#AceNewsServices – LONDON – October 14 – A British court on Monday dropped murder charges against a woman who killed her three severely disabled children after accepting manslaughter pleas.
Tania Clarence admitted killing 4-year-old Olivia, and 3-year-old twins Ben and Max, but pleaded diminished responsibility.
Clarence allegedly smothered them at the family’s London home in April, before attempting suicide.
Her husband Gary was in the couple’s native South Africa at the time.
The children all had type 2 spinal muscular atrophy, a condition which affects muscle strength.
Defence lawyer Jim Sturman said that for Clarence, “caring for three children with this condition was exhausting, distressing, debilitating and turned out to be overwhelming.”
Prosecutor Zoe Johnson told a hearing at London’s Central Criminal Court that Clarence “killed her three children because she wanted to end their suffering.”
Johnson said prosecutors accepted Clarence was depressed, which amounted to an “abnormality of mind.”
Clarence is due to be sentenced Nov. 14 and is likely to be sent to a psychiatric hospital.
#AceNewsServices – BRITAIN (London) – October 07 – A British court ruled on Tuesday that Bahraini Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who has been accused of torturing detainees in Bahrain, does not enjoy immunity from prosecution in Britain.
A Bahraini citizen, known only as FF, had sought the arrest of the son of Bahrain’s king following allegations that he was directly involved in the torture of three prisoners in Bahrain during a pro-democracy uprising in 2011.
FF, who says he himself was tortured, was granted refugee status and now lives in Britain. He was challenging a 2012 ruling by Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that the prince enjoys immunity from prosecution in Britain because of his royal status.
Prince Nasser is a regular visitor to England and has met members of the British royal family. FF had instructed a firm of London lawyers to write to the CPS asking for him to be arrested whilst on a visit to the UK.
After Tuesday’s High Court ruling, lawyers for FF said they would provide evidence against the prince to London’s Metropolitan Police Service.
The Bahraini government has previously issued a statement in which it “refutes in the strongest possible terms the factual basis for the underlying allegations which it maintains are unfounded, false and politically motivated.”
(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Stephen Addison)
#AceNewsServices – BRITAIN – October 05 – A British nuclear weapons maker has been issued official warnings by two state watchdogs for flouting safety regulations regarding the disposal of hazardous radioactive material.
A private firm that runs Trident nuclear facilities for Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been heavily criticized by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA) for inadequate management of hazardous waste.
The consortium in question, known as the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), produces nuclear weapons for the MoD and has bases at Aldermaston and Berkshire.
Following its failure to ensure key staff positions were filled in order to monitor vital waste disposal practices, the AWE was sent an official warning by the Environment Agency, the Guardian revealed on Friday.
The compliance issue was detected by the EA following a site audit. The vacant positions included specially appointed waste officials, radioactive specialists, and a top executive responsible for environmental issues.
The AWE claimed security procedures, which entail intensive vetting of potential employees, created delays in their recruitment processes. But the EA argues the AWE has contravened regulations implemented in 2012 to ensure an adequate amount of skilled employees are available to oversee the safe disposal of radioactive waste.
“Operators are expected to comply with their permit conditions at all times,” an EA spokesman told RT on Friday. “Following a site audit we found that AWE Aldermaston was not fully complying with all their permit conditions.”
Following the EA’s warning, however, the AWE insisted its staffing arrangement is constantly reviewed, and its radioactive waste disposal methods are “robust.”
“At the time of the EA inspection candidates were identified to fill the posts, but the security requirements have led to recruitment delays. In the interim, existing staff are covering the roles,” the firm told the Guardian.
The AWE has also come under fire from the government-funded Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) over an ongoing failure to meet the body’s basic requirements.
In 2007, the firm pledged to repackage and downsize its waste by 2014, but failed to honor its commitment. As a result, the ONR is currently considering legal action against the AWE, particularly with respect to the company’s failure to make 1,000 containers of radioactive waste safe.
“ONR is continuing to investigate AWE’s failure to meet the requirements of the license instrument, in accordance with our normal processes,” an ONR spokesman told the Guardian. He added that the ONR will “consider enforcement action in accordance with our enforcement policy when all investigations are completed.”
