Thursday, 23 May 2013

In Iraq, 4 soldiers slain

In Iraq, 4 soldiers slain

 At least four soldiers were killed and five others were wounded Thursday when gunmen attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint, police said.
Is Iraq unraveling?
The incident took place in Taji about 12 miles, or 20 kilometers, north of Baghdad.
There has been an increase in political and sectarian violence in Iraq over the last several weeks. A string of attacks this week has left dozens of people killed and wounded.

Bombing suspect involved in 2011 murders

Official: Dead Boston bombings suspect involved in 2011 slayings

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Bombing suspect involved in 2011 murders

Deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev participated in a 2011 gruesome triple homicide outside Boston along with a Chechen killed early Wednesday during a confrontation with the FBI and Massachusetts State Police in Orlando, Florida, a federal law enforcement official told CNN.
Ibragim Todashev, who died during the interview with authorities, not only confessed to his direct role in slashing the throats of three people in Waltham, Massachusetts, but also fingered Tsarnaev in the deaths, the official said Wednesday.
Todashev was being questioned about the slayings and his acquaintance with Tsarnaev.
Todashev attacked an FBI agent, who shot him dead, a federal law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the case told CNN.
Photos: Suspects tied to Boston bombings Photos: Suspects tied to Boston bombings
FBI shoots man tied to bombing suspects
Police: Man linked to Tsarnaev shot
"He used some kind of weapon," the official said, and that prompted the FBI agent to shoot the suspect.
A second law enforcement official confirmed Todashev made the confession.
The unsolved triple murder received renewed interest after it was learned that Tsarnaev was sparring partners at a local gym with one of the victims.
Investigators of the crime reported at the time that the heads of the three victims were pulled back and their throats slit ear to ear with great force. Marijuana was spread over the bodies in a "symbolic gesture," and several thousand dollars in cash was found at the scene.
Todashev told investigators the men were killed during a drug ripoff because he and Tsarnaev were afraid they would be able to identify them and tell police what happened, according to a law enforcement source.
So far, no link has been found between Todashev and the Boston Marathon bombings. However, the FBI is looking into the many connections between Todashev and Tsarnaev, whose radicalization allegedly led to the Boston bombings.
A federal law enforcement official has told CNN they were initially led to Todashev because they learned he knew Tsarnaev and his younger brother, Dzhokhar. They also said cell phone records connected Tamerlan and Todashev.
Todashev was being interviewed in the kitchen of his Florida home. He grabbed a knife, which is why fatal force was used, according to a source briefed on the ongoing investigation.
"Preliminary information indicates the agent took actions to defend himself," said a federal law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the case.
"The agent sustained non-life-threatening injuries," FBI spokesman Jason Pack said.
Investigators are awaiting test results to determine whether Todashev's DNA was found at the Massachusetts triple murder scene and whether the DNA of Tamerlan Tsarnaev also was found there.
Todashev and Tsarnaev were acquainted through a mixed martial arts center near Boston, said a source briefed on the bombing investigation.
In Orlando, an FBI team is reviewing the circumstances of the shooting, a procedure that follows any FBI shooting.
Todashev had an impending flight from Orlando, via New York and Moscow, to Chechnya, when investigators sought to interview him, according to a source briefed on the ongoing investigation. He was told not to take the flight, the source said.
Details emerged Wednesday about how Todashev had Tsarnaev's phone number in his cell phone, said the source.
Both men were members of the mixed martial arts forum Sherdog.com, along with Russian-Canadian boxer-turned-jihadist William Plotnikov, the source said.
Last month, CNN reported that Plotnikov and six others died in a July 2012 firefight with Russian forces in the southwestern republic of Dagestan, while Tsarnaev was visiting the region, according to a source briefed on the investigation.
Todashev, 27, knew Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, also a suspect in the April 15 bombings, the official said. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, injured and captured after a manhunt, is being held by authorities. His brother died in a shootout with police.
Todashev was from the Chechnya region, as were the Tsarnaev brothers, the source said.
Todashev was granted political asylum in 2008, but he came to the United States some time before that, a federal law enforcement official told CNN. Todashev had been living in the United States as a legal resident because of that asylum claim.
In the 2011 Massachusetts triple homicide, the Middlesex County district attorney's office said at the time that the victims and two unknown perpetrators appeared to know each other and that it was not a random crime. No suspects were named then.
A source said that the FBI had been investigating Todashev for about a month.
The FBI had followed Todashev for days, his friend told CNN affiliate Central Florida News 13.
Todashev "wasn't like real close friends (with Tsarnaev), but he just happened to know him," Khasuen Taramov told the TV station. "But he had no idea that they were up to something like that, like bombings and everything, you know what I mean?"
He told CNN affiliate WESH that Todashev and Tsarnaev had spoken by telephone about a month before the bombings.
"It was a complete shock to him," Taramov said.
The two met a couple years ago in Boston, where Todashev had lived and where there is a small, close-knit community of Chechens, said Taramov.
Their telephone conversation before the bombings contained nothing but routine pleasantries, he said. "It was 'How are you doing; how's your family?' That's all."
Taramov said he himself was questioned by the FBI for three hours Tuesday night. Asked what he was asked, Taramov said, "Different kind of questions like 'what do you think about bombings,' 'do you know these guys,' blah blah blah, what is my views on certain stuff."
He said Todashev was not a radical. "He was just a Muslim. That was his mistake, I guess."
Taramov said his friend had told him he had a bad feeling about the direction the investigation was heading.
"He felt like there's going to be a setup ... bad setup against him. Because he told me, 'They are making up such crazy stuff, I don't know ... why they doing it. OK, I'm answering the questions, but they are still making up some, like, connections, some crazy stuff. I don't know why they are doing it.' "
Before meeting with the FBI for a 7:30 p.m. interview Tuesday, Taramov said, his friend asked him to take his parents' telephone numbers. "He just told me, 'Take the numbers, in case something happens, if I get locked up, or whatever, call them.' You know what I mean?
"We were expecting to get him locked up, but not getting him killed. I can't believe it."
Todashev was unemployed and had been living on insurance money he received after surgery for an accident. "He used to be a fighter, MMA fighter," Taramov said, in a reference to mixed martial arts.
Todashev was arrested this month on a charge of aggravated battery after getting into a fight over a parking spot with a man and his son outside an Orlando mall. The son was taken to a hospital with head injuries, a split upper lip and several teeth knocked out of place, the Orange County Sheriff's Office said in a report.
"Todashev said he was only fighting to protect his knee because he had surgery in March," the report said. He told the police that he was a former mixed martial arts fighter, it said.
Todashev, described as 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, was released on $3,500 bond.
Asked about the incident, Taramov downplayed it. "He had a fight in the parking lot, the two guys jumped on him ... pretty much he just defended himself against two," he told WESH. "The only mistake: he did kick their ass and left."
Todashev had recently gotten his green card and had been planning to visit his parents in Chechnya and then return to the United States, but canceled the plans, Taramov said.
Now, he added, he was planning to call his friend's parents.

