Daily Archives: March 1, 2015

CCTV shows British schoolgirls in Istanbul on way to Syria: media

(Reuters) – Security footage appears to show three British schoolgirls, believed to be on their way to join Islamic State militants, waiting for hours at a bus station in Turkey before traveling to a city near the Syrian border, media reported on Sunday.

British police and the girls’ families have issued urgent appeals for their daughters to return home after they flew to Istanbul from London on Feb. 17. Friends Amira Abase, 15, Shamima Begum, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, are thought to have since entered Syria, British police have said.

European governments have called on Turkey to stem the flow of foreign fighters to Syria, and British Prime Minister David Cameron has urged social media firms to do more to deal with online extremism, saying the girls appeared to have been radicalized “in their bedrooms.”

The CCTV pictures, dated Feb. 17 and Feb. 18, are from Bayrampasa bus station on the European side of Istanbul, which the girls reached by metro from the airport, Milliyet newspaper said, citing police sources.

They say the girls spent 18 hours at Bayrampasa before boarding a bus to travel to Sanlifurfa, 50 km (30 miles) from the Syrian border region controlled by Islamic State militants.

Turkish police are trying to identify people seen in the footage helping the girls with their luggage at the bus station.

Turkey has complained that Britain was late in notifying it about the girls’ arrival, a charge London rejects.

British police said on Sunday that about 60 young women and girls were now believed to have traveled to Syria from Britain, including about 22 in the last year.

“When I say young, all but four of those 22 were aged 20 or younger,” Helen Ball, deputy assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, told BBC TV.

“The last five who have traveled were aged 15 and 16, so this is a growing problem and it is one of real concern.”

British security agencies estimate that about 600 British Muslims have traveled to the region to join the conflict, some with Islamic State, the extremist Sunni Muslim group that controls a swathe of territory in Syria and Iraq.

(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Additional reporting by Andrew Osborn in London; Editing by Janet Lawrence and Susan Fenton)


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Boehner defends his U.S. House leadership amid conservative unrest

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (C) returns to his office after a visit to the House floor for procedural votes for legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security at the Capitol in Washington, February 27, 2015.   REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (C) returns to his office after a visit to the House floor for procedural votes for legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security at the Capitol in Washington, February 27, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst


(Reuters) – Fresh from an embarrassing rebuke at the hands of conservatives in his own party, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner played down any risk to his continuing leadership on Sunday, saying disagreements with fellow Republicans were merely over strategy, not goals.

Asked if he could lead the fractious House, Boehner said, “I think so. I’m not going to suggest it’s easy, because it’s not.”

The House narrowly averted cutting off funds to the Department of Homeland Security on Friday after Boehner failed to rein in conservative Republicans. They were insisting on tying the issue to blocking President Barack Obama’s move to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.

“We do have some members who disagree from time to time over the tactics that we decide to employ. But remember that Republicans are united in this idea that the president has far exceeded his constitutional authority,” Boehner said in an interview on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”

Boehner narrowly won a third term as speaker on Jan. 6, surviving a stiff challenge from 25 conservative Republicans that signaled a possible growing split within the party as it assumed full control of Congress. A faction of dissident House Republicans oppose him because they say he has done too little to cut spending and fight Obama’s immigration and healthcare policies.

Boehner’s failure to corral enough votes to fund the department for three weeks – they settled for one week – again raised questions over whether he could lead House Republicans.

Steve Scalise, the third-ranking House Republican, noted to the “Fox News Sunday” program that the selection of a House speaker took place “just a few weeks ago.”

“And that vote is over. We are moving forward,” Scalise said. “… And obviously he’s speaker. He’s going forward.”

Republican Peter King of New York, a prominent voice on national security issues, called the lawmakers who voted against the homeland security funding “absolutely irresponsible” and “self-righteous and delusional.”

King, who noted that three men were arrested in New York just days ago for allegedly attempting to join the Islamic State militant group, urged other House members to back Boehner.

“We have to stand behind John Boehner,” he told ABC’s “This Week” program.

