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New coin marks 100 years since publication of Agatha Christie’s first crime novel

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new coin marks 100 years since publication of agatha christies first crime novel

The centenary of the publication of Dame Agatha Christie’s first novel is being marked with the issue of a special £2 coin. 

The Mysterious Affair At Styles introduced detective Hercule Poirot to the world when it was published in October 1920. 

The coin, which comes in different metals and features a jigsaw design, is available on the Royal Mint’s website, priced from £10 to £1,115. 

The centenary of the publication of Dame Agatha Christie's first novel is being marked with the issue of a special £2 coin

The centenary of the publication of Dame Agatha Christie’s first novel is being marked with the issue of a special £2 coin

Its designer David Lawrence said: ‘The jigsaw turned out to be the best metaphor for an Agatha Christie mystery: It is not until the final missing piece is dropped into place that the whole picture can be seen.’

The novel ushered in a golden age of mystery novels in the 1920s and 1930s and Dame Agatha’s tales have been published in more than 50 languages and distributed in some 100 countries.

The popularity of Dame Agatha’s work endures, with a new star-studded film version of another Poirot tale, Death On The Nile, featuring Sir Kenneth Branagh, set for release soon.

The coin, which the Mint said will not be released into general circulation, features jigsaw pieces and a replication of Dame Agatha’s signature.

The novel ushered in a golden age of mystery novels in the 1920s and 1930s and Dame Agatha's tales have been published in more than 50 languages and distributed in some 100 countries

The novel ushered in a golden age of mystery novels in the 1920s and 1930s and Dame Agatha’s tales have been published in more than 50 languages and distributed in some 100 countries

The coin’s edge is inscribed with the phrase ‘Little grey cells’, first used by Poirot in The Mysterious Affair At Styles.

Clare Maclennan, divisional director of commemorative coin at the Royal Mint, said: ‘This year marks the 100th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s first published novel, The Mysterious Affair At Styles.

‘To commemorate the significant anniversary, we are delighted to introduce this commemorative £2 coin to celebrate 100 years of mystery and honour the best-selling novelist of all time.

The Mysterious Affair At Styles introduced detective Hercule Poirot to the world when it was published in October 1920

The Mysterious Affair At Styles introduced detective Hercule Poirot to the world when it was published in October 1920

‘The coin’s design is adorned with all the hallmarks of an Agatha Christie novel, with the jigsaw pieces representing ingenious plot twists that we are all familiar with when reading her mystery novels.’

Dame Agatha’s great-grandson, James Prichard, who is chairman and chief executive of Agatha Christie Limited, said: ‘I’m delighted that the Royal Mint are honouring the work of my great-grandmother in this way. 

‘She was, quite simply, a genius, and it is fantastic to see her stories and characters continuing to receive such recognition 100 years after her first novel was published.’

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Suspect taken into custody for ‘sending a deadly poison RICIN package to Donald Trump’

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suspect taken into custody for sending a deadly poison ricin package to donald trump

A suspect has been taken into custody for allegedly sending a package containing the poison ricin to Donald Trump. 

The package addressed to the president was intercepted by law enforcement earlier this week.

All packages addressed to the White House are sorted and screened at a secure offsite facility prior to delivery. 

Two law enforcement sources told CNN that two tests were done to confirm the presence of ricin.

The envelope to the White House was caught at the final offsite processing facility where mail is screened before being sent to the White House mail room. 

Investigators believe that it was sent from Canada, a law enforcement official told the New York Times

The Secret Service has intercepted a package addressed to Trump containing deadly ricin

The Secret Service has intercepted a package addressed to Trump containing deadly ricin

Ricin is a highly potent toxin derived from castor beans, and is extremely lethal if inhaled or injected, but less so if ingested. Inhaling a dose the size of a few grains of salt can be lethal to adults. 

‘The F.B.I. and our U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service partners are investigating a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility,’ the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement to the Times. ‘At this time, there is no known threat to public safety.’ 

Deadly ricin has previously been used to target American politicians through the mail.

In 2014, actress Shannon Richardson, who appeared on The Walking Dead, was convicted of sending envelopes containing ricin addressed to then President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

She was sentenced to 18 years in prison. 

All packages addressed to the White House are sorted and screened at a secure offsite facility prior to delivery

All packages addressed to the White House are sorted and screened at a secure offsite facility prior to delivery

Ricin was also featured in a multi-season plot arc in the television series Breaking Bad, which inspired several real-life criminal schemes involving the poison.

In 2014, Georgetown University student Daniel Milzman pleaded guilty to a federal charge after a bag of ricin was found in his dorm room. 

