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Found 38 results

  1. Britain's parliament was hit by a "sustained and determined" cyber attack on Saturday designed to identify weak email passwords, just over a month after a ransomware worm crippled parts of the country's health service. The House of Commons said it was working with the National Cyber Security Centre to defend parliament's network and was confident it had protected all accounts and systems. "Earlier this morning we discovered unusual activity and evidence of an attempted cyber-attack on our computer network," an email sent by parliamentary authorities to those people affected said. "Closer investigation by our team confirmed that hackers were carrying out a sustained and determined attack on all parliamentary user accounts in an attempt to identify weak passwords." Britain's National Health Service was hit by a massive global ransomware worm in May which crippled the computer system and forced some hospitals to turn away patients. The National Cyber Security Center is part of Britain's GCHQ spy agency, set up last year to tackle what the government believes is one of the biggest threats to British security. Chris Rennard, a member of the Liberal Democrat party in the upper House of Lords, was the first to draw attention to the problem, using Twitter to announce: "Cyber security attack on Westminster, Parliamentary emails may not work remotely, Text urgent messages." A spokeswoman for the House of Commons confirmed that unauthorized attempts had been made to access parliamentary accounts and said systems were in place to protect member and staff details. "As a precaution, we have temporarily restricted remote access to the network," she said. "As a result, some Members of Parliament and staff cannot access their email accounts outside of Westminster." Liam Fox, the minister for international trade, said the attack was not a surprise and should act as a warning to people across the country to the threat posed by cyber hackers. "We've seen reports in the last few days of even cabinet ministers' passwords being for sale online," he told broadcasters. "We know that our public services are attacked so it's not at all surprising that there should be an attempt to hack into parliamentary emails."
  2. HEREFORD: Police in West Midlands have arrested a man with knives and an axe near an Army Reserve centre, reported the BBC. The 23-year-old man was arrested on Sunday night. Police officials said there was nothing to indicate that there was a threat to the army centre and was not related to the terror attack in Finsbury Park, London. The man?s motives are not yet known and he is in custody, BBC quoted police officials as saying. ?On identifying the man our officers took prompt action to contain the threat and take him into custody,? said Asst Ch Con Martin Evans of West Mercia Police. He added that an "extremely sensitive investigation" was being carried out and added that additional police patrols would take place in the town to safeguard the citizens.
  3. Update [5:30 AM PST]: A van speeded towards and rammed into people coming out of a mosque following the 'taraveeh' prayers, which are offered after breaking fast during the holy month of Ramazan. According to the police, one white British man has been taken into custody, but neither has his identity been revealed nor the registration number of the vehicle he was driving. Unverified reports allege that at least 10-15 people have been wounded, but no official figure has been released by either the security authorities or the emergency and medical services. [Update [05:12 AM PST]: British police confirmed that they are dealing with a major incident at Seven Sisters Road in London. A number of resources have been sent off to the incident at Seven Sisters Road, London Ambulance stated. Initial reporting [05:05 AM PST]: LONDON: British police have sealed off the road right outside London's Finsbury Park Station late Sunday night, local media reported citing a witness. Security authorities stated that they were called to reports of a vehicle in collision with pedestrians and that there are a number of casualties. One person suspected of being involved in the incident has been detained.
  4. Pakistan-origin British MP Nusrat Munir ul Ghani - popularly known as Nus Ghani - who recently retained her constituency in the general elections - surprised many by taking her oath in Urdu. ?Oath proudly taken in both English and Urdu to honour my mum,? she wrote on Twitter. The Conservative Party MP retained her Wealden constituency securing 61.2 per cent of the total votes. She won the seat with a majority of over 24, 000 votes. Ghani is one of the twelve British-Pakistanis who won the June 8 snap general elections. ?I?m so proud of @Nus_Ghani a great patriot and great MP. Our country has room for all languages, they enrich us and help us know our world,? Tonbridge MP Tom Tugendhat wrote on Twitter. Ghani came into the media's focus after she proposed a legislation to ban the term ?honour killing? in official publications as it was being used by abusers as ?pathetic self-justification? for their violence. Speaking in the House of Commons she said ?Language matters,? adding, ?the use of the term ?honour? to describe a violent criminal act ? sometimes committed against a man, but more often against a woman ? can be explained only as a means of self-justification for the perpetrator. It diminishes the victim and provides a convenient excuse for what in our society we should accurately and simply call murder, rape, abuse or enslavement,? she was quoted by BBC.
  5. Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London. Photo: Reuters LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May faced mounting criticism on Friday for not meeting the survivors of a deadly London tower block blaze, ratcheting up the pressure as she tries to strike a deal to stay in power after a botched election gamble. May promised to hold a public inquiry into a fire that killed at least 17 people when it engulfed a 24-storey social housing block in West London, expressing her sorrow in a televised statement after meeting with the emergency services. But unlike opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was confronted by a young boy asking "How many children died?", May did not meet with residents, prompting criticism from locals, media and within her Conservative party. "She wanted an entirely controlled situation in which she didn't use her humanity," former cabinet minister Michael Portillo told the BBC. "She should have been there with the residents. You have to be prepared to receive people's emotions, and not be so frightened about people," he said. When asked on Thursday about why she did not meet residents or visit a local community center, May said she wanted to visit the scene of the incident to be briefed by the emergency services. The Sun newspaper said 65 people are now feared dead or missing in the fire. London police expect the death toll to rise further but said it could take months to search the burned-out building and identify the victims. On Friday, British newspapers heightened their criticism of the government, saying there were a series of unanswered issues including as to whether the cladding used on the building helped the blaze spread. "Three lethal questions," headlined the right-wing Daily Mail newspaper, which backed May's Conservatives in last week's national election, saying ministers faced disturbing questions over the disaster. Local government minister Sajid Javid, responsible for housing policy, defended May for not meeting with those affected by the disaster: "What she wanted to do was to speak to the people working on the ground on the recovery operation, the rescue operation to make sure that they've got everything they want and see how she could help," he told Sky news. After May failed to win an outright majority in a snap election last week, she is battling to strike a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to support her government.
  6. RAWALPINDI: British High Commissioner Thomas Drew met on Monday Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa at the General Headquarters, according to an Inter-Services Intelligence Relations statement. According to army?s media cell, matters of mutual interest and regional security were discussed in the meeting. The meeting was held before the COAS departed for a one-day visit to Saudi Arabia along with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. During the visit, the premier will hold discussions with senior officials of the kingdom on the ongoing crisis involving Qatar and Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.
