease detaining migrants who are not suspected of having committed a state crime....

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North should 'take control' of transport, says Grayling

Rail passengers at Manchester Piccadilly stationImage copyright Transport for Greater Manchester

The north of England's leaders should "take control" of their own transport networks, Chris Grayling has said.

Writing in the Yorkshire Post[1], the transport secretary said:"The success of northern transport depends on the North itself."

The article comes ahead of a transport summit in the region to be attended by local leaders and businesses.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said the event shows "the patience of people...has run out".

It also comes a day after former Chancellor George Osborne called for "HS3" high-speed rail lines[2] between Liverpool and Hull.

In the article, Mr Grayling said whilst one of his "biggest priorities" was to build transport links in the North, it was down to the region to design and manage them.

He wrote:"It is central government's responsibility to provide funding and a delivery structure that ensures efficiency, value for money and accountability.

"But, beyond this, I want the North to take control."

'Expense of the North'

The summit, being held in Leeds on Wednesday, has been described by organisers as an "unprecedented gathering" of leaders from councils and businesses who want more investment in local infrastructure.

It follows the announcement from the government last month that it was scrapping the planned electrification of railway lines[3] in Wales, the Midlands and the north of England.

Days later, Mr Grayling then backed proposals for Crossrail 2[4] - a new line linking north-east and south-west London.

Image copyright HS2 Image caption Leeds will be one of the two northern terminuses of the HS2 high-speed link

Mr Burnham, who will speak at the summit, said the government needed to do more for the region.

"We are getting organised and demanding the government keeps all of its promises to people here and delivers a fair funding deal for the north of England," he said.

"We are not against our capital city developing world-class infrastructure, but it cannot be at the expense of the North.

"People here have put up with clapped-out trains and congested roads for long enough."

'Getting on with the work'

Leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake added:"The people of the North are demanding a direct commitment from the government to increase investment in transport and to settle for any less would hold back the potential of the North for decades to come."

But Transport Minister Paul Maynard said funding had been provided for the development of detailed proposals for transport upgrades which the government could invest in.

He said:"I keep hearing demands for investment in the North but I should point out they come from some of the very same people who we have asked to help develop plans.

"We all want to improve rail in the North and we are all getting on with the work that needs to be done."...

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