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THE NEWS SERVICE HEARD BY 26 MILLION LISTENERS TO COMMERCIAL RADIO IN THE UK [READ MORE]

Established in 1973 at the birth of commercial radio in the UK, IRN provides client stations with a continuous service of national and international news. The service comprises a ready to air hourly news bulletin, delivered live 24/7, in addition to a suite of pre-recorded news content in the form of news audio cuts on the main stories, written cues and scripts to help stations produce their own bulletins, plus plenty of extra material within sports news, showbiz and music news, money news and consumer technology news.

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Tips Should Go Straight To Staff, Says Govt

02 May

Tips left by customers should go to workers in full - and not their employers, the Government has said in a report.

Restaurants and bars could also be stopped from adding service charges to bills to remind customers they do not have to tip if they don't want to.
The eight-month review of of tipping practices follows claims that some "well-known" chains were counting tips as part of a worker's pay and were withholding some or all of the money.
The Government has announced a consultation on the proposals which include:
:: Updating the current voluntary code of practice and putting it on a statutory footing to increase employer compliance
:: Increasing transparency for consumers to make it clearer that tips are discretionary
:: Preventing or limiting any employer deduction from tips except for those required under tax law.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: "As a one nation Government we want workers who earn a tip to be able to keep it. That's why I, like many others, was disappointed by the tipping practices of some of our well-known chains. This has to change.
"I'm setting out our proposals to make tipping fairer, clamping down on unfair practices and securing a better deal for the millions of workers in the service industry. We will look closely at all the options, including legislation if necessary."
A call for evidence received nearly 200 responses and there was broad agreement that current practices were not clear for workers or consumers, and change was needed to better understand how tips are distributed.
The Unite union's officer for the hospitality sector, Dave Turnbull, said the report was "fantastic news".
"It is a massive victory for all those waiting staff who have worked tirelessly to expose sharp practices in the hospitality industry. All they want is what any worker wants - to take home what they have earned, no corners cut.
"This should be great news for consumers, too, who have been appalled to learn that the tips they left for their waiter or waitress never made it to them. Diners have been a huge support to the workforce - without their help we may not have ever won pay justice.
"The problem has always been that tips paid on a credit card and service charges are deemed the property of the employer. As they own them they can do what they like with them. Until staff are recognised as the lawful owners of their hard-earned tips with complete control over how they are shared out, rogue employers will continue to cream off staff tips."

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Labour Frontbenchers May Quit Over Row

02 May

Labour frontbenchers are threatening to resign within weeks over Jeremy Corbyn's handling of the party's anti-Semitism row, according to reports.

MP Naz Shah and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone were suspended from the party last week over claims of anti-Semitism.
Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says his team is "united" but - with crucial elections looming and some polls predicting Labour could lose more than 100 seats - the real situation is reported to be somewhat different.
One MP said that a meeting of the party's MPs, which is due to take place next week, will be "absolute carnage" and that some frontbenchers were considering whether to quit in protest at Mr Corbyn's handling of the anti-Semitism row.
A source told The Times: "People are very, very angry - livid - not only about getting in the mess in the first place, but then digging frantically.
"When we get beyond Thursday, I think people may well be a bit more vocal.
"There may also be one or two people who want to jack it in and call it a day."
But Mr Corbyn's allies warned his attackers that they have no chance of ousting him.
Shadow cabinet minister Diane Abbott said it was "a smear to say that the Labour Party has a problem with anti-Semitism".
Mr Livingstone's comments linking Hitler with Zionism - for which he has declined to apologise in a string of media interviews - were "extremely offensive", she told the BBC1 Andrew Marr Show, but not part of any wider pattern.
She said she would be "dismayed if some people were hurling around accusations of anti-Semitism as part of some intra-Labour Party dispute".
Unite union leader Len McCluskey said Mr Corbyn was the victim of "a cynical attempt to manipulate anti-Semitism for political aims", telling the BBC that the fight had been started by party grandees who "get out of their wheelchair and toss a few hand grenades in".
Meanwhile, Jewish donors are reported to have abandoned the party, including Sir Ronald Cohen, the social investment pioneer who donated more than £2.5m to Labour under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
He told The Times: "There is no room for racism among the values of the Labour party. If the leadership does not stamp out racism now, racism will stamp out the Labour party."

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Georgia Poised To Allow Students To Carry Guns

02 May

America has a grim roll call of mass shootings in its academic institutions - and with every massacre, comes a soul-searching debate about how to prevent it happening again.

