Tuesday 16 January 2018

In brief: British Labour Party figures socialised with Murdochs at string of parties

Senior British Labour Party figures socialised with members of the Murdoch family and News International executives at a string of exclusive social events, records released by the party showed yesterday.

Two days before it emerged the mobile phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked by a private investigator working for the News of the World, Douglas Alexander went to a party in the Cotswolds hosted by Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth and her husband Matthew Freud.

It was also attended by former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, who quit two weeks ago following the hacking furore.

Mr Alexander, shadow foreign secretary, also met the party's hosts in London at a "social" event on December 20, the document reveals.

Labour leader Ed Miliband attended a string of News International parties and held talks with Mrs Brooks.

Prosecutors battle experts over Knox

Prosecutors at Amanda Knox's appeals trial battled it out yesterday with independent forensic experts who say some of the key DNA evidence used to convict the American student of murdering her British roommate was unreliable and possibly contaminated.

Prosecutor Manuela Comodi sought to undermine the experts' conclusions and show that the forensic evidence used to convict Knox could stand.

The experts -- who were appointed by the court to review the evidence and the procedures used to obtain it -- maintain that the original investigation was marked by some glaring errors. They have mentioned more than 50, including the wearing of dirty gloves in collecting evidence.

Knox was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher, from Coulsdon in Surrey, in 2007 at the apartment the two shared in Perugia and sentenced to 26 years in prison.

Knox's co-defendant and ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito of Italy, was convicted of the same charges and sentenced to 25 years.

Knox (24) and Sollecito (27) have denied wrongdoing and have appealed.

Father dies a week after fatal blaze

The father of a brother and sister killed in a deliberate fire at their flat has died in hospital, police said yesterday.

Eight-year-old Bridget Sharkey and her brother Thomas (21) died after the blaze at their home in Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, in the early hours of last Sunday.

Their parents, Thomas Sharkey (55) and Angela (46), suffered serious burns and were taken to hospital.

Strathclyde Police, who launched a murder investigation, said Mr Sharkey died yesterday at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

DJ Baker admits to 'waste of time'

British DJ and presenter Danny Baker has admitted large chunks of his career were "an appalling waste of time". Baker, who recently returned to work after being treated for cancer, said he felt "a distant shame" about his career in showbusiness.

In an interview to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs today, the presenter said "this nitwit culture we have" allowed him to use his "gift for exploiting my personality".

He added: "Some of the television shows I've done have been an appalling waste of time . . . My mind is whizzing with them. A show called The Bottom Line that was no good, I've done a thing called Sitcom Showdown that was ridiculous."

Baker described his illness as "a rotten disgusting time" but added it was a "very small portion of a wider life".

No one dies as jet breaks in two

A Caribbean Airlines jet coming from New York crashed and broke in two while landing in Guyana with 163 people aboard, causing several injuries but no deaths.

The Boeing 737-800 apparently overshot the 7,400ft runway at Cheddi Jagan International Airport yesterday in rainy weather. It barely missed a 200ft ravine that could have resulted in dozens of deaths, President Bharrat Jagdeo said.

"We are very, very grateful that more people were not injured," he said as authorities closed the airport, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded and delaying dozens of flights.

Sunday Independent

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