Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest and most crowded nations, plans to go ahead with work to develop an isolated, flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal to temporarily house tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in neighboring Myanmar, officials say.
Dhaka says the Rohingya are not welcome, and has told border guards to push back those trying to enter the country illegally. But close to 125,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh in just 10 days, joining more than 400,000 others already living there in cramped makeshift camps.
The Rohingya are caught up in a deadly and desperate situation in the Rakhine State on the western coast of Myanmar (also known as Burma). Tens of thousands of people are at risk of serious rights violations and aid efforts have been shut down.
For decades, unrest has rocked northern Rakhine State because of a wider context of long-standing discrimination against the Rohingya in Myanmar.
The ethnic Muslim group are denied the right to a nationality, and face severe restrictions on their rights to freedom of movement, access to education, healthcare, and livelihoods, to practice their religion and participate in public life.
The situation has been coming to a head in recent days after Rohingya militants launched a series of coordinated attacks on security forces in the north of Myanmar’s Rakhine state in the early morning of 25 August.
Since then, clashes between Myanmar’s military and the Rohingya armed group have continued and security forces have engaged in a disproportionate campaign of violence against the Rohingya.
Villages burned down
We have received numerous reports of human rights violations and abuses, including security forces opening fire on civilians fleeing, and homes and villages being burned down.
According to the Myanmar government almost 400 people have been killed since the clashes as of 4 September.
Humanitarian access to northern Rakhine State has also been suspended, while in other parts of the state the Myanmar authorities are preventing humanitarian agencies from reaching communities in need. As a result, life-saving relief efforts have been halted, and vital supplies of medicine, food and water are not making their way to the tens of thousands of desperate civilians caught in the middle of this deadly feud.
According to the UN, an estimated 90,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, while the Myanmar government has evacuated over 11,000 people belonging to other ethnic minority communities. Despite the huge influx, the Bangladesh government has maintained a policy of sealing the border with Myanmar, and border guards have pushed back hundreds attempting to flee.
The recent attacks mark a dangerous escalation in an already volatile area. Following similar (but smaller) attacks in northern Rakhine State in October 2016, the Myanmar authorities launched major security operations.
At the time we documented wide-ranging human rights violations against the Rohingya during these operations, including unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, rape and other sexual violence, as well as destruction of homes and property.
People in Rakhine State, in particular the Muslim Rohingya minority, have suffered a horrific catalogue of rights abuses for decades. Through our own investigations we have concluded that the Myanmar security forces may have committed crimes against humanity.
A humanitarian disaster
Simply put, Rakhine State is now on the precipice of a humanitarian disaster.
Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Director for Crisis Response, said:
‘Nothing can justify denying life-saving aid to desperate people. By blocking access for humanitarian organisations, Burma’s authorities have put tens of thousands of people at risk and shown a callous disregard for human life.’
Authorities in Myanmar must swiftly improve the human rights situation and end discrimination. In particular, they must urgently lift restrictions on movement, allow full access for humanitarian workers and media in affected regions, and review and amend the country’s discriminatory citizenship laws.
What can be done to help the situation?
Put pressure on Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Army, the person responsible for the ongoing security operations. Tweet the following at him now:
.@SGMinAungHlaing Shocking human rights violations by security forces in northern #Rakhine must end immediately. http://bit.ly/2gByLtV
.@SGMinAungHlaing It’s time to allow unrestricted humanitarian access to all people in all areas of #Rakhine State. http://bit.ly/2gByLtV
Without concrete action by the authorities to address long-standing grievances and decades of human rights violations, people in the region will continue to be trapped in a bloody cycle of deprivation and abuse
The death toll from the terrorist attacks that took place on 17th August 2017 in Spain has risen to sixteen.
Spain’s civil defense agency has confirmed that a 51-year-old German woman has died following the recent terrorist attacks in Spain after being treated in a critical condition in hospital although it’s not yet known which of the twin terrorist attacks she was injured in.
Many people were injured in the first attack on 17 August, when a van drove into pedestrians crowds on the famous tourist boulevard of Las Ramblas. Nine hours later after the Barcelona attack there followed a similar attack in Cambrils, 70 miles southwest of Barcelona when five men thought to be members of the same terrorist cell drove into pedestrians in nearby Cambrils, killing one woman and injuring six others
Authorities in Spain are continuing their investigations into the attacks, which saw 120 people sustaining serious injury, and six people currently remain in a critical condition with five other people being treated with serious injuries.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Barcelona on Saturday in an act of solidarity following the attacks last week.
In an unprecedented move, King Felipe VI also took part, along with the Spanish Prime Minister and the local mayor.
Those that assisted victims of the attack including the emergency services, taxi drivers, and shopkeepers, were at the head of the march, as the crowds stretched formed a procession that was a mile in length.
