UK will ‘look at all options’ to aid Scots hostage

A still from the video released by IS showing Steven Sotloff moments before his murder. Picture: Reuters

A still from the video released by IS showing Steven Sotloff moments before his murder. Picture: Reuters

 

by CHRIS MARSHALL

FOREIGN Secretary Philip Hammond declared yesterday that every possible option will be explored to protect a Scottish hostage whose life is being threatened by the same jihadists who have already killed two American journalists.

The 44-year-old aid worker appeared in a video released by Islamic State (IS) extremists on Tuesday. His family has asked for him not to be named.

At the end of the chilling film, a masked knifeman stands above the captive Scot, warning countries entering an “evil alliance” with the United States against IS to “back off”.

Speaking after a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee yesterday, Mr Hammond said the latest video – which depicts the murder of American Steven Sotloff by a jihadist with a British accent – appeared genuine. Continue reading

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$10,000 a head: Radicals put a bounty on UK journalist in Ukraine

 May 05, 2014 15:36

Ukrainian troops guard a checkpoint near the town of Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine May 2, 2014 (Reuters / Baz Ratner)

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Ukrainian radicals have put a bounty out on RT stringer Graham Phillips, who is currently working in the east of the country. Also a camera-man working for RT in Odessa has been informed about being on the radicals’ radar.

“Myself I have received threats putting a bounty on my head to be kidnapped and that has been offered from [the city of] Dnepropetrovsk, as I understand, connected to the Right Sector,” Graham Phillips confirmed while reporting live from the city of Slavyansk.

The Right Sector reportedly offered $10,000 for the capture of “a Russian spy.”

The ultra-nationalists also have a cameraman working for RT in the violence-gripped city of Odessa on their radar, RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan confirmed in a statement. Continue reading

British hate preacher managed London strip club

08 May 2014 07:58

British hate preacher Abu Hamza has told his US terror trial how he once jointly managed a London strip club in his quest to live a Western, movie-style life.

NEW YORK: British hate preacher Abu Hamza told his US terror trial on Wednesday how he once jointly managed a London strip club in his quest to live a Western, movie-style life.

Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, 56, better known in Britain as Abu Hamza al-Masri, has pleaded not guilty to 11 kidnapping and terror counts that pre-date the 9/11 attacks.

Blind in one eye and with both hands blown off in an explosion in Afghanistan, he faces life in prison in a maximum security US prison if convicted by jury at the New York court.

Taking the stand for the first time in his trial, wearing tracksuit bottoms, a blue T-shirt and orange socks, the Egyptian-born former civil engineer spoke softly. Continue reading

Terrorism spotlight falls on Islington as brothers become Al-Qaeda poster boys

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Akram Sebah (left) and brother Mohamed – picture of the two which was sent out on social media, declaring them Martyrs

Rory Brigstock-Barron Thursday, January 30, 2014  7:00 AM

The terrorism spotlight fell on Holloway this week as three people in their 20s were linked to al-Qaeda in Syria.

Propaganda images were ­released on social media of brothers Akram, 24, and Mohamed ­Sebah, 28, who grew up in Cornwallis Square, and are believed to have died in battle in the war-torn country in September.

The two were pictured together smiling and brandishing guns in camouflage gear and were hailed “martyrs” and “young British ­lions” in messages sent out to ­encourage other recruits to follow in their footsteps.

Continue reading

Top UK hackers compete for GCHQ-sponsored cybersecurity prize

The hacking challenge hopes to attract articulate and talented contestants to fill a UK-wide skills gap in tech security

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Alex Hern theguardian.com, Thursday 30 January 2014 11.04 GMT

Two contestants brief PWC’s Andrew Miller on Koffee Café’s problems, while Alex Hern observes in the background. Photograph: Rupert Hartley

Koffee Cafe has a problem: its website, while just about useable for the small coffee chain, is held together with string, chewing gum and hope.

For the past few years, it’s survived because no one important has bothered to pay attention to it, but that’s due to change. A multinational coffee chain has expressed interest in an acquisition, and now the auditors are being brought in to make sure there aren’t any hidden dangers. If they look hard enough, they’ll find some blinders.

Continue reading

UK:Pilots demand to know why helicopters fall from sky

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A committee into helicopter safety has heard that oil workers feel unable to raise safety concerns. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

by FRANK URQUHART Updated on the 28 January 2014
00:47   Published 27/01/2014 22:02

LEADERS of Britain’s offshore and pilots’ unions yesterday called for a judicial review to discover why “helicopters keep falling out of the sky” in the UK sector of the North Sea.

MPs on Westminster’s powerful transport select committee heard concerns about the safety of offshore flights in Britain’s oil and gas industry had heightened as a result of the Super Puma crash off Shetland last August in which four oil workers were killed – the fifth incident involving helicopters in the British sector in four years.

Captain Colin Milne, of the helicopter affairs committee of pilots’ union Balpa, warned the decision to make the European Aviation Safety Agency the “overarching authority” for aviation safety in Europe could lead to a reduction in Britain’s “gold standard” approach to helicopter operations in the North Sea.

Continue reading

British, Spanish ships almost come to blows over ‘The Rock’

The British navy and Spanish civil guard faced off today over a fishing dispute off the Gibraltar coast. Spain maintains it only ceded Gibraltar to the British, not the waters around it.

By Andrés Cala, Correspondent / May 24, 2012

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The rock (back) of the British Colony of Gibraltar is seen at dusk from La Linea de la Concepcion, southern Spain on May 18.

Jon Nazca/Reuters Enlarge      –Madrid

The British Royal Navy and Spain’s Civil Guard engaged in a testy three hour standoff this morning over the sovereignty of waters off Gibraltar that devolved into bad-mouthing and at least one small collision.

Spanish boats were fishing in waters claimed by both Spain and the UK when Gibraltarian police speedboats, backed up by the British Royal Navy, encircled them. Spanish Civil Guard armed patrollers and a helicopter came to the fishermen’s defense, prompting the Royal Navy ship to intervene, setting off a shouting match, and causing at least one minor, and apparently accidental, collision.

IN PICTURES – The Queen’s diamond jubilee

It’s not the first standoff at sea between Spain and Britain, but it is the most serious in decades. The new Gibraltar government said when it came to power in December that a 1999 agreement that gave Spain rights to fish off its coast was unconstitutional and began forcing back Spanish ships. Spain insists on returning to the 1999 agreement, but refuses to negotiate with Gibraltar.

The spat is exacerbating strains that began last week, when Spain’s monarchy snubbed Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee in protest of next month’s planned official visit to Gibraltar of Britain’s Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth, and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Continue reading