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Surgeon Ian Paterson guilty of needless mastectomies to fund luxury lifestyle

28 April

A surgeon has been found guilty of carrying out unnecessary operations, including mastectomies, on patients.

Breast cancer specialist Ian Paterson, 59, was convicted of 20 counts of wounding with intent by a jury at Nottingham Crown Court - but it is believed the true number of victims could be in the thousands.
The trial heard he carried out extensive, life-changing operations for no medically justifiable reason, exaggerating or lying about the risk of cancer - possibly to boost his earnings.
More than 700 patients had to be re-screened and 68 women developed a recurrence of breast cancer after unauthorised "cleavage-sparing" operations carried out by Paterson.
And the NHS has so far had to pay out almost £18m - including £9.5m damages - following claims from nearly 800 patients of the Scottish-born medic.
Paterson, wearing a black suit, blue shirt and red tie, sobbed as the foreman of the jury returned the guilty verdicts, as did his daughter Emily, who was also in court.
He was granted conditional bail - but faces a maximum sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced in May.
Among his victims was Frances Perks. She was first referred to Paterson in 1994 when she was 35 after finding a lump in her breast.
Over subsequent years he encouraged Ms Perks to undergo 27 unnecessary biopsies before telling her she needed a mastectomy or risk "full blown cancer".
She had the operation in 2008 as she had understandable concerns after losing both her mother and sister to cancer.
Recalling her meetings with Paterson she said: "He would say there's something sinister, something doesn't look right and we need to remove it.
"You're going to be guided by what he tells you. And he'd always say 'and because of your family history this needs to be dealt with'."
Four years after her mastectomy she was recalled to the Spire hospital in Solihull by a different specialist.
She said: "The consultant went through everything and one by one said I didn't need any of the operations and also I didn't need a mastectomy. So that was a big shock. You can't get your head around it and I still can't now.
"To say that I hate him is an understatement."
Patricia Welch was another of Paterson's victims. She too had a mastectomy, only to be recalled 11 years later to be told it did not need to be done.
She said the scars are a constant reminder and describes her experience as like being assaulted.
"You sort of look at yourself in the mirror and you think every morning 'well, all this was necessary because it's stopped me from having cancer so it's all necessary'," she said.
"And then when you next look at yourself, when you come back, and you look at yourself and you know that none of it was necessary."
West Midlands Police said they have received complaints from 240 of Paterson's patients who were seen by him at the Heart of England trust and Spire private hospitals in the West Midlands between 1997 and 2011.
Paterson was suspended by the General Medical Council in 2012.
He owned a luxury home in Birmingham's Edgbaston, had numerous properties in Cardiff and Manchester and also had a US holiday home, West Midlands Police said.
Chief Superintendent Mark Payne said: "The procedures carried out by Ian Paterson on vulnerable patients were unnecessary and caused physical suffering, scars and wounds to the patients.
"Also, as a result of his greed and arrogance, many of the patients have suffered psychologically, believing they needed to undergo the procedures because they were at risk from breast cancer.
"Paterson was a controlling bully, who played God with people's lives so he could live a luxurious lifestyle."

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'Active plot' foiled in London anti-terror raid

28 April

An "active plot" was foiled when armed officers raided a home in northwest London, police have said.

