Departing Pope to vacate his office
POPE Benedict XVI will step down today after nearly eight years as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
The pope is due to meet cardinals before being formally bid farewell by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and other members of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State in Rome.
He is then due to fly by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s summer retreat with the empty office of pope, or the Sede Vacante, formally declared at 7pm British time.
Retail chains close 20 shops a day
MAJOR retailers in Britain closed an average of 20 stores a day over the past 12 months, new research revealed.
The numbers of shop closures by high street chains in 2012 was 10 times the number of the year before, analysis by PwC and the Local Data Company found.
The survey found that 1,779 stores were closed last year, compared with 174 in 2011.
EU agrees cap on bankers’ bonuses
EUROPEAN Union chiefs have agreed a package of financial laws that includes capping bankers’ bonuses at a maximum of one year’s basic salary.
The bonuses will only be allowed to reach twice the annual fixed salary if a large majority of a bank’s shareholders agrees, said Othmar Karas, the European Parliament’s chief negotiator.
Ireland’s finance minister Michael Noonan, who led the negotiations for 27 governments, said: “This overhaul of EU banking rules will make sure that banks in the future have enough capital, both in terms of quality and quantity, to withstand shocks. This will ensure that taxpayers across Europe are protected into the future.”
Rennard ‘victim’ to contact police
A WOMAN at the centre of allegations that a Liberal Democrat peer sexually harassed party activists is expected to make a formal complaint to police today.
Alison Smith, a Lib Dem activist who is now a lecturer at Oxford University, said she planned to talk to officers about claims that Lord Rennard behaved inappropriately towards her.
She claims an alleged incident in 2007 was “more serious” than having a hand placed on her knee.
Eastleigh voters go to the polls
VOTERS go to the polls today in the closely contested Eastleigh by-election that is poised to heap pressure on David Cameron.
The Hampshire constituency has previously been held by the Conservatives and is one of the seats viewed as key to the party winning an outright majority at the 2015 general election.
But the Liberal Democrats are desperately fighting to hang on to it to give a vital morale boost to the grassroots after support hit the doldrums on entering coalition.