UK’s Royal Mail privatization subscribed in hours: sources

A Royal Mail post box stands on a street corner in Manchester, northern England September 12, 2013. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Slept in. Have @asda withdrawn their ‘mental patient fancy dress’ costume or are we going to organise a protest at HQ? #timetochange Alastair Campbell (@campbellclaret) September 26, 2013 Alastair Campbell “It is staggeringly offensive to the one in four of us affected by mental health problems and our families and friends, and troubling that some businesses are still so out of touch with the public mood,” spokeswoman Sue Baker said in a statement . However, Baker said the outcry the costumes provoked on the social media site Twitter was encouraging. “We hope this will urge Asda, Tesco and other retailers and manufacturers to review their processes and consider taste and decency on mental health grounds, to avoid fueling stigma and discrimination that are so damaging for large numbers of the population,” she said. Mind and the group Rethink Mental Illness run the Time to Change campaign to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. One of the campaign’s supporters is Alastair Campbell, who was former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s media chief and who has publicly spoken of his battle with depression . Campbell was among those who tweeted his displeasure at the “brutally stigmatizing outfits.” “@asda and @tesco should sign up for one of the @mindcharity @Rethink_ @TimetoChange mental health training courses,” he tweeted . Campbell alleged that Amazon still carried mental health patient costumes and called for people to tweet the company, asking it to withdraw them. But in response to an inquiry from CNN, an Amazon spokesperson said: “The item you refer to is not available on Amazon.co.uk.” Soccer player and broadcaster Stan Collymore who has also spoken out on depression, also took to Twitter to criticize the stereotype he said Asda and Tesco’s costumes had promoted. Collymore tweeted: “Do you actually realise how many people are hanging themselves because of being frightened of the stigma?

UK retailers remove ‘staggeringly offensive’ mental health costumes from sale

“The headline really is that it’s priced to go,” Byde said, estimating Royal Mail was valued on a forward price-to-earnings multiple of around 8 times versus an average of about 10 for the European sector. “We would expect it to debut pretty well.” Royal Mail follows the initial public offering of bpost in June and comes after stronger equity markets have helped revive new listings in Europe this year. European firms have raised $15.9 billion from flotations in the first nine months, three times the year-ago level, according to Thomson Reuters data. The sale is the fourth time Britain has tried to privatize Royal Mail, which traces its origins back to 1516 when mail was delivered by horse from King Henry VIII’s court. Three selloff attempts in the last 19 years have failed due to opposition from within the governing majority, which feared an electoral backlash from tampering with a revered institution whose red post-boxes are known around the world. The latest sale effort has been criticized by the current opposition Labour party and unions, who on Friday sent out ballot papers for strike action. The ballot will close on October 16, five days after Royal Mail is scheduled to make its stock market debut, with the earliest possible strike date being October 23. UNDER PRESSURE Labour, which polls show is the frontrunner to win the next election, has come under pressure from its union backers and party activists to pledge to renationalize Royal Mail. While it has not ruled this out, Labour said it would be irresponsible to do so without knowing how much it could cost. The head of equities at a UK fund manager said Labour leader Ed Milliband’s promise earlier this week to freeze energy prices for 20 months if his party wins power in May 2015 may have made Royal Mail more attractive to some investors. “The income fund managers are quite intrigued by it (Royal Mail),” said the manager, who declined to be named. “If our friend Ed is going to make things difficult for utilities … this is potentially quite a nice thing coming through.” The government said it planned to pay a final 2014 dividend totaling 133 million pounds, equating to a full-year payout of 200 million had the group been listed for the full year. Based on the offer price range, that full-year payout gives Royal Mail an implied dividend yield of between 6.1 percent and 7.7 percent – making it attractive at a time when a regular UK savings account is yielding less than 3 percent.