Clashes between al-Assad supporters, opponents leave 16 dead in Lebanon

Clashes between al-Assad supporters, opponents leave 16 dead in Lebanon

Syrian army soldiers take control of the village of Western Dumayna north of the rebel-held city of Qusayr on Monday, May 13. Syrian troops captured three villages in Homs province, allowing them to cut supply lines to rebels inside Qusayr town, a military officer told AFP. Tensions in Syria first flared in March 2011 during the onset of the Arab Spring, eventually escalating into a civil war that still rages. This gallery contains the most compelling images taken since the start of the conflict. Syrian army soldiers take control of the village of Western Dumayna north of the rebel-held city of Qusayr on Monday, May 13. Syrian troops captured three villages in Homs province, allowing them to cut supply lines to rebels inside Qusayr town, a military officer told AFP. Tensions in Syria first flared in March 2011 during the onset of the Arab Spring, eventually escalating into a civil war that still rages. This gallery contains the most compelling images taken since the start of the conflict.
An uneasy calm prevailed Thursday morning in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli where days of clashes between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad left 16 people dead and wounded more than 156.
Fear of snipers kept people indoors, reported Lebanon's state news agency said. The streets were empty of cars, and schools and universities closed.
The fighting began Sunday, with the deadliest clashes taking place Wednesday night, Lebanon's state news agency said.
The clashing sides are residents of the Bab-al-Tibbaneh neighborhood (dominated by Sunnis), and the adjacent Jabal Mohsen neighborhood (which is dominated by Alawites).
Syrian forces pound rebel stronghold
Al-Assad: I'll consider talks, but ...
Why are atrocities growing in Syria?
Tripoli is home to both Alawite and Sunni Muslims, and sectarian tensions have worsened in recent months as the civil war in neighboring Syria rages on.
The Alawites support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Sunnis want his ouster.
The Lebanese government has remained officially neutral in the conflict -- even as it has firmly, but quietly, supported al-Assad.
Analysts say the longer the Syrian conflict rages, the more destabilized Lebanon will become.
The Syrian connection
The major concern for Lebanon is that Syria's troubles will reopen the wounds of Lebanon's 15-year-long civil war, which ended in 1990.
Aside from its southern border with Israel, Lebanon is entirely surrounded by Syria, and was considered part of "greater Syria" until the end of World War I.
It became an independent country in 1943 but has been strongly influenced by Syria both politically and militarily for much of the time since.
Syrian troops were deployed in Lebanon between 1976 and 2005, primarily in the north -- ostensibly at first as peacekeepers to help stop Lebanon's long civil war -- but maintained a significant presence long after the fighting stopped in 1990.
This all changed in 2005 after former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed by a car bomb in Beirut.
Anti-al-Assad elements in Lebanon accused the Syrian government of being behind the attack, and popular protests -- along with international pressure -- forced the Syrian military to withdraw from the country.
Since then, Lebanon's two most prominent political blocs have been sharply divided in their attitude toward Syria: the ruling pro-Syria alliance and a group of anti-Syrian factions led by Saad Hariri, son of the assassinated former prime minister.
In addition, thousands of refugees have poured into Lebanon since the conflict in Syria began.

