Thousands rally for pay equality

Glasgow is seeing its biggest equal pay strike in decades as 8,000 march on George Square.

Hundreds of schools, nurseries, and other local government organisations are striking due to a long-running dispute about equal pay for women.

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GMB General Secretary Tim Roache with striking workers at Glasgow City Chambers

Although Glasgow City Council has said the strike is unnecessary, GMB and Unison workers unions note a distinct lack of progress in negotiations over the pay issue.

The problem has arisen from a pay and conditions scheme introduced by Glasgow City Council in 2006. The scheme means that due to differing work conditions, workers in female-dominated industries like teaching, catering and cleaning are receiving up to £3 an hour less than workers in male-dominated industries like refuse collection.

Gary Smith, the Scottish secretary of GMB, spoke to us about the march in Glasgow:

“The Glasgow Women’s strike is the biggest ever strike over sex discrimination and equal pay. 8000 women have downed tools and brought large parts of the city to a halt. This is a magnificent display of solidarity amongst the women of Glasgow.”

Other industries which are unaffected by the pay dispute – or on the other side of it, such as refuse workers – have also been striking to support the female marchers in Glasgow.

GMB European Officer Kathleen Walker Shaw told EN4 News:

“The strike action and demonstration has met with widespread public support in Glasgow, Scotland, the UK and internationally with messages of solidarity pouring in from public service workers across the world.”

These messages included a speech from Rosa Pavanelli, the general Secretary of the 20-million-strong PSI Global union:

Councillors in Glasgow reiterate that there is no need for the strike. Council Leader Susan Aitken spoke to the BBC, stating:

“I’m not entirely sure why this strike is taking place. Negotiations have been continuing. We’ve made considerable progress in a number of areas.”

Over 12,000 claims have been made to the council to alert them of pay issues caused by the 2006 scheme. After pay increases and payouts for backdated claims, the issue could ultimately cost between £500 million and £1 billion.

Second man named in Sailsbury attacks investigation

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A second man has been named for suspected involvement in the Skripal attack.

Investigative Journalism website, Bellingcat, has revealed the name of the second man suspected of carrying out the poisoning in Salisbury in March. Russian military doctor, Alexander Mishkin, is accused of carrying out the assassination attempt on Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

He joins Anatoliy Chepiga who was named as the first suspect by Bellingcat last month however Russia denies all claims made by the website. Mishkin was travelling under the alias Alexander Petrov when he travelled to the UK to allegedly carry out the attack. Moreover, Mishkin was revealed to be an agent working for Russian Intelligence, the GRU.

Conservative MP Bob Seely, a member of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said: “It is appalling that a medical doctor appears to have been part of a team of GRU operatives”

“Whilst this operation has been a botched embarrassment for the Kremlin from beginning to end, it’s worth remembering that we may not know about the GRU’s successful operations.”

Bellingcat made the discovery after looking over testimonies from people Mishkin knew and a scanned photo of his passport. The journalist working on the story had to dig significantly deeper to uncover Mishkin as he did not leave as much digital evidence to his identity or whereabouts as Chepiga.

Forensic tent at The_Maltings,Salisbury in March credit to Peter Curbishley.jpg

Forensic tent at The Maltings, Salisbury in March. Photo credit to Peter Curbishley.

Russia have officially commented that the two men were in Salisbury as tourists but this has been undermined by mounting evidence suggesting these men were highly-trained government agents. With the revelation of the second suspect, questions have been raised at the relative ease of uncovering intelligence officer’s identities.

 

Transfer Deadline Day: EN4 News live updates

The January transfer window closes across the UK at 11pm tonight. Keep up to date with all the Scottish transfer news, plus some updates from elsewhere, this afternoon at EN4 News.

