Tag Archives: UK

Advocate and introduce legislation promoting the free movement of citizens between the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

We believe in the citizens of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (the CANZUK countries) benefiting from a freedom of movement initiative, advancing the ever growing cultural, historical, economical and political connections that we already share through our Commonwealth ties.

Because of the unique relationship and socio-economic bonds that Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom share, we believe that each country can benefit from a free movement agreement with each other, similar to the policies of the European Union and the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement (T.T.T.A) between Australia and New Zealand.

We propose that the governments of the aforementioned countries finalise agreements (and inevitably, legislation) which make it possible for citizens to move freely with no restrictions regarding work permits or visa controls.

Read more >> Change.org
https://www.change.org/p/parliaments-of-canada-australia-new-zealand-and-the-united-kingdom-advocate-and-introduce-legislation-promoting-the-free-movement-of-citizens-between-canada-australia-new-zealand-and-the-united-kingdom?recruiter=78012716&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=mob-xs-share_petition-no_msg

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International bomb plotter jailed for 40 years in US

A Pakistani man extradited from the UK to the US has been sentenced to 40 years in jail for plotting attacks in several countries.

Abid Naseer, 29, was sentenced by a federal judge in New York.

US authorities said he had been part of a plot to attack Manchester, New York City and Copenhagen.

In March, a jury found him guilty of providing material support to al-Qaeda and conspiracy to use a destructive device.

FBI assistant director-in-charge Diego Rodriguez said that Naseer, who moved to the UK to study, failed to use the British education visa system to make the best of his life.

Instead, he exploited it “to take away the lives of many others in large numbers”, said Mr Rodriguez.

Naseer was first arrested in the UK in 2009, along with 11 other men, suspected of planning a bomb attack on the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester over the Easter weekend.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34912242

The Guardian view on Mr Modi’s UK visit: over the top

 

Narendra Modi and David Cameron are playing politics in a globalised world

Long ago there were two countries whose destinies were intertwined by history. Britain’s rule helped make India into a modern nation. India’s wealth and military manpower sustained Britain as a superpower. Admiration and rationality, as well as condescension and racism, characterised a complex relationship which seemed so intimate that many expected it to continue in some form after the sun set on empire.

But those two countries no longer exist. The still mighty Britain that emerged from the war against Germany and Japan has become the modest and puzzled United Kingdom of today, while in India the valuable, if very different, legacies of Gandhi and Nehru have lost potency as political change has brought to the fore men and ideas marginal in 1947, when independence was achieved. Given this alteration in circumstances, it is odd that so much hyperbole, on both sides, should accompany the Indian prime minister’s visit to London.

Read more » the guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/13/the-guardian-view-on-mr-modis-uk-visit-over-the-top?CMP=share_btn_fb

UK ‘needs Chinese investment’, ambassador says

Liu Xiaoming was speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show the day before the start of President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK.

He said the expected deal to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point was “in the best interests of Britain and also in the interest of partnership between China and UK”.

“UK people want to have a better life, want to have clean energy,” he said.

President Xi told the Reuters news agency: “The UK has stated that it will be the Western country that is most open to China. This is a visionary and strategic choice that fully meets Britain’s own long-term interest.”

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34566652

Nick Clegg: British people don’t want ‘Che Guevera Corbyn’

Former Deputy Prime Minister says Britain will never elect a Jeremy Corbyn government

By Martin Chilton, Culture Editor online

Nick Clegg says the British people will never elect Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister and have no desire for “Che Guevara” politics.

The former Deputy Prime Minister, who led the Liberal Democrats from 2007 to 2015, told the audience at the Hay Festival Segovia: “It was totally unsurprising, almost inevitable, that the Labour Party elected a leader from the hard left but they will never win an election under Jeremy Corbyn as leader. I have seen this frequently in my time in politics: when political parties just talk to themselves they always end up losing. There is no groundswell for Jeremy Corbyn. A couple of thousand people seeing him in a hall on a rainy Thursday in Leeds is not a revolution.”

Then, in a reference to Guevara, the Marxist revolutionary leader of Cuba, Clegg added: “The British people aren’t going to look for Che Guevara in the next election. Labour may have a politically motivated group whose voice will be ever more shrill and loud and amplified by social media but there is a whole sea of people, millions of voters, who don’t engage with politics. I think roughly only 20-25 per cent of the population are strongly engaged in politics, whether that is going to meetings with Corbyn or being foot soldiers for UKIP but the vast majority of people are broadly sceptical and bored by politics and they are the ones who count in elections. When the Labour Party realise that they can have their sanctimonious debates, throwing rocks, but that it won’t make them win, then maybe they will change again. But that could be a long time. I remember a time when the Conservatives were considered stuffed and Tony Blair was in sway but the pendulum has swung. Who knows, it might take another 15 years for it to swing back for Labour.”

