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HMRC waives late tax return fees

Credit: PA

People who filed late tax returns have been let off a £100 fine for missing the deadline, it has been reported.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has waived the penalty for those who provided a "reasonable" excuse for being late, according to the Daily Telegraph.

An internal memo leaked to the newspaper revealed that HMRC staff were asked to write off the fine without further investigation for individuals who could show mitigating circumstances, and who appealed after paying their tax bill.

The January 31 deadline for completing tax self-assessment forms was reportedly missed by 890,000 people.

A HMRC spokesman told the Telegraph: "We want to focus more and more of our resources on investigating major tax avoidance and evasion rather than penalising ordinary people who are trying to do the right thing."

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Silk Road 'mastermind' gets life for drugs website

The mastermind behind the largest illegal drugs online market has been sentenced to life imprisonment for creating the website that allowed $200 million of anonymous drug trades worldwide.

Ross Ulbricht, 31, was sentenced by US District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan after a federal jury in February found him guilty of charges including distributing drugs through the Internet and conspiring to commit computer hacking and money laundering.

UK may expand military support mission in Iraq

British soldiers instruct Kurdish Peshmerga fighters during training at a shooting range in Arbil, October 2014. Credit: Reuters

The UK is preparing to send troops into the more dangerous parts of northern Iraq in support of the US military mission to train local forces to fight so-called Islamic State fighters.

The Times reports that the prospect of expanding the British mission to Iraq from the relative safety of Kurdish held areas has been raised at a meeting of the National Security Council, chaired by David Cameron.

It is understood that the British Army is ready to go ahead, but it is awating political approval from ministers.

The operation would involve the deployment of a specialist team of experts in countering roadside bombs - improvised explosive devices (IEDs) - to work alongside American trainers.

They would be based in the capital Baghdad but could also operate outside the city where the US is conducting training of Iraqi forces preparing to take on IS

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US accidentally shipped anthrax to two foreign countries

File photo: Spores from the Sterne strain of anthrax bacteria (Bacillus anthracis) Credit: Reuters

The US military has discovered more suspected cases of accidental shipments of live anthrax spores than initially thought - including some that were sent overseas.

In a statement, the Pentagon said:

As of now, 24 laboratories in 11 states and two foreign countries are believed to have received suspect samples.

– Pentagon statement.

There was no known risk to the general public and extremely low risk to lab workers, officials said.

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