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Bill Cosby demanded rape claims TV quiz be 'scuttled'

United States: Bill Cosby has been caught on camera demanding part of an interview in which he refused to respond to rape allegations to be "scuttled".

The new video was published after the US network NBC announced on Wednesday that it had scrapped a Cosby comedy under development, just a day after streaming service Netflix postponed a special show with television veteran Cosby.

Last week, former model Barbara Bowman accused Cosby of having "drugged and raped" her in 1985 when she was 17-year-old aspiring actress. Since then, two other women have come forward alleging sexual assault by Cosby, the most recent being actress Janice Dickinson.

The interview with the Associated Press took place on November 6 - before the more recent allegations against Cosby were made.

In the interview, the reporter asks Cosby about accusations of sexual assault that have plagued the comedian for many years.

Cosby responds in a series of short exchanges: "No, no. We don't answer that... There is no comment about that...And I'll tell you why. I think you were told. I don't want to compromise your integrity, but we don't, I don't talk about it."

The interview then comes to an end but the cameras kept rolling and show Cosby - who is seated next to his wife, Camille - then ask the reporter to scrap the last part of their conversation.

"Now can I get something from you?" Cosby asks. "That none of that will be shown?"

The reporter responds, "I can't promise that, myself, but you didn't say anything..."

Cosby replies, "I know I didn't say anything, but I'm asking your integrity that since I didn't want to say anything but I did answer you in terms of I don't want to say anything, of what value will it have?" His publicist, who is standing out of shot, then adds, "I don't think it has any value either." Cosby then continues, "And I would appreciate it if it was scuttled."

The reporter then says that he will talk to his editors about Cosby's request. Cosby then says that "because it was AP" he did not expect to be asked about the rape allegations. The reporter says that his bosses wanted him to ask the question.

A statement from the AP that accompanied the new video read, "As the allegations gained increasing attention, the AP went back through the full video and made the decision to publish Cosby's full reaction to questions about the claims.

"The interview was on record - the AP made no agreement to avoid questions about the allegations or to withhold publishing any of his comments at any time."

The interview took place on November 6 and was meant to be about the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC.

World has hottest October ever as temperatures soar

United States: Last month was the hottest October on record across the world, US meteorologists say.

They say despite a bitter US cold snap, the globe is heading for its warmest year ever.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the average temperature of 58.43 F (14.74 C) surpassed October 2003.

Five of the last six months have set monthly global heat records. July is the only exception. Nasa and Japan’s weather agency also called it the hottest October on record.

Osborne’s banker bonus bid halted

London: Chancellor George Osborne has dropped his attempt to challenge an EU cap on banker bonuses, after it was dismissed by the legal adviser to the European Court of Justice.

The UK argues that the rules limiting pay-outs to no more than 200% of basic salary encourage the banks to raise fixed pay instead, increasing their business risks.

But Advocate General Niilo Jaaskinen has now delivered an opinion that “all the UK’s pleas should be rejected and that the Court of Justice dismiss the action”.

Mr Osborne conceded defeat in a letter to Bank of England governor Mark Carney, saying: “It now looks clear that there are minimal prospects for success with our legal challenge so we will no longer pursue it.”

But he added: “That should not stop us from pursuing our objective of ensuring a system of remuneration that encourages responsibility instead of undermining it.”

The cap means bankers cannot be paid bonuses of more than 100%, or 200% if national governments decide to permit this. But Mr Jaaskinen said it was not a “cap” since it was linked to a banker’s salary, on which there is no limit to what a bank can pay.

Rolf prosecutor to lead abuse probe 

St Helena: The prosecutor in the trial of Rolf Harris is to lead an inquiry into allegations that two Government departments were involved in a conspiracy to cover up child abuse on a British overseas territory.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told MPs he has agreed that Sasha Wass QC will lead the independent investigation connected to St Helena.

He said the allegations concern claims of child abuse in the territory, police corruption, incompetence and a “conspiracy” by the St Helena government, Foreign Office and Department for International Development (DfiD) to “cover these up”. Former employees of the St Helena government raised fresh concerns in July, which followed claims in recent years about child safety and police corruption.

Mr Hammond told MPs: “These allegations involve claims relating to child abuse in the territory, police corruption and incompetence, and a conspiracy by the St Helena government, the FCO and DfiD to cover these up. We are bound to take such allegations extremely seriously.”

Sturgeon says appointment ‘opens the gate for all women’

Edinburgh: SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has been officially sworn in as Scotland’s First Minister — the fifth person and first woman to hold the top job.

Ms Sturgeon received the Royal Warrant — formal approval — at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Ms Sturgeon succeeds Alex Salmond, who announced he would step down after a majority of voters rejected independence in September’s referendum.

Ms Sturgeon has vowed to lead a “bold, imaginative and adventurous” government which will build a “social democratic and socially just” nation.

And she said she hopes her election as First Minister “opens the gate to greater opportunity for all women”.

O’Keeffe’s £28m flower sets a new female record

New York: A Georgia O’Keeffe painting of a simple white flower has sold for $44.4 (£28.3m), more than triple the previous auction record for a work by a female artist.

Sotheby’s New York says the 1932 painting, Jimson Weed/White Flower No 1, sold during their sale of American art.

The painting was sold to an anonymous buyer by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in New Mexico to benefit its acquisitions fund.

The previous world auction record for any work by a female artist was $11.9m (£7.6m).

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