  7. British police investigating last weekend's deadly attacks on London Bridge said they arrested a 19-year-old man in east London on Sunday. The Metropolitan Police, in a statement posted on its website, said the man was taken into custody at a south London police station and was being detained under the Terrorism Act. Six other men are in custody in connection with last Saturday's incident in which eight people were killed and 50 injured after three militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed people.
  8. There’s nothing like the humiliation which comes along with losing a bet. You have to cough up money or some sort of “payment” to your friends and you look like a fool for being wrong too. But, when you make a promise on social media, the pain of losing becomes all the more humiliating. This is what British professor Matthew Goodwin learned yesterday. Paramount Pictures He had earlier predicted that the Labor Party wouldn’t be able to poll greater than 38% and if they did he would eat his new Brexit book. I'm saying this out loud. I do not believe that Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, will poll 38%. I will happily eat my new Brexit book if they do — Matthew Goodwin (@GoodwinMJ) May 27, 2017 In what was and will most probably be the funniest part of the UK elections this year, Goodwin went on live TV yesterday and ate his book. We can’t stop laughing. Check it out: This man just ate (some of) his book live on Sky News after making an incorrect #GE2017 prediction @GoodwinMJ pic.twitter.com/13IaFLaJvx — Sky News (@SkyNews) June 10, 2017 While whether Goodwin is an expert on UK politics or not is debatable, one thing we can tell you without any doubt whatsoever is that he is a man of his word. Columbia Pictures
  9. A dozen candidates of Pakistani origin won their respective constituencies and are set to become members of the British Parliament. Of them, three belong to the Conservative Party while eight are from Labour. More than 40 candidates of Pakistani origin were in the run for the polls. Of the total, around 31 were from mainstream parties such as Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats while the rest were from smaller parties or contesting as independents. Labour's Naz Shah Naz Shah of Labour retained her hold on the Braford West constituency after defeating Conservative Party's George Grant. The Pakistani-origin Member of Parliament received 29,444 votes against her main opponent?s 7,542. The constituency has the most Muslim voters in any constituency in Britain ? with total registered voters at 40,290, of which 20,669 are Muslim. In the 2015 polls, Shah had defeated Respect Party?s George Galloway with a majority of over 11,000 votes. The turnout in the constituency stood at 67.4%. Labour's Rosena Allen-Khan Labour Party?s Rosena Allen-Khan retained her Tooting seat with 34,694 votes, against the Conservative Party?s Dan Watkins who secured only 19,236 votes. Rosena had won the seat earlier after Sadiq Khan resigned to become the London Mayor. The turnout in the constituency remained at 74.7%. In the 2015 polls, Sadiq had bagged the constituency with a small margin ? getting 25,263 votes against 22,421 votes for Watkins. Labour's Shahbana Mehmood Labour?s Shahbana Mehmood contested for reelection from Birmingham Ladywood, winning the seat after attaining 34,166 votes against 5,452 for Andrew Browning of the Conservative Party. The turnout in the constituency was 59%. Mehmood was one of the first women elected to the UK Parliament. In the 2015 polls, she had got 26,444 votes against Isabel Sigmac of the Conservative Party who got 4,576. Labour's Afzal Khan Labour Party?s Afzal Khan bagged the Manchester Gorton constituency with 35,085 votes. According to the BBC, Khan, who becomes the city's first Muslim MP, said his election after the Manchester bombing sent a "powerful message to the terrorists and the racists". His chief opponent, Shaden Jaradat of the Conservative Party, bagged 3,355 votes. The turnout in the constituency was 61%. Interestingly, Afzal had contested the seat from the Conservative Party ticket in the 2015 polls, bagging 4,063 votes against 28,187 by the winning Labour candidate ? the late Gerald Kaufman. Conservative Party's Sajid Javid A total of 33,493 votes were cast for Sajid Javid, the Conservative Party candidate who won the Bromsgrove constituency. He defeated Labour?s Michael Thompson, who received 16,920 votes. The turnout in the constituency was 73%. Javid had also won the seat in the 2015 polls with a sizeable majority. Labour's Yasmin Qureshi Contesting for reelection from Bolton South East, Labour?s Yasmin Qureshi won after bagging 25,676 votes. She defeated the Conservative Party?s Sarah Pochin who got 12,550 votes. The turnout in the constituency was 61.4%. In the 2015 polls, Qureshi had received 20,555 votes, defeating the UKIP candidate who got 9,627 votes. Labour's Khalid Mahmood Labour?s Khalid Mahmood successfully defended his Birmingham Perry Bar seat for a record fifth time, bagging 30,109 votes against Conservative Party?s Charlotte Hodivala, who got 11,726 votes. The turnout in the constituency remained 63.1%. In the 2015 polls, Mahmood had won the seat after receiving around three times the number of votes compared to Hodivala. Labour's Imran Hussain Labour?s Imran Hussain also successfully defended his seat of Bradford East by bagging 29,831 votes against Conservative Party?s Mark Trafford, who got 9,291 votes. The turnout in the constituency was 64.8%. The constituency has the second most Muslim votes in any constituency in Britain. In total, there are 41,406 voters, of which 15,299 are Muslims. Hussain served as the Shadow International Development Minister in the last cabinet. Conservative Party's Rehman Chishti Conservative Party?s Rehman Chishti retained his grip on the Gillingham and Rainham constituency for the third time after getting 21,091 votes against Labour?s Andrew Stamp, who got 17,661 votes. Turnout stood at 66.9% in the constituency. Chishti holds the honour of being the youngest member of parliament of Pakistani decent when he was elected in 2010 at the age of 31. In 2015, he had won the constituency by nearly twice the number of votes from the Labour candidate. Labour's Mohammad Yasin In a tight race, Labour?s Mohammad Yasin managed to win the Bedford constituency by taking 22,712 votes against the Conservative Party?s Richard Fuller who bagged 21,923. Yasin, who has served as a councillor in Bedoford for 11 years and as cabinet member for two, contested for the parliament seat for the first time. Turnout in the constituency remained at 67.5%. Fuller had won the seat in 2015 with around a 1,000-lead vote from the Labour candidate. Conservative Party's Nus Ghani Conservative Party?s Nus Ghani secured her seat from Wealdon with 37,027 votes and defeated Labour?s Angela Smith, who got 13,399. The turnout in the constituency remained at 74.3%. In 2015, Ghani had bagged the seat with a huge margin as well. Labour's Faisal Rashid Labour?s Faisal Rashid won the Warrington South constituency after getting 29,994 votes against 27,445 votes received by the Conservative Party?s David Mowat. The turnout in the constituency stood at 72.4%. Mowat had won the constituency with an around 2,000-vote margin from the Labour candidate in 2015.
