20 May

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective



Officer leading Operation Hydrant inquiry says out of 1,433 alleged offenders 76 were politicians, 43 were from music industry and 135 were from TV, film or radio

Clockwise from top left: Fred Talbot, Gary Glitter, Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall, Max Clifford

Clockwise from top left: Fred Talbot, Gary Glitter, Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall, Max Clifford Photograph: Various/PA/Getty/Wireimage/AFP/Reuters

More than 1,400 suspects have been investigated by police looking into child sex abuse allegations against VIPs including politicians, celebrities and institutions.

A national police group, known as Operation Hydrant, released the figures at a briefing on its inquiry into possible links between child sex abuse investigations involving public figures currently being run by different forces across the country.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, chair of the group, told the briefing that out of 1,433 alleged offenders identified nationwide, 76 were politicians, 43 were from the music industry, seven were from sport and 135 were from the TV, film or radio industries. Some 216 are now dead.

“The referrals are increasing on an almost daily basis. The numbers I refer to today are a snapshot in time,” Bailey said………………..Police are projected to receive around 116,000 reports of historic child sex abuse by the end of 2015, an increase of 71% from 2012, Bailey said………………….



Spokesman for chairman of committee investigating 2012 attack on US facilities in Benghazi, Libya, confirms Blumenthal called to testify

Sidney Blumenthal

Emails sent by Blumenthal to Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state included detailed private intelligence reports on events in Libya. Photograph: David Levene/Guardian

Congressional investigators have issued a subpoena demanding that former Clinton White House adviser Sidney Blumenthal testify next month before the US House of Representatives committee investigating the 2012 attack on US diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

The subpoena, a copy of which was made available to Reuters, demands that Blumenthal appear before the House committee on June 3 to give a deposition. The subpoena is dated Monday but carries a notation indicating an unnamed deputy US marshal served it on Blumenthal’s wife on Tuesday.

The copy of the subpoena contains no further details about the subject matter of the deposition……………………………..

On Tuesday, the New York Times published a handful of emails showing that Clinton had passed on some of the private intelligence reports to aides and other State Department personnel.

The messages show that at least one of the private intelligence reports made its way to a recipient who appears to have been Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya who was killed by militants during the September 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks.

The emails, part of a batch of around 300 messages related to Libya, which the State Department turned over to Gowdy’s Benghazi committee earlier this year, show Clinton herself tersely expressing interest in some of the private intelligence reports and skepticism about others……………………




Hillary Clinton on the Iraq war: ‘I made a mistake’ – video

Clinton says she ‘made a mistake’ when she voted to authorize the Iraq war as a senator. Speaking to reporters during a campaign stop in Iowa, the 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner went on to say the current situation in Iraq is very different from how it was when she was senator. Islamic State fighters have been gaining ground in the country, most recently seizing Ramadi




David Ridsdale has given evidence to Australian inquiry that he told Cardinal George Pell in 1993 about being abused and was offered money to buy his silence

Cardinal George Pell celebrates mass in Sydney in 2014 before leaving for his new position at the Vatican.

Cardinal George Pell celebrates mass in Sydney in 2014 before leaving for his new position at the Vatican. Photograph: Jane Dempster/AAP

A senior Vatican official, who is also Australia’s highest ranking cleric, has been accused of attempting to bribe a victim of child sex abuse to keep quiet about the molestation he suffered from a paedophile Catholic priest.

The victim, David Ridsdale, told an Australian royal commission into child sexual abuse that he called Cardinal George Pell in 1993 to report being abused by his uncle Gerald Ridsdale, a former priest who is in prison after committing more than 130 offences against children as young as four between the 1960s and 1980s.

David Ridsdale said Pell had a “terse” response to being told of the abuse, before offering him money to buy his silence.

“George then began to talk about my growing family and my need to take care of their needs,” Ridsdale told the royal commission hearing. “He mentioned how I would soon have to buy a car or house for my family.