Reflecting on the threat of legal action, the AWE said it was working with the ONR to solve the matter.
But the company, responsible for the production of military wares regularly utilized by the MoD, stressed that the ONR was content with its waste storage practices in the short term.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s (CND) general secretary, Kate Hudson, described the AWE’s breeches of safety obligations as “outrageous.”
“Not filling key posts which are essential to ensure hazardous waste is dealt with properly is unacceptable,” she told RT on Friday.
#AceWorldNews – BANGLADESH – September 29 – Bangladeshi authorities have arrested a 24-year-old British citizen on suspicion of recruiting people to fight alongside ISIS militants in Syria, Reuters reported.
Samiun Rahman, a resident of London, arrived in Bangladesh in February to recruit for both ISIS and the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front, the Detective and Criminal Intelligence Division (DCID) said.
Rahman reportedly had plans to recruit and send a team from Bangladesh to fight in Syria.
Two years ago, on behalf of Finnwatch, he undertook an investigation into Natural Fruit, part of NatGroup, a Thai company that processes pineapples and supplies retailers around the world. Finnwatch’s final report paints a picture suggesting modern slavery:
“…passports and work permits confiscated; compulsory and excessive overtime; fines and unclear deductions from wages; debt bondage and violence by guards and superiors.”
Instead of focusing on addressing these serious allegations, Natural Fruit decided to try and silence Andy with lawsuits. They have pursued civil and criminal charges and now Andy could face a prison sentence and $10 million in legal damages for his investigations.
Are you as outraged? Now is your chance to join the call for justice.
Now is a crucial time in Andy’s prosecution. Andy’s trial has just started. Although Natural Fruit’s behaviour is deeply disturbing it proves that the company cares about its public image.
By coming together over the next few days, with activists all around the world that are standing in solidarity with Andy, we can show Natural Fruit’s senior management what we think about these excessive and intimidating charges.
If this case proceeds and Natural Fruit are successful this would not only be a grave miscarriage of justice for Andy. This process could set a dangerous precedent for other companies in Thailand that might take a similar approach when allegations are raised of modern slavery in their supply chains.
This threatens the work of anti-slavery campaigners but also workers in Thailand who might be too afraid to come forward and report abuse.
Please join the growing global outcry over his prosecution and fight for the rights of anti-slavery campaigners and their efforts to end worker exploitation.
The Walk Free Team
#AceNewsServices (Opinion) – BRITAIN – September 18
A MAJOR issue being debated in Britain today concerns the Muslims – men and women. It is what is termed the radicalisation of their youth.
Concerns were sparked off by the Islamic State (formerly Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) when its militants beheaded James Foley, an American journalist covering the war in Syria, and circulated a video of the bestial act. Even before this incident grabbed the headlines, media reports had been suggesting that authorities in London believed that as many as 500 Muslim men with British nationality had left the UK to join the IS ‘jihad’.
The last straw came when Foley’s killer was identified from his speech and accent as British. Writing for The Sunday Times, the foreign secretary summed up the widely felt sentiments: “It is horrifying to think that the perpetrator of this heinous act could have been brought up in Britain.”
Since then the police have been empowered to seize the passports of people if need be. The move has come too late in the day and two more hostages have been murdered since and one more is under threat.
Many young Muslims draw inspiration from websites with extremist content.
One had hardly got over the shock when came another bombshell. A couple having Pakistani roots made public their dismay at their daughter’s decision to leave home to join IS jihadis. In a statement released to the Glasgow press, they described her as a “bedroom radical” and termed her action as a betrayal of her family, her community and the people of Scotland. It would be upsetting for them as many migrate from Pakistan to give their children a better future, so bleak has life become for the youth in our own country.
Against the backdrop of these horrifying events is the fact that a number of young Muslims are drawing inspiration from websites notorious for their extremist content. At the same time, there have been reports in Britain as also other Western countries of an increase in racism and hate crimes against Muslims in the wake of 9/11. Publications such as Maybe we are hated: The experience and impact of anti-Muslim hate on British Muslim women by the University of Birmingham are cited in support of the claim that Muslims are being victimised for their beliefs.
