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Police arrest London Bridge attack suspect as May hints at limiting suspects’ rights

Police have made a fresh arrest tied to last week's attack in central London. With security in the spotlight ahead of elections, the UK's prime minister has proposed undermining human rights to improve public safety. Police on Wednesday arrested a 30-year-old man in the east London suburb of Ilford in connection to a deadly terror attack that left seven people dead and dozens more wounded in central London on Saturday. In a statement, authorities said the suspect was arrested on "suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorist acts." "Detectives investigating the London Bridge terror attack have carried out a search warrant at an address in east London in the early hours of Wednesday," police said. Read more: Banishing the 'extremist' image: A crucial task for British-Pakistanis The announcement comes as police have been pressed to explain their handling of suspected attacker Khuram B., who was known to authorities prior to Saturday's attack and appeared in the 2016 television documentary "The Jihadis Next Door." 'No intelligence to suggest attack' Although Khuram B. was known to authorities, police on Monday said, "There was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation had been prioritized accordingly." Earlier this week, authorities identified the assailants of the attack as 27-year-old Pakistan-born British citizen Khuram B., 30-year-old Libyan-Moroccan national Rachid R. and 22-year-old Italian-Moroccan Youssef Z. The self-styled "Islamic State" (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday. However, authorities have yet to announce whether the attack was coordinated by the militant group's operatives in Iraq or Syria, or by a UK-based cell. A spate of terror attacks on British soil has moved security into the spotlight ahead of key parliamentary elections slated for Thursday. British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday announced that she is willing to weaken fundamental rights in order to make it easier for authorities to detain suspected militants even when authorities did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute them. "If our human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change the laws so we can do it," May said at an election rally. Read more: UK's 'Big Brother' anti-terror strategy is flawed, UN expert says Human rights organizations lashed out at May's proposal, saying it was "reckless and misinformed." Amnesty International said it "will not stand by silently when threats are made to 'rip up human rights laws.' Human rights are there to protect all in society - that is just pure common sense." May also proposed to extend the length of time authorities could detain suspects without charge from 14 days to 28 days, according to an interview published by the British newspaper The Sun. Security is a hot election topic In response to May's tough proposals, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said, "We will always keep the law under review, but don't believe would-be terrorists and suicide bombers will be deterred by longer sentences or restricting our rights at home." He also pledged to hire more police officers. The issue of security would appear to have closed the one-time large gap between the Conservatives and the Labour party. According to a poll published Tuesday by the group Survation, May's previous 20-point lead over Labour has withered to barely more than a single point - 41.6 percent to 40.4 percent. Most other polls, however, log a more comfortable lead between 5 and 10 percent. Editor's note: In a bid to limit their exposure, Deutsche Welle has decided to withhold terror suspects' names and obscure their faces.

Police have made a fresh arrest tied to last week’s attack in central London. With security in the spotlight ahead of elections, the UK’s prime minister has proposed undermining human rights to improve public safety. Police on Wednesday arrested a 30-year-old man in the east London suburb of Ilford in connection to a deadly terror attack that left seven people ... Read More »

British people ‘will not want to carry on as before’

