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STEPHEN GLOVER: BBC Leftie hatchet job on Rupert Murdoch is proof it’s incapable of balance 

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stephen glover bbc leftie hatchet job on rupert murdoch is proof its incapable of balance

Maybe the fabulously wealthy and powerful can look after themselves, and the rest of us shouldn’t mind too much if their successes are ignored and their failings exaggerated.

Rupert Murdoch is, after all, the most influential media mogul who has ever lived, as well as the richest. Why should we care if he is the victim of a hatchet job? Haven’t his own newspapers sometimes traduced the innocent?

If his persecutor were a leading journalist, I wouldn’t care. But when the BBC —our state broadcaster whose power enormously exceeds that of Murdoch’s newspapers — is guilty of breathtaking bias, and a striking lack of fair-mindedness, it’s impossible to remain silent.

Parts of BBC2’s three-episode The Rise Of The Murdoch Dynasty, which concluded on Tuesday, were unexceptionable. Some of it was gripping.

A story of money and politicians sucking up to the billionaire proprietor, of family fallings-out and sibling rivalry, is bound to fascinate.

Why should we care if Rupert Murdoch is the victim of a hatchet job? If his persecutor were a leading journalist, I wouldn¿t care. But when the BBC ¿our state broadcaster ¿ is guilty of breathtaking bias, and a striking lack of fair-mindedness, it¿s impossible to remain silent

Why should we care if Rupert Murdoch is the victim of a hatchet job? If his persecutor were a leading journalist, I wouldn¿t care. But when the BBC ¿our state broadcaster ¿ is guilty of breathtaking bias, and a striking lack of fair-mindedness, it¿s impossible to remain silent

Why should we care if Rupert Murdoch is the victim of a hatchet job? If his persecutor were a leading journalist, I wouldn’t care. But when the BBC —our state broadcaster — is guilty of breathtaking bias, and a striking lack of fair-mindedness, it’s impossible to remain silent

But the case against the mogul was put one-sidedly by inveterate Murdoch-haters whose own discreditable pasts were overlooked. Meanwhile, the man’s achievements were barely mentioned. The BBC treated him like a low-grade Mafia don.

Here I should emphasise one ineradicable black mark against Murdoch: phone-hacking. His two red-top tabloids, the now defunct News of the World and The Sun, conducted extensive eavesdropping of the private telephone conversations of celebrities, and of people in the news.

This was obviously distressing to many of those involved. It led to the whole Press being investigated by the Leveson Inquiry, and to the still extant threat of coercive measures against newspapers.

If Murdoch were in all other respects as virtuous as the Archangel Gabriel, which he obviously isn’t, this stain couldn’t be removed.

However, the case against the tycoon was made at such length and so tendentiously that it was hard for this viewer to keep calm — particularly so when Murdoch’s hysterical accusers were wheeled out.

Parts of BBC2¿s three-episode The Rise Of The Murdoch Dynasty, which concluded on Tuesday, were unexceptionable. Some of it was gripping (pictured with sons Lachlan and James)

Parts of BBC2¿s three-episode The Rise Of The Murdoch Dynasty, which concluded on Tuesday, were unexceptionable. Some of it was gripping (pictured with sons Lachlan and James)

Parts of BBC2’s three-episode The Rise Of The Murdoch Dynasty, which concluded on Tuesday, were unexceptionable. Some of it was gripping (pictured with sons Lachlan and James)

One of them was former motor-racing boss Max Mosley, who readers may remember as the instigator of an S&M orgy involving dominatrices in his flat in 2008.

Although violence was inflicted, Mosley later described the goings-on as ‘perfectly harmless’. He sued the News of the World for having described the orgy as ‘Nazi’, and won £60,000.

Others may recall the more recent discovery by this newspaper of a 1961 pamphlet in his name which stated that ‘coloured immigrants’ spread disease.

The young Max Mosley, who made no secret of his Far Right sympathies, continued for some years to support South Africa’s extreme apartheid regime.