But King said Boehner must find a way this week, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has delivered a speech to Congress on Tuesday, to bring a “clean” homeland security funding bill without the immigration language to the House floor for an up-or-down vote.

Asked on the CNN program “State of the Union” about a possible attempt to depose Boehner, outspoken House conservative Jim Jordan, like Boehner from Ohio, said “that’s not going to happen.”

Boehner said “the House is a rambunctious place” but that he enjoyed his job “most days.” He said that Friday – when the House failed to pass the three-week funding measure – was “messy.”

“I’m not into messy. But listen, I enjoy being in a legislative body. I enjoy all the personalities, and I’ve got a lot of them,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Frances Kerry and Ralph Boulton)


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Energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie seeks IPO at valuation of up to 2 bln pounds -FT

(Reuters) – Energy analytics group Wood Mackenzie is
preparing an initial public offering that could give it a
valuation of up to 2 billion pounds ($3.09 billion), the
Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the
matter.

Wood Mackenzie, which is owned by U.S. private-equity firm
Hellman & Friedman, hired Lazard in the past weeks to advise on
its proposed listing, the FT reported. (on.ft.com/18dcR9P)

The paper reported on Saturday that “Wood Mac” had received
competing takeover bids from U.S. data companies Verisk
Analytics and McGraw Hill Financial that
valued the Edinburgh-based firm at 1.6 billion pounds.

However, its owners Hellman & Friedman – who are looking to
sell their 63 percent stake – will go ahead with an initial
public offering unless the bidders offer 1.8 billion pounds or
higher, the minimum that they expect the IPO to fetch, the paper
said.

Wood Mac, which produces research on the oil, gas, metals
and power markets, was acquired from Charterhouse in
2012 at a valuation of 1.1 billion pounds. Charterhouse still
retains a 13 percent stake in the company. (reut.rs/1AssGQF)

Wood Mackenzie and Hellman & Friedman could not be
immediately reached for comments outside regular business hours.

($1 = 0.6483 pounds)

(Reporting by Ankush Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia
Osterman)


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'Jihadi John' part of network linked to failed London bombers: court papers

A masked, black-clad militant, who has been identified by the Washington Post newspaper as a Briton named Mohammed Emwazi, brandishes a knife in this still image from a 2014 video obtained from SITE Intel Group February 26, 2015.   REUTERS/SITE Intel Group/Handout via Reuters

A masked, black-clad militant, who has been identified by the Washington Post newspaper as a Briton named Mohammed Emwazi, brandishes a knife in this still image from a 2014 video obtained from SITE Intel Group February 26, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/SITE Intel Group/Handout via Reuters


(Reuters) – Islamist militant Mohammed Emwazi, identified as ‘Jihadi John’, was a member of a network in contact with one of the men convicted of trying to bomb the British capital’s underground railway in 2005, according to the government.

The man dubbed by British media “Jihadi John” has fronted Islamic State videos from Syria that showed either the killing or bodies of victims including British, U.S. and Japanese citizens and Syrian soldiers. U.S. security sources last week identified the man, who appeared clad in black and brandishing a knife, as Mohammed Emwazi.

The British government’s view is set out in court papers, reviewed by Reuters and publicly available on the Internet, which refer to 2011 and 2013 British legal hearings concerning two of Emwazi’s London associates, known only as Iranian-born “CE” and Ethiopian-born “J1.”

The court papers reported in the Observer and Sunday Telegraph newspapers, offer a fleeting glimpse of Emwazi’s life in London before he left for Syria.

They show that Emwazi was known to Britain’s security services as early as 2011 and that they believed he was part of a group involved in procuring funds and equipment “for terrorism-related purposes” in Somalia.

They show that authorities thought Emwazi was part of a network that numbered at least 12 people.

One of the same network’s members, “J1”, spoke on the phone with Hussain Osman, one of the men convicted in connection with an unsuccessful attempt to blow up the London underground in 2005, on the day of the failed attack itself, the papers show.