The latest attack in London comes only days ahead of one of Britain's most crucial general elections in decades. DW asked political scientist Anthony Glees what bearing it might have. DW: Major political parties have, at least temporarily, suspended the election campaign. Is it possible to assess the political consequences of the attack's coming so shortly before the parliamentary elections? Anthony Glees: I think it is possible to asses the consequences. For one thing we've got a Labour Party led by somebody who believes that you can talk to terrorists and bring them to the conference table. The Islamists are clearly not people who want to talk to anybody at a conference table. They want to explode the conference table. We've also got a Conservative prime minister who, when she was in the Home Office, abolished one of the few measures that could have protected people in Britain from this kind of terrorism: namely, control orders. I think it's inevitable that, in the next few days of the election campaign, people will look to the security record of Jeremy Corbyn, who's also said he's opposed to a shoot-to-kill policy. I don't think you'd find anyone in London this morning that was not grateful that police shot these people to kill them within eight minutes of being called out. Jeremy Corbyn has also made a big deal out of his relationship with the IRA and with other groups, like Fatah and Hamas, that many people consider to be terrorists However, there will also be questions about Theresa May's judgment because her past has also been, by no means, uncheckered. As home secretary, May was responsible for budget cuts to the police. On the other hand, citizens often trust the Conservatives more than the left. What will sway them more come election day? It's a very good question because the positions have actually been outlined. And, in the aftermath of the Manchester bombing almost a fortnight ago, people did know very clearly what the two sides of the arguments were. Jeremy Corbyn, who looking at the issue globally, said that what's significant is that Britain should not intervene in foreign wars - that we should talk peace to the world rather than intervening, and that there is a kind of link, an unspecified link, between Islamist terrorism and the sort of foreign policy that Britain has had in the past. Then, there's Theresa May, who's been saying we need more of the same but nothing too dramatic. These are arguments that we've already been thinking about against the background of the terrorist attack in Manchester, and what's happened is that Jeremy Corbyn has been doing well. Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are increasing their popular support. Theresa May is losing popular support. My feeling is that, at the end of the day on Thursday, it will rebound in favor of Theresa May, and that is because - even if she has made mistakes and even if the Conservatives have made mistakes - the ideology of the Conservative Party on security has been clear and strong and firm, whereas the ideology of Labour under Corbyn has been decidedly pacifist and weak. I don't think that will play well on Thursday, when people are actually at the ballot box. After every attack, we see police being deployed and foreign leaders expressing their solidarity. However, nothing seems to be changing. Are politicians powerless on this issue? I don't think they're powerless. I think there are things that they can do that they've been reluctant to do, but Theresa May just a few minutes ago (on Sunday morning) spoke about the need to tighten up substantially things like powers of arrest, the powers of detention and the powers of exclusion from the United Kingdom. The doubling of the number of people in MI5, Britain's security service, is also very important. They tell us that there are 23,000 people in the United Kingdom who want to do us harm. We can't fight these people - let alone defeat them - with the same number of people in our security service as we had when we were talking about hundreds, or a few thousand. We still have no information about the organizers of the attack, but there is an assumption that we are dealing with terrorism by Islamists. The UK seems to be targeted relatively often. Is there a specific reason for this? I think the reason is that we have been weakened as a country by a number of things: by successive elections, the Scottish referendum, the general election, the Brexit referendum and now this general election. We're a very divided, very uncertain country, and we look vulnerable. Islamists are like the big beasts in the jungle: They go for those they perceive as being weak, and that is the position that Britain is in right now. Without doubt, the Brexit issue has weakened Britain because nobody knows what Brexit means or how it will play out. Nobody knows - not even those who supported it have come up with any clear idea. There are historical reasons, as well, such as the invasion of Iraq - not that that was an attack on Islamism, of course: It was an attack on Saddam Hussein and his purported weapons of mass destruction. So far, people in Britain have shown restraint in their response. Are you seeing any risk of that changing in the future? I think the British people will demand the gloves come off now. I think there will be more control orders, there'll be more exclusion, there'll be more MI5 officers, there may be other measures, as well. I think the British people will not want to carry on as before.

The latest attack in London comes only days ahead of one of Britain’s most crucial general elections in decades. DW asked political scientist Anthony Glees what bearing it might have. DW: Major political parties have, at least temporarily, suspended the election campaign. Is it possible to assess the political consequences of the attack’s coming so shortly before the parliamentary elections? ... Read More »