  10. LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May faced pressure to resign on Friday after losing her parliamentary majority, plunging the country into uncertainty as Brexit talks loom. May called the snap election in April in an attempt to extend her majority and strengthen her position, but her gamble backfired spectacularly after she failed to win enough seats to form a Conservative government. Sterling sank against the dollar and the euro as investors questioned who was now going to control the Brexit process. EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said May had "lost her bet", while the timetable for Brexit talks, due to begin in 10 days time, has been thrown into disarray, raising suggestions that it could be extended. She also faced pressure to quit from inside and outside her party after a troubled campaign overshadowed by two terror attacks, although British media quoted party sources saying she had "no intention" of doing so. She is expected to give a speech at around 0900 GMT. BRITISH-PAKISTANI WINNERS geo_embedgallery JEREMY CORBYN CALLS FOR PM MAY TO QUIT British Prime Minister Theresa May should step down after losses for her Conservative Party in the general election, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Friday. May "has lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that´s enough to go," Corbyn said after being re-elected in his Islington North constituency in central London. CONSERVATIVES WILL ENSURE 'STABILITY', PM MAY SAYS Prime Minister Theresa May said her Conservatives would ensure much-needed "stability" for Britain as the party reeled from a string of losses from Thursday´s general election. "The country needs a period of stability and whatever the results are, the Conservative party will ensure that we can fulfil that duty to ensure that stability," May said after being re-elected to her seat in Maidenhead near London. LIBERAL DEMOCRATS SAY "VERY DIFFICULT TO JOIN COALITION Britain's Liberal Democrat party would find it very difficult to join a coalition again after suffering severe damage from its deal with the Conservatives after the 2010 election, former leader Menzies Campbell said on Thursday. "(Party leader) Tim Farron made it very clear. He said no pact, no deal, no coalition. We´ve had our fingers burnt by coalition, I don´t need to tell you that. I find it very, very difficult to see how Tim Farron would be able to go back on what he previously said," Campbell told the BBC. geo_embedgallery REACTIONS Reactions to the outcome on Friday have focused on whether May can stay in office after losing her bet for a stronger majority, and on the ramifications for Brexit: May "is in a very difficult place... she now has to obviously consider her position" -- MP and former minister Anna Soubry, a member of May´s Conservative party. May´s authority has "received a blow from which it is unlikely to recover." -- former Conservative MP Paul Goodman, editor of the influential website ConservativeHome. "It will be difficult to govern and it could mean another election later in the year." -- Wyn Grant, professor of politics at the University of Warwick. "Hard Brexit went in the rubbish bin tonight." -- former Conservative finance minister George Osborne "Theresa May has put Brexit in jeopardy." -- Paul Nuttall, head of the anti-EU UK Independence Party. "If we do get a Corbyn coalition, Brexit is in trouble." -- former UKIP leader Nigel Farage. "I hope we never hold referendums on anything ever again." -- pro-EU former Conservative finance minister Ken Clarke.
  11. LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May faced pressure to resign on Friday after losing her parliamentary majority, plunging the country into uncertainty as Brexit talks loom. May called the snap election in April in an attempt to extend her majority and strengthen her position, but her gamble backfired spectacularly after she failed to win enough seats to form a Conservative government. Sterling sank against the dollar and the euro as investors questioned who was now going to control the Brexit process. EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said May had "lost her bet", while the timetable for Brexit talks, due to begin in 10 days time, has been thrown into disarray, raising suggestions that it could be extended. She also faced pressure to quit from inside and outside her party after a troubled campaign overshadowed by two terror attacks, although British media quoted party sources saying she had "no intention" of doing so. BRITISH-PAKISTANI WINNERS geo_embedgallery JEREMY CORBYN CALLS FOR PM MAY TO QUIT British Prime Minister Theresa May should step down after losses for her Conservative Party in the general election, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Friday. May "has lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that´s enough to go," Corbyn said after being re-elected in his Islington North constituency in central London. CONSERVATIVES WILL ENSURE 'STABILITY', PM MAY SAYS Prime Minister Theresa May said her Conservatives would ensure much-needed "stability" for Britain as the party reeled from a string of losses from Thursday´s general election. "The country needs a period of stability and whatever the results are, the Conservative party will ensure that we can fulfil that duty to ensure that stability," May said after being re-elected to her seat in Maidenhead near London. LIBERAL DEMOCRATS SAY "VERY DIFFICULT TO JOIN COALITION Britain's Liberal Democrat party would find it very difficult to join a coalition again after suffering severe damage from its deal with the Conservatives after the 2010 election, former leader Menzies Campbell said on Thursday. "(Party leader) Tim Farron made it very clear. He said no pact, no deal, no coalition. We´ve had our fingers burnt by coalition, I don´t need to tell you that. I find it very, very difficult to see how Tim Farron would be able to go back on what he previously said," Campbell told the BBC. geo_embedgallery REACTIONS Reactions to the outcome on Friday have focused on whether May can stay in office after losing her bet for a stronger majority, and on the ramifications for Brexit: May "is in a very difficult place... she now has to obviously consider her position" -- MP and former minister Anna Soubry, a member of May´s Conservative party. May´s authority has "received a blow from which it is unlikely to recover." -- former Conservative MP Paul Goodman, editor of the influential website ConservativeHome. "It will be difficult to govern and it could mean another election later in the year." -- Wyn Grant, professor of politics at the University of Warwick. "Hard Brexit went in the rubbish bin tonight." -- former Conservative finance minister George Osborne "Theresa May has put Brexit in jeopardy." -- Paul Nuttall, head of the anti-EU UK Independence Party. "If we do get a Corbyn coalition, Brexit is in trouble." -- former UKIP leader Nigel Farage. "I hope we never hold referendums on anything ever again." -- pro-EU former Conservative finance minister Ken Clarke.
  12. LONDON: Results have started coming in for Britain?s snap election with Prime Minister Theresa May poised for victory but losing her parliamentary majority. The exit poll showed May's Conservatives on course to fall from 330 to 314 seats, short of an overall majority in the 650-seat House of Commons, after a troubled campaign overshadowed by two deadly terror attacks. The main opposition Labour party, led by leftist Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile is projected to increase its number of seats from 229 to 266, according to the joint exit poll by Sky, the BBC and ITV news. The pound immediately tumbled after the poll. The election came at a pivotal time in British history as it negotiates a complicated exit from the European Union, the first country to leave the six-decade-old bloc. The pro-European Liberal Democrats, who have campaigned for a second referendum that could keep Britain in the EU, were forecast to increase their seats from nine to 14. In Scotland, where First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for independence to avoid a "hard Brexit", her Scottish National Party was tipped to lose seats but still dominate. All parties urged caution at the shock poll, with the final results not likely until early on Friday morning. An exit poll gives an indication of the outcome, although final results will not emerge until early Friday. In 2005 and 2010, the exit poll accurately forecast the number of seats won by the largest party. In 2015, it slightly underestimated the number of seats won by the victorious Conservatives but got the order of the parties right. The forecast Conservative victory is far smaller than suggested by opinion polls when she called the snap election at a time when her popularity was running high. Analysts had blamed the decline on May´s botched announcement of a reform in funding for elderly care, a strong grassroots campaign by Corbyn and the terror attacks, which have led to scrutiny of her time as interior minister before becoming prime minister. Security for voting day was reviewed following the recent London attack, which left at least eight dead, with the city's Metropolitan Police force implementing a "specialist and highly flexible operation" which it said could be deployed as needed. BRITISH-PAKISTANI WINNERS geo_embedgallery JEREMY CORBYN CALLS FOR PM MAY TO QUIT British Prime Minister Theresa May should step down after losses for her Conservative Party in the general election, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Friday. May "has lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that´s enough to go," Corbyn said after being re-elected in his Islington North constituency in central London. CONSERVATIVES WILL ENSURE 'STABILITY', PM MAY SAYS Prime Minister Theresa May said her Conservatives would ensure much-needed "stability" for Britain as the party reeled from a string of losses from Thursday´s general election. "The country needs a period of stability and whatever the results are, the Conservative party will ensure that we can fulfil that duty to ensure that stability," May said after being re-elected to her seat in Maidenhead near London. LIBERAL DEMOCRATS SAY "VERY DIFFICULT TO JOIN COALITION Britain's Liberal Democrat party would find it very difficult to join a coalition again after suffering severe damage from its deal with the Conservatives after the 2010 election, former leader Menzies Campbell said on Thursday. "(Party leader) Tim Farron made it very clear. He said no pact, no deal, no coalition. We´ve had our fingers burnt by coalition, I don´t need to tell you that. I find it very, very difficult to see how Tim Farron would be able to go back on what he previously said," Campbell told the BBC. Exit polls suggest the Liberal Democrats will increase their number of seats in Britain´s 650-member parliament to 14. The results of the exit poll show that Prime Minister Theresa May´s Conservative Party looks short of an outright majority. geo_embedgallery Prime Minister Theresa May, who came into power without a national vote last year after David Cameron´s resignation following the Brexit vote, called for a three-year-early election for June 8, saying she needed to strengthen her hand in divorce talks with the European Union by bolstering support for her Brexit plan. If May does not handsomely beat the 12-seat majority her predecessor Cameron won in 2015, her electoral gamble will have failed. When she called the election, polls showed she was as much as 23 percentage points ahead. However, the lead has shrunk substantially since then. CORBYN SAYS HIS CAMPAIGN 'CHANGED POLITICS' The head of Britain´s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, on Friday said the country´s political landscape had been upended in a general election forecast to result in a hung parliament. "Whatever the final result, our positive campaign has changed politics for the better," Corbyn said in a tweet. An exit poll predicted unexpected gains for Labour in Thursday´s vote, causing Prime Minister Theresa May to lose her overall majority. MAY, CORBYN CAST VOTES Earlier today, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn cast his vote at the Pakeman primary school in Holloway, North London. The politician appeared to be in an amiable mood as he smiled and waved to the media. Corbyn waved, smiled and posed for the media as he came to cast his vote. Photo: AP Speaking to the press, he said ?Thank you very much, all of you, for coming here today. It?s a day of our democracy. I?ve just voted. I?m very proud of our campaign. Thank you very much.? On the other hand, clad in white-and-black May also cast her vote at a polling station in Sonning, Berkshire. According to media reports, she just greeted the media with a simple ?hello? unlike her opponent. Theresa May cast her vote at a polling station in Sonning, Berkshire. Photo: Reuters She was also holding a polling card in her hand even though voters didn?t need to show up with one to vote. 'LITTLE CONFIDENCE' It is the third time Britain has gone to the polls in two years, twice for a general election and once for the EU referendum, and voter fatigue appeared to be an issue among the early voters. "I don´t think it has really been a campaign, we don´t know anything about what they are going to do about Brexit, it´s been pointless really," said Joe Kerney, 53, at a polling station in Hackney, east London. "I have little confidence in anybody," added voter Simon Bolton, 41. "I think we lack quality in terms of who we can choose, it is very limited." The election was May's first since taking office after Britons voted by 52 percent to leave the European Union.
  13. File Photo LONDON: Whoever ends up becoming Britain´s new prime minister faces a daunting five years in office, with the negotiations of the country´s withdrawal from the European Union topping the list of priorities. Here are the five main challenges ahead: Brexit The Brexit negotiations are set to start around June 19, with Britain set to leave the bloc by the end of March 2019. First up will be the status of EU nationals resident in Britain, and of British citizens living elsewhere in the bloc. Both Labour and the Conservatives have said freedom of movement will end when Britain leaves the EU. If no party wins an overall majority as indicated in Thursday´s exit poll, there will be little time to form a new government and get a negotiating stance up and running. Parliament meets on June 13 to swear in MPs. The state opening of parliament by Queen Elizabeth II is set for June 19, when she will read out her new government´s programme. Prime Minister Theresa May called the election in order to strengthen her majority in parliament to go into the Brexit talks with a more secure hand. Terrorism and security The election was meant to be about Brexit but deadly terror attacks in Manchester, where 22 people were killed in a suicide bombing, and London, when eight were killed in a van and knife rampage, changed the debate. London was the third extremist terror attack in three months, also following an attack on Westminster Bridge. Eighteen terror plots have been foiled since 2013 -- five of them since March. May has come under pressure during the campaign for cutting thousands of police jobs during her time as interior minister. There were further questions when it emerged some of the attackers were known to security services and apparently escaped the surveillance net. Tackling the problem of radicalisation among extremists returning home from Syria will likely be a recurring theme for the incoming government. Economy Britain ran a budget deficit of 2.6 percent of gross domestic product in March 2017, down from 9.9 percent in 2010 after the financial crash. Its total public debt was £1.7 trillion in April, or 86.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Growth stands at 1.8 percent and inflation at 2.6 percent. Leaving the EU single market would give Britain the opportunity to strike its own trade deals outside the bloc. The Conservatives pledged to eliminate the deficit and return Britain to profit by the "middle of the next decade", meaning further years of austerity. Labour pledged to end austerity, hike corporation tax, raise taxes for the top five percent of earners, and eliminate the deficit within five years. The pound plunged on the exit poll predicting a hung parliament. Scotland Scotland´s governing Nationalists are pushing for a second independence referendum once the terms of the final Brexit deal start to become clear in late 2018 or early 2019. Backed up by the Greens, the separatists have the Scottish parliament´s support to ask the British government for the formal powers to start the process. Theresa May fended off their push saying now was not the time, so soon after the 2014 referendum, when 55 percent backed keeping Scotland in the United Kingdom. If Labour required the backing of the Scottish Nationalists to form a government, it would likely come at the price of another referendum. Northern Ireland One of the most delicate parts of the Brexit negotiations will be the place of Northern Ireland within the UK, and relations with the Republic of Ireland, which will be the kingdom´s only land border with the EU. The likelihood of the UK being out of the EU single market, customs union and the EU´s free movement area could mean a return of a "hard border" which is fiercely opposed by local residents. The 1998 accords that maintain the peace in the province after three decades of inter-community bloodshed are delicate and there is concern that Brexit could upset stability. There is currently no sign that a majority in Northern Ireland, where pro-British Protestants remain the largest group, want to merge into the republic. But Irish nationalists Sinn Fein have called for a referendum on reunification within the next five years.
  14. File Photo NEW YORK: The British pound fell sharply Thursday after an exit poll suggested Prime Minister Theresa May´s Conservatives could lose their majority after losing seats in the general elections. The British currency was trading at $1.2751, down 1.5 percent from the day-before level. An exit poll released shortly after the vote ended showed conservatives were set to win 314 seats -- a loss of 16 -- followed by Labour on 266 -- a gain of 32 -- the Scottish National Party on 34 and the Liberal Democrats on 14.
  15. UK Parliamentary General Election will take place on June 8, 2017. Photo: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk LONDON: Marred by two terror attacks during the campaign, Britain´s snap general election on Thursday will decide who shapes the United Kingdom´s future as it leaves the European Union. Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, who came to power without a national vote last year after David Cameron´s resignation, called the election three years early after just one year in charge. Why is the election important? The vote will determine who gets to negotiate Britain´s departure from the EU over the next two years, and the strength of mandate that the government will have in parliament for five years. Britain´s new leader will also have to deal with the aftermath of a terror rampage in a nightlife hub in London on Saturday night, the third terrorist attack in the country in less than three months. Britain takes a leading role in global anti-terror efforts and is a key member of the US-led coalition bombing Daesh in Iraq and Syria. It holds veto power at the United Nations, where it is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council along with China, France, Russia and the United States. How does the election work? There are 650 constituencies across the UK, meaning 326 MPs are needed for an absolute majority in parliament´s lower House of Commons. May had a slim working majority of 17 at the dissolution of the last parliament and called the election in a bid to strengthen her position going into the Brexit talks. Each constituency is won on a first-past-the-post basis, meaning the candidate with the most votes in that seat becomes its MP. Despite the focus on the party leaders, voters are not directly choosing their prime minister, only their local MP. A parliament is elected for a maximum of five years, meaning the next general election must be held by June 2022 at the latest. Voting The polls are open from 7:00am (0600 GMT) until 10:00pm (2100 GMT) on June 8. There are around 47 million registered voters. British, Irish and Commonwealth residents aged 18 and over can vote, plus British citizens living abroad who have been registered to vote in the UK within the last 15 years. Citizens must register to vote and voting is not compulsory. The options The main parties across the whole of Britain are the Conservatives (centre-right), led by May, and Labour (left), led by Jeremy Corbyn, followed by the Liberal Democrats (centre-left), the UK Independence Party (populist) and the Greens (left). The Scottish Nationalists (left), Welsh nationalists Plaid Cymru (left) and four parties from Northern Ireland also won seats at the last general election in 2015. Polls suggest the Conservatives are on course for victory. However, Labour might be able to form a government with backing from smaller left-wing parties. The main issues are Brexit, terrorism, the state-run National Health Service, immigration and the economy, according to polls. What happens afterwards? The vote-counting begins immediately after the polls close and by dawn on June 9 the picture of who has won should be clear. As soon as possible, the head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, asks the person most likely to command the confidence of the Commons to become prime minister and form an administration. This will typically be the leader of the largest party and would happen only once the likely nature of the government is clear. Parliament meets on June 13 to elect a new speaker and swear in MPs. The state opening of parliament by Queen Elizabeth takes place on June 19, when she will read out her government´s programme for the coming parliamentary year. The Brexit negotiations are also due to start in the week beginning June 19.
  16. US pop star Ariana Grande, hardly a household name in Britain before a suicide bomber killed 22 people at her Manchester concert in May, has emerged as a national heroine there following an emotional televised benefit performance. In the days following Grande's sold-out show on Sunday, which raised some $3 million for a victims fund and became the UK's most-watched TV broadcast of the year, Britons have embraced the 23-year-old singer. They have called for her to be formally honored by Queen Elizabeth and the city of Manchester. At the One Love Manchester concert, Grande hugged a weeping schoolgirl as they performed her hit "My Everything" before a crowd of 55,000 people. The tiny performer ended the show alone on stage, singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in tears. Her team is working to release that emotional final number as a single to raise even more money for victims, the UK's Independent newspaper reported on Tuesday. The concert served as a catharsis for many in Manchester and all of Britain, moving British tabloid journalist Piers Morgan to write Grande a lengthy public apology for doubting her courage. "By coming back to Manchester so soon, shrugging off the latest attack in London, standing on that stage and performing with such raw emotion and power, you showed more guts, resilience, strength of character and ?Blitz spirit? then every sniveling, pathetic Daesh coward put together," Morgan wrote in the Daily Mail. Grande was herself a survivor of the May 22 bombing, still inside Manchester Arena when an explosion ripped through the lobby area following her encore. Morgan had criticized the apparently shaken singer for quickly returning home to Florida instead of staying to console victims. But within days Grande and her team began organizing the benefit, which overcame considerable logistical and security obstacles to take place less than two weeks later. Days before the show, she turned up unannounced at a Manchester-area Hospital to visit young girls wounded in the attack. Grande carried on with Sunday's show despite the attack in London the night before in which seven people were killed. She enlisted fellow entertainers such as Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Coldplay and Oasis frontman and Manchester native Liam Gallagher. Daily Telegraph columnist Victoria Lambert similarly apologized for dismissing Grande, who first gained fame on the Nickelodeon teen comedy "Victorious," as a lightweight pop star not fit to be a role model for her daughter. "Because far from being a cliched child star, Grande has shown herself to be a perfect role model for our daughters after all," Lambert wrote.
