Terror alert

Armed troops were sent into the Palace of Westminster today after Theresa May raised the terror threat level in the UK to “critical”. Parliament was also closed to the public following police advice in the wake of the Manchester bomb attack – adding to the feeling of apprehension.  Around 30 soldiers patrolled both the streets outside Parliament and entered the landmark building, after the Prime Minister announced that the Army would be deployed to protect key sites. Troops were also seen in Downing Street. The extraordinary scenes followed security service advice to raise the threat level to its highest for the first time in 10 years, meaning another attack is feared to be imminent. Under Operation Temperer, up to 5,000 soldiers are being deployed to transport hubs and other crowded public places, in order to release the armed police for other duties.

Hundreds of troops flooded the streets yesterday amid fears a terrorist bomb cell remains on the loose. With the threat level raised to ‘critical’, up to 1,000 heavily-armed military personnel were guarding national landmarks, the Royal Family and nuclear sites. Soldiers carrying SA-80 rifles walked alongside uniformed officers outside the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Downing Street and other important sites. The operation freed hundreds of police marksmen to join the manhunt for suspected accomplices of Salman Abedi. Police commanders fear he was at the centre of an Islamic State-inspired network, including a master bombmaker.

SAS soldiers joined counterterrorism police on raids in Manchester yesterday as almost 1,000 regular troops were deployed across the country. Photographs showed special forces with assault rifles, jamming gear and specially adapted helmets after they burst into a flat in the city centre. It was the most dramatic demonstration of a heightened military presence nationwide that was triggered by Monday’s suicide bombing and fears of a second attack. A team of SAS troops was deployed to Manchester in the immediate aftermath of the carnage.

SOLDIERS have been scrambled to join armed cops patrolling Britain’s streets today as they race to foil more terror attacks. A total of 984 troops carrying guns are being ferried out to join police officers as the terror threat has been raised to the highest possible level in a decade – critical – meaning an attack 
is now “expected imminently”. Troops have joined cops guarding London, taking over many of the sentry boxes at Parliament from police for the first time since World War Two. About 30 soldiers were seen walking into the grounds through the St Stephen’s Entrance to create a ring of steel around The Palace of Westminster, which was put into lockdown with public tours barred and official functions axed. 
PM Theresa May announced  soldiers were also being sent to Downing Street, embassies and Buckingham Palace — where yesterday’s Changing of the Guard ceremony was called off. It will be the first time since 2003 that troops are deployed on the country’s streets, and the first time Britain has been on maximum terrorist alert since 2007.

FORMER England cricket captain Michael Vaughan has called for all non-British extremists to be deported in the wake of the Manchester terror attack. The sporting hero took to social media to voice his opinion after the atrocity in which 22 people were killed and 64 injured at a concert at Manchester Arena. The Manchester-born sporting hero has sent a string of emotional tweets since the bombing paying tribute to the victims and hailing the spirit of the survivors. But Vaughan also called for action to prevent a repeat of the cowardly massacre. 
The security services are struggling to monitor the roughly 3,000 fanatics currently known to be at large in the UK.

Islamic extremism

A new poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, shows that a majority of people in the West are now concerned about the growing rise of Islamic extremism in their countries.  They asked: “How concerned are you about extremism in the name of Islam in our country these says?”.  A whopping 79% of Europeans said they were concerned about Islamic extremism, which isn’t surprising given the number of people murdered by jihadists over the last few years. 79% of Brits who were surveyed (before the Manchester bombing) also said they were concerned about Islamic extremism, only 5% said they were not worried at all. Sweden was the country least worried about terrorism, which is surprising given the attack recently, and the ongoing problems of “no-go zones”.

UKIP manifesto

Ukip has become the first party to announce it will resume election campaigning, with its leader, Paul Nuttall, announcing the party would launch its manifesto on Thursday morning. It remained unclear whether the other parties would also resume campaigning, which was suspended after 22 people were killed in the Manchester bomb attack. The other main parties were still discussing when to resume election efforts. The Conservatives have stopped all local and national campaigning for now. Labour has halted all central efforts, but some leafleting has taken place, at the discretion of local parties. Ukip had been due to launch its manifesto on Wednesday morning in central London. Nuttall was also supposed to appear on BBC1 the previous evening for a rolling series of interviews with party leaders, but these were also put back.