Read more » The Telegraph
See more » http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/hay-festival/11893359/Nick-Clegg-British-people-dont-want-Che-Guevera-Corbyn.html

Nuclear technology – China’s next great export?

By 

For China, the prize on offer in the UK is not the investment in Hinkley Pointor Sizewell B but a controlling stake at Bradwell in Essex. This could be the first Chinese-designed nuclear power plant in the West, a massive breakthrough for China in promoting global exports of its nuclear technology.

So far its customers have been confined to countries like Pakistan, Romania and Argentina with the developed world opting for American, Japanese and French technology.

But the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, has said that China will be part of building the next generation of UK nuclear power stations and that having Chinese design up and running in the UK would give other countries confidence on safety.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-34319122

Corbyn unveils ‘unifying’ top team

Jeremy Corbyn has unveiled what he called a “unifying” new shadow cabinet, naming his left-wing ally John McDonnell as shadow chancellor.

Defeated leadership rival Andy Burnham is shadow home secretary, while Hilary Benn remains shadow foreign secretary.

The most senior roles on the Labour front bench are all taken by men, leading to criticism from some MPs.

But half of the total posts went to women, including shadow defence, education, business and health.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-34240869

UK to partner in CPEC, provide $121.6 million grant

By Shahbaz Rana

ISLAMABAD: In a significant development, the United Kingdom has become a partner in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and agreed to provide $121.6 million in grant to fund construction of Burhan-Havelian Expressway, which falls on the northern route of the corridor.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom will co-finance the $327 million cost of the 59km-long Hassanabdal-Havelian Expressway (E-35) project, according to a handout issued by the Manila-based lending agency on Tuesday.

UK’s $121.6 million grant will lessen Pakistan’s debt obligations by the same amount. The country had entered into a loan agreement with ADB, which will now be picked up by UK taxpayers to the extent of the grant amount.

Read: India bid to halt Pakistan projects fails

It is for the first time that the UK will fund any infrastructure sector project in Pakistan, as so far its focus remained on social sectors. It is also the first time that the UK is partnering with the Manila-based lending agency in a project located in Pakistan.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/948870/uk-to-partner-in-cpec-provide-121-6-million-grant/

Energy secretary Amber Rudd plans to ‘unleash solar revolution’

Amber Rudd, the new energy secretary, says more households should have solar panels on their roofs

By , Energy Editor

Millions more homes should have solar panels on their roofs, the new energy secretary has suggested, vowing to “unleash a new solar revolution” across Britain.

Ms Rudd indicated she would back the continued expansion of household solar panels, which are heavily subsidised by consumers through levies on energy bills.

“I want to unleash a new solar revolution – we have a million people living under roofs with solar panels and that number needs to increase,” she told her local newspaper, the Hastings & St Leonards Observer.

Read more » The Telegraph
Learn more » http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/solarpower/11606820/Energy-secretary-Amber-Rudd-plans-to-unleash-solar-revolution.html?utm_content=buffer41fce&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Top UK business leaders back Tony Blair’s warning over possible EU exit

Business for New Europe says vote to quit could force some companies based in Britain to leave UK and delay investment due to uncertainty

By 

A business group backed by the bosses of some of Britain’s biggest companies has thrown its weight behind Tony Blair’s warning about the effects of a referendumon the UK’s membership of the European Union.

Business for New Europe (BNE) said a vote to quit the EU could force some companies that use Britain as a European base to leave the UK. The group warned that businesses will hold back on investment in Britain because of the uncertainty created by the prospect of the referendum.

Business leaders on BNE’s advisory council include Sir Michael Rake, the chairman of BT, Chris Gibson-Smith, the chairman of the London Stock Exchange, and Sir Philip Hampton, the chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland. BNE is non-partisan and campaigns for Britain to stay in a less bureaucratic EU.

Blair said in a speech on Tuesday that the prospect of Britain leaving the EU would cast a “pall of unpredictability” over the economy, threatening jobs and investment. He warned that a vote to quit the EU would cause the worst instability and anxiety for business since the second world war.