  17. Dawn breaks behind the Houses of Parliament and the statue of Winston Churchill in Westminster, London, Britain June 24, 2016 - Reuters British voters are sleepwalking to a painful Brexit. Prime Minister Theresa May called the election scheduled for Thursday to give herself a stronger hand in negotiating the country?s departure from the European Union. But she and her main opponent, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, have largely avoided any discussion of the trade-offs involved. May?s government has already ditched the rose-tinted versions of Brexit put forward by campaigners in last year?s referendum. Britain will leave the EU single market and customs union. It will therefore need to negotiate the outlines of a new deal before the end of March 2019. Any agreement will involve compromises about trade, contributions to EU coffers, and regulation of industries like drugs and financial services. Whatever shape those take, Britain?s economic relationship with the EU will face greater friction. Failure to reach a deal would be the worst outcome. Most UK exports would need to be checked before crossing the border. British lorry drivers might no longer be allowed on Europe?s motorways. And that?s just physical goods. More than a quarter of UK services exports to the EU would be lost, JPMorgan reckons. The campaign has skipped around these dangers. May says she intends to make Brexit a success, without any further explanation, while insisting she is also prepared to walk away from the negotiations. Corbyn has been less adversarial, but also dodged hard questions. One possibility is that, by being vague, May has retained the flexibility to make concessions to the EU. A bigger majority would then allow her to push a compromise through parliament. Currency markets appear to share that view: sterling rose after the election was called, but has dipped as opinion polls showed May?s lead narrowing. Yet any variety of Brexit almost certainly means lower growth ? particularly if May keeps her renewed vow to curb immigration. UK economic output is about 9 percent higher in real terms than a decade ago, according to the International Monetary Fund. But GDP per head is up just 2 percent. If the population stops growing, potential output does too. Voters are ill-prepared for this outcome. Brexit will be just one of a range of factors influencing their choice when they go to the polls. But whoever wins will have to deal with a disappointed electorate when reality dawns.
  18. LONDON: Police on Monday named two of the three men behind a terror attack in London as Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane, saying Butt was known to security services but there had been no evidence of "attack planning". Butt was 27 and a British citizen born in Pakistan, while Redouane was 30 and "claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan", national counter-terrorism police chief Mark Rowley said in a statement.
  19. Surveys show that the gap between the two main political parties is narrowing but Theresa May's position as prime minister seems secure. Photo: INPHO LONDON: With just a few days to go until Britain´s general election, opinion polls reveal the outcome could be a lot tighter than had been predicted when Prime Minister Theresa May announced the vote six weeks ago. Although surveys show the gap between the main two political parties narrowing, May´s position as prime minister seems secure. What the polls say May surprised the country in April by calling for the snap election, seeking to increase her majority before Britain enters into two years of gruelling negotiations over its departure from the European Union. Polls initially supported her gamble, giving her Conservative Party a double-digit lead over its nearest rival, the main opposition Labour Party. However, the Conservatives´ advantage has eroded over the campaign, with pollster Survation giving the ruling party just a one point lead over Labour on June 4. Another poll, released a few days earlier by YouGov, even suggested the Conservatives could fall short of a majority, meaning they would need the support of another party to govern. Can the polls be trusted? Pollsters got the outcome of the last general election, held just two years ago, very wrong. In the months leading up to the May 2015 ballot, polls consistently put the Conservatives and Labour neck-and-neck, suggesting neither party would be able to form a government alone. But the Conservatives, who had been in a coalition government with the smaller Liberal Democrat Party, secured a majority in the 650-seat House of Commons. A year later, polls also failed to correctly predict the outcome of the Brexit referendum, expecting the "In" vote to win. "One of the things that happened in 2015 is that the polls underestimated the age difference in turnout," John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, told AFP. That underestimated Conservative support among older voters. Pollsters have therefore adjusted their methodologies by widening their pools of respondents, asking them more questions and weighing the result with high-quality academic research done since the last election, explained Curtice. Why are predictions so tough? Part of the reason is Britain´s electoral system. "There is no automatic relationship between votes cast at the national level and seats won," because of the first-past-the-post constituency system, Curtice said. The system makes it especially difficult for smaller parties with support evenly spread nationally to increase their share of seats in parliament. But smaller parties whose support is concentrated in key constituencies -- such as the Scottish Nationalist Party -- can do very well. What will new government look like? According to Curtice, "there doesn´t seem to be any prospect of the Labour Party winning this election". But the Conservative government could end up looking very different with pollsters predicting that the party could gain anything between one and 80 seats. "That´s the difference between a prime minister returning with more latitude to achieve her objectives and a prime minister returning a wounded animal," said Curtice.
  20. British police detained a number of people during early morning raids in east London on Monday as part of an investigation into an attack that killed seven people and injured around 50 on Saturday night. In the third major militant assault to hit Britain in less than three months, attackers rammed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing revellers in nearby bars. Prime Minister Theresa May will chair a meeting of the government's emergency response committee on Monday to discuss the response to the attack which comes ahead of a national election on Thursday. Police had already arrested 12 people in the Barking district of east London over the weekend and they said on Monday they had entered two premises in Newham and Barking at 0315 GMT and detained "a number of people". They said searches were ongoing at both addresses.
