Author Archives: Andleeb Hanif

  1. Finsbury Park: Minute’s silence marks one-year anniversary of mosque attack

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    Victims, emergency service workers and faith leaders joined community figures and murdered Makram Ali's family for a one-minute silence

    Survivors of north London mosque attack stood shoulder-to-shoulder for a minute's silence marking the first anniversary of the Finsbury Park terrorist attack.

    They were joined by emergency service workers who helped victims of the attack, faith leaders,  politicians and members of the public outside Islington Town Hall.

    Father of six, Makram Ali, was killed and a dozen others were injured when Darren Osborne drove a van into a crowd leaving evening prayers during Ramadan, outside the Muslim Welfare House in north London on 19th June 2017.

    Makram Ali, married with four daughters, two sons and a grandchild was killed on the night of the mosque attack

    Mr Ali was struck by Osborne's rented removals van on the night of in a race-hate killer frenzy to try to kill as many Muslims as possible in a hit-and-run rampage.

    Darren Osborne, 48, was jailed for 43 years for murdering 51-year-old Mr Ali after deliberately ploughing into the crowd on Seven Sisters Road during Ramadan.

    Victims of the Finsbury Park attack, say some people at the mosque are still afraid.

    The event was attended by Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader and MP for Islington North, Emily Thornberry, the Islington South MP and shadow foreign secretary, Sajid Javid, the home secretary, Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, and local councillors.

    Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and other politicians also gave speeches at the event in Islington.

    Corbyn, who delivered the closing remarks after the silence, praised the response of the community. He also lauded the emergency services, the local authority and the Muslim Welfare House’s Imam, Mohammed Mahmoud, who protected Osborne from retaliation after the attack.

    Mr Ali's daughter, Ruzina Akhtar, said: "Our father, like the victims of most terrorism, was entirely innocent which makes his death in this violent way all the more hurtful.

    "He was such a peaceful and simple man, he had no bad thoughts for anyone."

    Councillor Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: "One year ago, a terrorist attack took the life of Makram Ali, injured many others, and changed the lives of all those affected.

    "This was a hate-filled, targeted attack, designed to incite fear, but instead of driving us apart it has brought us closer together.

    "I have been deeply moved to see our community stand stronger than ever to reject that message of hate and fear."

    Commissioner, Cressida Dick, said: "Today our thoughts are with Makram Ali, who died in the attack at Finsbury Park last year. A husband, father, brother, grandfather – much loved and deeply missed. In the Met we also remember all those who were injured that night and those who were caught up in the horror.

    "London is a city of many faiths and many nationalities. Our strength is our unity. The way the local community in Finsbury Park – of all faiths and all backgrounds – came together and remains so strong together is inspirational. A true reflection of our City.”

    On Monday night and in the early hours of Tuesday, the words #LondonUnited were projected on to Muslim Welfare House. The same phrase was beamed on to the Houses of Parliament and London Bridge to mark the one year anniversary of the two other deadly terrorist attacks in the capital last year.

  2. Top Cop: Bradford-born police officer awarded MBE

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    With an impressive 22-years police service tucked safely under his belt, Yorkshire and Humber’s most senior ranking Muslim officer has been awarded an MBE for services to the police and charity.

    Being selected for the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, which recognises the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom, has left Chief Superintendent Mabs Hussain glowing with community pride.

    Similar to the story of numerous Asian families in Bradford, Mabs came from very humble beginnings, and joined West Yorkshire Police in 1996. He was initially posted to Bradford, the city where he was born and raised.

    During his exceptionally progressive career, he has served in all ranks as a detective, from Detective Constable to Detective Chief Inspector, across the Force area, investigating complex and serious crime. 

    In March 2018, after a gruelling three-month course, Mabs graduated from the College of Policing Strategic Command Course qualifying him to the Chief Officer rank. As a Chief Officer of Assistant Chief Constable and above, he is one of only two Muslim officers at this rank nationally.

    Talking about the emotional challenge of only being able to spend weekends with his young children for the duration of the course, he admits: “Being a father of a six-year-old and an eight-year old, my commitments to the course have been really hard on them. It was always heartbreaking leaving the kids on a Sunday night.

    “My wife has been unwavering and outstanding in her support for me and my career, which has no doubt had an impact on her and the children.

    “My family have always been incredibly supportive in particular my parents who have always prayed for my success and wellbeing. As a Muslim I believe that has helped me choose the right path and guided me when times have been difficult.”

