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Trump denies Iran held ‘CIA spies’ after ‘breaking up ring’


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Iran's claims that it broke up a CIA spying ring have been dismissed as "totally false" by Donald Trump.

Tehran also said it had sentenced some of the 17 suspects to death.

But the US president said the allegations contained "zero truth".

Mr Trump tweeted: "The report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth".

The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth. Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do. Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2019

He added it was "just more lies and propaganda put out by a religious regime that is badly failing and has no idea what to do".


He said the Iranian economy was "dead and will get much worse", and described the county as a "total mess".

According to a statement from Iran's intelligence ministry, read on state TV, the alleged spies were "employed in sensitive and vital private sector centres in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber areas… where they collected classified information".

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Suspects were arrested during previous months, an Iranian intelligence official told a press conference.

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He did not say how many had been sentenced to death, and did not give his name, which is unusual.

Reporters were told, however, that he was the director of the counter-espionage department at Iran's intelligence ministry.

None of the suspected spies succeeded in their sabotage missions, he added, claiming that some of them had turned and were now working with his department against the United States.

Image: Iranian Revolutionary Guards patrolling around the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero

Iran also aired a TV documentary purportedly showing a CIA officer recruiting an Iranian man in the United Arab Emirates.

In the film, a woman who speaks Persian with what appears to be an American accent says: "There are so many intelligence officers in Dubai. It is very dangerous… Iranian intelligence."

Last month, Iran said it had exposed a large cyber espionage network it alleged was run by the CIA – although it is unclear whether this latest development is linked to that.

Spies had been arrested in different countries, it claimed.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the "Iranian regime has a long history of lying", adding: "I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion about actions that they've taken."

There have been months of increasing tension between Iran and the West since tighter US sanctions came into effect at the start of May.

On Saturday, Iran released a video which it claimed disproved Donald Trump's claim that a US warship destroyed an Iranian drone.

The American president said the USS Boxer took "defensive action" on Thursday after the drone ignored repeated warnings and came within 1,000 yards of the ship in the Strait of Hormuz.

But Iranian state TV aired video itRead More – Source

Mother: Loss of daughter in cruise ship fall is ‘unfathomable’


By Rachel Elbaum, NBC news reporter

Each morning, Kimberly Wiegand has less than a minute of peace before remembering that her 18-month-old daughter died after falling through an open window on a cruise ship earlier this month.

"The first 30 seconds of the day I don't remember what happened. And then, after that 30 seconds of peace, it comes back, and I relive what happened," Mrs Wiegand said in an exclusive interview with NBC's Today on Monday.

"The thing that I latch onto is really her memory."

Image: Chloe Wiegand fell from an 11th floor window. Pic: Facebook

Chloe Wiegand was with her grandfather on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico when she fell from the ship's 11th story onto concrete.

Just before she died, she was in a children's play area enclosed with clear glass panelling.


Her grandfather placed her on a railing that he believed was behind glass, so she could look outside, but was actually open, according to the family's lawyer, Michael Winkleman.

It was something the two often did together at hockey games, with Chloe banging on the glass.

More from Puerto Rico

"He will cry over and over and over. At no point ever, ever has Sam ever put our kids in danger," said Mrs Wiegand of Chloe's grandfather.

When Mrs Wiegand was first told her daughter had died, she didn't yet know how exactly it had happened.

"I just saw Sam standing next to the wall of windows by the kids' splash pad screaming and banging on it," she described.

"I ran over there, and I looked over. And it wasn't water down there, it was concrete. It was honestly, to lose our baby this way, is just unfathomable," she added.

The family said they blame Royal Caribbean for their daughter's death. They would like to see the company held responsible in court so other families can be spared the grief they are experiencing.

"There are a million things that could've been done to make that safer. I don't know why a window opens completely.

"I know my mum was asking people, 'Why on earth is there a window open on the 11thRead More – Source

Children dying because ‘second-rate’ screening misses rare conditions


By Helen-Ann Smith, news reporter

Children in the UK are dying because not enough rare genetic conditions are being screened for at birth, according to a new report.

Genetic Alliance UK has called the country's screening programme "second rate". The NHS conducts just nine tests on newborn babies, compared with 43 in Italy and 57 in the US.

The tests in question normally happen when a baby is about five days old, with a heel prick blood spot test screening for conditions such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease.

This can mean children grow up with undetected rare conditions, delaying potentially life-saving interventions.

Image: Alex was a healthy baby, but problems emerged when he was seven years old

Sara Hunt's eldest son Alex was a healthy baby, but at the age of seven he started having problems with his eyesight, hearing and balance.


He was diagnosed with Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a genetic degenerative brain condition. He battled the disease for 12 years but died in 2012.

She said: "If he been diagnosed earlier, for example at birth, he could have had treatment with a bone marrow transplant. His outlook would have been totally different."

