Connect with us

World

Islamic State supporter charged with murder of UK lawmaker

Published

on

October 21, 2021

By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) -British police on Thursday charged a 25-year-old Londoner of Somali heritage with stabbing a lawmaker to death in a church, a case that has raised fears about the safety of elected politicians.

Prosecutor James Cable told the court that Ali Harbi Ali, the son of an ex-media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia, was an Islamic State supporter who had for years planned to kill a member of parliament.

Advertisement

The killing of 69-year-old David Amess – five years after another British member of parliament was murdered on the street – has prompted calls for better protection of lawmakers.

Amess, a member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, was knifed repeatedly on Friday in the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, northeast of London, where he had been meeting constituents. Paramedics tried to save him on the floor of the church, but in vain.

Ali has been charged with murder and preparing acts of terrorism, police said.

Appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, Ali spoke only to confirm his name, age and address. He was remanded in custody and will appear at the Old Bailey criminal court on Friday.

“Ali considered himself affiliated to Islamic State,” Cable told the court.

Advertisement

Earlier, Nick Price, head of the Crown Prosecution Service Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said in a statement the murder “has a terrorist connection, namely that it had both religious and ideological motivations”.

‘MAN OF PEACE’

Amess, married with five children, was first elected to parliament to represent the town of Basildon in 1983, and then nearby Southend West in 1997. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2015 for his public service.

Amess’s family said he was a patriot and a man of peace.

“So, we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness,” they said in a statement.

Advertisement

Matt Jukes, London police’s assistant commissioner for specialist operations, cautioned against speculation about Ali’s motivations.

“It is vitally important that everyone exercises restraint when commenting on it publicly, to ensure future court proceedings are not prejudiced in any way,” Jukes said.

He said no other arrests had been made and police were not looking for any other people in connection with the murder.

On Wednesday, interior minister Priti Patel said the terrorism threat level to lawmakers was now deemed substantial, which means an attack is considered likely.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge, Gareth Jones, Estelle Shirbon and Angus MacSwan)

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

Three missionaries released in Haiti following October kidnapping

Published

on

December 7, 2021

By Katharine Jackson

(Reuters) – Three missionaries who were kidnapped in Haiti in October have been released, the U.S. State Department and the Ohio-based missionary group that organized the group’s trip to the Caribbean nation said on Monday.

“We are thankful to God that three more hostages were released last night. Those who were released are safe and seem to be in good spirits,” Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement.

Advertisement

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday confirmed the release, adding that the United States is continuing to work to secure the release of the others.

Haitian National Police spokesman Garry Desrosiers said the three were released on Sunday night. He declined to give additional details, citing the security of the remaining hostages.

Sixteen Americans and one Canadian, including five children, were abducted after visiting an orphanage. The incident has highlighted Haiti’s dire kidnapping problem, which has worsened in recent months amid economic troubles and political upheaval.

Two other ministry group members were released last month.

(Reporting by Katharine Jackson in Washington; Additional reporting by Gessika Thomas in Port-au-Prince; Editing by Susan Heavey and Matthew Lewis)

Advertisement

Continue Reading

World

Dutch court to rule on Palestinian’s case against Israeli defence minister

Published

on

December 7, 2021

By Stephanie van den Berg

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – An appeals court in the Netherlands rules on Tuesday in a case alleging war crimes against Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz, who is blamed by a Dutch Palestinian for the loss of six relatives in an Israeli air strike on Gaza in 2014.

Ismail Ziada filed the civil case against Gantz and another former senior Israeli military official, seeking unspecified damages under Dutch universal jurisdiction rules. His case was thrown out by a lower Dutch court in January 2020.

Advertisement

Universal jurisdiction allows countries to prosecute serious offences such as war crimes and torture no matter where they were committed.

But the lower court ruled that the principles of universal jurisdiction could be applied for individual criminal responsibility, but not in civil cases.

Ziada appealed, arguing that universal jurisdiction should be applied in civil cases if the alleged conduct involved serious violations of international humanitarian law. He asked the appeals judges to reverse the decision, which effectively granted Gantz immunity from prosecution.

Gantz, a career soldier turned politician, was commander-in-chief of the Israeli armed forces during a war against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip in 2014, when the incident took place.

About 2,200 Palestinians are estimated to have been killed, up to 1,500 of them civilians, in the conflict, according to U.N. figures. Ziada said he lost relatives when his family home in Gaza was bombed during a June 2014 Israeli air strike. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and five civilians were killed.

Advertisement

Gaza is controlled by the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement, regarded by the West as a terrorist organization. Israel says Hamas puts civilians in harm’s way by deploying fighters and weaponry inside densely populated areas of Gaza. 

    Human rights groups have accused both sides of war crimes in the 2014 conflict. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently investigating alleged war crimes committed on Palestinian territory since June 2014 by both Israeli defence forces and Palestinian armed groups.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg in The Hague with additional reporting by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by Anthony Deutsch and Mark Heinrich)

Advertisement
Continue Reading

World

Global finance system partly to blame for inequality – World Bank’s Malpass

Published

on

December 7, 2021

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – World Bank President David Malpass on Monday said fiscal and monetary policies were operating in “uncharted territory” since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and may be contributing to a sharp rise in global inequality and poverty.

Malpass told a roundtable hosted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang the number of people in extreme poverty had increased by over 100 million since the beginning of the pandemic even as global spending has increased to an all-time record.

Advertisement

Advanced economies have rebounded, while the poorest countries had seen only a weak rebound, or none at all, he said. This was causing “tragic reversals” in median incomes, women’s empowerment and nutrition, he said, and inflation, supply chain bottlenecks, and high energy prices were aggravating these trends.

“Part of the inequality problem is global finance itself and the unequal structure of the stimulus,” Malpass said, noting that prevailing sovereign debt, fiscal and monetary policies were adding to inequality.

Malpass said monetary policy in the advanced economies had long focused on reserve requirement ratios and limited growth in bank reserves to achieve stability in currencies and prices, an approach still used by China.

Other major central banks had switched to a “post-monetarism system” of using very large amounts of excess bank reserves to purchase and hold long-duration bonds and other assets, which he said provided price support for a highly select group of assets.

That approach, he said, excluded small businesses and developing countries, while restraining policy through regulation of liquidity and bank capitalization ratios.

Advertisement

Fiscal policy was also channeling resources to narrow groups within major borrowers, while leaving others behind, and sovereign debt policies were contributing to inequality.

Malpass repeated his call for greater transparency in debt contracts and a freeze in debt payments for countries with unsustainable debt. He said creditors should move away from collateral and escrow arrangements.

“As one of the largest creditors of developing countries, China’s active participation and strong voice in debt reduction efforts are very much needed and would benefit all participants by encouraging sustainable investment and debt,” he said.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by David Gregorio)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending