David Cameron faces growing pressure to come clean on finances – Matthew Weaver Friday 8 April 2016 04.32 EDT

Opposition says PM still has questions to answer after finally admitting he benefited from late father’s offshore investments

WATCH: David Cameron admitted in an ITV News interview that he benefitted from an offshore investment fund.

WATCH: David Cameron admitted in an ITV News interview that he benefitted from an offshore investment fund.

David Cameron is facing mounting pressure to be fully transparent about his previous finances after finally admitting he benefited from a Panama-based offshore company set up by his late father.

After three days of stalling and four partial statements issued by Downing Street, on Thursday night the prime minister confessed he owned shares in a tax haven fund, which he sold for £31,500 just before he became prime minister in 2010.

Labour said the admission had failed to draw a line under the matter and demanded full disclosure on what other financial arrangements Cameron benefited from as an MP and leader of the opposition.

Owen Smith, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said Cameron still had questions to answer. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Smith said: “Why didn’t he register his interest in this offshore back in 2005 when he first became an MP?

“He [Cameron] says he’s going to publish his tax return. I think he will need to go further and be clear about what his investments have been in the past.”

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Security News This Week: US Homeland Security Is Vulnerable to Hacks, Too – YAEL GRAUER. 19.15. 09.0 AM

Adobe-Flash-Featured2Getty Images

It’s been quite an eventful week for hacks.  A lockscreen bypass attack for Android phones was detected, meaning it’s time to switch to a PIN or pattern unlock. And just because you’re on an iPhone doesn’t mean you’re exempt from phone hacking; you’ll want to turn off the Bluetooth-enabled Airdrop file sharing feature—unless you like malicious apps, that is. In a victory for privacy advocates, a small New Hampshire library did not succumb to bullying from Homeland Security and instead reinstated its Tor node after a board meeting. Oh, and a new crypto tool to anonymize surveys has come out. And, of course, a maker kid was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school when his teacher thought it was a bomb. He’s now Silicon Valley’s newest hero.

But that’s not all. Each Saturday we round up the news stories that we didn’t cover in depth at WIRED, but which deserve your attention nonetheless. As always, click on the headlines to read the full story in each link posted, and stay safe out there!

Facebook Will Start Targeting Ads Based on Your Shares and Likes Next Month

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably assumed that Facebook’s ad targeting algorithms are already using your “Like” and “Share” data to serve you targeted ads. Actually, that’s starting next month. Up ‘til now, the social media conglomerate has simply been logging the data and won’t begin using it to fine-tune ads until October. While there is a privacy setting allowing users to opt out of seeing targeted ads based on their online activity, the information is still being logged, so you can’t exactly opt out of having your web browsing tracked across multiple sites and browsing habits funneled into Facebook’s ad targeting system.

Obama Administration Faces Growing Support of Widespread Encryption

White House officials have apparently given up on legislation to address the rise of encryption, and may go so far as to publicly reject a law forcing companies to unlock customer communication devices under a court order, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post as well as comments from anonymous senior officials. The hope is that supporting encryption would repair trust in the government as well as U.S. tech companies. However, the intelligence community’s top lawyer, Robert S. Litt, thinks public opinion could turn in the event of a terrorist attack or a crime where strong encryption hinders law enforcement, and the government could always try to opportunistically backdoor encryption when that time comes.

The Department of Homeland Security Is Vulnerable to Hacking, Audit Finds

The Department of Homeland Security may be in charge of protecting government security, but its own information systems are vulnerable to hacking, according to an audit. Vulnerabilities on internal systems used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Secret Service to report investigation statistics, case tracking, and information sharing were found. The report by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department stated that the vulnerabilities found “may allow unauthorized individuals to gain access to sensitive data.” Although it found some progress with coordination between agencies, the audit recommended department-wide training and strategic planning in response to a cyber attack.

