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Three men remanded over hotel hammer attack

. Credit: Press Association

Three men charged in connection with a hammer attack at a central London hotel which left a woman severely brain damaged have been remanded in custody.

32-year-old Philip Spence of no fixed address was charged with three counts of attempted murder and one of aggravate burglary.

Thomas Efremi, 56, and James Moss, 33, both from north London, were charged with handling stolen goods. All three were remanded in custody at Southwark Crown Court to appear again on July 3.

31-year-old Carly Baker has also been charged with handling stolen goods. She was bailed to appear at the same hearing.

Businesses 'concerned' at threat of more strike action

Firms will be concerned about the impact of an upcoming five-day Tube strike, business leaders have warned.

London Underground will stage strikes over five days in response to the ongoing row over ticket office closures, the RMT has warned.

Londoners will face more disruption later this month. Credit: PA Wire

John Allan, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "The capital is bracing itself for more disruption with another round of strikes due to take place.

"The cost to small businesses for just two days of strike action earlier this year was estimated at £600 million, so many businesses will be rightly concerned about the potential impact five days will have.

"This is particularly unwelcome as the latest employment figures underlined that the UK economy is finally firmly back on track. Ultimately, those businesses where staff and customers rely on the Tube could be put at a further disadvantage."

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Sherwood questions significance of London derbies

Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood has questioned whether London derbies are as significant anymore as a result of the influx of foreign players into the Premier League.

Sherwood was speaking ahead of his side's Premier League game against strugglers Fulham on Saturday.

Asked whether London derbies were as significant anymore, Sherwood replied: "Probably not because there are not so many guys from the area and not a lot from England but it's still a game and it's a game in the Premier League and one they should be up for.

"But does it mean anymore? Probably not but it is certainly important to me and the next four games are crucial," Sherwood added.

Read: Fulham set to face crucial London derby against Spurs

Fulham set to face crucial London derby against Spurs

Fulham are preparing for a crucial London derby against Tottenham on Saturday as they continue their bid to avoid relegation.

Buoyed by successive victories against Aston Villa and Norwich, Fulham are now just two points adrift of safety with four games remaining.

Fulham fans celebrate their team's victory against Norwich City in the stands. Credit: PA Wire

Fulham manager Felix Magath revealed that he had been consulting Lewis Holtby -who is on loan from Spurs - for advice ahead of the clash.

"Sure I ask Lewis how he sees the situation, how a certain player is, but it is not the only one kind of information I will get. I try to get all the information I can get," Magath said.

Chelsea hope to keep pace with Premier League leaders Liverpool when they play Sunderland, while West Ham take on Crystal Palace in the second of this weekend's London derbies.

Boris urges union to call off 'pointless' strike action

Boris Johnson has called on the RMT to call off the more "pointless" strike action and to "get back round the table" to resolve the dispute.

The Mayor of London said the RMT was the only union to walk away from talks since the last strike was called off.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has criticised the strike plans. Credit: PA Wire

"It's a great shame that cool heads appear not to have prevailed among the RMT leadership," Mr Johnson said.

"In choosing the nuclear option by threatening yet more pointless strike action the RMT isn't even supported by a majority of its own union members.

"Rather than threatening more disruption to the lives of hard-working Londoners, they should call off the strikes and, like the three other unions, get back round the table and talk to London Underground."

Read: Tube workers to strike over five days

James Tomkins trial delayed after police lose CCTV

The trial of West Ham footballer James Tomkins for assault has been delayed after police and prosecutors temporarily lost CCTV footage of the alleged incident.

Tomkins, 25, was due to stand trial at Basildon' Magistrates Court after he was accused of assaulting a police officer, being drunk and disorderly in a public place and obstructing a constable outside the Sugar Hut nightclub on December 21 - he denies all the charges.

West Ham United footballer James Tompkins arrives at Basildon Magistrates this morning. Credit: PA Wire

His defence team applied for the case to be dismissed after prosecutors failed to produce a tape showing footage from the Brentwood nightclub.

They claimed it would be unjust for the trial to go ahead without it as it could support Tomkins' case.

An evidence log showed the recording was handed over for forensic examination but had since gone missing.

The tape was later found following a search, but as a result of the delay the trial was adjourned to a later date.

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Tube bosses call on RMT to prevent disruption

London Underground bosses have urged the RMT to prevent further disruption to Londoners after the union announced plans to stage five days of strike action.

A Tube strike in February caused huge disruption to commuters. Credit: PA Wire

Phil Hufton, London Underground's chief operating officer, said:"There will be no compulsory redundancies and all requests for voluntary redundancy will be honoured. However, the RMT leadership has rejected these changes and has not put forward any credible alternative proposals.

"Next week, we will sit down again with the Aslef, TSSA and Unite unions for further discussions on our plans and how we can meet the needs of our customers in 21st century London.

"I urge the RMT to join us, rather than threaten further unnecessary disruption to Londoners. All a strike will achieve is lose those who take part pay for each day of action."

Read: Opportunities to resolve Tube dispute 'sabotaged'

Pickles attacks councils for 'Town Hall Pravdas'

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has critcised five London councils for their "propaganda on the rates" claiming it drives local newspapers out of business.

Formal letters have been sent to the councils responsible for Greenwich Time, Hackney Today, the Newham Mag, Waltham Forest News and East End Life in Tower Hamlets, after Mr Pickles accused them of printing the newpapers too often.

The minister is attempting to force councils to comply with the Publicity Code for local authorities as part of the new Local Audit and Accountability Act.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. Credit: PA Wire

The measures aim to ensure all publicly-funded sheets should be objective and limited in frequency.

"It is scandalous that bloggers have been handcuffed for tweeting from council meetings, whilst propaganda on the rates drives the free press out of business. Only Putin would be proud of a record like that," Pickles said.

"Localism needs robust and independent scrutiny by the press and public, and municipal state-produced newspapers suppress that. Town Hall Pravdas not only waste taxpayers' money unnecessarily, they undermine free speech."

Opportunities to resolve Tube dispute 'sabotaged'

London Underground workers had no choice but to announce strike action after talks aimed at resolving the dispute were "sabotaged", the RMT union has claimed.

The union said long-running talks were "wrecked by a combination of management intransigence and the introduction of additional measures".

RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:

The talks aimed at resolving the dispute on London Underground over the savage cuts to jobs, services and safety have been cynically wrecked by a tube management who not only refused to budge an inch but who have chosen to up the ante by injecting further poisonous measures into a package that was already toxic to the core.

An opportunity to resolve this dispute through eight weeks of talks hosted by ACAS has not only been missed, it has been sabotaged.

As a result, RMT has no option but to put on further strike action in the expectation that the management will now halt these dangerous cuts plans and engage in meaningful and serious talks on the future of a tube network running at full tilt, with further demands in the pipeline, which needs more staff and not less to operate safely.

Tube workers to strike over five days

Tube workers will take strike on the following dates:

  • From 21:00 on Monday 28th April until 20:59 on Wednesday 30th April
  • From 21:00 on Monday 5th May until 20:59 on Thursday 8th May

The first two days of the action will take place ahead of a May Day event in memory of former RMT leader Bob Crow and Labour politician Tony Benn.

Read: RMT declare five days of strike action on Tube

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