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Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has resigned following several high-profile security lapses.
Julia Pierson offered her resignation to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security on October 1.
On September 30, Julia Pierson faced angry questions in Congress about a major breach of White House security.
News of another incident involving an armed man allowed in an elevator with President Barack Obama compounded calls for her to go.
“Today Julia Pierson, the Director of the United States Secret Service, offered her resignation, and I accepted it,” Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson wrote in a statement.
“I salute her 30 years of distinguished service to the Secret Service and the Nation.”
President Barack Obama also expressed his appreciation to Julia Pierson for her long history of public service, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on October 1.
Julia Pierson offered her resignation because “she believed it was in the best interests of the agency to which she has dedicated her career”, Josh Earnest added.
Julia Pierson faced angry questions in Congress about a major breach of White House security
In an interview with Bloomberg News after her resignation was announced, Julia Pierson said she knew Congress had “lost confidence in my ability to run the agency”.
Joseph Clancy, in charge of the presidential protective division of the Secret Service, will take over as acting interim director.
High-ranking members of the Congress had been calling for Julia Pierson’s resignation in the wake of her testimony before a House oversight committee on September 30.
There Julia Pierson acknowledged the Secret Service security plan was “not executed properly” during a recent breach of the White House.
On September 19, suspect Omar Gonzalez, 42, allegedly scaled a fence and gained entry to the White House while carrying a knife.
On October 1, Omar Gonzalez pleaded not guilty to charges against him, including entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.
Prosecutors say Omar Gonzalez jumped the main fence around the White House and gained entry inside through an unlocked door, then barreled past a guard and ran into the East Room before being tackled.
The incident is the latest in a string of security lapses overseen by the Secret Service, tasked with guarding the Obama family.
On September 16, President Barack Obama is said to have been in an Atlanta elevator with an armed security contractor who had assault convictions.
This contravened a protocol that only members of the Secret Service are allowed to carry weapons in the presence of the president.
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US Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning after six years on the job.
Eric Holder is the nation’s first black attorney general.
The White House said that President Barack Obama would announce Eric Holder’s departure later Thursday, September 25, and that Holder planned to remain at the Justice Department until his successor was in place. White House officials said President Barack Obama had not made a final decision on a replacement for Eric Holder, who was one of the most progressive voices in his Cabinet.
US Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning after six years on the job
Advisers to Barack Obama and Eric Holder said the attorney general had been planning his departure with the president for some time. Some possible candidates who have been discussed among administration officials include Solicitor General Don Verrilli, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Deputy US Attorney General James Cole and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a former Rhode Island attorney general.
Eric Holder, a 63-year-old former judge and prosecutor, took office in early 2009 as the US government grappled with the worst financial crisis in decades and with divisive questions on the handling of captured terrorism suspects, issues that helped shape his tenure as the country’s top law enforcement official. He is the fourth-longest serving attorney general in U.S. history.
He also took on questions of racial fairness, working to improve police relations with minorities, enforce civil rights laws and remove disparities in sentencing. Most recently he became the Obama administration’s point man in the federal response to the police shooting last month of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri. In the shooting’s aftermath, he enlisted a team of criminal justice researchers to study possible racial bias in law enforcement.
The news of Eric Holder’s resignation came as civil rights leaders and the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, who died in a New York City police chokehold this summer, were appearing at a news conference in Washington calling on the Justice Department to take over investigations into the deaths.
Czech PM Petr Necas has announced that he will resign on Monday after days of political turmoil.
Petr Necas’ ruling coalition will try to form a new government led by someone nominated by his Civic Democratic Party (ODS).
Pressure had been growing on Petr Necas to quit since prosecutors on Friday charged his chief of staff Jana Nagyova with corruption and abuse of power.
Two former MPs, an ex-minister and the current and former heads of military intelligence have also been detained.
All except one have been remanded in custody.
President Milos Zeman has said the charges, brought after armed police raids on government and private offices on Wednesday, are “serious”.
Up to 150 million koruna ($8 million) in cash, tens of kilograms of gold and large quantities of documents were seized during the raids.
