Archive | June, 2007

UK On Terror Alert After Glasgow Airport Attack

30 Jun

UK On Terror Alert

After Glasgow Airport Attack

By J. P. Anderson

At London’s Heathrow Airport within the past hour or so, a fire has been reported in a car. Scotland Yard has denied that there has been an explosion at Heathrow Airport.

Earlier at about 3pm today, a four-wheel-drive vehicle rammed into Glasgow airport’s main terminal on Saturday and exploded in flames in what police described as an attack, a day after a twin car-bomb plot was foiled in London.

A Glasgow police spokeswoman said two people were arrested following the incident. Witnesses described those arrested as Asian men and said one of them was badly burnt.

Scottish police said they were not immediately connecting the attack to the foiled car bombs in London.

However, Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s office said he would chair a meeting of Britain’s top security committee later on Saturday to discuss events in Glasgow. The committee was also convened on Friday following the thwarted London plot.

In Kennebunkport, Maine, the United States announced it was boosting security at airports nationwide, although the overall U.S. terrorism threat level would remain the same.

From Glasgow, witnesses told the BBC the vehicle, a Land Rover or a Jeep Cherokee, exploded shortly after crashing into the glass front doors of the terminal, and said there was a heavy stench of petrol.

"It raced across the central reservation and went straight into the building," said taxi driver Ian Crosby outside the terminal.

Crosby said a stocky Asian man had got out of the car and was quickly wrestled to the ground by bystanders.

"It would appear to me to have been a deliberate attack. I think this was a terrorist attack," Crosby said.

Another witness said the occupants of the car had got out of the vehicle after they rammed it into the building and taken out cans of petrol that they then used to douse the car, before it went up in flames.

The airport was shut down following the incident.

In London, police scoured hours of CCTV footage and extra squads were deployed on the streets, particularly around landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament after Friday’s failed car bomb attacks in the centre of the city.

An intensive counter-terrorism investigation was launched after the discovery in the early hours of Friday of a metallic green Mercedes packed with up to 60 litres of fuel, several gas canisters and a large quantity of nails.

A mobile phone, which security experts believed might have been a detonation device, was left inside the fume-filled car.

A second Mercedes packed with gas and nails was later found to have been parked just a few hundred yards from the first.

Police said the two vehicles were clearly linked. Both bombs were quickly defused but, had they gone off, would have caused significant injuries and deaths, police said.

JULY 2005 ATTACKS

The foiled plot came to light two years after a coordinated attack by suicide bombers on London’s transport system killed 52 commuters. It appeared to have similarities to an earlier plot in which an al Qaeda militant planned to blow up gas-filled bombs inside limousines in London.

Plans for policing of public events in the coming 10 days were reviewed to ensure public security, including a Gay Pride parade in London on Saturday, the Wimbledon tennis tournament and a concert for Princess Diana on Sunday.

"Appropriate policing will be in place for all events," a police spokeswoman said. "Safety and security is our number one priority."

Despite the continuing threat, tourists were stoical.

"You could be safe anywhere or you could be safe nowhere. It hasn’t put me off travelling here," said Ivonne Geller, 49, a tourist from Mexico strolling outside the Tiger Tiger club.

"I just feel angry about the methods of these people who try to harm innocent people."

Intelligence sources believe there is a growing probability the London plot was hatched by an al Qaeda-style group.

"The feeling it is Islamist, rather than the other possibilities, is very quietly growing stronger," a source said.

The area of London where the car bombs were left, known as Haymarket, is one of the busiest in the capital and one of the most intensely monitored by CCTV surveillance.

Gaza’s Children In Crisis: UNICEF

30 Jun

Gaza’s Children in Crisis

By J. P. Anderson

The recent intra-Palestinian violence in the Gaza Strip left many young people shaken and unable to carry out their daily activities.

Clashes between Hamas and Fatah killed more than 110 people and injured another 500 earlier this month. Children and adolescents were left with nothing to do but wait and hope, disappointed over the cancellation of summer plans, the disruption of critically important final exams and the uncertain future they face.

