Argentinian threats against companies involved in the Falkland Islands have no legal grounds, according to an AIM-listed oil explorer about to start drilling there. Tim Bushell, the chief executive of Falkland Oil and Gas, said that international law did not support threats from Buenos Aires to sue oil companies operating in the Falklands and the banks helping them. Having sought legal advice on the issue, he said there was “nothing they can do.” “What actions can they take? Unless you have got assets in Argentina which could be seized, there is nothing under international law which they can use. It’s outside their jurisdiction,” added Mr. Bushell.
The Sunday Telegraph.
A series of explosions followed by sustained gunfire shook the Afghan capital on Sunday in attack by militants on three neighbourhoods frequented by Afghan government officials and their international allies. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the assault in a text message to The Associated Press. He said a group of armed suicide bombers have launched an attack on Nato forces headquarters, parliament and a number of diplomatic residences in Kabul. Nato said it had no reports of casualties in the attacks on seven possible locations in the city.
The Ernst & Young ITEM Club will say in a report out on Monday that growth will be just 0.4% this year, half the 0.8% rate forecast by the UK’s official forecasting body, the Office for Budget Responsibility. ITEM expects growth to accelerate to 1.5% in 2013 and 2.6% in 2014, both below OBR forecasts. Weak construction data published on Friday suggested Britain may have slipped back into recession in the first quarter of the year, with the economy contracting by about 0.1%. Official growth figures will be published on April 25. ITEM said that business investment grew by just 1.2% last year, despite a corporate cash pile now worth more than £754bn, or 50% of gross domestic product.
The Sunday Express.
HATE preacher Abu Hamza will have the book thrown at him when he is extradited to the US. Prosecutors have prepared a 32-page indictment which accuses him of being a global terrorist mastermind. The hook-handed 53-year-old cleric is accused of playing a major role in the seizure of 16 western hostages in Yemen which ended with the death of three Britons, teacher Margaret Whitehouse, 52, from Hook, Hampshire, Ruth Williamson, 64, from Edinburgh and 60-year-old Peter Rowe from Durham.
Nick Clegg is having sleepless nights. Not because of two years of coalition compromise. Not because his party’s policy wins have been overshadowed by Conservative controversies. Nor because he could be about to lead the Liberal Democrats to their worst council election result for a quarter of a century. “Our three-year-old has decided to revert to his early years and wake up several times a night,” he says with a laugh. In fact, he seems relaxed, well rested, sporting the slight tan of someone who spent part of the Easter holidays on the slopes. He credits his three sons – Antonio, Alberto and Miguel – with helping him to switch off from the pressures of being Deputy Prime Minister. “I’m very lucky. I am one of those people who is able to go home, shut the front door and completely focus on the kids. In this kind of job, if you carry it with you every second of the day and night you go a bit bonkers.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband offered to include trade unions in a £5,000 cap on donations as he threw down a gauntlet on party funding reform. He said the change would rule out “some millions of pounds” every year of the cash from the movement which is by far the party’s biggest source of income. The application of a cap to trade unions has been one of the sticking points in previous negotiations over reform – restarted in recent weeks at the height of the cash-for-access controversy. Mr Miliband said the change would be “painful” for Labour but challenged the other main party leaders to offer compromises in a bid to find a way forward. He made clear however that he was not prepared to sever the flow of cash from individual trade union members through an annual political levy.
The Mail on Sunday.
Barclays is expected to pay out more than £600,000 this year to cover chief executive Bob Diamond’s American tax bill on top of the £5.7million it handed over to him for 2011. Last year’s bumper bill, which Barclays was required to pay under Diamond’s employment contract, has helped to fuel a growing shareholder revolt over the bank’s pay policies. The row is expected to lead to a record vote against the bank’s remuneration report at next week’s annual shareholder meeting. Diamond is entitled to recompense from Barclays if he has to pay tax twice on the same income. As an American citizen who lives in London and New York, Diamond was charged tax last year in both countries.
The credit crunch ‘honeymoon’ is over for homebuyers as lenders continue to increase mortgage interest rates while reducing the choice of loans. After the banking crisis of 2007 and 2008, rates plunged to record lows – a lifesaver for borrowers with no equity and where household incomes were squeezed. Banks also held off repossessing homes, even where borrowers were late with payments, in what was called ‘forbearance’. But almost five years after the collapse of Northern Rock, experts warn that the situation is about to get tougher for mortgage payers. Figures published last week show that interest-only borrowing accounts for 35% of outstanding mortgages, and that as many as 8% of these borrowers have already had some difficulty, for example missing payments. Their options to protect themselves against further mortgage rate rises are limited.
A hospital patient who was told to take a walk by doctors is thought to have been savagely kicked to death by a horse. Kent Police have confirmed that the body of a 53-year-old woman was discovered in a field in Darenth Wood Road, near to Darent Valley Hospital, in Dartford, Kent, at about 10am on Friday. A spokesman for Kent Police said: ‘It is believed that a stallion in the field where the body was found may have caused her death.