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  1. Director General of MI5 Andrew Parker delivers a speech in central London, on the security threat facing Britain October 17, 2017/REUTERS LONDON: Britain faces the most acute threat ever from militants seeking to inflict mass attacks, often with spontaneous plots that take just days to bring to execution, the head of the MI5 domestic intelligence agency said on Tuesday. After four militant attacks this year that killed 36 people in Britain - the deadliest spate since the London ?7/7? bombings of July 2005, MI5 chief Andrew Parker said the threat was at the highest tempo he had seen in 34 years of espionage. ?The threat is more diverse than I have ever known: plots developed here in the UK, but plots directed from overseas as well, plots online, complex scheming and also crude stabbings, lengthy planning but also spontaneous attacks,? said Parker. ?Attacks can sometimes accelerate from inception, through planning, to action in just a handful of days,? he said in a speech in central London. The director general of MI5 rarely gives public speeches. The last was in 2015. Daesh militants in Syria and Iraq have been in retreat for two years: They lost their de facto capital in Syria, Raqqa, on Tuesday and have been forced back into an ever-diminishing foothold along the Euphrates river valley. But as their territory, wealth and swagger decline, the militants have intensified online propaganda which has helped radicalise and inspire extremists to attack civilians across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Parker said there had not yet been a large influx of British militants returning home from Syria and Iraq. 'More threat, faster' Britain has foiled 20 plots in the past four years, with seven attacks prevented in the past seven months, Parker said. He said there were 500 live operations involving 3,000 people involved in militant activity. MI5, established in 1909 to counter German espionage ahead of World War One, is tasked with protecting British national security and so takes the lead, along with the police, in countering militant attacks. But after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a pop concert by US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester, MI5 began a review of how it handled intelligence on the bomber, Salman Abedi, who was known to the intelligence agencies. Abedi was not among the 3,000 people currently under active investigation by MI5, although he was one of around 20,000 people known to have some connection to extremism. ?When an attack happens, we are determined, using the harsh light of hindsight, to squeeze out every last drop of learning,? Parker said. ?We are constantly evolving to stay ahead.? MI5, which employs around 4,000 people, says it does not have the resources to monitor every suspicious person. It works alongside the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, which operates abroad, and GCHQ, Britain?s eavesdropping agency. ?Not King Canute? Britain has repeatedly demanded that Silicon Valley companies do more to suppress extremist content and allow access to online communication. After British militants rammed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and went on the rampage through packed bars, stabbing revellers in June, Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain must be tougher on stamping out militancy and proposed regulating cyberspace. Parker said militants? abuse of the internet could slow down the rapid pace of the hunt for attackers. ?This pace together with the way in which extremists can exploit safe spaces online can make threats harder to detect and give us a smaller window to intervene.? Britain?s interior minister, Amber Rudd, said earlier this month that WhatsApp?s end-to-end encryption communication services allowed paedophiles and organised crime groups to operate beyond the reach of the law. But Parker refrained from naming any companies directly and called for a nuanced partnership to tackle militants and serious crimes such as child abuse. ?I am not somehow King Canute trying to hold back the tide of developing technology and wouldn?t wish to be heard that way,? he said. ?Technology is not the enemy, indeed it holds many opportunities for us.? When asked directly whether Google, Facebook and Amazon were doing enough to prevent communications among militants, he said: ?There is a reasonable expectation, I think, from all of us but also from the public at large that these companies would do what they can to help us deal with these worst excesses.?
