Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein takes 'indefinite leave' after sexual harassment claims

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Producer Harvey Weinstein says he "came of age in the 60s and 70s" when "rules about behaviour and workplaces were different".

The producer and his wife Georgina Chapman at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015
Image:The producer and his wife Georgina Chapman at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015
  • n film producer Harvey Weinstein is on indefinite leave from the company he co-founded while an internal investigation into numerous sexual harassment claims against him is completed.
The Weinstein Company's board of directors said in a statement: "We strongly endorse Harvey Weinstein's already announced decision to take an indefinite leave of absence from the Company, commencing today.
"As Harvey has said, it is important for him to get the professional help for the problems he has acknowledged.
"Next steps will depend on Harvey's therapeutic process, the outcome of the board's independent investigation and Harvey's own personal decisions."
The announcement came a day after The New York Times reported that the co-chairman of the Weinstein Co has over the years reached at least eight legal settlements with women over alleged harassment.
Weinstein, 65, has previously denied many of the allegations and has not been charged with any crimes.
Queen Elizabeth II meets Harvey Weinstein during the Dramatic Arts reception at Buckingham Palace on February 17, 2014
Image:The Queen meets Harvey Weinstein at Buckingham Palace in 2014
In a statement on Thursday, he said: "I came of age in the 60s and 70', when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.
"I have since learned it's not an excuse, in the office - or out of it. To anyone.
"I realised some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed.
"I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it.
"Though I'm trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. That is my commitment. My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons."
He continued: "I've brought on therapists and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all women and regret what happened.
"I hope that my actions will speak louder than words and that one day we will all be able to earn their trust and sit down together with Lisa (lawyer Lisa Bloom) to learn more."
Academy Award winner Weinstein and his brother Bob formed independent movie studio Miramax in 1979, selling it in 1993 and setting up The Weinstein Company in 2005.
His Oscar-winning films include Shakespeare in Love and Chicago.
In 2004, he was made an honorary CBE for his contribution to the British film industry.
The twice-married father of five is a high-profile Democrat supporter, with gun control and universal healthcare among his causes.
Weinstein and his family have given more than $1.4m (£1.1m) in political contributions since the 1992 election cycle, according to the nonpartisan Centre for Responsive Politics.
Nearly all of it went to Democratic politicians, candidates and their allies.


What's the point of scrambling a fighter jet

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What's the point of scrambling a fighter jet – and would one ever shoot down a passenger plane?

here is something incredibly jarring about seeing a commercial aircraft, packed to the rafters with sunseekers, flying alongside a fighter jet.

The two should comfortably go about their business, never needing to interact, so when they do it is somewhat concerning. Such alarm was felt this week when two RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled to intercept a Ryanair passenger plane after a suspected bomb hoax.
The aircraft - carrying passengers from Kaunas in Lithuania - was met by the military jets in the skies off the coast of East Anglia, before being escorted to London Stansted, one of the UK’s designated emergency airports, rather than the intended destination of Luton.

The dramatic scenario came to a peaceful conclusion and all was well - but what might the RAF jets have done had things taken a turn for the worse?

What is scrambling?

With origins dating back to the Battle of Britain, scrambling - known today in military terms as Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) - is when RAF pilots respond to an alarm and are able to take to the air in fuelled and armed fighter jets in a matter of minutes.
The RAF see it as a routine part of its defence role to protect UK airspace. Aircraft at bases around the UK, and even in the Falkland Islands, under the guidance of Air Battlespace Controllers at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland and RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, are ready to take off in minutes.

When does it happen?

There are a number of reasons RAF jets are called upon to meet other aircraft above Britain, though it is always with the goal of protecting our airspace.
The RAF said, among other reasons, aircraft are “launched to intercept unidentified aircraft because the aircraft cannot be identified, i.e the aircraft is not talking to civilian or military Air Traffic Control, has not filed a flight plan and/or is not transmitting a recognisable secondary surveillance radar code”.
This includes light and commercial aircraft, as well as military jets of other nations. In 2015 RAF Typhoons were scrambled to meet two Russian military aircraft “disrupting” civil aviation near UK airspace.

RAF Typhoons intercepted Russian aircraft in May last year CREDIT: CROWN COPYRIGHT
In March a private plane from Bucharest was escorted into Birmingham Airport by RAF fighter jets after it experienced communication difficulties. The aircraft was met by two Typhoon jets scrambled from RAF Coningsby, and a Voyager aircraft, from Brize Norton.
In 2014, an RAF Typhoon jet escorted a Qatar Airways aircraft into Manchester Airport after a pilot requested assistance when a passenger on board made a bomb threat.
So, a commercial pilot can request help, or, if an aircraft fails to communicate repeatedly with Air Traffic Control or strays of course, fighter jets might be scrambled as a precaution. 

What are the fighter jets permitted to do?