What can one say about this perversity that is creeping into a section of the Muslim youth? It can under no condition be condoned even if this is viewed as a reaction to the perceived injustice to Muslims. Two wrongs do not make a right.
No Pakistani I met in Scotland justifies it. How the immigrants explain this extremism would depend on who you are talking to. Many who complain of personal experiences of racial discrimination might be immigrants who remain on the fringe of local society. Living in ghettoised conditions, many Pakistani women do not even want to socialise with people not from their own community. They shop for groceries at South Asian stores and thus manage to avoid interaction on a regular basis with the majority.
There are others — mainly employed professionals — who interact with the indigenous population who may have a different story to tell.
The problem is that the absence of awareness and knowledge of ‘the other’ leads to fear, alienation and prejudice. When people from different communities living together are inclusive in their approach and accept one another’s way of life, chances are there will be more harmony among them.
Much of the alienation in children comes from the identity crisis that is created. In order to preserve their identity as ‘good Muslims’ (even of the moderate kind) children are often indoctrinated in such a way that the message is that theirs is a superior faith. By implication other religions are berated. Many of these children whose parents are migrants fail to adjust in the society they grow up in because of the dichotomy between their home environment and outside surroundings. This makes them vulnerable to the influence of extremists scouting for recruits.
But the fact is that most Muslim youth do not end up as jihadis. The problem needs to be contextualised and rational analysis can help identify the factors that make some more vulnerable than others.
The key to promoting interfaith, inter-cultural harmony is how ‘the other’ is projected and interpreted, especially to young children. A social worker giving the leftist perspective pointed out that integration of communities is a mutual process that is hindered by the universal rise of racism in the West that puts immigrants on the defensive. The media is not helpful either given its penchant for sensationalism.
The real problem, she feels, is the crisis the youth face worldwide due to the vacuum created by societies. The vulnerable ones turn to violence. For Muslims it is ‘jihad’. Global conflict spurs them on.
Don’t we see that in Pakistan as well?
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2014
Sterling fell by about 1.3% against the US dollar to a ten-month low of $1.61.
Shares in some firms with Scottish links have also fallen.
The SNP has dismissed a promise by the Chancellor to unveil a timetable for further devolution if voters reject independence as a last-minute “bribe”.
George Osborne had said on Sunday that a “plan of action” would be set out in the next few days to give “more powers to Scotland; more tax powers, more spending powers, more powers over the welfare state”.
BBC Scotland’s political correspondent Glenn Campbell has reported that a new body will also be set up to hammer out more powers for Holyrood if there is a “No” vote on 18 September.
It came in the wake of a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times over the weekend which was the first mainstream study to put the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign narrowly ahead
#AceWorldNews – BRITAIN (London) – September 01 – Muslim leaders have issued a fatwa condemning Islamic extremist group Isis, and have said that British jihadis are “betraying their own societies” by getting involved in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
’ ISIS Jihadists Rip-Up Passports ‘
The fatwa represents the British Muslim community’s strongest denunciation of Isis yet, calling the extremist group “heretical” and “an oppressive and tyrannical group.”
According to The Sunday Times, the fatwa, authored by Sheik Usama Hasan, a former imam from east London, and supported by six senior Islamic scholars across the country, says it is “religiously prohibited (haram) to support or join” Isis.
Though Muslims have a “moral obligation” to help the Syrian and Iraqi people, they must do so “without betraying their own societies,” the fatwa states.
Baroness Warsi, former Foreign Office minister: “These are substantial figures and I welcome this announcement. The Islamic State is neither a state nor Islamic. I echo the words of these religious leaders.”
#AceWorldNews – HONG KONG (Beijing) – July 02 – Police have reportedly arrested 511 people holding a sit-in a day after tens of thousands in Hong Kong joined a massive march to push for Democracy.
Beijing warned recently it holds the ultimate authority over the former British colony, although a mini-constitution gives the city a high degree of autonomy until 2047, AP said.
