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Found 122 results

  1. Photo: REUTERS NEW YORK/LONDON: A US resident has sued Facebook and a British-based political consultancy for obtaining data from millions of the social media site's users without their permission, while an academic at the centre of the storm accused both firms of scapegoating him. The complaint filed at the US District Court in San Jose, California, marked the first of what may be many lawsuits seeking damages over Facebook's ability to protect user data, and exploitation of the information by the Cambridge Analytica consultancy to help President Donald Trump's election campaign. Facebook has been rocked this week by a whistleblower who said Cambridge Analytica, which Trump hired for the 2016 campaign, improperly accessed information on Facebook users to build detailed profiles of American voters. This revelation has knocked nearly $50 billion off Facebook's stock market value in two days and hit the shares of Twitter and Snap over fears that a failure by big tech firms to protect personal data could deter advertisers and users and invite tougher regulation. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and chief executive, who has been quiet on the controversy, is to address the revelations later on Wednesday, a source at the company told Reuters. The proposed class-action complaint was filed late on Tuesday by Lauren Price, a Maryland resident. "Every Facebook user has an interest in this lawsuit, and the enforcement of their privacy rights," John Yanchunis, a lawyer for Price, told Reuters on Wednesday. The complaint seeks unspecified damages, including possible punitive damages. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica did not immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for comment. A former Facebook manager who was responsible for policing the network's data handling procedures in 2011-2012 said he had warned senior executives about the issue. The manager, Sandy Parakilas, said he had told them that Facebook's failure to police how outside software developers used its data put the company at risk of major data breaches. "There was very little detection or enforcement," he told a British parliamentary committee via a video link. Swing voters The academic who provided the data, psychologist Aleksandr Kogan, told the BBC that Cambridge Analytica had greatly exaggerated its role in Trump's victory. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have both blamed Kogan, who gathered the data by running a survey app on Facebook. Kogan combines the roles of an academic at Cambridge University and a web entrepreneur based in San Francisco. US political campaigns collect large amounts of data, hoping to target swing voters sympathetic to their message. Cambridge Analytica stood out for the scale of claims in its marketing materials to "collect up to 5,000 data points on over 220 million Americans" in all its activities. It uses techniques based on personality traits and then applies analytic tools to pinpoint supporters. However, Kogan said the services provided by the consultancy had been greatly exaggerated. "I think what Cambridge Analytica has tried to sell is magic, and they've made claims that this is incredibly accurate and it tells you everything there is to tell about you. But I think the reality is it's not that," he said. Arron Banks, who campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union in a 2016 referendum, also questioned the value of psychologically-based data. Banks told Reuters that Cambridge Analytica had unsuccessfully pitched for work with his Leave.eu campaign group. "I think they are nothing more than a company that places Facebook ads and shrouds in a sort of mystery," he said. Kogan's application, "thisisyourdigitallife," offered a personality prediction and billed itself on Facebook as "a research app used by psychologists". Kogan said he had gathered the data in 2014. He was then approached by Cambridge Analytica who provided the legal advice around its use, he added. Facebook says Kogan then violated its policies by passing the data to Cambridge Analytica for commercial use, saying on Friday he "lied to us". Cambridge Analytica said it destroyed the data once it realised the information did not adhere to data protection rules. "My view is that I'm being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica," said Kogan. "We were assured by Cambridge Analytica that everything was perfectly legal and within the limits of the terms of service. "Cambridge Analytica has denied various allegations made about its business practices in recent media reports. British Prime Minister Theresa May said she backed an investigation into the consultancy, while the German government also expressed its concern. In Europe, the tax affairs of tech giants have become a hot political issue. On Wednesday, the European Commission proposed rules to make digital companies pay their fair share of tax, with Facebook and its peers set to foot much of the bill. Personality test Alexander Nix, the head of Cambridge Analytica, said in a secretly recorded video broadcast on Tuesday that his company had played a decisive role in Trump's election victory. He was suspended by the company shortly before the video was shown on Britain's Channel 4 News. Around 270,000 people downloaded the app, Facebook said. The app scored the results of each quiz and gathered up data from test-takers' Facebook accounts. However, it also pulled down the data of their Facebook friends, vastly increasing the size of the sample. Kogan put the number of app users as closer to 200,000.The researcher said, in total, he passed the data of around 30 million American Facebook users to SCL, a government and military contractor that is the parent of Cambridge Analytica. Media reports have put the total number of Facebook profiles collected at around 50 million users. US and European lawmakers have demanded an explanation of how Cambridge Analytica gained access to user data in 2014 and why Facebook failed to inform its users. Facebook said it had been told by the Federal Trade Commission, the leading US consumer regulator, that it would receive a letter this week with questions about the data acquired by Cambridge Analytica. It said it had no indication of a formal investigation.