British Islamists killed 52 people in an attack on London’s transport network on July 7, 2005. Another group of Islamists — of which Osman was one — tried and failed to pull off a second attack two weeks later.

Osman, who like “J1” was also born in Ethiopia, was convicted by a London court of conspiracy to murder in 2007 and sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in prison.

The same documents show that “J1”, Emwazi’s associate, was stopped by police in Scotland in 2004 with three others wearing plastic gloves. The men said they were on their way to an area where the authorities said an extremist training camp was being held.

The camp’s organizer, a man identified in court papers only as Hamid, was subsequently convicted of soliciting to murder and of providing terrorism training.

TRAINING CAMP

Four of the men involved in the failed London bombings had attended a similar camp organized by Hamid earlier that same year, the court papers said.

The 2011 court papers pertained to a case between the British government and “CE” over the authorities’ decision to relocate him outside London as a preventative measure.

The 2013 papers referred to an immigration appeal case between the British government and “J1.”

The legal documents came to public attention as a political row over the way Britain handles militants broke out with the opposition Labour Party accusing Prime Minister David Cameron’s government of “tying the hands” of security services with insufficiently robust legislation.

Separately, a dispute flared between Cameron’s Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats — their junior coalition partners — over what guidance should be given to universities to prevent militant preachers spreading their message.

The Liberal Democrats said they wanted to ensure that only people known to be inciting violence, rather than advocating Islamic caliphates, were prevented from debating.

(Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Ralph Boulton)


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'Jihadi John' part of network linked to failed London bombers -court papers

* Court papers shed light on Emwazi’s London links

* Say he was member of an extremist network

* Show group’s contacts with failed London bomber

By Andrew Osborn

LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) – Islamist militant Mohammed
Emwazi, identified as ‘Jihadi John’, was a member of a network
in contact with one of the men convicted of trying to bomb the
British capital’s underground railway in 2005, according to the
government.

The man dubbed by British media “Jihadi John” has fronted
Islamic State videos from Syria that showed either the killing
or bodies of victims including British, U.S. and Japanese
citizens and Syrian soldiers. U.S. security sources last week
identified the man, who appeared clad in black and brandishing a
knife, as Mohammed Emwazi.

The British government’s view is set out in court papers,
reviewed by Reuters and publicly available on the Internet,
which refer to 2011 and 2013 British legal hearings concerning
two of Emwazi’s London associates, known only as Iranian-born
“CE” and Ethiopian-born “J1.”

The court papers reported in the Observer and Sunday
Telegraph newspapers, offer a fleeting glimpse of Emwazi’s life
in London before he left for Syria.

They show that Emwazi was known to Britain’s security
services as early as 2011 and that they believed he was part of
a group involved in procuring funds and equipment “for
terrorism-related purposes” in Somalia.

They show that authorities thought Emwazi was part of a
network that numbered at least 12 people.

One of the same network’s members, “J1”, spoke on the phone
with Hussain Osman, one of the men convicted in connection with
an unsuccessful attempt to blow up the London underground in
2005, on the day of the failed attack itself, the papers show.

British Islamists killed 52 people in an attack on London’s
transport network on July 7, 2005. Another group of Islamists —
of which Osman was one — tried and failed to pull off a second
attack two weeks later.

Osman, who like “J1” was also born in Ethiopia, was
convicted by a London court of conspiracy to murder in 2007 and
sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in prison.

The same documents show that “J1”, Emwazi’s associate, was
stopped by police in Scotland in 2004 with three others wearing
plastic gloves. The men said they were on their way to an area
where the authorities said an extremist training camp was being
held.

The camp’s organiser, a man identified in court papers only
as Hamid, was subsequently convicted of soliciting to murder and
of providing terrorism training.

TRAINING CAMP

Four of the men involved in the failed London bombings had
attended a similar camp organised by Hamid earlier that same
year, the court papers said.

The 2011 court papers pertained to a case between the
British government and “CE” over the authorities’ decision to
relocate him outside London as a preventative measure.

The 2013 papers referred to an immigration appeal case
between the British government and “J1.”

