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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Libyan Prime Minister Briefly Kidnapped

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was briefly kidnapped in the capital Tripoli on Thursday by gunmen who abducted him from the hotel he is currently living in. He was taken at 4am from his room in the five-star Corinthia Hotel by a group calling itself the Libyan Revolutionaries Operations Group, who claimed in its Facebook page that the prime minister had been “arrested” for actions “harmful to the state”. Analysts said the group might have been referring to the government’s apparent cooperation in the US operation that led to the capture of al-Qaeda commander Abu Anas al-Liby from his home in Tripoli on October 5. He was freed when members of a different militia, the Reinforcement Force, rescued him. Speaking on national television shortly after his release, Zeidan called for “rationality and wisdom” and thanked the “real revolutionaries” who had freed him. He said his kidnap had been an “accident” that happened in the “revolution’s overflow”.

British PM Criticises the Guardian Over Snowden Leaks

British Prime Minister David Cameron has joined criticism of the Guardian in light of remarks made by the new head of MI5, who said the intelligence leaks provided by US whistleblower Edward Snowden and ultimately published by the newspaper would aid terrorists. “When you get newspapers who get hold of vast amounts of data and information that is effectively stolen information and they think it is they think it’s OK to reveal this, I think they have to think about their responsibilities and are they helping to keep our country safe”, said Cameron during a visit to York. “They have understood it on some occasions but I think they need to show understanding about this issue because it does go to our ability to fight terrorism”, he added. Asked if people should carry on reading the Guardian after it had published the leaks, Cameron said that “people can read any newspaper they want. There are days when I recommend reading absolutely no newspaper at all”.

Europe Pushed into Decline by Austerity Measures

A Red Cross study obtained by the Guardian has condemned austerity measures employed in Europe, saying they were increasing unemployment, widening the poverty gap and significantly increasing the risk of social unrest. “Whilst other continents successfully reduce poverty, Europe adds to it. The long-term consequences of this crisis have yet to surface. The problems caused will be felt for decades even if the economy turns for the better in the near future. We wonder if we as a continent really understand what has hit us”, reads the study, which also says the future in Europe is more uncertain than at any time in the postwar era. “Many from the middle class have spiralled down to poverty. The amount of people depending on Red Cross food distributions in 22 of the surveyed countries has increased by 75 percent between 2009 and 2012. More people are getting poor, the poor are getting poorer”, it added. All of Europe’s countries were suffering from the austerity, said the report, from Greece to Luxembourg.

UK Energy Firm Announces Price Rise, Opposition Says Price Freeze Necessary

SSE became the first of the big six UK power suppliers to announce gas and electricity price rises on Thursday, saying its average dual fuel energy bill would rise by £106 to £1,380 in mid-November. That is an 8,2 percent increase and consumer groups fear the move may soon be followed by other power companies. The move comes week after the opposition Labour party proposed to freeze energy prices should it come to power in 2015. “”This is a crippling blow for consumers. Adding a further 111 pounds to an already sky-high energy bill will leave consumers buckling under the pressure”, said Ann Robinson of comparison site uSwitch.com. SSE said it had raised its prices because it needed to cover the costs of buying wholesale energy. “New electricity and gas price rises announced today show the need to freeze bills. We need an energy market which works for ordinary families and businesses”, tweeted Labour leader Ed Miliband after the rise was announced.

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