  2. A Russian policeman walks outside the British embassy in Moscow, Russia. Photo: Reuters MOSCOW: Russia expelled 23 British diplomats on Saturday in a carefully calibrated retaliatory move against London, which has accused the Kremlin of orchestrating a nerve toxin attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter in southern England. Escalating a crisis in relations, Russia said it was also shutting down the activities of the British Council, which fosters cultural links between the two countries, and Britain?s consulate-general in St Petersburg. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the 23 British diplomats had one week to leave the country. The move followed Britain?s decision on Wednesday to expel 23 Russian diplomats over the attack in the English city of Salisbury which left former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, critically ill in hospital. Moscow announced the measures on the eve of a presidential election which incumbent Vladimir Putin should comfortably win. Putin has cast his country as a fortress besieged by hostile Western powers with him as its defender, and state media is likely to portray the anti-British move in that context. The Foreign Ministry said Moscow?s measures were a response to what it called Britain?s "provocative actions and unsubstantiated accusations". It warned London it stood ready to take further measures in the event of more "unfriendly steps". Relations between London and Moscow have crashed to a post-Cold War low over the Salisbury attack, the first known offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War Two. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain would consider its next steps with its allies in the coming days. "We will never tolerate a threat to the life of British citizens and others on British soil from the Russian government. We can be reassured by the strong support we have received from our friends and allies around the world," May told her Conservative Party?s spring forum in London. The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador, Laurie Bristow, to its headquarters on Saturday morning to inform him of the retaliatory measures. Bristow told reporters afterwards that Britain had only expelled the Russian diplomats after Moscow had failed to explain how the nerve toxin had got to Salisbury. Britain's foreign ministry said it had anticipated Russia?s response and that its priority was to look after its staff in Russia and assist those returning home. "Russia's response doesn?t change the facts of the matter ? the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable," it said in a statement. Britain's National Security Council is due to meet early next week to consider London's next steps. War of words Russia's response was more robust than expected. The closure of the British Council's Moscow office will sever cultural ties, while that of the consulate-general in St Petersburg will end Britain?s diplomatic presence in Russia?s second city. Russian news agencies cited politicians in Russia's upper house of parliament as welcoming the move to close the British Council, alleging it had been used as a cover by British spies. The British Council said it was profoundly disappointed by Russia's decision and remained committed to developing long-term people-to-people links with Russia despite the closure. Russia has complained that Britain has failed to provide any evidence of its involvement in the Salisbury attack and has said it is shocked and bemused by the allegations. Britain has escalated a war of words with Russia over the incident in recent days. On Friday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it was overwhelmingly likely that Russian President Putin himself had made the decision to use a military-grade nerve toxin to strike down Skripal. Britain, the United States, Germany and France have jointly called on Russia to explain the attack and US President Donald Trump has said it looks as if the Russians were behind it. Russia has said it is open to cooperation with Britain, but has refused Britain's demands to explain how Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military, was used against the Skripals. Skripal, a former colonel in the GRU who betrayed dozens of Russian agents to British intelligence, and his daughter have been critically ill since March 4, when they were found unconscious on a bench. A British policeman was also poisoned when he went to help them and remains in a serious but stable condition. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told the Rossiya 24 TV channel on Saturday that the most likely source of the Novichok nerve toxin was Britain itself or the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden or the United States. Those countries, not Russia, had been intensively testing the substance since the end of the 1990s, Zakharova said. The assertion could not be immediately verified. The Swedish and Czech foreign ministers and the Slovak foreign ministry all separately rejected the Russian claim. Russian investigators said on Friday they had opened a criminal investigation into the attempted murder of Yulia Skripal and offered to cooperate with British authorities. Russia offered some cooperation to British authorities after the 2006 London murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko too. Britain said the assistance in that case was not enough, and in 2016, an enquiry concluded that Putin had probably approved Litvinenko's murder, something Moscow denies.
  3. The retaliatory measures were communicated to British ambassador Laurie Bristow, seen here leaving the foreign ministry in Moscow after another summoning earlier this week. Photo: AFP file MOSCOW: Russia announced Saturday it will expel 23 British diplomats and halt the activities of the British Council in response to London?s ?provocative? measures over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter. ?Twenty three diplomatic staff at the British embassy in Moscow are declared persona non grata and to be expelled within a week,? the foreign ministry said in a statement after summoning the British ambassador Laurie Bristow. It said the move was a response to Britain?s ?provocative actions? and ?baseless accusations over the incident in Salisbury on March 4,? referring to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal with a nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, which Britain has blamed on Russia. Russia also said it was halting the activities of the British Council, Britain?s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, across the country. ?Due to the unregulated status of the British Council in Russia, its activity is halted,? the foreign ministry said. And the ministry had also warned Britain that ?if further unfriendly actions are taken towards Russia, the Russian side retains the right to take other answering measures.?
  4. ISLAMABAD: The British High Commission announced a new annual scholarship, honouring the legacy of the late rights advocate Asma Jahangir, said an official statement on Thursday. After a rigorous selection process, the scholarship will be awarded to the best female Chevening candidate each year. The recipient of the inaugural award will be announced in August, when the 2018 Chevening Scholars have been selected, said the press release. Chevening scholarships are awarded to the outstanding emerging leaders to pursue a one-year Masters programme at any UK university. The scholarship programme gives the opportunity to future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from across the world to develop professionally and academically. It helps them build networks, to experience the UK culture, and to form lasting positive relationships with the UK, said the press statement. The statement further mentioned that in 2017, Chevening sent 63 Pakistanis to universities across the UK ? including 23 women. The British High Commissioner Thomas Drew announced the scholarships and addressed the ceremony. He said: ?I am delighted to announce that Asma Jahangir?s family has agreed to the creation of a scholarship in her name as part of our prestigious Chevening Programme. It is particularly appropriate to be able to announce the award, which will each year go to the top female Chevening candidate, on International Women?s Day. For decades, Asma Jahangir was a courageous defender of Pakistan?s most vulnerable citizens. She was also a powerful advocate for the rights of women. This scholarship honours her achievements.? The British HC further said, ?Women across Pakistan, as they are around the world, are underrepresented in politics, in leadership positions and across society. We hope that this scholarship inspires future generations of Pakistani women by giving them a platform to realise their potential ? helping, in turn, realise the great potential of their country. As the founder of the country, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, said 'no nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you'?. Asma Jahangir?s daughter, Sulema Jahangir also spoke at the event, honouring her late mother. ?Asma Jahangir believed passionately in the importance of higher education. We welcome the British High Commission?s naming of one of its Chevening Scholarships as a fitting tribute to our mother and her life time?s work.? Prominent lawyer and human rights icon Asma Jahangir passed away on February 11, after suffering a stroke. She was 66 years old.