BBC News
UKIP’s Paul Nuttall has described the decision to launch his party’s manifesto as a message to terrorists “that they will not win”. Following the Manchester bombing, he said: “The one thing that they hate more than anything is our democracy.” And Mr Nuttall repeated his support for a ban on full-face veils in public. The unveiling of the manifesto in Westminster comes as some low-key campaigning by other parties restarts after Monday evening’s attack. UKIP is hoping to recover from poor local election results that saw it lose 140 seats and gain only one.

UKIP has become the first political party to announce it will resume full campaigning after the Manchester terror attack. Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, UKIP, Greens and the SNP all cancelled planned general election events yesterday and today out of respect for the 22 victims and 59 injured. Details are still emerging of the horrific bomb which sent shrapnel tearing through concert-goers at Manchester Arena. But with 15 days left to polling day, party leader Paul Nuttall claimed delaying any longer would “allow the terrorists to win”. He will launch the right-wing party’s manifesto, which had been due for release today, in an event in London tomorrow. The party is the first to break ranks on a national level after Labour candidates resumed some local campaigning today.

Sky News
UKIP has confirmed it will launch its manifesto on Thursday, with leader Paul Nuttall saying the democratic process must continue. National campaigning in the General Election has been suspended since the terror attack in Manchester on Monday. Mr Nuttall is the first leader of a major party to say that campaigning will be restarted in the wake of the atrocity. “We are all horrified by the horrific events that took place in Manchester,” he said. “Following those events it is right and proper that political parties suspended their campaigns for a short period as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives or suffered appalling injuries. “But we cannot be cowed or allow our way of life to be undermined by those who wish to do us harm.


NEW research has revealed that there is “no credible legal argument” for EU claims that Britain should pay an exit fee. The report by Lawyers for Britain has come out after the European Commission has put out a series of increasing demands culminating in one for £85 billion from the UK. Over the weekend, Theresa May made it clear she believes the EU in fact owes Britain at least £10 billion. But her case has been strengthened by senior legal figures in Lawyers for Britain who have concluded that the EU has no mechanism to demand money off the UK. The organisation said: “We have failed to find a credible legal argument either for a liability on the UK to contribute to the EU’s unfunded pension fund deficit, or for any liability to contribute to the EU’s ongoing programmes after Brexit day on 29 March 2019, with the possible exception of an obligation to carry on contributing overseas aid of 1.3bn euros up to the end of 2020 via the European Development Fund (EDF).” 

ANY country that chooses to leave the European Union would “instantly” have better relations with the US and is likely to seal a trade deal in no time, a key Donald Trump ally has said. Dr Ted Malloch, the president’s reported pick for EU ambassador, predicted that Washington will reach an agreement with Britain soon and said America’s door is also open to other former member states in the future. And he warned that the formative Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal, which Brussels has been negotiating with the US for a decade, is now dead and buried.  The US academic, who is an outspoken eurosceptic, made the remarks on a visit to Brussels during which he described the EU as “failed” and said further “protectionist” integration was against American interests. 

Information leak

The Home Secretary has criticised the US after confidential details about the Manchester Arena attack appeared to have been leaked to the media by American intelligence officers. Amber Rudd said US conduct had been “irritating” and said she had made clear to her American counterparts that such leaks “shouldn’t happen again”. The episode comes just a week after US president Donald Trump defended his right to leak classified intelligence to other countries’ leaders. Mr Trump has also criticised leaking from the US intelligence establishment.
Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about the US leaks, Ms Rudd said: “The British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information in order to protect operational integrity, the element of surprise. “So it is irritating when it gets released from other sources and I have been very clear with our friends that that should not happen again.”

Theresa May is expected to raise UK concerns over the leaking of intelligence about the Manchester bomb attack to the US press when she meets Donald Trump on Thursday. British ministers have voiced their anger to American counterparts after photographs apparently showing bloodstained fragments from the Manchester conce
rt bomb were published in the New York Times (NYT). The pictures appeared a day after the bomber’s name was briefed to the US media against the wishes of Greater Manchester Police, and just hours after Home Secretary Amber Rudd issued a plea to US authorities not to leak material about the atrocity. The disclosure is regarded as “completely unacceptable” by Britain, both because of the distress it may cause families of those killed or injured and because of the risk it could complicate ongoing investigations.