  21. After a militant attack on a nightlife district of London this weekend, British Prime Minister Theresa May will resume campaigning on Monday just three days before a national election which polls show is much tighter than previously predicted. May said Britain must be tougher in stamping out Islamist extremism after three knife-wielding assailants rammed a hired van into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed others nearby, killing seven people and injuring 48. After the third militant attack in Britain in less than three months, May said Thursday's election would go ahead. But she said Britain had been far too tolerant of extremism. "Violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process," May said outside her Downing Street office, where British flags flew at half-staff. Daesh on Sunday night claimed responsibility for the attack via the militant group's agency Amaq. "A detachment of Daesh fighters executed yesterday's London attack," a statement posted on Amaq's media page, monitored in Cairo, said. London police arrested 12 people in the Barking district of east London in connection with the attack and raids were continuing there, the force said. Police have not released the names of the attackers. It was not immediately clear how the attack would impact the election. The campaign was suspended for several days last month when a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert by Ariana Grande in Manchester. Grande gave an emotional performance on Sunday at a benefit gig in the city for the victims of the attack, singing with a choir of local schoolchildren, including some who had been at her show. Before the London Bridge attack, May's gamble on a June 8 snap election had been thrust into doubt after polls showed her Conservative Party's lead had collapsed in recent weeks. Shadow of attacks While British pollsters all predict May will win the most seats in Thursday's election, they have given an array of different numbers for how big her win will be, ranging from a landslide victory to a much more slender win without a majority. Some polls indicate the election could be close, possibly throwing Britain into political deadlock just days before formal Brexit talks with the European Union are due to begin on June 19. In a sign of how much her campaign has soured just five days before voting begins, May's personal rating turned negative for the first time in one of ComRes's polls since she won the top job in the turmoil following the June 23 Brexit referendum. May called the snap election in a bid to strengthen her hand in negotiations on Britain's exit from the European Union, to win more time to deal with the impact of the divorce and to strengthen her grip on the Conservative Party. If she fails to beat handsomely the 12-seat majority her predecessor David Cameron won in 2015, her electoral gamble will have failed and her authority will be undermined both inside the Conservative Party and at talks with 27 other EU leaders. May said the series of attacks were not connected in terms of planning and execution but were inspired by what she called a "single, evil ideology of Islamist extremism" that represented a perversion of Islam and of the truth. Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn criticised May, who was an interior minister from 2010 to 2016, for cutting police numbers during her tenure in charge of the interior ministry. "The mass murderers who brought terror to our streets in London and Manchester want our election to be halted. They want democracy halted," Corbyn said in Carlisle, northern England. "They want their violence to overwhelm our right to vote in a fair and peaceful election and to go about our lives freely." "That is why it would be completely wrong to postpone next Thursday's vote or to suspend our campaigning any longer." When May stunned political opponents and financial markets by calling the snap election, her poll ratings indicated she could be on course to win a landslide majority on a par with the 1983 majority of 144 won by Margaret Thatcher. But since then, May's lead has been eroded, meaning she might no longer score the thumping victory over socialist Corbyn she had hoped for ahead of Brexit negotiations.
  22. About 266kg heroin, 455kg cannabis were seized from a dhow in Indian Ocean on Thursday morning. Photo: UK's Ministry of Defence Royal Navy frigate HMS Monmouth, known as the ?Black Duke?, seized 266 kilogrammes heroin and 455kg cannabis resin, with a total street value in the UK of around £65m from a vessel in Indian Ocean. The contrabands, which were hidden in the freezer of a fishing ship, were later destroyed by the British soldiers. The suspicious dhow was intercepted by two teams of the British war ship in the Indian Ocean in an area not normally known for fishing. The teams, comprising Royal Marines from 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group and the other of Royal Navy search specialists , spent 60 hours painstakingly scouring the vessel for narcotics, before eventually finding them hidden in a freezer beneath three tonnes of ice. "Such a substantial seizure of drugs will deal a significant blow to the international narcotics trade which is known to provide funding for terrorist organisations,? said HMS Monmouth's Commanding Officer Ian Feasey. Lieutenant Alison Ross, one of HMS Monmouth's boarding officers, said: "After such a long search I had doubts we would find anything, but the reactions of the crew to our activity in certain areas was enough to convince us that there was illegal cargo. HMS Monmouth will now continue her patrols of the Indian Ocean as part of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150), a coalition of warships with a mission to promote maritime security in order to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities, which terrorists use to fund or conceal their movements.
  23. A British journalist was charged with arms possession on Tuesday after he was arrested at a Thai airport for checking in flak jacket plates and gas masks, standard equipment for media heading into war zones and other hostile environments. Anthony Cheng, 46, was detained at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport on Monday along with Florian Witulski, a German freelance journalist, before he could board a flight to Iraq via Turkey for an assignment for China-based broadcaster CCTV English. Thailand's Arms Control Act stipulates that gas masks and ballistic vests are war weapons and those carrying them need a license. In August 2015, a Hong Kong photojournalist was arrested at the same airport for carrying body armour and a helmet. Charges were later dropped. Cheng was carrying three gas masks and four plates for safety vests, said Somchart Maneerat, a police investigator. "He faces charge of unlicenced possession of war weapons," Somchart told Reuters. Cheng faces up to five years in prison if he is found guilty, Somchart added. A lawyer for Cheng said he had requested bail. Witulski, 31, was also detained on Monday night but released on bail of 100,000 baht ($2,900) on Tuesday. Witulski told Reuters they were not aware that licences were required for the safety gear. "The plates were loose and were taken as check-in baggage as we have done before many times," Witulski told Reuters, adding that he and Cheng had traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan several times and taken plates with them without being stopped by Thai authorities.
  24. British Airways said it would take steps to ensure there was no repeat of a computer system failure that stranded 75,000 passengers over a holiday weekend and turned into a public relations disaster. BA had been forced to cancel all its flights from Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, and Gatwick on Saturday after a power supply problem disrupted its operations worldwide and also hit its call centers and website. The airline was returning to normal on Monday, planning to run more than 95 percent of flights from London Heathrow and Gatwick, with only a handful of short-haul flights canceled. BA Chief Executive Alex Cruz said the root of the problem, which also affected passengers trying to fly into Britain, had been a power surge on Saturday morning which hit BA's flight, baggage and communication systems. It was so strong it also rendered the backup systems ineffective, he said. "Once the disruption is over, we will carry out an exhaustive investigation into what caused this incident, and take measures to ensure it never happens again," Cruz said. Over the weekend, some stranded passengers curled up under blankets on the floor or slumped on luggage trolleys, images that played prominently online and in newspapers. "Apologizes all well and good but not enough. BA has lost another loyal customer #disgraceful," tweeted Tom Callaway, who had been due to fly to Budapest. The company was left counting the cost of the disruption, both in terms of a one-off impact to its profit and the longer-term damage to its reputation. Spanish-listed shares of parent company IAG, which also owns carriers Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, dropped 2.8 percent on Monday after the outage. The London-listed shares did not trade because of a public holiday. Flight compensation website Flightright.com said that with around 800 flights canceled at Gatwick and Heathrow on Saturday and Sunday, BA was looking at having to pay around 61 million euros ($68 million) in compensation under EU rules. That does not include the cost of reimbursing customers for hotel stays. BA would fully honor its compensation obligations, Cruz said. Of the 75,000 passengers who missed out on flights, around two-thirds would have been flown to their destinations by the end of Monday, he added. BA has been cutting costs to respond to competition on short-haul routes from Ryanair and easyJet and recently faced criticism for starting to charge passengers for their in-flight snacks. Ireland's Ryanair was quick to seize on the marketing opportunity, tweeting "Should have flown Ryanair" with a picture of the 'Computer says no' sketch from the TV series "Little Britain" to poke fun at BA. Ryanair said it had seen a spike in bookings over the weekend but gave no further details. The GMB union said that BA's IT systems had shortcomings after they made a number of staff redundant and shifted their work to India in 2016. "This could have all been avoided. BA in 2016 made hundreds of dedicated and loyal IT staff redundant and outsourced the work to India," Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for Aviation, said. Cruz rejected the union criticism. "They've all been local issues around a local data center, which has been managed and fixed by local resources," he told Sky News. Several passengers complained about a lack of information from BA staff at the airport. Others said their luggage had been lost. The airline said it was working to get reunite passengers with their luggage after many items were left at Heathrow over the weekend, although staff on Twitter warned this "could take some time". While other airlines have been hit by computer problems, the scale and length of BA's troubles were unusual. Delta Air Lines Inc canceled thousands of flights and delayed many others last August after an outage hit its computer systems. Last month, Germany's Lufthansa and Air France suffered a global system outage which briefly prevented them from boarding passengers.