  5. Our Sikh brethren never, ever fail to remind us that humanity is alive and we, as fellow humans, still have hope for a world filled with care. A group of British Sikhs who run the 'Midland Langar Seva' in the UK is currently ensuring that no homeless or stranded human on the streets is left unfed or cold. Their beautiful 'Guru Nanak Langar Society' bus has been touring Birmingham and feeding so many people. Fantastic charity by British Sikhs braving bitter cold to feed the homeless in Birmingham on board 'Guru Nanak Dev Ji's Langar Bus'. Extraordinary selfless service like this by members of the Sikh faith reinforces the teachings of Sikh Gurus & truly inspire us! @MidlandLangar pic.twitter.com/YWGAIMarZs — Harjinder Singh Kukreja (@SinghLions) March 4, 2018 The seva of 'langar' is something that the Sikhs all over the world swear by and anything done with pure love and affection is bound to save the world. Amongst other things, the ' Midland Langar Seva ' volunteers have been touring every night and have been giving out warm clothes and blankets to the homeless people on the streets. Another busy night handing out donations to the #Birmingham homeless ð pic.twitter.com/uTahHGmz8R — (BHST) Birminghams homeless support team (@BhamHST) March 6, 2018 #Northampton langar seva. Over 40 hot meals served tonight in the cold temperatures and pouring rain at Abington St between 6-7. @MidlandLangar @NorPolPrevent pic.twitter.com/Jx2FRP2J72 — Amarjit Singh Atwal (@Amarjitsatwal) March 4, 2018 The volunteers have been touring Northampton and Birmingham as well. Needless to say, this is warming every heart on the internet! nice surprise Visit by @MidlandLangar @homelesheroes by the brothers from midland seva langar true legends of the community. United we stand in #humanity #feedingmillions @Tell_StreetLink @andy4wm @LiamByrneMP @BrumLeader a great turnout by our guests. Humanity at it's finest. pic.twitter.com/hOblQTcBGs — Javed Iqbal (@javed2275) March 3, 2018 Pasta #vegan Bolognese for the #homeless to enjoy as they come off the #freezing streets to stay @NptonHopeCentre tonight. Prepared by the #Northampton #Sikh #Community #Volunteers. @SikhPA @chappersclair #roughsleeping #homelessness #StormEmma #coldweather #communityspirit pic.twitter.com/RYxdC42IbL — Amarjit Singh Atwal (@Amarjitsatwal) March 3, 2018 Just written to thank @MidlandLangar for their wonderful support to @leicspolice @LeicsFireRescue at Hinckley Road #Leicester pic.twitter.com/Wjip944SEG — Simon Cole (@CCLeicsPolice) March 2, 2018 Humanity is the biggest religion of all, and it's gestures like these that warm every heart, and give us hope for a wonderful life. Please show your support and let this example make you help someone today.
  6. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/6b1fe3a5e8e832302c941a6283f20447.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9Mi8yMC8yMDE4IDU6MTM6MjIgUE0maGFzaF92YWx1ZT1VMVZPRUR3d0VmajBPSXZaaEt1Nlh3PT0mdmFsaWRtaW51dGVzPTYwJmlkPTE= style=center] Reham Khan, former wife of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, has accused him of being ?unfaithful?, according to British media, days after the cricketer-turned-politician confirmed his third marriage. Imran Khan, 66, tied the knot with Bushra Riaz Wattoo in a private ceremony in Lahore on Sunday. The PTI confirmed party chairman?s third marriage with Bushra, known to be his spiritual guide. Imran first tied the knot with Jemima Khan on May 16, 1995 that ended in divorce after nine years on June 22, 2004. His second marriage with Reham Khan, then a TV anchor, lasted for barely 10 months. Reham alleged that the relationship between the newlyweds had begun before her ten-month marriage ended in divorce in 2015, leading British daily The Times reported. ?Imran Khan was in contact with Bushra three years ago when I was his wife and he is not the truthful man,? Reham, 44, told The Times. ?I knew they married on 1 January, and he revealed it later, this is exactly what he did after marrying me and then announcing after two months.? In a recent interview Reham claimed that she married Imran in a secret ceremony on October 31, 2014. But the PTI chairperson hid the news for months, despite reports in the media. "The reports of my marriage are greatly exaggerated!" Imran tweeted on Dec 31, 2014. He, however, made his marriage with Reham public in January 2015. Photographs of Imran's nikah with Bushra Wattoo released by the PTI on Sunday showed close relatives of the bride and two of Imran?s affiliates at the event in Lahore. PTI confirms Imran Khan's marriage with Bushra Bibi The party issues pictures of Imran Khan's nikah with Bushra Bibi Senior correspondent with The News Umar Cheema broke the story of Imran?s third marriage in January this year, but the PTI denied the report at the time. However, the party had later confirmed that Imran proposed marriage to a woman named Bushra Bibi. The Times further quoted Reham as saying: ?Khan is my ex but he is disrespecting Pakistan indulging in such affairs even when he was married with me. This move is the fragmentation of PTI.? PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhary denied her allegations and claimed that she had frequently fabricated stories. The news of the marriage drew a mixed response with some criticising the PTI chairman for ?lying? about it, and others congratulating him. ?Don?t humiliate women by divorcing them?: Maulana Haideri?s advice to Imran Khan 'There?s no harm in marrying. But do not humiliate women by divorcing them', says the JUI-F leader Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Talal Chaudhry congratulated the PTI chairman for his third marriage, but pointed out that he should not have lied by rejecting The News report, which said that he had tied the knot on January 1. "Marriage is a Sunnat-e-Nabwi. What was the point of lying about it? One should know what they are supposed to do at their age," he said on Sunday. Taking a jibe at the PTI leader, Chaudhry said that where Nawaz Sharif was destined to become four times prime minister, Imran?s fate was to get married for the third time. "I hope this time his marriage remains successful," he added. ?There?s no harm in marrying . . . [but] if he can?t hold on to his wives, how can he hold the country together?? said Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, the Senate deputy chairman.
