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Lack of commitment could force US out of peace talks

by - Middle East Correspondent
A Palestinian man uses a sling to hurl a stone towards Israeli troops during clashes earlier this month. Credit: Reuters

There is only a peace process at all at the moment, because it is attached to an American life support machine. The US Secretary of State John Kerry has been to the Middle East more than a dozen times in the last nine months, trying to push the sides closer towards to an agreement.

We know Mr Kerry has spoken to President Abbas expressing his dissappointment with the Hamas deal. Kerry has expressed his frustration over the situation quite openly in the last few months with what he sees as a lack of commitment on both sides to a peace agreement.

The big fear is that he will decide enough is enough and he will turn off that life support machine and widespread violence will follow.

More: Israel will 'not hold negotiations with a terror group'

Royal Navy warship 'monitoring' Russian naval vessel

HMS Dragon, a Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer. Credit: MoD

A Royal Navy warship is monitoring the activity of a Russian destroyer as it transits past United Kingdom territorial waters, the Ministry of Defence has said.

HMS Dragon, one of the Royal Navy's newest Type 45 destroyers moved into position last week north of Scotland to be able to respond to the activity of the Russian vessel, Vice Admiral Kulakov, the MoD said on their website.

In what the MoD are calling a "well-established and standard" response, HMS Dragon will track the Russian vessel as she transits south.

More: RAF scrambles aircraft over Russian jets 'threat'

Hillsborough insults 'traced back to govt computers'

The Cabinet Office has launched an investigation over claims insulting additions were made to the Hillsborough Wikipedia page from government computers.

The Liverpool Echo reports the phrase "Blame Liverpool fans" was anonymously added to the Hillsborough page of the encyclopedia site in 2009.

Flowers are laid at the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy. Credit: Press Association

It's alleged that three years later computers on the secure Whitehall intranet were used again to change the phrase "You'll never walk alone" to "You'll never walk again" and later to "You'll never w*** alone."

On another occasion, the description of a Bill Shankly statue on the Anfield Wikipedia page was revised to change the well-known quote “He made the people happy” to “He made a wonderful lemon drizzle cake.”

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman told the newspaper: “We thank the Liverpool ECHO for bringing this to our attention. This is a matter that we will treat with the utmost seriousness and are making urgent inquiries.

“No one should be in any doubt of the government’s position regarding the Hillsborough disaster and its support for the families of the 96 victims and all those affected by the tragedy.”

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Farage: 'We don't have a monopoly on stupid people'

Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, has said he will be investigating what went wrong, after the party had to suspend a member for a series of what it said were "repellent" postings on social media.

Andre Lampitt, who appeared in a recent party political broadcast for Ukip, made a series of derogatory comments about Islam, Africa and Ed Miliband. Mr Farage told ITV News "this guy should not have got through" the party's selection process for local elections.

But he said the party did not have "a monopoly on stupid people" and that all political parties had to deal with similar difficulties at a local level.

He dismissed the suggestion that the scandal meant the party's campaign was falling apart ahead of the upcoming European and local elections.

Protesters and police clash near Copacabana beach

Protesters and police have clashed again near Copacabana beach in Brazil after demonstrators returned from the graveside of a man allegedly shot by the police this week in a nearby favela.

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Stun grenades and tear gas in Copacabana. Demo returned from the grave of the man who died this week in favela. Met by big police presence.

More: Copacabana beach on lockdown after night of violence

Man charged with killing nine-week-old daughter

A father has been charged with killing his nine-week-old daughter.

Adam Stokes, 32, of the Runfold area of Luton, Bedfordshire, has been charged with the manslaughter of his daughter, Scarlett Stokes-Craig, who died of head injuries in January last year.

He was bailed and is due to appear before Luton Magistrates' Court on May 12, Bedfordshire Police said.

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