Police arrest 12 in connection with London terror attack

At least seven people have been killed in London after a vehicle attack on London Bridge followed by a stabbing spree. Twelve people have been arrested in connection with the attack. Three knife-wielding attackers in a van plowed into pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday evening before going on a stabbing spree in nearby streets and bars in what authorities described as a new trend in militant Islamist terrorism. Seven people died and dozens of others were injured in the attacks on the bridge and in the nearby busy Borough Market area before police shot dead the three men, who were wearing what looked like explosive vests that later turned out to be fakes. Police managed to kill the attackers within eight minutes of receiving first emergency calls. Twelve people were arrested in counterterrorism raids in the Barking area of east London, police said on Sunday. "The investigation into last night's horrific attack in London is progressing rapidly as the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) continue to piece together exactly what occurred," police said in a statement, adding that "a number of addresses" in Barking continue to be searched. Read here how events unfolded The London Ambulance Service said 48 people had been transported to five hospitals across the British capital. A London Transport Police officer armed only with a baton when he confronted the attackers was among those seriously injured with face, leg and head stab wounds. German officials confirmed on Sunday that two Germans were hurt in the attack, including one person who was severely injured. A Canadian was killed in the attack and a Spanish citizen, one Australian and four French people were also among the wounded. At the time of the attacks - around 10:00 p.m. local time (2100 UTC) - streets around London Bridge and Borough Market were crowded with people enjoying a Saturday night out in the district's fashionable bars and restaurants. British broadcaster BBC radio said witnesses described people throwing tables and chairs at the attackers to protect themselves. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, which come days ahead of a June 8 national election, and less than two weeks after 22 people were killed in a suicide attack in the northern city of Manchester while attending a concert by US pop singer Ariana Grande. Saturday's attacks bore similarities to one in March on Westminster Bridge in London, in which a man plowed into a crowd of pedestrians, killing five, and then stabbed a police officer to death in the grounds of parliament before being shot dead. Read: Ariana Grande visits Manchester bombing victims Crisis meeting Following a meeting of the government's COBRA emergency committee on Sunday, British Prime Minister Theresa May made a statement in which she called for increased unity in face of the terrorist threat. "We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are," May said, calling for more international control of the internet to take away terrorists' "safe spaces" to spread their ideology and gain recruits. She added that in the real world "there is - to be frank - far too much tolerance of extremism in our country." May said Saturday's attacks were not connected to the Manchester and Westminster attacks in planning, but they were inspired by a "single, evil ideology of Islamist extremism" that perverted Islam as irreconcilable with Western values of tolerance and democracy. "We believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face as terrorism breeds terrorism," she said. "Perpetrators are inspired to attack not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots ... and not even as lone attackers radicalized online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack." She concluded her comments by saying: "United we will take on and defeat our enemies." Both the ruling Conservative Party and the Labour Party said on Sunday they would suspend their national campaigning for the upcoming election for a day. However, the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) said it would continue with its campaign, with leader Paul Nuttall saying that a suspension of campaigning was "precisely what the extremists would want us to do." British police have asked for people with photos or videos of the incidents to hand them to authorities so they can be used as possible evidence. International condemnation World leaders were quick to condemn the attacks. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement that her thoughts were with victims and their families and that Germany "stood firmly and resolutely at Great Britain's side against every form of terrorism." US President Donald Trump offered US assistance to Britain but also used the incident as an opportunity to call for his ban on travelers to the US from several Muslim countries - which he sees as a security measure - to go into force. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter that "France is standing more than ever side by side with the UK." France itself is still under a state of emergency after a string of Islamic extremist attacks. London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on British citizens not to be cowed by the attacks and to vote on Thursday, as "one of the things these terrorists hate is voting; they hate democracy."

At least seven people have been killed in London after a vehicle attack on London Bridge followed by a stabbing spree. Twelve people have been arrested in connection with the attack. Three knife-wielding attackers in a van plowed into pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday evening before going on a stabbing spree in nearby streets and bars in what authorities ... Read More »

