Pickles sends in Tower Hamets 'hit squad'

Reports that communities secretary Eric Pickles is sending in a 'hit squad' to tackle the 'rotten' London borough of Tower Hamlets feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Independent reports that Pickles yesterday "said he intended to appoint a team of commissioners to oversee the running of Tower Hamlets Council for the next three years after allegations that public funds were misappropriated on the instructions of the directly elected mayor, Lutfur Rahman". The newspaper says that a report "found that council properties had been sold off to third parties without proper process – including the sale of Poplar Town Hall to a company associated with someone who had helped Mr Rahman with his election campaign". Rahman and Tower Hamlets deny any wrongdoing, the newspaper adds.

The Times (subscription required) reports that UKIP defector Mark Reckless is under pressure from undecided voters over his U-turn over support for plans to build 5,000 homes at Medway in Kent. The newspaper says that the former Tory MP and now UKIP’s by-election candidate, "was attacked by voters last night for his ‘hypocrisy’ in campaigning against a local housing development after it emerged that he lobbied the government for its go-ahead last year".

The Guardian reports that "America’s infamous east-coast gambling resort", Atlantic City, is struggling to find a "new focus". The newspaper says that the city could see an estimated 10,000 jobs lost this year alone as casinos close.

The Independent reports that a senior climate scientist has warned that "lives could be lost and billions of pounds of damage caused to households and businesses as a result of extreme weather" as Britain is about to experience its warmest year since records began. The newspaper says that Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, "said that as the country gets warmer it will also become wetter. New figures published by the Met Office show the period from January to October this year has been the warmest since records began and the second wettest".

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