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Worst year for UK retail in 25 years - trade body

UK retail
© Getty Images
Retail sales fell for the first time in 25 years last year, according to the leading UK retail industry body.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said total sales fell 0.1%, marking the first annual sales decline since 1995.

Sales in November and December were particularly weak, falling 0.9%, the BRC said.

A separate report from Barclaycard found a rise in consumer confidence had failed to boost festive spending.

Comment: While the digital economy may be taking a larger share of spend, it's undeniable that, overall, the signs point to a stagnating and sliding global economic situation:


NY Times columnist Paul Krugman says hacker 'compromised' his IP address to 'download child pornography'

Comment: And he claims the hacker whodunnit is... Q-ANON!

You couldn't make this up... unless you're an American icon!

paul krugman
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is appearing to be having technical difficulties as he acknowledged Wednesday on Twitter that his IP address had been "compromised" and used to "download child pornography."

"Well, I'm on the phone with my computer security service, and as I understand it someone compromised my IP address and is using it to download child pornography," Krugman wrote in a now-deleted tweet. "I might just be a random target. But this could be an attempt to Qanon me. It's an ugly world out there."

Qanon is a reference to the group of conspiracy theorists who in recent years spread incriminating myths against many high-profile Democrats on social media.

Comment: What an absolutely freaking WEIRD thing to confess on Twitter.

Why did he do that?

Was it a 'preemptive strike' because he's in trouble with the law over kiddie porn?

And this guy is the creme de la creme of US intelligentsia!

Oy vey!


MORE glitches found on Boeing's planes

Boeing 737 NG

Boeing 737 NG simulator
A bug in Boeing's 737 NG airplanes' software caused all six of the main screens inside the cockpits to go blank during landing procedures at specific airports, The Register reports. The Register spotted the glitch in an airworthiness directive, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on December 27.

"All six display units (DUs) blanked with a selected instrument approach to a runway with a 270-degree true heading, and all six DUs stayed blank until a different runway was selected," reads the directive.

Go West

Comment: See also: "Potentially catastrophic" wiring issue on Boeing 737MAX confirmed by FAA


CNN settles Nick Sandmann defamation lawsuit in Covington Catholic High School controversy

Nick Sandmann covington
CNN has settled a multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit filed by Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann over its botched coverage of a viral confrontation with a Native American elder that had portrayed the Kentucky teen as the aggressor.

Fox 19 first reported that CNN settled with Sandmann on Tuesday for an undisclosed amount. The $250 million defamation suit sought damages for the "emotional distress Nicholas and his family suffered" in the fallout of the network's reporting.

Sandmann's attorney, Todd McMurtry, declined to comment on the dollar amount or other elements of the settlement with CNN.

Comment: See also:


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle quit senior royal duties, didn't notify the Queen

harry meghan

Couple will split time between UK and North America, they say, amid speculation on move to Canada
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to "step back as 'senior' members of the royal family", they have said.

The couple want to become financially independent, they announced in a statement published to the Sussex Royal Instagram account.

It comes amid speculation the couple want to move to Canada, and just a day after they thanked Canadian embassy staff in person for the hospitality they enjoyed during a six-week Christmas holiday in Vancouver with Doria Ragland, Meghan's mother.

In the statement, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said: "After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.

Comment: See also:


ABC takes advantage of Iran conflict to FINALLY screen Epstein story... 3 years late

abc epstein
© Reuters / Mario Anzuoni; Reuters / New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Handout
TV network ABC is finally broadcasting a long-delayed exposé on notorious sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein - and it only took 3 years, a Project Veritas investigation, and an inquiry from Congress about the shelving of the segment.

"Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein" is due to air Thursday on ABC, the network tweeted on Wednesday, as the country stood poised on the brink of war with Iran and one might assume relatively few eyes were on the Epstein saga - for once.

James O'Keeffe of Project Veritas was quick to take credit for the long-suppressed footage seeing daylight - assuming, of course, the special ABC plans to broadcast bears any resemblance to the investigation by anchor Amy Robach that was mysteriously spiked by network management three years ago.