+++ London terror attacks – live updates +++

لندن حملے میں ملوث ہونے کے شُبے میں بارہ افراد کو گرفتار کر لیا گیا ہے۔ برطانوی وزیراعظم نے ان حملوں کی شدید مذمت کرتے ہوئے کہا ہے کہ ’اب بہت ہو گیا‘ اور سخت اقدامات اٹھانے کی ضرورت ہے۔ برطانوی وزیراعظم ٹریزا مے نے اتوار کے روز مسلمان انتہا پسندوں کو سخت جواب دینے کا کہا ہے۔ ٹیلی وژن پر خطاب کرتے ہوئے ان کا کہنا تھا کہ اب یہ کہنے کا وقت آ گیا ہے کہ ’بہت ہو چکا۔‘‘ مے کا کہنا تھا، ’’اب چیزوں کو مزید ایسے نہیں چلنے دیا جا سکتا، جیسے یہ چل رہی ہیں۔‘‘ انہوں نے کہا کہ انسداد دہشت گردی پالیسی کو مزید سخت بنایا جائے گا، جس میں جیل کی طویل سزائیں اور انٹرنیٹ سے متعلق نئے قواعد و ضوابط شامل ہیں۔ گزشتہ رات لندن برج پر تین حملہ آوروں میں سے ایک حملہ آور نے لوگوں پر وین چڑھا دی تھی اور بعدازاں وہاں موجود لوگوں کو چاقوؤں سے وار کرتے ہوئے زخمی کرنے کا سلسلہ شروع کر دیا گیا تھا۔ ان حملوں میں مجموعی طور پر سات افراد ہلاک جبکہ اڑتالیس زخمی ہوئے تھے۔ برطانیہ کی قومی ہیلتھ سروس کے مطابق زخمیوں میں سے اکیس کی حالت انتہائی تشویش ناک ہے۔ اس کا مطلب یہ بھی ہے کہ ہلاکتوں کی تعداد میں اضافہ ہو سکتا ہے۔ مرکزی لندن میں پیش آنے والے ان واقعات میں ملوث تینوں حملہ آوروں کو پولیس نے گولیاں مار کر ہلاک کر دیا تھا۔ برطانوی انسداد دہشت گردی پولیس کی جانب سے جاری ہونے والے بیان میں کہا گیا ہے کہ تین حملہ آوروں کو ہلاک کرنے کے لیے پولیس کی جانب سے غیرمعمولی تعداد میں گولیاں فائر کی گئی تھیں۔ پولیس کو شک تھا کہ حملہ آور خودکش جیکٹیں پہنے ہوئے ہیں لیکن یہ شک غلط ثابت ہوا۔ بتایا گیا ہے کہ آٹھ پولیس اہلکاروں نے پچاس راؤنڈز فائر کیے۔ دریں اثناء لندن حملے میں ملوث ہونے کے شبے میں برطانوی پولیس نے بارہ مشتبہ افراد کو گرفتار کر لیا ہے۔ بتایا گیا ہے کہ آج بروز اتوار یہ گرفتاریاں لندن کے مشرقی علاقے سے کی گئی ہیں۔ برطانوی پولیس نے شبہ ظاہر کیا ہے کہ یہ مسلم انتہا پسندوں کی کارروائی ہو سکتی ہے۔ برطانیہ میں یہ حملے ایک ایسے وقت میں ہوئے ہیں، جب پانچ دن بعد وہاں پارلیمانی انتخابات کا انعقاد ہونے والا ہے۔ گزشتہ تین ماہ سے بھی کم وقت میں برطانیہ کو تیسری مرتبہ نشانہ بنایا گیا ہے۔

Police say at least six people have died and dozens of others have been injured in an attack on London Bridge and in Borough Market. Three attackers in a van mowed down pedestrians before starting a stabbing spree. What we know so far: Police launched a massive response on Saturday night after a white van reportedly swerved off the road ... Read More »

