Monday, August 17, 2009

Nigeria News Bulletin: Central Bank Attempts Rescue of Financial Sector; Shares Suspended as Top Executives Are Sacked

Shares suspended in Nigeria banks

Shares in five Nigerian banks, which were bailed out by the government last week, have been suspended.

Afribank, Intercontinental Bank, Finbank, Oceanic Bank and Union Bank shared in a 400bn naira ($2.6bn; £1.6bn) injection.

The value of shares in the banks tumbled after the bailout and the sacking of the banks' bosses - prompting trading to be stopped.

Bank bailouts were unheard of in Nigeria until last week's development.

'Near-term uncertainty'

Central bank governor Lamido Sanusi had said the banks would be run as normal until new investors were found. However, investors are believed to have asked for trading in the shares to be halted.

The five institutions, which account for 40% of bank credit in Nigeria, had run up bad loans worth a total of 1.14 trillion naira ($7.6 billion).

The country's banking regulator said the banks were undercapitalised and posed a risk to the entire banking system. Audits on a further 14 banks are planned.

Analysts welcomed the intervention by the central bank to inject funds and oust the chief executives.

"Finally it seems the authorities have grasped the nettle and tackled the problems in the banking system," said Stuart Culverhouse, chief economist at London-based brokerage Exotix.

"We will see some near-term uncertainty in the naira as the scale of the problem is probably bigger than this, but it's a positive move. I do not think people will expect it to affect the whole system."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/8205731.stm
Published: 2009/08/17 14:23:51 GMT


Yar’Adua: We Won’t Allow Any Bank to Fail…Nominates new board members for CBN

From George Oji in Abuja, 08.17.2009
Nigerian ThisDay

Presidency moved last night to assure bank customers that their deposits are safe and secure with a firm promise that it would do everything possible to make sure no bank is distressed or allowed to go under.

Endorsing Friday’s sack of five banks’ chief executives by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua said the action would lead to the sanitisation of the nation’s banking sector and prevent fresh bank failures “with their attendant negative effects on the national economy”.

The president has also nominated Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu and Mr. Stephen Oronsaye for confirmation by the Senate into the Board of the CBN.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publi-city, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, said the president has also “assured all Nigerians that their deposits in Nigerian banks are safe as the Federal Govern-ment will continue to act in concert with the CBN to ensure that no bank is allowed to fail or become distressed”.

According to the statement, “The over N400 billion already injected into the five affected banks to ensure their continued viability affirms the Yar’Adua Administration’s commitment to taking all necessary action to ensure the stability and well-being of the country’s financial sector.

“Along with stricter supervision and regulation by the CBN, the Administration will continue to do whatever is necessary to guarantee the safety of deposits in Nigerian banks and entrench best corporate practices and better credit administration processes in the management of banks.”

It said: “To strengthen the Apex bank further for the effective and efficient performance of its supervisory and regulatory functions, Yar’Adua has nominated Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu for confirmation by the Senate as a Deputy Governor of the CBN.”

Moghalu, 46, who holds a doctorate degree from the London School of Economics, has many years of experience in corporate governance, risk management and strategy. His appointment is expected to complement the collective strength of the CBN board and management.

Also, the statement said: “The President has approved the appointment of two additional members to the Board of the CBN. They are Mr. Stephen Oronsaye and Mr. Nebolisa Arah.

Oronsaye, who is currently the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, is to serve on the CBN board in his personal capacity and is to replace Prof. Akpan H. Ekpo (South-south Zone), while Arah, who was the pioneer Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, is to replace Mrs. Juliet Madubueze (South-east Zone).”

The appointments of Mr. Samuel Olofin, Dahiru Muhammad and Joshua O. Omuya to the CBN board have also been renewed by the president, the statement said.

All the board appointments are subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Yar’Adua has also approved the nomination of Dr. Adedoyin Salami, Mr. John Oshilaja, Prof. Chibuike Ugochukwu Uche, Dr. Shehu Yahaya and Mr. Abdul-Ganiyu Garba for confirmation by the Senate as members of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee.