The legal documents came to public attention as a political
row over the way Britain handles militants broke out with the
opposition Labour Party accusing Prime Minister David Cameron’s
government of “tying the hands” of security services with
insufficiently robust legislation.

Separately, a dispute flared between Cameron’s Conservatives
and the Liberal Democrats — their junior coalition partners —
over what guidance should be given to universities to prevent
militant preachers spreading their message.

The Liberal Democrats said they wanted to ensure that only
people known to be inciting violence, rather than advocating
Islamic caliphates, were prevented from debating.

(Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Ralph Boulton)


Source: Newsjyoti

Netanyahu flies to U.S., signs of some easing of tensions over Iran speech

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens as U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks, during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington October 1, 2014.      REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens as U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks, during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington October 1, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque


(Reuters) – The United States and Israel showed signs of seeking to defuse tensions on Sunday ahead of a speech in Washington by Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu when he will warn against a possible nuclear deal with Iran.

Policy differences over the negotiations with Iran remained firm, however, as Netanyahu set off for the United States to deliver the speech, which has imperilled ties between the two allies.

Israel fears that U.S. President Barack Obama’s Iran diplomacy, with an end-of-March deadline for a framework accord, will allow its arch foe to develop atomic weapons — something Tehran denies seeking.

By accepting an invitation from the Republican party to address Congress on Tuesday, the Israeli leader infuriated the Obama administration, which said it was not told of the speech before plans were made public in an apparent breach of protocol.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated Washington’s determination to pursue negotiations with Iran, saying on Sunday the United States deserved “the benefit of the doubt” to see if a nuclear deal could be reached.

Last week, Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, said the partisanship caused by Netanyahu’s looming address was “destructive to the fabric of U.S.-Israeli ties”.

Asked about this on the ABC program “This Week”, Kerry said “the prime minister of Israel is welcome to speak in the United States, obviously. And we have a closer relationship with Israel right now in terms of security than at any time in history.”

He said he had talked to Netanyahu on Saturday, adding, “we don’t want to see this turned into some great political football.” Israel and the United States agreed that the main goal was to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, he said.

In remarks on Saturday at Jersualem’s Western Wall, Netanyahu said: “I would like to take this opportunity to say that I respect U.S. President Barack Obama.” He added that he believed in the strong bilateral ties and said, “that strength will prevail over differences of opinion, those in the past and those yet to come.”

Netanyahu did not repeat those remarks as he departed on Sunday. The Israeli prime minister, who is running for re-election in a March 17 ballot, has framed his visit as being above politics and he portrayed himself as being a guardian for all Jews.

“I’m going to Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission,” he said as he boarded his plane in Tel Aviv. “I feel that I am an emissary of all Israel’s citizens, even those who do not agree with me, and of the entire Jewish people,” he told reporters.

Netanyahu is expected to use his speech to urge Congress to approve new sanctions against Iran despite Obama’s pledge to veto such legislation because it would jeopardize nuclear talks.

U.S. officials fear he is seeking to sabotage the Iran diplomacy, and critics have suggested his visit is an elaborate election stunt that will play well with voters back home.

With Obama past the mid-point of his final term, his aides see an Iran nuclear deal as a potential signature achievement for a foreign policy legacy notably short on major successes.

While White House and Israeli officials insist that key areas of cooperation, from counter-terrorism to intelligence to cyber security, will remain unaffected, the divide over the Iran talks has shaped up as the worst in decades.

Previously Israel has always been careful to navigate between the Republican and Democratic camps. The planned address, however, has driven a rare wedge between Netanyahu’s government and some congressional Democrats. Some two dozen or more of them plan to boycott the speech, according to unofficial estimates.

IRANIAN ACCUSATION

Speaking in Tehran on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Netanyahu of trying to undermine the nuclear talks in order to distract from the Palestinians’ unresolved bid for an independent state.

“Netanyahu is opposed to any sort of solution,” Zarif said.

Hard-line U.S. supporters of Israel say Netanyahu must take center-stage in Washington to sound the alarm over the potential Iran deal, even at the risk of offending long-time supporters.