Yet none of his sleazy and shady past was mentioned by the BBC. He was presented as a decent and upright elderly man. I could scarcely contain myself when the old rogue described his (continuing) opposition to Murdoch as ‘a sort of battle between good and evil’.

Also part of what was described without irony as the ‘Rebel Alliance’ and ‘the resistance’ was erstwhile Labour deputy leader Tom Watson.

But the case against the mogul was put one-sidedly by inveterate Murdoch-haters whose own discreditable pasts were overlooked. The BBC treated him like a low-grade Mafia don (pictured with Rebekah Brooks)

But the case against the mogul was put one-sidedly by inveterate Murdoch-haters whose own discreditable pasts were overlooked. The BBC treated him like a low-grade Mafia don (pictured with Rebekah Brooks)

But the case against the mogul was put one-sidedly by inveterate Murdoch-haters whose own discreditable pasts were overlooked. The BBC treated him like a low-grade Mafia don (pictured with Rebekah Brooks)

Viewers were not told that he had accepted £540,000 in donations from Mosley, with whom he shares a hatred of the tabloid Press and a burning desire to regulate it.

Nor were we reminded of Watson’s championing of Carl Beech, who made fantastical allegations about a ‘VIP paedophile network’ that included war hero Lord Bramall, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, and former Prime Minister Edward Heath.

The BBC also omitted to tell its audience that the third member of the gang, actor Hugh Grant, is a fanatical and long-standing supporter of the anti-Press lobby group Hacked Off.

It somehow slipped Auntie’s mind that Grant is a cheerleader for Impress, a State-approved regulator ignored by mainstream newspapers, funded indirectly by Max Mosley’s family charity.

Some biographical information about Nick Davies, the fourth member, would also have been helpful. To his credit, Davies spearheaded The Guardian’s exposure of phone hacking.

Actor and Hacked Off activist Hugh Grant

Actor and Hacked Off activist Hugh Grant

Max Mosley

Max Mosley

The case against the tycoon was made at such length and so tendentiously that it was hard for this viewer to keep calm — particularly so when Murdoch’s hysterical accusers were wheeled out. Left: Hugh Grant, right: Max Mosley

What wasn’t mentioned is that he was driven by an obsessive hatred for Murdoch, whom he had earlier described as a ‘brutal and unscrupulous bully’.

With a characteristic lack of generosity towards journalistic colleagues, in 2009 he declared The Sun ‘a source of repulsively dishonest journalism’.

Finally — in this list of facts withheld by the BBC — was a crucial flaw in Davies’s 2011 story about the hacking of the mobile phone of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler, who it later transpired had been murdered.

This bombshell article led directly to the Leveson Inquiry, and Murdoch’s panic-stricken decision to shut down the News of the World.

This was the strapline in The Guardian’s front page ‘splash’ about the News of the World: ‘Exclusive. Paper deleted missing schoolgirl’s voicemail, giving the family false hope.’ But it turned out not to be true.

Five months later, The Guardian conceded that ‘the News of the World is unlikely to have been responsible for the deletion of a set of voicemails from the phone that caused Milly Dowler’s parents to have false hope that she was still alive’. Davies has never properly apologised for his error.

All these omissions are highly significant. I suggest that the programme makers made a decision to withhold important background information about its ‘star witnesses’ for fear of undermining the case it intended to build against Rupert Murdoch.

A story of money and politicians sucking up to the billionaire proprietor, of family fallings-out and sibling rivalry, is bound to fascinate.

A story of money and politicians sucking up to the billionaire proprietor, of family fallings-out and sibling rivalry, is bound to fascinate.

A story of money and politicians sucking up to the billionaire proprietor, of family fallings-out and sibling rivalry, is bound to fascinate.

There are other examples of the documentary rigging information. It alleged that, acting on Murdoch’s orders, The Sun and News of the World ran a series of Tory sex scandal stories in the months before the 1997 election in order to help Tony Blair and Labour win.

