Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, married James Coyle on Saturday.
It’s the first ever same-sex marriage in the extended royal family — and I think it’s safe to say we’re way more excited about it than Mountbatten’s dog, Rosie.
The wedding took place in a private chapel at his family home in Bridwell Park, Devon, according to Pink News. There were just 60 guests, including Ivar’s three daughters — all of whom were urged to donate to Regain, a charity set up to support tetraplegics to live full, normal lives.
No members of the royal family were present, but the Independent reports that there were numerous messages of congratulations, including from Prince Edward , the Queen’s youngest son.
Mountbatten, 55, was given away by his ex-wife Penelope Thompson. They divorced in 2011, but remain very close — and Mountbatten has admitted previously that his bisexuality was a persistent issue in 17 years of marriage.
“I am a lot happier now, though I am still not 100% comfortable with being gay,” he said in 2016.
“Being a Mountbatten was never the problem, it was the generation into which I was born. When I was growing up, it was known as ‘the love that dare not speak its name’, but what’s amazing now is how far we have all come in terms of acceptance.”
“I have struggled with my sexuality and in some ways I still do; it has been a real journey to reach this point,” he added. “Simply talking about it in public is a huge step for me. Up to this point, I have had a heterosexual lifestyle, so living with a man is really new. One step at a time.”
While Mountbatten is not in line to reach the throne, he is a part of the Queen’s extended family. Pink News reports that a same-sex marriage from within the direct royal lineage might encounter more issues, as “centuries-old protocols that govern royal life do not generally provide for same-sex spouses.”
And around the world, LGBTQ communities often find themselves unprotected and, often, systematically discriminated against. It’s illegal to be gay in 72 countries — and punishable by death in eight, according to the Guardian.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in the UK since March 13, 2014, and on July 3, 2018, the British government approved a 75-point action plan that included a ban on so-called “gay conversion therapy.”
The plan was announced with the results of the largest national survey of LGBTQ people in the world, revealing that 40% had experienced hate crime, while nearly two-thirds feared holding hands in public.
Although Mountbatten has faced his own struggles in realizing his sexuality, he has previously said that coming out has helped reach a “place I’m happy to be” — and his marriage to Coyle is the final step.
“I suppose if we had met ten years ago a civil partnership would have been nice, but now that marriage between a man and a man is legal it seems the right thing to do,” Mountbatten told the Mail Online. “I have had the whole marriage thing — and been very happy — but James hasn’t. So I see it as a validation of my love for him.”
Related LGBT News More: The UK Will Finally Ban So-Called ‘Gay Conversion’ Therapy
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.
He added the stark warning for those who profit from the misery of social injustice:“This is a tale of two cities. This is what Dickens was writing about in the century before last, and it’s still here in 2017.”
“Giving the poorest and most vulnerable ‘somewhere decent to live’ was a noble idea that is falling apart around our eyes”
On Sunday 18th June 2017 the current Government announced a payment relief of only £5,500 for all families living in the Grenfell Tower this will be paid as a £500 cash emergency payment and the remainder expected to be paid by the Department for Work and Pensions into survivor’s back accounts to cover the immediate cost of food; emergency housing associated costs, burial costs and getting clothes and possibly furniture and living requirements. This payment is thought to be made payable immediately to the family members who have survived, but is only this blog calculates a small figure of the £5 million promised initially (calculating and taking into consideration the 127 flats in Grenfell would see this as only a payment of 680,000 towards the figure of £5 million the PM originally said would be set apart towards the residents, thus this blog sees that £5,500 is actually quite poor to help these families.)
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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Youths use racist abuse towards a passenger who asks them to stop swearing during a busy morning Manchester tram journey.
This is the moment when three youths hurled racist abuse towards a passenger who asked that they refrain from swearing on a tram travelling between Shudehill and Market Street in Central Manchester at 07.40am this morning. It was captured on film and immediately uploaded to social media sites (including twitter) in order for people to witness the behaviour of these individuals.