David Cameron has promised to call a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU by 2017 if the Conservatives form a government after next month’s election. He has pledged to renegotiate the terms of the UK’s membership before the referendum.

Read more » the guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/07/british-business-leaders-back-tony-blair-warning-over-possible-eu-exit

British superbug outbreak ‘could kill 80,000’

Exclusive: A Government report warns that tens of thousands could die because of new strains of bacteria and viruses resistant to drugs

By

Up to 80,000 people in Britain could die in a single outbreak of an infection due to a new generation of superbugs, according to an official Government forecast.

In total, some 200,000 people could be infected if a strain of disease resistant to antibiotics took hold, according to official forecasts which reveal the potential casualty toll for the first time.

Within 20 years, outbreaks of common flu could become “serious” for patients as drugs become useless and routine surgery could be curtailed due to the risk of infection, it is warned.

Scientists are increasingly concerned about the impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which makes routine antibiotics or antivirals drugs ineffective against diseases that have formerly been brought under control.

It would mean that the huge gains made since the discovery of penicillin in curbing conditions such as pneumonia and tuberculosis and rendering surgery and childbirth safe could be lost.

David Cameron has warned that such a scenario would see the world “cast back into the dark ages of medicine”.

The new figures are given in the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies, a document compiled by the Cabinet Office that assesses the challenges posed by terrorism, disease, natural disasters and industrial strife.

For the first time, it contains an assessment of the dangers posed by AMR, which it describes as a “particularly serious” issue for the UK.

The document says: “Without effective antibiotics, even minor surgery and routine operations could become high-risk procedures, leading to increased duration of illness and ultimately premature mortality. Much of modern medicine, for example organ transplantation, bowel surgery and some cancer treatments may become unsafe due to the risk of infection. In addition, influenza pandemics would become more serious without effective treatments.”

It adds: “The number of infections complicated by AMR are expected to increase markedly over the next 20 years. If a widespread outbreak were to occur, we could expect around 200,000 people to be affected by a bacterial blood infection that could not be treated effectively with existing drugs, and around 80,000 of these might die.

“High numbers of deaths could also be expected from other forms of antimicrobial resistant infection.”

Already, there are no longer any effective drugs against one strain of E.coli, a bacterial infection that can prove lethal.

Analysts have also looked at the potential casualties from an increasing drug resistance in Klebsiella pneumonia, a form of bacterial pneumonia, and Staphylococcus aureus, a skin infection, as well as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Read more » The Telegraph
See more » http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11517558/British-superbug-outbreak-could-kill-80000.html

Are superfast trains speeding down the tracks?

At the time the UK was completing its first stretch of high-speed rail in 2007, China had barely left the station. Nearly a decade on, Britain still has only that same 68-mile (109km) stretch of track, but China has built itself the longest high-speed network in the world.

At more than 12,000km (7,450 miles) in total, it is well over double the length of the European and Japanese networks combined.

So if you want to get a sense of what the future of rail travel might look like, China would seem to be the place to come.

Vacuum velocity

As it stands, train technology doesn’t seem to have changed much for decades.

The UK may have just received its first Hitachi-made Super Express high-speed train capable of running at up to 140mph (225km/h), but this is hardly a quantum leap forward.

The much-loved InterCity 125 – as its name suggests – could do 125mph back in the 1970s. And France’s TGV and Spain’s AVE travel at more than 190mph.

Continue reading Are superfast trains speeding down the tracks?

The rich are 64% richer than before the recession, while the poor are 57% poorer

Britain’s divided decade: the rich are 64% richer than before the recession, while the poor are 57% poorer

By NIGEL MORRIS

The gap between richest and poorest has dramatically widened in the past decade as wealthy households paid off their debts and piled up savings following the financial crisis, a report warns today.

By contrast, the worst-off families are far less financially secure than before the recession triggered by the near- collapse of several major banks. They have an average of less than a week’s pay set aside and are more often in the red.

Younger workers have fallen behind older people while homeowners – particularly those who have paid off their mortgages – have become increasingly affluent compared with their neighbours who are paying rent.

Evidence of Britain’s rapidly growing wealth gap was revealed by the Social Market Foundation (SMF), which analysed the changing incomes and savings of thousands of people. Its findings will be seized on by Labour as evidence that any recovery from the downturn is uneven and not shared across all income groups. However, the trends uncovered by the SMF began before the Coalition came to power, underlining the huge impact of the credit crunch on levels of affluence.

It found that the average wealth of the best-off one-fifth of families rose by 64 per cent between 2005 and 2012-13 as they put more money aside as a buffer against future shocks. They have average savings and investments of around £10,000 compared with £6,000 seven years earlier.

The proportion of people in this group with debts (apart from mortgages) dropped from 43 per cent to less than one-third. However, the SMF found the poorest 20 per cent are less financially secure than they were in 2005, with their net wealth falling by 57 per cent and levels of debt and use of overdrafts increasing.

Read more » The Independent
See more » http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britains-divided-decade-the-rich-are-64-richer-than-before-the-recessionwhile-the-poor-are-57-poorer-10097038.html

Argentina seizes Falkland Islands… with help of 50 pesos

More than 30 years after Argentinian forces made a failed attempt to seize the Falkland Islands from the British, Argentina’s Central Bank has announced the introduction of a 50 peso note with the archipelago emblazoned on the front.

On the reverse side of the colorful note is an image of Antonio Rivero, the Argentinian rebel leader who led an 1833 uprising in an effort to reclaim the islands from the British. Rivero, today a folk hero in the South American country, is pictured on horseback waving an Argentinian flag above his head.

The new banknote, which is worth £3.70 ($4.20), is scheduled to enter circulation next month.

Central Bank President Alejandro Vanoli explained that the goal of the new banknote is to “incorporate the Argentine nation’s unwavering claim over the Islas Malvinas [as they are known locally] into an element of daily use.”

Read more » http://rt.com/news/235279-argentina-banknote-falklands-britain/

‘Contingency plan’ needed for Greek eurozone exit – British govt

The UK is preparing for a possible Greek exit from the eurozone by taking measures to ensure British banks and companies are not exposed to risk.

Prime Minister David Cameron discussed plans to prepare the UK for a Greek exit from the eurozone with senior Treasury and Bank of England officials at a meeting on Monday.

They debated the possible impact an exit would have on markets and considered potential contingencies for the British businesses thought to be exposed to financial risk.

The meeting follows comments by the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, who told the BBC: “I believe [Greece] will eventually leave.”

Read more » http://rt.com/uk/230603-uk-begins-preparations-grexit/

Islamic radicalisation in UK frightening: Prince Charles

By PTI

London: Britain’s Prince Charles has described as “frightening” the growing radicalisation of British Muslim youth who have been joining the Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq, partly due to “crazy stuff” available on the internet.

The heir to Britain’s throne said the radicalisation was “one of the greatest worries” that could not be swept “under the carpet” but expressed his hope to build bridges between different faiths in an interview to the BBC broadcast today.

Asked about the radicalisation of young people in the UK, Prince Charles said: “Well, of course, this is one of the greatest worries, I think, and the extent to which this is happening is the alarming part. And particularly in a country like ours, where you know the values we hold dear.

“You think that the people who have come here, (are) born here, go to school here, would imbibe those values and outlooks.

“The frightening part is that people can be so radicalised either through contact with somebody else or through the internet, and the extraordinary amount of crazy stuff which is on the internet,” he said.

Read more » Hindustan Times
See more » http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/islamic-radicalisation-in-uk-frightening-prince-charles/article1-1314896.aspx

British pensioner on Pakistan’s death row on blasphemy charge shot by policeman

A British pensioner who was sentenced to death after being convicted of blasphemy, has been shot and injured by a policeman inside the Pakistani jail where the 70-year-old was on death row. A Christian pastor was reportedly killed in the same incident. Muhammad Asghar, who is from Edinburgh and whose family says he has a history of mental illness, was shot in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi on Thursday morning by a member of a specialist police unit allegedly using a concealed weapon. Pastor Zafar Bhatti was killed in the same incident, Reuters reported.

Mr Asghar was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to death in January this year after a disgruntled tenant presented letters he had written saying he was a prophet. During his trial, his family tried to present evidence that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

A lawyer for Mr Asghar, who asked not to be identified, said they had been told the pensioner had been shot in the back at 8.30am by a police constable attached to a specialist unit.

More » The Independent
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/british-pensioner-on-pakistans-death-row-shot-and-injured-9754963.html

A Separate Scotland

By Naomi Lloyd-Jones

With the independence referendum just around the corner, Naomi Lloyd-Jones asks why the Scottish Home Rule Association, an important precursor of the SNP, has been largely forgotten.

Informing electors of the importance of the opportunity now afforded them, one of Scotland’s most prominent nationalists declared that:

For the first time since the Union, they will have it in their power to determine whether Scotland is to recover the management of its own affairs.

At first glance we may naturally assume that this comment relates to the independence referendum that takes place this September, but it was actually written 121 years ago by William Mitchell, treasurer of the Scottish Home Rule Association (SHRA). In the same piece Mitchell urged that the time had come for his fellow countrymen to throw off the shackles of the Westminster party system and support solely those who were pledged to the restoration of a Scottish parliament. The SHRA, formed in 1886 in the midst of an acute constitutional crisis, sought the passage of ‘legislation for Scotland in Scotland’ and used the term ‘Home Rule’ to ‘express shortly the right of the Scottish people to manage their own affairs’. They counselled that only a reinstated legislature could ‘carry out what the people of Scotland want’, for ‘the Scottish people know their own business best’.

Read more » History Today
http://www.historytoday.com/naomi-lloyd-jones/separate-scotland

 

France hits back after UK condemns Russia Mistral ship deal

France’s foreign minister has accused the UK of double standards following its criticism of the Russian Mistral warship deal. Referring to Russian oligarchs in the UK, he said that Britain must tend to its own backyard before attacking French policies.

Following the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in Ukraine, British Prime Minister David Cameron criticized Paris for its plan to go ahead with the delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia. Cameron stressed that the move would be “unthinkable” in Britain.

The English in particular were very pleasant so to speak saying we would never do that, but I told my dear British friends let’s talk about the financial sector,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told TF1 television after a meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels.

I am led to believe that there are quite a few Russian oligarchs in London,” he added, as quoted by Reuters.

When asked whether he meant that the UK must first address its own business, Fabius replied: “Exactly.

On Monday, French President Francois Hollande said the plan to deliver the Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia would go forward, despite calls from the US and UK. The first ship is nearly completed and will be presented in October.

The Russians have paid. Should we repay 1.1 billion euros if the boat was not delivered to the purchaser?” he asked while speaking to reporters late on Monday – the night before an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels to discuss tougher sanctions on Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis.

For the time being, a level of sanctions has not been decided on that would prevent this delivery,” he said. “The contract was signed in 2011, the boat is almost finished and should be delivered in October.

Read more » RT
http://rt.com/news/174808-france-uk-criticism-mistral/

 

Syria President Bashar al-Assad sworn in for third term

Bashar al-Assad has been sworn in for a third seven-year term as president of Syria, after an election last month that opponents dismissed as a “farce”.

State television broadcast what it said was a live ceremony from the presidential palace in Damascus.

Mr Assad vowed to fight “terrorism” until security was restored to all of the country, but also promised to offer “national reconciliation” to opponents.

He has defied calls to step down since an uprising began in March 2011.

The conflict that erupted after the authorities launched a brutal crackdown on protests has left at least 170,000 people dead and driven more than nine million others from their homes.

‘Monstrous faces’

Mr Assad won 88.7% of the votes cast in the first multi-candidate election in decades, which took place only in areas of Syria that were under government control.

After taking the oath of office on Wednesday, Mr Assad told his supporters: “Syrians, three years and four months… have passed since some cried ‘freedom’.”

“They wanted a revolution, but you have been the real revolutionaries. I congratulate you for your revolution and for your victory,” he added.

“Those who lost their way can now see clearly… the monstrous faces have been unveiled, the mask of freedom and the revolution has fallen.”

Mr Assad also promised that Arab, regional and Western countries who are helping the rebels trying to topple him would soon “pay a high price for supporting terrorism.

Over the past year, Mr Assad’s forces – backed by Iran and the Lebanese Shia Islamist movement Hezbollah – have consolidated their control over a corridor of territory stretching north from the capital to the city of Homs and then into Hama and Latakia provinces.

However, large swathes of the north and east remain under the control of rebel forces, including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

The powerful al-Qaeda breakaway declared the creation of a “caliphate” in its territories last month after launching an offensive that saw it capture parts of northern and western Iraq.

Western-backed and more moderate Islamist rebels in Syria, who have been engaged in deadly battles with the group’s fighters since the start of the year, rejected the announcement.

Courtesy: BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28328138

More » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/world/2014/07/140716_syria_president_assad_rwa.shtml

1 million workers across the UK walk off their jobs to protest pay and pension cuts in the nation’s largest strike in decades

Public sector strikes hit schools and services around the UK

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in rallies and marches across the UK as part of a day of strike action by public service unions. Teachers, firefighters and council workers joined the strike, which follows disputes with the government over pay, pensions and cuts. Thousands of pupils were affected as some 6,000 schools in England closed, the Department for Education said.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-28240683

 

Tens of thousands march in London against coalition’s austerity measures

An estimated 50,000 people in London addressed by speakers, including Russell Brand, after People’s Assembly march

By  and agencies

Tens of thousands of people marched through central London on Saturday afternoon in protest at austerity measures introduced by the coalition government. The demonstrators gathered before the Houses of Parliament, where they were addressed by speakers, including comedians Russell Brand and Mark Steel.

An estimated 50,000 people marched from the BBC’s New Broadcasting House in central London to Westminster.

“The people of this building [the House of Commons] generally speaking do not represent us, they represent their friends in big business. It’s time for us to take back our power,” said Brand.

Read more » The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/21/protest-march-austerity-london-russell-brand-peoples-assembly#start-of-comments

Coming back?: Britain has frozen my bank accounts, says Altaf

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain revealed that the British government has frozen all his bank accounts in the United Kingdom.

In an interview with a private news channel on Saturday, he said, “I face money laundering and other cases, which have not been presented in court so far. And without any proof, the British government has sealed all my bank accounts.”

The MQM chief admitted that the British authorities had conducted raids at his house and at his office. “No lawyer is willing to come forward because they are afraid of the British establishment. But I will continue to fight and face everything alone.” He said the British government can put him in jail and kill him but he will ‘continue to speak the truth’. “If I have to die, then why not in Pakistan?”

Regarding his national identity card, Altaf said he has warts on his legs and feet and therefore, cannot walk properly. However, he managed to come to the MQM’s secretariat in London where Nadra officials carried out the procedure.

“Now they are saying the data has gone corrupt? Do the prime minister and the interior minister want me to beg for my Pakistaniat (Pakistani identity)? I don’t want this charity from them.” He said he was disappointed with the Sindh governor for remaining silent in the recent meeting with Nawaz Sharif. “They were putting false accusations on us, but the governor did not say anything and remained quiet.”

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2014.
http://tribune.com.pk/story/709892/coming-back-britain-has-frozen-my-bank-accounts-says-altaf/#.U3g8o8v9QJQ.facebook

David Cameron’s ‘Christian country’ remarks fuel mini media frenzy

‘Militant secularists’ offended by David Cameron talk about Britain’s status as ‘Christian country’

By Margaret Evans, CBC News

“Are you there God? It’s me David. And, um, well … I’ve managed to cause a spot of bother ….”

Apologies to author Judy Blume, but it’s hard not to imagine some of the inner conversations Prime Minister David Cameron might be having in the fevered wake of his pre-Easter comments about Britain’s “status as a Christian country.’

Admittedly, they might be a little more complex than the musings of a prepubescent girl struggling with her own religious identity while also trying to navigate the complex world of training bras and spin the bottle.

But David Cameron’s actual comments – and the reaction to them by a group of “militant secularists” as the tabloid press has dubbed them – have sparked a mini media frenzy in Britain.

Britain: a ‘Christian country?’

The debate has even drawn out the great serpent of spin Alistair Campbell, who has accused Cameron of exaggerating his Christian zeal in order to deflect government scandals. “How are we to believe Cameron believes it all when so recently he was twiddling the knobs on the radio trying to find his faith at all,” Campbell wrote in a blog.

Campbell, Tony Blair’s former communications chief, was referring to comments Cameron made about his own flickering faith just a few years ago when he famously said that it tended to “come and go” like a hard-to-find frequency on the radio.

Cue the quips about trying to tune in to religion and fuzzy dials.

Passing judgment

Cameron’s latest – and to some, offending – comments about his Christian faith came in the form of a pre-Easter reception at Downing Street for religious leaders. He followed up with an article written for a paper called the Church Times.

“I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country,” wrote Cameron, saying that Britain should be “more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people’s lives.

“Being more confident about our status as a Christian country does not somehow involve doing down other faiths or passing judgment on those with no faith at all,” he wrote.

A group of prominent liberals was quick to challenge that, writing an open letter to Cameron in the Daily Telegraph and accusing him of fostering alienation and division in the UK.  

“We object to his characterization of Britain as a ‘Christian country’ and the negative consequences for politics and society that this engenders,” said the letter, signed by a bevy of “personalities” ranging from philosopher A.C. Grayling to author Philip Pullman. 

“Apart from in the narrow constitutional sense that we continue to have an established Church, Britain is not a ‘Christian country,'” the letter said.

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/david-cameron-s-christian-country-remarks-fuel-mini-media-frenzy-1.2619116

Russia, Ukraine and the West: Will there be war?

Written by Alan Woods

As Ukraine slides deeper into chaos, the sound of war drums gets ever louder. On Saturday President Vladimir Putin secured his parliament’s authority to send the Russian army, not just into Crimea but also into Ukraine itself.

This threat was issued only days after “unidentified” armed men seized control of the Crimea peninsula. These were later unsurprisingly identified as troops from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, based in Crimea. The new pro-Russian president of Crimea equally unsurprisingly immediately called on Moscow to intervene. At the same time, pro-Moscow demonstrators hoisted flags above government buildings in two eastern cities.

Western leaders shook their heads and said that Russia must not intervene. Moscow held up its hands, indignantly protesting that it would not do so. But the facts seem to indicate otherwise. For the whole of last week Russian troops were staging what were described as “routine manoeuvres” on the borders of Ukraine.

Putin secured without difficulty the unanimous approval of the Russian senate for the use of armed force on the territory of his neighbour, citing the need to protect Russian citizens. He asked that Russian forces be used “until the normalisation of the political situation in the country”: a very reasonable sounding request, a velvet glove that barely conceals the iron fist within, for he gave exactly the same reason for invading Georgia in 2008.

This threat to what was supposed to be an independent country of 46 million people on the edges of central Europe creates the biggest direct confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War. There has been a flurry of diplomatic activity in different capitals aimed at “calming the situation”. The government in Kiev protested. The EU protested. Obama protested.

Britain summoned the Russian ambassador to voice its “concern”. Soon after the UK’s Foreign Minister William Hague flew to Kiev, presumably to express his sympathy to the provisional government there. EU ministers were due to hold emergency talks. Czech President Milos Zeman recalled the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

Washington has warned that Russia’s actions would have “consequences”. But nobody is saying what these would be. In reply Putin calmly asserted his right to deploy troops in Ukraine “to defend the interests of Russian people”. Western politicians have hundreds of arguments, but Putin has hundreds of thousands of troops, tanks and guns. And whereas the forces of NATO are rather far away, his own forces are conveniently massing right on the Ukrainian border, and some are already on the ground in Crimea as Russia has a permanent naval base there.

The tension between the two sides increases by the hour. In a televised address, Ukraine’s acting President Olexander Turchynov urged people to remain calm. (Everyone is urging exactly the same thing). He asked Ukrainians to bridge divisions in the country and said they must not fall for provocations. But in the same breath said he had put the army on full alert, which is hardly a very calming message.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was standing next to Mr Turchynov, said he was “convinced” Russia would not intervene militarily “as this would be the beginning of war and the end of all relations.”

Fear and misery in Ukraine

The situation in Ukraine is dramatic. The euphoria of the first few days after the fall of Yanukovych has dissipated and is being replaced with an anxious and tense mood.

Continue reading Russia, Ukraine and the West: Will there be war?

UK visas should be auctioned, migration advisers say

By Brian Wheeler, Political reporter The right to settle in Britain should be auctioned off to wealthy foreign investors, government advisers say. At present migrants can gain entry by investing £1m or more in the UK. Read more » BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26334978

Russell Brand’s Revolution Is Right, We Have To Change.

Bob Geldof Backs Russell Brand’s Revolution In Call For New Politics

The Huffington Post UK | By Asa Bennett

Sir Bob Geldof has thrown his weight behind Russell Brand‘s call for a political revolution, warning that the current system of democracy “may not be viable for much longer”.

Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, Geldof praised Brand for his “articulacy and expressing the anger of the moment”, after he sparked a controversy with an essay in the New Statesman magazine calling for the “overthrow of the current political system”.

The Irish rockstar and political activist said: “We have to change and it needs to be in the context of how we live now rather than with some old-hat political ideal.”

Geldof blamed the failure of capitalism on the banks going “out of control” and due to human greed, inventing “completely spurious” financial products.

“They ceased to [give money to others] and gave it to themselves through fraud, outright international global gangsterism.

In an impassioned attack on recent banking scandals, he went on: “That’s what it was. Mispricing of products, fraud. Mis-selling of products, fraud. Fixing the interbank lending rate. Fraud. It was fraud on an unprecedented scale! They sucked billions out of the world economy, destroying individuals, companies and countries.”

“Russell [Brand] is completely right. That model cannot sustain us as we saw, it bankrupted Greece, almost Italy, almost France and almost Ireland. It just can’t work.”

Geldof, renowned for his role behind the Live Aid and Band Aid charity initiatives, spoke to HuffPostUK after talking to young entrepreneurs at an event hosted by the RockStar Youth group.

Geldof warned Brand that replacing the current political system with anarchy was “not viable or plausible”, adding: “You can’t just have a free for all. It just wont work because we will form structural organisations within that as it’s the kind of thing we do.”

However, he said the bankers’ immense levels of pay posed a serious threat to society. “When you have these supposed masters of the universe averaging more than 248 times the average worker’s pay, you have a serious problem of inequality. Inequality stops a society functioning and so it has to stop.

“I do think the version of democracy that we have been living with just may not be viable for very much longer. We will have something where we have proper freedom and elected representation.”

“We all co-operate in the knowing lie, which is that everybody promises more and that the economy will inevitably grow. what does that mean? It means more, more of what? That’s not viable in an unsustainable and finite world.

“Nor can you in a four year electoral cycle put into place programmes that would help to ameliorate the effects of that. If the economy is affected in that way by definition politics are so that the politics that we’ve grown up with in a different economy cannot work in a new one, there has to be a newer type of politics.

“You will see a change in the type of politics. It’ll still be our government, it needs to be otherwise you’ll have problems and it still needs to be a more coherent economy.”

Courtesy: Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/01/18/bob-geldof-russell-brand_n_4622761.html

Global Arctic wars already started

By Adrian Salbuchi

Excerpt;

Today’s globalized geopolitical grand chessboard often plays out in interestingly complex and roundabout ways. Such is the case of the on-going tug of war between the US, UK and EU on the one hand, and Russia and its allies on the other.

Pieces are moved; sometimes a pawn from one square to the next, at other times a rook or bishop straight across the chessboard; even a knight in its more crooked way… Such is the game of the looming “Arctic War” which is starting to unfold, in which seemingly unconnected events begin to make sense when we start joining the right dots correctly. …..

…. Then there’s also NATO-ally Denmark filing its claims through Greenland territorial projection, weak ally Norway and, of course, there’s Superpower Russia which in 2007 actually planted its flag on the Arctic sea bed right on the North Pole. Canada too claims that the North Pole is hers. Alas! Poor Santa Claus, let’s just hope he’s not evicted before Christmas…

As history has shown time and again, the only language that the US-UK Alliance really understands is the language of force or the threat thereof. So President Putin has very prudently ordered his military starting 2014 to beef up Russia’s presence and defence over its entire huge Arctic sphere of interest: a “top government priority to protect its security and national interest” in his own words.

In recent months, Russia has started creating new Arctic military units, reinstating its military bases in the Novosibirsk Archipelago and Franz Josef Land that had been abandoned after the demise of the former Soviet Union, and began restoring key airfields in the region including those on Kotelny Island which includes making ready the towns of Tiksi, Naryan-Mar, and Anadyr for increased military personnel and logistical needs.

10 Russian warships and nuclear powered icebreakers are now operative in that region overseeing key shipping lanes joining the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, including ports like Murmansk (where the “Arctic Sunrise” lies peacefully anchored).

Clearly, the Arctic is very much on the global grand chessboard’s radar screen. What happens there over the next few years will have immense significance considering that the manoeuvring and relative positioning achieved by the powers in conflict will also help to consolidate their respective presences in the region and worldwide.

For when it comes to oil and gas, the US and UK have clearly decided to militarize oil exploration, exploitation and shipping lanes. Just as they have done in the South Atlantic with the UK’s Falkland/Malvinas nuclear military base and the US’s powerful Fourth South Atlantic Fleet with its rosary of military bases discretely spread into Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and other countries in the region.

For there lies another even vaster and richer region: the Antarctic which is not just a sea but an entire continent centred on the South Pole.

Indeed, in our complex world what happens in the scorched deserts of Arabia, Libya and Iraq; in the infinite steppes of Asia; in the steaming jungles of Africa; or in the windswept pampas of South America has an impact – albeit, indirect – on this new front which we could described as the coming polar wars.

Wars involving superpower nations, their allied countries, environmental NGO’s fronting for the global power elites, oil, gas and mining giants, and of course the bankers pulling the strings from above; way above 10 Downing, way above the White House, the Palais D’Elysee and Greenpeace’s HQ in Amsterdam.

Adrian Salbuchi is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina. www.asalbuchi.com.ar

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Read more » rt.com
http://rt.com/op-edge/global-arctic-war-syria-488/

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Via – Siasat.pk
http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?224864-Global-Arctic-wars-already-started