A series of lurid headlines were displayed. One featured a Conservative MP, Alan Amos, arrested by police over an alleged sexual indecency offence. In fact, this story was published by The Sun some five years earlier, on March 9, 1992, a month before the 1992 election, when the paper strongly backed the Tories.

There are other instances of the programme manipulating dates. The irony is that the BBC accuses Murdoch’s titles of shoddy journalism, and yet is itself guilty of the very same fault.

Needless to say, Murdoch’s achievements are ignored. In 1986, by removing his printing operations to Wapping overnight, he broke the power of the trade unions, whose restrictive practices were throttling newspapers.

Other titles followed his lead, and saved themselves financially. This is what Nick Davies later wrote: ‘He threw 6,000 men out of work when he broke away from the printing unions in London.’ That’s all!

Nor was Murdoch’s triumph in building up the satellite broadcaster BSkyB (nearly bankrupting himself in the early days) cited by the programme. Sky, as it became, brought increased choice for TV viewers, and a great deal of money to the Premier League and other sports.

Believe me, I’m very far from being a Murdoch acolyte. In 1993, he initiated a price war to damage the Independent, in whose founding I had played a part, by slashing the cover price of the loss-making Times — a cross-subsidy that would have been illegal in some countries. I shan’t forgive him for that.

But I can recognise that he has been a media titan, who has done great things as well as bad ones. Alas, the BBC is incapable of a balanced view. It showed none of the fair-mindedness we are entitled to expect from our national broadcaster. This was a stitch-up, borrowed from the Left’s mean-spirited playbook.

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Argos is mocked for selling £5.99 curtains that look like cigarettes

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argos is mocked for selling 5 99 curtains that look like cigarettes

Argos became the butt of shoppers’ joked after advertising a pair of curtains that ‘look like cigarettes’.

The British retailer advertised its printed border eyelet curtains at a reduced price of £5.99.

The bottom third of the drapes is a mustard yellow colour, while the rest is an off-white shade. 

The way the eyelets are positioned causes the curtains to fall in waves which makes them look like 10 vertical cylinders – and people spied a likeness to a packet of 10 cigarettes.   

Argos became the butt of shoppers' joked after advertising a pair of curtains that 'look like cigarettes'

Argos became the butt of shoppers' joked after advertising a pair of curtains that 'look like cigarettes'

Argos became the butt of shoppers’ joked after advertising a pair of curtains that ‘look like cigarettes’

The interior design item was previously listed as £15 but was available in the Argos clearance sale for a third of its original price. 

The image of the curtains, widely shared online, shows the floor-length drapes hanging from a silver pole – but several shoppers pointed out they bear a striking resemblance to a 10-pack of cigarettes.

Dozens took to social media to mock the design fail, which saw Argos trending on Twitter yesterday.

One tweeted: ‘Argos have released these curtains that appear to look like Richmond Superkings.’ 

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Dozens took to social media to mock the design fail, which saw Argos trending on Twitter yesterday

Dozens took to social media to mock the design fail, which saw Argos trending on Twitter yesterday

Dozens took to social media to mock the design fail, which saw Argos trending on Twitter yesterday

Another wrote: ‘£5.99 for a set of curtains that look like a packet of cigarettes from @Argos_Online.’

And another asked: ‘Why have Argos made curtains looking like JPS Superkings,’ followed by a series of crying emojis.

While one joked: ‘Ten cigars would have been better.’ 

The curtains are no longer listed for sale, however retailers can purchase the same design in shades of natural and grey.

The image of the curtains, widely shared online, shows the floor-length drapes hanging from a silver pole - but several shoppers pointed out they bear a striking resemblance to a 10-pack of cigarettes

The image of the curtains, widely shared online, shows the floor-length drapes hanging from a silver pole - but several shoppers pointed out they bear a striking resemblance to a 10-pack of cigarettes

The image of the curtains, widely shared online, shows the floor-length drapes hanging from a silver pole – but several shoppers pointed out they bear a striking resemblance to a 10-pack of cigarettes

The original description of the curtains on the Argos website read: ‘Looking to liven up a room with bright and colourful curtains?

