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The ruling follows a request for advice from The Netherlands about three gay refugees seeking asylum from Uganda, Sierra Leone and Senegal

Brown condemns wildcat strikes

Gordon Brown condemned wildcat strikes as indefensible amid frantic efforts to prevent the row over the use of foreign labour escalating into mass industrial action.

Joan Smith: We all need time off. Only the reasons differ

New parents are entitled to leave, but singles, volunteers and the plain bored should be allowed to do something other than work

Solicitor forced to retire at 65 claims age discrimination

A solicitor fighting a test appeal after being forced to retire at 65 has a "fundamental" right not to be discriminated against because of his age, an employment tribunal was told yesterday. Leslie Seldon, a former partner at the Kent-based law firm Clarkson, Wright and Jakes (CWJ), is challenging an earlier ruling that he was not discriminated against when forced to retire.

Simon Birkett: We're choking to death while the Government dithers

Live in a big city and you risk suffering from fumes, breathing problems, even premature death. Yet the Government has spent 10 years in denial about the UK's air-quality problems. The rest of us know differently, and action is long overdue.

David Prosser's Outlook: Time for Darling to fight back on tax

Alistair Darling is on a full-scale charm offensive. Fresh from an appearance last night at the CBI's annual dinner, the Chancellor will today meet the board of the Association of British Insurers. His message to both audiences is that ongoing policy reviews, particularly of the charges made on the foreign profits of multinationals, are not intended to widen the tax net or to generate additional revenue for the Treasury.

UBM set to move tax base to Ireland

United Business Media, the global media group, is close to announcing that it will move its tax base to Ireland in a switch likely to prompt a fresh storm of criticism of the Government's taxation of companies with international businesses.

Shire's exit may prompt others to follow

Shire's decision to move its tax base to Ireland represents a widely held fear of the unknown, tax advisers warned yesterday, amid continuing uncertainty about the taxation of multi-national companies.

European Court's teacake ruling is sweet victory

Marks & Spencer tasted victory yesterday in a long-running legal battle with HM Revenue & Customs over £3.5m of overpaid value-added tax on chocolate teacakes. The European Court of Justice ruled in favour of M&S in the dispute, which spanned 12 years and took two trips to the European Court.

M&S takes biscuit: teacakes cost Treasury £3.5m

The humble chocolate teacake cost the Treasury £3.5 million today. That's the price of a VAT mistake which classified Marks & Spencer teacakes as chocolate biscuits.

The Sketch: Treaty that lays down the law with a gentle tidy-up

There's not much I can tell you about the Lisbon debate on human rights. It's all in the fine print. And that's so fine it makes your eyes swim and your brain go wrong. The meanings are so elusive you can treat it as a Rorschach test, to create any picture you like. It makes a Derrida of any mortal Englishman.

Christina Patterson: Keep it in the family (if you're lucky enough)

When I heard the words of the honourable member for Old Bexley and Sidcup this week, in response to being found with his pudgy paws in the taxpayers' till, I nearly crashed the car. "I have," he said, "let my family down very badly indeed". Quite apart from the fact that these were the four human beings in Britain that he hadn't let down at all, it was quite a shocker. But perhaps it shouldn't have been. Prick a pig and it squeals. Prick a Tory and he'll draw up his drawbridge and jibber about his family.

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