But a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the “politicized” nature of his visit threatened “what undergirds the strength of the relationship”.

    As one former U.S. official put it: “Sure, when Netanyahu calls the White House, Obama will answer. But how fast will he be about responding (to a crisis)?”

    Last month, U.S. officials accused the Israeli government of leaking information to the Israeli media to undermine the Iran negotiations and said this would limit further sharing of sensitive details about the talks.

    “What the prime minister is doing here is simply so egregious that it has a more lasting impact on that fundamental underlying relationship,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel lobbying group aligned with Obama’s Iran policy.

Netanyahu will address the influential pro-Israel lobby AIPAC on Monday. Even as he makes his hard-line case against Iran, he is expected to try to keep tensions from spiraling, mindful that Israelis are wary of becoming estranged from their superpower ally.

(Additional reporting By Patricia Zengerle and Mark Hosenball in Washington and Ori Lewis in Jerusalem; Editing by Jeffrey Heller, Frances Kerry/Crispian Balmer/Susan Fenton)


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Iraq says launches offensive on Islamic State north of Baghdad

* Abadi issues last chance for fighters to lay down arms

* Says army, militias will recapture all Salahuddin province

* Army has tried to retake Tikrit several times

By Dominic Evans

BAGHDAD, March 1 (Reuters) – Iraq’s army and Shi’ite militia
have launched a long-awaited offensive against Islamic State in
Salahuddin province, a stronghold of the radical Islamist
fighters north of Baghdad, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said
on Sunday.

The ultra-radical fighters control several strongholds in
the mainly Sunni Muslim province of Salahuddin, including
Tikrit, hometown of executed former president Saddam Hussein.

They also hold other towns on the Tigris river, north of the
government-held city of Samarra which Abadi visited on Sunday.

“The prime minister and armed forces chief … announce the
start of the security campaign to liberate Salahuddin,” a
statement issued by Abadi’s office said as he met military
leaders in the province, where thousands of troops and militia
have gathered for battle.

In comments broadcast on Iraqi television, Abadi said the
Islamist militants would be pushed out of all of Salahuddin and
offered their supporters a final opportunity to hand themselves
in. “I call upon all those who have been deluded and made
mistakes in past to lay down arms today,” he said.

“This is their last chance. If they insist on staying on
their wrong path they will receive the fair punishment they
deserve because they … stood with terrorism.”

Thousands of troops and fighters from Shi’ite militias known
as Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) have been mobilised for
the campaign against Islamic State in Salahuddin.

On Saturday residents reported heavy clashes around Samarra
after suicide bombers blew themselves up near to security forces
in attacks which may have aimed at disrupting the army and
militia preparations for the campaign.

Abadi’s announcement follows several failed attempts to
drive the militants out of Tikrit since they swept towards
Baghdad last June, adding large parts of north and west Iraq to
the swathes of neighbouring Syria already under their control.

Months of U.S.-led air strikes, backed up by the Shi’ite
militias, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Iraqi soldiers have
contained Islamic State and pushed them back from around
Baghdad, the Kurdish north, and the eastern province of Diyala.

But they have held most of their strongholds in Salahuddin
and taken new territory in the western province of Anbar.
Fighting around al-Baghdadi in Anbar has highlighted the
challenge of defeating Islamic State fighters.

A senior U.S. officer said last week 800 Iraqi forces were
participating in the battle and appeared set to drive the
militants back. His optimistic comments echoed
those of Iraq’s defence minister.

But nearly two weeks after launching the operation to retake
what are little more than a handful of villages on the Euphrates
river, five miles from a major military base, Baghdad has yet to
declare victory.

Abadi also visited Samarra’s restored Shi’ite Askari shrine,
which was blown up in a 2006 attack which triggered the worst
period of Iraq’s sectarian bloodshed, Iraqi television said.