In the video the youths target a particular man who asked them to refrain from using the offensive language during the ride and as can be seen in the video their abusive behaviour was upsetting passengers. Many of the passengers who later took to social media said that the incident was distressing and the youths aggressive behaviour frightening to everyone on the tram ride. The youths are seen taunting passenger and in particular the passenger of unknown descent to get off the train and the youths threatened to ‘batter’ passengers who left the train. The passenger who challenged them is also heard on the video asking there age “how old are you 18 or 19? I have been here [in the UK] longer than you. You are extremely ignorant and unintelligent”.
Greater Manchester Police have now confirmed that all three of the youths in the video have been arrested over their racist comments and will charged with hate crime.
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.
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.
Saudi Arabia is the top oil exporter and a member of the oil rich OPEC countries, the late King had a personal wealth himself of £18 billion. Saudi Arabia as a country is extremely important historically to the world’s Muslims as it’s believed to be the birthplace of Islam. However although many have been praising King Abdullah for his ‘modernisation’ within his rule, it’s still quite apparent that his country’s human rights practices are still abhorrent to many in the western world with public floggings been met to anyone who has fallen fowl of it’s extremely harsh Islamic teaching.
Only recently was Raif Badawi, a liberal Islamist and blogger sentenced to 1000 lashes of a cane and it has also stoned and beaten and even sentenced to death homosexuals and women accused of adultery or infidelity. Those who have praised him; including the former Prime Minister and Middle Eastern ‘Peace’ envoy, Tony Blair have pointed to more positive attitudes now adopted in Saudi Arabia such as the introduction of education for women in the country. However Saudi Arabia still is one of the countries that human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch regularly monitor, and it often calls on members to take urgent action on.
Following his inauguration the new King Salman has named his half-brother Muqrin as his crown prince and heir. Today the following announcement surrounding King Abdullah was made, “His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1 a.m. this morning.”
King Abdullah who was 90 years old and was suffering from illness for quite recently has ruled Saudi Arabia as King for the past 8 years (since 2006), but had run the country for 10 years prior to this as a de facto ruler after it’s previous King Fahd had become incapacitated following a stroke.
Countries throughout the world will be closely watching the new King’s progress amidst the turmoil across the Middle East, and also on the country’s direction in terms of it’s human rights of it’s citizens. King Salman is a self-appointed champion of Sunni Islam and the US hopes that the country will remain a close ally in the face of the ISIS threat that has engulfed other middle eastern countries such as Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia’s was a strong influence in the overthrow of President Mubarak’s Egyptian government in 2012 when they intervened militarily in support for it’s current government, they also have supported Syrian rebels against President Bashar al-Assad.
The new King, who is 79, was crown prince and the Saudi Arabian Defence Minister since 2012. He was governor of Riyadh province for five decades before that.
Saudi Arabia, holds more than a fifth of the world’s crude oil and is influential to the world’s 1.6 billion Muslim population, as the King is regarded as the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” in Mecca and Medina.
The inquiry said it did not see any “realistic prospect” of it’s publication of the report before elections are due to be held on the 7th May 2015 and the inquiry will probably face being questioned about it’s delay by a committee of MPs, while the chair of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Sir Richard Ottaway asked Sir John Chilcott to explain why the publication of the report has been delayed.
The inquiry was initially set up in 2009, under Gordon Brown to examine not only Britain’s involvement and it’s initial decision to go to war but also any cases of misconduct of British troops amidst claims of torture by both US and British allied forces against Iraqis forces and civilian. The report was expected to reach it’s conclusion within about three years and held it’s last hearing in 2011, following an unprecedented call for Tony Blair to give evidence to the inquiry in 2010.
There was even speculation by many political observers and even MPs that delays of the reports findings may have occurred due to involvement or intervention from the former Prime Minister Tony Blair or those close to him pointing to a cover-up of the findings of the report following the invasion of Iraq by British and American forces after Tony Blair’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and after his decision to ignore, many people believe unlawfully, the United Nations Resolution 1441 in November 2002 that offered Iraq under Saddam Hussein one last final opportunity to comply with disarmament obligations.