Roses of Red yellow and white the colors associated with the city of Barcelona were handed out to the crowds who also had Catalan flags that could be seen far into the distance. Banners sporting the words “we are not afraid” and “the best response is peace” were shown on banners showing the crowds defiance against the terrorist attacks.
The march in Barcelona also follows the shooting of the terrorist suspect Younes Abouyaaqoub seen fleeing the attack in Barcelona where he is believed to have hijacked a car, killing its owner, 34-year-old aid worker Pablo Perez, in order to make his getaway.
When authorities caught up with him Younes AbouyTaaqoub was shot dead and found to be wearing a suicide belt Spanish police later confirmed.
In the city of Marseilles in France, another similar incident took place and saw one woman killed and another injured, after a van crashed into two bus shelters.Police advised the public to avoid the Old Port area where the driver of the Renault Master, a 35-year-old man from Grenoble, was arrested following the attack. The man arrested has yet to be known but was known to police for minor crimes and is believed to have had psychological issues.
On a visit to Uganda, author and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador pays tribute to the country’s “compassionate” refugee policy, as one millionth South Sudanese refugee crosses the border. By Khaled Hosseini in Uganda | 17 August 2017
When I arrived in Uganda earlier this year, to visit refugees fleeing the brutality of the spiraling South Sudanese civil war, I expected to find something familiar: sprawling tent cities, bordered by fencing, clogged with tens of thousands of refugees, isolated from local communities, police regulating traffic in and out. In most camps I’ve visited, refugees don’t have freedom of movement, let alone a plot of land, or reasonable prospects for self-sufficiency. Lives are spent in limbo, weighed down by the crushing boredom of camp life.
When I arrived in Uganda earlier this year, to visit refugees fleeing the brutality of the spiraling South Sudanese civil war, I expected to find something familiar: sprawling tent cities, bordered by fencing, clogged with tens of thousands of refugees, isolated from local communities, police regulating traffic in and out. In most camps I’ve visited, refugees don’t have freedom of movement, let alone a plot of land, or reasonable prospects for self-sufficiency. Lives are spent in limbo, weighed down by the crushing boredom of camp life. Yet there are no camps in Uganda. Instead, refugees settle in villages, living on land allocated to them by the local government within days of crossing the border. They move about without restriction. They are free to cultivate the land, access healthcare and schools, find employment, and start businesses.
Yet there are no camps in Uganda. Instead, refugees settle in villages, living on land allocated to them by the local government within days of crossing the border. They move about without restriction. They are free to cultivate the land, access healthcare and schools, find employment, and start businesses.
Last September, all 193 UN member states signed a commitment to include refugees in local systems and to share responsibility for refugees. Uganda is holding true to the spirit of the New York Declaration. Uganda is trailblazing.
The country’s startlingly compassionate and progressive refugee policy struck me as all the more remarkable considering nearly 7 million Ugandans live in absolute poverty and another 14.7 million are at risk of falling back into poverty. And yet, Uganda has not only kept its borders open, it has welcomed refugees with open arms and open hearts.
To be sure, there is an element of reciprocity inherent in this policy. Ugandans have not forgotten their own days as refugees. I sat under a tree with Yahaya, a 51-year-old Ugandan farmer who has donated a plot of land to the family of a South Sudanese refugee named Mike. Yahaya remembers when his own family fled to Sudan in the 1980s, and how warmly Mike’s father received and helped them. Now, more than thirty years later, Yahaya is returning the favor. “I understand his situation. He is like a brother to me,” Yahaya says of Mike.
Uganda’s approach is also a smart vision for how to support refugees in a sustainable way. It doesn’t view refugees through a purely humanitarian lens. It treats them as empowered agents of growth and development that can benefit both refugee and local communities.
Yahaya told me, for instance, that before the refugee influx his youngest three children were missing out on an education because the nearest school was too many miles away. Now they attend a primary school built in the Bidibidi refugee settlement, home to some 272,000 refugees.
In a global climate of growing negativity toward refugees, we have a lot to learn from the Ugandan experience and to be inspired by, as individuals, as communities, as countries. But Uganda’s inspirational model is being severely challenged.
This week, the UN Refugee Agency has reported the sobering news. The number of South Sudanese refugees that have crossed the border into Uganda since war broke out has reached a depressing milestone – one million. The well-being of those one million individuals – most of whom are women and children – hinges on funding that, unfortunately, has failed to keep pace with the growing scale of this crisis.
In June, a Solidarity Summit was held in Entebbe. Uganda showcased its forward looking refugee policy in an effort to inspire other nations to adopt a similar approach and to ask wealthier nations to give funds as part of that commitment to burden sharing made in New York last September. The pledges made fall far short of what is needed just to cover the emergency response in Uganda. Uganda’s ability to realize a model that allows refugees, and its own people, to thrive is now surely in jeopardy.
I think the millionth refugee arriving at the border: exhausted, bewildered, in shock. Statistically, it will most likely be a child. A child who has lost everything. I don’t believe that any of us want to turn our back on that child. I hope the world takes notice.
