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A-listers stand up for threatened Human Rights Act

Hollywood's own Benedict Cumberbatch Credit: David Jensen / EMPICS

Benedict Cumberbatch is among a group of famous actors standing up for the Human Rights Act, which the government is threatening to scrap and replace with a so-called "British bill of rights".

The Sherlock star, Homeland's David Harewood, Game Of Thrones actress Indira Varma, Vanessa Redgrave and Simon Callow have all appeared in short films based on experiences of people who have relied on the legislation.

Proposals to replace the Act with a British bill of rights are expected to be included in the Queen's Speech today.

Cumberbatch said: "Our Human Rights Act belongs to all of us. It's not for politicians to pick and choose when they apply or who deserves protection.

"Repealing it will mean less protection against state abuse or neglect, and weaken the rights of every single one of us - and the vulnerable most of all."

Harriet Harman: We fear 'the reality' of Queen's Speech

The acting Labour leader has said that the party fears that "the reality of this Queen's Speech will be very different from the rhetoric".

Harriet Harman warned that "the Queen's Speech will talk of a 'One Nation approach' - yet [David] Cameron sets the nations of the country against each other".

She said: "The real question for this Queen's Speech will be whether it improves our country, our communities and people."


Russia wants to use convict labour to build World Cup

Russian president Putin sits with FIFA president Sepp Blatter Credit: REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev

Russia intends to use prisoners to help build stadiums and infrastructure for the 2018 World Cup and bring costs down.

A bill drafted by a member of the ruling party, United Russia, with the backing of the country's prison service, would allow contractors to use convicts in their projects.

"It'll help in the sense that there will be the opportunity to acquire building materials for a lower price, lower than there is currently on the market," Alexander Khinshtein told The Associated Press.

The Russian government is currently under pressure for the event's projected cost of 640bn roubles (£8.2bn).

Under the plans, convicts would continue to live in prison, travelling to work each day. They would earn roughly £190 per month.

Ex-MP Eric Joyce to be sentenced for assault

Former MP Eric Joyce Credit: PA

The former Labour MP for Falkirk is to be sentenced today for assaulting two teenage boys in an "unjustified and unprovoked" attack in a shop.

The 54-year-old was found guilty of two counts of common assault against the boys, aged 14 and 15, at Westminster Magistrates' Court earlier this month.

District Judge John Zani has said that "all options including imprisonment will be considered".

Dane Bowers in court on ex-fiancee assault charge

Dane Bowers Credit: Chris Ison / PA Archive

Former boyband star Dane Bowers is to appear in court today, charged with assault.

Bowers, 35, has pleaded not guilty to one count of assault by beating against his ex-fiancee Sophia Cahill in Croydon in January.

Bowers, a former Brit School student, became famous in the late-1990s as a member of R&B band Another Level and after the group disbanded he sang a duet, Out Of Your Mind, with Victoria Beckham. He went on to appear in Celebrity Big Brother in 2010.


Children hurt as bouncy castle is swept up by tornado

Several children have been hurt when the bouncy castle they were playing in on a Florida beach was swept into the air by a waterspout that turned into a tornado.

The three young children were hospitalised after they span 20 feet into the air before being thrown onto the ground on Fort Lauderdale beach.

The incident was captured by onlooker Brandon Burchett:

"I was thinking I was about to die," said 5-year old Shadaja Bryant, who was left with a broken arm after the violent ride. "I was in the bounce house and then it flew while I was in there, then I fell in the dirt."

The children have been left with relatively minor injuries, and are expected to recover fully.

Labour eurosceptic 'should lead no-to-EU campaign'

Kate Hoey is a prominent eurosceptic Labour MP Credit: John Stillwell / PA Archive

A Labour eurosceptic should lead the "out" campaign at the EU referendum, the party's biggest donor has said.

John Mills, the founder of JML, said that Ukip leader Nigel Farage would put many potential backers off, and suggested ex-minister Kate Hoey as a suitable candidate, as well as Labour backbenchers Graham Stringer and Kelvin Hopkins.

Mr Mills, a vocal critic of Brussels, said that "a successful no campaign has to be a cross-party campaign".

"If it is all the Conservative Party and no Labour then it is never going to gel so it is really important to have key Labour figures in it," he said.

He admitted he would still vote to stay if David Cameron could secure sufficient reforms.

Half of bisexuals report experiencing 'biphobia'

Report finds "clear evidence of biphobic discrimination" Credit: DPA/Press Association Images

48% of bisexual people have said they experience "biphobic" comments while accessing mainstream services, a new report has found.

And surprisingly, the two most common sources of biphobia are the LGBT community and NHS services, according to the Equality Network. Almost a third of bisexuals never feel comfortable telling their GP, while 38% have experienced sexual harassment.

The study suggests sexual harassment often centred on negative stereotypes falsely labelling bisexual people as promiscuous or unfaithful.

Tim Hopkins, director of the charity, said: "Unfortunately, as the report findings show, bisexual people are often misunderstood and discriminated against by many services."

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