    Over the last deacade, Mabs says he has felt an intrinsic reward by working extensively with a number of charities, including the White Ribbon Campaign, which works to end violence against women and girls.

    Humble as always, Mabs says: “The MBE is not just recognition for me, but for the excellent work done on a daily basis by incredible people in our communities, these charities and colleagues across policing.”

    “I was both surprised and absolutely humbled to have even been nominated by the community and the charities who I have the pleasure of working with, to be recognised for my contribution to them and West Yorkshire Police, is an absolute privilege.”

    Speaking to Mabs, it’s clear that he’s had a determined vision to rise the ranks from the onset.

    Despite facing some “tricky” situations in his career when he was an operational officer (either in uniform or a detective), Mabs says that self-belief and his parent’s support urged him to remain committed to the job.

    Mabs reveals: “In the early days, I’ve been called everything you can imagine in lots of colourful language. On other occasions been called a coconut/bounty bar by Asians/Pakistani community who felt I had sold them out by joining the police.

    “How did I deal with it? Some got arrested, and I wasn’t the one spending time within the cells, with others I always remained professional, smiled and did my best to engage to challenge their views.”

    When asked about racism in the Force, he says: “I’ve never been subject to it directly - however I am not naive to dismiss that in places I have worked, people may have held prejudicial views. Lots of work has been done in across policing to address the issue.

    “As stated earlier I have had my fair share of challenges and some of them have been real and plain to see others perceived. What I have learnt is to develop my personal resilience and learnt to deal with adversity when it presented itself.

    “I have been incredibly fortunate to have had good people I could turn to for advice both within the organisation and outside of policing to get the necessary support and guidance on how to deal with the issues presented.”

    He adds that the most challenging and rewarding period in his career to date was when he worked in Leeds as the Superintendent of operations and was the temporary commander in Leeds.

    “The change programme was unprecedented in size and scale and being part of the leadership team at a time when we were forming the new operating model which is now known as Leeds District was a special time. “

    What’s next for the “Top Cop”? well, Mabs is now looking to secure a role as an Assistant Chief Constable in the very near future.

    Mabs confesses: “I am currently considering my options and looking at what opportunities maybe available if one doesn’t present itself in West Yorkshire for me.

    “I would be sad if I had to leave a force where I have invested a lot of time, energy to improving the communities we serve and have an emotional connection to.

    “However I also need to look towards my own future career and whats right for me and my family."

  3. Sukhjinder Singh Murder: Five men convicted of fatal attack

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    VICTIM: 33-year-old Sukhjinder Singh, also known as Gurinder Singh was murdered in rivalry

    Five men who used a multitude of weapons that included knives, swords and baseball bats to commit a brutal attack on a rival have been convicted at the Old Bailey following the conclusion of a trial.

    Amandeep Sandhu, 30 (01.04.87) of Townsend Road, Southall and Ravinder Singh-Shergil, 31 (18.03.86) of Colville Close, Tipton were found guilty of the murder of 33-year-old Sukhjinder Singh, also known as Gurinder Singh from Southall.

    Two other men, Visha Soba, 30 (18.10.87) of Eighth Ave, Hayes and Kuldeep Dhillon, 26 (03.03.92) North Road Hayes, were found guilty of Gurinder's manslaughter.

    Dhillon was also found guilty of witness intimidation; Soba and Sandhu found guilty of assisting an offender.

    A fifth man, Palwinder Multani, 37 (09.12.80) of Tudor Road, Hayes pleaded guilty on 10 November 2017 to manslaughter and assisting an offender.

    TOP L-R Amandeep Sandhu and Ravinder Singh-Shergil BOTTOM L-R Visha Soba, Palwinder Multani and Kuldeep Dhillon

    Multani will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Thursday, 21 June; the other four will be sentenced on Friday, 22 June.

    The court heard that as far back as August 2013 there was a rivalry that existed between the victim and a group of men within the Sikh community. The rivalry escalated in July 2016 when it surfaced that Gurinder had been boasting about an assault he had committed on Dhillon at a religious festival in Birmingham. Associates of Dhillon wanted revenge.

    On Saturday, 30 July 2016 Gurinder was ambushed and violently attacked in Spikes Bridge Road, Southall by a group of men with various weapons that included knives, swords and baseball bats.

    The men chased, beat up and stabbed Mr Singh a number of times.