BBC News
Police investigating the Manchester Arena bomb attack have stopped sharing information with the US after leaks to the media, the BBC understands. UK officials were outraged when photos appearing to show debris from the attack appeared in the New York Times. It came after the name of bomber Salman Abedi was leaked to US media 24 hours after the attack, which killed 22 – including children – and injured 64. Theresa May is to raise concerns with Donald Trump at a Nato meeting later. Greater Manchester Police hopes to resume normal intelligence relationships – a two-way flow of information – soon but is currently “furious”, the BBC understands. In total eight men are now in custody following the attack, carried out by Manchester-born Abedi, a 22-year-old from a family of Libyan origin.

These pictures show the remnants of the backpack bomb terrorist Salman Abedi (inset) used to kill at least 22 people as they left an Ariana Grande concert on Monday night. The 22-year-old suicide bomber appeared to have used a powerful explosive in a metal container during the atrocity. The bomb was either concealed inside a black vest or blue Karrimor backpack (top right). The publication of the photos will infuriate Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who said on Wednesday she was ‘irritated’ by the early release of the bomber’s name by US authorities . She added that she had made it ‘very clear’ to American counterparts that no further leaks should happen. The Home Office declined to comment on the new leak, but pointed reporters to Ms Rudd’s earlier comments, indicating that her stance had not changed.


More than six million migrants living around the Mediterranean are believed to be aiming to come to Europe, according to a German government paper. The confidential document reports that in three months the total number of potential asylum-seekers waiting for their chance to cross the Mediterranean has risen by 12 per cent from 5.95 million to 6.6 million. Up to 3.3 million people, many fleeing the conflict in Syria, were said to be camped in Turkey. They were only being held back by a European Union deal to pay Turkish authorities to retain them, an agreement under huge pressure from deteriorating relations between Ankara and Brussels.

The number of migrants aspiring to reach Europe has seen a sharp rise since the beginning of this year, according to a document by German security agencies marked ‘confidential’. According to the document, seen by 
Bild, it is thought as many as 6.6 million people in North Africa, Jordan, and Turkey were waiting to begin their journey to Europe by the end of April this year. The number has surged 12 per cent since the end of January when it was estimated these countries were hosting around 5.9 million migrants planning to reach European Union (EU) nations. Citing information from security circles, the paper said 76,000 migrants are currently stuck on the Balkans route to Europe, with 62,500 of those being hosted by Greece.

School breakfasts

Conservative promises to plug the hole in school budgets could be ruined by its manifesto offer of free breakfasts for primary school pupils, after researchers found the policy would cost far more than the party claimed. Figures compiled by the Education Datalab thinktank showed that even if only one in five of England’s 3.6 million primary school pupils ate just 25p worth of food, the costs for the daily breakfast clubs would cost £100m a year more than the Conservatives’ estimate. We think they are under-costing free breakfasts in primary schools by something like a five-fold factor. They say its going to cost £60m but we think it’s going to cost something over £200m to £400m,” said Rebecca Allen, the director of Education Datalab.

BBC News
Giving a free breakfast to every primary school child in England could cost more than treble the £60m the Tory party set aside for it, academics say. Experts analysing the plans re-costed them at between £180m and £400m, depending on how many pupils take them. A Conservative Party spokesman said the original £60m costing of its universal offer was based on a 25% take-up rate. Researchers at Education Data Lab say it also assumes food costs of 25p per pupil and does not include staff costs. In their manifesto, the Conservatives said they would scrap free lunches for infant school children in England, in favour of a universal offer of a free breakfast for all primary school children.

Diesel cars

More than a million highly polluting new diesel cars have been sold in Britain since the Volkswagen emissions test scandal, an analysis has found. Manufacturers have continued to sell cars that emit up to 12 times the legal limit of nitrogen dioxide, despite admitting they are legal only because the official laboratory test is weak. Independent tests reveal that a million new diesels bought by Britons last year emit at least three times the laboratory limit in real-world driving. Such diesels made up 78 per cent of diesel cars sold last year, according to analysis of tests by regulators in the UK, France, Spain and Germany, and Emissions Analytics, a private company.

Carrier bags

The days of the 5p supermarket carrier bag could soon be over, as Tesco is piloting a plan to scrap them and force shoppers who forget their own bags to buy a “bag for life”. It is planning to end sales of so-called “single use” carriers all together, less than two years after the law was changed to force large stores to charge for them. Once gone, customers who forget to bring their own bags will have to fork out 8p or 10p for a bag for life instead, said Tesco. While some customers may be angered by the move, which will see them pay more if they forget their regular shopping bag, others may be pleased to see fewer bags being used.

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