Thursday, 21 May 2015

Hatton Garden raid: Eight men appear in court over burglary

  • 40 minutes ago
  • From the sectionEngland
Eight men arrive under police escort to Westminster Magistrates Court,
The eight men arrived at Westminster Magistrates' Court under police guard
Eight men have been remanded in custody after appearing in court over the Hatton Garden jewellery raid.
The men, aged between 48 and 76, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday morning charged with conspiracy to burgle.
The contents of at least 56 safe deposit boxes were stolen from Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Box Ltd over the Easter weekend.
The men are due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on 4 June.
Prosecutor Edmund Hall said that while the total value of the goods stolen was not yet known, it ran "in excess of £10m" and 73 safe deposit boxes in total had been opened.
Hatton Garden drill hole
The Hatton Garden vault was raided over the Easter weekend
The men in court were:
  • Terry Perkins, 67, of Heene Road, Enfield
  • John Collins, 74, of Bletsoe Walk, Islington
  • Daniel Jones, 58, of Park Avenue, Enfield
  • Hugh Doyle, 48, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield
  • William Lincoln, 59, of Bethnal Green, east London
  • Brian Reader, 76, of Dartford Road, Dartford
  • Paul Reader, 50, of Dartford Road, Dartford
  • Carl Wood, 58, of Elderbeck Close, Cheshunt
The charge states that together, between 1 April and 19 May, they conspired to enter as a trespasser a building, namely The Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd at 88-90 Hatton Gardens EC1, with intent to steal.
Detectives from the Met's Flying Squad arrested the men on Tuesday after a series of police raids in properties in London and Kent.
Brian Reader senior (left) and his son Brian Reader, also known as Paul
Brian Reader (l) and Paul Reader (r), pictured in 1986, are thought to be father and son
Two of the men charged are believed to be father and son.
Brian Reader, 76, and Paul Reader, 50, who is also known as Brian, were both arrested at an address in Dartford, Kent.
The Met's Flying Squad has also apologised after it emerged a security firm's call about an intruder alert at the premises shortly after midnight on Good Friday was deemed not to require a response.
In total 10 men have been arrested over the raid, including a 42-year-old man arrested at an address in Essex on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle on Thursday.
Another man, who was arrested on Tuesday, has since been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Drug leaves Lancaster University students in hospital

Grizedale College accommodation
Ambulances were reportedly called to student halls between 18:00 and 19:00 BST
Five students have been taken to hospital, with two in a critical condition, after taking an "unknown substance" - thought to be a synthetic cannabis substitute.
Lancaster University initially posted a Twitter alert, saying the group had fallen ill on Wednesday after taking the drug Spice.
It urged people to check on their friends and call 999 if necessary.
Three of the students have since been discharged but two remain in hospital.
Lancashire Police said it was carrying out its own investigation into the "exact nature of the substance" the students had taken.
Ambulances were called to Grizedale College, a student hall, at about 18:30 BST on Wednesday.
A statement from the university said: "The university issued a warning to students. Due to the serious conditions of the students and the fact the substance could not be confirmed as legal, officers attended the university to carry out a search of the students' rooms.

What are synthetic cannabinoids?

Smoking a joint
  • Synthetic cannabinoids are chemicals that act like the active part of cannabis, a substance called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Side effects can include an elevated heart rate, sickness, and hallucinations
  • They are usually sold in 'herbal' smoking mixtures
Source: Frank
"Two of the students remain in hospital, and three students have since been discharged.
"Inquiries are ongoing to identify the exact nature of the substance."
Spice, the drug the university originally said the students had taken, is a plant-based mix coated with synthetic chemicals that work on the same part of the brain as the active ingredient in cannabis.
It was among a number of legal highs outlawed in 2009 amid growing concerns they posed a threat to users' health.
Lancaster University warned other students via twitter to check on their friends
Although now banned, Spice and similar drugs can be bought online, with China and the Far East the main areas for production.
Charity DrugScope said there were no figures detailing the extent of the use of Spice but the number of sites selling the drug before the ban suggested a "substantial user base in the UK" and elsewhere.