Prosecutors say he had planned to use it on another student he had formerly been in a relationship with. He was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison. 

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Whitehall cash haul! Number of mandarins on at least £100,000 pay surges by 15% in just 12 months

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whitehall cash haul number of mandarins on at least 100000 pay surges by 15 in just 12 months

The number of Whitehall mandarins on £100,000 or more has gone up by 15 per cent in just 12 months.

Official figures show a record 1,560 civil servants are paid at least three times the national average salary.

The exclusive club has increased by 200 in the past year alone – almost doubling in a decade.

Ian Booth, left, pictured here with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, is the best-paid civil servant in Government, raking in a £275,000 salary as well as a £180,000 bonus as head of the Ministry of Defence¿s submarine delivery agency. Former Brexit Minister Steve Baker said the civil service needs good people, but also needs realistic pay. 'Most of my constituents would think £50,000 a year is an enormous amount of money, never mind £150,000. They would be astonished to learn that their taxes are paying more than 1,500 civil servants that amount.' (file photo)

Ian Booth, left, pictured here with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, is the best-paid civil servant in Government, raking in a £275,000 salary as well as a £180,000 bonus as head of the Ministry of Defence’s submarine delivery agency. Former Brexit Minister Steve Baker said the civil service needs good people, but also needs realistic pay. ‘Most of my constituents would think £50,000 a year is an enormous amount of money, never mind £150,000. They would be astonished to learn that their taxes are paying more than 1,500 civil servants that amount.’ (file photo)

At the same time the austerity years saw the wages of nurses, teachers and police officers frozen.

Twenty civil servants are on more than £200,000, twice the number just three years ago. 

The best-paid, Ian Booth, who heads the Ministry of Defence’s submarine delivery agency, landed a £180,000 bonus on top of his £275,000 salary.

Richard Holden MP, who worked on Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign and sits on the public accounts committee, said: ‘With six-figure salaries shooting up and work from home the norm – it’s clear the civil service are increasingly out of touch with the public and going against the clear instructions of the Government.

‘It’s time for the senior leadership of the civil service to shape up or ship out sharpish.’

Former Brexit minister Steve Baker said: ‘We do need great people in the civil service but we’ve got to be realistic about their pay.’

Ruth Todd, commercial director at the submarine delivery agency, is paid up to £229,999, making her the highest paid female civil servant. A Government spokesman said last night: ¿The civil service deals with complex issues and needs to attract, recruit, retain and motivate highly skilled individuals and sometimes it is appropriate to pay higher salaries.' (file photo)

Ruth Todd, commercial director at the submarine delivery agency, is paid up to £229,999, making her the highest paid female civil servant. A Government spokesman said last night: ‘The civil service deals with complex issues and needs to attract, recruit, retain and motivate highly skilled individuals and sometimes it is appropriate to pay higher salaries.’ (file photo)

‘Most of my constituents would think £50,000 a year is an enormous amount of money, never mind £150,000. They would be astonished to learn that their taxes are paying more than 1,500 civil servants that amount.

‘The sheer scale of top pay in the civil service demonstrates the importance of decentralising power and privatising functions – we just can’t afford all of this government.’

The figures were released without publicity by the Cabinet Office over the summer. At the end of March, 6,450 employees were at ‘senior civil service’ level, up from 4,300 five years earlier.

Their median salary stands at £81,440 – three times the average across all ranks of £28,180.

Analysis by the Daily Mail reveals the extent of wage growth at the very top since March 2010. Back then 917 civil servants were on more than £100,000.

As the Coalition imposed swingeing budget cuts this fell to 720 in 2013. But in the past few years the trend has reversed, to 1,360 last year and 1,560 this March. 

Boris ‘worried’ about money? Friends claim £150,000 is not enough for the Prime Minister

Boris Johnson's friends claim he's finding it tough to live on his £150,000 salary.

Boris Johnson’s friends claim he’s finding it tough to live on his £150,000 salary.

Boris Johnson may have been trying to lose the pounds lately… but not the ones sitting in his bank.

The Prime Minister is ‘worried’ about money, according to his friends.

As a backbench MP, with a newspaper column earning him £275,000 and lucrative speaking engagements, he was taking home at least £350,000 a year.

But now that he is Prime Minister, he has seen his income drop by more than half to £150,000.

He is supporting four of his six children and has been through a costly divorce.

The use of the Downing Street flat he shares with his fiancee, Carrie Symonds is taxed as a benefit in kind.

Food sent up from the Downing Street kitchen has to be paid for.

And if the couple want to have friends stay at Chequers then they get a bill from the Government.

