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Monday, October 14, 2013

Four Men Arrested in London Over Suspected Terror Plot

The Metropolitan Police and the MI5 announced on Monday the arrest of four men under the Terrorism Act on suspicion of commissioning, preparing and instigating acts of terrorism. Two men were arrested in Mansell Street in Whitechapel, one in Wesbourne Grove in west London while the fourth was arrested in Peckham in southeast London. A witness of the activity in Westbourne Grove said it was “very dramatic, like the movies”. “What I saw was three policemen… holding an individual down while he was shouting ‘please don’t break my arms’ or something of that ilk. They were basically trying to restrain him with another few officers ushering people away from the area”, said George Paul. All arrests took place in the early morning hours and another six addresses in the capital were also searched. Government officials said the plot was “potentially very serious”, but not on the scale of earlier ones like the airline liquid plot or the Birmingham rucksack plot. The BBC’s security correspondent, Frank Gardner, said the MI5 and the Metropolitan Police faced a dilemma over whether to hold off their arrests and gather more evidence, but this risked more danger to the public.

Race Riots Erupt in Moscow

Race riots erupted in Moscow over the weekend after the killing of an ethnic Russian man, allegedly by a Muslim migrant from the Caucasus. Twenty-five-year old Egor Shcherbakov was stabbed by an unknown assailant while his fiancée, named only as Ksenya, watched. The killer was caught on surveillance cameras. “Every measure will be taken to stop the criminal. The best investigators have been assigned to the case“, said Alexander Polovinko, the local district police chief. The unrest began in Biryulyovo, a working-class area in south Moscow, when hundreds of marchers shouting nationalistic slogans rampaged through an industrial district, looting a shopping centre staffed mainly by Caucasus natives and then moving on to a vegetable warehouse, overturning cars as they marched. Police said they detained approximately 200 people at the warehouse and five officers were injured during the arrests. Another 100 demonstrators were arrested outside the same shopping centre after clashing with police later that evening.

UK asked New York Times to Hand Over Snowden Files

Jill Abramson, editor of the New York Times, has revealed during an interview with the Guardian that UK embassy officials approached her in Washington and attempted to persuade her to hand over secret documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden after the Times announced it had begun cooperating with the Guardian in publishing the information. “They were hopeful that we would relinquish any material that we might be reporting on, relating to Edward Snowden. Needless to say I considered what they told me, and said no”, said Abramson. She said the Times was often asked by the Obama administration to withhold certain information from stories on grounds of national security, and that these requests are considered carefully. “Our default position is usually to weigh on the side of informing the public”, she said, before adding that “there’s a war on terror being waged in the name of the public, and the public has a right to have information about it. That’s critical. The Guardian as well as the New York Times are providing a very valuable service, allowing people to decide for themselves whether the intelligence agencies are being too intrusive in their data collection”.

Jimmy Savile Abuse Probe Widened

The probe into the series of abuses committed by former BBC presenter Jimmy Savile has been extended to include more NHS hospitals, said Health Secretary James Hunt. The initial scope of the probe centred on Broadmoor, Stoke Mandeville and Leeds General hospitals, as well as another 10 trusts, where Savile had sexually abused hundreds of children from 1965 to 1995, with the majority of offences occurring in the period between 1966 and 1976. It will now include “other hospitals” not yet named by the government. “It is vital that the final NHS investigation is thorough and reflects all the evidence about Jimmy Savile’s pattern of offending”, said the health secretary. A lawyer representing 72 potential victims said her clients were “encouraged by the news“, but were “dismayed” that the timetable for the conclusion of the investigation has been extended until mid-2014.

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