Everyone is actually reeling from the news that Donald Trump has fired Director of the FBI James Comey. People are asking why after initially praising Mr. Comey’s work as head of the FBI (during the election presidential campaign when the FBI were investigating emails sent from a private server from Hilary Clinton) has the president now with the advice arising from memos from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which recommended getting rid of him.
Now Senior US lawmakers have called on President Donald Trump to turn over any recordings of conversations with fired FBI director James Comey and the President.
We all want to know the following …
Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer has said that destroying any tapes would break the law. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the White House needed to “clear the air” about whether tapes existed. The comments come after Mr Trump tweeted what appeared to be a thinly veiled threat to the former FBI chief.
A senior law professor Allan Lichtman, claims the firing of Comey could lead to a impeachment of Donald Trump as President and is “more serious than Watergate”.
“He arguably could be impeached now,” Mr Lichtman toldNewsweek. “Arguably he’s already obstructed justice and already violated the emoluments clause [regarding receiving gifts from foreign governments]. I’m not saying we should impeach him now, I’m calling for an impeachment investigation.”
The huge cyber-attack affecting organisations around the world, including some UK hospitals, can be traced back to the US National Security Agency (NSA) – raising questions over the US government’s decision to keep such flaws a secret.
Elements of the malicious software used in Friday’s attacks were part of a treasure trove of cyber-attack tools leaked by hacking group the Shadow Brokers in April.
One of the tools contained in the Shadow Brokers leak, codenamed EternalBlue, proved to be “the most significant factor” in the spread of Friday’s global attack, according to cyber-security firm Kaspersky Lab.
The tool was said to have been created by the NSA – though, as is typical, the agency has neither confirmed nor denied this.
EternalBlue was made public on 14 April, and while Microsoft had fixed the problem a month prior to its leak, it appeared many high-profile targets had not updated their systems to stay secure.
Friday’s attack has reignited the debate over whether or not governments should disclose vulnerabilities they have discovered or bought on the black market.
“It would be deeply troubling if the NSA knew about this vulnerability but failed to disclose it to Microsoft until after it was stolen,” said Patrick Toomey, a lawyer working for the American Civil Liberties Union.
“These attacks underscore the fact that vulnerabilities will be exploited not just by our security agencies, but by hackers and criminals around the world.
“Patching security holes immediately, not stockpiling them, is the best way to make everyone’s digital life safer.”
Edward Snowden, who famously leaked many internal NSA files in June 2013, criticised the NSA on Friday in a series of tweets.
“In light of today’s attack, Congress needs to be asking [the NSA] if it knows of any other vulnerabilities in software used in our hospitals,” he wrote.
“If [the NSA] had privately disclosed the flaw used to attack hospitals when they found it, not when they lost it, this may not have happened.”
However, others focused the blame at institutions for being too slow in updating their systems, given that this attack happened almost two months after a (free) fix was made available by Microsoft.
“Say what you want to say about the NSA or disclosure process,” said Zeynep Tufeki, a professor at the University of North Carolina.
“But this is one in which what’s broken is the system by which we fix.”
For the UK’s National Health Service, the problem is perhaps more acute.
Security firms have continually raised alarms about the NHS’s reliance on Windows XP, an operating system that is no longer supported by Microsoft.
“A UK security researcher has told the BBC how he “accidentally” halted the spread of the malicious ransomware that has affected hundreds of organisations, including the UK’s NHS.
The 22-year-old man, known by the pseudonym MalwareTech, had taken a week off work, but decided to investigate the ransomware after hearing about the global cyber-attack.
He managed to bring the spread to a halt when he found what appeared to be a “kill switch” in the rogue software’s code.
“It was actually partly accidental,” he told the BBC, after spending the night investigating. “I have not slept a wink.”
Although his discovery did not repair the damage done by the ransomware, it did stop it spreading to new computers, and he has been hailed an “accidental hero”.
“I would say that’s correct,” he told the BBC.
The Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani declared a national day of mourning after scores of soldiers were killed by Taliban fighters disguised as fellow soldiers, in the deadliest attack of its kind on an Afghan military base.
The defence ministry has said more than 100 died or were injured in the Friday attack in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, although no exact numbers have yet been released.
One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters news agency that at least 140 soldiers were killed with many others wounded and some officials stating that the figure may be even higher.
The attack starkly highlighted the difficulty of the long struggle by the Afghan government and its international backers to defeat the Taliban insurgency.
After arriving in Mazar-i-Sharif to visit the base on Saturday, Ghani ordered that flags be flown at half mast on Sunday in memory of the troops who died. President Ghani has called for a “serious” investigation into the attack. In a statement online, he condemned the attack as “cowardly” and the work of “infidels”.