One friend told The Times: ‘Boris, like other prime ministers, is very, very badly served… He doesn’t have a housekeeper, he has a single cleaner and they’re worried about being able to afford a nanny.

‘He’s stuck in the flat and Downing Street is not a nice place to live.

‘It’s not like the Elysee or the White House where you can get away from it all because they’re so big. Even if he or Carrie want to go into the rose garden they have to go through the office.’

Another friend added: ‘He’s always worried about money, he has a genuine need to provide for his family, all of them, and I think that does worry him.’

Sources said it was untrue he was worried and complaining about money.

 

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Separate figures published by the Cabinet Office identified the recipients of the biggest pay packets. In the same bracket as Mr Booth – up to £284,999 – was Sir Simon Bollom, an ex-RAF officer who heads MoD equipment and support. Next was Crawford Falconer who is the chief trade negotiation adviser.

The New Zealander was handed a rise last year to take his salary close to £269,999.

The highest-paid female mandarin was Ruth Todd, commercial director at the submarine delivery agency. She pocketed up to £229,999. 

Three senior officials at the much-criticised quango Public Health England were paid more than £200,000 last year. Former Cabinet minister and Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said those working for the Prime Minister should not be paid more than his £150,000.

But a Government spokesman said last night: ‘The civil service deals with complex issues and needs to attract, recruit, retain and motivate highly skilled individuals and sometimes it is appropriate to pay higher salaries.

‘Ensuring taxpayer value for money is paramount, which is why cases for salaries above £150,000… require the approval of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.’ 

There is also concern that well-paid chiefs of government departments are still working from home while also saving thousands on commuting costs.

Mr Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings has warned that ‘a hard rain is coming’ because the pandemic exposed ‘fundamental problems in the Whitehall machine’.

He has already forced out five mandarins, including Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill. 

Mr Cummings has just moved from No 10 to a ‘mission control centre’ in the Cabinet Office with a handful of aides. 

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Sort out testing… or else: Teaching union warns Government schools could be forced to close again

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sort out testing or else teaching union warns government schools could be forced to close again

Schools could be forced to close unless the Government takes emergency measures, a teaching union warned yesterday.

In a fresh threat, the National Education Union told Boris Johnson that he should not take support for wider reopening of schools ‘for granted’.

The NEU has written to the Prime Minister demanding that children and staff be made a ‘high priority’ for testing.

Students at St Columba's High School, Gourock are seen lining up to disinfect their hands. The union was accused of attempting to block children¿s gradual return to school before the summer holidays

Students at St Columba’s High School, Gourock are seen lining up to disinfect their hands. The union was accused of attempting to block children’s gradual return to school before the summer holidays

The Government should ‘move towards asymptomatic testing of staff and older pupils’ and reduce class sizes to minimise Covid transmission and ‘avoid rota operation wherever possible’, it said.

The union also suggests the creation of socially distanced ‘Nightingale Schools as well as Nightingale Hospitals’.

The letter says that coronavirus cases could ‘return us to March levels within a few weeks if urgent action is not taken’.

Joint NEU general secretaries Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney say: ‘The situation is markedly worse in some localities and we and our members are disturbed that 44 districts are now on your intervention list.’

The NEU has previously warned ministers it must be informed of all school outbreaks if lessons are to continue across the country. Students are pictured above at the King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham

The NEU has previously warned ministers it must be informed of all school outbreaks if lessons are to continue across the country. Students are pictured above at the King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham

Referring to the infection rate R number, they add: ‘We hope that you will be able to get this situation under control quickly but, if you cannot, then we believe that you will have to take steps to reduce wider school opening in these areas to help get R below 1.

‘School leaders, teachers and support staff have supported the wider opening for all pupils and worked hard to make it as safe as possible, but you cannot, and must not, take this support for granted.’

The NEU has previously warned ministers it must be informed of all school outbreaks if lessons are to continue across the country.

The union was accused of attempting to block children’s gradual return to school before the summer holidays.

In May, the union attracted huge criticism when footage emerged of NEU leaders discussing how to ‘threaten’ head teachers who backed plans for a phased return to the classroom from June 1.

The comments were made in Zoom meetings for thousands of NEU members, recorded on May 14, and posted on the union’s YouTube account.

Students in Doncaster are pictured wearing masks. In a fresh threat, the National Education Union told Boris Johnson that he should not take support for wider reopening of schools ¿for granted¿

Students in Doncaster are pictured wearing masks. In a fresh threat, the National Education Union told Boris Johnson that he should not take support for wider reopening of schools ‘for granted’

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