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Sara Hunt's son Alex died of a genetic degenerative brain condition
Image: Sara Hunt's son Alex died of a genetic degenerative brain condition

Alex's younger brother Aiden was tested when he was still a baby, and was also found to be a carrier.

Ms Hunt added: "Aiden was a year old when Alex was diagnosed – as he was gaining skills, Alex was losing skills, so that was tricky.

"We found out that he had the same diagnosis, but we had greater hope for him because it could be monitored. Once they saw signs developing, he could have a transplant.

"When he was seven years old these signs started to happen, he had a successful bone marrow transplant. He's now 19 at university living a lovely life, one that I wish Alex had."

Alex suffered from ALD for 12 years and died in 2012
Image: Alex suffered from ALD for 12 years and died in 2012

The report found that at least 13 additional conditions could be identified using samples already taken.

Extending screening programmes would not only save lives but give parents access to information to help them with future reproductive planning, the report added.

Jayne Spink, the chief executive of Genetic Alliance UK, said: "The pace of adoption of new bloodspot screening programmes in the UK has Read More – Source

Boris Johnson set to enter Number 10 as UK’s next PM revealed


By Jon Craig, chief political correspondent

Boris Johnson is preparing for power as he awaits the widely expected confirmation that he has defeated Jeremy Hunt in the battle to become the UK's next prime minister.

As the overwhelming favourite to be crowned Conservative Party leader, Mr Johnson is poised to unveil an ambitious domestic policy agenda looking beyond Brexit in his victory speech.

Last night, Boris Johnson was plotting with his inner circle as Theresa May held a farewell party for ministers and Conservative MPs in 10 Downing Street.

Theresa May: The highs and lows

This is what is expected to happen in the coming days:

  • The result will be announced at Westminster's QE2 conference centre at 11.40am today following an overnight count. Watch decision live on Sky News from 11.30am
  • The winner – almost certainly Mr Johnson – will then make a victory speech
  • Theresa May will take part in her final Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday
  • She will then head to Buckingham Palace to offer her resignation to the Queen
  • Her Majesty will meet the new Tory leader and invite him to form a new government
  • Traditionally, the new PM will make a statement in Downing Street before stepping into Number 10
  • Appointments to the cabinet and ministerial team are expected on Thursday, and the reshuffle could continue into Friday
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Next prime minister faces a flurry of crises

Voting among the Tories' 165,000 eligible members closed at 5pm on Monday.


The declaration of the result marks the finale of a month-long battle between Mr Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, which has included a TV debate, 16 hustings across the UK, interviews, campaign visits and photo opportunities.

Welcoming Mr Johnson's expected victory, leading supporter Jacob Rees-Mogg told Sky News: "I think Boris will be good for the country because he'll deliver on his promise to leave EU and he'll do that by 31 October.

More from Politics

"He'll be good for the Conservative Party as he has the electoral stardust that makes him attractive and a unifying figure across the country."

Ultimately, it has been Mr Johnson's pledge to leave the EU by Halloween "do or die" that has given him the edge over Mr Hunt, in a leadership contest dominated by Brexit.

A huge Boris Johnson blimp flew at Parliament Square during the a pro-European march in central London
Boris Johnson blimp at anti-Brexit protest

Jonathan Isaby, editor of Brexit Central, told Sky News: "The Tory grassroots have been looking for someone who believes in Brexit and also someone who is deeply optimistic about Brexit.

"Optimism is something people have been desperately crying out for."

But in his victory speech, Mr Johnson is expected to look beyond Brexit and unveil a domestic policy agenda including social care, school funding and boosting business in the regions.

Allies of the former foreign secretary claim he will emphasise "unity" and the need to bring the Conservative Party and the country back together after the divisions of Brexit.

But he faces the threat of a collision course with parliament over a no-deal Brexit.

Sir Alan Duncan quits ahead of possible Boris Johnson premiership Read More – Source

UK newborn baby screening ‘not good enough’


UK babies are missing out on checks for rare but serious health conditions, putting lives at risk, according to a report from the charity Genetic Alliance UK.

The NHS offers newborns a blood test to screen for up to nine conditions.

Many other European countries look for 20 or more illnesses and the US screens for more than 50, the charity says.

The UK National Screening Committee says its recommendations are based on evidence and are regularly reviewed.

It is up to the governments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to decide which tests to provide.

Genetic Alliance UK says affordable ways to expand the screening exist, but are not being used.

What is newborn screening?

The newborn heel prick or blood spot test involves taking a small sample of your baby's blood for screening, usually during the first week after birth.

It is not compulsory but it is recommended because it lets doctors identify rare illnesses early so the best treatment can be offered to prevent disability and, in some cases, even death.

Genetic Alliance UK says heel prick blood samples could be used to detect more conditions than those for which screening currently happens.

It says the UK is lagging behind other countries and some treatable illnesses are going undetected.

It also means couples are unable to make an informed decision about whether to have more children who might also be at high risk of these rare, inherited illnesses, the charity adds.