After London attack, eyewitnesses reflect on grisly scenes

UK officials are investigating a deadly attack near the Houses of Parliament. Some of those who witnessed the events spoke with DW's Abigail Frymann Rouch in London. Eyewitnesses spoke of the moment they saw the human carnage left in the wake of Wednesday afternoon's attack on Westminster Bridge. Read DW's live updates on the London attacks here. A young man - who declined to give his name - had been on a bus approaching Westminster Bridge just after the attack. The driver asked all passengers to disembark at St. Thomas's Hospital. Talking over the sound of sirens, he told DW: "I walked off the bus and saw someone laid down by the side with tourist guidebooks around them." "As I walked along I saw more bodies on the ground, and people holding each other. I saw about 12 on the ground, laid out, and the next guy's leg is all broken and to the side," he said. A woman from Manchester, who also asked to remain anonymous, was in London with friends when she saw the grisly incident unfold. "I was on the bridge. I saw the car mow down a lot of people. I saw some people lying flat on the floor, and the police got there really quickly, and the ambulance did. One guy was dead." Visibly shaken, she said: "I never wish to see anything like that again. Ever." Terrorist incident 'not a surprise' Police quickly cordoned off a wide area around the Houses of Parliament and closed Westminster Bridge and Westminster Underground Station. The civil service offices of Whitehall were placed on lockdown, and helicopters circled overhead while ambulances and police vans screeched past. Curious tourists and schoolchildren approached the police cordon, eager to see what was happening. The United Kingdom has been on a terror alert since the July 2005 attacks, in which a swift succession of three suicide bombings killed 52 people and injured hundreds on the London Underground. For Sam and Osmond, both 17, this was one reason why the attack wasn't a surprise. But they did wonder why the attacker chose such a well-patrolled area of the capital. "This is the safest place you could be, when there's loads of police around," said Osmond. If they were to do [an attack] on the train, I'd be really petrified. Here, it's a really stupid place to do it," Osmond said. A mix of emotions Around 5 p.m., workers began streaming out across St James's Park, trying to work out how to get home in spite of various station closures and discussing the disruption to their day. Civil servants are not permitted to speak to the press, but one woman who worked at the Foreign Office and declined to give her name told DW that she hadn't initially known what was going on, and the sound of helicopters was not unusual in Westminster. "I had a lot of work to do. Then I got all these messages from my children asking if I was okay. It was only when I saw a tweet that I realized something was going on. We had to stay in the building, but we were pretty chilled." Caleb, a college student from Exeter on a daytrip to London, said that as a photographer, he came to see if he could get some good shots. His friend, Izzy, was more shaken. "It's a bit scary; you never know when it's going to happen." Would Izzy visit the Houses of Parliament if they're open tomorrow? "No!" she said firmly. "It's just life. You can't not go places," Maureen, an American tourist, told DW. She was texting friends and family back home to reassure them of her safety, but she was emphatic that the incident would not impact her plans. Only the policed cordons and the roar of the helicopters told of the day's horror as the sun set on the swans and daffodils of St James's Park. For those who didn't witness the horror first-hand, years of being on high alert left them grateful to be safe. On Wednesday evening, their first concern was how to get home - and then, to watch the news to better understand the full extent of what just happened.

UK officials are investigating a deadly attack near the Houses of Parliament. Some of those who witnessed the events spoke with DW’s Abigail Frymann Rouch in London. Eyewitnesses spoke of the moment they saw the human carnage left in the wake of Wednesday afternoon’s attack on Westminster Bridge. Read DW’s live updates on the London attacks here. A young man ... Read More »

PM May: London attack suspect was British-born, known to UK’s MI5 intelligence service