Leaders within coalition British Government have expressed concern over the delays with Nick Clegg saying that the delay was “incomprehensible” and former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith saying the delay was “disappointing”. Sir John Chilcott had written to the David Cameron informing him that “substantial progress” had been made but that those criticised by the report needed an opportunity to respond to the criticism so far provided in the report. Mr Cameron in reply to Sir John has said he would have like to have seen the publication already and has criticised the former Labour Government for it’s delay in being published.
Cicero Lounge has a link to the Aitken Report (National Archives – MOD) which documented and examined allegations of the British Army’s conduct against the allegations of abuse against Iraqi soldiers and civilians loyal to Saddam Hussein
See also the War Report for information on other reports issued following the Iraq and Afghan wars
Despite an international outcry and calls by Amnesty International for the Saudi Arabian authorities to quash the severe sentence and punishment of 1000 lashes for a charge of blasphemy, Saudi Arabian rights activist Raif Badawi was publicly flogged on Friday it is reported. This has been confirmed by Amnesty international from an eye-witness in Jeddah and from Mr Badawi’s wife.
Mr Badawi is a Saudi Arabian writer and activist and was the creator of the website “Free Saudi Liberals”
This is the first of 20 such public floggings that Mr Badawi will face after his conviction for insulting Islam through a forum/blog that his wife actually said he set up to merely examine and provide people the opportunity to discuss their Islamic faith. The forum was taken down by the Saudi authorities and Mr Badawi handed a sentence of 1000 lashes in 2014.
It is reported by an eye-witness that Mr Badawi raised his head towards the sky, closing his eyes and arched his back in preparation for his flogging and remained silent after it but it was obvious it was said through his face and his body that he was in pain. Mr Raif Badawi was “beaten by a officer on his back and legs, who counted the lashes until they reached 50” the witness states.
This flogging it is worth noting took plays only days after the Saudi Arabian government and authority announced their condemnation of the actions of the terrorists who last week killed staff at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
It is also worth mentioning that Amnesty International gravely concerned for Mr Badawi’s lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair a well known human rights lawyer in Saudi Arabia following his Mr Badawi’s arrest and conviction in 2012-4. Amnesty International is running a separate campaign for Waleed Abu al-Khair, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison last July. It is unfortunately expected that he could also face a similar sentence to Mr Badawi handed down as well as his prison term that he currently serving.
Cicero Lounge has today sent a letter to the Saudi Authorities immediately calling for his sentence to be either commuted immediately or nullified. Anyone wishing to contact the Saudi embassy and respectfully call for action to the following: Prime Minister Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, also Deputy Prime Minister Ministry of Defense HRH Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and His Excellency Adel A. Al-Jubeir was appointed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
After the FBI tying North Korea to a alleged cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, and its involvement for the film “The Interview” and following also it’s decision to withdraw its release this Christmas following continued further threats, President Barack Obama has vowed a US response but he also added that Sony had “made a mistake” in refusing to release a controversial satire depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
On Friday US authorities linked North Korea to the hack, which saw sensitive studio information publicly released.
The film centres around two journalists who’s intention is to kill the North Korean leader. Many cinemas made the decision not to show the film, following the cyber-attacks on Sony and some people are calling for it to be made released and made available on the internet. Sony withdrew the film following threats.
“We will respond,” Mr Obama said on Friday to reporters declining to be any more specific, “We will respond proportionately and in a space, time and manner that we choose…” adding “We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship in the United States.”
The US leader said it could have significant economic and social impacts if both public and private cyber-systems were under attack and therefore important to protect these systems. On the question of Sony’s potential self-censorship he said “Americans cannot change their patterns of behaviour due to the possibility of a terrorist attack,” he said. “That’s not who we are, that’s not what America is about.”
In the UK, Phillip Hammond the foreign secretary said he was “deeply concerned at the findings of the US investigation, which seems to provide further evidence of North Korea’s blatant disregard for international norms and obligations”.
The BBC website asks ‘ What is the FBI evidence?’
The U.S. Department of State has blocked the publication of a long-awaited documentary history of U.S. covert action in Iran in the 1950s out of concern that its release could adversely affect ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.