  2. HONG KONG/BEIJING : China said on Thursday it had the right to bar people from Hong Kong, a day after a British activist was denied entry into the former British colony, and that it had complained to Britain after it demanded an explanation. Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a ?one country, two systems? principle that promises it a high degree of autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland. But critics have accused the government of bending to the will of Communist Party leaders in Beijing and of a gradual watering down of the territory?s freedoms, including freedom of speech and right to protest. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was ?very concerned? that Benedict Rogers, a co-founder of the Conservative Party?s Human Rights Commission, was denied entry to Hong Kong on Wednesday and demanded an ?urgent explanation? from Hong Kong and China. It came a week before a sensitive Communist Party leadership meeting starts in Beijing. Johnson also said Hong Kong?s high degree of autonomy, rights and freedoms were ?central to its way of life?. Rogers has been a vocal critic of China-ruled Hong Kong?s treatment of political activists, including that of jailed student leader Joshua Wong. He believes the decision to bar him was made by Chinese officials after the Chinese Embassy in London had warned him earlier, through a British member of parliament, that he wouldn?t be allowed in. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the central government had a responsibility for foreign matters related to Hong Kong. ?The central Chinese government and the special administrative region government handle the relevant issue in accordance with the law,? Hua said. ?Allowing or not allowing people in is China?s sovereignty ... Hong Kong affairs are a purely internal matter for China.? She said China had lodged a solemn representation with Britain, meaning an official complaint. When asked about the incident on a radio talkshow, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam agreed. ?Ultimately, under the Basic Law (Hong Kong?s mini-constitution), the central government is responsible for foreign affairs,? Lam said. Asked if immigration controls fell under Hong Kong jurisdiction, Lam said: ?It has to be considered whether foreign affairs are involved during the process of immigration. ?If you say everything falls under Hong Kong?s high degree of autonomy, this is not what the Basic Law says.? The case has raised questions over the promise of autonomy and the former head of Hong Kong?s civil service turned pro-democracy activist, Anson Chan, said the case was a ?serious breach? of the Basic Law. Article 154 of the Basic Law says Hong Kong ?may apply immigration controls on entry? of foreigners into Hong Kong. ?The Immigration Department must have sought instructions from on high,? she told Reuters. ?They (Beijing) are sending a message that if you dare speak out on Hong Kong ... you will not be allowed in.? Amnesty International?s East Asia director, Nicholas Bequelin, suggested China?s definition of what constitutes national security is creeping into Hong Kong. ?In China if you?re critical of the political system, you?re committing a national security crime and this is exactly the type of thing ?one country, two systems? should protect against.? Hong Kong?s Immigration Department didn?t immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on whether China was involved in Rogers? denial of entry. China has admitted asking a group of British MPs to cancel a visit to Hong Kong in 2014 during the massive pro-democracy protests, of which Joshua Wong was a leader, that paralyzed highways for 79 days. Hong Kong has, on occasion, barred entry to individuals including dissidents, such as former leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing and a Danish sculptor, Jens Galschiot, who made a Tiananmen sculpture.
  3. Sally Jones Daesh recruiter Sally Jones, considered Britain?s most-wanted woman, has reportedly been killed in a US drone strike in Syria. Once a punk rocker, Jones, dubbed ?White Widow?, had fled to Syria with her son in 2013 before becoming a recruiter for the Daesh group. Now she is believed dead after US spy chiefs reportedly told their counterparts at MI6 that the militant was killed by a predator drone close to the border between Syria and Iraq in June. Sally Jones was a punk musician before fleeing to Syria to join Daesh Jones, 50, was a high priority on the Pentagon's ?kill list? because she was believed to have masterminded dozens of terror plots. It remains unclear if her 12-year old son survived the strike. Jones had fled Britain to join Daesh after reportedly falling for a militant hacker named Junaid Hussain. Her son is believed to have been forced to execute prisoners during his time there after being brainwashed. Hussain was killed in a US drone strike in 2015 aged 21.
  4. In one of the most bizarre British political speeches in a generation, May speech to her annual conference was ruined by a comedian handing her a bogus employment termination letter ?signed? rival Johnson, by repeated coughing fits and even by letters falling off the slogans on the set behind her. Photo: Getty Imagesset behind her. Photo: Getty Images LONDON: It was meant to be the speech that rescued Theresa May?s premiership, but her public humiliation before the assembled Conservative Party has thrust her own future into doubt. And, just as she tries to revive Brexit talks. May?s authority was already shattered by her botched bet on a June snap election that lost her party its majority in parliament just days before the opening of formal Brexit talks with the European Union. But her survival has been dependent on the absence of an obvious successor who could unite the split party around Brexit and fear of an election that many Conservatives think would let opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn into power. Prankster hands British PM unemployment notice Comedian Lee Nelson, whose real name is Simon Brodkin, walked up to the stage and gave May the form ?I don?t think anybody wants May to stay because they particularly want her as PM: I think lots of people want her to stay because the time is not yet right for what they want to happen next,? said Anand Menon, professor of European politics at King?s College London, who attended the party conference. "All they are talking about behind the scenes is whether she stays or goes, and that is a massive distraction as the UK faces this unprecedented challenge of Brexit." (Graphics on 'Tracking the Brexit effect' - here) Even after the speech, there is no obvious successor because of rivalries and divisions. Those most often mentioned, however, are ministers Boris Johnson, foreign affairs; Philip Hammond, finance; Amber Rudd, interior; and David Davis, Brexit. But as Conservative lawmakers decide whether to proceed with May, Britain has just over one year to negotiate the terms of the EU divorce and the outlines of the future relationship. It is due to leave in late March 2019. If May stays, Brexit talks will be guided by one of the weakest leaders in recent British history. But if May goes, Britain would be thrust into another political crisis while the clock ticks down to Brexit. May's speech was interrupted by her constant coughing. Photo: Getty Images Many business leaders -- in Britain and the EU -- now fear a disorderly exit that would imperil Britain?s $2.5 trillion economy, shock global financial markets and undermine London?s position as the only financial centre to rival New York. ?Yesterday was humiliating for May,? said one EU diplomat. ?The whole country, the public mood in Britain is completely from a different planet. The whole island took off and is orbiting in their own galaxy. How can you turn this around?? FAWLTY TOWERS? In one of the most bizarre British political speeches in a generation, May speech to her annual conference was ruined by a comedian handing her a bogus employment termination letter ?signed? rival Johnson, by repeated coughing fits and even by letters falling off the slogans on the set behind her. May battled on to finish the speech and was greeted by applause in the hall and a hug from her own husband, Philip, who bounded onto the stage to embrace her. Immediately after the speech, her spokesman said she was happy with the way it had gone. But the British media were less enthusiastic. ?May on the final warning after speech shambles,? The Times front page headline said. The Guardian said: ?Coughing and spluttering - May?s British dream turns into nightmare?, while the i said: ?Last gasp?. The Sun, Britain?s most popular newspaper, compared the party to the 1970s television classic ?Fawlty Towers? in which Monty Python star John Cleese plays Basil who runs a shambolic hotel while complaining about foreigners. ?Like the sign outside Fawlty Towers, the missing letters behind Theresa May are an emblem of a tragicomic farce. Who needs Basil?s hotel? We now have the Tory Party,? The Sun said in an editorial. ?This entire party has come unstuck.? PM MAY Business minister Greg Clark said the Conservatives should stay cool-headed and praised May for showing guts and grace by coping with the interruptions to her speech. Spokesmen for both Downing Street and the Conservative Party declined to comment. Many Conservative activists fear another leadership contest will exacerbate the divide in the party over Europe, an issue which helped sink the last three Conservative prime ministers - David Cameron, John Major and Margaret Thatcher. During the speech,a prankster handed the Brtish PM an unemployment letter. Photo: Getty Images And many worry that a leadership contest would pave the way for an election victory by Labour?s Corbyn, who they cast as a Marxist seeking to impose a socialist fantasy on Britain. While Johnson is popular with some activists, the leader of the left campaign in the 2016 referendum would not get the support of many Brexit opponents in the parliamentary party. Some lawmakers want a younger generation to take over but feel that no single candidate from their group is yet ready. One Conservative activist said there was a one in three chance of a leadership challenge by the end of the year. For a challenge, 48 Conservative lawmakers need to write to the chairman of the 1922 Committee asking for a confidence vote. The problem for May, the activist said on the condition of anonymity, was that the media will now focus on every slight mishap to cast her as a flawed leader. ?I?m finding it increasingly difficult to see a way forward at the moment and it worries me,? Conservative lawmaker Ed Vaizey told the BBC.
  5. British author Kazuo Ishiguro. Photo: Zuma Press STOCKHOLM: British author Kazuo Ishiguro, best known for his novel The Remains of the Day, won the Nobel Literature Prize on Thursday, the Swedish Academy said. The 62-year-old, "in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world," the Academy wrote in its citation. Born in Nagasaki, he moved to Britain with his family when he was five years old, only returning to visit Japan as an adult. Both his first novel A Pale View of Hills from 1982 and the subsequent one, An Artist of the Floating World from 1986, take place in Nagasaki a few years after World War II. "The themes Ishiguro is most associated with are already present here: memory, time, and self-delusion," the Academy said. "This is particularly notable in his most renowned novel, The Remains of the Day´," which was turned into a film with Anthony Hopkins acting as the duty-obsessed butler Stevens. "Ishiguro´s writings are marked by a carefully restrained mode of expression, independent of whatever events are taking place," it said. Apart from his eight books, Ishiguro has also written scripts for film and television.