Comment: See also:


'Many injuries' reported following shooting at Ottawa Airbnb

shooting ottawa airbnb
© Associated Press
Police converge on scene of Airbnb shooting in Ottawa
Police hunt gunman after shooting in Ottawa leaves one dead and three people, including a 15-year-old, seriously injured in 'targeted' early morning attack at Airbnb apartment

One person has been killed and three others seriously wounded after a gunman opened fire in a 'targeted attack' in a downtown Ottawa Airbnb apartment this morning.

Ottawa Police and paramedics were called to the 400 block of Gilmour Street shortly before 7:30am to reports of shots fired that had caused 'many injuries'.In a statement, the police department confirmed that one person had been killed at the scene and three others were taken to hospital with severe injuries.

One of the victims is a 15-year-old boy and he was taken to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario for treatment in a stable condition.

The ages and genders of the other victims have not been confirmed but both are said to be in a 'serious' condition'.

Comment: CTV News reports:
Ottawa police say one person was killed and three seriously injured in a shooting in downtown Ottawa Wednesday morning.

Acting Insp. Francois D'Aoust said at the scene that police believe the attack was targeted and there was no "active shooter" in the city, contrary to an immediate warning from the Parliamentary Protective Service, which guards nearby Parliament Hill.

Kacey Griffiths, who lives next to the house where the shooting occurred, said she woke up to find heavily armed police surrounding the building. She says she watched as police thoroughly searched the residence before two young people were taken away on stretchers.

Paramedics were working on a third person in the backyard, she added.

"They were both people I've never seen before," said Griffiths, who admitted to having been shaken by the shooting. "I'm very local here, I know my neighbours. I've never seen these people in my life."

Griffiths, who suspected the shooting was gang-related, said the street was previously rocked by a shooting last May. Police at the time reported that a car had been struck by bullets but that there were no injuries.

More from local sources:


13 injured as Maine pileup closes parts of Interstate 95

car accident storm maine january 2020

Many people were injured in a 30-car pileup on January 7, 2020 which was attributed to blinding early-morning sun on Interstate 95 in Maine.
A pileup involving some 30 vehicles shut down northbound lanes of Interstate 95 for hours Tuesday morning near Carmel, Maine.

At least 13 people were hurt in the collision, according to the Associated Press, including one with a serious injury. No deaths were reported, Maine State Police Spokesman Steve McCausland told the AP.

A Life Flight helicopter landed in the road, north of the crash site, which was about 16 miles west of Bangor, to fly the seriously injured to a Bangor hospital, the State Police said on its Facebook page.

Black Cat

Remand prisoner found dead in cell at Belmarsh: Investigation begun

Liridon Saliuka death belmarsh
© Dita Saliuka
Liridon Saliuka’s family claim he was being bullied in prison.
Liridon Saliuka, 29, died after a dispute over whether he should be classified as disabled

A remand prisoner has been found dead in his cell at HMP Belmarsh after a dispute over whether he should have been classified as disabled.

Liridon Saliuka, who was born in Kosovo and held a British passport, was found reportedly unresponsive in house block 4 of the high-security prison in the early evening of 2 January.

The Prison Service confirmed he had died. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman is investigating. It is understood the authorities are treating the death as self-inflicted, but the family - who say there have been delays to the postmortem - disagree.

Saliuka, 29, from Harrow in north-west London, had been in custody since last summer when he was arrested and charged with murder in connection with a fatal shooting at a club in east London. He denied being involved.

Red Flag

NY Honours leak of celebs' and police officers' addresses EVEN WORSE than initially thought, govt admits

elton john
© Reuters / Denis Balibouse
The UK government has revealed that a hugely embarrassing error that led to the leaking of celebrities' and police officers' details exposed the sensitive data online for 190 minutes and not for just one hour as previously stated.

The UK Cabinet Office admitted on Tuesday night that the leak on December 27 of more than 1,000 New Year Honours recipients' addresses - including those of Elton John and former Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders - was left online for more than three hours.

Conservative ministers issued an "unreserved apology" for the major gaffe and launched an independent review after the government had initially insisted the private data was leaked online for merely an hour.

Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden has now revised that version of events, and said that, while the link to the data was taken down after 40 minutes, any individuals that had a direct web link had access to the sensitive information for a further 150 minutes.

Dowden insisted that "appropriate management action" would be taken but did not reveal whether anyone would be sacked. He added: "On behalf of the Cabinet Office I apologise unreservedly for any distress or inconvenience caused."