Police said 511 people were arrested Wednesday for unlawful assembly and preventing police from carrying out their duties.
About 98,600 people joined Tuesday’s rally at its peak, police said, while organizers insist 510,000 turned out, the highest estimates in a decade.
AP – Reuters – RT – AFP – Hong Kong News
#AceWorldNews – BRITAIN – June 28 – Fracking should be allowed to take place in national parks because its visual intrusion is minimal and the environmental risks have been “exaggerated,” according to the outgoing chairman of the UK’s Environment Agency.
Chris Smith, also known as Lord Smith of Finsbury, told the Times http://tinyurl.com/lomtzwx that if hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – is properly regulated, then it could be safe and “useful” in minimizing the UK’s reliance on climate polluting coal-fired power stations and imported gas.
Smith is scheduled to step down from his post next month.
The controversial process of extracting gas trapped in rocks deep underground has been criticized by environmental campaigners and local residents who don’t want to see the British countryside ruined by fracking, as its impact on the environment and human health is still not completely understood.
#AceWorldNews – BRITAIN (London) – President Obama isn’t scheduled to meet with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin this week in Europe, but two U.S. allies are.
Russia has coordinated a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and UK Prime Minister David Cameron in Normandy, France, the presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
The office of British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he will meet with Putin this week after they attend events in Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings Friday.
Cameron’s 10 Downing St. office said talks between the British and Russian leaders are a chance to “to set out the importance of a dialogue between the Russian government and the new Ukrainian government.”
Obama will attend the D-Day anniversary event but doesn’t have Putin on his schedule.
#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON/LONDON – May 22 – US and British citizens in the southern Iraqi province of Basra may be at risk of kidnapping by militant groups, the US Embassy and British officials told Reuters
“Militant groups may be keeping US citizens under surveillance for possible kidnapping operations, particularly oil company employees working in Basra province,” the embassy said in a statement late on Wednesday.
“The groups may be focused on US citizens at hotels in the Basra area.” The British Foreign Office said on Thursday the US warning applied equally to its own citizens, particularly oil company employees working in Basra province.
#AceNewsServices – LONDON – April 16 – British army commanders were partly to blame for the inadequate defences and complacency that allowed the Taliban to attack a base in Afghanistan, killing two US marines, a parliamentary committee said on Wednesday.
The September 2012 attack on Camp Bastion in Helmand province saw 15 heavily-armed Taliban fighters dressed in US army uniforms cut the perimeter wire before destroying six US harrier jets and damaging many other aircraft and vehicles.
The committee said the perimeter security measures in place at the time of the attack were inadequate, with less than half of the camp’s 24 guard-towers manned that night.
“Insufficient attention was given to the fundamental requirement of defending Camp Bastion from external assault. We believe that this was complacent,” the Defence Committee, which scrutinises government defence policy and expenditure, said in a report. “Given that the attack took place in the British sector of the camp, British commanders must bear a degree of responsibility for these systemic failures and associated reputational damage.”
Two US generals were forced to retire following a US review of the attack last year.
The committee said it was concerned that there had been a number of breaches of the perimeter fence in the two years before the attack, and that a tolerance of poppy cultivation immediately outside the fence had increased the risk of surveillance and intelligence gathering by Afghan nationals.
While it was satisfied that the camp’s vulnerabilities had now been addressed, the committee asked the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to explain how it intended to use lessons identified from the attack for future operations.
#AceSecurityNews – LONDON – March 27 – British secret services threatened to shut down the Guardian newspaper as it was publishing its exposé of US massive surveillance based on Edward Snowden leaks.
The story was the most difficult piece of reporting the paper has ever done.
“We were threatened that we would be closed down. We were accused of endangering national security and people’s lives. It left us in a very difficult position,” Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson told the Radiodays http://www.radiodayseurope.com/highlight/guardian%C2%B4s-inside-story-snowden-case Europe conference in Dublin.
A senior civil servant had told the paper’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, that the “prime minister, the deputy prime minister, the foreign secretary, the home secretary and the attorney general have got a problem with you,” Johnson said, as cited by the Irish Times.
