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Russia describes new US sanctions as 'useless'

Vladimir Putin speaking in the Crimean city of Sevastopol. Credit: Reuters

The Russian government has dismissed the latest round of US sanctions aimed at the country as "useless".

On Friday President Obama approved new restrictions on Crimea, the area that Russia annexed from Ukraine in a move widely condemned as illegal.

In a statement today the Kremlin compared the White House's move to the severing of US diplomatic ties with Cuba, a move which has recently been reversed by Mr Obama.

"The White House took half a century to admit that blockading Cuba with sanctions was useless: well, we can wait too," the Russian foreign ministry said.


MP says Hartlepool move for Ched Evans 'entirely wrong'

Hartlepool's Labour MP has said Hartlepool United's potential signing of Ched Evans is "entirely wrong", describing the player as "a pariah".

Iain Wright said he was outraged at the prospect of Evans signing for the League Two club.

I really hope we don't. I love my club, I love Hartlepool United. There's a reason why no other team in the Football League wants to sign him - he is a pariah.

I was at the match today. There were lots of young lads there supporting Hartlepool United. I just think it sends out such a wrong message to young men in terms of it being OK for a rapist to play football. It's entirely wrong.

– Labour MP Iain Wright

Hartlepool boss says he wants to sign Ched Evans

Ched Evans is looking to return to football after being released from jail. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

The boss of League Two club Hartlepool United has reportedly said he wants to sign convicted rapist Ched Evans.

Ronnie Moore said there was a "possibility" of Evans signing, saying he has "served his time" after his release from jail in October.

Speaking after his side's game against Oxford today, Moore said:

If it could happen for me, I would want it to happen. There is no doubt about that. He is a proven goalscorer. He has served his time for me and the boy wants to play football.

I know what will happen now, everybody will me groaning and you see what happened at Sheffield United

You keep pushing the lad away. He made a mistake and maybe he hasn't made the apology in the right way and there is a case pending on the appeal.

On the football matters, if he gets on the park he will go a long way to getting us out of trouble, that's for sure. It is a possibility, I would leave it at that for now.

– Ronnie Moore

Lord Advocate on Lockerbie: 'Justice has no sell-by date'

Scotland's top prosecutor has insisted "justice has no sell-by date" as he pledged to track down accomplices of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of carrying out the bombing.

Frank Mulholland has travelled to Washington to attend a memorial service at Arlington cemetery on the 26th anniversary of the bombing.

It might be 26 years since 270 people lost their lives in the terrorist attack but justice has no sell-by date in Scotland.

Over the years many people have worked on the inquiry and all have been given the same instruction; to carefully review the evidence and work to identify all of those who were involved in the conspiracy to destroy Pan Am flight 103.

During the 26-year long inquiry not one Crown Office investigator or prosecutor has raised a concern about the evidence in this case. We remain committed to this investigation and our focus remains on the evidence, and not on speculation and supposition.

– Frank Mulholland

Ukip advice to members on social media: 'Just don't'

Ukip members have been urged to avoid using social media following a series of controversies over inappropriate comments.

Party chairman Steve Crowther said his approach to sites such as Twitter and Facebook was "just don't" as the party updated its rules about use of its logo on the internet.

Ukip members and supporters have been involved in several rows over their online activity, but Nigel Farage's party has also been the target of spoof accounts using its logo.

Nigel Farage speaking at the Ukip conference in September. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

A copy of the party's new constitution, seen by the Observer, lays out "rules for online communication", stating that:

Party members shall refrain from using the Ukip logo in terms of their online postings, including avatars, unless they have express written consent to do so from the party leader, the party chairman, the party secretary, the general secretary, the party director, the regional chairman or regional organiser for their region.

– Ukip


Sir Menzies Campbell defends Lockerbie bombing judges

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell has condemned the "repeated and unfounded criticism" of judges who presided over the Lockerbie bombing trial of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was found guilty of the killing of 270 people after the Pan Am flight exploded at 31,000ft on 21 December 1988.

Sir Menzies said the judges had "unquestioned integrity".

One of the most unsavoury elements of this case is the repeated and unfounded criticism of the judges who sat in the trial, and those who heard the subsequent appeal against conviction.

The judges by convention are unable to respond publicly to these criticisms, which imply that they were somehow part of a conspiracy.

In truth, they were all experienced in criminal law and of unquestioned integrity.

It is a curious feature of this case that those who argued most vehemently for a special court to be set up to deal with the case are now among the most vociferous critics of its verdict.

– Sir Menzies Campbell

Prosecutor reaffirms Megrahi guilt over Lockerbie

Scotland's top prosecutor has reaffirmed Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's guilt in the killing of 270 people in the Lockerbie bombing and has pledged to track down his accomplices.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland said no Crown Office investigator or prosecutor had raised a concern about the evidence in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1989.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi died in 2012. Credit: Reuters

Megrahi's part in the bombing has been called into question in a series of books, documentaries and testimony to the Scottish Parliament.

A petition seeking "Justice For Megrahi", backed by politicians and family members of some victims, remains on Holyrood's books two years after al-Megrahi's death.

But in an address to relatives on the anniversary of the bombing, Mr Mulholland said his investigation "remains on the evidence, and not on speculation and supposition".

Two police officers sacked for sending obscene images

Two officers from Scotland Yard were sacked. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Two police officers from Scotland Yard's Diplomatic Protection Group have been sacked for sending obscene images from their mobile phones.

The pair, aged 34 and 36, lost their jobs after admitting gross misconduct and being found guilty of a breach of integrity by force bosses.

The constables were dismissed without notice after the misconduct hearing on Thursday. They were not named by the Metropolitan Police.

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