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Friday, May 24, 2013

UK Prime Minister Demands to Know Why Security Services Didn’t Track Woolwich Attackers

British Prime Minister David Cameron will ask for a thorough investigation on the the reasons why the two men arrested for the murder of a soldier in Woolwich were dismissed by the MI5 as peripheral threats, despite being tracked by the internal security service for eight years. Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebolawe were known to the authorities before the attacks and remain under armed guard in separate London hospitals. “The Prime Minister is very clear he wants to see an investigation about what went right and what went wrong. It’s very important to stress these investigation are still going on”, said Communities Secretary Eric Pickles during an interview with the BBC, adding that “we need to be realistic that a free and open society is always vulnerable”. Speaking to the BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Blair said that the security services could not possibly be expected to be monitoring every single threat. “Obviously the security services have limited resources – they must prioritise to the people who are most likely to move from being interested in violent extremism to carrying out”, he said.

US Secretary of State Says Israelis and Palestinians Must Make Tough Decisions

US Secretary of State John Kerry ended two days of talks in the Middle East with a call for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make a decision whether to revive peace negotiations in order to end the long-running conflict. Hailing the talks as “very productive”, he said that the region was reaching a time “where leaders need to make hard decisions”. “I made clear in my discussions that the parties should be focused on making progress toward direct negotiations”, said Kerry. Also participating in talks in the region, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that “unless bold leadership is there to make the most of this opportunity, then we face a bleak situation in the Middle East”. Palestinian officials say they will only resume negotiations if Israel halts settlement building on lands seized in 1967, including areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel said it would not accept any preconditions to talks.

N.Korea Strongly Criticised by China on Nuclear Stance

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has issued a stern warning to North Korea, saying it should return to the negotiating table and resume the so-called six party talks interrupted in 2008. “The Chinese position is very clear: no matter how the situation changes, relevant parties should all adhere to the goal of denuclearisation of the peninsula, persist in safeguarding its peace and stability, and stick to solving problems through dialogue and consultation”, said Xi, according to the China News Service. The Chinese leader had been in discussions with Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae, a personal envoy of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Beijing. Another strongly worded statement was made by General Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission. Eschewing the normal references to the good relations between the two countries, Fan blamed North Korea for the escalating tensions in the region. “In recent years, the Korean Peninsula has frequently seen rapidly escalating tensions due to the Korean nuclear issue. Strategic differences between parties have been exacerbated, endangering the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula”, he said, according to the China News Service.

Explosions Rock Central Kabul

The Taleban laid siege to the centre of Kabul on Friday as it launched an attack in the vicinity of the Afghan intelligence agency and the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF), a government agency responsible for the protection of aid groups, international firms and supply convoys in the country. “I was sitting in my shop when the explosion happened. It was a big explosion which threw me off my chair, minutes later another explosion happened. Smoke is rising and gunfire is continuing”, said Jawed Kazem, a local shopkeeper. The Taleban confirmed it was responsible for the attack through a statement by its spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, to the AFP news agency. “A group of other mujahideen armed with heavy and light weapons then took position in a building and are firing on several targets including a building in which the foreigners and members of spy agency stay”, he said. The group is seen to be stepping up its activities as foreign forces prepare to hand over the country’s security to the Afghan government at the end of next year.

Weekend Read: Amidst the Woolwich Attackers

“I went over to the body where there was a lady sitting there and she said he was dead. She had comforted him by putting something under his back and a jacket over his head. I took his pulse and there was none.” In the Guardian.

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