  7. Amy Jackson might not have left a major mark with her projects and acting but the woman still rules millions of hearts just because she is a freaking gorgeous goddess! Never too much | The King of Curves @gregoriophotography ð¸ A post shared by Amy Jackson (@iamamyjackson) on Feb 11, 2018 at 8:18am PST So she made headlines when Prateik Babbar and Amy were a huge thing in Bollywood and the actors were said to be head over heels in love. Apparently Prateik even had a tattoo of her name. However, the actor recently got engaged to his current lady love and Amy has moved on and how! Her love life is nothing short of ravishing and flashy because her man in question is a certain British millionaire called George Panayiotou. ♠ï¸ #HVD A post shared by Amy Jackson (@iamamyjackson) on Feb 14, 2018 at 7:49am PST George belongs to the family that owns one of biggest companies in the UK, The Ability Group and is also the richest land lord family. His net worth is estimated to be around 400 million pounds. ∞ A post shared by Amy Jackson (@iamamyjackson) on Jan 7, 2018 at 6:02pm PST The look of sheer joy after making it down the kids slope. G was not impressed ð A post shared by Amy Jackson (@iamamyjackson) on Feb 12, 2018 at 9:51am PST Apparently they began dating back in 2015 and had an on-off sort of relationship but lately the have been going steady. He's clearly a keeper and we wish the couple a great love life.
  8. Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, February 7, 2018. REUTERS LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May will attempt to unite her feuding cabinet and convince a skeptical European Union that Britain knows what it wants from Brexit in a series of speeches over the next few weeks. Britain is hoping to seal a transition deal next month to smooth its exit from the EU, and reach agreement on a long-term trade agreement later this year. However, Brussels said last week a transition deal was not a certainty and that London needed to clarify what it wanted from the EU. May?s government will aim to address that in a series of six speeches by the prime minister and other senior ministers in the next few weeks, which her office dubbed ?The Road to Brexit?. ?Brexit is a defining moment in the history of our nation,? a source in May?s office said. ?As we move along the road to that future, we will set out more detail so people can see how this new relationship will benefit communities in every part of our country.? A BMG poll on Sunday for the Independent showed 74 percent of Britons were unclear about May?s overall Brexit strategy. As well as facing pressure from Brussels, May also needs to unite a cabinet and Conservative party, still deeply split between those who voted for Brexit in 2016 and those who didn?t, behind a single vision for Britain?s future outside the European Union. May will host senior ministers at her country residence, Chequers, to try to broker an agreement between the different factions in her cabinet. RALLYING CRY May?s first speech, to be delivered at a conference in Munich next Saturday, will set out the security relationship Britain wants with the EU. She will deliver another setting out Britain?s future partnership, although a date for that has yet to be confirmed. Foreign minister Boris Johnson, a leading Brexit advocate, will begin the ?Road to Brexit? series with a speech on Wednesday, described by May?s office as a ?rallying cry to those on both sides of the Brexit debate?. Brexit minister David Davis will outline how Britain?s businesses can maintain their global reputation after Brexit in an as yet unscheduled speech. Trade minister Liam Fox and cabinet minister David Lidington will also give speeches. Finance minister Philip Hammond, seen as the most pro-EU member of May?s cabinet, will not give a speech. May?s authority on Brexit, already weakened after a failed gamble on a snap election last year, has been further damaged by ideological splits between ministers, exacerbating concerns that Brexit talks may fail and the government collapse. Conservative lawmaker and prominent critic of May?s EU exit strategy, Anna Soubry, warned on Sunday that the type of Brexit the government was seeking did not have majority support in parliament, which will get a say on the final exit deal. Last week, Japanese businesses warned May that they would have to leave Britain if trade barriers after Brexit made them unprofitable.
  9. LONDON: Britain?s Prime Minister Theresa May apologized on Thursday to tens of thousands of patients whose operations were canceled to free up staff and beds to deal with emergency patients. Earlier this week, officials at the National Health Service (NHS) in England recommended that hospitals cancel all non-urgent appointments and operations until next month. Officials say this means about 50,000 operations may be postponed. ?I know it is difficult, I know it is frustrating, I know it is disappointing for people and I apologize,? May told Sky News after visiting a hospital outside London. A flu outbreak, colder weather and high levels of respiratory illnesses have put hospitals in England under strain with many operating at or near full capacity, with long waits for treatment in emergency rooms. The issue is potentially damaging for May, already weakened after losing a parliamentary majority in last year?s election and struggling to pacify her deeply divided party as she navigates the final year of Brexit negotiations. The NHS, which delivers free care for all and accounts for a third of government spending on public services, is typically one of the most important issues for voters during elections and one which is often regarded as a weakness for May?s Conservative party.