ISIS Hackers Reported to Have Accessed Top Secret British Government Emails

A GCHQ investigation revealed that ISIS hackers intercepted top secret emails from the British government, according to Mirror</em>. Little information was revealed, except that ISIS apparently targeted information held by several of David Cameron’s most senior ministers, including Home Secretary Theresa May, possibly discovering events where government figures or British Royal Family members were expected to be in attendance.<em>Mirror</em> further reported that a ringleader of the alleged plot was killed by a drone strike.

Federal Court Lifts National Security Letter Gag Order 11 Years Later

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Why the GOP Can’t Get No Satisfaction – By JIM MESSINA May 17, 2015

One of the savviest political observers I’ve come across is Mick Jagger. I was invited to a dinner that included the legendary rocker in London before the British election (I took about 9,000 selfies), when I discovered that Mick has been a bit of a political junkie his whole life. While he’s on tour he has a lot of down time, which he spends reading, he explained to me, and I learned that he’s become a master observer not only of UK politics but of the American political scene as well (although he’s not an activist and doesn’t take sides). “You’re going to win,” Mick told me at dinner, despite some polls showing that my client, Prime Minister David Cameron, was still trailing in the race. “Why do you think so?” I asked. Mick replied that while he wasn’t supporting any candidate himself, “the average guy thinks Cameron makes tough decisions and things are getting a bit better. They won’t change from that.” The opposition, Jagger explained, was percieved as a retreat to the past.

Mick was right, of course. No matter where you go, successful election campaigns are always about the future, not the past. Ed Miliband was an old-style Labour leader, unlike Tony Blair, and he paid dearly for that on Election Day. Mick’s advice, in fact, reminds of something another rather savvy political observer, Bill Clinton, told me in 2011, as we were preparing President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign: “All national elections are always a referendum on the future, and the candidate that can grasp that mantle wins.”  In all major elections after the Great Recession, the candidate who provided the clearest economic vision looking ahead prevailed. President Obama won two elections on that exact premise.

In the United Kingdom’s general election, Prime Minister Cameron won on a vision of a dynamic, competitive Britain as a land of future opportunity for working families. Miliband was promising them only a return to the past: 1970s-style rent control, re-nationalization of some services, and energy price controls were, bizarrely, the main policy initiatives highlighted by Labour.

The same thing will be true of future presidential contests in the United States. There are huge political differences between the UK and U.S., but there are some important common lessons. Especially when you’ve been losing in recent elections, you’ve got to be able to redefine and rebrand your party for the future. Tony Blair did that for Labour in the UK. Ronald Reagan did it for the Republicans in 1980. Bill Clinton did it for us in 1992. So far, during the 2016 cycle, Republican presidential candidates seem dedicated to defending old policies across the spectrum from going back to pre-crisis rules for Wall Street to attacking the science of climate change to constantly focusing on restricting women’s health care decisions.

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The 10 most important things in the world right now – DINA SPECTOR MAY 11, 2015, 1:20 AM

VE day

Fireworks explodes over Red Square, with St. Basil’s Cathedral seen on the background, during the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2015.– REUTERS/Host Photo Agency/RIA Novosti

Hello! Here’s what you need to know for Monday.

1The eurozone’s finance ministers will meet in Brussels today to continue talks to unlock bailout cash for Greece, one day before the country must pay a €750 million (£544 million; $840 million) debt bill to the International Monetary Fund.

2. A powerful typhoon that hit the Philippines this weekend killed two people.

3. An exit poll in the first round of Poland’s presidential election suggests nationalist opposition candidate Andrzej Duda will face President Bronislaw Komorowski in a runoff on May 24.

4. The reelection of Britain’s conservative prime minister, David Cameron, sparked riots in central London over the weekend, leading to several arrests.

5. Some Russian soldiers are quitting the army over the crisis in Ukraine, calling into question the government’s repeated denial that Russians have been sent to fight in Ukraine.

6Hundreds of people from Myanmar’s long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim group were rescued from boats off Indonesia on Sunday.

7. Economists expect the eurozone to report solid growth of 0.5% when figures are released on Wednesday, outperforming the US and the UK.

8. Russia marked 70 years since the end of World War II with a massive Victory Day parade in Moscow that included around 16,000 soldiers and hundreds of armoured tanks.