The attitude of the British authorities was a sharp contrast to that of the Americans, he said.
In the US Snowden leaks led to a nationwide debate on surveillance and privacy while in the UK the authorities just assumed that national security trumps press freedom.
Read More: Press Freedom – RT News – http://on.rt.com/tyy7u1
#AceWorldNews – DONETSK – March 25 – Ukrainians in the eastern city of Donetsk have voted in an on-line spoof referendum to secede from Ukraine and join the UK.
Residents wrote that their home-town was founded by a Briton, so the UK should seize this “decisive moment” and take them in.
“Donetsk is a British city! God Save the Queen,” they wrote on social networks in an appeal to “reunite” their home-town with Britain, local media reported.
The mock appeal follows the March 16 Crimean referendum that resulted in Crimea seceding Ukraine and joining Russia.
The link with Britain comes from the first ironworks in Donetsk, which were founded by a Welshman, John Hughes, at the end in the 19th century. The town was subsequently named Yuzovka, or Hughesovka.
“Glory to John Hughes and his town!”
“We are demanding a referendum on returning Yuzovka to its original bosom — Great Britain!” the appeal said.
It asked “fellow Britons” to seize this “decisive moment” while urging residents to vote on “where your children will live and what language they will speak.”
UK Local and Ukraine Media
#AceEnvironmentNews – BRITAIN – March 25 – A report on fracking has warned it is “likely” that planned wells may leak and damage the surrounding environment in the UK. Scientists also noted there was not enough information in the public sphere to accurately predict the effects of mass fracking.
The research by Durham University draws attention to a number of concerns with the British government’s plans to expand the exploitation of shale gas across the UK.
Fracking is a technique used to extract shale gas trapped deep underground. In order to release the gas, chemicals are blasted at high pressure into fissures in the rock.
The practice was discontinued in the UK back in 2011 after a number of small earthquakes close to the northern city of Blackpool were found to be linked to fracking.
The British government is now championing fracking as an answer to rising gas and energy prices, but researchers have urged caution, citing previous cases when mass exploitation has resulted in pollution.
“It is likely that well barrier failure will occur in a small number of wells and this could in some instances lead to some form of environmental contamination,” warned the study, which was published in the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology.
UK Local News and Media Sources – Extract – Plans to expand shale gas “fracking” in the UK must learn from leaks and poor monitoring at existing onshore oil and gas sites, scientists say.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26692050
#AceWorldNews – British troops would participate in military drills in Ukraine in July, the British newspaper Guardian said on Thursday.
The personnel would be part of a group of about 1,300 troops, mostly American, to participate in the Rapid Trident 2014 exercise, the newspaper said.
Rapid Trident 2014 is to “promote regional stability and security, strengthen partnership capacity and foster trust while improving interoperability between the land forces of Ukraine, and NATO and partner nations,” according to the US forces in Europe website.
In addition to US and UK troops, Rapid Trident 2014 will include units from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.
#AceWorldNews a British terror convict has told a New York trial he met Osama Bin Laden up to 50 times, AFP reported. Saajid Badat, who was sentenced in 2005 to 13 years in jail as a co-conspirator in the notorious shoe bombing plot in December 2001, also said he was recruited by Al-Qaeda to blow up a passenger jet.
He was released early from prison in Britain, where authorities have given him accommodation and financial help.
He gave evidence from an undisclosed location on Monday because he faces arrest in the US.
Previous Post – 10 March – 12.20 – http://wp.me/p165ui-4c0
#AceWorldNews says that British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that Russia is entitled to have troops and naval forces at its bases in the Crimea during his visit to Ukraine.
He also said that the crisis in Ukraine is “the biggest crisis in Europe in the 21 century.”
Hague said that Russia now had operational control of Ukraine’s Crimea region and that while Russia had the legal right to base troops in the region, the Kremlin should order them to return to their barracks.
He also urged Ukraine and Russia to hold talks.
“Clearly we are very concerned about any possibly of a further move by Russia in other parts of Ukraine but that does not mean the position in the Crimea is stable,” Hague told the BBC in an interview.
Voice of Russia, BBC