Detectives have said Jana Nagyova was suspected of bribing the former MPs with offers of posts in state-owned firms. It is alleged this was in exchange for them giving up their parliamentary seats.
Jana Nagyova – a close colleague of Petr Necas for nearly a decade – is also suspected of illegally ordering military intelligence to spy on three people.
Czech PM Petr Necas will resign over Jana Nagyova corruption and spying scandal
Czech media reported that the targets included Petr Necas’s wife, Radka Necasova.
Petr Necas announced this week that they were divorcing.
The prime minister has rejected all the accusations against Jana Nagyova and the other five accused, saying: “I am personally convinced that I did not do anything dishonest and that my colleagues have not done anything dishonest either.”
However, Petr Necas told a televised briefing in Prague when announcing his resignation on Sunday evening: “I am aware of my political responsibility.”
“I will tender my resignation as prime minister tomorrow.” he said. “The entire government will therefore resign with me.”
The opposition Social Democrats had warned they would press for a no-confidence motion in parliament unless Petr Necas stepped down, and the two other parties in his centre-right coalition had signaled that they could no longer support him.
The prime minister said the coalition would try to form a new government, led by a different person, to rule until elections scheduled for June 2014. He is expected to stay on as caretaker until it is installed.
Under the Czech constitution, President Milos Zeman – a political rival – is under no obligation to respect the coalition’s wishes, and could name his own candidate to head an interim government until early elections are held,
Petr Necas also said on Sunday he would resign as his party’s chairman.
“I am fully aware how the twists and turns of my personal life are burdening the Czech political scene and the Civic Democratic Party,” he told the briefing.
The admission is the closest the prime minister has come to confirming that the woman at the heart of this scandal – Jana Nagyova – is more than just a colleague.
Acting head of the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Steven T. Miller has quit after it emerged his staff singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny, President Barack Obama has announced.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had asked for and accepted the resignation of IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller, he said.
“I will do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this happens again,” Barack Obama told a news conference.
The scandal has been one of several to rattle the White House in recent days.
Earlier on Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder faced four hours of questioning at a Congressional hearing on the IRS, the secret seizure of phone records from the Associated Press news agency, and the attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi.
Eric Holder told the House judiciary committee that it would take time for the FBI to determine if any laws had been broken by IRS personnel.
In a short statement to reporters at the White House, President Barack Obama said he had reviewed the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report on the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups and found the “misconduct” uncovered was “inexcusable”.
“Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it,” the president said.
“I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives.”
“The IRS has to operate with absolute integrity.”
Steven T. Miller has quit as IRS head after it emerged his staff singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny
To that end, Barack Obama revealed that the treasury secretary had requested and accepted the resignation of acting commissioner of the IRS.
“It’s important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward.”
Barack Obama said the treasury department would also put in place new safeguards to “make sure this kind of behavior cannot happen again” and that the IRS would begin implementing the TIGTA’s recommendations immediately.
In a letter to colleagues, Steven Miller said he would leave his role in June.
“There is a strong and immediate need to restore public trust in the nation’s tax agency,” he added.
Steven T. Miller took over leadership of the agency in November, when the five-year term of Commissioner Douglas Shulman ended.
At the time when conservative groups were targeted, Steve Miller was a deputy commissioner who oversaw the division responsible.
On Tuesday, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s report on the scandal placed the blame on “ineffective management”.
It found IRS managers had allowed “inappropriate criteria” to be developed and stay in place for more than 18 months, resulting in “substantial delays” in processing applications for tax-exempt status, and requests for “unnecessary information”, such as lists of donors.
Among the criteria used by the IRS Determinations Unit to flag groups for review, the TIGTA said, were having words like “Tea Party”, “Patriots” and “9/12” in their names; or manifestos that focused on the government’s fiscal policy and educating the public to “make America a better place to live”, or criticized how the country was being run.
Senior IRS officials told the watchdog that the decision to focus on conservative groups had not been influenced by any individual or organization outside the agency.
