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Monday, August 19, 2013

UK questioned over anti-terrorist law after whistleblower’s partner detained

Britain’s anti-terrorist legislation watchdog and Amnesty International have called on the British Home Office and Metropolitan police to explain why anti-terror laws were used to detain Brazilian David Miranda for nine hours at Heathrow airport. He is the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who wrote stories to reveal mass surveillance programmes by the United States. Miranda said he was questioned by six agents on his “entire life”.

According to the watchdog, only 40 of the 60,000 to 70,000 people questioned under schedule 7 of the 2000 Terrorism Act are detained for more than six hours. Miranda, who was on his way to Rio de Janeiro after a stopover in London, said officials confiscated his electronics equipment, including mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles. Miranda is not a Guardian employee but often assists Greenwald in his work.

Egypt’s Mubarak to be released

In detention since April 2011, Egypt’s former dictator Hosni Mubarak may be released. Officials say there are no grounds to hold the 85-year-old after the expiration of a two-year legal limit for holding an individual in custody. A final verdict for Mubarak has not been reached yet. The dictator was sentenced to life in prison in June last year for his failure to stop the killing of some 900 protesters, but that decision has been overturned on appeal and he is now being retried.

The announcement comes at a moment of turmoil for Egypt. Security forces said on Monday that they suspected Islamic militants ambushed two mini-buses carrying off-duty policemen in Sinai Peninsula. Twenty five policemen were killed. The incident happened in Rafah, in northern Sinai. Nearly 1,000 people have been killed in violence between security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi since last Wednesday.

Russia battles flood, and 20,000 are evacuated

The move was made in Russia’s far east, where the Amur river banks have bursted after heavy rain. The damage so far has been estimated at about $ 91 million. Emergency workers and the Army have set up 166 temporary shelters across three regions. Many do not want to be evacuated, though. The regions near the Chinese border are worst affected. It is the worst flooding in that area for 120 years. Soldiers are in action to prevent looting.

According to the Russian Meteorological Service, the flood in the Amur region has now passed its peak, but the weather forecast promises more rain later this month. The flood waters, however, are not expected to recede until September. The deluge has also caused widespread flooding in neighbouring provinces of China, which has also started mass evacuations.

Al Qaeda plans attacks on high-speed trains in Europe

Authorities in Germany have stepped up security on the rail system because of the risk of attacks by Al Qaeda, a German newspaper reports. The information came from the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). The German Interior Ministry said he was not planning to increase overall security, but newspaper Bild says that has happened to high-speed Intercity-Express (ICE) routes and at stations with “invisible measures”, including the deployment of plain clothes police officers.

Security experts say the attacks could include acts of sabotage on rail infrastructure or bombings onboard trains. Rail operator Deutsche Bahn refused to comment. Earlier this month 20 American embassies and consulates were shut because of unspecified threats. In 2006, two suitcase bombs were left on commuter trains in Cologne, but they failed to explode.

Prince William gives first interview after parenthood

The man who is likely to be the future king of Britain gave to CNN his first interview after the birth of Prince George of Cambridge. Prince William, second in line to the British throne, said his baby is “a little bit of a rascal”. William said his wife Catherine has held most of the night duties with the baby George. He also said he wants to go back to his job as a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue pilot so he can get some sleep.

William said he was in shock when he showed his baby to the world and that his wife is doing “a fantastic job” with baby George. He also said his young family is now his priority and that he wants his son to experience one of his great passions: watching over endangered species in Africa.

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