Obama speech to focus on drones, Guantanamo prison

Obama speech to focus on drones, Guantanamo prison


Guantanamo Bay's detention facility opened in 2002 with 700 detainees. More than a decade later, 166 remain and more than half are in political limbo, waiting for the Obama administration and Congress to decide whether to close the prison. The frozen status of the detainees has led to hunger strikes, which grew from about a half-dozen inmates at first to more than 100 now. Guantanamo Bay's detention facility opened in 2002 with 700 detainees. More than a decade later, 166 remain and more than half are in political limbo, waiting for the Obama administration and Congress to decide whether to close the prison. The frozen status of the detainees has led to hunger strikes, which grew from about a half-dozen inmates at first to more than 100 now.
From the targeted killing of Americans overseas to the future of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, President Barack Obama will lay out the framework and legal rationale for his administration's counterterrorism policy in a widely anticipated speech Thursday.
Administration officials tell CNN that Obama will use the National Defense University speech to continue to call on engagement with Congress on aspects of national security, more transparency in the use of drones, and a review of threats facing the United States.
He will make the case that the al Qaeda terror network has been weakened, but that new dangers have emerged even as the U.S. winds down operations in Afghanistan after more than a decade of war triggered by the 9/11 attacks.
Threats that have emerged come from al Qaeda affiliates, localized extremist groups, and homegrown terrorists.
The address will also build on remarks Obama made in his annual State of the Union address earlier this year when he said his administration works "tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts."
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Gitmo prisoners being force-fed
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It also comes on the heels of a couple confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill for members of Obama's national security team where a pitched political battle over the use of drones was waged.
At John Brennan's confirmation hearing to be CIA director, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky mounted a 13-hour filibuster demanding the administration detail whether it would be legal to strike suspected American terrorists on U.S. soil.
Attorney General Eric Holder responded in a letter to Paul that the president did not have such authority.
In a letter to congressional leaders on Wednesday, Holder disclosed the administration had deliberately killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and radical Muslim cleric who was said to be the face of the al Qaeda franchise operating in Yemen.
Holder said he was actively plotting to attack the United States and so targeting him was justified legally and from a policy standpoint.
"This disclosure was also intended to coincide with the speech the president will give (Thursday) in which he will discuss our broader counter-terrorism strategy - including the policy and legal rationale for our use of targeted, lethal force against al Qaeda and its associated forces," a White House official told CNN.
The letter also disclosed that three other Americans were killed overseas in counterterror strikes but that those suspected terror figures were not deliberately targeted by the United States.
In an interview with CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin last year, Obama said the drone issue was a daily "struggle" for him.
"That's something that you have to struggle with," he said. "Because if you don't, it's very easy to slip into a situation in which, you end up bending rules, thinking that the ends always justify the means. That's not been our tradition. That's not who we are as a country."
The administration is considering shifting lethal drone operations currently run by the CIA over to the military "due to a desire for greater transparency in who is being targeted," a U.S. official told CNN earlier this week.
By law, the military is not able to act in the covert way the CIA can in this particular arena, and must answer to Congress.
In his confirmation hearing, Brennan expressed a desire to move the agency away from paramilitary operations, and back to traditional areas of espionage.
"The CIA should not be doing traditional military activities and operations," he said.
The American public is split on where and how drones should be used, according to a March poll by Gallup.
Although 65% of respondents said drones should be used against suspected terrorists abroad, only 41% said drones should be used against American citizens who are suspected terrorists in foreign countries.
This number dips even further when the use of drones on American soil is considered. Only 25% of people said drone should be used against suspected terrorists in the United States. And when that suspected terrorist is an American citizen, the approval for using drones falls to 13%.
Opinion: 9 myths about drones and Gitmo
Another flashpoint Obama will discuss is the fate of the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility.
While he worked to close it early in his first term, Congress enacted significant restrictions on the transfer of detainees from the prison that made its closure impractical.
Earlier this year, the State Department reassigned the special envoy who had been assigned in 2009 to deal with closing the facility and lowered the post's profile by assigning the job to the department's legal adviser's office.
"Guantanamo hasn't been a full time job for a year," one senior administration official told CNN earlier this year in reference to the congressional restrictions on the repatriation of detainees who have been cleared for release.
But with more than half the facility's 166 inmates engaging in various forms of hunger strike, more than 20 of them being force fed, the failure to close the facility established in 2001 is a continuing problem for the administration.
There are some 86 inmates at Guantanamo that have been cleared for transfer, 56 of them from Yemen.
At Wednesday's briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama is "considering a range of options" to reduce the prison's population.
"I would say that one of the options is reappointing a senior official at the State Department to renew our focus on repatriating or transferring those detainees," Carney said.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday the Obama administration was ready in the coming weeks to jump start efforts to close the prison - including lifting the prohibition on sending detainees to Yemen.
"We're in the process of working on that now, we're looking at candidates," who could lead the process of helping close Guantanamo, Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference earlier this month. "The president has indicated that it's too expensive, that it's a recruitment tool for terrorists, it has a negative impact on our relationship with our allies, and so we're going to make a renewed effort to close Guantanamo."
Most Americans still support keeping the prison open at Guantanamo Bay.
Seventy percent of respondents to a February 2012 ABC/Washington Post poll said they approve of keeping the facility open for suspected terrorists. Only 24% said it should be closed.