  10. Quaid-e-Azam was offered knighthood by the British Empire but he refused, saying he is ?averse to any title or honours? Various celebrities and public personalities have shot to fame for refusing state or other important awards, garnering praise by some and contempt from others. Reasons vary; from boycotts against political or social injustice, to proclaimations that "honours are silly" Did you know father of the nation Mohammad Ali Jinnah is also one such figure who refused a prestigious award? Quaid-e-Azam was offered knighthood by the British Empire but he refused, saying he is ?averse to any title or honours?. ?I have lived as plain Mr Jinnah and I hope to die as plain Mr Jinnah,? he said. ?I am very much averse to any title or honours and I will be more happy if there was no prefix to my name.? Other famous personalities who refused honours and awards include Winston Churchill, David Bowie, Stephen Hawking, Alfred Hitchcock and Marlon Brando.
  11. We all like puzzles. Especially the kind that flummox you and fracture your brain. Well, it turns out that the British Household Cavalry loves puzzling us as well. Their official Twitter page shared an image with six soldiers smartly hidden in the forest and perfecting the camouflage act, daring the public to locate them all. Here's a Christmas Day teaser for you. This picture was taken back in July on Salisbury plain and will test your powers of observation. Can you spot 6 of our camouflaged soldiers in the Wood? All will be revealed on Boxing Day Happy Christmas and happy hunting! ð²âï¸ð²âï¸ð² pic.twitter.com/GS6XYG5X17 — Household Cavalry (@HCMRegt) December 25, 2017 Few observant people were able to locate a couple of soldiers although it was insanely difficult. However, no one seemed to be able to spot them all. So after a long tease and game of 'hide and seek', they revealed the positions of the soldiers and people were SHOOK. Our soldiers revealed. How many did you find? #trustedguardians #tofind #toseek #notyield #pickyiurposition pic.twitter.com/jZK0grjfkJ — Household Cavalry (@HCMRegt) December 26, 2017 After all, they guard the Queen of England, so what else do you expect from them but pure perfection?
  12. Student protesters faced soldiers in Tiananmen Square in April 1989 while grieving for Hu Yaobang, a former Communist Party leader and liberal whose death set off the protests. Photo: Associated Press BEIJING: At least 10,000 people were killed in the Chinese army's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, according to a newly released British secret diplomatic cable that gives gruesome details of the bloodshed in Beijing. "Minimum estimate of civilian dead 10,000," the then British ambassador Alan Donald said in a telegram to London. The document, made public more than 28 years after the event, was seen by AFP at Britain´s National Archives. The estimate, given on June 5, 1989, the day after the crackdown, is almost 10 times higher than estimates commonly accepted at the time, which generally reported a toll ranging from several hundred to more than a thousand dead. But French sinologist Jean-Pierre Cabestan said the British figure was credible, pointing out that recently declassified US documents gave a similar assessment. "That's two pretty independent sources which say the same thing," said Cabestan, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University. The British ambassador´s report was "not particularly astonishing considering how crowded it was in Beijing, the number of people mobilised" against the Chinese government, said Cabestan, who was in the Chinese capital in the days leading up to the crackdown. Donald´s account gave horrific details of the violence unleashed on the night of June 3-4 when the army entered Beijing to end seven weeks of protests on Tiananmen Square, the symbolic heart of Communist power. During their advance, armoured personnel carriers "opened fire on the crowd (both civilians and soldiers) before running over them in their APCs," wrote the ambassador, who said his source was a person who "was passing on information given him by a close friend who is currently a member of the State Council", the Chinese cabinet. Once the soldiers arrived in Tiananmen Square, "students understood they were given one hour to leave square but after five minutes APCs attacked," Donald wrote. "Students linked arms but were mown down including soldiers. APCs then ran over bodies time and time again to make ´pie´ and remains collected by the bulldozer. Remains incinerated and then hosed down drains." At the end of June 1989, the Chinese government had said suppression of the "counterrevolutionary riots" had killed 200 civilians and several dozen police and military. Nearly three decades after the crackdown, the communist regime continues to forbid any debate on the subject, mention of which is banned from textbooks and the media and censored on the Internet.
  13. British police started to reopen roads around Buckingham Palace in London late on Thursday after investigating a suspicious vehicle. ?All road closures are now in the process of being removed,? London?s transport authority said. ?There?s significant congestion in the area but this should now improve.? A police spokesman said road closures were being lifted. Queen Elizabeth is not at Buckingham Palace as she travelled to her Sandringham estate in eastern England earlier on Thursday for the Christmas holiday.
  14. A vending machine stocked with free food and clothing for the homeless is shown in this picture taken in Nottingham, Britain, December 20, 2017. AFP/Harry Ward/Action Hunger LONDON: A British charity has set up a free vending machine containing essential items for the homeless, an initiative presented as a world first which they hope will be rolled out internationally. Action Hunger has set up the machine in the city of Nottingham, central England. It contains items such as water, energy bars, socks, and sanitary towels, which can be accessed by the local homeless with a special keycard. "They permit access to food, clothing, and basic necessities at any hour of the day, and completely free of charge," the charity said in a statement. Keycard holders can take out three items per day. Action Hunger is working with a local homeless day centre in Nottingham to distribute the key cards and understand the needs of the city. The charity said that working with local support services was "instrumental to breaking the cycle of homelessness, and getting these men and women off the streets for good". The goal is to ensure that food and clothing were always available to those who needed it. The machines dispense fresh fruit, crisps, chocolate, and sandwiches, as well as antibacterial lotion, toothbrush, and toothpaste combination packs, and even books. Much of the food comes from organisations seeking to reduce food waste, including supermarket chains and food banks. The three-items-per-day limit is intended to stop dependency upon the machines and complement other homeless services. Action Hunger said it would install machines in other cities, starting with London, Manchester, and Birmingham in Britain; Paris; and New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle in the United States. The initiative comes as a British parliamentary report out Tuesday called homelessness a "national crisis" and said the government had been "unacceptably complacent". The Public Accounts Committee report said that more than 9,100 people were sleeping rough on the streets in 2016, while more than 78,000 households, including 120,000 children, were homeless and living in temporary accommodation. The government said its Homelessness Reduction Act was the most ambitious reform in decades dedicated to ensuring people got support sooner.
