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UK

The Catholic Church and British local authorities have been accused of using a legal loophole to avoid paying compensation to victims of child sex abuse.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, a government agency, has denied some children financial settlements because it said the victims had “consented” to the abuse, a group of charities has warned.

Lawyers representing victims have warned that this line of defence is becoming increasingly common.

One case that the charity Victim Support brought attention to involved a 12-year-old girl who was given alcohol, brought into woodland and then sexually assaulted by a 21-year-old male.

The girl was denied compensation because she had “voluntarily” gone into the woods with the man. independent.co.uk
British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday there was no equivalence between fascists and those who opposed them, a rare rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump by one of his closest foreign allies.

Trump inflamed tensions after a deadly rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, by insisting that counter-protesters were also to blame, drawing condemnation from some Republican leaders and praise from white far-right groups.

"There's no equivalence, I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them and I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them," May told reporters when asked to comment on Trump's stance.

Her openly critical comment on Wednesday was an unexpected shift from May, who is keen to cement what she and many other Britons see as a "special relationship" between London and Washington as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

The invitation to Trump to make a state visit to Britain sparked immediate controversy in Britain when the U.S. head of state announced his widely-criticized ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries just hours after May left the White House.

No date has been announced for the visit. reuters.com
An experienced beekeeper is suspected of stealing 40,000 bees from Anglesey in one of Britain’s biggest bee rustling cases in years.

Only someone with a bee suit and veil could have pulled off the heist on Paul Williams’s hive in Rhydwyn “without getting stung to smithereens”, police said.

The miserably rainy summer could have ruined the thief’s own honey production and driven them to carry out the theft, one expert has suggested.

Poor weather, combined with the increased popularity of beekeeping, has also pushed up the price of a “nucleus” – a set of wooden frames plus a family of bees and a queen – from £50 to at least £200, according to Diane Roberts of the British Beekeepers Association.

Bees do not like rain, she said. “When it is rainy the bees don’t fly every day, or they can only go out for a couple of hours when there is a break between showers."

It is not the first bee heist on Anglesey. In the summer of 2015, 45,000 bees were stolen from the same farm near Cemaes Bay in two separate raids. theguardian.com
Giant pipe segments have washed up on the coast of Norfolk.

The 8ft (2.4m) diameter plastic pipes, with the longest beached segment 1,574ft (480m) long, washed up at Winterton and Sea Palling.

They came loose as they were being tugged to Algeria in north Africa for a large project.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: "Other than their physical presence they pose no other danger of, or potential for pollution."

A spokesman added: "The remainder are either secured by vessels at sea or are otherwise anchored off the coast of central Norfolk awaiting processing.

"Guard ships are allocated to monitor the anchored pipes." bbc.co.uk
Eleven members of a Lincolnshire family have been convicted of a series of modern slavery offences after forcing at least 18 victims – including homeless people and some with learning disabilities – to work for little or no pay and live in squalid conditions for up to 26 years.

The members of the Rooney family, who were based on Traveller sites in Lincoln, targeted vulnerable people, including some with alcohol or drug addiction, and deliberately looked for potential captives on the streets, Nottingham crown court heard.

The impact of the forced labour on the mental and physical health of the victims had been severe, prosecutors said, with some being malnourished, subjected to beatings and threatened, and one of the victims was found to have been working for the family for 26 years.

The Rooneys lured in their captives with offers of work and accommodation but once they accepted they were allocated dilapidated caravans mostly with no heating, water or toilet facilities, prosecutors said.

The convictions in four trials – which can now be reported after restrictions were lifted by a judge – were revealed a day after the National Crime Agency (NCA) said modern slavery and human trafficking was far more prevalent than previously thought, with potentially tens of thousands of victims in the UK.

The 11 gang members in the Lincolnshire case, convicted of fraud and slavery charges, used the money they made from their workers to pay for holidays to Barbados, cosmetic surgery and coaching at a Manchester United football school. theguardian.com
The Duke of Edinburgh will meet Royal Marines in his final public engagement before he retires from royal duties.

The 96-year-old announced his retirement in May, after decades of supporting the Queen, as well as attending events for his own charities and organisations.

Prince Philip has completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.

On Wednesday, he will meet servicemen who have taken part in a 1,664-mile trek in aid of charity.

As Captain General of the Royal Marines, the duke will attend a parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge - a series of strength and endurance challenges raising funds and awareness for charity.

While his diary of engagements will come to an end, Buckingham Palace has said the duke may still decide to attend certain events alongside the Queen in the future. bbc.com
Two young men suffered scorched and bleached skin and were 'screaming in agony' after having acid thrown in their faces in the latest London 'face-melter' attack.

The victims were heard frantically yelling: 'We've got acid on us' and staggered into an off licence in Bethnal Green begging for help just before 7pm last night.

One of the victims, Shakwat Hussain, 24, is due to be released from Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford today after being treated overnight at a specialist burns unit.

He and a friend flagged down a police car for help before running into a shop screaming in agony for help after the liquid was thrown on them.

It is the latest in a long line of appalling acid attacks - branded 'face-melters' by gangs - leaving victims with life-changing and catastrophic injuries.

London has emerged as a hotspot for acid attacks with the number of cases more than doubling from fewer than 200 in 2014 to 431 last year.  dailymail.co.uk
As many as 2,529 products have shrunk in size over the past five years, but are being sold for the same price, official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said it was not just chocolate bars that have been subject to so-called "shrinkflation".

It said toilet rolls, coffee and fruit juice were also being sold in smaller packet sizes.

The ONS said the phenomenon of shrinkflation had not had an impact on the overall inflation figures.

However, in the category of sugar, jam, syrups chocolate and confectionery, the rate of inflation when adjusted for shrinking products was significantly higher.

The ONS also dismissed Brexit as a reason for recent shrinkflation, even though it has contributed to an increase in the price of some imported goods. bbc.com
The publicly funded BBC was forced to publish the names and salaries of its highest-earning actors and presenters Wednesday, unleashing a national debate about fame, gender, race and the use of taxpayers’ money.

The list shows that the BBC pays 96 on-air personalities at least 150,000 pounds ($195,000) a year — meaning most earn more than the prime minister, who gets 150,000 pounds.

The broadcaster’s best-paid star, radio host Chris Evans, earns more than 2.2 million pounds ($2.9 million).

Two-thirds of the top earners are men, and the highest-paid woman — “Strictly Come Dancing” host Claudia Winkleman — earns less than a quarter of Evans’ salary.

Most of the salaries are not particularly high by international — and especially U.S. — TV standards.

Talk-radio host Howard Stern earned $90 million in the year to June 1, while Fox News anchor Sean Hannity was paid $36 million, according to a list compiled by Forbes magazine. apnews.com