‘We can help you there. These unlined 2-tone Dublin curtains are 100 per cent cotton and will give you lots of natural light and plenty of privacy.

‘We love their eyelet design for its fast and fiddle-free fitting and should disaster strike you can pop them in the wash. Like your room a bit darker?

‘These curtains are also available fully lined.’

According to a screenshot of the mustard curtains shared online, the curtains boasted an average four out of five stars out of 18 reviews. 

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Police back Uber’s licence bid because taxi firm shares data with intelligence officers

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police back ubers licence bid because taxi firm shares data with intelligence officers

Uber will be allowed to keep its license to operate in the UK because it shares information with the police on drivers, passengers and journeys, it has emerged. 

A court has been told the ride hailing app shares 2,000 pieces of ‘vital’ information with senior officers in London alone. 

This intelligence is reportedly used to tackle drug dealing, human trafficking and child sexual exploitation, as perpetrators have been known to use minicabs to aid these crimes in the past. 

The revelations were made in court documents where Uber is trying to win back their private hite vehicle licence after Transport for London retracted it last year, citing 'safety concerns'

The revelations were made in court documents where Uber is trying to win back their private hite vehicle licence after Transport for London retracted it last year, citing 'safety concerns'

The revelations were made in court documents where Uber is trying to win back their private hite vehicle licence after Transport for London retracted it last year, citing ‘safety concerns’ 

But the revelations, reported in The Times, have concerned drivers and passengers who are concerned about their privacy when using Uber’s services. 

It is the latest development in a long running battle for Uber to renew its operting licence in the UK after Transport for London (TfL) refused to renew the company’s private hire vehicle (PHV) licence in November.

They claimed safety failures on the ride hailing app put passengers at risk, including allowing unauthorised drivers to work without adequate secruity checks. 

The company was awarded a five-year licence in 2012, but in September 2017 TfL refused to renew it – and the ride hailing app had to go to court where a judge handed it a 15-month licence in June 2018.

It was then given a further two-month licence in September 2019, after which TfL rejected Uber’s application for a new licence, citing ‘several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk’.

The UK is Uber's largest European market since it launched in London in 2012, with 45,000 drivers and 3.5 million people using the service in London

The UK is Uber's largest European market since it launched in London in 2012, with 45,000 drivers and 3.5 million people using the service in London

The UK is Uber’s largest European market since it launched in London in 2012, with 45,000 drivers and 3.5 million people using the service in London

Uber has made efforts to improve their service, including on document verification and governance. 

Magistrates must decide whether Uber is a ‘fit and proper’ operator, and the company have been presenting their arguments as to why they should be granted a licence.

Yesterday the court heard Uber ‘covered up’ the scale of a flaw in its app allowing dismissed drivers to pick up passengers nearly 15,000 times.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court previously heard Uber had a vulnerability in its systems which allowed unauthorised people to upload their photographs to legitimate driver accounts by manipulating GPS settings, enabling them to pick up passengers.

Some 14,788 trips were taken using bogus identities, but the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) said Uber did not tell TfL the full scale of the problem in a report submitted in 2019.

The Times have seen a skeleton argument lodged at Westminster magistrates’ court, in which Uber claims its support from police showed it fit the requirements for a new licence. 

The paperwork suggests that the taxi app shares information and intelligence with multiple bodies, including the national counterterrorism policing network, the National Crime Agency, the slavery unit of The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and British Transport Police. 

The UK is Uber’s largest European market since it launched in London in 2012, with 45,000 drivers and 3.5 million people using the service in London. 

Concerns have been expressed about this information sharing and the impact it has on the privacy of drivers. 

James Farrar, general secretary of the App Drivers and Couriers Union, told The Times they were  ‘deeply concerned’ about the ‘police mass surveillance and intelligence gathering on the Uber platform’.