As many as 10 Taliban fighters, dressed in Afghan army uniforms and driving military vehicles, made their way into the base and opened fire on mostly unarmed soldiers eating and leaving a mosque after Friday prayers, according to officials.
They used rocket-propelled grenades and rifles, and several detonated suicide vests packed with explosives, officials said.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Saturday the attack on the base was retribution for the recent killing of several senior Taliban leaders in northern Afghanistan.
The U.S. military command in Kabul said an American air strike had killed a commander, Quari Tayib, and eight other Taliban on April 17.
Intel® Shooting Star Drone Display. A press release from Intel 03/11/2016
The Intel® Shooting Star drone is the company’s first drone created for entertainment light shows. The drone is designed with safety and creativity in mind with a super light-weight structure and virtually limitless color combinations. We’ve also worked with the FAA to receive a Part 107 Waiver to fly these drones as a fleet with one pilot at night in the U.S. This means we can now create beautifully choreographed images in the nighttime sky quickly and easily in the U.S. We are looking forward to using this new fleet of Intel Shooting Star drones publicly soon. Find more information on the Intel Shooting Star fact sheet.
MAVinci GmbH Acquisition
We believe drones are an important computing platform for the future and we are continuing to invest in technologies and companies that will enable us to provide the best compute, sensor, communications and software integration for the growing drone ecosystem. To this point, we have acquired MAVinci GmbH, a drone company based in Germany that offers best-in-class flight planning software.
With this transaction, we are gaining expertise in flight planning software algorithms and also fixed-wing drone design capabilities that complement the technology and knowledge Intel previously acquired from Ascending Technologies. This new acquisition will play a key role in providing solutions for industries such as agriculture, insurance, construction, mining and more.
These announcements represent a string of progress we’ve made in the drone space. In August, we introduced the developer-focused Intel Aero Platform and the Intel Aero Ready to Fly* Drone that will be available by end of the year. And prior to that, we collaborated with Yuneec, to launch the Yuneec Typhoon H with Intel RealSense Technology that provides industry leading collision avoidance features.
As we build new capabilities and enable products and solutions in the drone space, we will continue to demonstrate how far and how fast this exciting technology can advance.
Protect Refugee Children
Time for action – the UK Government must deliver on its refugee children commitment now
Ask your local Councillor to pressure Government into action today.
In May 2016 the Government made a commitment to work with local councils to bring unaccompanied refugee children in Europe to safety in the UK, under an agreement called the “Dubs scheme”.
Three months on and they have completely failed to deliver on this promise.
Liberty and Help Refugees are campaigning to hold the Government to account and make this pledge a reality, and we need your support.
Take Action : Ask your councillor to sign our Statement of Support
Demonstrating local support for the Dubs scheme sends a strong message to central Government that the time to act is now – and that councils are keen to play their part.
Write to your local councillors using our form below. Ask them to sign up to our statement pressuring central Government into honouring their commitment.
Statement of Support:
“We welcome the Government’s commitment to create a resettlement scheme to bring unaccompanied refugee children in Europe to safety in the UK. We recognise and support the vital role that local councils can and should play in caring for children seeking sanctuary.
We urge central government to provide funding to build the essential regional infrastructure necessary to secure the placement and support of children across the country and help us build them a brighter, safer future.”
If you are a councillor and would like to support the statement, please email RefugeePledge@liberty-human-rights.org.uk
Write to your local councillor
A full list of councillors who have pledged their support to the statement can be viewed here.
Take Action: Write to your local newspaper
Writing to your local newspaper is a great way of bringing the desperate plight of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to the attention of your community, council and local MP.
It will be instrumental in persuading local councillors to sign up to Liberty and Help Refugees’ Protect Refugee Children campaign.
To help you get your message across, here are some tips for writing to your local paper.
Child refugees endure violence and separation from family members; lose access to education, healthcare, the support of their communities and often face bleak and uncertain futures.
As a recent harrowing report from UNICEF revealed, trauma does not end at Europe’s shores. Children seeking sanctuary across the continent face routine exploitation and abuse. Many have already disappeared into the hands of traffickers.
The UK has a long tradition of providing refuge to those escaping persecution and indiscriminate violence.
In May 2016, the Government committed to create a scheme proposed by Lord Dubs – himself a child of the Kindertransport – to bring refugee children stranded in Europe to safety in the UK.
The time for action is now. Local and central government must work together to ensure the Dubs scheme fulfils its potential as a lifeline for some of Europe’s most vulnerable children.
Currently huge question marks remain around funding for the regional infrastructure that will ensure consistent and high quality services across the country.
The whole process of resettlement – from assessment overseas, through placement with individual councils, to accessing essential services – must be rooted in the best interests of the child and adequately resourced.
Together we can hold the Government to account. Offering sanctuary to those fleeing war and terror is one of the most pressing human rights issues in the UK today.
By demonstrating local support for the Dubs scheme we send a strong message that urgent action is needed, and that local councils are keen to play their part.