Meanwhile, the President has directed all law enforcement agencies to give their fullest support to efforts by the new management teams of the five banks which have received bailout funds from the CBN to recover the huge loans, the non-servicing of which placed the banks at risk of distress.


Banks used worthless commercial papers for EDW

Monday, 17 August 2009 10:52 OGHO OKITI

A significant number of the commercial papers and bankers’ acceptances that were used for the purpose of obtaining liquidity support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the expanded discount window (EDW) were not worth the assets written on them, BusinessDay has learnt.

As the liquidity crisis hit harder last year, it was gathered that the use of commercial papers escalated in some of the banks. These commercial papers were put as collateral for support from the CBN, but most of them were actually based on either non-existent assets or very significantly impaired assets. They were based on assets that were practically unrealisable.

The CBN had late last month released a circular to all banks and discount houses about its concern over the use of commercial papers and bankers’ acceptances and suspended same. In the circular, it was noted that the instruments were “based on troubled assets, non-existent underlying transactions and frequent rollovers beyond allowable tenors”, which is usually not more than 180 days.

In addition, the CBN had discovered that most of the instruments were treated outside the balance sheets of the banks, effectively giving the impression that their balance sheets were stronger that they actually were, as most impaired assets, which the instruments represent are not part of the banks balance sheet.

The commercial papers and bankers’ acceptances had been allowed under the EDW as banks struggled for liquidity. Before then, only Federal Government bonds or treasury bills of the CBN were allowed in the discount window.

The CBN, under its new leadership, was concerned that the commercial papers, valid short term instruments in times of liquidity crisis, were been abused. The abuse was to disguise the problems as short liquidity crisis when, indeed, some of the banks were on the verge of insolvency, as a significant part of their assets have been wiped out.

The off balance sheet treatment also meant that the banks did not have to make provision for the losses while being able to obtain liquidity on baseless assets. “In addition, CPs and BAs are often used as the instruments of choice for raising liquidity in an attempt to conceal the extent of dependence on the Inter-bank market for banks funding needs,” the circular stated at the time.

Effectively, some of the banks were extending credit without collateral or genuine collateral in the least. Analysis since last week shows that it was the concentration of lending without collateral that brought some of the banks to their knees.

Indeed, in the oil and gas sector as well as the capital market, billions of naira in lending had taken place without adequate or simply poor collateral. Some of the lending was done only on the basis of bill of lading.

However, the CBN has instructed the new CEOs of the five affected banks to pursue debt recovery very rigorously in the coming months.


CBN Moves to Defend Banks

Customers’ deposits safe, say new MDs
Nigerian ThisDay
By Ayodele Aminu, 08.17.2009

The new managing directors of the five banks whose management teams were axed over the weekend by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have assured their customers that they are ready to meet their respective obligations.

The CBN has, meanwhile, been working throughout the weekend, pulling all the stops to prevent a crisis of confidence in the affected banks as well as the entire industry.The apex bank has worked on key steps to protect the industry from systemic crisis in the aftermath of the shake-up in the banks, THISDAY has learnt.The CBN has provided cash in all its branches across the country to ensure that the banks do not run out of cash, following fears that there may be a run on the banks by customers who may be panicking over last Friday’s action by the CBN. Any customer who needs his or her money is to be paid instantly by the banks.

The apex bank has also directed all its clearing arms to ensure that no cheque is returned as long as the accounts are funded by the operators.Major depositors of the affected banks have also been called by the CBN to assure them that there was no cause for alarm as the situation is firmly under control.