  15. British police are investigating an alleged racially aggravated assault on Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling before the Premier League leaders' victory against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. "On Sunday 17 December 2017, police were made aware that a 23-year-old man had been subject to a racially aggravated assault," a police spokesman said. The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported that Sterling was apparently kicked and racially abused as he arrived at City's Etihad Campus on Saturday morning before their 4-1 win over Tottenham, during which the attacker scored twice. The report said a man appeared to be waiting for the 23-year-old England international as he arrived at the training ground to prepare for the game. The newspaper said it is understood that Sterling got out of his car to ask what the problem was but was then kicked in the leg. City have not commented on the matter and a formal complaint has not yet been lodged but police confirmed they are treating it as "a hate crime". "While an official report has not yet been made, enquiries will be carried out and officers are treating it as a hate crime." Sterling has been one of the stars of City's record-breaking season, scoring 15 goals in all competitions as Pep Guardiola's side have romped clear at the top of the Premier League and racked up 16 straight league wins.
  16. Dykes had described herself on a LinkedIn page as a Programme and Policy Manager with the Department for International Development. ? The Daily Mirror BEIRUT/LONDON: A female British embassy worker has been found strangled near a highway outside Beirut, a Lebanese security source said on Sunday. The British foreign ministry provided a statement by the family of the woman, Rebecca Dykes, but gave no details of the circumstances of her death. ?We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca. We are doing all we can to understand what happened,? the family said. Britain?s ambassador to Lebanon, Hugo Shorter, tweeted: ?The whole embassy is deeply shocked, saddened by this news.? Lebanon?s Internal Security Forces said on Saturday that the body of a woman who had been strangled had been found by a highway outside Beirut. A Lebanese security source named the woman on Sunday as Rebecca Dykes. Dykes, who worked at the British embassy, had described herself on a LinkedIn page as a Programme and Policy Manager with the Department for International Development - a position she had held since January. Dykes had previously worked in London on diplomatic programs related to Iraq and Libya, the LinkedIn page said.
  17. LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a rebellion by her own MPs on Wednesday over parliament's role in authorising a final Brexit deal, threatening a damaging defeat at home even as she makes progress in Brussels. Members of May´s Conservative party are demanding that an explicit legal guarantee be included in the landmark EU (Withdrawal) Bill to ensure MPs get a vote before any deal is signed. Dominic Grieve, a Conservative MP and former attorney general, has submitted an amendment to the bill, which has been signed by ten other Tory MPs and is backed by the main opposition Labour party. "The government needs to listen to what's being said to them," Grieve told Sky News television. "It seems to be a bit of a dialogue of the deaf. They've turned this into a battle of wills." The government has insisted it will not back down but the amendment is due to be voted on later on Wednesday, in what could lead to a parliamentary defeat for May. That would be a blow on the eve of a crucial summit in Brussels, where EU leaders are expected to approve the terms of the interim Brexit deal agreed last week after months of tortuous negotiations. Hampering 'smooth' Brexit Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith, a hardline Brexiteer, earlier accused Grieve of "looking for ways to derail the bill", saying his amendment would "tie the government´s hands" in negotiations with the EU. In a bid to smooth Britain's exit, the bill would transfer thousands of pieces of European legislation onto the UK statute books and give ministers powers to amend them to address any technical glitches. These so-called "Henry VIII" powers also extend to the implementation of the divorce deal agreed with Brussels - something many MPs say is unacceptable. In a last-ditch attempt to avoid a rebellion, Brexit Minister David Davis promised that lawmakers would have a vote on the withdrawal agreement. Parliament would then be asked to vote on a further piece of legislation to implement the divorce deal. But ministers want to preserve their special powers - statutory instruments - in the event that this law is not passed in time for Brexit day on March 29, 2019. "As currently drafted what the amendment says is that we shouldn't put any of those statutory instruments into place until the Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill has reached the statute book," May said. "That could be at a very late stage in the proceedings, which could mean that we are not able to have the orderly and smooth exit from the European Union that we wish to have." 'Blank cheque' After months of wrangling, May secured a deal last week on three priorities of the separation - Britain´s financial settlement, the Irish border and the rights of expatriates. It was a rare moment of triumph for the prime minister, who has been struggling to assert her authority since losing her parliamentary majority in a disastrous election in June. The European Parliament on Wednesday gave its backing to the deal, and EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday are expected to give the green light to move the Brexit negotiations onto trade. However, the sense of victory has been tempered by a dispute with Brussels over comments made by Davis at the weekend, suggesting Britain was not fully committed to the agreement. Commentators have also warned of domestic trouble ahead for May, as the deal leaves open many questions about Britain´s future relationship with the EU. Ahead of Wednesday´s vote, Grieve warned that ministers were asking for "a blank cheque to the government to achieve something that, at the moment, we don´t know what it is".