In an address to parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May has said that the London attack suspect was British-born and had been investigated by security forces. May added that one of the injured was a German national. The assailant who carried out a deadly attack outside parliament on Wednesday as born in Great Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons Thursday. "What I can confirm is that the man was British-born and that some years ago he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism," she told lawmakers. "He was a peripheral figure," May said, adding that "he was not part of the current intelligence picture." The Prime Minister added that there had been no prior intelligence of his plot to carry out an attack on the Westminster Bridge and parliament. British parliament reopened on Thursday, one day after the deadly attack that took place outside the Palace of Westminster. MPs and police observed a sombre minute of silence to remember the victims. Arrests made in police raids Prime Minister May also confirmed that police carried out raids in Birmingham and London as part of the investigation into the attack, arresting a total of eight people. Earlier on Thursday, Mark Rowley, Britain's top anti-terrorism officer, added that authorities believe the attacker "acted alone" and was "inspired by international terrorism." Police have said they know the identity of the attacker but have not yet named him as investigations into his "motivation and associates" are ongoing. The senior counter-terrorism officer added that police have "no specific information about further threats to the public." Rowley also revised the death toll, saying that four people are dead - including the attacker - and that 29 people are currently being treated in hospital for their injuries. Seven of those wounded are in critical condition. British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told BBC Radio that the police have a "working assumption" that the attack is "linked to Islamic terrorism." A knife-wielding man plowed a car into a crowd of pedestrianson London's Westminster Bridge and stabbed a policeman outside the British Parliament on Wednesday. The assailant was shot shortly after stabbing the officer. Police had earlier reported that the death toll was five and that a total of 40 people were wounded. Details on victims emerge Rowley said that there were a mix of nationalities among the dead but gave no identifying information. He said that the victims of the attack include 48-year-old Keith Palmer, the policeman who was stabbed, and two members of the public - a woman in her mid-40s and a man in his mid-50s. The attacker is the fourth dead. Three French high-school students between the ages of 15 and 16 were injured during the attack. They were on a school trip to London with fellow students from Brittany. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was expected to arrive in the English capital to visit them in the hospital, French media reported. Another five South Korean tourists were also wounded, Seoul's foreign ministry said. A Chinese tourist and a Portugese man were also injured, their respective governments said. A seriously injured woman was rescued from the River Thames where she fell after the attacker's vehicle plowed through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. Romanian officials said that the woman was a Romanian tourist who was in London to celebrate her boyfriend's birthday. The woman sustained serious injuries to her head and lungs while her boyfriend suffered a fractured foot, Romanian Ambassador Dan Mihalache told Realitatea TV late on Wednesday. 'We are not afraid' Prime Minister Theresa May previously described the attack as "sick and depraved," adding that Britain's alert level would remain unchanged at "severe," or level four. "We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart," said May on Wednesday. Several Londoners appeared to echo the prime minister's sentiment to defiantly carry on with their lives. The Tower Hill Underground station, known for writing a quote of the day for busy travelers to ponder as they rush through the city, posted a picture of today's quote on Twitter: "The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of them all." They added the hashtags "London is open" and "we are not afraid." Queen Elizabeth II postponed her visit to open the new headquarters of London's Metropolitan Police on Thursday. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said a candlelight vigil for the victims will be held tonight at 6:00 p.m. GMT (UTC) in Trafalgar Square.

In an address to parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May has said that the London attack suspect was British-born and had been investigated by security forces. May added that one of the injured was a German national. The assailant who carried out a deadly attack outside parliament on Wednesday as born in Great Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May told the House ... Read More »

Banks mull Brexit exit from UK

Big banks are said to be getting ready to move some operations away from London amid uncertainty over the Brexit. Meanwhile, a newspaper reported that the UK could threaten the EU with slashing corporation tax. Large financial institutions are preparing to move some operations away from Britain in early 2017 due to mounting concerns about the possibility of a "hard Brexit." Anthony Browne, chief executive of the British Bankers' Association, said the country's future relationship with the European Union was mired in uncertainty. He said the public and political debate was "taking us in the wrong direction." "Most international banks now have project teams working out which operations they need to move to ensure they can continue serving customers, the date by which this must happen, and how best to do it," said Browne in Britain's "Observer" newspaper. "Their hands are quivering over the relocate button. Many smaller banks plan to start relocations before Christmas; bigger banks are expected to start in the first quarter of next year." Many major international banks have their European headquarters in Britain, with the financial sector employing more than two million people and making up about 12 percent of the economy. Passporting v equivalence London's banks rely on a system of "passporting" - available to all members of the European Economic Area - to serve clients across Europe. Browne expressed concern that pro-Brexit UK ministers have suggested this would not be needed, and that London could rely on so-called "equivalence," which allows non-EEA actors to have access to European markets. "The EU's equivalence regime is a poor shadow of passporting, it only covers a narrow range of services, can be withdrawn at virtually no notice, and will probably mean the UK will have to accept rules it has no influence over," said Browne. "For most banks, equivalence won't prevent them from relocating their operations." In the wake of the June referendum vote to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May says she will invoke Article 50 to begin the process of leaving the EU by the end of March 2017. While she has expressed keenness to remain part of the single market, a number of EU leaders have insisted this would depend on Britain accepting free movement of workers from the bloc. Holding a crucial card? Meanwhile, the "Sunday Times" newspaper reported that the government was considering slashing corporation tax from 20 percent to 10 percent if the EU refuses to agree a free trade agreement with the UK. Such a move could damage the EU by luring firms from the bloc to Britain. The newspaper said the idea had been proposed by advisers to Prime Minister May. "People say we have not got any cards," the paper quoted an unidentified source as saying. "We have some quite good cards we can play if they start getting difficult with us. If they're saying no passporting and high trade tariffs, we can cut corporation tax to 10 percent," the source said.