9. Cuban President Raul Castro thanked Pope Francis on Sunday for helping to renew diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba after more than 50 years, adding that he was so impressed with the pontiff that he was considering a return to Catholicism.

10. South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, on Sunday elected its first black leader, 34-year-old Musi Maimane.

And finally …

A rally between two Chinese players, Ma Long and Fang Bo, at the Table Tennis World Championships has been called the “point of the century” due to the speed and power of the exchange.


Paris march: Global leaders join ‘unprecedented’ rally in largest demonstration in history of France – JOHN LICHFIELD PARIS Sunday 11 January 2015

Over 5,000 police and soldiers deployed as part of security measures for the demonstration

They came in their hundreds of thousands: the old and the young, the white, the brown and the black; the left and  the right. There were old men in berets; young black people in baseball hats; Jewish people in yarmulkes; Muslims in headscarves. At least 1.5 million people were estimated to have marched – or in many cases failed to march because the crowds were too densely packed – in the centre of Paris today. They marched “for the Republic”, “against hatred” and  “for history”.

Another two million marched in more than 60 similar demonstrations in towns and cities across the country. They marched to say “I am Charlie” but also “I am Jewish” and “I am a policeman” after three days of terrorist mayhem starting with the massacre at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last Wednesday.

And as if that were not remarkable enough, there was an unprecedented march of the powerful within the “march of the one and a half million”. Forty-four world leaders linked arms and walked down the Boulevard Voltaire, pausing for a minute’s silence and then again when the names of the 17 victims were broadcast over a loudspeaker. The victims were listed alphabetically, anarchist cartoonists, Jewish supermarket shoppers and police officers all mixed up together.

In pictures: Charlie Hebdo Demonstration, Paris

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  • Charlie Hebdo Demonstration, Paris


Who would have thought that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, would walk through Paris four places away from Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority? Who would have imagined the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, would take part in a street demonstration in the French capital (probably the first time that Cameron has demonstrated in his life)?

“Today, Paris is the capital of the world,” said President François Hollande. “Our entire country will rise up towards something better.”

Read more:
Politicians who repress freedom of speech join rally
French Israelis urge relations to emigrate to escape anti-Semitism
Comment: Far too many Western Muslims speak of freedom as a sin

Many people in the crowd also had a sense that something special was happening. France is a land where politics happens on the street but this was something unheard of: a demonstration for the values of the French Republic and Western democracy. The last time Paris had seen such a vast and varied crowd on its streets was on the night that France won the World Cup in 1998. That was an explosion of spontaneous joy. This was a shout of defiance.

“The whole of Paris seems to be here,” said Michel, 46, an estate agent. “I can’t describe the mood. There is a feeling of anger and determination but also relief at being able to express our feelings after three days of shock after shock. People will say it’s just a passing thing but I think something important is happening here today. France will not be the same after today.”

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Finland warns of new cold war over failure to grasp situation in Russia – Simon Tisdall in Helsinki ` Wednesday 5 November 2014 08.43 EST

Finnish PM Alexander Stubb set to meet David Cameron and other northern European leaders at conference in Helsinki

Sauli Niinisto: ‘We have a long tradition of keeping out of conflict with Russia.’ Photograph: Lehtikuva/REUTERS

Western countries are at the gates of a new cold war with Russia, sparked by the Ukraine crisis and a continuing failure to grasp the depth and seriousness of Vladimir Putin’s grievances with the US and EU, the Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö, has warned.

Speaking to the Guardian at his official residence before Thursday’s conference in Helsinki attended by the UK prime minister, David Cameron, and Nordic and Baltic state leaders, Niinistö said Finland had a long tradition of trying to maintain friendly relations with Russia. But it would not be pushed around.

“The Finnish way of dealing with Russia, whatever the situation, is that we will be very decisive to show what we don’t like, where the red line is. And that is what we are prepared to do,” Niinistö said, referring to recent violations of Finnish airspace by Russian military aircraft.