  18. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meets British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in Tehran, Iran, December 10, 2017. AFP/Handout via Iranian Presidency TEHRAN: Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday, wrapping up a visit in which he pushed for the release of imprisoned dual nationals. A key focus of Johnson's visit had been the case of British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is serving five years for taking part in mass protests in 2009, which she denies. She was due in court on Sunday for fresh charges of "spreading propaganda", but her husband announced that the appearance had been cancelled at the last minute. "Nazanin's case was not held today in the wake of the foreign secretary's visit. This is undoubtedly a good sign," Richard Ratcliffe wrote in an email to reporters. UK's Johnson in Iran talks to lobby for jailed aid worker Talks with Zarif were 'constructive', Johnson?s office said, despite differences between the two countries He said Johnson met with her family in Iran and raised the issue at every meeting with the Iranians. The foreign secretary took flak from Iranian officials for not doing more to build on the nuclear deal signed with world powers in 2015. "Relations between the two countries have not matched the potential expected in the post-JCPOA (nuclear deal) atmosphere," Rouhani told Johnson, according to a statement from his office. Ali Larijani ? the powerful parliament speaker who met with Johnson on Saturday ? voiced similar criticism, saying other European countries had put in "much more effort". "You haven't even solved the banking problems of the Iranian embassy in London," Larijani said, according to the IRNA news agency. The British foreign office said the two sides had discussed "the full range of regional and bilateral issues, including banking matters and our concerns about the consular cases of dual nationals". "It has been a worthwhile visit and we leave with a sense that both sides want to keep up the momentum to resolve the difficult issues," it said in a statement. The Zaghari-Ratcliffe case has become a top priority for Johnson after he mistakenly said last month that she had been training journalists in Iran ? a "slip of the tongue" used by the Iranian authorities to help justify the new charges. Iran has been frustrated that the nuclear deal ? which lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs to its nuclear programme ? has not produced the expected windfall in trade deals mainly due to continuing US sanctions. Banking restrictions have also complicated long-running efforts to return an estimated 450 million pounds ($600 million) owed by Britain from a military contract cancelled due to the 1979 Islamic revolution. Richard Ratcliffe has claimed his wife is a pawn in Iran's efforts to extract the historic debt.
  19. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in Tallinn, Estonia, September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/Files LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is set to visit Iran this weekend, where he is expected to raise the case of a British-Iranian woman held in a Tehran prison, The Guardian reported on Thursday. Johnson will meet with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif and is also expected to hold talks on the Iranian nuclear deal, the report said. It would be the first visit by a British foreign secretary to Iran since 2015 and only the third since 2003. The Foreign Office refused to confirm the trip. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison in September 2016 for taking part in the mass anti-regime protests in 2009, which she denies. She was working at the Thomson Reuters Foundation ? the media organisation's philanthropic arm ? at the time of her arrest. She is due to face fresh charges in the court of "spreading propaganda" on December 10. Thomson Reuters chief executive Monique Villa said recently that the new charges risked a further 16-year prison sentence and were "a mockery of justice". Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran airport on April 3, 2016, after visiting family. She was travelling with her daughter Gabriella, now three years old. The case has become highly politicised, especially after a "slip of the tongue" by Johnson last month when he stated that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been training journalists in Iran, which has been used by the Iranian authorities to help justify the new charges.
  20. A plot to assassinate Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May has been foiled, Sky News reported on Tuesday, citing sources. Police believe that the plan was to launch some sort of improvised explosive device at the Prime Minister?s residence at Downing Street and in the ensuing chaos to attack and kill Theresa May, Sky News reported. Sky News added that this was something which has been pursued over several weeks at least by Scotland Yard, MI5 and West Midlands Police. Earlier today, Prime Minister Theresa May?s spokesman had said that Britain has thwarted nine plots in the last 12 months.
  21. The entrance of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is seen in The Hague, Netherlands, March 3, 2011. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen/Files THE HAGUE: The International Criminal Court´s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Monday there is a "reasonable basis" to believe that some British soldiers committed war crimes after the US-led invasion of Iraq. The disclosure came in a 74-page report on preliminary inquiries as the ICC´s member states gather in New York for its annual nine-day meeting to discuss matters relating to the tribunal. "Following a thorough factual and legal assessment of the information available... there is reasonable basis to believe that members of the UK armed forces committed war crimes, within the jurisdiction of the Court, against persons in their custody," Bensouda said. The Hague-based prosecutor in 2014 reopened an initial probe into war crimes allegations relating to prisoner abuse after rights groups and lawyers alleged that at least 1,071 Iraqi detainees were tortured and ill-treated between March 2003 to December 2008. The same group also alleged that British personnel committed 52 unlawful killings of people in their custody over the same period. However, a group of lawyers who formed part of the those making the allegations were later found guilty on misconduct charges resulting from a public inquiry. The lawyers´ lead counsellor was struck off. Bensouda´s office, however, said individual statements received from those lawyers "could be considered credible enough if substantiated with supporting material" such as detention records, medical certificates and photographs. Her office is now considering "complementarity and gravity" before evaluating further steps. Set up in 2002, the Hague-based ICC is an independent court of last resort, only to intervene and prosecute those committing the world´s worst crimes if a member country is unwilling or unable to do so themselves. "The prosecutor must be satisfied as to admissibility on both aspects before proceeding," the report said. Bensouda will then decide whether to ask ICC judges permission to launch a full-blown investigation. The world war crimes court´s previous chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in 2006 said he would not open a full probe in Iraq because he did not have enough evidence. Earlier this year Britain dismissed hundreds of allegations of misconduct by its soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  22. US President Donald Trump with British Prime Minister Theresa May/File photo WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump publicly upbraided British Prime Minister and ostensible ally Theresa May late Wednesday, rebutting her