Scottish transfer news to keep an eye on:

  • Alfredo Morelos could move away from Rangers today as Chinese clubs remain interested
  • Aberdeen and Celtic are expected to sign a goalkeeper by the end of the day
  • Hearts have an eye on two players as the deadline fast approaches
  • Scotland international Chris Martin is expected to move clubs this afternoon
  • Hibs might show an interest in a former midfielder

THAT’S IT FROM EN4 NEWS ON DEADLINE DAY! Thanks for keeping updated with us this afternoon.

4.51pm

Big news on that domino effect in England today.

Michy Batshuayi has joined Borussia Dortmund from Chelsea on loan.

Olivier Giroud has joined Chelsea from Arsenal.

4.49pm

Another one in at Ross County! The Staggies have signed Max Melbourne on loan from West Brom until May.

4.46pm

Rangers are reportedly looking at Swansea striker Oli McBurnie on loan. The young forward is a Rangers fan. Burnley are also interested.

4.43pm

St Johnstone have signed Manchester United midfielder Matty Willock on loan for the rest of the season.

4.36pm

Dundee have signed two players. Dan Jeffries and Cedwyn Scott have joined from Colchester United and Huddersfield respectively.

Meanwhile, Ross County are in talks to sign Matias Kait on loan from Fulham.

4.29pm

What’s happening with Alfredo Morelos?

Here’s the latest from Sky Sports.

4.27pm

East Fife have signed Livingston midfielder Matthew Knox until the end of the season on loan.

4.15pm

Kilmarnock have announced the signing of right back Aaron Simpson from Wolves until the end of the season.

4.13pm

Ross County have confirmed the signing of Liam Fontaine from Hibs on a free transfer.

Hibs have just tweeted about the recent departures today.

4.10pm

Hibs have confirmed that striker Anthony Stokes and defender Liam Fontaine have been released by mutual consent.

Fontaine has been linked with Ross County in the morning papers. Stokes had fallen out with manager Neil Lennon during a winter break training camp in Portugal.

3.58pm

Kilmarnock have released goalkeeper Cammy Bell by mutual consent.

3.25pm

Hamilton Accies have signed 20-year-old midfielder Charlie Scott from Manchester United on loan until the end of the season.

3.12pm

St Mirren have completed the signing of Falkirk’s Myles Hippolyte. The Buddies are top of the Championship table and are looking to add to their goals tally. The player joins on an 18-month contract.

3.09pm

Hibs have been linked with a couple of players today. Scott Allan, currently on loan at Dundee, might return to the club if a deal is agreed with Celtic. Also, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, the former Cardiff and Ipswich midfielder, has been speculated to join on loan.

The latter is unlikely to go through, however.

3.04pm

In England, Manchester City have made an increased offer to sign Leicester forward Riyad Mahrez.

2.55pm

It has all gone quiet in Scotland over the last hour!

Here’s some of the major English transfer stories since 2pm:

  • West Ham United have had a bid rejected for Anderlecht midfielder Leon Dendoncker
  • Leicester striker Islam Slimani has arrived in Newcastle ahead of a loan move
  • Crystal Palace have made a bid of £16m to Lille for their forward Ibrahim Amadou
  • Didier Ndong is due to finalise his loan move from Sunderland to Watford today following the completion of his medical
  • Sky Sports have reported that Andy King could leave Leicester to join Swansea City on loan
  • Riyad Mahrez forcing a move away from Leicester has led to his team mates becoming angered at the forward’s actions
  • Everton should complete the signing of Eliaquim Mangala from Everton by the end of the day

1.38pm

Dunfermline Athletic have signed Wolves’ Daniel Armstrong on loan until the end of the season.

1.30pm

English transfers update:

Riyad Mahrez is on the verge of a move from Leicester to Manchester City. Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi are involved in a transfer saga as Aubameyang’s switch to Arsenal means Batshuayi could replace him there and Giroud could replace Batshuayi at Chelsea. Stoke City, who are managed by ex-Scotland international Paul Lambert, are expected to sign Badou Ndiaye from Galatasaray for £15m as the midfielder passes a medical.

Former Hamilton defender Stephen Hendrie has signed for Lanarkshire rivals Motherwell
Credit: Sky Sports

1.06pm

St Johnstone have signed Fulham winger George Williams on loan until the end of the season. The Perth club are hoping to make another signing today.

1.04pm

Motherwell have completed the signing of ex-Hamilton left back Stephen Hendrie. The player signs on loan for the rest of the season from Southend United and could be included in their match with Hibernian this evening.

1.00pm

Rangers were heavily linked with West Brom youngster Tyler Roberts earlier this month but he has completed a move to Leeds United for an undisclosed fee.

12:56pm

In England, Tottenham Hotspur are minutes away from announcing Lucas Moura’s transfer from PSG.

12:45pm

Hearts might be interested in signing the Angolan midfielder Joaquim Adao from FC Sion on loan. The player is believed to be keen on a move to Scotland.

Meanwhile, there could be interest from Hearts in Dundee striker Marcus Haber should Kyle Lafferty leave the club before the deadline.

12:35pm

Scotland international Chris Martin is expected to sign for Reading  today. Derby County have agreed to let the ex-Fulham striker join the Royals on loan for the rest of the season.

Hearts are interested in Sion’s Joaquim Adao
Credit: Le Nouvelliste

SO FAR THIS MORNING: 

Rangers are reported to have rejected a £7.5m bid from Chinese club Beijing Renhe for Alfredo Morelos. However, the club have signed Norwich City under-23 midfielder Glenn Middleton for their development squad. The player is known to Rangers manager Graeme Murty who was formerly a coach at Norwich City’s academy.

Hibernian have completed the signing of 22-year-old striker Florian Kamberi from Grasshoppers Zurich on loan for the rest of the season.

Aberdeen have allowed young defender Sam Robertson to leave the club.

Kilmarnock’s Daniel Higgins has completed a loan move to Airdrieonians until the end of the season.

Celtic’s latest bid for Motherwell goalkeeper Trevor Carson was rejected, with the fee believed to be around £375,000.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has completed his move to Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund. The transfer is expected to start a domino effect as Michy Batshuayi is lined up to replace him in Germany, but only if Chelsea let him go. That will happen if they can sign Olivier Giroud from Arsenal – which is now possible following the Aubameyang deal. (Source: Sky Sports)

Brainstorm: You Wouldn’t Believe Who Actually Wrote THIS 1997 Hit!

Natalie Imbruglia Donauinselfest 2015

Natalie Imbruglia Donauinselfest 2015

Remember Natalie Imbruglia’s hit ‘Torn’? The song turns 20 at the end of the year and many people are still under the impression that the Australian pop star wrote the track.

Two years prior, a relatively small LA band called Ednaswap released ‘Torn’ on their eponymous debut album and re-released an alternate version on their second album, Wacko Magneto. While the band signed to Island Records for their second album, they only achieved moderate success.

Presumably, A&R executives came across one of Ednaswap’s releases or at a gig and decided to revamp ‘Torn’ then tailor it to a young singer.

Lis Sørensen is known as the first singer to record ‘Torn’ when Ednaswap gave the song to her, before the band decided to record it themselves. The Ednaswap version is famous for having a powerful grunge sound and emotive vocals.

When Natalie Imbruglia released the track as a single in October 1997, it went number two on the UK Singles Chart. It was accompanied by a commercial music video with Imbruglia sitting in an apartment miming along to the track while two actors are involved in a romantically linked conversation in the background. The track was award a Grammy nomination and the video was voted the second best music video of all time by MTV Italy.

Ednaswap only lasted around two years after Imbruglia released her version of ‘Torn’. Singer Anne Preven and guitarist Scott Cutler created Songs of Pulse in 2007, a company who specialise in ghostwriting for other artists. Preven and Cutler have contributed to songs by Katy Perry, Taio Cruz and Miley Cyrus.

Check out the Ednaswap version of ‘Torn’ below:

 

Labour’s Brexit amendment set to divide party

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MPs will meet in Westminster today to discuss amendments to Article 50

The on-going Brexit saga is set to take another turn in Westminster later on today.

Amendments to article 50, which triggers Britain’s exit from the European Union, will be pushed forward by the pro-remain Labour party in parliament.

Shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry has proposed the amendments in order for the UK to get the “best deal” in a Brexit society. “We wanted to stay in the European Union, and we were pretty united around that,” said Thornberry. “But we lost. The country decided that we should leave the European Union. It was a very serious vote.”

“The question is how do we best fight for that? In our view we have to do as instructed and vote to leave the European Union, but actually the fight begins now.”

The Labour party are seemingly in a midst of disarray as leader Jeremy Corbyn proposed a three-line party whip ordering the party to support article 50, with a number of Labour MP’s such as shadow business secretary Clive Lewis, planning to rebel against the party line during Brexit negotiations.

Thornberry however will not defy the party whip and will tow the Labour party line in agreeing to Brexit, albeit with amendments put forward today.

It is unlikely that the amendments will pass, as around 90 MP’s will oppose the amendment, but said that the amended article 50 had to go through the House of Commons.

The Scottish National party are set to oppose article 50 and will vote against Labour’s amendments later today. The SNP have criticised the government for failing to properly negotiate with the devolved governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland, both countries that voted to remain in the EU.

SNP MP Stephen Gethins argued strongly that Brexit would have a profound impact on Scotland’s economy. “Passing this bill and turning your back on our amendment would turn its back on the progress made and disrespect the devolution settlement,” according to Gethins. “I’d urge members to vote for our amendment, otherwise this is a backward and damaging step and it is an act of constitutional and economic sabotage.”

The Brexit debate has already begun to divide the Labour party. Those who voted remain have either gone with the new Labour mandate of accepting Brexit, or vow to defy the party whip.While Labour’s amendments are likely to be opposed in Westminster, there is a slight chance they will be passed and in turn will halt the governments exit from the EU. Brexit was widely rejected by mainstream media, only for the public to say otherwise in the polls.

Labour’s Brexit spokesman, Sir Keir Starmer, said two thirds of Labour MPs represented constituencies that voted to leave the EU, and one third where people voted to stay in.
“This is obviously a difficult decision,” he said.

“I wish the result had gone the other way. I campaigned passionately for that. But as democrats our party has to accept that result and it follows that the prime minister should not be blocked from starting the article 50 negotiations.”

UPDATE: Ian Murray, Scottish Labour’s only Member of Parliament has just confirmed that he will vote against Article 50, defying Labour’s amendment. In a statement on BBC Scotland, Murray he would be “standing up for [his constituency] in the Commons by voting against the triggering of Article 50”. The Edinburgh South MP stated he represented the constituency where 78% of constituents voted to remain in the EU and was one of the highest “remain” constituencies in the UK.

Parliament Pleas for a Brexit Plan

A number of Conservatives have joined the Labour party asking for a White Paper on negotiating objectives, saying it will allow for a better understanding of what will happen after Brexit.

It comes after the Supreme Court ruled MPs must vote on whether the government can start Brexit.

A parliamentary bill paving the way for talks with the EU could be introduced as early as Thursday.

More than half a dozen Conservative MPs including some ex-ministers are calling for a White Paper – a government policy document which sets out proposals for future acts of Parliament – on Brexit to be published in the coming days.

Downing Street however, emphasized that Prime Minister Theresa May had already set out her plan for Brexit. In a speech last week, she declared that the UK would be leaving the European single market and customs union, but would try to maintain the “freest possible trade” with EU countries.

Labour is warning it is prepared to “fight” in Parliament to make sure that the process of leaving the EU is fully examined.

The party says it will not vote against a parliamentary bill invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – getting talks with the EU under way – but will try to amend it.

The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the government could only invoke Article 50 with a vote in Parliament – rejecting ministers’ argument that this was not necessary. Mrs May wants to invoke Article 50 by the end of March.

the Scottish government will set out its official response to the Supreme Court’s ruling today.

The 11 justices ruled that the UK government was not legally allowed to take the views of the Scottish Parliament and other devolved administrations into account when sparking Article 50.

But amid reports that the Scottish Parliament could hold a vote on the issue anyway.

Chelsea Manning to be released from prison

One of President Obama’s final acts before leaving the White House was to successfully release convicted whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

Manning was sentenced to a 35 year prison sentence, after leaking over 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to WikiLeaks. The act was one of the biggest US security leaks in history.

The crime was committed when she was known as US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, she has since undergone sex reassignment surgery whilst in prison, the first of its kind in history.

Listen here to learn more about Chelsea Manning and her story:

U.S. Army handout photo shows Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning is pictured in 2010. Image courtesy of U.S. Army/Handout via REUTERS

Girl appears in court over Katie Rough murder

 

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The teen will appear in Leeds Crown Court on Friday 

A 15-year-old girl has appeared in court charged with the murder of seven-year-old Katie Rough.

The girl has been remanded in custody by York magistrates and is due to appear at Leeds Crown Court on Friday.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested and charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon after Katie was found seriously injured on a path close to a playing field in the Woodthorpe area of York on Monday.

Police were called to Alness Drive on Monday afternoon where they found Katie. She was taken to hospital but died a short time after.

North Yorkshire Police said: “Katie’s family are devastated by this tragic event and have asked for their privacy to be respected at this extremely distressing time.”

The area was cordoned off on Tuesday while forensic officers examined the scene. Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen the two girls in the area between 3 and 5pm on Monday to get in touch.

 

 

Kremlin denies having “compromising information” about President-elect Trump

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Donald Trump is at the head of political news agendas again today

Russia has denied claims that they have obtained damaging information about President-elect Donald Trump.

The claims that Russia had obtained  information relating to Trump, involving prostitutes, have been described by a Kremlin spokesman as “pulp fiction” and a “clear attempt to damage relations”.

Donald Trump earlier branded the allegations against him as a “political witch hunt”. It has been reported that compromising information has been leaked through a top British investigator about the President-elect. As well as having information of a personal and sexual nature, the leak also alleges that there was secret communication between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the presidential election.

The information had apparently been shown to President-elect Trump and President Obama at a security briefing last week. However the information only started circilating on news websites and on social media in the last 12 hours. The leaked documents were posted on Buzzfeed last night.

Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia has been a topic of discussion throughout his campaign and after he was elected to be the next president of the US. He has branded anyone who opposes good relations with Russia as “fools”.

This is not the first time since Trump has been elected that Russia have been accused of involving themselves in US affairs. It has been reported that Russia orchestrated a cyber-attack against the Clinton campaign during the election, an accusation that Trump no longer denies.

There have been huge concerns regarding Donald Trump’s ethics and the ethics of his team since he has become the president elect, and these recent allegations will certainly add to an ever growing list of scandals involving the newly elected President.

Man found guilty of murdering MP Jo Cox

Thomas Mair has been found guilty of murder of MP Jo Cox at Old Bailey this afternoon and has been sentenced to life in prison.

A 53-year-old man shot Jo Cox, 41, on the 16th of June in Birstall, West Yorkshire where she was about to hold a constituency surgery.

Mair did not deny committing a crime and showed no emotions on hearing the verdict.

Late Cox’s husband, Brendan Cox, told the Old Bailey he was not there for vengeance and felt “nothing but pity for” Mair. Mr. Cox was joined at the court by his late wife’s parents and her sister Kim.

Mair was also found guilty of obtaining a firearm with the intent of physical harm after previously injuring a 78-year-old, Bernard Kenny, who tried to help the MP.

Judge, Justice Wilkie, said that the assault was associated to white supremacy and Nazi sentiments.  The court found that Mair’s attack was a planned action for which he was preparing and researching his intended victim weeks before.

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