“I remember with clarity the last three lines we spoke together. Me: Excuse me, George, what the fuck are you talking about? George: I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet. Me: Fuck you, George, and everything you stand for.”

Ridsdale, now 48, said he called his sister after the conversation with Pell and told her “the bastard tried to bribe me”.

“Some days, I don’t know who I am angrier at, Gerald for being a sick monster, or George for the way he reacted and dealt with the issue,” Ridsdale said. “Catholic clergy are meant to be the moral leaders of our society, but after my reactions from George and the Catholic church I have zero respect for him and the institution.”………………….



Defence minister had approved programme to stop Palestinians working in Israel returning to West Bank on Israeli buses

A woman disembarks a Palestinians-only bus before crossing through Israel’s Eyal checkpoint.

A woman gets off a bus before crossing through Israel’s Eyal checkpoint. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters

Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has cancelled a pilot scheme banning Palestinian workers from Israeli buses in the occupied territories – denounced as tantamount to apartheid – only hours after it was announced.

The plan had been approved by Netanyahu’s defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon, but was cancelled amid fierce criticism from Israeli opposition figures, human rights groups and a former minister in Netanyahu’s own party, who said it was a “stain on the face of Israel” that would damage its international image.

The move had been enthusiastically welcomed by settler groups and pro-settlement MPs who had long been lobbying for the ban.

The three month pilot scheme – which had been due to come into force on Wednesday – would have imposed strict new controls on thousands of Palestinians with permits to work in Israel, insisting they travel home through certain designated checkpoints and banning them from using Israeli run buses in the occupied West Bank………………….



From small islands to towns and cities, here are the climate trail blazers showing the way to an energy future that does not run on coal, oil and gas

Wind turbines on Samso, Denmark


Wind turbines on Samso, Denmark. Photograph: Jim Saylor/Corbis


With global demand for energy continuing to rise and fossil fuel production buoyed by $600bn (£380bn) in tax-payer subsidies annually, it is easy to lose hope that cleaner forms of energy will ever catch up. But there are beacons around the world showing the way to an energy future that does not run on coal, oil and gas. Here are nine places that are blazing a trail to a less polluting future.

Greensburg, Kansas

It was only through total disaster that the aptly-named Greensberg, a sleepy, Republican whistle–stop on the Kansas prairie, was able to transform itself into America’s greenest town.

After a massive tornado destroyed 95% of the buildings in the town in 2007, the 1,400 residents had to choose if they would rebuild or relocate. A tough choice in a town that had been in decline for decades.

About half the townspeople left, but a group of residents established a master plan to rebuild the town as an energy-saving, renewable energy haven. Just outside the town, they built a 12.5MW wind farm. This supplies 300% of the town’s electricity, with the excess pumped into the Kansas grid.

But key to this green resurrection has been energy efficiency. Because of the ability to rebuild from scratch, residents were able to apply the most modern building techniques to Greensberg 2.0.

The town now has the highest concentration of gold and platinum eco-design rated buildings in the US and all of its street lights are LED. All large government buildings are now rated platinum. This saves the town over $200,000 a year and, more importantly, reduces the town’s dependence on generating electricity.

Energy efficient windmills in Greensburg Kansas town.

Energy efficient windmills in Greensburg, a Kansas town. Photograph: Alamy


Since winning a Danish government competition for designing a carbon neutral community in 1997, the island of Samsø, off the east coast of the Danish mainland, and its 3,800 residents have pioneered energy independence. The island has been carbon neutral for aabout five years. All of Samsø’s electricity is produced by 21 wind turbines and 70% of its heating is produced from biomass boilers. The wind electricity the island generates more than offsets the fossil fuels burned by the community’s vehicles and ferries, and plans are afoot to shift over to electric vehicles. By making initial investments in the project, “Samsingers” own about 70% of their electricity infrastructure through a cooperative model. Scientific American has called it “an alternative view of the future”………………………

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