(Reporting by Dominic Evans; Editing by Rosalind Russell)


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Nokia CEO sees 'business as usual'; no change to outlook

The Nokia company logo is pictured at its headquarters in Espoo January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva

The Nokia company logo is pictured at its headquarters in Espoo January 29, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva


(Reuters) – Nokia, the world’s third-largest mobile equipment maker, has seen nothing in its business that would lead it to change its financial outlook, its chief executive said on Sunday.

“Nothing specific has happened in the past couple of weeks. It is kind of business as usual,” Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri said in response to a reporter’s question during a press conference ahead of the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

Suri reiterated previous comments that the Finnish company has made that it stands to benefit over the course of 2015 from the sharp drop in the value of the euro against the U.S. dollar.

In late January, the company said that for its mainstay Nokia Networks’ business, it expected net sales and operating margins in the first quarter to decline compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, typically a seasonally stronger quarter.

For the full 2015 year, Nokia has said it expects operating margins for the Networks division to recede to its long-term target range of 8 to 11 percent, a decline from the 12.2 percent it reported for the full year in 2014.

(Reporting By Eric Auchard; Editing by Susan Fenton)


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Texas Ebola nurse says hospital failed her and her colleagues

(Reuters) – The first person infected with Ebola in the United States, nurse Nina Pham, said she was used for publicity purposes by her hospital, which also invaded her privacy and did not properly train her, the Dallas Morning News reported on Sunday.

Pham, 26, told the newspaper that chaos hit the Dallas hospital when it admitted Thomas Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States after he contracted it in Liberia. Nurses were ill prepared and received little guidance on how to treat Ebola or protect themselves.

“I wanted to believe that they would have my back and take care of me, but they just haven’t risen to the occasion,” Pham told The Dallas Morning News in an exclusive interview published in its Sunday edition.

Duncan was put into isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in late September and died less than two weeks later.

Pham, who became infected while treating him, later recovered and was welcomed in the Oval Office by President Barack Obama.

She is planning to sue the hospital, the paper said. The hospital has reached a settlement with Duncan’s family.

The hospital did not address details of Pham’s allegations. It said in statement: “Nina Pham bravely served Texas Health Dallas during a most difficult time. We continue to support and wish the best for her, and we remain optimistic that constructive dialogue can resolve this matter.”

Pham said nurses initially did not wear hazmat suits when treating Duncan and went in with double gloves taped to double gowns, double booties and face shields. Pham said her neck area was exposed, the newspaper said.

Hazmat suits came a few days later but meanwhile, medical waste piled up in a hospital room because maintenance staff would not collect it.

“We were mopping floors with bleach and doing janitorial work and dealing with hazardous, lethal waste,” Pham told the paper.

Another nurse who treated Duncan, Amber Vinson, also became infected with Ebola and recovered.

Pham said the hospital did not respect her right to privacy. In one instance, she was videotaped speaking to a doctor and the video was released to the media. Pham said it was done without her permission.

Charla Aldous, Pham’s attorney told the paper the hospital “used Nina as a PR pawn.”

Pham said she is also experiencing symptoms such as body aches and high liver enzymes as a result of experimental medication she received.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz and Lisa Maria Garza; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


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Brit awards shake up British album chart, boost Sam Smith

(Reuters) – Fallout from the Brit awards
shook up the music charts on Sunday, knocking U.S. rock band
Imagine Dragons off the top spot in favour of English
singer/songwriter Sam Smith, data from the Official Charts
company showed.

Smith won the British BreakThrough Act award at last week’s
ceremony, helping lift sales of his album “In the Lonely Hour”
to number one from number two.

By contrast, “Smoke & Mirrors,” by Imagine Dragons, last
week’s number one, fell to twelfth place.

British singer Ed Sheeran, winner of British Male Solo
Artist, grabbed the number two spot with “X”, while British hard
rock group Royal Blood, winners of the British Group award,
bagged the third slot, up 15, with their self-titled album.

In the singles chart there was no change from last week.

Ellie Goulding topped the chart for a fourth week, the
Official Charts Company said, with her track “Love Me Like You
Do,” a song which appears in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie.

Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” held steady in second, and
Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” featuring Bruno Mars, remained in
third place.

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Ralph Boulton)


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