Cameron condemns brutal hacking death, says Britain stands firm

Cameron condemns brutal hacking death, says Britain stands firm


Flowers lay outside Woolwich Barracks on May 23, 2013 in London, England.
Flowers lay outside Woolwich Barracks on May 23, 2013 in London, England.
London (CNN) -- Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain would be "absolutely resolute" in the face of terrorism Thursday, as he vowed to track down those behind the brutal hacking death of a British soldier in London.
Cameron condemned the "horrific attack" and said it had nothing to do with Islam, despite claims made by the two suspected attackers.
Cameron spoke after a crisis meeting of senior officials, as security was increased at army bases around London amid fears of additional attacks.
It is understood that the two people suspected of carrying out the knife attack were known to Britain's domestic security service. They had featured in previous investigations into other people, but were not themselves under surveillance.
 
The calling of the crisis meeting Thursday -- the second in less than 24 hours -- indicates how seriously the government is taking what it believes is a terrorist incident.
Cameron cut short an official visit to Paris to lead the summit, attended by Home Secretary Theresa May, Defense Secretary Philip Hammond, London Mayor Boris Johnson and senior police and security officials.
"We will never give in to terror or terrorism in any form," Cameron said. The thoughts of the country are with the victim and his family, he added.
Police searched an address in Lincolnshire, eastern England, in connection with the slaying, which took place in southeast London's Woolwich neighborhood.
Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne, of the Metropolitan Police, appealed for Londoners to remain calm, despite their shock, as investigations continue.
"London is at its best when we all come together, and now is the time to do that," he said.
Both men suspected in the attack were shot by police and are under guard at local hospitals. Authorities have not released their identities.
British media outlets including Sky and the Daily Mail are naming one of the suspects as Michael Adebolajo. CNN has not independently confirmed the name.
The victim was a serving soldier, London's Metropolitan Police said. They are not releasing his name in line with his family's wishes.
The capital has not witnessed an alert of this kind since the summer of 2005, when London's public transport network was targeted with coordinated bomb attacks.
The scene of the gruesome killing, close to the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, remained cordoned off as police searched the scene Thursday morning.
A video recorded by one of the two men immediately after the attack seemed to suggest a jihadist agenda.
"We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone," said a meat cleaver-wielding man with bloody hands, speaking in what seems to be a London accent.
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"The only reasons we killed this man ... is because Muslims are dying daily," he added, in video aired by CNN affiliate ITN. "This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth."
British soldiers have participated in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Prominent British Muslim radical leader Anjem Choudary told CNN on Thursday that he knew one of the men named on social media as carrying out the Woolwich knife attack.
Choudary said the suspect had attended demonstrations and a few lectures organized by Choudary's group Al-Muhajiroun.
Cameron said Britons would stand together to defeat the threat of violent extremism.
"This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country," he said.
"There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act. ... The fault lies solely with the sickening individuals who carried out this attack."
Britain is working with its international partners to protect against terrorism "that has taken more Muslim lives than any other religion," Cameron said.
'I had better start talking to him'
Residents on Thursday shared with CNN their shock that something like this could have happened in the working-class, multicultural area where they live and work.
Construction worker Victor Easdown, who heard the shots ring out as police took on the attackers, fears the incident could fuel tensions and reprisal attacks.
"People can only take so much. And people will break," he said.
Graham Wilder, a resident whose son attends a nearby school, told how he feared for the safety of his family and other children who had just left the school Wednesday afternoon.
After he saw that one of the attackers had a gun, he alerted police and school authorities, Wilder said. He heard shots fired and screamed for his wife, who was at a nearby store, to get down.

