Argentine Cardinal named new pope
THE Cardinal of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been named as the new pope – the first from Latin America.
The 76-year-old, who becomes Pope Francis, was regarded as a surprise choice and is the first pope to be chosen from outside Europe for more than a millennium.
His historic election was signalled by white smoke billowing from the conclave of cardinals meeting in the Sistine Chapel.
Hunt halts NHS whistleblower gags
GAGGING clauses which prevent departing NHS staff from speaking out about patient safety or care have been banned by the Government.
Hundreds of whistleblowers have in the past been silenced by the clauses in their severance packages.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the practice would end with immediate effect to help create a culture of “openness and transparency” across the NHS.
Peers urge action on ageing society
THE Government is “woefully underprepared” for the consequences of a rapidly ageing society in England, a House of Lords committee warned today.
In a report, the cross-party committee cited figures from the Office for National Statistics which predict a 50% rise in the number of over-65s and a doubling in over-85s between 2010 and 2030.
While agreeing that longer life is a “gift” to be welcomed, the committee said that unless the Government acts swiftly, it can be expected to cause “a series of crises” in society and public services.
New assault on EU red tape
DAVID Cameron will launch a new assault on EU red tape today, challenging Brussels to scrap dozens of laws he says are tying small businesses up in knots.
The Prime Minister will use an EU summit on jobs and growth to repeat his insistence that making Europe competitive is key to restoring economic fortunes.
Unlocking competitiveness means freeing up firms to do business without unnecessary bureaucratic burdens, he says.
Hammond mocks ‘scots defence force’
SOLDIERS, sailors and airmen serving with the British armed forces may be unwilling to sign up for a new independent Scottish defence force, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond warns.
In a speech in Edinburgh today, Mr Hammond will describe the SNP’s plans for the defence of Scotland if it succeeds in gaining independence as a “significant gamble”.
A Scottish defence force would be able to offer only a “fraction” of the opportunities available in the British forces, he will say, making it difficult to attract high-calibre recruits.