In a worst case scenario, shoot down another plane. A 2015 documentary on RAF’s Quick Reaction Alerts showed a fighter jet pilot telling the pilot of a commercial jet in a training exercise that if he did not respond to repeated attempts to communicate the aircraft would be shot down.
Every scrambled jet is armed and ready if need be to fire on another aircraft. Such a decision would have to be taken at the highest political level, however.
Of course, the first job of the fighter pilot would be more sedate, and would usually be to establish contact and continue to flank the target aircraft. In a more serious situation, jets might be deployed to force an aircraft to take a certain route. London Stansted and Manchester Airport are the UK’s two designated emergency airports and the most likely target airports if the RAFs needed to lead a plane to land.

How often does it happen?

The RAF says that fighter aircraft are available at each base all day every day allowing a rapid response to any possible incident or threat, but there have only been five such scramblings this year - two against Russian military aircraft and three for other reasons.
The year with the most QRAs was 2007, when there 24 incidents that required military scrambling. Of those, 19 were for Russian aircraft. Last year the number was 12, with five for the Russians.
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RAF scramblings since 2005

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 In response to others: 5
Last year defence secretary Michael Fallon said Russian fighter jets that were unresponsive as they approached the UK amounted to an “act of aggression”.

Goalkeeper Jack Butland will start for England

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ck Butland (left) will win his sixth cap against Lithuania as he aims to put pressure on Joe Hart's place
Goalkeeper Jack Butland will start for England in their final 2018 World Cup qualifier in Lithuania on Sunday.

England secured their place at the tournament in Russia with a game to spare and manager Gareth Southgate has opted to replace Joe Hart with Butland.
The Stoke keeper, 24, will win his sixth cap and get the chance to impress with Hart's form being questioned.
"He has been patient, his form has been good. It's a good opportunity for Jack," said Southgate.
Manchester City's Hart, on a season-long loan at West Ham, started the 1-0 Wembley win over Slovenia on Thursday which sealed qualification.
But the 30-year-old's place has come under increasing scrutiny following errors at Euro 2016 and conceding two Leigh Griffiths free-kicks in the 2-2 draw with Scotland at Hampden Park in June.
Butland is one of Hart's rivals for the number one spot, along with Fraser Forster of Southampton, Everton's Jordan Pickford and the injured Tom Heaton of Burnley.
"I've said all along there's great competition for places," added Southgate.
"I think Joe's performance against Slovenia was excellent, not only did he make important saves but also his decision-making and distribution. His management of the game was excellent."
Butland's last England appearance was in a friendly defeat by France in June.
That came after missing almost all of last season with an ankle injury sustained in England's 3-2 friendly win over Germany in March 2016.
"We're all after the same shirt but we're keen to push each other to a high standard because that means success for us as a nation," he said.
"We have brilliant rivalry but a great friendship too. It's been a long process getting back fit and I finally feel like I'm back where I was, playing consistently and back in the England set-up."
England 1-0 Slovenia: Gareth Southgate says England aren't going to become Spain overnight

Southgate searches for successful formula

England travel to Vilnius looking to conclude a fourth successive qualifying campaign with an unbeaten record - their last defeat in a qualifier was a 1-0 loss in Ukraine on their way to the 2010 World Cup.
But their recent tournament record is poor, with the Euro 2016 exit to Iceland following a 2014 World Cup where they failed to get out of their group.
And after the dreary win against Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday, Southgate conceded that his side were some distance behind the world's leading footballing nations.
As a result, he said the introduction of Butland will not be the only change he makes for the Lithuania game.
"Everyone was disappointed with the performance, none more so than me. We want to learn things from the game and don't want to waste that opportunity," said Southgate.
"We'll make changes but want to get the balance right. It is a results business - but the way I want to play is to entertain as well.
"We were very clear in our mind how we wanted to evolve and we've got an extra game to do that now, which is a great opportunity to look at a couple of things."
England 1-0 Slovenia: Harry Kane says England should be proud as a nation

'They need support and backing'

Even though he gave a frank assessment of England's performance against Slovenia, Southgate asked for supporters to "get behind" his team.
Last week, analysis by BBC Sport revealed that England's under-21 players have played less top-flight football this season than their Spanish, German and Italian counterparts.
And the boss of the senior side said that the lack of English players featuring regularly in the Premier League is having a detrimental effect on the quality at his disposal.
"We have a league where every week 70 English players play. When I was playing it was probably best part of 150," said the former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender.
"We have a problem in terms of opportunities for young players. The players we're selecting we believe are the best in the country.
"The desire is for the country to get behind them. They're not where everybody wants them to be, but they need support and backing."

My England starting XI

Gareth Southgate's England have booked their place at the World Cup in 2018. Choose who you would pick in their starting XI in Russia - and then share it with your friends using our team selector.