Over 3,000 Europeans join jihadis

Islamic State has declared a caliphate in the parts of Iraq and Syria it controls


The number of Europeans joining Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq has risen to more than 3,000, the EU’s anti terrorism chief has told the BBC.

Gilles de Kerchove We are probably above 3.000, which is unprecedented

US military footage shows a strike on the Jeribe refinery in eastern Syria

Yolande Knell spoke to displaced Iraqis in Erbil’s Baharka refugee camp

In 60 seconds What does Islamic State want

Scottish No vote relief for firms

No supporters celebrated the outcome of the referendum


Many businesses have spoken of relief over Scotland’s rejection of independence, but said the No vote was the start of a period of change.

However, banking giant RBS said it would not now move its head office to London

The bank said it would be business as usual for all our customers across the UK

Businesses in favour of independence were disappointed with the referendum outcome

Financial services companies including RBS, Lloyds, TSB, Standard Life, Clydesdale, and Tesco Bank had indicated that they would move headquarters or parts of the business south if Scotland had voted Yes

RBS said The announcement we made about moving our registered head office to England was part of a contingency plan to ensure certainty and stability for our customers, staff and shareholders should there be a Yes vote.

That contingency plan is no longer required. Following the result it is business as usual for all our customers across the UK and RBS it added

Standard Life confirmed that it would not be moving any operations to England

They’ve the plans have been shelved for now. We’ve no plans to move any of our operations a Standard Life spokesman said

Lloyds Banking Group said it remains committed to having a significant presence in Scotland

However, BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed said that the response from Lloyds was far more equivocal” than the one from RBS.

I am told the bank did not want to make a final statement on its legal home until other significant regulatory matters are dealt with he said in a blog post

That sources tell me, includes ring-fencing  the government’s proposals to split retail and investment banking. Lloyds wants to keep its options open until those plans are finalised, which is not likely to happen until 2018 he added

The Bank of England, which had contingency plans in the event of a Yes vote for independence, declined to comment.

Business lobbying groups said that firms were relieved over the outcome of the vote

The CBI said “business has always believed that the Union is best for creating jobs”.

“This is a momentous day for our United Kingdom and this result will be greeted by a collective sigh of relief across the business community,” said John Cridland, CBI director general.

However, the group warned that devolution should not undermine the strength of the single internal market

Pro-independence group Business for Scotland said that it was disappointed that the opportunity to improve Scotland through independence has been lost

Huge credit due to the Scottish people who have, by and large, conducted the biggest political debate there is with good grace, good manners and some sparkling wit said Business for Scotland chairman Tony Banks.

Like others who campaigned for a Yes vote, I’ll continue campaigning for a better Scotland. We won’t have all the tools that we would have had after a Yes vote but we’ll all do what we can to improve things as much as possible

Business group the Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland said that political groups and businesses needed to “get together to focus on growth

Greater fiscal and political autonomy for Scotland are on the way and previously opposing groups now need to work together, and with the business sector, to make sure that the outcome is successful said IoD Scotland executive director David Watt.

One of the key issues of the referendum was the outcome for Scotland’s oil and gas industry in the event of a Yes or No vote.

Government policy on taxation of Scottish energy resources is now one of the issues to be decided as Scotland is granted powers under further devolution.

Oil & Gas UK, a lobbying group for the energy industry, called for the government to press swiftly ahead with fiscal reform

It added that recommendations to maximise the economic recovery of our oil and gas resource should be implemented

Energy giant Shell added that the decision for Scotland to remain in the UK reduces the operating uncertainty for businesses based in Scotland.

Lord Haskins, former chairman of Northern Foods, said there could be “consequences for supermarkets that took positions supporting a No vote. He told the BBC there was a danger supermarkets could be shunned by shoppers

John Lewis, which in the build-up to the referendum had said that prices could rise in Scotland in the event of a Yes vote, said it had no comment to mak

Asda, which had also warned of price rises, said The Scottish market is important to us

I always said that it was for the Scottish people to decide their own future in a democratic referendum,” said Asda chief executive Andy Clarke.

We serve 1.8 million customers every week and our single price file means that the price they pay in Perth is the same as they would pay in Portsmouth, irrespective of higher operating costs. That is a point of difference for our business and something of which we are very proud.”