criticism of anti-Muslim propaganda in a diplomatic row between the two leaders. Plunging headlong into a high-profile spat with one of America´s closest international partners, Trump suggested May focus on defending the United Kingdom rather than criticizing him. "@theresa_may, don´t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!" he tweeted, after an earlier tweet with the same message used the wrong Twitter handle for May. Trump had drawn fierce condemnation at home and abroad earlier in the day for retweeting three incendiary anti-Muslim videos posted by the deputy head of a British far-right group who has been convicted of a hate crime. May said through a spokesperson that Trump was "wrong" to promote the "hateful narratives" of the group, British First. Trump´s interventions in British politics have strained the so-called "special relationship." He has infuriated British authorities with his tweets on terrorism in Britain, including highly publicized run-ins with London´s Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan. Khan on Wednesday described Britain First as "a vile, hate-fuelled organisation whose views should be condemned, not amplified." Before Trump´s latest missive, the White House had scrambled to limit the fallout, saying that even if the anti-Muslim videos were misleading, the president was pointing out a real problem. "The threat is real, and that´s what the president is talking about," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders. ´Never the wrong time´ Deputy spokesman Raj Shah also defended Trump´s actions: "It´s never the wrong time to talk about the security and safety of the American people. Those are the issues he was raising in his tweets this morning." One of the videos falsely claims to show a Muslim beating up a Dutch boy on crutches. The Dutch embassy in Washington took the unusual step of publicly criticizing a sitting US president on Twitter. "@realDonaldTrump Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands. He received and completed his sentence under Dutch law." Another video is described as showing a mob pushing a teenager off a rooftop, without any context -- it appears to be footage filmed during unrest in Egypt in 2013. A man was executed for his role in the teen´s death. The third video allegedly depicts a Muslim smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary. All three videos were originally posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First, which hailed Trump for his support. "THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, DONALD TRUMP, HAS RETWEETED THREE OF DEPUTY LEADER JAYDA FRANSEN´S TWITTER VIDEOS!" the group tweeted in triumph. "DONALD TRUMP HIMSELF HAS RETWEETED THESE VIDEOS AND HAS AROUND 44 MILLION FOLLOWERS! GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP! GOD BLESS AMERICA!" Fransen was found guilty last year of a hate crime after hurling abuse at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab. Britain First, which was formed in 2011 and is known for picketing outside mosques, has run and lost in several British and European parliament elections. ´Abhorrent, dangerous´ Brendan Cox, widower of MP Jo Cox who was murdered by a right-wing extremist last year, said: "Trump has legitimized the far right in his own country, now he´s trying to do it in ours. "Spreading hatred has consequences & the president should be ashamed of himself," he said. Trump´s behavior renewed calls for May to revoke an invitation for the American president to make a state visit. David Lammy, a lawmaker for Britain´s opposition Labour Party, said: "The president of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted. "He is no ally or friend of ours," he said. Trump 'wrong' to retweet anti-Muslim videos: Downing Street 'British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right' Conservative Minister Sajid Javid said Trump had "endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing." Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said the retweets were "abhorrent, dangerous and a threat." Added Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson: "UK has a proud history as an open, tolerant society & hate speech has no place here." Trump´s Twitter posts Wednesday were part of an early morning burst in which he again dismissed CNN as "Fake News" and insisted the US economy was in "record territory" by many measures.
  23. US President Donald Trump retweeted anti-Muslim videos from his personal account to his over 43 million followers. The original posts by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First a far-right group, has previously been convicted of religious harassment. The three videos Trump retweeted without any comments show unverified anti-Islamic videos. One shows a group of Muslims pushing a boy from the roof of a building. Another video shows a man destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary and yet another shows immigrants hitting a Dutch Muslims
  24. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan unveils the bust of Pakistan's founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah at the British Museum, London, November 28, 2017. Geo.tv via social media/Mayor of London/@MayorofLondon LONDON: The Mayor of London unveiled Tuesday night a bust of Pakistan's founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah at the British Museum at a ceremony attended by various top officials. Revealed at an inauguration ceremony by Sadiq Khan, the bust will be moved to the Lincoln?s Inn ? its permanent home. Khan posted images of the event on Twitter, saying he was "proud to unveil this bronze bust to honour the great" leader. Syed Ibne Abbas ? the Pakistani High Commissioner to the United Kingdom who was also in attendance ? also made a statement, saying Quaid-e-Azam's struggle brought a reward in the shape of Pakistan. In his youth, Jinnah had travelled to London in order to pursue studies in law at Lincoln?s Inn from 1892 to 1896. His presence in February 1895 is confirmed by the British Museum in a register for the readers.
  25. Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attend the Eastern Partnership summit at the European Council (EC) Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Files LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May left London late Tuesday for a three-day visit to the Middle East, where she will meet Saudi and Jordanian leaders in a bid to bolster regional ties. The British leader will hold talks on issues including Qatar and Yemen with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, before heading to Jordan for meetings with King Abdullah II and Prime Minister Hani Mulki. "This visit demonstrates that as the UK leaves the EU we are determined to forge a bold, confident future for ourselves in the world, a spokesman for May said. "It is clearly in the UK's security interests to support Jordan and Saudi Arabia in tackling regional challenges to create a more stable region, and in delivering their ambitious reform programmes to ensure their own stability," he added. May ? embattled domestically after losing her parliamentary majority in a snap election over the summer and facing division over Brexit ? visited both countries in April. In Saudi Arabia, she is expected to reiterate her support for the kingdom's fledgeling social reform programme, which saw an end to the infamous ban on women driving last September. Britain's largest trading partner in the Middle East, London has signed off on more than £3.3 billion (EUR3.7 billion, $4.4 billion) worth of arms sales to Riyadh since March 2015. During that time Saudi Arabia has embarked on a bombing campaign in Yemen that has been condemned for contributing to a humanitarian disaster. The UN estimates that seven million Yemenis are on the verge of starvation. May is expected to discuss the crisis during her meetings.