Big banks are said to be getting ready to move some operations away from London amid uncertainty over the Brexit. Meanwhile, a newspaper reported that the UK could threaten the EU with slashing corporation tax. Large financial institutions are preparing to move some operations away from Britain in early 2017 due to mounting concerns about the possibility of a “hard ... Read More »

Ecuador admits cutting off Assange’s internet after Clinton leaks

Ecuador has confirmed it cut WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange off from the internet. The whistleblower has spent the past four years holed up at in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid sexual assault charges in Sweden. Ecuador's government acknowledged restricting Julian Assange's internet access after WikiLeaks published campaign documents from US Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. "The government of Ecuador respects the principle of nonintervention in the internal affairs of other states," the Foreign Ministry announced in a statement Tuesday. Assange was cut off during an embarrassing run for Clinton's campaign as she attempts to close the door to the White House on the Republican candidate, Donald Trump. Several tranches of emails to and from Clinton adviser John Podesta reveal concerns about the candidate's coziness with Wall Street banks, her support for an environmentally hazardous method of natural gas extraction known as fracking and comfort with the notion of covert actions by the US military - provided that it stay secret. Had the emails been released months ago, there could have been a very different result in the former secretary of state's run against Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for one of the US's two major-party presidential nominations. WikiLeaks won't reveal the source of the emails to and from Podesta, a longtime Clinton loyalist and a White House aide to her husband, Bill. US intelligence officials have claimed that agents working on behalf of Russia's government have hacked the Clinton campaign's emails in an attempt to carry out a Kremlin plot to interfere in the election to replace President Barack Obama. Under US orders? The whistleblower site accuses Ecuador of cutting off Assange's internet at the behest of US officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry. The United States denied the allegation. Ecuador's Foreign Ministry also denied the claim. "Ecuador's foreign policy responds to sovereign decisions alone and does not yield to pressure from other states," according to the statement, which assured that the restriction on communications at the embassy "does not prevent the WikiLeaks organization from carrying out its journalistic activities." President Rafael Correa has expressed a preference for Clinton. "For the United States, I'd like the winner to be Hillary, whom I also know personally and appreciate very much," Correa told the Russian propaganda broadcaster RT in an interview in September. Facing sexual assault allegations from two women in Sweden, Assange received asylum in Ecuador's London embassy in June 2012 and has been there since, fearing that UK officials would extradite him to Sweden, which could turn him over to the United States. The Obama administration has embarked on an anti-whistleblower campaign. In summer, Chelsea Manning attempted suicide in the prison where she is serving a 35-year sentence for revealing a US helicopter attack on civilians in Iraq. Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden fled to Russia after he exposed the extent of US spying on the electronic communications of people around the world.