THISDAY was informed last night that the CBN governor, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has called state governors and heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and asked them not to move their deposits from the banks, intimating them with the measures in place to protect their funds.The CBN has also directed the new MDs to assure customers of the safety of their deposits.The affected banks are Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Intercontinental Bank Plc, Oceanic International Bank Plc, Afribank Plc and FinBank Plc.The new helmsmen of the banks who spoke were John Aboh (Oceanic Bank), Joseph Olusola Ajewole (Interconti-nental Bank), Susanne Iroche (FinBank) and Nebolisa Arah (Afribank).

Addressing journalists in Lagos yesterday in company with the Deputy Director, Banking Supervision Department, CBN, Oceanic Bank’s new helmsman said he has a mandate to halt the deteriorating liquidity level of the bank arising from bad loans, embark on aggressive loan recovery and also grow the bank’s businesses.

Aboh said CBN had injected fresh N100 billion as long term loan into Oceanic Bank, adding that with the money, Oceanic could continue to meet obligations to her numerous customers.

The new Oceanic Bank MD said: “Permit me to use this opportunity to assure the bank’s clients, customers and stakeholders that the change of guard at the management level does not call for panic. I assure customers and other clients that their deposits are safe and they need not entertain any fear whatsoever.”

Aboh pointed out that the purpose of CBN’s intervention was not to shut the bank but to strengthen it, adding that Oceanic Bank would remain open for business and also meet all customers’ requests.

The new Oceanic Bank management, according to Aboh, will be meeting with the officials of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) today to decide on how best to protect the shares of the bank in view of the recent developments.

He further stated that a meeting of the board would hold tomorrow to take a decision on the bank’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) that was initially fixed for Thursday this week. Sources within the bank said the AGM would be put off indefinitely owing to the sudden change in management and issues therein.

The CBN intervention, Aboh pointed out, did not mean government had taken over or nationalised the bank, adding that it was to avoid such that the CBN offered loans to the affected banks rather than equities.

Ajewole, the Acting Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, said customers’ deposits are safe.

He was responding to customers’ enquiries last weekend shortly after his assumption of duties at the corporate headquarters of the bank in Lagos when he briefed the management of the bank.

He said all that had happened was a change in leadership and that the change was positive in the light of the circumstances surrounding it. He reiterated the position of the CBN Governor that the change had improved the stability and safety of the bank.

Ajewole therefore enjoined customers of the bank to remain steadfast with the bank as CBN action was principally to protect them, adding that with the current backing of the CBN, the bank’s customers’ deposit have been guaranteed.

The new Managing Director of FinBank Plc, Iroche, confirmed that she took over last Friday after a smooth transition with the former executive management team.

She said: “I confirm that effective Friday 14th August 2009, the Central Bank of Nigeria injected a long term loan of N50 billion into the bank, which has been classified in the books of the bank as Tier 11 capital. This inflow has significantly strengthened the bank. “I wish to reassure our customers, all stakeholders and the general public that FinBank Plc remains a strong going concern and can emphatically confirm that the bank is in a strong position to meet all its liabilities and obligations. We therefore assure our customers that the safety of their deposits is in no doubt. Customers are requested to transact their normal businesses with the bank as the new management is committed to the safety of their deposits. We will continue to provide leading edge service delivery, which the Bank is known for.”

She said the new management would work towards the recovery of non-performing loans, entrench strong corporate governance and robust risk management framework. Arah, the new Group Managing Director/CEO, Afribank, said the objective of CBN’s intervention was to ensure that Afribank remains a strong financial institution with capacity to meet the expectations of stakeholders. He said he would take the bank to greater heights and leverage on the resources within the institution to achieve the desired result.

He also assured the banking public that there was no need to panic as the bank remains solvent with capacity to discharge its obligations to them. He said Afribank has no doubt grown to become a household name in the banking industry with rich history and culture of quality banking services.