© SRTM V4, 2012, CIAT Terms of Use
 
But despite the savagery of the attack, eyewitnesses in Woolwich appeared to stay calm in the moments immediately afterward, prompting London Mayor Boris Johnson to pay tribute to their "exemplary courage and bravery."
Video footage showed passersby gathered nearby, and one woman, Cub Scout leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper how she tried to talk to the two attackers to stop further violence.
The mother of two had jumped off a bus after seeing the man on the ground to see if she could give him emergency aid, she told the newspaper.
But she swiftly realized the man was dead, and it was not an accident.
"When I went up, there was this black guy with a revolver and a kitchen knife. He had what looked like butcher's tools, and he had a little axe, to cut the bones, and two large knives, and he said, 'Move off the body.'
"So I thought 'OK, I don't know what is going on here,' and he was covered with blood. I thought I had better start talking to him before he starts attacking somebody else."
Another witness, Michael Atlee, described the gruesome, frenzied and ultimately fatal sequence of events as "a bloody mess." The men first ran the victim down in a car before attacking him with knives, he said.
'They were just animals'
A man who identified himself as James told London's LBC 97.3 radio station that he saw two men standing by the victim, who was on the ground.
At first, James thought they were trying to help the man. But then he saw two meat cleavers, like a butcher would have.
"They were hacking at this poor guy, literally," he told the radio station. "These two guys were crazed. They were just not there. They were just animals."
The brazenness of the attack, along with the fact that the men waited some 30 minutes for police to arrive without trying to flee, seemed to indicate they wanted to publicize their message.
The men appeared to want to be filmed, with one of the attackers going over to a bus and asking people to take photos of him as if he wanted to be on TV.
A man who asked not to be identified told ITN that he was on his way to a job interview when he came up on the scene and started filming it. Then, a man with a cleaver and knife in his bloody hands "came straight to me (and) said, 'No, no, no, it's cool. I just want to talk to you.' "
The suspect went on to apologize to women who had witnessed the attack, then quickly added "but in our lands, our women have to see the same."
"You people will never be safe," he said. "Remove your government. They don't care about you. You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns?
"... Get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so we can all live in peace."
Reprisal attacks
There were concerns the brutal incident might inflame animosity against Muslims, with Metropolitan Police deploying riot police as a precautionary measure.
The Muslim Council of Britain, after condemning what it called "a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam," urged Muslims and non-Muslims alike "to come together in solidarity to ensure the forces of hatred do not prevail."
"What we have seen on the streets of London has been particularly sickening, a really, really heinous act of I would say criminality -- and I'm being careful to say criminality, not terrorism," political and social commentator Mohammed Ansar told CNN.
The motivation behind what happened remains unclear, he pointed out.
"What we need at this time is a sense of calm, a sense of measure and a sense of perspective. What we don't need are knee-jerk reactions ... to really ratchet up tensions and really stoke and inflame anxieties within communities."
Members of the far-right English Defense League clashed with police late Wednesday.
The group's official Twitter account posted this call to action: "ANY EDL MEMBERS TAKE TO THE STREETS IN YOUR LOCAL TOWN/CITY TAKE A STAND !!!!!!"
Later Wednesday, a man with two knives threw a smoke grenade into a mosque in Essex, a county east of London, and demanded someone come outside to answer to the Woolwich slaying, the mosque's secretary said. Police responded quickly and arrested the man, said Al Falah Braintree Islamic Center secretary Sikander Sleemy.
"I believe this was a revenge attack for what happened in Woolwich," Sleemy said. "We strongly condemn what happened in Woolwich. It's not an Islamic act."
In Kent, police arrested a man on suspicion of "racially aggravated criminal damage" at a religious building.
Soldiers targeted before
Nick Raynsford, the member of Parliament for Woolwich, told CNN the soldier apparently had been on duty in central London and was returning to the barracks when he was attacked.
Troops stationed at the historic military barracks have a close relationship with locals, the parliament member said.
This isn't the first time British soldiers have been singled out.
Last month, four radical Islamists were convicted at Woolwich Crown Court of a plot to drive a car full of explosives, by remote control, into an army barracks in Luton, north of London.
Several years earlier, police interrupted a scheme in which Islamists planned to kidnap a solider of Pakistani heritage and behead him. Their plan called for releasing an Internet video of the decapitation.
A pub in the same area of Woolwich was targeted by the Irish Republican Army in 1974. Two people died in the bombing.
Local residents said police responded quickly when the alarm was raised Wednesday afternoon but questioned how long it had taken for a specialist firearms unit to arrive. British police typically don't carry guns.
The Metropolitan Police said its first officers were on the scene within nine minutes of the alert being raised. The firearms unit was there 14 minutes after the first call was made, the force said.
"There has been an increased police presence in Woolwich and the surrounding areas overnight, and this will continue for as long as it is needed," said Assistant Commissioner Byrne.
"There were small incidents of minor disorder in Woolwich" late Wednesday, he said, but police dealt with these without arrests or reports of injuries or damage.