  6. MANCHESTER: British Prime Minister Theresa May´s speech at her Conservative Party´s annual conference on Wednesday was interrupted by a serial prankster handing her an unemployment notice -- and then by her own repeated coughing. Comedian Lee Nelson, whose real name is Simon Brodkin, walked up to the stage and gave May the form, known in Britain by its reference code P45. He claimed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has clashed with May over Brexit, told him to do it. "Boris said in one of those corridor meetings: ´Give Theresa this´. It was a P45 of course, from Boris," he told reporters as he was escorted from the conference centre in Manchester, northwest England. "Hi Boris Johnson, I gave Theresa her P45 just like you asked," he later wrote on Twitter. Delegates chanted "Out! Out!" as he was ushered away and there were big cheers when he left the auditorium. Brodkin has a track record of pulling off such stunts. He once threw a pile of fake dollars at the then world football chief Sepp Blatter during a press conference. May seemed unruffled by the interruption, which came just as she was turning to speak about the opposition Labour leader. "I was about to talk about someone I want to give a P45 to: Jeremy Corbyn," she said to a standing ovation. May´s speech was later repeatedly halted by coughing fits, for which finance minister Philip Hammond gave her a sweet.
  7. An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, Germany, September 15, 2014. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files A decision by London?s transport regulator to strip Uber Technologies Inc of its license to operate in the city was ?disproportionate? and has put thousands of jobs at risk, British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday. "Yes there are safety concerns and issues for Uber to address, but what I want to see is a level playing field between the private firms and our wonderful London taxis, our black cabs, our great national institution," May said in an interview with the BBC. ?I want to see a level playing field. I think a blanket ban is disproportionate,? she said. Regulator Transport for London (TfL) deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service on September 22 and decided not to renew its license to operate when it expires on Saturday, citing the firm?s approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers. The U.S. ride services company could be driven out of one of its most important global markets. The fight comes as its new chief executive is trying to clean up Uber?s reputation as an aggressive and unapologetic firm, following a string of scandals. Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi ? who is less than a month into his new job ? has apologized to Londoners for Uber?s mistakes and said it will appeal against the decision. The Silicon Valley firm will be allowed to operate in London until the license appeal process is exhausted, which could take several months. ?At a stroke of a pen, what the mayor has done is risked 40,000 jobs and of course? damaged the lives of those 3.5 million Uber users,? May said in the interview, given before the start of her Conservative Party?s annual conference on Sunday. A court will hear Uber?s appeal of the decision by TfL, which is chaired by London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Uber ? which has 40,000 drivers in the city ? has said it is working with the police to work out how it can better report incidents and offered to work with TfL to regain the license. Khan ? a politician from the national opposition Labour Party who has criticized the firm in the past ? said on Monday he had asked TfL to be available to meet CEO Khosrowshahi. A petition calling on London to overturn its decision not to renew Uber?s license had gathered more than 800,000 signatures by Thursday evening. The company has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world and been forced to quit several countries including Denmark and Hungary, amid opposition from traditional taxi services and concern among some regulators. Uber ? which began operating in London in 2012 ? is separately defending its business model in Britain and told a tribunal on Wednesday its drivers were self-employed, not workers entitled to a range of benefits. Uber declined to comment on May?s remarks while TfL was not available outside regular UK business hours.
  8. Award-winning British actor and director Ralph Fiennes, who portrayed Lord Voldemort in the "Harry Potter" series, was given a Serbian passport on Sunday for "promoting" the Balkan country. The decision to grant honorary citizenship to the 54-year-old English star was reached earlier this month by the government of Prime Minister Ana Brnabic. "I never thought I would become a Serb and now it seems that I am one," Fiennes said in Serbian during a brief ceremony after President Aleksandar Vucic presented him with the passport and an ID card. "We Serbs are happy to have you as a friend and now we have you as our compatriot," Vucic told Fiennes. Fiennes, a two-time Oscar nominee, has featured in some 30 movies including in "Schindler's List", "The English Patient", "Skyfall" and "Spectre." He is currently in Belgrade shooting a movie about legendary ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev after filming in Serbia in 2010 his debut movie as director -- "Coriolanus" -- an adaption of Shakespeare's play. Fiennes is "promoting Serbia... through his artistic work and business activities", Brnabic told the Politika daily earlier this month. "He became a genuine friend and promoter of our country and thus undoubtedly deserved honorary citizenship," she said.
  9. [embed_video1 url= style=center] RAWALPINDI: British High Commissioner Thomas Drew called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at General Headquarters on Friday, according to Inter-Services Public Relations. Matters of mutual interest and regional security were discussed in the meeting, said the ISPR statement. The visiting dignitary acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan?s continuous efforts for peace and stability in the region. On August 22, Ambassador of UAE to Pakistan Essa Abdullah Al Basha Al-Noaimi called on Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa to bid farewell at the end of his tenure in Pakistan, said a statement from the ISPR. UAE ambassador calls on COAS Visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan Army?s contributions to peace and stability in region Matters of mutual interest along with regional security issues were discussed during the visit of the outgoing envoy. Al-Noaimi acknowledged and appreciated the Army?s contributions to peace and stability in the region. He also pledged to keep working for better relations between two brotherly nations.
