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Police have arrested a 61-year-old man over online threats against Tory MP Louise Mensch.

The Metropolitan Police said the man was arrested in Gloucester in connection with an investigation into "malicious communication and threats made via email and a social networking site".

Mrs Mensch claimed earlier this week that "morons" had threatened her children by email.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the police central e-crime unit and officers from the Palace of Westminster had been involved in the arrest.

The spokesman said "The 61-year-old was arrested at an address in the Gloucester area on suspicion of sending malicious communication.

 

 

The Malaysian student mugged by yobs posing as Good Samaritans during the riots has been given VIP treatment at the Badminton World Championships.

Ashraf Rossli, 20, who was rushed to hospital with a broken jaw after being set upon less than a month after arriving in Britain, was invited to the event at Wembley Arena as the guest of honour by London & Partners, on behalf of London Mayor Boris Johnson.

The grinning student - with his family who have flown from Ampang, near Kuala Lumpur, to be with their son after the incident - met Mr Johnson at the event. Sporting a Malaysian team T-shirt, Mr Rossli also met Malaysian player Lee Chong Wei, who lost out in his bid to claim the men's badminton world title.

This week, shocked members of the public have raised more than £22,000 for the student through the "Let's Do Something Nice For Ashraf" fund.

Mr Rossli, who is studying accountancy at Kaplan International College in north London, was robbed by hooded youths who initially pretended to help him before going through his rucksack, stealing his mobile phone, portable Sony PlayStation and wallet in Barking, east London on Monday night.

 

The continued pressure on UK households will be highlighted next week when inflation figures for July are released by the Office for National Statistics.

Inflation is set to show a rise to around 4.4% on Tuesday after a short-lived decline in the rate to 4.2% in the previous month's figures.

The increase for July is part of a trend that the Bank of England expects will see inflation reach 5% by the end of the year as steep rises in electricity and gas prices come into effect.

With the UK facing a period of continued sluggish growth, the Bank then expects inflation to fall below the 2% target to 1.8% in two years time, particularly as the impact of this year's VAT increase falls out.

Tuesday's figures will be closely watched by rail travellers as July's Retail Price Index (RPI) number, which unlike CPI also includes housing costs, is the basis on which rail fares for next year are based.

 

 

David Cameron has vowed to do "whatever it takes" to restore order to the streets after four days of looting and rioting brought chaos and destruction to English towns and cities.

Addressing an emergency session of the House of Commons the Prime Minister promised the Government would pay to compensate the victims of the disorder while retaining a reinforced police presence in London.

In a wide-ranging statement he said ministers were keeping the sentencing powers of the courts under "constant review" and pledged to tackle the gang culture which he said lay behind much of the violence as a "national priority".

He said officials were also considering whether they could stop people plotting disorder via social media websites and he opened up the prospect the Army could take on some policing tasks to free up more officers for the front line.

However, during a two hour 45 minute session answering MPs' questions, he fended off repeated Labour demands to rethink planned cuts to police budgets, insisting that they would not affect the numbers of officers on the streets.

 

 

A woman is to command a warship for the first time in the history of the Royal Navy, it has emerged.

Lieutenant Commander Sarah West, 39, will take control of HMS Portland, making her the first female commander of a frontline warship in the 500-year history of the service, a Royal Navy spokesman said.

She will take charge of the Type 23 frigate in April next year.

The Royal Navy first allowed women to go to sea in 1990 and until now they have commanded non-fighting Navy ships but not frontline warships.

Lt Cdr West is said to have earned the role because of her "leadership, confidence, moral courage, sound judgment and excellent people skills".

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "We can confirm the appointment of Lt Cdr Sarah West, who will be Commander West from January as CO of HMS Portland. She will take over command in April 2012.

 

 

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has dismissed calls to axe the 50p income tax rate for the highest earners as "cloud cuckoo land".

The Liberal Democrat minister admitted the Government was "concerned" about the state of the UK economy following poor growth figures earlier this week.

But he rejected calls to scrap the top tax rate to make the UK more competitive.

Last week Mayor of London Boris Johnson said abolishing the levy on the highest earners, brought in under Labour, would be "a signal that London is open for business".

That was backed by former Chancellor Norman Lamont who said British taxation was "uncompetitive" and "too high compared with other European countries".

In an article for the Sunday Telegraph, he added: "The 50% higher rate of income tax is probably one tax which could be abolished without any effect on revenue."

But Mr Alexander insisted the coalition agreement set out how the Government's "first priority" for any reduction in tax would be aimed at low and middle income earners.

 

Transport operator National Express has said the tough economic climate was encouraging passengers to seek cheaper methods of travel as it laid out ambitions to grow its UK bus business.

The group said it planned to add 120 new buses to its West Midlands fleet this year and draw in more customers with a new marketing campaign, as there was evidence the UK recession had encouraged passengers to seek "more cost effective" modes of transport.

Elsewhere, the company said it would add routes to its coach businesses and draw in customers with new special offer fares - in line with its successful £9 go anywhere deal which expires on Thursday - and that there were future franchise opportunities approaching for its rail arm.

The positive outlook came as the group posted a 26% hike in pre-tax profits to £95.5 million in the six months to June 30 after a 6% increase in revenues to £1.1 billion.

 

One of Britain's most senior policemen has dismissed David Cameron's suggestion that foreign police chiefs could be brought in to turn around UK forces as "simply stupid".

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), has written to the Prime Minister asking him for a meeting to discuss his comments in the House of Commons last week.

Mr Cameron suggested the phone hacking crisis called for "radical" changes to British policing to open up forces and bring in "fresh leadership". He told MPs: "At the moment, the police system is too closed. There is only one point of entry into the force. There are too few, and arguably too similar, candidates for the top jobs.

"Why should all police officers have to start at the same level? Why should not someone with a different skill set be able to join the police force in a senior rank? Why should not someone who has been a proven success overseas be able to help us to turn around a force here at home?"

Sir Hugh, who is considered a frontrunner to become the next Metropolitan Police Commissioner after Sir Paul Stephenson resigned over the phone hacking scandal, said he was "slightly surprised" by the Prime Minister's comments.

 

News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks has agreed to give evidence to MPs over the phone hacking scandal next week, it has been announced.

But the Commons Culture Select Committee has issued a summons to media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his son James after they said they were unavailable to attend the session. The younger Murdoch had offered to appear on August 10 instead.

It is not clear whether the committee will be able to compel the men to face questioning as they are US citizens.

In his letter to committee chairman John Whittingdale, Mr Murdoch senior said that although he was not available on Tuesday, he was "fully prepared" to give evidence to the judge-led inquiry announced by David Cameron.

"I will be taking steps to notify those conducting the inquiry of my willingness to do so," the letter said. "Having done this, I would be happy to discuss with you how best to give evidence to your committee."

The development came after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg insisted Mr Murdoch should submit to a grilling by the committee if he has a "shred of responsibility".

 

The pace of Britain's economic recovery is too slow and the Government needs to do more to support business, a key lobby group has warned.

Economic growth between April and June remained positive but the recovery is fragile and facing serious risks, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said.

The international background has become more uncertain, with worsening debt problems in the Eurozone and concerns around the US housing market, which has hit hopes of rebalancing the UK economy toward net exports, the BCC quarterly survey found.

The BCC expects the UK economy to have grown 0.3% in the second quarter of 2011 as the services and manufacturing sector put in a "mixed" performance.

Official figures showed that the UK's economy grew by 0.5% in the first quarter of 2011, after a 0.5% decline in the final quarter of 2010, meaning the economy effectively flatlined for six months.