The controversial Iran history volume, part of the official Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, had been slated for release last summer. (“History of 1953 CIA Covert Action in Iran to be Published,” Secrecy News, April 16, 2014).
But senior State Department officials “decided to delay publication because of ongoing negotiations with Iran,” according to the minutes of a September 8, 2014 meeting of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation that were posted on the Department of State website this week.
Dr. Stephen P. Randolph, the Historian of the State Department, confirmed yesterday that the status of the Iran volume “remains as it was in September” and that no new publication date has been set. The subject was also discussed at an Advisory Committee meeting this week.
The suppression of this history has been a source of frustration for decades, at least since the Department published a notorious 1989 volume on U.S. policy towards Iran that made no mention of CIA covert action.
But the latest move is also an indirect affirmation of the enduring significance of the withheld records, which date back even further than the U.S. rupture with Cuba that is now on the mend.
Today a cross-party amendment opposing the Government’s proposed temporary exclusion orders (TEO) has been tabled. TEOs would effectively exile British citizens by revoking their passports when outside of the UK – and risk exposing them to torture or delivering them into the hands of terror factions.
The amendment, drafted by Liberty, would replace the TEO with a Notification & Managed Return Order. The NMRO would allow the Home Secretary to require airlines and other carriers to notify her of the return plans of those she suspected of terrorism abroad. The authorities could then use their existing powers against a suspect when they return to the UK. But, crucially, the Home Secretary would not have the power to revoke passports while they were outside of the country.
Changes to legislation concerning
rent arrear recovery through universal credit will claw 20% from non-housing increment of UC and could mean tenants seeking loans from loan sharks and the problem of mismanagement of remainder of their benefits and debt housing and social housing providers warned .
A tribute to one of the greatest men that the 20th Century witnessed who died almost a year ago.
For more information on his struggle against Apartheid and his unifying of South Africa visit http://www.nelsonmandela.org/
Ukraine’s President. Olexander Turchynov said the airbase at Kramatorsk had been “liberated” from “terrorists”. Gunfire had been heard hours before at an airbase which had been previously seized by militia. He had previously said that the Ukrainian Government would be introduce a gradually stage by stage a “anti-terrorist operation” against pro-Russian separatists.
Pro-Russian rebels have seized buildings in about 10 towns and cities across Ukraine’s eastern provinces, which form the heartland of Ukraine’s industry.
The security operations undertaken by the Kiev government have been received by Russia with alarm. As the events unfolding in the Ukraine, officials in Moscow are already fearing the worse – or rather looking at the worse case scenario as one official has said “Events are beginning to develop under the worst case scenario,”.
At present there is no accuracy to the number of casualties, and reports on social media appear conflicting, but obviously it is the perception of what is happening that matters.
Russia’s has got favour with Russian-speakers in the east, and many separatists have taken over buildings in several Ukrainian cities, the Ukrainian Government effectively
challenged for responding – and the fear is if that response will be seized upon by Moscow as a pretext for military action.
Thousands of Russian troops are reported to be deployed along the border, kindling fears that any crackdown on the rebels could trigger an invasion.
Russia has already annexed the Ukrainian Crimea last month, after it broke away and held a controversial referendum on self-determination
Criminal courts across England and Wales will be severely disrupted on Monday morning when barristers and solicitors stage an unprecedented mass walkout in protest at government plans to slash legal aid fees by up to 30%.
It is the first time barristers have withdrawn their labour, according to the Criminal Bar Association, and the first time the two wings of the legal profession have taken co-ordinated, national action.
Thousands of barristers and solicitors working on publicly funded cases are refusing to enter court for a half-day demonstration aimed at forcing the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, into a last-minute rethink of proposals designed to save £220m a year.
Lawyers have been careful to avoid describing the action as a strike because that would raise questions about contractual obligations to the Legal Aid Agency. But criminal barristers say the protest reflects mounting resentment over successive reductions in legal aid fees, which have already resulted in cuts of 40% for criminal cases since 1997.