LONDON (Reuters) – British pharmacy chain Boots has apologised for its response to a campaign calling for it to cut the price of one of its morning-after pills and said it was looking for cheaper alternatives. Boots, part of U.S.-listed Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA.O), was criticised by health campaigners and lawmakers after refusing to cut the cost of the emergency contraception pill, saying it could be accused of “incentivising inappropriate use”. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) campaigned for Boots to cut the price for the Levonelle morning-after pill, saying it was more expensive in Britain than other parts of Europe. Its campaign was backed by lawmakers from Britain’s opposition Labour Party. “Pharmacy and care for customers are at the heart of everything we do and as such we are truly sorry that our poor choice of words in describing our position on Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC) has caused offence and misunderstanding and we sincerely apologise,” Boots said in a statement late on Friday. Boots said pricing EHC was determined by the cost of the medicine and the cost of pharmacy consultation. “We are committed to looking at the sourcing of less expensive EHC medicines, for example generics, to enable us to continue to make a privately funded EHC service even more accessible in the future,” it said. Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Edmund BlairLet’s block ads! (Why?) …read more


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) have agreed to pay a combined $148 million to end private U.S. antitrust litigation claiming they conspired with other banks to manipulate the yen Libor and Euroyen Tibor benchmark interest rates. The preliminary settlements, totaling $77 million for Deutsche Bank and $71 million for JPMorgan, were detailed in filings late Friday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, and require a judge’s approval. They followed similar settlements last year with Citigroup Inc (C.N) and HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L) totaling $23 million and $35 million, respectively. Investors including the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and J. Kyle Bass’ hedge fund Hayman Capital Management LP had accused more than 20 banks of conspiring to rig yen Libor, Euroyen Tibor and Euroyen Tibor futures contracts to benefit their own positions from 2006 through at least 2010. Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan did not admit wrongdoing or liability in agreeing to settle, court papers show. Banks use the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) and Tokyo Interbank Offered Rate (Tibor) to set costs of borrowing from each other. Libor is often used to set rates on mortgages, credit cards and other loans. Investors have filed many lawsuits in the Manhattan court accusing banks of conspiring to rig rates or prices in various financial and commodities markets. Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Diane CraftLet’s block ads! (Why?) …read more


WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s upper house of parliament approved on Saturday the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party’s Supreme Court reform bill denounced by critics as undermining the separation of powers between executive and judiciary. To become law, the bill now needs to be signed by President Andrzej Duda, an ally of PiS. Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak; editing by Justyna PawlakLet’s block ads! (Why?) …read more


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned on Friday, ending a short and turbulent tenure that made him a household name and the butt of late-night television comedy lampoons, amid further upheaval within President Donald Trump’s inner circle. While not a surprise, Spicer’s departure was abrupt and accompanied other changes in Trump’s media and legal teams, as an investigation of possible ties between his campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election widened. After six months in power and still without a major legislative win, Trump shuffled some of his closest staff, parting ways with Spicer after naming Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director. Spicer had been communications director as well as press secretary following the resignation of Mike Dubke as director early last month. A Republican close to the White House told Reuters that Trump settled on Scaramucci, 53, a political supporter and former Goldman Sachs banker, for the head media job on Thursday and met with him on Friday morning to formally offer it to him. A White House official briefed on what happened next said Spicer was told of Scaramucci’s hiring and Trump urged Spicer to stay on. But Spicer, 45, said he did not want to stay on under the terms and conditions described to him and quit. A source close to the White House said: “Basically Donald Trump likes Scaramucci on TV and saw the communications director job as a way to … make him a top TV surrogate.” The source said Trump wanted Spicer to be press secretary and do much of the communications director’s work as well, “with Scaramucci holding the ceremonial title with no responsibility. And that was the real challenge.” At an early afternoon briefing, Scaramucci, in his debut before the White House press …read more


NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Friday said they are dropping criminal charges against two JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) derivatives traders implicated in the “London Whale” trading scandal that caused $6.2 billion (5 billion pounds) of losses in 2012. In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, prosecutors said efforts to extradite the defendants Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout, who are citizens of Spain and France, respectively, have been “unsuccessful or deemed futile.” They also said they had hoped to rely on Bruno Iksil, the former JPMorgan trader known as the “London Whale,” to prosecute Martin-Artajo and Grout, but that based on his recent statements and writings, “the government no longer believes that it can rely on the testimony of Iksil in prosecuting this case.” Joon Kim, the acting U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, asked a federal judge to issue a formal order dropping the fraud, conspiracy and other charges against Martin-Artajo and Grout, who were accused of hiding losses generated by Iksil. They were indicted in Sept. 2013. “After four long years of protracted litigation, we are very pleased that the government has decided to do the right thing, and dismiss the criminal case,” Grout’s lawyer, Edward Little, said. Lawyers for Martin-Artajo, as well as Iksil, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. JPMorgan suffered the trading losses in its chief investment office (CIO) because of derivative bets linked to Iksil, a French national who worked in London. Iksil has publicly chafed at the “London Whale” moniker and being portrayed as solely responsible for the losses. In a Feb. 2016 letter released to the media, he said he had been “instructed repeatedly” by senior management in the CIO to execute the trading strategy that caused the losses. Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; …read more


A man has been found guilty of murder after battering his partner’s five-year-old son to death in a park for losing a trainer.Marvyn Iheanacho, 39, subjected Alex Malcolm to a brutal attack in Mountsfield Park, Catford, south-east London, on 20 November last year.Witnesses heard a “child’s fearful voice saying sorry”, loud banging and a man screaming about the loss of a shoe, Woolwich Crown Court was told.He will be sentenced on Tuesday. The jury heard Iheanacho, of Hounslow, was in a relationship with Alex’s mother Lilya Breha and would often stay in her flat in Catford.Ms Breha nodded as the verdict was announced and quietly wept in court.Alex suffered fatal head and stomach injuries and died in hospital two days after the attack.One of his trainers was later found in the play area by police.Iheanacho, who was known to Alex as “Daddy Mills”, admitted beating the boy before in a note in his diary which read: “Do I really love Alex, five years old small cute lil boy.”Who want nothing more, than daddy mills to love him protect him but most of all keep him from harm – even though I had to beat him just now for sicking up in the cab – why why why I say – so the answer is yes yes yes I love him and like with all my heart but may not enough.”Iheanacho, who denied murder, gave several different accounts of how the injuries were caused including that Alex fell off a climbing frame, which were all rejected by the jury. Let’s block ads! (Why?) …read more


Charlie Gard campaigners have been urged to show consideration to the parents of other children being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital.The High Court judge in Charlie’s case warned there were “lots and lots” of other sick children at the hospital.It follows complaints from the family members of other children being treated at the hospital. Mr Justice Francis said the relatives of those children may not want to be confronted by campaigners.A spokeswoman for Great Ormond Street acknowledged the hospital had received complaints from families but would not provide further details. Mr Justice Francis was speaking while overseeing the latest hearing in the 11-month-old’s case in the Family Division of the High Court.Charlie suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage. Lawyers for the hospital said on Friday a new scan of Charlie made for “sad reading”. Earlier this month the judge condemned people who had abused and threatened Great Ormond Street medics on social media as a result of Charlie’s case. Timeline3 March 2017: Mr Justice Francis starts to analyse the case at a hearing in the family division of the High Court in London11 April: He says doctors can stop providing life-support treatment3 May: Charlie’s parents ask Court of Appeal judges to consider the case23 May: Three Court of Appeal judges analyse the case25 May: The Court of Appeal judges dismiss the couple’s appeal8 June: Charlie’s parents lose their fight in the Supreme Court20 June: Judges in the European Court of Human Rights start to analyse the case, after lawyers representing Charlie’s parents make written submissions27 June: Judges in the European Court of Human Rights refuse to intervene3 July: The Pope and US President Donald Trump offer to intervene7 July: Great Ormond Street Hospital applies for a fresh hearing at the High CourtHe said Great Ormond …read more


MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr. after his father won the Republican nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election counted Russia’s FSB security service among her clients for years, Russian court documents seen by Reuters show. The documents show that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, successfully represented the FSB’s interests in a legal wrangle over ownership of an upscale property in northwest Moscow between 2005 and 2013. The FSB, successor to the Soviet-era KGB service, was headed by Vladimir Putin before he became Russian president. There is no suggestion that Veselnitskaya is an employee of the Russian government or intelligence services, and she has denied having anything to do with the Kremlin. But the fact she represented the FSB in a court case may raise questions among some U.S. politicians. The Obama administration last year sanctioned the FSB for what it said was its role in hacking the election, something Russia flatly denies, and Charles Grassley, Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has raised concerns about why Veselnitskaya was allowed into the United States at all. Veselnitskaya did not reply to emailed Reuters questions about her work for the FSB. The FSB did not respond to a request for comment. Reuters could not find a record of when and by whom the lawsuit – which dates back to at least 2003 – was first lodged. But appeal documents show that Rosimushchestvo, Russia’s federal government property agency, was involved. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Veselnitskaya and her firm Kamerton Consulting represented “military unit 55002” in the property dispute, the documents show. A public list of Russian legal entities shows the FSB, Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, founded the military unit whose legal address is behind the FSB’s own headquarters. Reuters was unable …read more


BERLIN (Reuters) – Turkey’s economy minister sought to calm rising tensions with Germany on Friday as Berlin said it was reviewing all applications for arms projects from Ankara. Tensions between the NATO allies have escalated since Turkey arrested six human rights activists including German national Peter Steudtner on accusations of terrorism; but relations have been strained over a series of often bitter disputes this year. Turkey’s economy minister told Reuters he believed the Turkey-Germany crisis was temporary. “One must refrain from words that would cause lasting harm…to the economies,” Nihat Zeybekci said in an interview. “Germany must reassess comments that are inappropriate.” But Germany said almost immediately afterwards it would review Turkish applications for arms projects. “We’re checking all applications,” an Economy Ministry spokeswoman said. That means the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (Bafa) probably cannot issue new export approvals; but projects already agreed will not be affected initially as no international sanctions have been imposed on Turkey. In 2016 the German government exported armaments worth 83.9 million euros to Turkey. In the first four months of 2017, business worth 22 million euros was approved – for deliveries for the navy and for joint projects with other NATO partners. Germany has warned Germans travelling to Turkey that they do so at their own peril. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted as comparing Turkey with the former communist East German state – the German Democratic Republic (GDR). “Turkey now makes arbitrary arrests and no longer sticks to minimum consular standards. That reminds me of how it was in the GDR,” he told the mass-circulation Bild newspaper. Schaeuble said those who travelled to the former Communist East before it collapsed in 1990 were aware that “if something happens to you, no one can help you”. Turkish Secret Services German officials …read more


An Acting Detective Chief Inspector in the Metropolitan Police is to face a misconduct meeting over his handling of a missing person case.Saima Ahmed left her home in Wembley, northwest London, on 30 August 2015 and was reported missing the next day.The detective allegedly failed to pursue inquiries relating to her last known sighting, a police watchdog said.Her remains were eventually found in the grounds of a mansion and nearby golf club in Edinburgh in January 2016.To date, no suspicious circumstances have been found concerning Ms Ahmed’s death. Her relatives said at the time it was uncharacteristic of the 36-year-old librarian to go missing and they subsequently complained about the Met Police’s initial handling of the case.The force referred itself to the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), on 18 January 2016.Following an investigation into five people the IPCC found the acting Det Ch Insp had a case to answer for misconduct.In the IPCC’s opinion he failed to document his reasons for not following up the leads for Ms Ahmed’s last known sighting, which may have breached professional standards.He now faces a misconduct meeting with the Met Police, where the maximum disciplinary outcome could be a final written warning.Other possible outcomes include no further action being taken, advice being issued by senior management and a written warning.Separately the IPCC found while Met Police officers were sent to visit the family quickly after receiving the initial missing persons’ report, there were inconsistencies and omissions in their recording of information at that early stage.This meant some relevant details were unavailable to investigators and potentially affected the investigation and its risk assessments, it said.A spokesman for the Met Police said the force was complying with the IPCC recommendations and a misconduct meeting would be held in August.Two officers would face unsatisfactory …read more


LONDON (Reuters) - British pharmacy chain Boots has apologised for its response to a campaign calling for it to cut the price of one...