Islamic State seizes Syria's ancient Palmyra

Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria have enteredthe Unesco World Heritage site of Palmyra after seizing the town next to the ancient ruins, reports say.
Unesco says its destruction would be "an enormous loss to humanity", but no damage has been reported there yet.
IS now control the nearby airport, prison and intelligence HQ, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.
The militants have previously demolished ancient sites in Iraq that pre-date Islam.
The BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut says acute international concern over Palmyra might actually spur the jihadists on to make destroying it a priority, since they delight in challenging and horrifying world opinion.
The ancient ruins are situated in a strategically important area on the road between the capital, Damascus, and the contested eastern city of Deir al-Zour.
A partial view of the ancient city of Palmyra - 14 March 2014
Palmyra rose to prominence under the Romans but its rulers later created a rival empire of their own
Palmyra is also close to oil and gas fields which the Syrian government uses to generate electricity for areas under its control in the west of the country.
Rising out of the desert, the site contains the monumental ruins of a great city, which Unesco and others consider one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.
Dating back to the 1st and 2nd Century, when the region was under Roman rule, Palmyra is dominated by a grand, colonnaded street.

'World's battle'

Syrian state media said pro-government forces had been pulled out of Tadmur, the modern settlement next to Palmyra, after "assuring the evacuation" of most of its inhabitants.
The town's population would normally number around 70,000, but it has recently been swollen by an influx of people displaced from other combat areas.
Graphic showing Palmyra sites
The Syrian Observatory reported that more than 100 pro-government troops were killed in overnight clashes around Palmyra.
A researcher from the monitoring group also told the BBC on Friday that IS now controls more than half of Syrian territory.
However, the BBC's Arab Affairs Editor Sebastian Usher says this figure may give a false impression because there are large areas to the east under IS control that are not very significant strategically.

Analysis: Jim Muir, BBC News, Beirut

File photo: A general view of Palmyra
Many questions will now be asked in Damascus and Baghdad - and above all in Washington - about how the militants have managed to score major advances in both Iraq and Syria this week despite all the efforts to stop them.
IS was supposed to be on the defensive in Iraq, where the prime minister announced weeks ago the launching of a campaign to drive the militants out of Anbar province. Now he's lost its capital, Ramadi, just days before they took Palmyra in Syria.
The western coalition's bombing campaign has clearly hurt IS where it could. But it could never compensate for ground forces which are not competent, equipped or motivated enough to stand firm and hit back.
Only the Kurds in the north of both countries (most recently in north-eastern Syria) have proven able to do that.
Unesco's director-general, Irina Bokova, said any destruction to Palmyra would be "not just a war crime enormous loss to humanity".
"It's the birthplace of human civilisation. It belongs to the whole of humanity and I think everyone today should be worried about what is happening," she said in a video statement.
Syria's head of antiquities, Maamoun Abdul Karim, said on Wednesday that hundreds of Palmyra's statues have been moved to safety but that large monuments could not be transferred.
"This is the entire world's battle," Mr Abdul Karim warned.
He called on the US-led military coalition against IS to prevent the group destroying the ancient site. However, the coalition says it does not co-ordinate its actions with the Syrian government.
Smoke rises after a Syrian Rocket launcher shell on enemy positions in the ancient oasis city of Palmyra on 19 May
Palmyra is situated in an area between the capital, Damascus, and Deir al-Zour
Syrian rocket launcher shell on enemy positions in the ancient oasis city of Palmyra, 19 May
Syrian troops engaged IS but have now withdrawn
The founder of the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology, Cheikmous Ali, said the operation to move the objects began two months ago, but it picked up speed earlier this week.
"Some objects are still there, it's not 100% empty," he told the BBC.
But "considerable damage" had already been done by Syrian air force bombing and soldiers digging trenches at the site, he continued.
Map showing IS control in Syria and Iraq
Are you in Palmyra? Do you have friends and family there? We're also looking for your photographs of the Syrian city should you have ever visited it. You can email with your experiences with your images.