The plight of Moldova’s orphanage children

Reliance on the state partially explains the number of children brought up in institutions


(bursa)More than 7,000 children have been placed in state-run institutions in Europe’s poorest country, Moldova, and only 2% are orphans.

While the horror stories of the orphanages of 1990s Romania were widely publicised, the conditions facing children in neighbouring Moldova are not well known.

Widespread poverty and a lack of basic social services are blamed for a situation which aid groups argue violates a child’s right to a family, as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In the capital, Chisinau, the institutions are surprisingly well maintained.

From the outside, the one I was able to visit looked like a school, with plants and a play area, while inside there were pictures on the walls and toys on display.

Yet the first thing you notice is how quiet it is: dozens of young children live in the institution, but you do not hear any noise.

The toys are not being played with; instead children are lying in cots. In one room is a group of about a dozen toddlers.

These youngsters rarely go outside, says Lavinia (not her real name), who works with Hope and Homes for Children, a charity that tries to return children to their families.

Instead, the children spend almost all of their time in just two rooms.

In the corner, a disabled child is left lying in vomit.

No pictures indoors are allowed.

The manager says there are not enough staff to take the children outside, although there appear to be more staff than children.

Lavinia is clearly frustrated by the attitude, but there is little she can do, even though she is working with local authorities on reforming childcare services.

“What we need is to inform and educate families,” she says.

“If we can develop family alternatives, this would prevent more children having to live like this.”

In another room, 10 newborns lie alone in cots. The institution’s manager does not know their sexes.

The standards are shocking for Sarah Butterworth, a UK mental-health specialist on children in care who is visiting at the same time.

“[Knowing] how the brain develops in the first few months of life means I can only imagine the damage that is happening before our eyes,” she says.

Although basic needs appear to have been met, these do not look like valued children.

Most of them are not even orphans; they have families but have been abandoned because of poverty and an outdated social reliance on state care.

Moldova’s Soviet legacy still remains, and reliance on the state care is embedded in people’s attitudes and the law, according to Dr Delia Pop of Hope and Homes for Children.

“For many, institutional care has become the only option,” she says. “The irony is that it gets called ‘childcare’, even though this is one of the most damaging systems for children.”

The authorities accept changes are needed but say one of the biggest obstacles is the weakness of the Moldovan economy.

“We want to reform institutions for babies and young children,” says Svetlana Chifa, head of the Child Protection Department in Chisinau.

Unemployment in Moldova is high and young adults often head abroad to find work, leaving their children behind to the state.

They believe what they are doing is for the best.

There is also the stigma of disability. A three-year-old I visited, who has been helped into a foster family, was abandoned simply because he was born without an arm.

The situation is even harder in the breakaway eastern region of Trans-Dniester, which is technically part of Moldova but sees itself as a separate country.

“Trans-Dniester has an attitude for independence, and has strong connections with former Soviet countries,” says Dr Pop.

This gives aid workers additional challenges in encouraging co-operation to get children out of institutions and back with their families.

Visiting the region is like going back in time.

Placing children in such institutions is simply firefighting an ever-expanding, complex social problem rather than offering a long-term solution for the many children within their walls, says children-in-care specialist Sarah Butterworth.

Even when compared with children living in the most deprived of households, children in care are more likely to grow up as dysfunctional adults.

“Years of research have shown the importance of family-based care and attachment, which children in institutions just aren’t offered,” she says.

Developmental needs, attachment, love and consistency are overlooked.

The authorities in Moldova acknowledge solving this problem is about changing ingrained attitudes and will not happen overnight, partly because many who work in such institutions have a vested interest in them remaining open.

“People are cautious about changes,” says Svetlana Chifa.

“The institutions are their livelihoods and people could lose their jobs when they close.”

Idris Elba movie displaces Guardians

Idris Elba is to voice the part of Shere Khan in The Jungle Book, due out next year


Thriller No Good Deed, starring British actor Idris Elda, has ended the four-week reign of Guardians of the Galaxy at the top of the US box office.

The film, in which Elba plays an escaped convict, made $24.5m (£15m) on its debut, almost double its budget.

Feel-good release Dolphin Tale 2 entered the chart at two, while sci-fi caper Guardians slipped to third.

Guardians is the biggest film of the year so far in North America, taking more than $300m (£184.7m).

The Marvel release becomes the first film of the year to pass that milestone, while its box office takings around the world have reached the $600m (£370m) mark.

