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Hain demands explanation of MP surveillence

On his last day in the House of Commons, Neath MP Peter Hain has demanded an explanation of why he and other MPs allegedly had police surveillance files kept open on them. He said it was hardly a revelation that the special branch had a file on people like him, dating back 40 years to his time as an anti-apartheid activist. But he was concerned at the suggestion that the file remained active after he became an MP in 1991.

Surely the fact that these files were still active for at least 10 years while we were MPs raises fundamental questions about parliamentary sovereignty and privilege—principles that are vital to our democracy. It is one thing to have a police file on an MP suspected of crime, child abuse or even co-operating with terrorism, but quite another to maintain one deriving from campaigns promoting values of social justice, human rights and equal opportunities that are shared by millions of British people. Surely that means travelling down a road that endangers the liberty of us all.

– Peter Hain MP

The claim about files on MPs was made by a former undercover police officer, Peter Francis. The minister responsible for the police, Mike Penning, said this was the kind of allegation that had led the Home Secretary to set up an inquiry under a senior judge.

Undercover policing is an essential tactic in fighting crime. However, we have known for some time that there have been serious historical failings in undercover policing and its practices. To improve the public’s confidence in undercover work, we must ensure that there is no repeat of these failings. That is why the Home Secretary established a public inquiry earlier this month -to investigate thoroughly undercover policing and the operation of the special demonstration squad

– Home Office Minister Mike Penning MP

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Nigel Owens meets offender who sent homophobic tweet

Rugby referee Nigel Owens has met the man who sent him a homophobic tweet after the recent England v France Six Nations match.

Nigel Owens was sent the tweet after the England v France Six Nations match. Credit: PA

As part of an agreed Adult Community Resolution an 18-year-old from Cynwyl Elfed apologised to Mr Owens at Carmarthen Police Station yesterday for the offence he had caused.

“I am satisfied that this matter has been effectively resolved by Dyfed Powys Police with an outcome that was satisfactory for both parties. The person responsible realises his mistake and I’m sure he will have learned from this experience...Dyfed Powys Police will not tolerate discrimination of any kind and the public need to realise that if offensive comments are made on social media, they are not above the law and we will investigate the matter as we would any other.”

– Inspector Stuart Bell, Dyfed-Powys Police

“I am pleased this matter has been dealt with in this way. There is no place for abuse in any form in rugby, sport or society generally, and I thank all those who make a stand against action of this kind.”

– Nigel Owens

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Man sentenced to life for murder of stepmother

A man who stabbed his own stepmother to death following a family row has been sentenced to life in prison.

Tributes have been paid to 'esteemed poet' Anne Jackson, who wrote under the name Anne Cluysenaar.

49-year-old Timothy Jackson killed 78-year-old poet Anne Jackson, who wrote under the surname Cluysenaar, after stabbing her in the neck at her farmhouse in Usk, south Wales.

University lecturer Anne, who fled from her native Belgium during the Second World War, was found with fatal knife wounds to her neck, shoulder and back.

Police and paramedics were called to the house following a violent family argument and discovered Mrs Cluysenaar body in the living room.

Mr Jackson was ordered to serve a minimum of 19 years.

"Your father and stepmother supported you both materially and emotionally. But you appear to have developed an irrational hatred of her and the murder was particularly brutal."

– Judge Neil Bidder

Title sponsor named for Wales' World Half Marathon Championships

Cardiff University has been named as title sponsor of the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff next year.

Many of the world's top distance runners will descend on the Welsh capital on March 26th 2016. Credit: Westgate Sports Agency

The race will be the highest profile athletics event to come to Wales since the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1958.

Many of the world's top distance runners will descend on the Welsh capital on March 26th 2016 to run ahead of a mass participation event on the same day.

25,000 amateur runners are expected to attempt the 13.1 mile course that is expected to see one of the fastest times of the year over the distance thanks to Cardiff's flat terrain.

“With one year to go we’re both thrilled and excited that Cardiff University has become title partner to this global sporting event. We recognise the respective contributions that our organisations make in creating a more active population and look forward to developing this shared vision. With television coverage expected in more than 100 countries, Cardiff 2016 will also enhance Cardiff University’s international profile and we look forward to working together to maximise this once-in–a-lifetime opportunity.”

– Matt Newman, CEO of the IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships Organising Committee

Blues prop Jones completes move to Harlequins

Former Wales prop Adam Jones has completed his move from Cardiff Blues to Harlequins.

Jones retired from Test rugby earlier this year. Credit: PA

The 34-year-old, who retired from Test rugby earlier this season, won 95 caps for Wales during an international career that also saw him play in five Tests for the British and Irish Lions.

"I am really excited about this new challenge. I have enjoyed my year with the Blues, and I am thankful to the board and Mark Hammett (former Blues rugby director) for giving me a go...Contrary to media reports in Wales, I have had options here, but Harlequins is an ambitious and progressive club with good values. Everyone who is there, or who has been there, loves it."

– Adam Jones, Harlequins

Jones only moved to the Blues this season following an 11-year stint with the Ospreys.

Jones will join fellow new recruit - former Australia captain James Horwill - at the Twickenham Stoop next term, while Quins have also strongly been linked with a move for Wales centre Jamie Roberts, who currently plies his trade with French club Racing Metro.

"We are absolutely delighted to have secured Adam's services...Not only is it apparent that Adam wants to keep going for some time to come, but the work he will do in supporting and pushing our young tightheads Kyle Sinckler, Will Collier and Matt Shields will benefit us for years to come. He is a world-class prop, and we cannot wait to get him involved. I am sure he will become an instant hit with our supporters."

– Conor O'Shea, Harlequins Rugby Director
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