Ealing, Brighton and Oxford Councils latest to back Liberty and Help Refugees’ pledge to support unaccompanied refugee children
27 October 2016
Belfast City Council backs Liberty and Help Refugees campaign to Protect Refugee Children – and urges Northern Ireland Executive to play its part
05 September 2016
Lambeth Council backs Liberty and Help Refugees pledge to protect refugee children – and urges central Government to play its part
17 August 2016
An offer of sanctuary for Europe’s refugee children
06 May 2016
MPs must act to provide sanctuary to desperate refugee children
28 April 2016
Take action on the Immigration Bill now: 4 crucial asks for your MP
19 April 2016
Protect Refugee Children.pdf (269.46 KB)
Liberty’s Report Stage briefing on the Children and Social Work Bill: safeguarding unaccompanied refugee children (Oct 2016).pdf (282.77 KB)
Liberty’s briefing on the Children and Social Work Bill amendment 135A (July 2016).pdf (406.53 KB)
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Record number of people attended todays London Gay Pride and it is was estimated it would attract over a million people attending especially following the tragic mass shooting that left 49 people dead and 53 people severely injured in PULSE the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
The march also has also allowed both Gay and straight Muslims a chance to march and show their solidarity following the shooting by an Omar Mir Seddique Mateen.
Obviously there was heightened security on all marched across the world where Pride is being held this year and dozens of cities are donning the colours of the rainbow this weekend. Today’s marches and celebrations were in London; and New York and Chicago. But they will be being held in world wide over the 2016 summertime.
A number of photos have hit social media including heart-warming photographs showing the moment a couple of police officers became engaged at London Pride and posted by the Metropolitan Police LGBT network. In both photographs both proposals were accepted.
One of the pictures tweeted by the Met’s LGBT network, shows a photo of a uniformed officer proposing to his boyfriend in the audience. The total number of Met Officers who took part in todays London Pride and joining the march was around 80, and the march also included other UK Police forces, the London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade in the carnival procession.
The LGBT Metropolitan Police Network aims to create a more knowledgeable workforce that can respond to crimes and issues affecting the LGBT community sensitively and began through a conversation over coffee in Berlin at the European Gay Police Association conference in 2014.
The following was tweeted on their Twitter page.
ICYMI: Amazing to see all the love for the newly engaged couple flooding our notifications!https://t.co/IUSjjIzGJo
— Pride in London (@LondonLGBTPride) June 25, 2016
— MET LGBT Network (@MetLGBTNetwork) June 25, 2016
Also attending the Pride Carnival March and Rally in London were over 300 charities, businesses and organisations who marched through the West End. The whole of the area has been transformed into a sea of bright colours in honour of the LGBT community and London Mayor Mayor Sadiq Khan recently stressed it was ‘more important than ever’ to support the LGBT community in the festival following the Orlando mass shooting.
(Picture Sources: London Evening Standard & Met LGBT Network )
Jean-Pierre Bemba the ex-rebel leader of DR Congo Army has received a jail sentence of 18 years following a landmark conviction at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague for his activity in war crimes and including sexual violence. He had been convicted earlier in March for crimes committed in the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002-2003 and also for failing to stop his rebel troops from carrying out crimes of rape and killing in that area. His Lawyers are planning to launch an appeal on his behalf against his conviction.
Judges announced sentences of between 16 and 18 years with the jail terms running concurrently over five counts of rape, murder and pillaging. Jean-Pierre Bemba has already spent 8 years in custody and this will be deducted from the sentence handed out to him.
It is a landmark ruling as it’s thought to be one of the first times the ICC had focused on rape as a weapon of war, and the first time a suspect had been convicted for crimes committed by others under his command.
Judge Sylvia Steiner passing her sentence at the Haugue said Bemba had failed to exercise control over his private militia sent into Central African Republic (CAR) where she described their actions in raping and pillaging as sadistic and cruel.
Two key issues remain however where Bemba will serve his sentence and what compensation compensation will be awarded to his victims.
Bemba was “extremely disappointed” with the sentence, his lawyer, Kate Gibson, told AFP news agency.
“Today’s sentence is by no means the end of the road for Mr Bemba, it merely signals that we are now moving to the next phase of the process which is the appeal,” she said.
In 2002 Bemba had sent more than 1,000 fighters to the CAR to help then president Ange Felix Patasse put down an attempted coup.
The court heard that his troops committed acts of extreme violence against civilians – crimes which the judge said Bemba was made aware of but did nothing to stop.
He had led the MLC (Congolese Liberation Movement) rebel group during DR Congo’s brutal civil war and after a 2003 peace deal he laid down his arms and joined an interim government.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the sentence offered “a measure of justice” for the victims.
Queen Elizabeth has today celebrated her 90th birthday. She has been now almost 65 years on the throne of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth and Britain’s longest serving monarch and the second longest current monarchs in the World .