Another notable new entry in the rundown is The Drop, starring the late James Gandolfini and British actor Tom Hardy, which landed in sixth spot after opening in a limited number of cinemas.

No Good Deed, which co-stars Taraji P Henson as a woman terrorised by Elba’s character, was hailed as a success by makers Sony, who marketed the film heavily prior to release.

“It’s a movie that we really loved and felt that it was going to win,” said Rory Bauer, the company’s head of distribution.

He praised the leading pair’s fantastic chemistry for making it a box office draw.

Box office analyst Paul Degaradebian said the film is the first post-summer release to make an impression, just a week after the slowest weekend of the year so far.

Overall ticket receipts were down 23% on the same weekend of 2013.

The film chart is rejuvenated after last weekend, when there was no new release inside the top 10.

Elba is best known for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela in Long Walk to Freedom, and playing the lead role as maverick police detective John Luther on BBC TV, which earned him a Golden Globe award in 2010.

Source: Rentrak

1. No Good Deed – $24.5m (£15m)

2. Dolphin Tale 2 – $16.5m (£10m)

3. Guardians of the Galaxy – $8m (£5m)

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – $4.8m (£3m)

5. Let’s Be Cops – $4.3m (£2.6m)

BBC correspondents on campaign trail

James Cook Lorna Gordon


As the Referendum campaign reaches a climax BBC News will follow the Yes and No campaigns as they make their final pitch to the voters.

Grassroots campaigns, celebrities, Scottish politicians and visiting Westminster leaders have all made their mark on the debate, but how successful have they been in persuading the voters which way to go.

As polling day approaches, our reporters will be crossing the country, bringing you the inside track on the campaigns, what they are saying to the voters, and crucially, what the voters are saying to them.

Quinn group sale is step closer

The Quinn Group was rebranded as the Aventas Group last year


A group of businessmen say they are a step closer to buying part of the former Sean Quinn group of companies.

Quinn Business Retention Company (QBRC) has new backers in its deal to take over the packaging and construction industry supplies (CIS) parts of the business, which is now called Aventas.

QBRC was backed by a private equity firm, but will now be financed by three of the institutions that control Aventas.

QBRC said it expects the deal to complete in early October

It has not revealed the details of the three institutions which are now backing it

The Aventas businesses were the backbone of Sean Quinn’s empire he lost control of them in 2011 as part of his battle with Anglo Irish Bank

Aventas remains a major employer in the border counties of Fermanagh and Cavan

It is currently controlled by a consortium of financial institutions

Liam McCaffrey, chief executive designate of QBRC, thanked the former backer, Endless LLP, for “recognising the potential in this business

We look forward to working closely with our financiers, the staff and customers of the business as we seek to grow and develop them in the years ahead he said.

In a statement Aventas said When the agreement was signed for the acquisition of our CIS and Packaging businesses by QBRC it was originally envisaged that the transaction would complete in Q3

The work involved is continuing apace and while it is now clear that the proposed sale will not complete within the original timeframe, we remain fully committed to the process and to a successful sale completion as soon as is practicable

The packaging and CIS businesses employ more than 600 people in in Derrylin, County Fermanagh, and Ballyconnell, County Cavan

Downton star leaves behind Matthew Crawley for US action role

Dan Stevens quit Downton Abbey at the height of its popularity to take on Hollywood


He gained legions of fans in both Britain and North America playing aristocratic heartthrob Matthew Crawley in ITV’s Downton Abbey. Now Dan Stevens has become part of a new elite of young British actors making their names in Hollywood thanks to their television success

The 31 year old from Croydon, South London, has just shot six feature films in a year, including his first leading movie role – The Guest, an independent comedy horror, in which Stevens plays an ex-soldier programmed to kill anything and anyone who gets in his way.

“This was not written for me in any way, I had to beg for the part, Stevens explains. “I just read it and the wonderful thing is that it is so playful, and crosses so many genres  there are echoes of Terminator 2 in there, and other action franchises, as well as horror and black comedy. I was laughing out loud.

I met Adam Winguard, the director who is a bit of a cult celebrity as he also made a very similar film to this, You’re Next, and I think what tickled him was the idea of the first scene, when this solider, David, rings a doorbell. The family open it, and there he is  the guy from Downton Abbey as you’ve never seen him before.

The actor adds that he had to promise to lose weight and shape up so I’m nothing like that period drama hero, so hopefully after a few scenes audiences then forget about Matthew Crawley; it’s just the initial comic reaction Adam wanted.

Stevens, who is married with two young children, made the transition to making films in the US in 2012, after two hugely successful years playing Matthew Crawley in the ITV series, which gave the Cambridge-educated actor his first starring role.

The character’s love story with his distant cousin Mary, played by Michelle Dockery, was a hit with audiences, and Stevens’s untimely exit from the series caused uproar on social media, who questioned whether he was making the right decision to leave.

But now, as well as The Guest, Stevens has roles in Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, where he plays opposite Ben Stiller; The Cobbler with Adam Sandler; and the thriller A Walk Amongst the Tombstones, playing opposite Liam Neeson.

Other young British actors who have made the transition from TV to starring parts in Hollywood include Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones, who was the leading man of 2014 blockbuster Pompeii; Emilia Clarke, also from Game of Thrones, who will play Sarah Connor in the next Terminator film in 2015; and his co-star Michelle Dockery, whose next project, the drama Selfless, sees her play opposite Ryan Reynolds

We are just very, very lucky to have been in the right place at the right time Stevens admits

I think there is a fluidity to the industry that there has never been before and television stands alongside film in terms of quality. While many of us have done film work before, it is the popularity of Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey that are giving actors like me these chances

These shows are so beloved, so hugely popular, especially in the States, that I guess we all have a familiarity with audiences, they feel like they know us, as we’re in their living rooms every week

Downton and Game of Thrones have thrown a lifeline to our industry in Britain and I think the popularity of British talent over in North America has never been greater.

I always feel very honoured when I’m awarded roles like this one in The Guest, where I’m a typical American anti-hero – they really don’t have to do it, they’ve got plenty of outstanding people of their own to pick. It’s a hugely competitive place and if you have any success at all, you have to be grateful.

I was so sorry to leave Downton and devastate fans,” he continues. I’m still saying sorry to them in the street. And I already believe that I will never get to do anything else in my career that has that level of devotion from its audience. But at some point you have to make a jump

The first blockbuster Stevens had a part in, 2013’s wikileaks drama The Fifth Estate, had subdued critical reaction, but The Guest has a rare 100% fresh review from the movie website Rotten Tomatoes, and Time Out calling it a welcome switch-up for Stevens. Those blandly blond good looks, here accessorised with an apple pie American accent, are put to sinister use

The actor confesses, though, that he has no handbook for how to have a successful movie career, I have no idea what my next move should be

I’ve just decided to do films that regardless of budget, nurture and foster a great atmosphere on set. The Guest was one of those, because it was just an incredibly playful atmosphere with a very unique sort of script. And then the next moment I am lying on the floor in the Night At The Museum, playing Sir Lancelot, watching Ben Stiller do his stuff.

That’s when you pinch yourself, when you can’t believe what’s happening, and how on earth you’ve achieved this level of popularity, almost completely by acciden

No hiding place now – Guscott

This season promises to be even more exciting than normal because it leads into the 2015 World Cup in England. 

There will be constant references to it being “X” days away, and all paths lead to Twickenham for the next 12 months.

Every match this season will be viewed in that sort of context – every good bit of play and every bad bit of play will be scrutinised with the World Cup in mind.

Premiership and Pro12 seasons get under way

Friday, 5 September

European Rugby Champions Cup kicks off

Friday, 17 October

Autumn Tests begin

Saturday, 8 November

Six Nations

6 February to 21 March 2015

European Champions Cup final

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Premiership final

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Pro12 final

Weekend of 29-31 May 2015

Rugby World Cup in England

18 September to 31 October 2015

The Premiership seems to gain momentum every year, the Pro12 will be more competitive this season as teams strive to secure a European place and the new European Rugby Champions Cup looks like being a really tight, tense and emotional affair – there are no easy games now it’s been trimmed to 20 teams.

You used to look at certain pools and think the top two will go through for certain, because the other teams were quite weak, but not any longer.

It’s going to be full metal jacket in the European competition – there’s no hiding place now.

I think we’re all holding our breath waiting for the arrival of Sam Burgess at Bath in October after the end of the Australia NRL season.

Regardless of me being a Bath person, I think all rugby fans have an interest in how this rugby league superstar is going to transfer his undoubted skillset to union and how he goes about becoming a top-class player in the 15-man code.