“We put the Hornets [US-made Finnish air force F-18 fighter aircraft] up there and the Hornets were flying alongside the Russian planes … The Russians turned back. If they had not, what would we have done? I would not speculate.”

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Amid showdown with energy-rich Russia, calls rise in Europe to start fracking – By Griff Witte and Anthony Faiola, Published: April 7

FERNHURST, England — Europe’s newest weapon in the battle of wills with Russian President Vladimir Putin lies buried deep beneath the ancient oaks and rolling green pastures of this quintessentially English village.

There, wedged in the bedrock, lie vast quantities of oil and natural gas — enough, when combined with the spoils of hundreds of other sites like it, to help kick Europe’s addiction to Russian energy.

Or so says David Cameron.

By Griff Witte and Anthony Faiola, Published: April 7

By Griff Witte and Anthony Faiola, Published: April 7

Ever since Russian forces took hold of Crimea last month, the British prime minister has been leading a chorus of conservative politicians and energy executives in a refrain they believe will spark a shale gas revolution in Europe: Frack, baby, frack.

The push for a European boom in fracking — shorthand for hydraulic fracturing — has been underway for years, but it has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as fears grow of a revival of the Cold War. With Europe leaning on Russia for a third of its natural gas needs, the continent’s leaders say they need to develop their own energy sources — and fast.

Cameron recently said that Britain has a “duty” to frack, and he expressed frustration that it hasn’t happened here as quickly as it has in the United States. Achieving energy independence from Russia, Cameron said, needs to be “a tier-one political issue.”

But for environmentalists, the rush to frack smells of rank opportunism and seems a discouraging turn away from cleaner energy sources. It has also unnerved local landowners, who worry that the green and pleasant lands of the British countryside are about to be churned up in the name of combating the Russian menace.

“Frankly, we’re a small and densely populated island,” said Dieter Helm, who teaches energy policy at Oxford University. “It’s everything that North Dakota isn’t.”

And yet, Britain is like North Dakota in one important respect: There’s a lot of gas down there, both in the United Kingdom and over vast stretches of continental Europe.

Estimates of shale gas reserves are notoriously imprecise, but the U.S. Energy Information Administration last year placed the amount of recoverable resources in Europe at nearly 470 trillion cubic feet — an amount that could light cities from London to Warsaw for decades.

Europe’s reserves are only slightly less than those in the United States, where there are thought to be 567 trillion cubic feet and where a boom in production has sent energy prices tumbling. Europe is also believed to have large quantities of shale oil, but the continent has more options to acquire oil than it does for gas, which is more difficult to transport and store. The focus of the recent push has been on gas.

But extracting that gas is the tricky part. From a technical standpoint, hydraulic fracturing involves drilling deep beneath the Earth’s surface and injecting rock formations with enough water, sand and chemicals to force out the hydrocarbons. From a political standpoint, it means convincing authorities from the European Union on down to local planning commissions that the gains of extraction are worth the environmental cost — a challenge made all the more difficult by widespread public skepticism.

“The potential is enormous. The resource is very large in the U.K. and in Europe,” Francis Egan, chief executive of one of the major fracking firms,Cuadrilla Resources, told an audience at the London-based think tank Chatham House last week. “That’s not to say we can get it out of the ground.”

Speaking alongside Egan, Energy Minister Michael Fallon vowed to give fracking the government’s complete support. “There’s a lot more shale underneath us than we thought,” Fallon said. “It would be irresponsible not to crack on and encourage exploration wherever we can.”

But even as the national government moves full speed ahead, local authorities in Britain are far more tentative — and have kept British fracking projects from moving beyond the exploratory stage.

Environmentalists say fracking could contaminate local water supplies and even set off minor earthquakes. They say, too, that the geology of Europe is less conducive to fracking than that of the United States. “You can’t replicate the U.S. boom here,” said Rebecca Lawson, a policy adviser at the sustainable-development advocacy group E3G.

Egan said that even if all restrictions were lifted tomorrow, it would take about four years to deliver meaningful levels of shale gas production. Most analysts say a decade or more is likely. They note that the United States began investing in shale 25 years ago and only recently began reaping the rewards.

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