London attack mirrors plot to behead Muslim soldier

London attack mirrors plot to behead Muslim soldier

Three men jailed in April had discussed targeting Royal Wootton Bassett, the town where UK troops -- both living and those killed in action -- are repatriated.
Three men jailed in April had discussed targeting Royal Wootton Bassett, the town where UK troops -- both living and those killed in action -- are repatriated.
The attack on a soldier hacked to death on a London street has echoes of other plots on British soil in recent years.
The victim of Wednesday's attack in Woolwich was a serving soldier based at a nearby barracks, London police say, and the UK government is treating it as a suspected terrorist attack.
In 2007 four men were imprisoned over a plot to kidnap and kill a British Muslim soldier on leave and behead him in a Birmingham garage. The group's ringleader Parviz Khan intended to behead the soldier "like a pig" and release footage of the killing on the internet.
Khan was later imprisoned for life and must serve a minimum of 14 years before he will be considered for release. Three other men, Basiru Gassama, Mohammed Irfan, and Hamid Elasmar, were handed down sentences of between two and seven years for their roles in the plot.
Photos: Attack in Southeast London Photos: Attack in Southeast London
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Man who taped London suspect speaks out
High Court judge Mr Justice Henriques said Khan's aim was to deter any Muslim from joining the British army.
"So rampant are your views, so excitable your temperament, so persuasive your tongue and so imbued with energy are you, it's quite impossible to predict when, if ever, it will be safe for you to be released into the public," the Guardian quoted the judge as saying.
"It was a plot whose purpose was to undermine democratic government, to demoralize the British army and to destabilize recruitment, and to cause anguish to the then prime minister of the day and the loyal citizens of the country," the judge said.
Prosecutors said Khan hoped to kidnap the Muslim soldier in Birmingham's Broad Street entertainment quarter with the help of drug dealers.
This is not the only recent example of serving soldiers being the targets of terrorist attacks. Last month three British-born men were imprisoned for between four and nine years for preparing acts of terrorism. The men, who pleaded guilty had discussed targeting Royal Wootton Bassett, a town that became a focal point for parades by UK troops returning from service in Afghanistan.
The judge, Mr. Justice Simon, said they had shown themselves to be "committed fundamentalists" ready to kill. Muslim convert Richard Dart, a former BBC security guard, and co-defandant Imran Mahmood had discussed how to make explosives, with the western English town as a potential bombing target.

DISGRACED MP ERIC JOYCE FACING CHARGES AFTER ANOTHER PUBLIC MELTDOWN

DISGRACED MP ERIC JOYCE FACING CHARGES AFTER ANOTHER PUBLIC MELTDOWN

ABOVE: MP Eric Joyce
“
A whole flight-full of people walked past while he was restrained on the ground.
”
A witness
23rd May 2013

By Steve Hughes

DISGRACED MP Eric Joyce last night faced police charges after a third public meltdown saw him arrested again.

Officers had to pin the politician to the fl oor after he allegedly went berserk at Edinburgh Airport when he realised he’d left his mobile phone on a plane.

Witnesses told how Joyce unleashed a four-letter tirade at staff when they wouldn’t allow him to retrieve his phone.

Airport officials called police and the Labour MP for Falkirk was arrested he allegedly started pushing officers and tried to grab one of them.

One witness said: “When the police arrived the passenger was seen to push one of the officers.

“They attempted to calm him down but he became more and more aggressive and eventually went to grab one of the officers.

“They then pushed him up against the desk and down on to the floor, where he was handcuffed.

“A policeman was on top of him, with his knee at the back of his neck.

“A whole flight-full of people walked past while he was restrained on the ground.

Another eyewitness said: “As far as I could tell it was something to do with his mobile phone.

“I think he’d left it on the flight and he wasn’t being allowed to go back to get it.”

Joyce was suspended from the Labour Party last year after he sparked a drunken brawl in the House of Commons bar after complaining it was “full of f***ing Tories”.

Witnesses said he punched three other MPs before being restrained.

He later pleaded guilty to assault and officially resigned from the party, agreeing to stand down at the next election.

Then in March this year Joyce was again arrested on suspicion of assault following an incident at the Commons sports and social bar.

This resulted in him being banned from buying booze anywhere in the Palace of Westminster.

A police spokesman said of Sunday’s incident: “A 52-year-old man has been reported in connection with an alleged breach of the peace at Edinburgh Airport.

“He will appear in court at a later date.”

Last night the MP said he was preparing to leave to report the loss of his phone when the police used “entirely unnecessary physical force” to arrest him.

FOOTBALL COULD SEE A RETURN TO STANDING ON THE TERRACES AFTER CLUBS CALL FOR TRIALS

FOOTBALL COULD SEE A RETURN TO STANDING ON THE TERRACES AFTER CLUBS CALL FOR TRIALS

ABOVE: Some football fans want a return to the days of standing in stadiums
“
Opponents cite concerns around disorder. Let’s have safe standing trials and gather real evidence.
”
The Football Supporters’ Federation
23rd May 2013

By Steve Hughes

FOOTBALL fans could return to the terraces after Premier League clubs called for trials of standing areas.

Aston Villa, Sunderland, Newcastle, Swansea, Cardiff and Hull are behind a campaign to bring back standing tickets for big games.

Arsenal and West Ham are also willing to look into the issue.

Terraces in the top two divisions were outlawed in 1994 after 96 Liverpool fans died in the Hillsborough disaster.

Many supporters are tired of the all-seater stadium rule, claiming that it ruins the match day experience.

Now the Government could be forced to act over the growing demand for change.

If a motion supporting safestanding trials is passed at next month’s meeting of all 72 Football League club chairmen, member clubs would expect the League to lobby for a change in the law.