That is the biggest question – how is the 25-year-old going to apply his skills in a foreign environment, and how quickly will he do it?

Will he make the England World Cup squad? And if so will he do it at inside centre, where he is expected to start his career at Bath?

His size and power alone will not guarantee success, it will be his skills and reading of the game that will determine that.

The success of New Zealand cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams suggests his running and off-loading game will make an impression because that is transferrable.

But what we don’t know yet is what his game understanding will be like because tactically and technically it’s very different.

He will carry the ball fewer times than he does in rugby league but then they don’t go through 15 phases in league, plus there are the technical skills to pick up at the breakdown.

Burgess needs to be reconditioned physically for the different requirements of union and pick up the complexities of the game – but on the most basic level his skillset should be transferrable.

Speaking of league greats who have made a big impression in union, Leicester have signed former All Blacks second row Brad Thorn – talk about transferrable skills and experience.

He may be 39 but he has literally won it all, and in both codes too.

In addition to his physical attributes he brings so much experience to an already great organisation.

Brisbane Broncos: 200 games; Australian Super League title 1997; NRL title 1998, 2000, 2006

Canterbury: NPC titles 2001, 2004

Queensland: 14 appearances; State of Origin wins 1998 and 1999

Crusaders: Super Rugby title 2008

Leinster: Heineken Cup title 2012

Australia: Eight Kangaroo caps

New Zealand: 59 All Black caps; 2011 World Cup winner; Tri-Nations titles 2003, 2008, 2010

He’s not the only ex-All Black arriving over here, with Piri Weepu joining newly promoted London Welsh in the Premiership and Mils Muliaina – one of only five players to win 100 caps for New Zealand – joining Irish province Connacht in the Pro12.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Wales back James Hook in the Premiership for the first time.

Hook has joined Gloucester from French side Perpignan and he is a superb player. Most of us can’t work out why he hasn’t started more often for Wales – 27 of his 76 caps have come off the bench.

Gloucester have strengthened their tight five this season, bringing in players of the quality of former Wales hooker Richard Hibbard and ex-New Zealand prop John Afoa.

The big question is, can Hook deliver the finishing touches and enable the Cherry and Whites to bounce back from their poor season last year?

We’re fortunate in British and Irish rugby because we have some wonderful young talent in our game, none more so than Wales and Northampton winger George North.

He is still so young – only 22 – but this kid’s a real superstar and it is not just because of his pace, power and size, but because he delivers on that promise so consistently, and it is great to see a truly world class player playing in the Premiership.

Another youngster I’m looking forwards to seeing make a real impression this season is Saracens and England number eight Billy Vunipola.

We all like to see big tries, big carries and big hits, and Vunipola brings that explosiveness and unpredictability in large amounts – he definitely has the X factor.

One big absence this year will be Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll. He’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime players and the Irish will need Johnny Sexton to be the best he can be and be the senior pro.

We’ll all be looking for pointers to the World Cup in this season’s Six Nations.

In 1991 we won the Grand Slam and got to the final and the England team that won the 2003 World Cup won the Grand Slam that year as well.

Premiership

Northampton to retain their title

Pro12

Leinster to do likewise

Six Nations

England to take the crown

Winning the tournament is no guarantee of success – France won in 2007 for instance and England were champions in 2011 but had a dismal World Cup.

But if you can secure a Grand Slam – winning all five of your matches – then there’s no doubt it gives you momentum, and that’s so important in sport.

England have three home games, which is always an advantage, plus a tricky one against Ireland in Dublin and a difficult match away to Wales first up.

Wales are too inconsistent for me so if England can win that game then they can go on to earn a Grand Slam and set themselves up perfectly for the World Cup on home soil.

Jeremy Guscott was talking to BBC Sport’s James Standley.

Sign in with your BBC iD, or Register to comment and rate comments

All posts are reactively-moderated and must obey the house rules.

All posts are reactively-moderated
and must obey the house rules

Re comment 153, that’s a bit of an arrogant and cynical viewpoint! The only thing that binds rugby union to its roots is its name. It is now not recognisable from the game as played until the 1980s. This guy has great ball handling skills and I hope he shows it on the union stage as he has for league.