  25. Police identified 22-year-old Salman Abedi as the suspected suicide bomber who detonated bombs as throngs of teenagers poured out of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. Image: AFP MANCHESTER: British police said on Wednesday they had arrested a seventh person in connection with Monday's suicide bombing in Manchester that left 22 people dead, following searches at an address in Nuneaton in Warwickshire, central England. "As it stands, six men and one woman have been arrested in conjunction with the investigation and remain in custody for questioning," the police statement mentioned. This arrest, however, marks the first one made outside the Manchester area. A few hours ago, British police had arrested a woman, consequent to searches in the city's northern parts, which brought the total number of arrests to five men and one woman. In a statement, police explained, "These searches are connected to Monday's horrific attack on the Manchester Arena, but this is a fast-moving investigation and we are keeping an open mind at this stage." Earlier, the BBC reported that armed police had made the arrest during a raid on a block of flats. 'A network that we are investigating' Earlier arrests, made in Manchester and Tripoli arrests on Wednesday, were focused on tracking down a network of accomplices who authorities fear could strike again. Manchester police made four new arrests and searched an address in the city centre. A source said British investigators were hunting for anyone who may have helped build the suicide bomb and could be ready to kill again. "I think it's very clear that this is a network that we are investigating," police chief Ian Hopkins said outside Manchester police headquarters. "And as I've said, it continues at a pace. There's extensive investigations going on and activity taking place across Greater Manchester as we speak." 22-year-old, British-born Abedi blew himself up on Monday night at the Manchester Arena indoor venue at the end of a concert by US pop singer Ariana Grande attended by thousands of children and teenagers. A graphic showing where the blast hit in Manchester. Courtesy: Reuters Police in Tripoli arrested a brother of Abedi and his father. A spokesman for the local counter-terrorism force said younger brother Hashem Abedi was arrested on suspicion of links with Daesh and was suspected of planning to carry out an attack in the Libyan capital. A man arrested on Tuesday was reported by British and US media to be Abedi's other brother. Earlier, interior minister Amber Rudd said the bomber had recently returned from Libya. Her French counterpart Gerard Collomb said he had links with Daesh and had probably visited Syria as well. The Manchester bombing has raised concern across Europe. Cities, including Paris, Nice, Brussels, St Petersburg, Berlin, and London, have suffered militant attacks in the last two years. Britain's official terror threat level was raised to "critical", the highest level, late on Tuesday, meaning an attack was expected imminently. Nevertheless, with just over two weeks to go until the national election, Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives and political parties said they would resume campaigning in the coming days. Soldiers on the streets The Manchester bombing was the deadliest attack in Britain since July 2005, when four British Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people in coordinated attacks on London's transport network. Rudd said up to 3,800 soldiers could be deployed on Britain's streets, taking on guard duties to free up police to focus on patrols and investigation. An initial deployment of 984 had been ordered, first in London and then elsewhere. Soldiers were seen at the Houses of Parliament, May's Downing Street residence and the London police headquarters in New Scotland Yard. A source close to the investigation into the bombing told Reuters that the focus was on whether Abedi had received help in putting together the bomb and where it had been done. The bomb used in the attack appeared to contain carefully packed shrapnel and have a powerful, high-velocity charge, according to leaked photographs from the investigation published by the New York Times. The BBC reported that security services thought the bomb was too sophisticated for Abedi to have built by himself. Police arrested three people in South Manchester and another in Wigan, a town 17 miles to the west of the city on Wednesday. They said they were assessing a package carried by the man in Wigan. Police also said that they had searched an address in central Manchester as part of the investigation. 'Proper respects to those lost' Grande was scheduled to perform two shows at London's O2 arena this week, but the singer's representative said on Wednesday she was suspending her tour to assess the situation and to "pay our proper respects to those lost". Chelsea soccer club said it had cancelled a victory parade that had been scheduled to take place on Sunday to celebrate its Premier League title. Several high-profile sporting events are coming up in Britain, including the soccer FA Cup final at London's Wembley Stadium and the English rugby club competition final at Twickenham on Saturday and the UEFA Champions League final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on June 3. US leaks 'irritating' Rudd also scolded US officials for leaking details about the investigation into the Manchester attack before British authorities were ready to go public. The New York Times later published detailed photographs of the suspected remnants of the bomb. The interior minister was asked by the BBC about the fact that information about Abedi, including his name, had come out of the United States before it was cleared by British authorities. "The British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information in order to protect operational integrity, the element of surprise, so it is irritating if it gets released from other sources, and I have been very clear with our friends that should not happen again." Victims to be named in 4-5 days Greater Manchester Police said they were now confident they knew the identity of all the people who lost their lives and had made contact with all the families. They said they would formally name the victims after forensic post-mortems, which would take four or five days. The 22 victims in Manchester included an eight-year-old girl, several teenage girls, a 28-year-old man, and a Polish couple who had come to collect their daughters. The bombing also left 64 people wounded, of whom 20 were receiving critical care for highly traumatic injuries to major organs and to limbs, a health official said.