A woman was shot by police during the operation at a property in Harlesden Road, Willesden, shortly before 7pm on Thursday evening.
Officers said the home had been under observation as part of a counter-terrorism operation and armed entry was required "due to the nature of the intelligence we were dealing with".
The woman, aged in her 20s, has not been arrested "at this time" due to her condition, which is said to be "serious but stable".
Officers used CS gas during the armed raid, which resulted in the arrests of two people at the home and another nearby.
Later, a man and a woman, both aged 28, were arrested when they returned to the property.
Another woman, aged 43, was also held in Kent.
Officers continue to search the property on Harlesden Road, as well as two other London addresses.
Met Police deputy assistant commissioner Neil Basu said the arrests "have contained the threats that they posed".
He said: "With the attack in Westminster on 22 March so fresh in people's minds, I would like to reassure everyone that across the country officers are working round the clock to identify those people who intend to commit acts of terror.
"After that attack, we increased the number of officers on duty patrolling at key locations - and that continues as we police against the backdrop of a severe terrorist threat."
One neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said he heard three gunshots and described seeing a "squad" of armed police descend on Harlesden Road.
He said: "They brought down a woman, a lady, in a black scarf, a black burka.
"We saw she had been shot - the paramedics and ambulances that were there, they stripped off her clothing to get access to the wounded areas."
He said the woman was carried out of the house on a stretcher, adding the family who live there are from Somalia.
A woman who lives next door to the raided property said she saw officers with "gas masks and snipers".
She said: "We heard 'bang, bang, bang, bang', went to the window and just saw a number of armed police just there with their guns pointing at our next-door neighbour's window."
She said a woman was "screaming really loud" and described her neighbours as a "standard Muslim couple" of whom she "never suspected anything at all".
Another neighbour who witnessed the raid unfolding told Sky News it was "really scary".
Jeane Fillaule said: "I thought I was safe in this area but I really don't feel safe anymore."
The shooting has been referred to Met Police's Directorate of Professional Standards and the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Police said the raid was unconnected to the arrest of a man just yards from Downing Street on suspicion of preparing a terror attack.

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Daughter of deportation victim calls on Donald Trump to 'open his heart'

28 April

A 13-year-old girl who has become the poster child for victims of deportation sweeps during Donald Trump's first 100 days in office has called on the president to "open his heart".

Fatima Avelica filmed from the backseat of the family car as her father Romulo was arrested by immigration officials outside of her school in Los Angeles.
Fatima's distress drew worldwide attention to the efforts by the Trump administration to round up some of the 11 million undocumented migrants in the US.
:: Trump aide's insight into his first 100 days
Romulo, who has lived in the US for 26 years, was detained over a deportation order relating to a drink-driving offence from 2009.
His four daughters are all US citizens.
As he awaits deportation, his family have travelled the country to campaign for his release and highlight what they say is unfair treatment by the Trump administration.
"I felt really sad and scared because I don't know how to be without my dad," Fatima told Sky News.
"He's always there to help me in any struggles that I had.
"I think he (Trump) is doing something really unfair.
"I just feel like he has to open his heart and see that he's making people suffer.
"We are all humans and we all deserve the same rights."
Trump's immigration policy has created unease in immigrant communities across the country and the administrator of Fatima's school says it is having a direct impact on children.
:: Everything Trump has done so far as President
St Claire Adriaan said: "I have children who come to me during the day and ask to call home to see if a parent came home.
"I have parents calling to find out if the kid made it to school.
"No kid, documented, undocumented, rich, poor, black, white, brown, should be exposed to such form of trauma because that's something that can and will affect that kid for the rest of his or her life.
"It is amazing that I have seen this 13-year-old girl that's been with me since the beginning of the year now become the face of the injustice of what deportation does to families."

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Donald Trump supporters keep faith as 100 days milestone reached

28 April

Donald Trump nears the 100-day mark with record low approval ratings - but you wouldn't know it from speaking to hairdresser Charlotte Crockett.

As she gives her leopard print-gowned customer a short back and sides, I ask what she thinks President Trump has achieved so far.
"Well everything he said he was going to do - he is trying to do it. As far as the (health) insurance - he's trying to get that changed," she says.
"Of course they keep turning him down but that's OK, he's going to keep trying. He's a warrior - a warrior for America."
In fact, Charlotte believes he was sent by God - the way she feels about him is almost spiritual.
If he walked in here and asked for a haircut?
She laughs: "I'd have to just run my fingers through it because I'd be scared to death to cut his pretty hair."
And if he asked what she thought of his first 100 days?
"I would hug his neck and tell him I'm so proud to have him as my president," she says.
"He ain't done nothing but work since he got in there."
Charlotte insists there's nothing Mr Trump could do to turn her off him. "I'm turned on. It's a done deal," she adds.
He could fail at everything, she says, and she would still be on board.
Mr Trump would be equally welcome down the road in Hooper's supply store.
Every morning in the backroom, around 15 retirees meet to drink coffee and to set the world to rights.
Their ages range from 70 to 95 - between them they've seen plenty of presidents come and go - but none like Mr Trump.
"He's done a lot of good things so far I think," says Eddie Jernigan. "For 100 days I think he's been exceptional."
I put it to them that Mr Trump pitched himself as the dealmaker extraordinaire, but so far there are no big legislative achievements. Obamacare is still very much in place.
"There's a lot of alligators in that swamp," says Rick David.
"If you've never been a politician and never been up to Washington and had to work in that arena you don't realise that. I think he's doing a good job of overcoming it."
Mr Trump's style and rhetoric hasn't changed much since he entered office. Plenty of people want him to be more presidential.
Not these boys. "He does not need to tone it down," says Joe Frizzell. "If anything he needs to rev it up."
What's striking about these men, many of whom have fought in wars and worked hard for decades, is that collectively they are incredibly patient when it comes to Mr Trump.
They're willing to wait for him to deliver and if he doesn't, like Charlotte, the system, not Mr Trump will be to blame.
Ask Trump supporters across the Bible Belt why they love him and God will almost certainly feature in their answer.
At Charlotte Crockett's Wednesday night church service, her local pastor praises the Lord that Obama is no longer president.
"Everybody here loves Trump," she says.
"We pray for him every week - we prayed for him to get in and now we pray for him to succeed."
She believes the president will ultimately triumph - during his short time in office his base may not have expanded - but their loyalist hardcore faith will not be shaken.