Today the Queen spent the day earlier with her husband Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, on a walk about the town of Windsor where crowds assembled to wish her a happy Birthday. She was also presented with a birthday cake at Windsor’s Guildhall by Nadiya Hussain winner of BBC’s “Great British Bake Off” television programme. She also unveiled a plaque to the “Queens Walkway” that links important points within Windsor.
The Queen sent a ‘tweet’ on the social media Twitter : “I send my best wishes to those who are celebrating their 90th birthday… on this shared occasion, I send my warm congratulations to you.”
She is due to meet President Barack Obama tomorrow when he will be visiting to show his birthday respects to the Queen, it’s also said that there will be a ban on all aerial drones in parts of London later this week during his visit to the capital for security reasons following recent incidents where drones have been causing danger to aircraft. He and his wife Michelle are expected to also lunch with Princess Kate, Prince William and Prince Harry during his visit. He later is expected to meet David Cameron and stand politically with him in urging Britain to stay in the EU.
Yesterday during a tour of BBC Broadcasting House the Queen was asked if there was anything she wanted for her birthday. To which she replied “I don’t think there’s anything I would like – a nice sunshiny day – that would be nice.”
Plans to deploy over 5,000 armed soldiers following a UK terror attack has caused a prominent peer to question the move as a ‘provocative’ act which could endanger the public. Baroness Jenny Jones, who sits on London’s Police and Crime Committee, called the revelations “absolutely shocking”. “Putting troops on the streets would be very controversial”,adding“I think it would be provocative and cause more problems than it would solve.”
The Peer conceded that although plans certainly had to be made for the event of a terror attack, she was curious about whether troops were being trained to deal with members of the public, she said, adding that “it would not be appropriate to use them” if they had not.
Minutes of a meeting of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) were leaked and published as the Prime Minister, David Cameron has flown to South-East Asia for discussions with leaders of the area over the growing threat of ISIS. The minutes of the meeting called for “large scale military support” for the police and augmenting armed police officers engaged in protection and security duties.
The plans codenamed Operation Temperer, following the meeting of the NPCC in the reveal 22nd April were accidentally uploaded to the Mail on Sunday website. They were uploaded on Thursday, then removed and revised early on Friday morning when it was found that details from from the secret closed meeting had also been included a spokesperson for the NPCC confirmed.
Baroness Jones said that If the situation got to a point where the military where military intervention was necessary, then clearly the Government would have to have lost control, adding that “it would make them look weak and panicky” calling the proposals quite extraordinary,” she said. “I think the principle of this should be debated in Parliament.”
Simon Chesterman, Detective Chief Constable who led the Committee called for a “national lead” for armed policing, said that “discussions were on-going with Government” although the called for extra armed soldiers and police have not have never been debated in Parliament.
Last month more than 1,000 police and soldiers, including SAS troops, staged a mass exercise codenamed Strong Tower to test their response to a gun-attack on London.
During a historic vote taking place it seems that the Republic of Ireland will now legalise Same Sex Marriage, with leaders from both sides of the campaign stating that early polls indicate a swing to the Yes campaign to enshrine same sex marriages into it’s constitution, in the world’s first national vote on the issue,
Politicians, activists and the Irish voters are now questioning not if it the vote will be for acceptance but by how large the vote actually was for a Yes to Equality vote..
Senior figures from the “no” campaign, who sought to prevent Ireland’s constitution from being amended to permit same-sex marriages, say the only question is how large the “yes” side’s margin of victory will be from Friday’s vote.
“We’re the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and do so by popular mandate. That makes us a beacon, a light to the rest of the world of liberty and equality. So it’s a very proud day to be Irish,” a Cabinet minister who himself came out as gay man when The Irish Government led efforts to amend Ireland’s conservative Catholic constitution.
“There is going to be a very substantial majority for a yes vote. I’m not at all surprised by that to be honest with you,” Ronan Mullen, and Irish Senator, who rejected a change to same sex marriage entering the constitution..
.Analysts are even seeing that “yes” majorities of voting are being reported in conservative rural districts, suggesting only question was how large the “yes” majority will be when the voting ends once the 4.6 million votes are counted in Ireland, which of course in the republic is predominantly Catholic.
According to sources at a Dublin ballot centre, said the Irish capital looks to have voted around 70 percent in favour of gay marriage, while most districts outside the capital also were reporting strong “yes” leads without any district reporting a “no” majority. Official results come later Saturday The “YES” campaigning has been mobilising it’s support through a creative, compelling campaign on social media sites to get young voters, tens of thousands of whom voted for the first time Friday. They also said a “no” victory was always unlikely given that all political parties and politicians are in favour of equality on same sex marriage just five years after it’s approved civil partnerships for gay couples.
Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin, whose party though traditionally Catholic in it’s membership and views campaigned for legalising gay marriage, said it “looks like an emphatic win for the yes side.” Voters in his native Cork were being recorded by observers as more than 60 percent yes.
An intelligence-sharing dispute between Britain and Germany, which was sparked by revelations about Anglo-American espionage against Berlin, is turning into a “burgeoning crisis”, according to German media reports. Relations between Germany and the United Kingdom worsened in September, after the revelation of TREASURE MAP, a top-secret program led by the US National Security Agency, which allegedly allows American spies to map the entire network of German telecommunications providers. Reports suggest that TREASURE MAP enables the NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters, to map the German Internet and reveals the addresses and locations of individual subscribers’ routers, as well as those of targeted computer and smart-phone users.
Late last year, the German parliament set up a body known informally as the NSA investigative commission, and tasked it with probing the allegations of American and British spying activities against the German state. In February, however, German newsmagazine Focus reported that British intelligence officials issued formal warnings aimed at their German counterparts, telling them that London would reconsider its intelligence cooperation with Berlin should the German parliament proceed with the probe into alleged British spying on German soil. According to Focus, British officials were concerned that such an inquiry by the NSA investigative commission would unearth British intelligence activities and would debate them openly during parliamentary sessions.
One of Britain’s most senior officers in the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) told the BBC that Britain should be prepared to spend more on its defence budget to protect itself from the increasing threat of Russia’s aggressive position in support for the Pro-Russian rebel separatists in the Ukraine and it’s annexing of Crimea in the light of condemnation from authorities in Kiev; the West, and even Russian citizens who are accusing Moscow of sending troops to support the Pro-Russian rebels in the Ukraine, although the Russian Government has always denied these reports.
NATO has also been concerned and criticised any possibility of Russia engaging it’s forces or funding the situation in Ukraine.
John Sawers, who left the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in November, added that greater dialogue should take place with Russia over it’s current stance, he said that Britain should have to have the capability to deal with the hybrid warfare that Russia is currently demonstrating in Crimea and in Donbas region of Ukraine after Pro-Russian rebels have seized territory in eastern Ukraine; he also stressed the need for dealing with a possible cyber-warfare arising out of the conflict.
Mr Sawers said “We’re going to have to spend more on our defence and our security because the threats are greater” ; he added that “Russia keeps reminding the West about it’s nuclear weapons, we shouldn’t kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy because it isn’t.”
Last week as British forces had to scramble Typhoon fighter jets after reports of two Russian long-range Bear bombers were seen flying off the south coast of England, after a previous incident of Russian Jets seen flying in British airspace in recent months.
The Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon said that President Putin could also pose a “real and present danger” to other eastern such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and NATO was ready to repel any aggression may pose against these countries.
Two of Parliament’s most respected Members of Parliamen are tonight secretly filmed discussing how they would be prepared to use their contacts to benefit a private fictitious Chinese influential business a Channel 4 Dispatches and The Telegraph investigation reveals.
The two former government and cabinet statesmen of Westminster, Conservative MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind and the Labour MP Jack Straw, both feature in Politicians For Hire – Dispatches at 8pm.
During meetings with undercover reporters Sir Malcolm Rifkind described himself as ‘self-employed’ and claimed ‘nobody pays me a salary’.
In return for his services he discussed his usual fee of ‘somewhere in the region of £5,000 to £8,000’ for a half a day’s work.
Sir Malcolm also claimed he could write to a minister on behalf of our company without saying exactly who he was representing
Sir Malcolm added that he could see any foreign ambassador in London if he wanted, so could provide ‘access’ that is ‘useful’
Former Labour Home Secretary
Mr Straw invited the two reporters posing as lobbyists for a fictitious influential Chinese business concern looking for UK support and MPs to join their advisory committee and met at his Parliamentary office where he discussed fees of £5000 per day for having his name associated to a business.
He also explained that he normally charges a fee of this for consultancy work and how his lobbying as a senior politician is useful to a private company, he already works for.
Mr Straw says he wouldn’t take on the role while he remained an MP, but claimed he would be more helpful to our company if he were to become a Lord because of the different rules that apply.
The Dispatches programme follows the previous investigation, some years ago when Geoff Hoon was banned from Parliament for five years and former transport minister Stephen Byers banned for two years following political impropriety. The recent investigation reveals that even though there were inquiries and laws introduced five years on politicians are still prepared to sell their service and lobby government for a price and are short of public expectations?
Channel 4 Dispatches and The Telegraph program shown Monday 23rd February
The alleged leader of the cell, Abid Naseer, who is 28 and from Pakistan, was a studying in Britain in April 2009 and was arrested by British police along with 12 others for planning a series of suicide bombings in the city of Manchester. He was extradited to the US in 2012 to face changes of organising a suicide attack against the New York public transportation system.
The US prosecutors claim Naseer had received paramilitary training in Pakistan before moving to the UK, where he was planning to carrying out terrorist attacks in the UK .
