Home Office criticised for failures in reforms to criminal records vetting

Disclosure and Barring Service revamp is four years late and £230m over budget, say MPs

The Home Office has been accused of running a “masterclass in incompetence” over its attempts to improve the criminal records checking scheme.

Parliament’s public spending watchdog said a programme to modernise the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has been marred by poor planning, delays and spiralling costs.

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Senate approves bill to overhaul system for reporting sexual harassment

Bill eliminates mandatory ‘cooling off’ periods for handling claims and requires lawmakers to repay the treasury for settlements

The Senate gave swift approval on Thursday to a bill that revamps the system for handling sexual harassment complaints on Capitol Hill.

The bill eliminates mandatory waiting periods for handling claims and requires lawmakers to repay the treasury for harassment settlements.

Related: Eight women allege sexual harassment at XPO Logistics warehouse in Memphis

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Harassment rife in chambers and courts, barristers group says

Behind the Gown initiative launched to help exploited lawyers fight abuse of power

Barristers’ chambers and courts are plagued with sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power, according to a group dedicated to delivering justice to exploited lawyers.

The inaugural meeting of Behind the Gown, held in central London on Wednesday evening, heard complaints of inappropriate behaviour and discriminatory conduct by judges, QCs and senior lawyers.

Related: Barristers in England and Wales ‘in grip of mental health crisis’

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Trump blocked me on Twitter. Not any more | Holly Figueroa O'Reilly

As well as missing important announcements on Twitter, I’ve had to forfeit my right to dissent. A court ruling changes that

For the first time, a federal court has ruled that President Donald Trump is in violation of US citizen’s first amendment rights. Was it because he was silencing the media? Not for lack of trying, but no. Was it because he was handing down dictums from on high about whether football players should be able to kneel or not? Nope!

It’s because he blocks political dissent on his self-described favorite mode of communicating with the American public: Twitter.

Trump is not only blocking our right to petition our government and access important information, but he distorts that public forum by purging critical voices

Related: Donald Trump cannot block anyone on Twitter, court rules

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Spotify to pay out $112m in royalties to songwriters

The streaming company will recompense songwriters not paid enough royalties, but one unhappy music publisher claims ruling is ‘a free pass on wilful infringement’

Spotify will pay out $112m (£83.5m) in a settlement agreement, following two lawsuits that claimed songwriters hadn’t been paid enough in royalties for their work being streamed on the service.

The class action, a combination of the two lawsuits, originally came from David Lowery, an musicians’ rights advocate from the band Camper Van Beethoven, and Melissa Ferrick, a songwriter and owner of a music publishing company. They each asserted that Spotify had failed to obtain proper licences to songwriters’ work; Ferrick accused them of “wholesale copyright infringement”.

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'It’s wrong to stink up other people’s lives': fighting the manure lagoons of North Carolina

Pigs outstripped people in Duplin county long ago – but now the residents are fighting back

Two poles that once hoisted a clothes line stand rusting and unused in Elsie Herring’s back garden in eastern North Carolina. Herring lives next door to a field where pig manure is sprayed and the drifting faecal matter wasn’t kind to her drying clothes.

“The clothes would stink so you’d wash them again and again until they fell apart,” said Herring, whose family has lived in Wallace since her grandfather, a freed slave, purchased land in the 1890s.

A miasma of “offensive and sustained swine manure odors” lingers around the homes.

“Anything white people don’t want, they dump on eastern North Carolina.”

Related: Share your stories from inside the farming industry

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Trayvon Martin's parents: 'The Weinstein Company owes us $150,000'

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin claim production company failed to pay option fee after entering into deal to purchase rights to book about their son’s killing in 2012

The parents of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager shot dead while walking home from a convenience store by George Zimmerman, have claimed they are owed at least $150,000 (£110,000) by the Weinstein Company.

According to documents filed by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin in a Delaware bankruptcy court, the company formerly run by the disgraced Hollywood mogul entered into a deal to purchase the rights to a possible movie and TV series based on their book, Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.

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Pussycat Dolls sue Daily Mail owner over 'prostitution ring' story

Former girl group member Kaya Jones claimed members were used for sex by music executives – the group has now sued the Mail’s parent company for publishing her remarks

Girl group Pussycat Dolls are suing the parent company of the Daily Mail, after an article was published in which former member Kaya Jones said the group was a “prostitution ring”, where members were given drugs and “passed around” music industry executives for sex.

The lawsuit, filed by the band’s manager, Robin Antin, as well as under the Pussycat Dolls Inc brand name, is citing defamation as a result of the article, published in October 2017. It describes the article as “intentional, reckless and malicious … false and defamatory statements made by a disgruntled, unreliable and biased person looking for her 15 minutes of fame, Kaya Jones, when the defendants knew through their direct prior dealings with plaintiffs, or should have known, with even the most basic check, that Ms Jones was unreliable and her story obviously false”.

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