UK to host 2014 NATO summit with focus on Afghanistan

A facial recognition software program made only one successful identification, according to Neville. DCI Mick Neville oversees the Metropolitan Police Circulation Unit Weeks before the Notting Hill Carnival, the biggest street festival in Europe, kicked off last month, the super recognizers were given images of known criminals and gang members. After the carnival began, 17 super recognizers holed up in a control room to study surveillance footage and spot the potential troublemakers. Once targeted people were identified, police officers were sent to the scene as a pre-emptive strategy. Neville said that likely prevented some crimes like thefts and assaults. Neville said one super recognizer saw what he thought was a drug deal, but wasnt sure. The next day, the super recognizer saw the same person and when police intervened, they found the suspect with crack cocaine. He noted that the officers arent infallible and that their identification is only the start of a case, after which police start looking for other evidence. Legal authorities warned it could be problematic to use super recognizers as expert witnesses in court, such as in situations where they identify criminals based on an imperfect image. Unless we subject them to (rigorous testing), then we are just taking their word on trust and we have no reason to do this, said Mike Redmayne, a law professor at the London School of Economics. Perhaps they can do what they say, but we dont have the evidence yet, he wrote in an email. If it was up to me, I would not (allow) it in court. In the U.S., experts thought it would be up to individual judges to decide whether super recognizers needed to be verified before allowing their testimony in court. Its not clear to me that the law will demand they be tested first, said David Kaye, a distinguished professor of law at Penn State.

PHOTO: AFP LONDON:Britain announced on Friday that it will host next years NATO summit with the leaders of the military alliance expected to focus on Afghanistan as its troops withdraw from the conflict. It is the first time the event has been held in Britain since 1990, as the Cold War came to an end. Im delighted that the UK will host the 2014 NATO summit, Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement. The date and venue has yet to be announced. Cameron indicated that Afghanistan would be central to discussions among the 28 NATO member states, as the 87,000 NATO-led troops fighting the Taliban insurgency prepare to leave by the end of 2014. It will be an opportunity for leaders to recognise the contribution and the sacrifice made by our service men and women as the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) mission in Afghanistan draws to a close, and as NATO draws down its forces and looks to help Afghanistan in different ways, he said. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the summit would be an opportunity to mark the conclusion of our ISAF mission at the end of next year, while opening a new chapter in NATOs engagement with Afghanistan. Formed in 1949 as Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union soared, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is a political and military alliance whose members are committed to defend each other if one of them is attacked. It now has 28 members in Europe and North America. The last summit was held in Chicago in 2012, and before that in Lisbon in 2010.

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“That keeps me in a real state of gratitude. It keeps me in a state of humility because there’s been so many players that have chosen to come here that have impacted our success that had a lot of different options. I’m just so grateful that we’ve ended up with the roster we have.” Missing from that roster is all-time great A’dia Mathies, who finished her remarkable UK career as the second-leading scorer in school history. Mitchell will tell you there is no such thing as a next Mathies, but the way the Cats respond to her absence will go a long way toward defining this season. There is no way to predict how that will play out, but Mitchell is excited to see what’s ahead. “I think it’s one of the real opportunities we have to challenge ourselves as a program and as a team and as a coaching staff, to figure out how are we going to move forward,” Mitchell said. “I think that has to happen in a real natural way and a real organic process. We’ll see who emerges. “Is it one person that takes over A’dia’s role or do we get it in a little bit different ways? I don’t know the answer to those questions but it sure is part of the challenge and it sure is part of the fun of building a team.” Mathies was never a very vocal presence, but her steadiness on the court in both games and practice was central to UK’s success as an example to her teammates. But in terms of taking up the leadership slack, Mitchell sees a team that’s ahead of schedule. “I’ve been really happy with how the players have worked in that area,” Mitchell said. “The first thing you have to have is a lot of trust among the players. You have to have people that will lead and you have to have people that will take direction and move forward in a positive way.” Taking up that mantle have been two players – a senior and a junior – who have been key contributors in the past, but are now emerging as veteran presences.