Some Republicans, including two high-profile governors, have called for a special prosecutor to investigate.
House Speaker John Boehner told reporters earlier on Wednesday: “My question is, who’s going to jail over this scandal?”
At least three Congressional panels are planning hearings, and House judiciary committee member Representative Darrell Issa said he had asked five mid-level IRS employees be made available for questioning.
Lebanon’s PM Najib Mikati has announced the resignation of his entire cabinet.
The move comes after the deeply divided cabinet failed to approve a commission to oversee elections planned for June.
The Lebanese government was also unable to agree on the extension of the term of office of the internal security chief, who is otherwise obliged to retire next month.
Lebanon has been gripped by a political crisis linked to the unrest in neighboring Syria.
Lebanon’s PM Najib Mikati has announced the resignation of his entire cabinet
Najib Mikati said he hoped his departure would be “an impetus for leaders to shoulder their responsibilities”.
He also urged political parties to “come together to bring Lebanon out of the unknown”.
President Michel Suleiman has so far made no comment on whether he will accept Najib Mikati’s resignation.
Najib Mikati took the post in 2011 after the Shia Islamist movement Hezbollah and its allies brought down the unity government of Saad Hariri.
Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to become the first leader of the Catholic Church to resign since the Middle Ages has left a slew of unanswered questions.
In an official statement, Pope Benedict blamed his resignation on advancing years, saying declining health had left him unable to properly lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
“Having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he said.
An official spokesman later added that the Pope is suffering from a “decline in vigor, both of the body and spirit”.
To a degree, that’s probably true. Italian newspapers have revealed Pope Benedict suffered a “serious fall” this year and underwent heart surgery in November to replace a pacemaker fitted after an earlier heart attack.
But in a world governed by tradition, serving Popes don’t step aside, no matter how ailing.
Pope Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II, served for 27 years, surviving an assassination attempt. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2001, Pope John Paul II suffered severe difficulties speaking and even sitting up. But he carried on until his death in 2005.
The last pope who failed to carry on until the bitter end was Gregory XII, who was forced out in 1415.
The last to go voluntarily was Celestine V, who resigned in 1294.
But if the fact of the Pope’s departure is unusual, its timing looks downright suspicious.
The Vatican claims Pope Benedict had been considering the move for almost a year, praying intensively as he decided whether to quit.
But if so, why did he recently allow officials to schedule an official tour of Brazil for July?
Why, too, insiders wonder, shortly before Christmas did Pope Benedict promote one of the Vatican’s most glamorous figures, fellow German Georg Ganswein, to Archbishop and the high-profile position of Prefect of his Pontifical Household?
At the time of his appointment, 56-year-old Georg Ganswein – who is known as “the Black Forest Adonis” and “Gorgeous George” on account of his good looks – was billed as the perfect right-hand man to protect an ageing Pontiff from the daily grind of Vatican politics.
Georg Ganswein then appeared on the cover of last month’s Italian Vanity Fair, billed as the “George Clooney of Catholicism”.
The article pointed out that papal aides are promoted to archbishop when an ailing Pope wishes to create an unofficial “gatekeeper”. But if Pope Benedict knew he was about to quit, why appoint Georg Ganswein to this position?
The Pope’s resignation also comes at a time of scrutiny over the Vatican’s alleged links to the world of organized crime.
Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to become the first leader of the Catholic Church to resign since the Middle Ages has left a slew of unanswered questions
Last summer saw the scandalous trial of Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict’s butler, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing confidential documents from his master’s desk and passing them to a journalist.
The papers were given to Gianluigi Nuzzi, a reporter whose “Vatileaks” scoop alleged corruption at the Vatican Bank, including the laundering of $250 million on behalf of the Mafia.
In the wake of Gianluigi Nuzzi’s revelations, the bank’s president was forced to resign. A replacement is due to be announced in the coming months.
His identity is of great concern to organized criminals, who fear the “wrong” appointee will attempt to wipe clean the tarnished bank’s slate by confessing a raft of previous financial misdeeds.