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UK economic growth shows weakest growth since Brexit vote

28 April

The UK economy grew by 0.3% in the first three months of the year, suggesting a Brexit-linked slowdown, according to worse-than-expected official figures.

In a blow to the Chancellor ahead of the General Election, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said retail sales were the biggest drag on first quarter growth, which came in at its weakest level since the EU referendum last June.
The first estimate - which is subject to revision as more information becomes available - marked a sharp slowdown on the 0.7% expansion achieved in the final quarter of 2016 when the economy had continued to defy pre-referendum predictions of a recession in the event of a Leave win.
Economists had been expecting a growth figure of 0.4% at the start of the year amid clear evidence of a squeeze on household budgets.
Labour's shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, seized on the performance, saying: "Today's GDP figures reveal the threat to living standards under the Tories."
"This General Election is a choice between a Labour Party who will stand up for the many and a Tory party which only looks after the privileged few," he added.
Chancellor Philip Hammond said: "Britain's economy is forecast to grow at 2% this year, employment is at record highs and it's set to go higher still."
He said the choice facing the electorate was between strong and stable government under Theresa May or a Jeremy Corbyn-led "coalition of chaos".
:: Is Chancellor Philip Hammond being gagged over GDP?
The ONS had previously reported the biggest fall in trade for retailers in seven years over the same three months.
It was a result of rising prices, reflecting higher import costs feeding through to customers as a consequence of the pound's slump in value since the referendum.
The annual rate of inflation currently stands at a three-year high of 2.3% - with wage rises standing at 2.2% - the disparity highlighting the growing erosion of household spending power.
Grocery bills are on the march despite a rumbling supermarket price war, while energy firms have piled on the misery, citing higher costs for raising standard tariffs.
The ONS said: "There were falls in several important consumer-focused industries, such as retail sales and accommodation; this was due in part to prices increasing more than spending."
It reported an expansion of just 0.3% in the dominant services sector - with construction output growth of only 0.2%.
Growth in vehicle production - with UK-made cars more attractive overseas as a result of sterling weakening - helped the manufacturing sector raise output by 0.5%.
It left the economy growing at an estimated rate of 2.1% year on year, the ONS said.
Consumer spending has largely driven the recovery in the British economy since the financial crisis but there is now overwhelming evidence belts are being well and truly tightened as household savings levels hit record lows and unsecured borrowing totals remain historically high.
The Insolvency Service said on Friday that the number of people being declared insolvent jumped to its highest levels
in nearly three years in the first quarter.
Separate figures from the British Bankers Association showed a dip in credit growth last month, suggesting more people were starting to tighten their belts.
And Nationwide said there were signs the "squeeze" on household budgets were taking a toll on the housing market, with annual price growth at its weakest since 2013 in April.
Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said: "A further lacklustre pace of growth is widely expected for the second quarter as political uncertainty and rising prices subdue demand.
"However, an improvement in recent survey data suggests that a further slowdown is by no means a sure thing."
The pound jumped to a fresh seven-month high against the dollar in the wake of the GDP figures, hitting $1.2932.

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