“They were continuously shooting for five days,” recalled Julie, 17, one of several Palestinian youths who spoke to UNICEF Radio. “The situation was really bad. Nobody was able to get out of the house, not even able to get near a window.”

In the aftermath of the internal violence – and amid the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict – UNICEF and its partners have been working to provide medical supplies, safe water and psychosocial counselling for children and families in the affected areas.

In the aftermath of the internal violence – and amid the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict – UNICEF and its partners have been working to provide medical supplies, safe water and psychosocial counselling for children and families in the affected areas.

Junk Food Ads Ban Will Fail Children

30 Jun

Which? Junk Food Ads Ban

Will Fail Children

By J. P. Anderson

The ban against junk food ads shown during programmes watched by under-15s will not go far enough, a consumer group has warned.

The new rules state that adverts for food and drink high in fat, salt or sugar cannot contain anything which would appeal to or mislead under-15s.

But consumer group Which? said the controls would not be as effective because many shows with lots of child viewers had slipped through the net.

These include Coronation Street, Emmerdale, The Bill, This is Your Life, Heartbeat and Trinny and Susannah Undress.

Which? chief policy adviser Sue Davies said: "The new controls will clearly fail children as none of the programmes with the highest viewing figures for four to 15 year olds are covered.

"This leaves food companies free to broadcast adverts for foods high in fat, salt and sugar at the times when they know the most children will be watching."

The group is calling for a post-9pm ban on ads for junk food.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said: "Given that between 6pm and 9pm there are nine adults watching the commercial public service channels for every child under 16, a 9pm watershed ban would clearly have an effect on many more adults than children."

Rights The Progressive Element of EU Treaty

28 Jun

Fundamental Rights The Progressive Element

Of Reformed EU Treaty

By J. P. Anderson

Speaking on Thursday 27th June, at the National Forum on the Future of Europe-

Sinn Féin’s Dublin Spokesperson on European Affairs, Cllr. Daithí Doolan has challenged the Irish government to stop attempting to opt-out of their commitment to the EU Human Rights Charter contained within the Reformed Treaty.
Speaking from Dublin Castle Cllr. Doolan said:

“There can be no EU opt – out on human rights“.

“The rights of the Irish people are not to be bargained away by the Taoiseach. It is totally unacceptable to Sinn Féin that the Taoiseach is attempting to negotiate an opt-out clause of the Charter of Fundamental Rights contained within the controversial Reformed Treaty.

The Rights Charter is the only progressive element of this Treaty and it is disgrace that the Taoiseach wants to dump it“.
“The opt-out clause will have serious consequences for the rights of Irish citizens; particularly the trade union movement as opting out of the Charter will remove workers right to strike.

This is brought into focus with the recent industrial action taken by the Irish Nurses Organisation and Psychiatric Nurses Association. The Taoiseach’s actions can only be seen as a cynical anti-union strategy in preparation for what he has termed the economic slow down.”
Cllr. Doolan continued
“This news comes as we gather today to debate a Social Model for Europe.
Sinn Féin’s wants to work with others in developing a Social Model to meet the demands of people in a 21st Century Europe.

Our vision of that model is based on the promotion of human rights, solidarity, conflict resolution and an economy servicing the people and their needs.

Currently what is on offer is a repackaged EU Constitution promoting militarism, unbridled free market capitalism and self interest.”

Spanish Arrest In Madeleine McCann Case: Update:

28 Jun

Update:

Spanish police have arrested an Italian man and questioned a woman of unknown nationality in connection with the suspected kidnapping of British four-year-old Madeleine McCann, officials said Thursday.
A police spokesman told AFP the arrest was made near the southern Spanish port of Algeciras after the French authorities issued an international arrest warrant for the man.

"Police are examining the possibility of a link" with the Madeleine case, the spokesman said.

Spanish broadcaster Telecinco reported that police had detained a married couple, an Italian man and a Portuguese woman, near the town of Sotogrande, which is not far from Algeciras.

"The woman was questioned but that doesn’t mean she was arrested," the police spokesman told AFP without confirming her nationality.