  10. Pakistan federal capital, Islamabad, is among the list of popular destinations for British travellers, Telegraph reported. According to Skyscanner, Islamabad is more popular destination among British travellers than Madrid, Ibiza and Berlin. The research is based on bookings made on the website, which is based on flight comparison, this year and bookings up until September 11. The top 10 destinations in the list are Amsterdam, New York, Bangkok, Dublin, Dubai, London, Malaga, Barcelona, Alicante and Paris. Islamabad ranks on number 14 and is followed by Belfast, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Ibiza, Edinburgh, Geneva, Sydney, New Delhi, Istanbul, Lagos and Bali. Surprisingly, Lahore comes on the 41st position on the list of the 50 most popular destinations for UK travellers.
  11. British Prime Minister Theresa May addressing the United Nations General Assembly. -AFP NEW YORK: British Prime Minister Theresa May, in her address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, paid a tribute to slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto. ?This year is the tenth anniversary of the death of the woman who introduced me to my husband and who is known well to many of us in the United Nations. Benazir Bhutto was brutally murdered by people who actively rejected the values that all of us here at the United Nations stand for.? "In a country that has suffered more than most at the hands of terrorists, murdered for standing up for democracy, murdered for espousing tolerance and murdered for being a woman. When I think of a hundred and thousands of victims of terrorism in countries across the world I think of their friends, their families, their communities devastated by this evil and I say, enough is enough," said the British premier. During the address, May urged world leaders to defend the rules-based international order and its multilateral institutions, one day after US President Donald Trump had hailed national sovereignty. May cited many dangerous challenges facing member states - from Syria´s use of chemical weapons on its own people to terrorism to economic equality - and called for unity of effort. "I believe that the only way for us to respond to this vast array of challenges is to come together and defend the international order that we have worked so hard to create and the values by which we stand," she said. "For it is the fundamental values that we share - the values of fairness, justice and human rights - that have created the common cause between nations to act together in our shared interest and form the multilateral system." "And it is this rules-based system that we have developed ... which enables the global cooperation by which we can protect those values," she said. May´s comments marked a striking contrast to Tuesday´s speech by Trump, in which he used variations on the word "sovereign" or "sovereignty" more than 20 times and argued that: "The nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition." Trump´s nationalist bent is a break from decades of US support for multilateral efforts and has led him to dump a planned trans-Pacific trade pact and threaten to pull out of the Paris climate accord and Iran nuclear deal. May, by contrast, cited both free trade agreements and the Paris accord as examples of a rules-based international system that ensures peace and prosperity.
  12. Emergency personnel attend to a person after an incident at Parsons Green underground station in London, Britain, September 15, 2017. Photo: Reuters LONDON: British detectives have arrested a 17-year-old youth in connection with a bomb attack on an underground train in London last week that injured 30 people, bringing the total number of arrests to six, police said on Thursday. The young man was arrested in the early hours of Thursday in Thornton Heath, south London. The other arrests had taken place in Dover on the south coast of England, Hounslow in west London and Newport in Wales. A home-made bomb went off on September 15 during the morning rush hour on a packed underground Tube train at Parsons Green station, sending flames through the carriage, although it appeared that the device did not fully explode. It was the fifth major terrorism incident in Britain this year. ?This continues to be a fast-moving investigation. A significant amount of activity has taken place since the attack on Friday,? said Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police?s Counter Terrorism Command. ?We now have six males in custody and searches are continuing at five addresses. Detectives are carrying out extensive inquiries to determine the full facts behind the attack,? he said. The other men in custody in a south London police station are an 18-year-old, a 21-year-old, a 25-year-old, a 30-year-old and a 48-year-old.
  13. PARIS: Passengers were evacuated from a British Airways plane at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on Sunday morning ?for a security reason?, an airport official said. Flight BA303 was due to take off and fly to London?s Heathrow airport when the plane was evacuated, the official said. ?The incident is being dealt with,? the official added, without going into further detail. The plane was surrounded by police and fire vehicles after passengers were informed shortly before take off that a "direct threat" had been made against the airport, according to The Independent. A passenger, James Anderson, stated on Twitter that armed police searched all passengers on the flight, and fire crews also attended the scene. All passengers have since been given the all clear and have been assured they will be able to board another flight later today. A British Airways spokesperson said: "The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority. "Additional security checks are being carried out as a precaution. We would never operate a flight unless it is safe to do so."