Ecuador has confirmed it cut WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange off from the internet. The whistleblower has spent the past four years holed up at in Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid sexual assault charges in Sweden. Ecuador’s government acknowledged restricting Julian Assange’s internet access after WikiLeaks published campaign documents from US Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “The government of Ecuador respects the ... Read More »

Pyongyang slams defector as criminal and ‘human scum’

South Korea says the defector was the senior most member of the North Korean embassy in London, and its No. 2 diplomat. This is the latest in a series of noteworthy defections from Kim Jong Un's totalitarian state. North Korea called the senior North Korean diplomat who defected earlier this week "human scum" and a criminal - it was the government's first official response to the defection. The North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) accused Seoul of exploiting the defection of Thae Yong Ho for propaganda purposes, intended to embarrass the North's leader, Kim Jong Un. The Pyongyang government also slammed the British government for disregarding international protocol and rejecting its demand to have Thae returned to North Korea, and instead handing him over to the South Koreans. Thae was formerly a minister at the North's embassy in London. He is believed to have worked there for about 10 years. One of his main tasks was to counter the image of North Korea as a nuclear pariah state and notorious human rights abuser. KCNA didn't identify Thae by name, but said Pyongyang had ordered the "fugitive" to return to home in June where he was allegedly being investigated for a series of crimes, including embezzling government funds, leaking state secrets and sexually assaulting a minor. The government mouthpiece said Thae "should have received legal punishment for the crimes he committed, but he discarded the fatherland that raised him and even his own parents and brothers by fleeing, thinking nothing but just saving himself, showing himself to be human scum who lacks even an elementary level of loyalty and even tiny bits of conscience and morality that are required for human beings." South Korea's Unification Ministry announced the defection on Wednesday. It said Thae was the second-highest diplomat at the North's embassy, and called him the North's most senior diplomat to ever defect to the South. A history of defections In 1997, Pyongyang's ambassador to Egypt defected and eventually settled in the United States. The Seoul ministry said Thae defected out of disgust with Kim's government, his desire to live in a Korean democracy and worries about his children's future. More than 29,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, according to Seoul. Defectors often say they want to escape North Korea's harsh political system and poverty. Kim's government frequently accuses the South of bribing its citizens to defect, or claims Seoul simply kidnaps them. In April, 13 North Korean restaurant workers in China defected to South Korea. It was the largest group defection since Kim came to power in 2011. Also in April, Seoul announced that a colonel in North Korea's military spy agency had defected to the South last year. Whether this represents a new wave of defections from the North is hard to say because the South doesn't always publicize them.

South Korea says the defector was the senior most member of the North Korean embassy in London, and its No. 2 diplomat. This is the latest in a series of noteworthy defections from Kim Jong Un’s totalitarian state. North Korea called the senior North Korean diplomat who defected earlier this week “human scum” and a criminal – it was the ... Read More »

One killed person, five wounded in London knife attack

A woman has been killed and several more people injured in a knife attack in central London's Russell Square. Police said that mental health issues or terrorism were being explored as possible reasons for the incident. One woman was fatally wounded and another five people were injured in the knife attack in London's Russell Square, which is close to the British Museum and the University of London. Police were called to Russell Square at 10.33 p.m. local time (21.33 UTC) after reports of a man seen in possession of a knife injuring people. Police used a taser gun to arrest the suspect, who officials said was aged 19. The female victim was treated at the scene but was pronounced dead a short time later. Police said mental health issues were a likely issue while not ruling out terrorism "Early indications suggest that mental health is a significant factor in this case, but we retain an open mind regarding the motive and terrorism remains one line of inquiry," police said in a statement. The condition of the other victims is not yet known. One of them is believed to be an American citizen. Extra police have been deployed in the area. London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged people to remain calm and vigilant. "I urge all Londoners to remain calm and vigilant. Please report anything to the police. We all have a vital role to play as eyes and ears for our police and security services and in helping ensure London is protected," he said in a statement. The attack came on the same day that police announced that more armed officers were to be deployed on public patrol as part of anti-terrorism plans. On July 7, 2005, as part of a coordinated Islamist attack, a bomb was detonated on a train travelling between the King's Cross St. Pancras and Russell Square underground stations, resulting in the deaths of 26 people.

A woman has been killed and several more people injured in a knife attack in central London’s Russell Square. Police said that mental health issues or terrorism were being explored as possible reasons for the incident. One woman was fatally wounded and another five people were injured in the knife attack in London’s Russell Square, which is close to the ... Read More »

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