    Police were called and Gurinder was found suffering from a number of stab injuries. He was taken to hospital by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) where he was pronounced dead the next morning at 06:30hrs.

    A post-mortem examination held at Uxbridge Mortuary on 1 August 2016 gave the cause of death as multiple stab wounds.

    On 4 August 2016 following enquiries detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command attended a storage facility in Uxbridge Road, Hayes.

    They obtained a warrant allowing them entry to a unit at the storage facility. Inside, officers found a number of items that included swords, a machete, a baseball bat and a crowbar. Many of the items had blood on them.

    Weapons recovered during the attack

    Clothing was also retrieved which again contained blood.

    A forensic analysis of those items was found to contain the DNA of Sandhu. Sandhu was forensically linked to an item of clothing, a balaclava.

    Soba was identified by a witness as the person with access to the unit and as the driver of a Volkswagen Golf entering the storage depot two days after the murder. He was seen entering the premises carrying a bag on his shoulder.

    A telephone linked to Soba was equally shown as being in touch with Sandhu on the evening of the murder. Sandhu and Soba were arrested on 4 August on suspicion of murder.

    Further analysis showed this number was also in contact with Multani immediately after the murder.

    Multani was arrested at around on 6 October 2016 at his home address and, in custody during his interview, he admitted his involvement. He informed detectives that he knew Gurinder had upset a number of people who sought revenge and he was hired by them to drive people to where Mr Singh was attacked. He stated he was paid £300 for these services. Multani was charged the following day with murder and assisting an offender.

    Singh-Shergil was located and was found to be in possession of a phone which was found to be in contact with Sandhu - he was arrested and charged on 26 November 2016.

    On 20 September 2017, Soba - who was on court bail having been charged with assisting an offender - and Dhillon were charged with murder after further information was provided by Multani.

    Dhillon was also charged with witness intimidation relating to an incident on 20 August 2017 when he approached a witness and threatened him against attending court in the upcoming murder trial.

    Detective Inspector James Stevenson, Homicide and Major Crime Command said:"These men used a shocking level of violence to exact their revenge on Gurinder at the culmination of a bitter feud. They planned the time and location of the attack through to the disposal of the weapons they used.

    "Whilst these five men have now been convicted and face lengthy custodial sentences this is not the end to this case. There are more individuals we are seeking in connection with this brutal killing and I would urge anyone with information to come forward.

    "We are determined to find the individuals who took part in the attack, we know it will not bring back Gurinder back but it will go some way in bringing a degree of comfort to his family and friends, knowing all those involved have been brought to justice."

  4. Appeal to help find missing 13-year-old girl

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    Joanna Mohammad

    Police are appealing for the public’s help to find a missing 13-year-old girl.

    Joanna Mohammad, 13, has been missing from her home address in Westminster since 20:30hrs on Sunday, 10 June.

    Joanna’s phone is turned off and officers and family are extremely concerned for her welfare.

    Joanna was last seen wearing a light grey and royal blue jumper, blue jeans, and black Nike trainers.

    She is described as of slim build and around 5ft 2in tall.

    She may be in the company of a teenage male.

    Anyone who sees Joanna is asked to call police on 101 quoting 18MIS023055

  5. UK funds life-saving heat stroke relief camps in Karachi

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    The UK is providing emergency medical treatment to people at risk from a deadly heatwave that has seen temperatures in Pakistan reach as high as 45°C, significantly hotter than the temperature in London today which is expected to reach 24°C.

    UK aid is providing relief to up to 30,000 vulnerable people, including children and the elderly, in some of the poorest areas of Karachi, Pakistan, where up to 70 people have already died from heat-related symptoms since mid-May.

    UK aid is supporting 30 heat stroke relief camps which are equipped with solar fans, cold drinking water and first aid kits. The camps are also providing spaces for people to keep cool, providing temporary shelters for those at high risk of death or falling critically ill from the extreme temperatures. Specialist medical staff are treating patients with symptoms such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which can damage the brain and cause organ failure.

    Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt said: “Our thoughts are with the loved ones of those that have lost lives from these extraordinary temperatures.

    "UK aid is working hard to save the lives of the most vulnerable people in some of Pakistan’s poorest communities, including the elderly and new born babies born during this deadly heatwave.

    "With temperatures reaching as high as 45°C, our support is providing emergency medical assistance and helping to prevent people falling critically ill in the first place.”