He also said the arrest of the man was on the basis of the international arrest warrant, which reports said could be to do with a paedophile network and not the Madeleine case.

Spanish broadcaster CNN+ reported the man could have been detained for trying to extort money from the toddler’s family by attempting to offer information on her whereabouts.

Madeleine disappeared in Portugal on May 3 from the hotel room where she and her two-year-old twin siblings were sleeping in the southern resort town of Praia da Luz while her parents were out dining nearby.

Spanish newspaper El Pais meanwhile reported on its website that an Italian had been arrested near Algeciras in the early hours of Thursday "for his possible implication" in the Madeleine case.

Quoting police sources, the paper added a specialist police unit had staked out a house in the area prior to the arrest.

The disappearance of "Madeleine" has been given widespread coverage worldwide with her parents heading an international campaign to keep the case in the public eye and locate her.

Her parents have visited several countries to keep up their quest and also set up a website, findmadeleine.com, which has received millions of hits.

Intense efforts by Portuguese authorities to turn up a trace of the youngster have not turned up any leads, despite more than 100 people being interviewed and dozens of searches of flats near where the family where staying.

In recent weeks there have been reported sightings of Madeleine in Greece and Morocco.

British citizen Robert Murat, 33, who lives in Praia da Luz near the hotel complex where Madeleine disappeared, was questioned on May 15 but released for lack of evidence without being remanded.

On June 11, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported Madeleine’s body had been located near Praia da Luz, but the lead was rapidly revealed to be a hoax, while searches in Morocco have also come to nothing.

Some 200 officers, including from Interpol, Europol and British and Portuguese police, are working on the Madeleine case while Spain is also providing support as she disappeared barely 100 kilometres (65 miles) from the border.

Madeleine McCann Man and Woman Arrested In Spain

28 Jun

Man and Woman Arrested In Madeleine Case

By J. P. Anderson

A man and a woman have been arrested in Spain over the suspected kidnapping of Madeleine McCann, according to a Spanish news website.

Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa, from Portuguese police, said he had heard the report from Spanish newspaper El Pais and was trying to verify it.

He added: "I have heard about this and I am trying to check this information with my director."

Madeleine’s great uncle, Brian Kennedy, said: "We are trying not to get our hopes up too much because they so frequently get dashed."

The family had been cautioned to be "very careful" about reading too much into reports about Madeleine, he added.

But he said they were still welcome because it meant people were still keeping a look out for her and that they had not forgotten about her plight.

It is now 56 days since Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, went missing from her hotel room in the Portuguese resort Praia da Luz while her parents, Gerry and Kate, were eating in a restaurant just 100 yards away.

Her parents Gerry and Kate McCann have stayed in Portugal since she disappeared, insisting they will not leave until she is found.

People across Europe should call the international Crimestoppers line on 0044 188 373 1336 or if they are inside the UK 0800 555 111 if they have information.

Incineration Ban Against EU Law

27 Jun

Incineration Ban Against EU Law

By J. P. Anderson

Sinn Féin’s Dublin Spokesperson on the Environment, Cllr. Daithí Doolan, has today expressed deep disappointment that the Minister for Environment will not oppose the incinerator for Poolbeg Peninsula.

Speaking this afternoon in Ringsend Cllr. Daithí Doolan said,

"Today’s response from Minister Gormley’s to a Parliamentary Question Sinn Fein tabled show how he has already buckled on this central issue. The Parliamentary Question asked the Minister to introduce legislation prohibiting the introduction of incineration.

Unfortunately his response is far from satisfactory.

His reply stated that the Programme for Government does not include any such commitment nor would such a ban on incineration be consistent with EU legislation.

Those of us involved in the long campaign against this incinerator had hoped a change of government and in particular a Green Party Minister would have brought a change of policy but unfortunately this is not to be."

Cllr. Doolan concluded by saying

"The Green Party must clearly and unequivocally come out and state they will stop this incinerator going ahead.

If the TD for the area and Minister for the Environment Mr John Gormley TD, can not make such a statement then he must seriously review his situation in government."