Pope Benedict was expected to usher in just such a new broom; his successor may not. The fact his departure is good news for the mafia has left many suspicious.
But the most curious figure in the shock resignation is Cardinal Angelo Sodano.
Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Angelo Sodano are hardly allies. Indeed, for years they have been regarded as bitter rivals, clashing repeatedly as they each climbed the slippery pole of the hierarchy.
Months after Benedict became Pope, Angelo Sodano resigned as the Vatican’s Secretary of State, its most senior political and diplomatic post, after 12 years in the high-profile job. This hardly makes him an obvious candidate for a public papal embrace.
The second source of suspicion is Angelo Sodano’s professed surprise at Monday’s news of resignation.
Several Vatican insiders, including Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, a top contender to be the next Pope, say Angelo Sodano learned of the coming resignation in Benedict’s private quarters the previous Friday.
If that is the case, then why did the Cardinal describe Pope Benedict’s departure, three days later, as a bolt from the blue?
And what really happened at the Friday meeting? Though held in secret, reports in the Italian press claim there was a heated argument between the men over the fraught question of how the Church should deal with clergy accused of sexual abuse.
In recent years, Pope Benedict has taken a relatively hard line on dealing with paedophile priests, an issue that has damaged the hierarchy’s reputation.
Not only has he apologized publicly to victims, he has also insisted that the Vatican, rather than individual diocese, should be in charge of investigating future abuse complaints, referring them to the police whenever possible.
Angelo Sodano takes a different view. The cardinal has been reluctant to proceed with investigations into suspect priests over the years, and famously used a prayer during Easter Mass in 2010 to describe the complaints of victims of abuse as ‘petty gossip’.
He has clashed with Benedict over this issue several times over the years. In 1995, they fell out over how to deal with Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, who resigned as Archbishop of Vienna after being accused of molesting young men.
Benedict advised the then Pope, John Paul II, to issue an apology over the appalling allegations, which were later proven. Angelo Sodano, as the Vatican’s Secretary of State, chose to over-rule him.
Then, in 1998, Angelo Sodano instructed Benedict – then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – to drop an investigation into multiple counts of abuse by Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of a holy order called The Legionaries of Christ. In a plot twist worthy of a Dan Brown novel, a Catholic journal uncovered evidence that Angelo Sodano had issued the order after receiving $15,000 from the order for being its “cheerleader”.
Benedict waited eight years for revenge. In 2006, he removed Marcial Maciel Degollado – later revealed to have fathered several children by different women – from his post. Angelo Sodano’s resignation from Vatican Secretary of State came soon afterwards.
Yet while it seems Angelo Sodano had several reasons to seek Pope Benedict’s resignation, that doesn’t necessarily mean he had the ability to execute such an audacious plot.
A hostile cardinal seeking to bring down a Pope would have to unearth a catastrophically devastating scandal from his past.
With Benedict’s childhood in the Hitler Youth and long career in a Church ridden with sex abuse allegations, there are avenues for attack. But eight years of scrutiny from the media has left little mud sticking to him.
There is a dubious incident from 1980, when as Archbishop of Munich he transferred a paedophile priest to another parish. And there have been complaints that during the Eighties and Nineties, in his role as head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he ignored complaints of abuse.
Getting the Pope to resign would have taken something more damning. Did Angelo Sodano stumble on a scandal? It seems unlikely.
A more plausible explanation is perhaps that constant exposure to Vatican politics had left the monkish and cerebral Benedict tired and desperate to find an escape.
“Maybe an unpleasant meeting with Sodano pushed him over the edge,” says a veteran insider.
“The Vatileaks scandal showed the place to be completely dysfunctional. It’s been that way throughout history.”
As for Angelo Sodano, he’s no doubt hoping one piece of Vatican history repeats itself. The last time a College of Cardinals chose a new Pope was in 2005 and Benedict was Dean of the College of Cardinals. This time, of course, the dean is none other than Cardinal Angelo Sodano.
The Vatican has acknowledged that Pope Benedict XVI has had a pacemaker for years, one day after his resignation.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi reiterated that Pope Benedict was not stepping down because of any specific illness.
The Pope’s last public appearance will be his final mass in Saint Peter’s Square on February 27, Federico Lombardi said.
The pontiff would have no role in the running of the church after his resignation, he added.
The unexpected development – the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years – surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even the Pope’s closest aides.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 after John Paul II’s death.
In theory there has never been anything stopping Pope Benedict or any of his predecessors from stepping aside.
Under the Catholic Church’s governing code, Canon Law, the only conditions for the validity of such a resignation are that it be made freely and be properly published.
But resignation is extremely rare: the last pontiff to step aside was Pope Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415 amid a schism within the Church.
According to a report in Il Sole 24 newspaper, the Pope had surgery to replace a pacemaker just under three months ago.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi reiterated that Pope Benedict was not stepping down because of any specific illness
At a news conference at the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi confirmed that the batteries in the pacemaker, which had been fitted several years ago, had been replaced in the routine operation.
“That hasn’t affected his decision [to resign] in any way and simply he felt that his strength was diminishing with the advancement of age,” he said.
Earlier the pontiff’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, said the Pope had been advised by his doctor not to take any more transatlantic trips and had been considering stepping down for months.
“When he got to the second half of his 80s, he felt that his age was showing and that he was gradually losing the abilities he may have had and that it takes to fulfill this office properly,” he said.
He said the resignation therefore was part of a “natural process”.
The Vatican now says it expects a new pontiff to be elected before Easter.
Father Federico Lombardi said the Pope would continue with his diary as usual until the day he officially retires on February 28.
He is due to officiate at an Ash Wednesday service at the Vatican.
“The last general audience [on 27 February] will be held in the square since a lot of people will come,” AFP news agency quotes Father Lombardi as saying.
After that the Vatican has said he will retire to the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo before moving into a renovated monastery used by cloistered nuns for “a period of prayer and reflection”.
“He’ll stay in Rome and will certainly have some duties and of course will continue to educate himself intellectually and theologically,” said Georg Ratzinger.
“Where he’s needed he will make himself available, but he will not want to want to intervene in the affairs of his successor,” he said.
At 78, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest popes in history at his election.
Pope Benedict XVI has announced today his resignation after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85.
Here is the full text of Pope Benedict XVI statement from the Vatican:
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonisations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.
After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.
I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.
However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to steer the boat of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.
For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects.
And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff.
With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.”
Pope Benedict XVI has announced today his resignation after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has resigned today, keeping a promise to step down after the passing of his budget by parliament.
MPs earlier passed the 2013 budget drawn up by his government with 309 votes in favor and 55 against.
An announcement on whether Mario Monti will take part in elections – expected in February – will probably be made at a news conference on Sunday.
Mario Monti was brought in to form a technocratic government last year.
However, the conservative People of Freedom party of his predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi, withdrew its support for his cabinet this month.
Silvio Berlusconi, a three-time prime minister already, is fighting his sixth election campaign.
The new political uncertainty in Italy, the third-biggest economy in the eurozone, has unsettled investors.
Mario Monti travelled to the presidential palace after a cabinet meeting late on Friday to hand in his resignation to President Giorgio Napolitano.
President Giorgio Napolitano accepted the resignation and called on Mario Monti to remain as head of an interim administration until the elections, which analysts say will most probably be held on February 24.
The date will be determined after President Giorgio Napolitano consults with political leaders on Saturday and dissolves the two chambers.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has resigned today, keeping a promise to step down after the passing of his budget by parliament
In his last speech before his resignation, Mario Monti said his 13 months in office had been “difficult but fascinating”.
“The work we did… has made the country more trustworthy… more competitive and attractive to foreign investors,” Mario Monti told foreign diplomats in Rome.
Opinion polls suggest the centre-left Democratic Party, under Pierluigi Bersani, will win the largest share of the vote in the election.
Since taking office with his non-party team of ministers, Mario Monti has been implementing economic austerity measures and argues that his spending cuts and tax hikes have staved off disaster.
The economist and former European commissioner cannot stand for election himself as he is already a senator for life but he could theoretically return as a minister, perhaps as unofficial leader of a centrist coalition.
“Those closest to him say he has not yet decided and do not rule out a surprise decision,” the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera said.
“Slowly, as the hours pass, the largest parties which supported Monti begin to see him as a potential adversary.”
On Thursday, Mario Monti, 69, defended the “bitter medicine” of budgetary discipline, in what appeared to be a response to attacks by Silvio Berlusconi on austerity policies.
Mario Monti told workers at the Fiat factory that it would be “irresponsible to waste all the sacrifices that Italians [had] made”.
On Friday, he joked that the impending end of his technocratic government was “not the fault of the Mayan prophecy”, referring to a prediction that the world would end on Friday.
Bob Diamond, Barclays Bank chief executive, has resigned with immediate effect.
The move follows the resignation of chairman Marcus Agius and comes less than a week after Barclays Bank was fined a record amount for trying to manipulate inter-bank lending rates.
Bob Diamond said he was stepping down because the external pressure on Barclays risked “damaging the franchise”.
British PM David Cameron has described the rigging of Libor rates as “a scandal”.
“I am deeply disappointed that the impression created by the events announced last week about what Barclays and its people stand for could not be further from the truth,” Bob Diamond said in a statement.
Bob Diamond, Barclays Bank chief executive, has resigned with immediate effect
He will still appear before MPs on the Treasury Committee to answer questions about the Libor affair on Wednesday.
“I look forward to fulfilling my obligation to contribute to the Treasury Committee’s enquiries related to the settlements that Barclays announced last week without my leadership in question,” Bob Diamond said.
Last week, regulators in the US and UK fined Barclays £290 million ($450 million) for attempting to rig Libor and Euribor, the interest rates at which banks lend to each other, which underpin trillions of pounds worth of financial transactions.
Staff did this over a number of years, trying to raise them for profit and then, during the financial crisis, lowering them to hide the level to which Barclays was under financial stress.
The Serious Fraud Office is also considering whether to bring criminal charges.
Sheena Monnin, this year Miss Pennsylvania, has sensationally resigned from her position, claiming that the weekend’s Miss USA 2012 pageant was rigged.
Announcing the resignation on her Facebook account, Sheena Monnin claimed one of her fellow contestants had seen a list of the competition’s top five girls – before the show had even begun.
The unidentified contestant went on to name all five women correctly before they were announced, Sheena Monnin, 27, said in the posting.
But Miss Universe Organization has refuted the claims, saying that in a resignation email, Sheena Monnin said she was quitting as she was against new rules allowing transgender contestants to take part.
Sheena Monnin added on her post that the Miss Universe Organization, which oversees the pageant, is “fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent, and in many ways trashy”.
Sheena Monnin, from Cranberry Township, won her title in December 2011. She did not place in the top 16 contestants on Sunday, leading some to brand her remarks as the mutterings of a “bad loser”.
But 12 hours after her first Facebook post, Sheena Monnin insisted her claims were correct and gave further insight into what sparked her decision.
“I witnessed another contestant who said she saw the list of the Top 5 BEFORE THE SHOW EVER STARTED proceed to call out in order who the Top 5 were before they were announced on stage,” she said.
The contestant told Sheena Monnin she had seen a folder lying open with a page reading: “FINAL SHOW Telecast, June 3, 2012” on the morning of the show – along with the “top five” filled in.
After the 51 contestants were whittled down to 16, the woman told Sheena Monnin and another contestant what she had seen.
Sheena Monnin went on: “I said <<who do you think they will be?>>. She said that she didn’t <<think>> she <<knew>> because she saw the list that morning. She relayed whose names were on the list.”
The field was then narrowed further as the contestants went through the swimswuit, evening gown and interview rounds, with eventually the final five named.
She went on: “After it was indeed the Top 5 I knew the show must be rigged; I decided to distance myself from an organization who did not allow fair play and whose morals did not match my own.”
After Miss Georgia, Miss Rhode Island, Miss Nevada, Miss Ohio and Miss Maryland completed the Q&A round, Olivia Culpo from Rhode Island was crowned the winner.
Miss Universe Organization, which is co-owned by NBC and Donald Trump, confirmed Sheena Monnin had resigned – but gave very different reasons.
“In an email to state pageant organizers, she cited the Miss Universe Organizations’ policy regarding transgendered contestants, implemented two months ago, as the reason for her resignation,” the statement said.
“Today she has changed her story by publicly making false accusations claiming that the pageant was fixed, however the contestant she privately sourced as her reference has vehemently refuted her most recent claim.”
The statement went on: “We are disappointed that she would attempt to steal the spotlight form Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island on her well-deserved Miss USA win.”
Sheena Monnin, this year Miss Pennsylvania, has sensationally resigned from her position, claiming that the weekend's Miss USA 2012 pageant was rigged
In the email written on Monday by Miss Universe Organization, Sheena Monnin wrote that she was resigning.
She said: “I refuse to be part of a pageant system that has so far and so completely removed itself from its foundational principles as to allow and support natural born males to compete in it.
“This goes against ever moral fiber of my being. I believe in integrity, high moral character, and fair play, none of which are part of this system any longer.”
These sentiments echo her first Facebook post – before she qualified her story.
It is not the first time a Miss USA contestant has raised eyebrows with her prejudiced views. In 2009, Carrie Prejean, representing California, was asked if she believed every state should legalize same-sex marriage.
Carrie Prejean responded: “I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman.”
After Sheena Monnin posted the claims on Facebook, fans and friends commended her resignation, congratulating her for “taking the high road” and thanking her for telling the truth.
But she was also labeled a bad loser by others, including Miss USA 2010 winner Rima Fakih.
“To Miss Pennsylvania 2012,” Rima Fakih wrote on Twitter.
“So you didn’t win or place in Miss USA last night but don’t you dare disrespect my organization! Maybe that’s y u lost.”
The pageant named Olivia Culpo, a 20-year-old cellist, the winner after she made it clear that she embraced all beauty queens – transgender or otherwise – during the interview portion.
In the dreaded final question round, Olivia Culpo was faced with the most difficult question of the night: Would it be fair for a person born a man to be named Miss Universe after becoming a woman?
Olivia Culpo never stumbled as she embraced the Miss Universe Organization’s recent decision to admit transgender contestants.
“I do think that would be fair,” she said.
“But I could understand how people could be apprehensive to take that road.”
Miss Iowa USA Rebecca Hodge was named Miss Congeniality, and Miss Oregon USA Alaina Bergsma was named the most photogenic. They both won $1,000, but didn’t make the top 16.
Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella crowned her successor at the end of the night.
Olivia Culpo will represent the United States at the 61st Miss Universe pageant later this year. An American has not been named Miss Universe since Brook Lee won the title in 1997.
THE ORGANISATION LACKS MORALS: MISS PENNSYLVANIA’S CLAIMS
On her Facebook page, Sheena Monnin wrote:
“I have decided to resign my position as Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012. Effective immediately I have voluntarily, completely, and utterly removed myself from the Miss Universe Organization.
“In good conscience I can no longer be affiliated in any way with an organization I consider to be fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent, and in many ways trashy. I do not support this system in any way. In my heart I believe in honesty, fair play, a fair opportunity, and high moral integrity, none of which in my opinion are part of this pageant system any longer.
“Thank you all for your support and understanding as I walk a road I never dreamed I’d need to walk, as I take a stand I never dreamed I’d need to take.
“After 10 years of competing in a pageant system I once believed in, I now completely and irrevocably separate myself in every way and on every level from the Miss Universe Organization. I remove my support completely and have turned in the title of Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012.”
Sheena Monnin later qualified her remarks by adding:
“Many people have sent me messages requesting and at times demanding that I come forward if I know information that has led to my abrupt and surprising resignation.