Sara's story

Sara Hunt, from East Dulwich, is the mother of two boys, Alex and Ayden. Both were born with a rare condition called ALD or adrenoleukodystrophy, but getting a diagnosis was a struggle.

ALD is not routinely checked for in the UK as part of the newborn heel prick or blood spot test screening programme, but is in some other countries.

It is an X-linked recessive genetic disorder, which means that only boys are affected and the mother may be a healthy carrier of the disease.

Alex, Sara's eldest, was not diagnosed until he was seven. By that time his condition was already advanced. The disease was attacking his brain and nerves.

He died 12 years later at the age of 19. His younger brother, Ayden, was diagnosed early enough to be closely monitored and have treatment. He is now 19 and healthy.

Sara, who has since set up a charity in Alex's name, said: "It's just heartbreaking to keep seeing boys that could have been identified and treated if they had been offered a test to diagnose their condition as a baby.

"Other countries offer it so I don't see why the UK can't too."

What to screRead More – Source


Why Labour’s new racism complaints regime won’t end its civil war


Has Jeremy Corbyn finally found a way forward on anti-Semitism? The Shadow Cabinet has endorsed a new process designed to speed up disciplinary action against Labour members accused of racism against Jews.

Under the new system, the gravest cases of alleged anti-Semitism, as well as all other serious allegations of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia, would be put to a new panel made up of the partys general secretary and every officer of its ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) bar the partys leader and deputy leader.

Crucially, that eight-person panel would be able to expel the accused in the most serious of cases – a power that is currently the sole preserve of the quasi-judicial National Constitutional Committee. It would replace the smaller panels of NEC members that currently adjudicate on disciplinary cases, referring the worst offenders upwards to the NCC.

Corbyn acknowledged that the current regime saw too many complaints left unresolved within the system for too long, and the new measures – which will be put before the NEC tomorrow – were sold to the Shadow Cabinet as an option that "would allow for more rapid expulsion in the most serious of cases". It would not, however, introduce an auto-exclusion regime for cases with prima facie evidence of racism.

But speed is just one of the criticisms levelled against the current system: critics of the leadership have also demanded independent oversight, which some MPs are concerned the new mechanism will not provide. As well as Jennie Formby and Claudia Webbe, elected to the NEC as part of the #JC9 slate of Corbyn supporters last year, the new panel will be made up entirely of union representatives. There are complaints that its make-up will re-politicise the disciplinary process, a charge Labour sources resist. In short, the main objection to the new process is that it would be quicker without being any less opaque.

That, however, is precisely what much of the PLP would prefer to happen. A rival proposal from Tom Watson for a wholly independent disciplinary process devised and overseen by an independently-appointed chair will also go before the NEC tomorrow. The leadership does not agree, for obvious reasons: Corbyn proposed a greater level of independent oversight of complaints but Labour sources argue that no political party has outsourced its disciplinary system to an outside adjudicator in its entirety. They also worry that such a system would leave the party vulnerable to legal challenge. There is also the matter of the unforeseen consequences surrendering total control of the process to an independent body would have, particularly for higher-profile cases.

As such, many MPs remain unconvinced. Corbyn endured a long and gruelling meeting with the PLP this evening and it is clear that the action the leadership has taken over the past two days – namely its new disciplinary regime and the partys new educational website for activists – will not be enough in themselves to end the protracted argument over just how the party should deal with accusations of anti-Semitism within its ranks. Leaving the meeting this evening, an emotional Ruth Smeeth tolRead More – Source

Odey hedge fund backs Barrick Gold takeover of Acacia Mining


London-based hedge fund Odey Asset Management said today that it will accept Barrick Golds final offer to buy Acacia Mining after months of opposition to the deal.

Read more: Acacia accept increased takeover bid from Barrick

The news came three days after Canadian gold miner Barrick reached an agreement to buy the remaining shares in London-listed Tanzanian miner Acacia after it increased its offer.

Odey, owned by pro-Brexit financier Crispin Odey, had attacked Barricks original price as too low. Fellow minority shareholders Legal & General and Fidelity also criticised the offer.

Despite Odey only owning 2.3 per cent of Acacia, the hedge funds opposition could have been enough to derail the deal completely.

But Barrick has now cleared a major hurdle that could see it soon own Acacia entirely. Acacia was once a unit of Barrick, which currently holds 64 per cent of its stock.

Barricks complete ownership of Acacia could put to an end a long-running tax dispute the latter has with Tanzania, where it runs three mines.

The Tanzanian government accused Acacia of owing $190bn (£152m) in unpaid tax in July 2017, saying it had understated exports. It has since lowered the amount to $300m with other conditions attached.

In May this year Tanzania said it would only work with Barrick Gold to resolve issues that had seen the country limit Acacias operations.

In June, Barrick said as part of a wider statement that the relationship between AcaciaRead More