He added: ‘With Uber’s licence hanging by a thread, the rideshare giant is particularly vulnerable to undue pressure from police and regulatory authorities to compromise the personal data protection rights of their drivers, couriers and passengers.’ 

Uber have been contacted for a comment.  

Uber ‘received 3,000 reports of sexual assaults on US rides in 2018’

Ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc said it received over 3,000 reports of sexual assault related to its 1.3 billion rides in the United States last year, in a report aimed at ensuring drivers and the public it was serious about safety.

The figure – which averages eight a day – represents a 16 per cent fall in the rate of incidents from the previous year in the five most serious categories of sexual assault reported, Uber said on Thursday in its first biennial U.S. Safety Report.

The firm also said reports of assaults on passengers overlooked risks for drivers as riders accounted for roughly half of the accused.

The 84-page report comes almost two weeks after Uber said it would appeal the loss of its license to carry passengers in London over a ‘pattern of failures’ on safety and security.

Uber, which in the past has faced criticism over safety on its platform and has been repeatedly hit with lawsuits over driver misconduct, last year committed to releasing a safety report in a sign of a cultural turnaround under its new CEO. 

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A number of tables (above) were included in the report which detailed the number of assaults during its 1.3 billion rides in the United States last year

A number of tables (above) were included in the report which detailed the number of assaults during its 1.3 billion rides in the United States last year

A number of tables (above) were included in the report which detailed the number of assaults during its 1.3 billion rides in the United States last year

The firm, which operates in 70 countries, said the report showed its commitment to transparency to improve accountability and safety industry-wide. It said it would use what it learned producing the report for its ‘next steps’ in other places.

‘I suspect many people will be surprised at how rare these incidents are; others will understandably think they’re still too common. Some people will appreciate how much we’ve done on safety; others will say we have more work to do. They will all be right,’ tweeted Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi.

In the report, Uber said 99.9 per cent of its 2.3 billion U.S. trips in 2017 and 2018 ended without safety incidents.

It said it received 235 reports of ‘non-consensual sexual penetration’ last year and 280 of ‘attempted non-consensual sexual penetration’ – nearly all filed by women. The remaining assault reports included incidents of unwanted kissing or touching of body parts.

It also detailed 10 fatal physical assaults in 2017 and nine in 2018 – eight victims were riders, seven were drivers using Uber’s app, and four were third parties such as bystanders.

At an event on Wednesday, Khosrowshahi said he prioritized improving Uber’s culture and safety when assuming his role in 2017. 

At the time, Uber was dealing with regulatory fallout and public backlash over its business practices, forcing former CEO and founder Travis Kalanick to step down.

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‘We had to change the culture internally and we simply got to do the right thing,’ Khosrowshahi said, adding that Uber was not hiding anything by publishing internal information.

The report was released after Transport for London (TfL) revoked the cab-hailing app’s right to work in London after finding that at least 14,000 trips were made with drivers who were different to the ones shown on the app.

A change in the company’s systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photographs to legitimate Uber driver accounts, the transport body said. At least one driver picking up fares had previously had their licence revoked.

The company has 21 days to mount an appeal and can continue to operate during that time. It will have to convince a court it is ‘fit and proper’ by the time of the appeal. 

It was reported in June 2018 that more than 2,500 Uber drivers in London had been investigated for sexual assault, stalking and dangerous driving – however it was not clear which time frame this related to.

Rival Lyft Inc in a statement said it was committed to releasing its own safety report and sharing information on unsafe drivers. It did not state a release date for its report.

The report also detailed 10 fatal physical assaults in 2017 and nine in 2018 - eight victims were riders, seven were drivers using Uber's app, and four were third parties such as bystanders

The report also detailed 10 fatal physical assaults in 2017 and nine in 2018 - eight victims were riders, seven were drivers using Uber's app, and four were third parties such as bystanders

The report also detailed 10 fatal physical assaults in 2017 and nine in 2018 – eight victims were riders, seven were drivers using Uber’s app, and four were third parties such as bystanders

Uber said it puts drivers through a vigorous background check before accepting them onto its platform. In its report, it said one million drivers failed to pass the screening test in 2017 and 2018 and more than 40,000 were removed from the app after extra screening layers.