But there has been an increasingly uniform response to the threat - a growing number of states are opting to legalise guns on campus.
Supporters claim it will improve safety, giving responsible owners the chance to defend themselves.
Robert Eager, a student at Georgia Tech, has been lobbying for the change for six years. He has carefully studied local politics and identified who he needs to persuade.
But many students and staff are unconvinced and deeply concerned about adding guns to what can be an emotional and testing climate.
This week, the Governor of Georgia will decide whether or not to veto a bill, allowing licensed gun holders, 21 years or older, to carry concealed guns into its universities and colleges. If it passes, Georgia will become the ninth state to do so.
At Columbus State University, I watch as students and campus police take part in an active shooter drill. It's an eerie exercise, a basketball game, interrupted by the slamming of a door and rapidly followed by deafening gunfire. 
The Chief of Police, Rus Drew, tells me the shootings at Virginia Tech were a "game-changer."
The shooter killed 32 people, his attacks hours apart.
Mr Drew says now they have to be quicker, more co-ordinated and more willing to confront a killer without back-up.
He believes arming students will make it harder in those split few seconds they have when they enter a room, to work out who the "bad guys are".
But it's not just about reactions. Mr Drew is part of a pioneering behaviour intervention group led by Chip Reese, Dean of Students. They aim to identify and support students, way before they become a threat.
A decade ago, they started getting faculties to share their experiences and concerns about individuals, with a structured method for staff and students to report issues.
With killers craving the notoriety social media can give them, Mr Reese's team need to keep close checks on Facebook pages, Twitter and other sites. 
When a 21-year-old opened fire on nine parishioners in Charleston, attention quickly shifted to the killer's life online and his apparent sympathy with white supremacists. 
Mr Reese tells me: "People don't just snap. There's a pattern of behaviour."
It's his job to identify the warning signs, speak to counsellors and parents.
It may seem an obvious system to follow, but many other universities are far behind, with little in place to prevent and protect against the next individual bent on mass murder.

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Green Belt Being 'Sacrificed' For Housing

02 May

The green belt is being "sacrificed" to make way for new homes as councils face pressure to help the Government hit a target of 200,000 new properties a year, countryside campaigners are warning.

A report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England has revealed 275,000 homes are currently planned for the green belt - up 25% on last year.
Close to half of those are in the area around London, including Central Bedfordshire where residents are concerned about the rate at which protected land is being earmarked for development.
"We are set to lose five square miles of green belt and provide on it something like 13,000 additional homes," said rural campaigner Thurstan Adburgham.
"It's a huge tract of green belt countryside... Once the sacrifice on this scale has been made, obviously the principle has been lost that green belt is supposed to be sacred and sacrosanct and more could go."
Part of the problem, according to the CPRE, is that councils are using certain clauses in the Government's National Planning Policy Framework to change green belt boundaries at the fastest rate for two decades.
Paul Miner, the organisation's planning campaign manager, says this is being done to meet "unrealistic and unsustainable housing targets".
"To build the affordable homes young people and families need, the Government should empower councils to prioritise the use of brownfield sites. Brownfield land is a self-renewing resource that can provide at least one million new homes," he said.
But the Government says it has made it clear demand for housing alone is not enough to justify altering a green belt boundary and that the strongest of protections are in place.
"Our planning reforms have put local people at the heart of deciding where developments should and shouldn't go through local and neighbourhood plans," said a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government.
"It means that in 2014-15 just 0.02% of green belt was converted to residential use, and the green belt is actually 32,000 hectares bigger than it was in 1997."
But while the decision to build on such land is rarely popular, there are those who believe it is necessary as first time buyers struggle to find a way onto the housing ladder.
"It's in areas where the green belt constraints are tightest - around London, Cambridge and Oxford - that the housing crisis and the house price affordability crisis is most acute," said Ryan Bourne, head of policy at the Institute of Economic Affairs.
"The Government has left it to local councils to decide but I do think as the affordability crisis bites there will be pressure on the boroughs, particularly around London, to release more green belt land for development.
"We're not talking about huge amounts here. If just 4% of around 500,000 hectares of land, which is close to stations and of no environmental designation, were released then we could build a million homes in London."

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CIA Criticised For Live Tweeting Bin Laden Raid

02 May

America's spy agency, the CIA, has tweeted the events of the Osama bin Laden raid in real time - five years to the day that the al Qaeda leader was killed.

Bin Laden was tracked to a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was shot dead by US special forces on 2 May 2011, having evaded capture for nearly a decade.
The announcement of his death was greeted with celebration by the US and many of its allies but many Twitter users weren't so convinced about the agency's anniversary plans.
The tweeting was described as "grotesque", "extremely weird" and "a puzzling exercise".
Some, however, thanked and praised those involved.
Meanwhile, CIA director John Brennan said that the capture of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the head of the so-called Islamic State group, may be among the agency's next goals.
"He is important, and we will destroy ISIL; I have no doubt in my mind. We have to remove the leadership that directs the organisation to carry out these horrific attacks," he told NBC's Meet The Press.
"If we got Baghdadi, I think it would have a great impact on the organisation. And it will be felt by them," he added.
"But this is a large, not just organisation, it's a phenomenon. We see it not just in Syria in Iraq, we see it in Libya, Nigeria, and other countries. We're going to have remain very focused on destroying all elements of the organisation."
He added that, while "a large part" of al Qaeda had been destroyed, "it is not completely eliminated".

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