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British Report British Report
by Euro Reporter
2010-09-22 07:18:53
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When Britain decided to stop spying on India

The British were so unsure about intelligence sharing with post-independent India, its spy agencies decided to set up an unprecedented covert operation in the country but its agent — an unnamed high-profile police officer — was exposed. The result of the fiasco, according to a book launched at the British foreign office on Tuesday, was the historic decision taken by Prime Minister Clement Attlee that British agencies would no longer spy in any Commonwealth country without that government’s approval.

The saga, according to MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949, began when representatives of three British spy agencies met secretly to decide what to do about intelligence sharing with independent India. At the meeting were officials of MI5, the internal spy agency, the Indian Political Intelligence (IPI), an arm of the India Office, and MI6, which collects foreign intelligence. On security issues, writes author Prof Keith Jeffery of Queen’s University Belfast, MI5 was happy to leave matters to “proper liaison” between it and Indian agencies. MI6, however, thought the new government would be unable, “either on account of inefficiency or lack of interest,” to furnish all the information required by the British. Instead, it proposed that MI6 should set up a spy operation without telling India’s first government.

The British appeared to have made an exception for India: a foreign office mandarin wrote that “in theory secret service cannot operate in British Commonwealth territory, but we feel that for this purpose we should be wise to treat India as a foreign country.” The operation began in the month of India’s independence, and the man chosen to head it was a former Indian policeman, who went with the cover of an ‘economic adviser,’ said Jeffery. The British High Commissioner in New Delhi, Sir Terence Shone, protested saying the man was too well known.  However the plan unravelled spectacularly within just months — in March 1948 the policeman’s cover was blown, and he was recalled to Britain “with a distinct possibility of his not returning,” reported British spy Dick Ellis. The entire operation was finally scotched by Britain’s new envoy to New Delhi, Gen Sir Archibald Nye. The final nail in the brief misadventure was driven in when Attlee decided that MI6 should withdraw completely from India after 1948, establishing the policy principle that came to be known as the ‘Attlee Doctrine.’


Woman who dumped cat in garbage bin charged in England

A British woman captured on video camera dumping a cat into a garbage bin has been formally charged. Mary Elizabeth Bale, 45, has been charged with “causing unnecessary suffering to a cat and of not providing the animal with a suitable environment,” the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals said in a statement.

The cat, Lola, was trapped in the garbage bin for 15 hours before being rescued by its owners. “Ms Bale was witnessed on CCTV footage stroking a cat, then looking around and picking the cat up by the scruff of its neck before putting it in a wheelie bin, shutting the lid and walking away from the scene,” the RSPCA said. “At no point did she return.”

The video outraged people around the world. It took a few days for Bale to apologize after saying initially, “It’s just a cat.” Bale is scheduled to appear in court in Coventry, central England, on Oct. 19.


Government green deal must offer financial incentives

The public like the idea of the new Green Deal but will take it up only if government is prepared to offer significant financial incentives such as stamp duty rebates, council tax refunds, and low interest rates, according to new research by the Great British Refurb Campaign and WWF-UK. As Chris Huhne prepares to take the platform at the Liberal Democrat party conference to set out his plans for the greenest government ever, the Great British Refurb Campaign is calling for a stronger Green Deal that will motivate the nation's homeowners to upgrade their homes energy efficiency.

The Great British Refurb campaign surveyed more than 2000 adults, in order to gauge the level of interest from the public for a proposed Green Deal programme that would improve the energy efficiency of their home.  Rather than paying the cost of energy efficient refurbishment upfront, the work is paid for by a charge on the home over a period of up to 25 years.  This charge is known as a Pay-As-You-Save (PAYS) charge and will cost less than the money saved from reduced energy use. This charge would be linked to the property, rather than the individual so when they sell their home the charge would pass to the next owner.  Based on this, 56% of those polled would find the Green Deal an attractive proposition.

However the Great British Refurb Campaign believes this number could increase with financial incentives, and believes this is crucial to help ensure the UK meets its carbon targets.  A one-off council tax rebate is a real motivator with 49% saying they would be likely to take up the Green Deal if government can offer a £500 council tax rebate.  Changes to stamp duty were also popular with the public considering or recently moved and are an important incentive for refurbishment works.  The Great British Refurb is now calling on Huhne to offer these positive financial incentives to ensure there is greater take-up of the Green Deal.  Low interest rates (which are not included in the current government package) are also key to a greater proportion of the public signing up to the Green Deal. If offered an interest rate of 2% through the Pay-As-You-Save scheme, 34% say they are "very" or "fairly likely" to take it up with a low interest rate of 2%. However, this percentage drops to a mere 11% with an interest rate of 4% each year and just 7% with an interest rate of 6% per annum.

"It's vital the Green Deal succeeds and inspires a nation of homeowners to want the most energy efficient home possible," insisted Colin Butfield, head of campaigns at WWF-UK, one of the founders of the Great British Refurb Campaign.  "It is encouraging to see public appetite for the scheme but without incentives it is clear that few will sign up and government won't be able to achieve the carbon savings needed from the UK's housing stock," he added.  "We can take heart that a swathe of the British public are up for radically transforming their home energy efficiency," insisted Simon McWhirter, campaign director of the Great British Refurb.

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