“I agree that it is my moral obligation to state what I witnessed and what I know to be true. I will relay to you the reasoning behind my resignation.
“I witnessed another contestant who said she saw the list of the Top 5 BEFORE THE SHOW EVER STARTED proceed to call out in order who the Top 5 were before they were announced on stage.
“Apparently the morning of June 3rd she saw a folder lying open to a page that said <<FINAL SHOW Telecast, June 3, 2012>> and she saw the places for Top 5 already filled in. Thinking she was just seeing a rehearsal fake top 5 from a previous day she walked away, then realized that it had without a doubt been labeled as the Final Show Telecast, June 3rd.
“After the Top 16 were called and we were standing backstage she hesitantly said to me and another contestant that she knew who the Top 5 were. I said <<who do you think they will be?>>. She said that she didn’t <<think>> she <<knew>> because she saw the list that morning. She relayed whose names were on the list. Then we agreed to wait and see if that was indeed the Top 5 called that night.
“After it was indeed the Top 5 I knew the show must be rigged; I decided at that moment to distance myself from an organization who did not allow fair play and whose morals did not match my own.
“That is all I know about this. If this contestant would like to step forward as an eye witness and as being the one who saw the sheet with the Top 5 already selected before the judges ever saw the Top 16, then perhaps action can be taken. As for me, I believe her words and I will not encourage anyone to compete in a system that in my opinion and from what I witnessed is dishonest.”
Sheena Monnin’s email, according to Miss Universe Organization:
“I am officially and irrevocably resigning the title of Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012. I refuse to be part of a pageant system that has so far and so completely removed itself from its foundational principles as to allow and support natural born males to compete in it.
“This goes against ever moral fiber of my being. I believe in integrity, high moral character, and fair play, none of which are part of this system any longer.
“I hereby return the title of Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012.”
Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson is to step down after accusations that a fake computer science degree was included on his CV, reports say.
According to the blog AllthingsD, Scott Thompson will quit his post in the wake of the controversy.
Scott Thompson is likely to be replaced by Yahoo’s global media head Ross Levinson.
The blog says Yahoo is also close to settling with activist shareholder Daniel Loeb, who discovered Scott Thompson’s mistake.
Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson is to step down after accusations that a fake computer science degree was included on his CV
AllthingsD, the Wall Street Journal’s technology blog, reported that Yahoo will say Scott Thompson is stepping down for personal reasons.
Yahoo has already acknowledged that its CEO, who took up his post in January, does not have a computer science degree.
Yahoo is also expected to appoint new directors and a new chairman in the wake of Scott Thompson’s resignation.
Just last month, the company, which is based in Sunnyvale, California, announced plans to make 2,000 employees redundant.
Scott Thompson was previously the president of online payments firm Paypal.
Serbia’s President Boris Tadic has announced his resignation.
Boris Tadic still has 10 months of his current term of office to serve, but the move will allow him to stand for re-election on 6 May.
Parliamentary elections are already scheduled to take place on that date, and the move is seen as a tactic to help his Democratic Party’s campaign.
Serbia’s President Boris Tadic has announced his resignation
Boris Tadic says he will formally submit his resignation to the speaker of the Serbian parliament on Thursday.
President Boris Tadic, who’s keen to build closer links with the European Union, will face a strong challenge from the nationalist candidate Tomislav Nikolic.
Christian Wulff, Germany’s president, has announced his resignation, after prosecutors called for his immunity to be lifted.
Christian Wulff, an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel is embroiled in a scandal over a home loan that he accepted when he was premier of Lower Saxony.
Chancellor Angela Merkel cancelled a visit to Italy on Friday to deal with the crisis, and she will give a statement shortly.
Christian Wulff, Germany’s president, has announced his resignation, after prosecutors called for his immunity to be lifted
According to German media, the crisis is unprecedented in post-war Germany.
The affair will be no more than a headache for Chancellor Merkel, whose approval rating is high among the German people.
However, it comes at a time when Angela Merkel does not need any new headaches, as Germany wrestles with the Eurozone debt crisis.