  14. LONDON: A Pakistan International Airline flight from Islamabad to London was searched by UK?s border agency officials, sources informed Geo News. Agency officials, including sniffer dogs, searched the plane for five hours. The 17 British officials took off panels from the plane and did a thorough search. They were acting on a tip-off that drugs were being smuggled aboard the plane. However, PIA officials said the plane was cleared after no contraband was found. Earlier in June, the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) busted a gang of drug-peddlers involved in smuggling of drugs abroad through PIA aircraft. The ANF rounded up nine PIA employees from Karachi and one from Lahore.
  15. Britain's response to Irma has been criticised by some local inhabitants as too slow. LONDON: Over 100 high-risk prisoners escaped in the British Virgin Islands during Hurricane Irma, a British junior minister said on Tuesday, as he raised the death toll in British territories to nine. "We had a serious threat of a complete breakdown of law and order in the British Virgin islands (BVI)," junior foreign minister Alan Duncan told parliament. "The prison was breached, over 100 very serious prisoners escaped," he said. Duncan said Royal Marines were deployed to cope with the threat but did not disclose how many prisoners had been recovered or how many were still at large. "We have maintained and kept law and order on the BVI, which at one point, could have dramatically threatened the already unfortunate plight of those who had been hit by the hurricane," he said. Contacted by AFP, the foreign ministry declined to comment. The Daily Telegraph said notes from a cabinet meeting that were leaked to the press on Tuesday suggested as many as 60 had yet to be recaptured. "We are working with St Lucia and BVI authorities to secure the transfer to St Lucia of 40 high-risk prisoners that have escaped in BVI," the briefing notes were reported as saying. Duncan said a total of nine people died in British Caribbean territories -- five in the BVI and four in Anguilla. The authorities had previously reported one person killed in Anguilla. Britain´s response to Irma has been criticised by some local inhabitants as too slow with some complaining about a breakdown of law and order and being left to fend for themselves. Briton Claudia Knight said her partner Leo Whitting, 38, was stranded on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands archipelago. "Everyone´s turned feral and no-one´s going out without being armed... It´s turning really nasty," she told the Press Association news agency. "Leo carries a knife with him," she said. But Duncan said he "wholeheartedly and comprehensively reject the criticism". "I think they are unjustified," he added.
  16. LONDON: A hotel and nearby conference centre on the south coast of England ? where Britain?s Trades Union Congress (TUC) was holding its annual conference ? were evacuated on Sunday due to a bomb threat, police said. Police said the Grand Hotel in Brighton, where five people were killed by an Irish Republican Army bombing during the Conservative Party conference in 1984, received an anonymous phone call at 8:30 PST on Sunday saying there was an explosive device in the building. The nearby Brighton Centre, where the TUC was meeting and where the opposition Labour Party is due to hold its annual conference later this month, was also evacuated. ?Thorough searches and enquiries are taking place to establish as soon as possible whether or not the call is a genuine one,? Sussex Police said in a statement. ?Military ordnance disposal are attending as part of the search. Nothing untoward has been found at this time.?
  17. We can all agree that Shashi Tharoor is an amazing orator, and he has never shied away from voicing his opinions about the reality of British colonialism in India. A few months back he made headlines when he talked about the atrocities meted out by the British Empire onto Indian inhabitants, mincing no words in pointing out that the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who is revered as a great leader, has as much blood on his hands as Adolf Hitler. © Twitter Now, he is out here again, putting Britain back in its place. This week he appeared on ABC TV's Q&A for a panel discussion on politics and the world at large. Right towards the end of the show, an Indian-Australian audience member raised a question to Shashi Tharoor asking if there were any positive aspects of the British colonising India, even citing a few examples. He asked, “You've mentioned reparations from Britain before. But what about the skills in engineering India acquired, the democratic processes it inherited, the infrastructure and the rapid education of Indian people?” © ABC Well, he didn't to be asked twice to bust out the receipts and broke down the question, point by point. He replied, “The British came to one of the richest countries in the world, accounting for 27% of the global GDP in 1700s and 23% in 1800s. And, over 200 years of exploitation, loot and destruction reduced it to a poster child for poverty, with just over 3% of global GDP.” © ABC He then went on to describe the condition in which the British left India : “90% of the population was living below the poverty line, the literacy rate was below 17% and the life expectancy was 27. The growth rate of British India between 1900 to 1947 was 0.001%. That's what they were doing while draining the country of taxes and resources.” © ABC He then went on to further explain the point of education : “Education? My Gosh! The last thing the British wanted to invest in was educating Indians. Will Durant, an American historian travelling in the 1930s pointed out that the expenditure on Indian education was less than half the high school budget of New York State.” He also made sure to point out that all the Indian institutes of technology, the engineering achievements were established after independence, by the government of India. © ABC “Apologists like to say you missed the bus for the industrial revolution. We missed the bus because you threw us under its wheels.” Honestly, what a mic drop moment. You can watch the whole thing here, or just skip to 44:45 to see him shutting things down:
  18. KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed on Wednesday that it has not received any letter from British officials pertaining to MQM founder Altaf Hussain?s speeches. Hussain incited violence in speeches given by him on March 11, 2015, and August 22, 2016. The FIA also said that such communication takes place through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the agency would have responded if they were approached. FIA claimed to have presented many documents against the MQM founder and includes videos and pictures. The FIA further added that they would only respond if the UK government requests their cooperation. The issue has been stalled due to lack of cooperation from UK officials, FIA added. Earlier, the Metropolitan police had claimed that they had sent a letter to the Pakistani government requesting their help in investigating the case on August 8, this year. Moreover, FIA also claimed that British officials have not written any letter regarding the investigation of Imran Farooq murder case. On August 24, Scotland Yard had confirmed that it?s ?assessing? the contents of Altaf Hussain?s speech against the state of Pakistan in which he also incited violence against media and the armed forces of Pakistan. Speaking to Geo News, a spokesman for Scotland Yard confirmed that ?the police are currently assessing the content of a speech given by an individual associated with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to ascertain if any crimes have been committed under UK legislation?. The police had revealed that they are investigating various speeches ? not just one - made by the London-based leader of the MQM who has been accused of using his London office to incite acts of terrorism inside Pakistan. Previously, the police had said that they were only investigating one speech, after having dropped the previous investigations into incitement.
  19. LONDON: Some of the four alleged members of a banned British neo-Nazi group arrested on Tuesday for terror offences are serving soldiers, Britain´s defence ministry said. National Action became the first far-right group to be outlawed by the government in December last year, six months after the assassination of lawmaker Jo Cox by a far-right sympathiser. The four suspects are being held "on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism," British police said in a statement. Authorities did not name the four but said they were aged between 22 and 32 and came from Birmingham, Ipswich and Northampton in England and Powys in Wales. "The arrests were pre-planned and intelligence-led; there was no threat to the public´s safety," the statement said, adding that raids were also being carried out on "a number of properties". The ministry of defence later said that some of the suspects were serving soldiers, but did not reveal how many. "We can confirm that a number of serving members of the Army have been arrested under the Terrorism Act for being associated with a proscribed far right group," it said in a statement. "These arrests are the consequence of a Home Office Police Force led operation supported by the Army," it added. Cox, an MP from the main opposition Labour party, was shot and stabbed to death in her constituency by far-right nationalist Thomas Mair in June 2016. Mair shouted "Britain first!" as he killed her. National Action, which had praised Mair´s actions, was banned in December of the same year. At the time, Interior Minister Amber Rudd branded the organisation as "racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic". In June this year, van driver Darren Osborne allegedly mowed down Muslim worshippers near a London mosque, leaving one person dead. Prosecutors said Osborne was "motivated by extreme political views and a personal hatred of Muslims". He is currently in custody awaiting trial.
  20. A wildfire burns north east of the town of Cache Creek, British Columbia, Canada on July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ben Nelms/Files The Canadian province of British Columbia has extended a state of emergency for a fourth time until September 15 due to wildfires raging across the region, the provincial government said on Friday. Since early summer, firefighters and emergency services have been battling hundreds of blazes across British Columbia that have forced as many as 45,000 people from their homes and burned more than 894,000 hectares (2.2 million acres). 'A number of new fires' British Columbia on August 4 extended the state of emergency by two weeks for the second time as it battled 123 fires. Since April 1, over 870 fires across the province have charred an estimated 509,000 hectares (1.3 million acres) and destroyed 305 structures, officials said, including homes, sheds, barns, and commercial buildings. Some 115 burnt structures have not been identified. British Columbia chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said on a conference call that hot, dry weather conditions were forecast into the weekend, with a chance of lightning. Thunder showers and lightning are expected from Monday to Wednesday, he said, adding, ?Given how dry it?s been, if it doesn?t come with a significant amount of rain, we?re likely going to see a number of new fires.? The fires have cost the province C$211.7 million ($167.37 million) so far this fire season, Skrepnek said. Neighbouring countries send help While many evacuees have since been allowed back to their homes, British Columbia?s government said there were still 25 evacuation orders affecting about 7,100 people, and there were roughly 25,000 people under a less serious form of notice, an evacuation alert. Biggest Mexico firefighter deployment abroad heads to Canada A state of emergency has been in effect in British Columbia since July 7 British Columbia has not declared a state of emergency since 2003. Firefighters from Mexico and the United States arrived in British Columbia earlier to help tackle the flames. Mexico sent 108 firefighters and the US sent another 27 to join a force of nearly 4,000 battling blazes that have shut sawmills and mines and forced thousands from their homes. It is so far the province?s third-worst fire season on record, based on area burnt. British Columbia said on Friday it would provide each evacuee household with $600, which will be renewed every 14 days until they return to their homes.