‘No Expat Has Right To Talk Negatively About Kuwaitis’

‘Our Society Is Tolerant, Open-Minded’

One of my dear readers commented on an article Arab Times published earlier under the title “‘Punish Criminals Severely, ‘Increase Security Checks’ (May 11 2015). I commented in that article on the increase in expat crime. However, the reader did not seem to have been so fond of the tone of the article! He reacted by claiming that “, no mention of the not so minority of Kuwaitis who force expats into these horrible situations with passport confiscations, unpaid salaries, and threats of violence and jail — false accusations of theft, poor housing etc. etc.
Very one dimensional article not befitting a journalist”! What strikes me as a one-dimensional view, and perhaps what appears to be an anti-Kuwaiti sentiment in the previously quoted response, is the exaggerated fallacy that a Kuwaiti journalist should always praise expats, and perhaps shy away from exposing negative behavior not befitting a foreign individual who lives and works in Kuwait!
Unfortunately, such anti-Kuwaiti sentiments are somewhat becoming frequent, perhaps among those who think they will always be better than us! Nevertheless and even though it is appropriate to admire hard working expats’ work ethics, and praise their commitment and productivity, yet no one has the right to issue anti-Kuwaiti negative statements.
One may also argue that there is in fact among a tiny minority of expats perhaps an unjustified tendency to blame Kuwaiti citizens for the plights or misery of some unfortunate individuals. It seems that one or two individuals would always find an excuse to blame citizens for no other reason other than being Kuwaitis.
To illustrate; I personally have had and continue to have frequent contacts with expats, and what I have noticed so far is that some individuals do perpetuate some anti-Kuwaiti sentiments, perhaps another meaningless way to compensate for their previous troubles with the law or with some Kuwaiti individual. Negative generalizations about citizens tend to come out not just from those who have been maltreated by their sponsors, but also from some of those who seem to live their unimagined dreams of success in Kuwait.
Troublemaking, ungrateful and demagogic individuals will not tarnish the image of our hard working expatriate population because unappreciative individuals do not represent the majority. I will not stop exposing any violations of our laws, social norms and traditions.
Furthermore, I will not be intimidated into silence or forced to sugarcoat what I observe in my Kuwaiti society. As a case in point, some individuals do flagrantly break our traffic laws, dirty our streets, pollute our environment, abuse other expats, and do not fulfill their legal responsibilities toward their employers….etc.
No one has the right to look down on us as Kuwaiti citizens, considering the fact that we have the highest number of educated people, and have one of the most vibrant economies in the region.Our Kuwaiti society will continue to be tolerant, open-minded and progressive.
By Khaled Aljenfawi

Special Task Force Announced To Evict Bachelors From Residential Areas

18,000 Driving Licences Withdrawn

KUWAIT CITY: Deputy Director General for Structural and Town Planning Eng Ahmad Al-Manfouhi has announced that the special task force in charge of evicting bachelors from residential areas will, next week, take legal procedures against those found to have violated regulations in this regard, reports Al-Seyassah daily.
In a press statement after the meeting of the team in Ahmadi Governorate with the attendance of Assistant Undersecretary for Public Security Major General Abdul Fattah Al-Ali, deputy directors general of Kuwait Municipality branches in all governorates and leaders of emergency teams. He hinted a recommendation will be presented soon not to issue civil ID cards to bachelors who live in such areas in coordination with officials of the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI). He declared the legal procedures against violators will include administrative eviction and disconnection of electricity. He added the authority will not hesitate in implementing law number 125/1992 to eliminate such violations.
Meanwhile the Traffic General Department has withdrawn nearly 18,000 driving licences which did not meet the conditions contained in the ministerial decision, mainly those related to professions, reports Al-Shahed daily. This came after the Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs Major- General Abdullah Al-Muhanna issued orders to withdraw licenses from motorists who did not comply with the ministerial decision.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Egypt minister injured

Government minister injured in road accident on Wednesday morning

Ahram Online , Wednesday 20 May 2015
Egypt's minister of higher education El-Sayed Abdel-Khalek (Photo: Ahram)
Egypt’s Higher Education Minister El-Sayed Abdel-Khalek was injured in a road crash on Wednesday morning near Cairo’s Madinet Nasr neighbourhood, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.
The minister’s car reportedly crashed with three other cars on the NA road.
Police and ambulance arrived at the scene and transferred the victims, including the minister, to hospital.
Road crashes are commonplace in Egypt due to loosely-implemented traffic laws and lack of adequate road maintenance. 
According to the interior ministry, 2013 saw over 15,000 traffic accidents which killed over 6,700 people.