Regulators have long said Uber’s screening process was insufficient and inferior to those in place for taxi drivers, with several U.S. cities attempting to compel Uber to mandate fingerprinting of its drivers.

New York City is currently the only U.S. city where drivers have to provide fingerprints and undergo the same licensing requirements as regular taxi drivers.

The New York City Transport and Limousine Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Uber’s safety report. In the past, it said fingerprinting was the only way to ensure proper safety.

An Uber spokeswoman on Thursday said the firm’s screening process was robust and rigorous, and was more reliable than the sometimes incomplete database for fingerprints.

Source: Reuters   

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Migrant boat lands on NUDIST beach on Sussex coast

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migrant boat lands on nudist beach on sussex coast

A boat of migrants landed on a nudist beach on the Sussex coast before being helped ashore by naked sunbathers.  

Naturists were enjoying a day out at Fairlight Glen Beach near Hastings, East Sussex, on Monday when the group of men rowed towards them in an inflatable dinghy.

Father-of-two entrepreneur Jamie Anley, 48, was on his first trip to the beach with wife Astrid, 52.

He told The Sun they had just taken their clothes off when they saw the men paddling towards them.  

In another incident, a group of 16 migrants from Afghanistan also made their way across the Channel to Dover on Wednesday (pictured)

In another incident, a group of 16 migrants from Afghanistan also made their way across the Channel to Dover on Wednesday (pictured)

In another incident, a group of 16 migrants from Afghanistan also made their way across the Channel to Dover on Wednesday (pictured)

Naturists were enjoying a day out at Fairlight Glen Beach near Hastings, East Sussex, on Monday when the group of men rowed towards them in an inflatable dinghy

Naturists were enjoying a day out at Fairlight Glen Beach near Hastings, East Sussex, on Monday when the group of men rowed towards them in an inflatable dinghy

Naturists were enjoying a day out at Fairlight Glen Beach near Hastings, East Sussex, on Monday when the group of men rowed towards them in an inflatable dinghy

Entrepreneur Anley told the Sun: ‘The beachgoers were all very friendly — we offered the migrants drinks.

‘They were aged from about 17 to 45. Some of the men kept their heads down but some had little smirks on.

‘Some of them were wearing leather jackets, they weren’t dressed for the occasion!’ 

All the migrants were located and detained after they made off into nearby woods, the Home Office confirmed.

September is already the busiest month for migrants crossing the Channel by small boat ever recorded.

The Home Office said 26 people were detained in two separate incidents on Wednesday.

It means at least 1,490 have made the treacherous journey across the world’s busiest shipping route this month.

The total now surpasses the 1,468 migrants who made it to the UK by small boat during the previous record month of August.

Some 165 migrants made their way to the UK on Monday and Wednesday’s arrivals take the total for the year to 6,515.  

One witness said the boat spotted on Wednesday would have sunk if they had not been rescued by a British border patrol.

The Home Office said 26 people were detained in two separate incidents on Wednesday (pictured, off the coast of Dover)

The Home Office said 26 people were detained in two separate incidents on Wednesday (pictured, off the coast of Dover)

The Home Office said 26 people were detained in two separate incidents on Wednesday (pictured, off the coast of Dover)

Border Force and French patrols have been increasingly more active in the Dover Strait as the number of migrants crossings has rocketed in recent months. 

Last Friday at least 319 people made the perilous journey on 27 boats, with more than 6,100 arriving in the South East coast on small vessels so far this year.

After a lull in migrants attempting the dangerous crossing over the last few days, large numbers made renewed bids to get to the UK, taking advantage of the better weather, calm sea conditions and low winds.

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