  21. A policeman walks past a blue tent covering a British World War II bomb that was found during construction works on August 30, 2017, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. AFP/dpa/Boris Roessler FRANKFURT: Around 60,000 inhabitants of Germany?s financial capital Frankfurt will be ordered to leave their homes on Sunday while a large World War Two bomb discovered at a building site is made safe, the police said. Germany?s central bank, the Bundesbank, Frankfurt?s Goethe University, and at least two hospitals will also be evacuated, in one of the largest evacuations in German post-war history. The 1.4-tonne HC 4000 bomb dropped by the British air force during World War Two was uncovered on a building site on Wismarer Strasse in Frankfurt?s leafy Westend where many wealthy bankers live. Bomb disposal experts who examined it said the massive evacuation could wait until the weekend. ?We are still working on the modalities of the evacuation plan,? a spokeswoman for Frankfurt police said on Wednesday.
  22. Police issued a warning on Sunday after chemical ?haze? left up to 50 people on Britain?s south coast suffering irritation to their eyes and throats. Sussex police urged people to keep doors and windows shut in the affected area, between the resort town of Eastbourne and Birling Gap, a few miles along the coast. Police also warned people to stay away from the beaches, on a busy public holiday weekend. The haze seems to have been coming in from the sea but the source has not been established, the statement said.
  23. The spokesman for the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) has rebutted claims by a British newspaper, citing a report, which alleged ?fraud and corruption?? in the distribution of aid money under the program. Claims made by British newspaper Daily Mail are false and misleading, said the spokesperson. A report by the Department for International Development, cited by the Daily Mail today in its article, said that British officials need to take concrete steps to ?root out fraud and corruption? in the distribution of aid money worth £420million under BISP. BISP spokesman said that the same news was first published in January this year, adding that British Prime Minister Theresa May had praised the programme. ?The report also raised concerns that many recipients are unable to use cash machines to collect their money and are taken advantage of by others who take a cut to help them,? the article said. The report said that ?BISP needs to keep on top of operational risks including its procedures for identifying, reporting and rooting out fraud and corruption. ?DfID will need to step up engagement with the [Pakistani] ministry of finance and BISP?s leadership for monitoring and managing these risks.? A consultancy firm Mott MacDonald, carrying out checks on behalf of the DfID, found that about ?a fifth of those receiving the handouts were paying fees for help withdrawing the money?. The report highlighted various issues affecting the transparency of the program, including the inability of female beneficiaries to use the debit card, loss of passcodes and multiple visits to withdraw cash. The DfID identified low literacy level as a major challenge which presents a hurdle in people using technology such as ATMs on their own. The spokesman for the government department added that it routinely reviews programmes for transparency ?value for money for the taxpayer, and this programme is no different?.
  24. Actor Robert Hardy, a familiar face on British television who also played the minister of magic in the Harry Potter franchise, has died aged 91, his family announced on Thursday. "It is with great sadness that the family of Robert Hardy CBE today announced his death, following a tremendous life: a giant career in theatre, television and film spanning more than 70 years," a statement from his children Emma, Justine and Paul said. They added: "Gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified, he is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him, and everyone who enjoyed his work." Born in 1925, Hardy started his career at 24 in a stage adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Coriolanus", the first of many theatre roles. He was also part of several long-standing television shows, including the BBC's famed "All Creatures Great and Small", which ran for 12 years. The Bafta-nominated actor later appeared in the Harry Potter films as Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge, a role he reprised four times. He was awarded a CBE - one of Britain's highest honours - in 1981 for his services to acting.
  25. RAWALPINDI: British High Commissioner Thomas Drew called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters today. A press release issued by the Inter Services Public Relations stated that matters of mutual interest and regional security were discussed at the meeting. The visiting dignitary acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan?s continuous efforts for peace and stability in the region, the press release stated further.