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USA UK and Malta News
06/08/2010 - 13:10

UK & USA Today Editoweb 6 August 2010

Russian ban on exporting grain looks set to heap more pressure on stretched household budgets in the UK. Russia has seen a severe drought wipe out 20 per cent of its crop. The ban has caused wheat prices to jump 60 cents to 7.85 dollars a bushel.

UK & USA Today Editoweb 6 August 2010
Russian threat to UK pockets
A Russian ban on exporting grain looks set to heap more pressure on stretched household budgets in the UK. Russia has seen a severe drought wipe out 20 per cent of its crop. The ban has caused wheat prices to jump 60 cents to 7.85 dollars a bushel. That is the highest since September 2008. Hovis breakmaker Premier Foods says it will pass rising prices on to retailers, leading to fears the shelf price for a loaf could rise by up to 10p. Premier is sourcing all its wheat from British farmers this year and despite a bumper crop expected in the UK, prices will rise in line with the global market. Russian Prime Minister Vladminir Putin announced the ban on Friday saying it was necessary even though the country has sufficient reserves. "We need to prevent a rise in domestic food prices, we need to preserve the number of cattle and build up reserves for the next year," Mr Putin said. Despite the ban Russian farmers have little incentive to export anyway because prices have been rising even faster in Russia than in world markets.(itn)

Graff jewellery heist gunman jailed
A gunman who terrified staff as he carried out the UK's biggest jewellery robbery has been jailed for 23 years. Aman Kassaye planned and executed the heist at Graff Diamonds in Mayfair, central London, last summer. Gems worth up to £40 million were stolen at gunpoint. They have never been recovered. Petra Ehnar, who had been working at the New Bond Street store at the time, told Woolwich Crown Court how she was forced to empty display cabinets with a gun to her back. She was also bundled outside afterwards and told she would be killed if she did not carry out their demands. Kassaye, of no fixed address, used a professional make-up artist to disguise his appearance and a series of getaway cars to escape. He has been jailed for 16 years for conspiracy to rob, a further five years of possessing a firearm and another two years for kidnap.(itn)

Gunman went shopping after killing
A "cold-blooded" killer who blasted a brave shop worker to death in a £10,000 raid and then went shopping with his girlfriend has been jailed for a minimum 27 years. Unemployed Mohammed Ali Mahmood, 30, ambushed Khurram Ashraf and his boss as they closed up and left with the day's takings from a money transfer shop in Longsight, Manchester, on December 3 last year. Mahmood, known as "Crazy Ali" by locals, armed with a Russian Baikal pistol, confronted the pair, demanding: "Give me the bag, I have a gun!" Mohammed Waqas, the shop owner, threw the cash, which was in a laptop bag, to Mr Ashraf, 30, and both ran for cover, Manchester Crown Court heard. Mahmood was "surprised" by the bravery of Mr Ashraf, 30, a Pakistani national who worked part-time at the shop, Global Forex Ltd, while he studied at college. The victim threw the cash bag to the pavement as he was cornered between two parked cars by the killer, who "panicked" and "fired without thinking", blasting Mr Ashraf in the stomach, before picking up the bag and running away, the court heard. He died the following day. Meanwhile, Mahmood took his girlfriend shopping to the nearby Trafford Centre, splashing out £140 on a new mobile phone, £390 on leather jackets from Selfridges and £90 on shoes. Mahmood, a father-of-two who has previous convictions for street robberies, burglary and assault, was later tracked down by police, who recovered his mobile phone which showed photos of himself posing with the murder weapon. They also found £5,920 of the stolen cash under his bed at the family home on Birch Lane, Longsight. He later pleaded guilty to murder, robbery and possession of a firearm and ammunition, and was given a mandatory life sentence, being told he must serve a minimum of 27 years before parole. Passing sentence, Judge Andrew Gilbart QC, said: "It was a cold-blooded and ruthless use of a gun to seize the day's takings of a local business. You stood in front of him and shot him down."(press association)

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