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Hunt supporters have been out in force for the traditional post-Christmas meets and called on the Government to revisit the "farcical" hunting act.

Jill Grieve, from the Countryside Alliance, said the decision to continue the ban on hunting with dogs into next year, despite David Cameron's personal commitment to ending it, was understandable because of other matters facing the country due to the deficit, but said ministers needed to at least make clear what was legal or not under the existing Act.

"We find that huntsmen do a great job and work very hard," she said, "and every time they go to work they are under threat of prosecution.

"The hunting Act is so bad that they thought it had been banned but it is so unclear.


No officers will face disciplinary action after a mob attacked the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during the tuition fees protests, Scotland Yard said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson ordered an internal review of the incident, which was submitted to Home Secretary Theresa May, after the Duchess was poked in the ribs with a stick as the royal car was attacked in London's West End.

Scotland Yard said no officers would face disciplinary action after it was reported that royal protection officers were warned by a police colleague not to drive down Regent Street 15 minutes before the royal couple were attacked by the mob on December 10.

A police sergeant told a member of the couple's protection team that the area surrounding the road should be avoided because up to 200 thugs were in close proximity, the Daily Mail said.

Photo by Claus Rebler


Another strike by workers at food giant Heinz is "inevitable" after talks aimed at resolving a row over pay broke down, union leaders have said.

Members of Unite at the firm's site in Wigan will walk out for 24 hours from the evening of December 29, with further industrial action expected in the new year.

Heinz said it revised its pay offer during a meeting with the union held at the conciliation service Acas, maintaining the deal was worth 4% this year and 3% next year.

Unite said the offer was worth 3.3% and 3%, adding it was effectively a wage cut because the suggested deal was below the rate of inflation.

A Heinz spokesman said: "We are extremely disappointed with this outcome. What we are proposing addresses a number of key points we received in extensive feedback from our employees.

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Jajah's primary service, Jajah Web, takes an approach called web-activated telephony, using VoIP to connect traditional phones (landline or mobile).

Photo by portsmouthlibdems 

MP Mike Hancock will not face charges over allegations he sexually assaulted a female constituent, Hampshire Police have said.

Liberal Democrat Mr Hancock, 64, who represents Portsmouth South, was arrested over the allegations in October.

In a statement, the force said: "Hampshire Constabulary can confirm that following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), no further action is to be taken against MP Mike Hancock in relation to allegations of sexual assault.


Photo: The Queen and Zara Phillips by star1950


The Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips has got engaged to long-term boyfriend Mike Tindall, Buckingham Palace has said.

Mr Tindall proposed to his partner on Monday night at their Gloucestershire home and the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are said to be "delighted" by the news, a Palace spokeswoman said.

A Buckingham Palace statement said: "The Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter Zara Phillips to Mr Mike Tindall, son of Mr Phillip and Mrs Linda Tindall."

Photo by AndrewHA .


An independent inquiry into the alleged misuse of public funds by senior executives at Network Rail (NR) will begin in the New Year.

Sources said it will led by Antony White QC and will begin formal hearings in London in January.

The move has been agreed by NR and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), which represents senior staff at the publicly-funded rail firm.

The inquiry's terms of reference state "that an inquiry should be conducted to investigate any allegations of misuse of public funds and serious financial impropriety, potentially including fraud, presented to the inquiry by TSSA or present or former employees of Network Rail".


Thousands of extra deliveries have been made by postal workers as the Royal Mail made strenuous efforts to clear the huge Christmas postbag despite the snow.

Up to 14,000 extra delivery rounds are planned across the UK, weather permitting, over the next four evenings.

Around two million homes should receive an evening delivery this week.

The delivery programme follows £20 million investment by the Royal Mail in additional measures to deal with what is already the most severe December weather in almost 30 years.


More than 100 British veterans are considering handing back their medals to the Government to protest against their frozen pensions.

The veterans, who have more than 600 years of military service between them, have delivered a petition to Pensions Minister Steve Webb complaining that their state pension is not increased in line with inflation each year because they live outside the UK.

Britons who retire to a number of countries outside the UK, including Canada, Australia and South Africa, have their state pension frozen at the level at which it was when they left the country or retired, although those who retire to countries with which the UK has a reciprocal tax agreement, such as the US and EU countries, continue to receive an annual inflationary increase.

The veterans are calling on the Government to change the situation. They said they felt so outraged by the way they have been treated by the Government that they are prepared to hand back their medals in protest.

The International Consortium of British Pensioners estimates that around 500,000 people are affected by the freeze, with these pensioners receiving less than 60% of the income they would get if their state pension had been increased in line with inflation.


The number of council jobs cut or threatened with the axe in recent weeks is now almost 74,000, with unions fearing that services will now be "slashed" in the New Year, officials have said.

The GMB union said 79 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland had now issued warnings of job losses as a result of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review in October.

Union officials were now involved in the statutory 90-day consultations over job cuts in councils across the country, said the GMB.