Key Measures
1. Cash made available at all CBN branches for affected banks to meet demand
2. All cheques from funded accounts to be honoured
3. States and MDAs asked not to move deposits


Monday, August 17, 2009

Change rages on, new investors jostle for banks

Yar'Adua assures depositors as rot comes to light
CBN gets new deputy gov, board members
To seek disclosure of bank owners identity
Releases N420b to troubled outfits

By Ade Ogidan, Business Editor, Madu Onuorah, Abuja and Chuks Collins, Awka
Nigerian Guardian

THE wind of change blowing through the banking sector seemed to have gathered greater momentum yesterday.

A flurry of activities were initiated at the weekend by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to address problems that led to the sack last Friday of five chief executive officers of the troubled banks. It also emerged that the rot in the sector was so deep that the CBN could not have acted at a better time: One of the banks whose management was sacked had a loan portfolio of N600 billion with more than half not performing. Another is owed about N40 billion by one individual.

The apex bank released N420 billion to the affected banks to enable their new helmsmen keep with current in the sector.

For anxious Nigerians over the implication of the quest for sanity in the industry for their investment, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, said yesterday that their deposits and other investments were safe and secured.

He said the Federal Government would do everything to protect the interest of depositors and shareholders in the nation's banks.

The apex bank last Friday removed the managing directors and executive directors whose banks failed a CBN audit.

Already, eight foreign investors are waiting in the wings to take over the banks whose helmmen were removed.

As a further strategic move to cleanse the augean stable, the CBN is believed to have begun a process of having a full disclosure of the ownership identity and structure of Nigerian banks to ensure that fit and proper individual and bodies occupy the boardrooms.

Essentially, the stakeholders would be required not only to show their true identities but also to reveal the sources of their incomes. CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, also explained that, true to its pledge, it had credited the five assessed troubled banks with N420 billion at the weekend, with a charge to the new managing directors to manage the financial institutions as on-going concerns.

The injected fund was however N20 billion above the N400 billion announced on Friday by Sanusi, which he described as "convertible loan," to assist the banks meet their respective minimum regulatory capital.

A breakdown of the fund's disbursement showed that Union Bank Plc received N120 billion; Oceanic Bank Plc N100 billion; Intercontinental Bank Plc N100 billion, Fin Bank Plc N50 billion; and Afribank Plc N50 billion.

No explanation was given for the N20 billion increase but Sanusi stressed that the strategic move was to ensure that the banks have liquidity adequacy to meet their obligations.

The CBN governor said that recapitalisation of the banks through the capital market was not considered an immediate option.

He also allayed the fears of stakeholders at a private dinner hosted for him by friends in Lagos at the weekend, saying that based on information available to him, he did not anticipate that the situation of the five banks, which management had changed will be the fate of others.

He said his primary interest under this monetary regime was to protect the funds of depositors and not even those of investors.

The CBN boss said that "no depositor will lose his or her money now or in the future under the current monetary policy."

Sanusi spoke of a nation that is undergoing a revolution because the right things have to be done, and that he didn't have to wait for too long to do this having been a part of the system for quite a while.

He said he had advised First Bank in 1990 against the dangers of over-exposure and risk thereto.

"So many things have been done wrong in Nigeria for too long and this is time for change," he said.

Sanusi, who denied the insinuation that he was pursuing a northern agenda, said the new policy would not affect the ownership structure of the banks. Curiously, unlike in previous dinners for him, there were very few MDs/CEOs/Chairmen of Nigerian banks.

"The issue is not about going to the capital market. If today, the owners of the banks come up with the capital and bring in and say to us, look, we can bring in the N100 billion or N120 billion that you want, we will take it and return the bank to them. All we want is to save the institutions. It is a simple technical matter of bringing in money," he said.

He added that the option of convertible loans was adopted "to make sure that whatever we provide is not a loan that will be taken back immediately. We want the management to know that they have this money until they get fresh capital.

"We also want to make sure that we don't lock ourselves permanently because the last thing we would want us to get Nigeria back to the era of nationalising banks.

"There have been a number of hybrid options used in different parts of the world and within the next couple of days, all the legal arrangement of the options to be adopted will be worked out. At the moment, we have given them this money as a convertible Tier 2 loan, but that is not necessarily the final form it would be."

