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OJ Simpson granted parole after botched robbery

20 July

OJ Simpson is expected to be released from prison in October after nine years in jail for armed robbery.

A Nevada parole board decided on Thursday that the former American football and movie star could be freed after serving the minimum sentence for armed robbery and assault with a weapon.
Simpson responded responded by saying: "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
The 70-year-old heard the decision by videoconference from Lovelock Correctional Centre, where he has been held since his conviction in 2008.
Four parole commissioners in Carson City had heard testimony from Simpson himself, his daughter Arnelle and one of the sports memorabilia dealers he was convicted of robbing.
"I've done my time, I've done it as well and respectfully as anyone can," Simpson told them. "None of this would have happened if I'd had better judgement."
Arnelle Simpson said her father was "remorseful" and she wants him to "come home".
"The choice that he made nine years ago that resulted in the sentencing, were clearly inappropriate and wrong, and counterproductive to what he was trying to achieve.
"As his daughter, I can honestly say, my dad recognises that he took the wrong approach, and could not handle the situation. He could have handled the situation differently."
Bruce Fromong, the robbery victim, said Simpson was a good man who had mistake and should now be given a second chance.
"...if he called me tomorrow and said 'Bruce I'm getting out, will you pick me up?' Juice I'll be here tomorrow for you. I mean that buddy," he said.
The parole board said he had complied with prison rules during his time in jail, had no prior criminal convictions and posed a minimal risk to the public.
Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of the murders of his ex-wife and her friend in Los Angeles.
Sky's US correspondent Greg Milam said Simpson is a "cultural figure" in America.
"Ever since the trial for the murder of Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman, Simpson has been a controversial figure," he said.
"The commissioner says he has received lots of letters for and against Simpson from the public."

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Liam Fox casts doubt on meeting 2019 Brexit deal deadline

20 July

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has told Sky News that he "doesn't have a problem" with a Brexit implementation period.

Dr Fox, who has previously suggested a transition deal should last months and not years, said an implementation period of "a couple of years" might be "common sense".
This is because, according to Dr Fox, there was now "some uncertainty" as to whether Brexit Secretary David Davis will be able to conclude a trade deal with the EU by March 2019.
Speaking to me at the World Trade Organisation headquarters in Geneva, he said: "There's been a lot of talk as you know about an implementation period in the UK.
:: EU calls for 'clarity' from UK as second round of Brexit talks end
"I don't have a problem with that... Having waited 43 years - another couple of years is, if we can get it to work well for UK and our European partners and for the stability of British business and our prosperity, that seems to me a common sense thing to do."
The International Trade Secretary was continuing the process of re-establishing independent British trade schedules at the Geneva-based organisation, in a meeting with the WTO chief Roberto Azevedo.
When asked after a tense press conference in Brussels between Michel Barnier and Mr Davis, whether it was really possible to keep to the timetable of March 2019, Dr Fox expressed doubts about getting a deal signed.
"It's possible. We expect to have our work in Geneva done on time. We expect to have the legislation we need in the UK to get EU law into UK law done on time.
"The bit I think where there's some uncertainty is when will we conclude a free trade agreement with the European Union - that's yet unknown and that's a matter for David Davis and his team to look at and obviously we want to get that done as quickly as possible."

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EU calls for 'clarity' from UK as second round of Brexit talks end

20 July

"Fundamental" differences over EU citizens' rights and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice have emerged between the UK and Brussels after the first substantive week of Brexit negotiations.

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier told Brexit Secretary David Davis that the rights of citizens in the UK must be backed by the ECJ, describing the stance as an "obligation".
But the UK rejects that, with the Government understood to be bristling at what it sees as "judicial imperialism" from Brussels.
The issue could thwart the necessary "substantive progress" required in the early phase of negotiations to move onto talks about the future trade relationship.
It is understood disagreement has also emerged after the UK demanded that British citizens resident in an EU country should have their right to move to any other of the 27 nations enshrined in any settlement - something the EU currently rejects.
Many regard Brussels' position as a bargaining tool to get guarantees from the UK on future family members joining EU citizens living in Britain and the export of certain social benefits.
Mr Barnier demanded clarification on key points surrounding the financial settlement the EU must make, citizens' rights and Northern Ireland - but acknowledged on the latter issue there was a lot of convergence.
It is understood there is also agreement between the two sides on protecting health and pension rights for EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in Europe.
But the UK's plans to carry out a basic criminality check on anyone wanting to apply for "settled status" to stay in Britain post-Brexit could put it at odds with Europe.
On the so-called "exit bill", Mr Barnier warned all accounts "must be settled", while on citizens' rights he said: "There does remain one fundamental divergence on the way in which such rights would be guaranteed and on several other points, for example, the rights of future family members or the exports of certain social benefits."
Mr Davis said talks had been "robust" but there was much to be "positive" about, urging Brussels to show "flexibility"
Labour said the lack of progress was "deeply concerning" and did bode well for the future.
While the EU is pressing the UK for further details about its willingness to pay a fee to Brussels, the UK is understood to think the EU team is being unclear on what they believe the legal obligations are over the divorce bill as well, with frustration on both sides.
Mr Barnier said: "A clarification of the UK position is indispensable for us to negotiate and for us to make sufficient progress on this financial dossier, which is inseparable from the other withdrawal dossiers.
"What we want - and we are working on this - is an orderly withdrawal for the United Kingdom, that's decided. An orderly withdrawal means accounts must be settled.
"We know that agreement will not be achieved through incremental steps. As soon as the UK is ready to clarify the nature of its commitments, we will be prepared to discuss this with the British negotiators."
Mr Barnier continued: "We require this clarification on the financial settlement, on citizens' rights, on Ireland - with the two key points of the common travel area and the Good Friday Agreement - and the other separation issues where this week's experience has quite simply shown we make better progress where our respective positions are clear."
Mr Davis was decidedly more upbeat, saying: "Overall I'm encouraged by the progress we have made on understanding each other's positions."
He echoed previous comments from Theresa May that the UK had made a "fair and serious offer" on citizens' rights and added there were "many concrete areas where we agree, as well as areas where there will be further discussion".
On the financial settlement, Mr Davis said: "We both recognise the importance of sorting out the obligations we have to one another, both legally and in a spirit of mutual cooperation."
He added: "We have had robust but constructive talks this week.
"Clearly there's a lot left to talk about and further work before we can resolve this. Ultimately, getting to a solution will require flexibility from both sides."

