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Ex-children's home boss guilty of 26 sex abuse charges

Former North Wales children's home owner John Allen has been found guilty of 26 counts of sexually abusing youngsters.

He was found not guilty of two counts by a jury at Mold Crown Court.

12 counts are still to be decided.

Mr Allen, 73, ran homes in the Wrexham area known as the Bryn Alyn Community.

In a seven-week trial, he denied all 40 counts of sexual abuse against 20 children, aged between seven and 15, from 1968 to 1991.

John Allen owned and ran a group of children's homes in the Wrexham area. Credit: PA

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Caerphilly community is most deprived in Wales

A community in Caerphilly has been ranked as the most deprived in Wales.

The area labelled as St. James 3, which includes the Lansbury Park estate, has taken the top position in the new Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation.

This is part of the St. James 3 area, which official figures say is the most deprived in Wales. Credit: Google Street View

The index for 2014 - released today - measures factors like income, housing, health, education and access to services.

2011's most deprived community, in Rhyl West, is now in second place.

Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil have the highest concentration of deprived communities across Wales.

'Rare' crab found off coast of Barmouth

Credit: Blue Planet Aquarium

A 'rare' sponge crab has been found three miles off the coast of Barmouth.

The bizarre-looking crustacean was hauled up in the pots of lobster fisherman Richard Workman and has been donated to an aquarium.

The Blue Planet Aquarium says the crabs get their name because they hold living sponges, which they also cut to fit, on top of their shells as a way of camouflaging themselves from would-be predators.

Staff say they're more commonly seen off the West coast of Africa or in the Mediterranean.

But in recent years their numbers have been increasing in British waters and they may now be permanent residents around our coasts.

“We’re very grateful to the fisherman for donating it to us. They really are amazing creatures and this one is a particular fine specimen, measuring around 10cms long.

Sponge crabs have two pairs of modified legs tipped with needle-like pincers which they use to secure sponges which sit on their backs. They are quite adept at moving sponges over the whole of their body to enable them to hide.

However, this means that they only have two pairs of legs to walk on so they tend to also use their front claws to assist them with walking.

Their bodies, claws and legs are completely covered in a thick furry 'felt' except for the tips of their claws which are a vivid 'rose pink'!

– Stacy Adams, Blue Plant Aquarium

Welsh honey bees' 'good crop for 2014'

Credit: Henning Kaiser/DPA/PA Images

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) says better weather and better beekeeping have upped honey production

It says beekeepers across Wales have reported an average yield of 26lbs of honey per colony this year according to the annual Honey Survey.

That's an increase of almost a fifth on the 22lbs per colony reported by beekeepers in Wales in 2013, and is a far cry from the 10lbs per colony in 2012.

Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA Images

Conducted by BBKA amongst 2,000 beekeepers across the UK, the annual Honey Survey explores the current year’s honey yield and the factors affecting honey bee colonies and honey production. It shows a rise in British production.

While this increase is great news for beekeepers and honey bees, the historic average is 40lbs plus per hive so there is still some way to go if we are to return to our most productive....

– Tim Lovett, BBKA Director of Public Affairs

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AMs' pay hike would insult health workers says union

Unison, one of the unions that recently agreed a Welsh NHS pay deal, is opposing the £10,000 increase proposed by the AMs' pay review body. The union reluctantly accepted that Welsh Government couldn't afford a 1% increase recommended for health workers this year.

A £10,000 pay rise for Assembly Members cannot be justified, particularly when you take into account the struggle that so many working people are experiencing day in and day out.

Unison argues that the outcomes of pay review bodies should be respected, however, the Welsh Government were unable to implement the 1% pay review recommendation made for health workers due to financial constraints placed on them from Westminster.

With this in mind, not only would it be a case of double standards if AMs accepted an 18% pay award, but it would also be an insult to health workers across Wales.

We are urging AMs to reject the pay recommendation. Our members deserve to be paid fairly for the work that they do and until this can be achieved, it would be unjust for AMs to accept a pay increase, especially of this magnitude.

– Unison Cymru/Wales Secretary Margaret Thomas

First Minister 'can't see' support for pay rise plan

The First Minister says he can't see how his Labour group can support a proposal to increase AMs by nearly £10,000 a year.

Speaking in his position as leader of the Welsh Labour group in the Assembly, Carwyn Jones says...

I was as surprised as anyone at the proposals we have seen come forward. I recognise of course in these difficult times how people will feel about this and I can't see how we could support the proposals as they stand.

However, we should not attack the remuneration board. They are independent of Government and of the National Assembly, and this process was established with cross-party support.

It is now for people to respond to the consultation process - I know that the Labour Group has already aired their concerns about the headline proposals and will be responding formally, to the full report, in due course.

– Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister
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