The five banks have a total loan portfolio of N2.9 trillion, made up of N456.28 billion margin loans; N487.02 billion exposure to oil and gas sector; while aggregate non-performing loans have hit N1.2 trillion with net guarantee inter-bank taking grossing up to N127.8 billion.

Sanusi declined to disclose the individual ailment of the banks, explaining that as a regulator, CBN's relationship with the banks was that of a doctor and a patient, which "can't be discussed on the pages of newspaper."

However, a look at the operational activities of the five banks revealed that efficient management of their respective risk portfolios was compromised.

For instance, Union Bank granted several loans to its subsidiaries to buy its shares to the tune of N35 billion and supported some. When the value of the shares collapsed on the stock exchange, the bank was badly hit.

Also, about N46 billion was also said to have been loaned to Transcorp Plc for the acquisition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), while several other loans running into billions that went bad. These include the facility to MTS Wireless Limited.

Currently, the bank, with 400 branches across the country has a shareholders' fund of N119 billion, N682 billion deposits and total assets and contingent of N1.216 trillion.

Like Union Bank, Oceanic Bank's undoing started with its exposure to the margin loans, which made the financial institution to provide for N42 billion in its book, the highest so far in the industry.

The bank, for instance, is said to be indebted to the apex bank to the tune of N95 billion, being funds it accessed through the Expanded Discount Window (EDW) of the CBN.

Indeed, the bank's loan portfolio, The Guardian learnt, stood at N600 billion, N333 billion of which were non-performing.

It was also revealed that those owing the banks are powerful Nigerians with the clout to frustrate any legal process against them.

For instance, a former governor is connected to an oil services company that is owing Intercontinental Bank N40 billion.

Intercontinental Bank was a visible target of an unsavoury de-marketing campaign early this year, which led to some panic withdrawals from the institution. The saga was however stemmed with the support of CBN, when immediate past governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo put up advertorials to water down the impact of the rabid campaign.

But like others, the bank too was exposed to a great extent, to the margin loans saga and other facilities in the downstream sector of the economy.

Added to these were the bad debtor phenomenon, which assailed the bank's risk portfolio, leading to its lawyers petitioning Yar'Adua, through a newspaper advertorial to intervene on its behalf.

The bank's management, however, disowned the advertorial, but analysts pointed out that some of the facts assailing the institution's solvency, could have been indiscreetly leaked out to the banking public.

The removal of Sebastian Adigwe as boss of Afribank took some analysts by surprise, going by spirited efforts he made to remove the bank's balance sheet from the red.

But market operators said certain debts pulled the bank out of the "safe zone," especially its exposure to upstream activities of a petroleum marketing company.

Also, not quite a few industry watchers were surprised that CBN's axe fell on Okey Nwosu of FinBank.

Nwosu, under whose administration First Inland Bank changed its name to Fin Bank under a rebranding exercise assessed to have been successful, could have got the bash from the intra-board squabbles in the outfit, which lead to the granting of some huge loans, in an allegedly compromised profile.

Yar'Adua yesterday assured Nigerians that their deposits in the banks were safe, stating that the Federal Government would continue to act in concert with the CBN to ensure that no bank was allowed to fail or become distressed.

The President also directed law enforcement agencies to support the new management teams of the five banks which have received bailout funds from the apex bank to recover their huge loans.

His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, told journalists at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja that Yar'Adua had approved the appointment of new hands to strengthen the CBN "for the effective and efficient performance of its supervisory and regulatory functions."

The appointments include the nomination of Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu to the Senate for confirmation as a Deputy Governor of the CBN.

Moghalu, according to Adeniyi, holds a doctorate degree from the London School of Economics and had several years of experience in corporate governance, risk management and strategy. "His appointment is expected to complement the collective strength of the CBN board and management."

