David Allen Neron

David Allen Neron

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Disabled people face benefits change

More than half a million disabled people could lose out as a result of further changes over the next four years to welfare payments.

The formula the government uses to calculate the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for disabled people will change in January.

The government said 640,000 people could be affected by this by 2020.

It said it would save £1.2bn and ensure PIP was fairer, but disability charities criticised the move.

Recipients of PIP are assessed using a points system to determine what level of help they receive.

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Fire brigades 'must improve diversity'

Fire services must do "much more" to recruit black and minority ethnic (BME) firefighters, new fire minister Mike Penning has said.

His comments came as official figures showed just 4.4% of full-time firefighters in England and Wales are from non-white communities.

In Greater Manchester the figure is just 2.8% - even though 16.2% of the population is from an ethnic minority.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the figures were "totally unacceptable".

Mr Penning, who took over the fire and rescue portfolio in January, said diversity was "not an optional extra".

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Budget build-up and driverless cars

The Daily Telegraph reports that benefits payments to the disabled are to be cut by more than £1bn in a move that could clear the way for Chancellor George Osborne to cut taxes for the middle classes in the Budget. Mr Osborne is set to raise the 40p tax threshold, taking hundreds of thousands of people out of the higher tax rate, the Telegraph continues.
Financial Times front page
Image caption The Financial Times also predicts spending cuts in the Budget, saying Mr Osborne faces an £18bn black hole in the economy that has opened up since November.

RCMP say a shooting incident at a Muslim cemetery near Cochrane, Alta., that sent four adult men to hospital Friday afternoon was the result of an altercation following a funeral and not racially motivated.

"It looks as though all the parties involved were at this funeral. And at this point we are not exactly sure what the relationship is between the shooters and the victims," said Cpl. Sharon Franks.

"They were there to mourn a friend and family member," she said. "This is one of those things that is hard to understand.

A Donald Trump rally in Chicago has been postponed for safety reasons due to protest activity, a Trump campaign staffer told Reuters.

The announcement that Trump would postpone the rally for another day led the crowd inside the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion to break out into raucous cheers.

Protesters rushed the arena floor in jubilant celebration. Many jumped up and down, with arms up in the air, shouting "Bernie! Bernie!" and "We stopped Trump!"​

WASHINGTON At least three major U.S. companies, AT&T Inc (T.N), Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc (HOT.N) and Marriott International Inc (MAR.O), are seeking to complete deals in Cuba as President Barack Obama prepares to visit Havana, a person familiar with the discussions said on Friday.

The flurry of deal-making could help Obama use his historic March 20-22 trip to showcase what he sees as the benefits of Washington’s diplomatic opening with the former Cold War foe after decades of hostility. It will be the first visit to Cuba by a U.S.

Energy Transfer Equity LP (ETE.N), the U.S. pipeline company that agreed to acquire Williams Companies Inc (WMB.N), has held talks to sell gas station and convenience store operator Sunoco LP (SUN.N), according to three people familiar with the matter.

While these discussions were preliminary, they underscore Energy Transfer's efforts to bolster its balance sheet after a plunge in oil prices made its pending acquisition of Williams more financially burdensome than it previously envisioned.

Energy Transfer held conversations to sell Sunoco earlier this year after it was approached by at least one interested company, the sources said this week, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations were confidential.

AUSTIN, Texas U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday made a passionate case for mobile devices to be built in a way that would allow the government to gain access to personal data if needed to prevent a terrorist attack or enforce tax laws.

Speaking at the South by Southwest festival in Texas, the president said he could not comment on the legal case in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation is trying to force Apple Inc. to allow access to an iPhone linked to San Bernardino, California, shooter Rizwan Farook.

But he made clear that despite his commitment to Americans' privacy and civil liberties, a balance was needed to allow some government intrusion if necessary.

By Anthony Langat

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Kenya's first gay music video - swiftly banned by the country's film board - shows a well-toned

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BERNIE ADS BLAST 'GODFATHER' RAHM...

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  • Emanuel was a top official in former President Bill Clinton's administration and also served as President Barack Obama's first chief of staff
  • The ads feature local Chicago public
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