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Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington dies in apparent suicide

20 July

Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington has died aged 41 in an apparent suicide.

The American rock vocalist was found hanged at his home in California shortly before 9am on Thursday morning, according to website TMZ.
Bennington, who also performed with band Dead by Sunrise, was married and had six children.
He died on what would have been the 53rd birthday of his late friend Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave, who killed himself in May this year.
Bennington's bandmate Mike Shinoda posted on Twitter: "Shocked and heartbroken, but it's true. An official statement will come out as soon as we have one."
Cornell's wife Vicky wrote: "Just when I thought my heart couldn't break any more.....I love you T."
The local coroner's office said Bennington's death "is being handled as a possible suicide".
A Palos Verdes Estates police spokesperson told Sky News: "At 8.56 we responded to a call at the 2800 block, Via Victoria.
"This remains under investigation."
Bennington, born in Phoenix, Arizona, battled drug and alcohol addiction at various times in his life but in 2011 said he had been sober for six years.
He was sexually abused as a child and suffered physical bullying at school, Bennington revealed in interviews.
Bennington's children came from his two marriages and a previous relationship, while he also adopted one of his sons.
Linkin Park achieved international fame with their debut album Hybrid Theory in 2000, which reached number four in the UK music charts.
The Grammy Award-winning band achieved UK number one albums with Meteora in 2003, Minutes to Midnight in 2007, and Living Things in 2012.
Five of their singles also reached the top 10 in the UK charts, while they famously collaborated with rapper Jay-Z for 2004 album Collision Course.
They released their latest album One More Light on 19 May this year, two days after Bennington's friend Cornell hanged himself in a hotel room.
Bennington sang Leonard Cohen's song Hallelujah at Cornell's funeral.
Linkin Park are currently on a world tour and are scheduled to perform in Massachusetts on 27 July, the night before they are due to co-headline with fellow bands Blink 182 and Wu-Tang Clan at a concert in New York.

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Pound tumbles to eight-month low against the euro

20 July

The pound has tumbled to an eight-month low against the euro, spelling higher costs for British holidaymakers getting ready for summer breaks.

Sterling slipped close to €1.11 as the euro strengthened in reaction to remarks by European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi while the UK currency was again buffeted by fears over Brexit.
The pound's dip - of as much as two cents - took it to its lowest level since November 2016.
It will weaken the spending power of British families preparing to flock to Spanish beaches and French campsites when school holidays begin later this week.
Sterling was also lower against the US dollar - at a time when Washington is undergoing its own political turbulence - dipping below $1.30 after spending several days above that level.
But it was the strong performance of the euro that was mainly making waves on currency markets.
It shot higher against the dollar as well as the pound despite the ECB marking no change to interest rates or wider monetary policy guidance at its latest meeting.
Traders seized on comments by Mr Draghi that policy makers would discuss changes to its €2tn stimulus programme in the autumn.
The euro has been strengthening recently as signs of an economic recovery on the single currency bloc increase speculation about tightening policy.
Ultra-low interest rates and a huge programme of bond-purchasing, or quantitative easing - effectively pumping money into the economy - were put in place when the economy was in a much more fragile state.
An upturn and return to normality should put an end to the need for this support - and the withdrawal of the stimulus will make the currency a more attractive bet.
Patrick O'Donnell, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, said Mr Draghi's comments were his way of endorsing the recent upward trend for the euro - without announcing anything new.
Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index Direct, said: "No news means no change in the euro's trend, which for now is higher."
Meanwhile on Thursday, the pound was under pressure as "fundamental" differences over EU citizens' rights and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice emerged following Brexit talks.
Elsewhere, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said a bespoke trade deal between Britain and the European Union should be "one of the easiest in human history" to reach but that Britain could "survive" without an agreement.
Earlier, the pound had been buoyed by better than expected official figures on retail sales for June, before the gains faded.

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