Report this comment (Comment number 155)

Link to this (Comment number 155)

@JohnnyWal

Thanks for the measured and thoughtful reply as easy to dismiss Glaws after that match but we too were shocked by the result given the internationals we now have.
Glaws have been inconsistent and unreliable now for years so DH and Fisher are quality coaches who do have the history to sort this club out, but it will take time….just like the journey Saints have taken.

Report this comment (Comment number 154)

Link to this (Comment number 154)

@142 The pieman on a union site who detests the game,what makes you think Sam Burgess is the highest payed player in the prem,supposedly taken a pay cut to come to the original rugby game!

Report this comment (Comment number 153)

Link to this (Comment number 153)

@151 Ospreys put down a huge marker by beating Treviso at home? It’s more of a marker that Edinburgh beat Munster away.

On a side note, interesting interview with Sexton saying how he couldn’t balance playing in the T14 and international duty.

http://www.planetrugby.co.uk/story/0,25883,9818_9456944,00.html

Will this deter the flood of players moving to France?

Report this comment (Comment number 152)

Link to this (Comment number 152)

3 huge markers set down at home from Saints Ospreys & Montpellier

I’m most shocked at the Saints/Glaws result, but the Glaws are pretty much a new team so I feel they will finish stronger than they start & Palmer & Galarza in the engine room to give them a bit more grunt with Stooke on the bench & Kevsic or Thomas at 7 & Wood starting at LH
The return fixture @ Kingsholm I expect to be different

Report this comment (Comment number 151)

Link to this (Comment number 151)

Comments 5 of 155

Add your comment

Sign in with your BBC iD, or Register to comment and rate comments

All posts are reactively-moderated and must obey the house rules.

In pictures India’s coal miners

India coal miners


India is the world’s third largest coal producing nation and coal supplies 60% of the country’s energy needs, but the coal industry is poorly regulated. Arindam Mukherjee photographs some coal miners going about their work in eastern India.

The coal-rich region in India includes huge swathes of eastern states like Orissa, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh, and pockets in the central and southern parts of the country.

Most miners spend their days tunnelling, digging and extracting coal from the mines. Here, a group of miners are at work in a mine in West Bengal state’s Raniganj district. Each group is led by a sardar (chief) who is responsible for the work of his group.

More than half of India’s commercial energy needs are met by coal. It is the main fuel for generating power and making steel and cement. But mining is also a major factor in environment pollution, emitting smoke and noxious gases.

Many of the miners also suffer from lung diseases caused due to inhaling coal dust throughout the day.

Coal mining can be a very hazardous activity and hundreds of miners have died over the years in accidents in mines.

Poor maintenance of the mines is a major factor behind frequent accidents. Once underground, the only way a miner can communicate with the outside world is by using an intercom.

Sunita Devi’s husband Santraj Prasad was killed along with 25 others in February 2001 when the Bagdigi colliery in Jharkhand was flooded. She now works as a guard at a mine officer’s bungalow in the nearby town of Jharia. Here, she sits at her home with her late husband’s photograph and one of her children.

Miner Salim Ansari was the lone survivor of the Bagdigi disaster in which 26 of his colleagues died. He was trapped in an underground air pocket for seven days until rescue workers found him and brought him out.

Lakhan Tanti works as a loader at the government-owned Coal India Limited mine in Ranigunj in West Bengal. He says the company is now hiring contractual labourers instead of salaried employees to cut costs.

Coal mines, like this one in the state of Jharkhand, have multiple floors where excavation takes place and often operate 24 hours a day. Here, a group of miners are going deep inside an underground mine to begin work.

Female labourers are hired to clean and collect coal near the railway line in Bailbandh colliery in Ranigunj. The women are mostly dependents of deceased miners and are employed on humanitarian grounds after the death of their husbands.

Key Thai ministries go to military

One of the appointments announced by Gen Prayuth (right) is Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan


Thai military leader and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has named a cabinet featuring serving or former generals in more than one-third of positions

The military veterans will run key ministries including defence, justice, foreign affairs and commerce

On Monday Gen Prayuth was officially appointed prime minister following endorsement by the king

Gen Prayuth led a coup against an elected government in May, saying it was necessary to preserve stability

He was nominated for the post of prime minister earlier this month by a legislature hand-picked by the junta. He was the only candidate.

He is meant to be an interim prime minister as the military plans to hold a general election in late 2015.

But concerns have mounted that the military is seeking to strengthen its hold on the country.

Prayuth Chan-ocha: Full profile