Last year, the US prosecution asked the judge to allow six British intelligence officers (from MI5), who had been monitoring Naseer’s activities before he was eventually arrested to provide vital evidence in the US court in secrecy without disclosing their identities due to the security officers still remaining active in counterterrorism investigations. The judge agreed, and the first of the six MI5 officers gave evidence this week through a video link from an undisclosed location in the Britain.
One of the MI5 officers who appeared concealed his identity by wearing a false goatee beard, thick spectacles and what reporters described as “a long black wig”. He was also wearing heavy make-up and was identified in court only as “serial number 1603”, according to British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
The operative informed the court that he was part of a team of MI5 surveillance officers who closely followed Mr. Naseer for over a month while he was allegedly planning suicide operations in Britain and the US. The surveillance included following the suspect as he was scouting targets in Manchester and monitoring his travel on public transport one one occasion when the suspect was traveling by bus from Manchester to Liverpool. Mr Naseer is defending himself in the trial and had the chance to cross-examine the MI5 officer, said The Telegraph.
The West is already supplying weaponry to Kiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin said when asked about Russia’s possible reaction to arms deliveries discussed by the West.
“According to our information, the arms are already being delivered,” Putin said at a press conference Tuesday after talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The Russian President has been keen to stress that the reduction of activity in south-eastern Ukraine in particular, Donbas, where he said Kiev forces have been fighting against independence supporters since last spring. “Regarding the hostilities [in Donbas], we [Russia] generally mark a significant, and I want to stress that, reduction of military activity there,” Putin said.
The new online state run news paper Sputnik is already covering stories that implicate President Obama is considering considering arming Ukraine in case the latest ceasefire is breached, but says that the US political analyst Stephen Lendman told Sputnik in an exclusive interview that the US has been supplying arms to Kiev from the very start of the military operation.
The Russian President added that the sooner the suspension of hostilities and withdrawal of artillery is implemented in Donbas, the sooner the Ukrainian conflict will be settled.
The New York Times yesterday reported that the CIA, working with American troops during the US occupation of Iraq, “repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups.” In their report NY Times journalists C.J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt report, “The extraordinary arms purchase plan, known as Operation Avarice, began in 2005 and continued into 2006, and the American military deemed it a non-proliferation success. It led to the United States’ acquiring and destroying at least 400 Borak rockets, one of the internationally condemned chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government manufactured in the 1980s but that were not accounted for by United Nations inspections mandated after the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The effort was run out of the C.I.A. station in Baghdad in collaboration with the Army’s 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion and teams of chemical-defence and explosive ordnance disposal troops, officials and veterans of the units said. Many rockets were in poor condition and some were empty or held a nonlethal liquid, the officials said. But others contained the nerve agent sarin, which analysis showed to be purer than the intelligence community had expected given the age of the stock”
Looking at the points raised in a reddit post lordderplythethird commented the following :
“It’s been long known there were chemical weapons still in Iraq after the US invaded in 2003, but people seem misinformed on what that means
Western Nations (Germany was the largest culprit, followed by the US, UK, France, etc) supplied Saddam with chemical and biological weapons, and the compounds required for the production of both, during the Iraq-Iran War. Germany practically built Saddam the nuclear reactor that Israel bombed in the 80s.
These same biological and chemical weapons were still around Iraq when the US invaded in 2003, just in highly degraded, non usable states
These are not the chemical and biological weapons Bush/Cheney/Powell/etc were referring to.
The Bush Administration was stating that Iraq had a current chemical and biological weapons program
He comments that the Bush Administration refused to acknowledge that the only weapons they uncovered, were ones given to Iraq by Western forces over 2 decades previously, because the administration who authorized this was headed by George Bush Snr, was then Vice President. “It’s still not admitted that the US gave Iraq chemical and biological weapons during the Iraq-Iran War (not sure if places like Germany have admitted to it though), so the W Bush Administration covered it up, and refused to acknowledge that WMD were in fact found in Iraq”
Because of this, US soldiers who were exposed to these weapons when they came across them, are developing severe medical conditions to which they’re not to claim happened during military service, because the Administration refused to admit those weapons were there
“So now we see documented proof that there were in fact WMD in Iraq, that a previous US administration gave them to Iraq, and US service members are getting sick because of those weapons, but the administration refused to acknowledge the actions of the previous administration”
This is perhaps why US service people are being denied access to help and compensation due to developing sickness to these weapons that did not originate in their entirety from Iraq but rather the possible reason for the US and UK going to war on the threat of the chemical weapons threat was perhaps due to the embarrassment of previous US and European assistance in Iraq developing these weapons in the first place.
Below is the original document that was classified and now de-classified that is forwarded by Tony Blair’s on the ‘Iraqi Chemical Weapon Threat’ this document was the precursor to the Iraqi war
Cicero Lounge Files Area: