Depraved UK academic who blackmailed victims into sending abuse photos jailed for 32 years

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LONDON (Reuters) – A British academic who blackmailed victims into sending him increasingly depraved images which he shared on dark web forums was jailed for 32 years on Monday after admitting 137 offences which included encouraging the rape of a four-year-old boy. Dr Matthew Falder, 29, a geophysicist employed as a researcher at Birmingham University
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Australia would welcome UK interest in joining Pacific trade group – minister

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LONDON (Reuters) – Australia would welcome interest from Britain in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional trade group after it has left the European Union, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Monday. Trade secretary Liam Fox said earlier this year that joining the TPP was an option for the country after Brexit although it was
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Poland spares forest to win EU favour, but damage already done

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BIALOWIEZA, Poland (Reuters) – When Poland sought to ease tensions with the European Union by declaring a halt to logging in the ancient Bialowieza forest, it did not announce how many trees it had already cut down. In fact, logging quotas to 2021 had already been reached and in one part of the forest an
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Oxfam says Haiti director admitted using prostitutes

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LONDON (Reuters) – Oxfam’s country director in Haiti admitted to using prostitutes at his residence during a relief mission before resigning in 2011, according to an internal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct released by the charity on Monday. It is the first time Oxfam has directly addressed accusations against Roland Van Hauwermeiren, who has
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Reckitt earnings miss forecast as challenges continue

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LONDON (Reuters) – British consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) missed 2017 profit expectations and said tough trading in developed markets and rising commodity costs were set to continue, hitting its shares. The maker of Durex condoms, Lysol disinfectant and Mucinex cold medicine reported higher fourth-quarter sales on Monday, in line with expectations, and forecast
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Russian team in shock over Games doping scandal

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Reuters) – Russian athletes and sports officials voiced disbelief on Monday that one of their Winter Games medallists was being investigated for suspected doping, a scandal that could imperil Russia’s efforts to regain full Olympic status. Alexander Krushelnitsky, who competes in curling, one of the Games’ least physically taxing sports, is suspected
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Gearing up for rate hike, UK households turn gloomier on finances – survey

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LONDON (Reuters) – British households’ gloom about their finances deepened this month, and most now expect borrowing costs to rise again within six months after the Bank of England raised interest rates in November, a survey showed on Monday. Data company IHS Markit said its Household Finance Index, a monthly gauge of financial well-being, fell
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Reckitt ends 2017 on higher note

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LONDON (Reuters) – Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.L) reported higher fourth-quarter sales on Monday, and forecast an increase for this year, ending a tough year on a better note. The British consumer goods maker also raised its forecast for cost savings from its acquisition of Mead Johnson to around $300 million (213.63 million pounds), up from
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May launches review of high UK university fees, promising fairer deal

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LONDON (Reuters) – Britain could reduce the burden of university fees on students and bring back grants for their living expenses, Prime Minister Theresa May will say on Monday, under pressure to lure younger voters a year after they cost her parliamentary majority. May’s predecessor David Cameron, a fellow Conservative, tripled the cost of tuition
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Trump – FBI missed signs on Florida shooting due to Russia probe

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump attacked the FBI and lawmakers probing suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and said an excessive focus on Russia led federal investigators to miss signs that could have prevented a deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school. In a series of tweets over the weekend sent
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Syrian Kurdish official – deal for Syrian army to enter Afrin

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BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian Kurdish forces and the Damascus government have reached an agreement for the Syrian army to enter the Afrin region to help repel a Turkish offensive, a senior Kurdish official said on Sunday. Badran Jia Kurd, an adviser to the Kurdish-led administration in north Syria, told Reuters army troops would deploy along
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All 65 passengers, crew feared dead in Iranian plane crash

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DUBAI (Reuters) – All 65 passengers and crew were feared dead in a plane crash in central Iran on Sunday after the domestic flight came down in bad weather in a mountainous region. A spokesman for Iranian carrier Aseman Airlines had told state television everyone was killed, but the airline then issued a statement saying
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