The call has been backed by the Football Supporters’ Federation who point to the success of trials in Germany where seats can be tipped up to allow standing for certain fixtures.

A spokesman said: “Opponents cite concerns around disorder. Let’s have safe standing trials and gather real evidence.”

DAVID CAMERON: BRITAIN WILL NEVER BUCKLE TO TERRORISM

DAVID CAMERON: BRITAIN WILL NEVER BUCKLE TO TERRORISM


“
People across Britain, people in every community, I believe will utterly condemn this act.
”
Prime Minister David Cameron
23rd May 2013

By Meg Jorsh

DAVID CAMERON last night defiantly declared Britain will never buckle to terrorist attacks.

Speaking in Paris last night, where he was meeting French president Francoise Hollande, the PM said: “It’s the most appalling crime. There are strong indications that it is a terrorist incident.

“We will never buckle in the face of these attacks. We will not be cowed.

“The terrorists will never win. They will never beat the values that we hold dear.

“People across Britain, people in every community, I believe will utterly condemn this act.”

He added: “Our thoughts should be with the victim’s family.”

He called short his trip to Paris to chair a meeting today of police and secret service chiefs.

Scotland Yard revealed within hours of the attack they were treating it as terrorist inspired.

One source said: “The killing was likely a politically motivated Islamist terror attack.”

Also On Daily Star

TEACHER SPEAKS OF HORROR AT LOSING SEVEN CHILDREN IN OKLAHOMA TORNADO

TEACHER SPEAKS OF HORROR AT LOSING SEVEN CHILDREN IN OKLAHOMA TORNADO

ABOVE: A view of the tornado-destroyed houses and vehicles in Oklahoma City
“
We told them to get down. There weren’t any lights on and already they were all scared.
”
Jennifer Doan
23rd May 2013

By Paul Robins

A HAUNTED teacher spoke of her horror yesterday at losing seven children in the killer Oklahoma tornado.

Brave Jennifer Doan managed to save the rest of her class by acting as human shield as the 210mph twister ripped their school apart.

Her heroics emerged as 16 of the 24 victims of Monday’s whirlwind disaster were named.

Speaking from her hospital bed, devastated Ms Doan said: “We told them to get down. There weren’t any lights on and already they were all scared.

“I had my arms over the ones next to me and I looked up at the door and I put my head down and it just hit.”

One of the boys from the class was buried next to her in the rubble.

“I was just telling him to keep calm and that they would come, and he just kept telling me that he couldn’t breathe and that he didn’t want to die,” she said.

“Somebody finally came and dug some stuff from above my head and they reached their hand down for me.”

Seven pupils at Plaza Towers Elementary school were among the 10 children and 14 adults killed as the tornado pulverised Moore, near Oklahoma City.

Kyle Davis, eight, died instantly after being hit on the head by a falling beam as he sheltered with his classmates.

Best pals Antonia Lee Candelaria and Emily Conatzer, both nine and described as “inseparable”, died hand-in-hand.

Antonia’s mum Brandie said: “We take some comfort in thinking that she and Emily were holding onto each other and not alone.” Sydney Angle, 10, was also killed along with Nicolas McCabe and Christopher Legg, both nine.

Another teacher, LaDonna Cobb, explained how she grabbed whatever she could to protect children that were under her until a wall fell on top of her and knocked her out.

Mrs Cobb and husband Steve were pictured outside the Briarwood Elementary School, with Steve carrying their nine-year-old daughter, Jordan.

Megan Futrell, 29, and her five-month-old baby Case died in a corner shop. The mum-of-two was trying to reach her six-year-old son when the storm forced her to take shelter with the six-month-old tot.

Pastor DA Bennett of St Andrew’s Church said: “She was a mother who loved her baby and wanted to do what she could to protect that child.”

Karrina Varygas, four, and her baby sister Sydnee Varygas, who was seven months, were killed when their house was ripped apart.

Mum Laurinda fought in vain to protect them as the winds turned their home to rubble. Dad Philip said last night: “We just don’t know what to do anymore.”

Hermant Bhonde, 65, died after becoming separated from his wife Jerrie. She told how they clung to each other inside the shower.

“The house disappeared,” she said.

Meanwhile the dad of nine-year-old Ja’Nae Hornsby, the first victim to be named, told how he rushed to her school but was too late to save her.

Joshua Hornsby said: “My heart just sank.”

Other victims named were Terri Long, 49, Shannon Quick, 40, Jenny Neely, 38, and Cindy Plumley and Deanna Ward.

However, one youngster who had been missing, Aubrey Cook, 10, was found alive by her family in hospital.

Rescuers began to wind down their search last night. Oklahoma County commissioner Brian Maughan said: “The list of people that we have had, they are all accounted for in one way or another.”

PEOPLE SAVE MORE IN RURAL AREAS THAN IN TOWNS AND CITIES

PEOPLE SAVE MORE IN RURAL AREAS THAN IN TOWNS AND CITIES

ABOVE: People in the countryside are better savers it seems
23rd May 2013

By Daily Star Reporter

SAVERS in rural areas have around £1,375 more put away than people in towns and cities.

The Halifax, which has 11million customers, found those in the countryside have saved an average £9,435.

That is 17% higher than the £8,060 nest-egg their urban neighbours typically have. Bosses put the difference down to the higher cost of city living.

PEOPLE SAVE MORE IN RURAL AREAS THAN IN TOWNS AND CITIES

PEOPLE SAVE MORE IN RURAL AREAS THAN IN TOWNS AND CITIES

ABOVE: People in the countryside are better savers it seems
23rd May 2013

By Daily Star Reporter

SAVERS in rural areas have around £1,375 more put away than people in towns and cities.

The Halifax, which has 11million customers, found those in the countryside have saved an average £9,435.

That is 17% higher than the £8,060 nest-egg their urban neighbours typically have. Bosses put the difference down to the higher cost of city living.

MI6 WANTED TO LAUNCH VIOLENT COLD WAR CAMPAIGN TO UNDERMINE THE USSR

MI6 WANTED TO LAUNCH VIOLENT COLD WAR CAMPAIGN TO UNDERMINE THE USSR

ABOVE: MI6 headquarters in London
23rd May 2013

By Daily Star Reporter

MI6 wanted to mount a violent Cold War campaign of subversion and propaganda to undermine the Soviet Union.

Ideas ranged from minor disruption – throwing “stink bombs” at Communist Party meetings – to “liquidation” of selected individuals in Russia and its allies.

The plan, revealed in official papers from 1948 that were released yesterday, was blocked by horrified Foreign Office chiefs.

POLICE FORCE WASTES £11M BUYING NEW HQ WHICH HAS SAT EMPTY FOR 5 YEARS

POLICE FORCE WASTES £11M BUYING NEW HQ WHICH HAS SAT EMPTY FOR 5 YEARS

ABOVE: Hampshire Constabulary spent £9.6m taxpayers’ money on Alpha Park (not pictured) in 2008
“
It is believed the cost of running police buildings in Hampshire will be cut by more than 50% as a result.
”
23rd May 2013

By Daily Star Reporter

A POLICE force wasted £11million buying and maintaining a new HQ that has sat empty for five years and will never be used.

Hampshire Constabulary spent £9.6m taxpayers’ money on Alpha Park in Chandler’s Ford, Hants, in 2008.

That was £3m more than its original valuation.

The force has since spent a further £1.8m on security, despite no police staff ever working there.

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, demanded that questions must be asked about the decision to purchase the “white elephant”.

He said it was “an embarrassment” that had been played out “like a bad soap opera”.

The county’s police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes ordered a review of the force’s building stock shortly after taking up his post six months ago.

It is believed the cost of running police buildings in Hampshire will be cut by more than 50% as a result.

Commissioner Hayes said: “We now have certainty on the big decisions that will allow us to get rid of unnecessary
buildings.”

KATE MIDDLETON SHINES IN YELLOW AT QUEEN'S GARDEN PARTY

KATE MIDDLETON SHINES IN YELLOW AT QUEEN'S GARDEN PARTY

ABOVE: Kate Middleton looked stunning in bright yellow at the Queen's garden party
23rd May 2013

By Daily Star Reporter

MUM-TO-BE Kate looked like a ray of sunshine as she met Olympic and Paralympic heroes at Buckingham Palace.

The Duchess of Cambridge, 31, was all smiles as she attended the Queen’s first garden party of the summer along with her in-laws Prince Charles and Camilla.

Kate, who is due to give birth in July, wore a yellow Emilia Wickstead coat and a matching hat.

Among the guests were Olympic medallists, including rower Helen Glover, 26, shooter Peter Wilson, 26, and recently retired swimmer Rebecca Adlington, 24.

MAN TURNS DOWN SEX WITH WOMAN, WOMAN 'BITES MAN'S PENIS'

ABOVE: A woman is alleged to have bitten her boyfriend's penis when he turned down sex
“
The defendant then grabbed the victim and bit his penis.
”

IF ever there was a tale that you should listen to when it comes to letting women down gently, then this is it.

Krystle Harrison is alleged to have delivered the ultimate punishment to her boyfriend when he turned down her offer of sex.

According to a police report, the 19-year-old was in bed with lover Jeffrey Wilkinson when she got a bit horny.

The report states: "The victim and defendant were in bed.

"The defendant wanted to have sex with the victim and began to touch him."

So far, so good - in fact, it's pretty much as good as you can get really.

But it was at this point that things allegedly turned ugly.

The report continues: "The victim informed the defendant several times that he did not want to partake.

"The defendant then grabbed the victim and bit his penis."

But it didn't end there.

Harrison is also claimed to have followed her boyfriend out of the house, slapped him and spit in his face.

Wilkinson decided not to press charges, or receive medical treatment to scratches on his chest.

There's a moral here, but we're not sure what it is...
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