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Govt vows 'tougher action' to tackle sham marriages

The Government promised it was "taking tougher action" against sham marriages as part of plans to curb the overall numbers of immigrants entering the UK.

A Home Office spokesman said:

We are taking ever tougher action, including through the new Immigration Act, to crack down on those who try to cheat our immigration system by abusing marriage laws.

We are also focusing on cutting out the abuse of free movement between EU member states and addressing the factors that drive European immigration to Britain.

– A Home Office spokesman

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MPs warn of 'industry of deceit' to get round UK borders

There is an "industry of deceit" which allows people to hop over border controls using a sham marriage, the head of an influential group of MPs has said.

Home Affairs Select Committee chair Keith Vaz said:

There is an industry of deceit in the UK which uses sham marriages to circumvent immigration control.

The estimated 10,000 sham marriages appears to be increasing at an alarming rate. One sham marriage can provide UK residence rights to an entire extended family who would otherwise have no right to be here.

The role of registrars is critical. The Home Office should not only provide them with better feedback and training on reporting but also empower them to stop suspicious marriages.

Data is not being collected in a consistent manner across the UK. We cannot afford for any town or city to become a back door entry to our country.

The Government needs to publish the total number of interventions, arrests, prosecutions and removals to prove that action is being taken.

– Keith Vaz

Man sues after US doctors 'amputate his penis'

A man is suing a hospital in the US after they allegedly amputated his penis, Reuters reports.

The man is suing the hospital for an undisclosed sum.
The man is suing the hospital for an undisclosed sum. Credit: PA

Johnny Lee Banks Jr, 56, claims he went into the Princeton Baptist Medical Centre in Alabama for a circumcision operation but awoke to find his genitals were no longer there.

His lawyer John Graves said Mr Banks, who is married, was not told why it had been necessary to remove it and is "devastated."

A spokeswoman for the hospital said Banks' allegations were without merit and they intended to defend themselves "aggressively."

MPs urge greater powers to stop sham marriages

Registrars should be given more powers to halt "bogus" wedding ceremonies, an influential groups of MPs has said.

Read: New permit plan for immigrants

Sham marriage
The number of suspect couples referred to the Home Office has more than doubled. Credit: PA

The Home Affairs Select Committee (HAC) warned more needed to be done to stop what had become an immigration scam "industry".

HAC pointed to the number of suspect couples being referred annually to the Home Office, which has more than doubled in three years to 2,135.

The true figure is almost certainly far higher due to under-reporting, MPs added.

Read: Sham marriages vicar jailed

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Reasons for buying London home 'starting to change'

The rush to buy property in the capital is slowing because pent-up demand caused by the 2008 crash has started to slow, a housing expert said.

Richard Donnell, director of research at property analysts Hometrack explained:

Overall, market conditions have been strong since early 2013, as a result of pent-up demand returning to the market outside London and with buyers encouraged by low mortgage rates and the launch of Help to Buy, but it now appears that market sentiment is starting to change.

"House prices were unchanged in London over the month, the lowest monthly change for 19 months.

– Richard Donnell

Where house prices rose and fell around UK in July

  • House prices were unchanged month-on-month in London, Wales and the North East, while they increased by 0.1% in Yorkshire and Humberside.
  • They increased by 0.2% in the East, West Midlands and the North West.
  • And by 0.3% in the South East and the South West.
  • East Anglia recorded the strongest month-on-month uplift in property values at 0.5%.
  • Across England and Wales, around one quarter (24%) of postcode districts saw prices increase over the month, falling back strongly from the spring, when around 50% of postcodes were recording price gains.
  • Around 1.5% of postcodes across the country saw prices fall month-on-month in July.

London house price rise 'slowed to lowest rate' in July

London house prices slowed to their lowest rate last month, making July the weakest growth in the capital's property market in 18 months, experts said.

Read: Housing prices: National average up 11.8%

Housing
Only 12% of postcodes in London had property which rose in value during July. Credit: PA

Momentum slowed to just 0.1% month-on-month, property analysts Hometrack found.

The rise in house prices "slowed dramatically" with just 12% of London postcodes registering price gains in July and a further 11% reporting a drop.

Hometrack said this marked the first time in four years that London has had a smaller proportion of markets registering price gains than regions across England and Wales.

Read: Record level gap between house prices in London & rest of UK

Two hundred wounded in clashes in the West Bank

Three protesters are in a critical condition and 200 more have been wounded during clashes in the West Bank, Palestinian medical officials said.

Thousands took to the streets to protest after the Palestinian death toll nearly surpassed 800.
Thousands took to the streets to protest after the Palestinian death toll nearly surpassed 800. Credit: RTV

The Israeli military confirmed troops had used "riot dispersal means" against protesters who threw rocks and firebombs at them and blocked a road with burning tyres.

Protests erupted over Israel's war against Hamas militants in Gaza where the Palestinian death toll has now neared 800.

Reuters reported the protest involving 10,000 people was the largest since the end of the Palestinian uprising between 2000 and 2005.

Soldiers are attacked with firebombs as clashes in Gaza continued into the night.
Soldiers are attacked with firebombs as clashes in Gaza continued into the night. Credit: RTV
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