Moghalu's experience in corporate governance will be in full use. The Guardian learnt that he was highly recommended for the job by former finance minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Moghalu served as Head of Global Partnerships at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. At the invitation of the then United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, Moghalu served from January to July 2006 as a member of the high-level Redesign Panel on the United Nations Administration of Justice System, based at UN Headquarters in New York, as part of the reform of the United Nations.

Moghalu joined the United Nations Organization in 1992 and has served the world organisation in political affairs, legal affairs, external relations and management positions at duty stations in four continents - New York, Cambodia, Croatia, Tanzania, and Switzerland. Before joining the UN, he was a corporate lawyer, a journalist, and an academic researcher. Moghalu is the author of two books on international law and politics, and holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), a master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA, and the LL.B. degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

The President also approved the appointment of two additional members to the CBN board. They are the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, who will serve on the board in his personal capacity. He replaces Prof. Akpan H. Ekpo (South-South Zone).

The other is Mr. Nebolisa Arah, the pioneer Managing Director of Fidelity Bank. Arah replaces Mrs. Juliet Madubueze (South-East Zone). The President has also renewed the appointments of Mr. Samuel Olofin, Dahiru Muhammad and Joshua O. Omuya to the board.

Adeniyi said all the appointments to the board "were subject to confirmation by the Senate," adding that the President, "in further action to enhance the effectiveness of the CBN as an institution," had equally approved the nomination of Dr. Adedoyin Salami, Mr. John Oshilaja, Prof. Chibuike Ugochukwu Uche, Dr. Shehu Yahaya and Mr. Abdul-Ganiyu Garba for confirmation by the Senate as members of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee.

Adeniyi, said: "President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua fully endorses the measures announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the weekend to sanitise Nigeria 's banking sector and prevent fresh bank failures with their attendant negative effects on the national economy. President Yar'Adua wishes to assure all Nigerians that their deposits in the banks are safe as the Federal Government will continue to act in concert with the CBN to ensure that no bank is allowed to fail or become distressed.

The over N400 billion already injected into the five affected banks to ensure their continued viability affirms the Yar'Adua administration's commitment to taking necessary action to ensure the stability and well-being of the country's financial sector. Along with stricter supervision and regulation by the CBN, the administration will continue to do whatever is necessary to guarantee the safety of deposits in Nigerian banks and entrench best corporate practices and better credit administration processes in the management of banks.

"To strengthen the apex bank further for the effective and efficient performance of its supervisory and regulatory functions, President Yar'Adua has nominated Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu for confirmation by the Senate as a Deputy Governor of the CBN.

His appointment is expected to complement the collective strength of the CBN board and management.

"The President has also approved the appointment of two additional members to the board of the CBN. They are Mr. Stephen Oronsaye and Mr. Nebolisa Arah. Oronsaye who is currently the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation is to serve on the CBN board in his personal capacity and is to replace Prof. Akpan H. Ekpo (South-South Zone)..."

Meanwhile, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State has called for calm over the recent changes in the chief executives of the five banks.

In a statement signed by Chief Press Secretary Mr. Mike Udah, the governor appealed to Nigerians, particularly the people of Anambra State not to panic about the changes, insisting that the banks would not collapse, going by the series of restructuring that had taken place in the industry in recent times.

The CBN governor is also said to be personally reaching out especially to institutional depositions in the banks not to withdraw their deposits out of fear.

4 comments:

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Anonymous said...

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McjamehMoneyTransfer said...

Thanks for the information, the Central Bank of Nigeria really needs to support and rescue NIgerian Banks. The banking presence is expanding in Nigeria, as more global banks and financial companies rush to compete for the changing banking needs in our country.

And as we know half of Nigeria's 150 million populace are below the age of 55, so throughout the next many years, a big generation of people will be entering their earning years and will have many banking needs.

So by this great action by the CBN of Nigeria, banking in NIgeria will enjoy a influx of new customers and profit in the years to come.

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