    Pakistan is one of the UK’s top development priorities, with around 60 million people in Pakistan living in poverty meaning nearly 1 in 3 of the population are living on less than 80p a day. Camps have been set up in some of the region’s poorest areas, where many face challenges to their everyday lives including power outages and water shortages.

    In 2015, where temperatures were similar to those in parts of Pakistan now, over 1,300 people died. Simple measures, such as providing clean water and keeping people cool, can be the difference between life and death.

    The heatwaves which came in the holy Muslim month of Ramadhan, increased the risk of dehydration as Muslims fast during the hours of daylight.

    UK aid is also supporting the ‘Beat the Heat’ campaign to educate up to 150,000 people about how to reduce the risks of falling critically ill to the high temperatures. The campaign will distribute brochures and posters with important advice in communities, and display banners at prominent locations including bus stops, schools, hospitals and main roads.

  6. Leeds Mosque and Gurdwara set alight on same night

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    Police dealing with Beeston mosque and gurdwara arson as hate crimes

    Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira, Beeston, Leeds ( Picture courtesy of Rafaqat Ali)

    Police are appealing for information following two arson attacks on two places of worship in Beeston, Leeds, in the early hours of Tuesday 5th June. The mosque and gurdwara were targeted by arsonists in what police believe were linked hate crimes.

    At 3.42am police were contacted by the fire service who were attending the Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira Mosque, also known as Beeston Central Mosque, in Hardy Street, Beeston. The front door of the mosque was deliberately set alight using what is thought to have been flammable liquid.

    Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira, Beeston, Leeds ( Picture courtesy of Rafaqat Ali)

    Firefighters had extinguished the fire before it had chance to spread, and damage was confined to the door and surrounding brickwork.

    “Hate crimes that target particular communities and have the potential to cause divisions and tensions cannot and will not be tolerated,” says Inspector Ian O’Brien.

    Following this, at 4.19am, police were contacted by staff at the nearby Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Gurdwara, in Lady Pit Lane, reporting someone had set fire to the front door around 30 to 40 minutes earlier.

    Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira, Beeston, Leeds ( Picture courtesy of Rafaqat Ali)

    The fire had triggered the smoke alarm and been put out quickly causing damage to part of the door and a pillar.

    “We are treating both these incidents as linked given the closeness of the locations and the similar times that they have occurred,” said Detective Inspector Richard Holmes, of Leeds District CID.

    “While our investigation is still at a relatively early stage, we do believe these premises have been specifically targeted as places of worship and we are treating both incidents as arsons and hate crimes.

    “We are currently carrying out extensive enquiries, including checks on CCTV in both areas, and we would like to hear from anyone who has witnessed any suspicious activity or seen any person or vehicles in the areas around the time these incidents have occurred.

    “We would also like to hear from anyone who has any other information that could assist the investigation.

    “Clearly we will always treat incidents of this nature very seriously and will be doing everything we can to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.”

    Inspector Ian O’Brien, who heads neighbourhood policing for south Leeds, said: “These incidents will cause an understandable level of concern in both the Muslim and Sikh communities in this area and we are working closely with key representatives from those communities to reassure them.

    “Although it appears both locations have been specifically targeted as places of worship for these communities, there is nothing at this stage to suggest they are part of any wider pattern.

    “We have increased our patrols of the area to provide visible reassurance to people living there and will continue to keep key community representatives informed as the investigation develops.

    "Hate crimes that target particular communities and have the potential to cause divisions and tensions cannot and will not be tolerated and we will continue to do everything we can to find those responsible and support and reassure the communities affected.”

    (Asian Express thanks Rafaqat Ali for giving permission to use his images.)
  7. Ferrari SP38 – Maranello’s next one-off

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    Here’s the latest Ferrari one-off from. The SP38 is the latest offspring unveiled at Fiorano where, after the ceremonial handover to one of Ferrari’s most dedicated customers, the car was immediately put through its paces in a series of hot laps.

    Designed by the Ferrari Design Centre on the chassis and running gear of the 488 GTB, this unique car reflects the specific vision of a client with a deep passion for racing. The result is a model that can be driven both on road and on track, while at the same time expressing all the beauty and innovation inherent in Ferrari’s road cars.

    The all-new bodywork, in a newly conceived three-layer metallic red, marks a radical departure from the language aesthetic of the donor car. The twin-turbo, twin-intercooler set-up of the award-winning 488 GTB inspired the team to reference the mighty F40 as an icon from which to instruct the project’s general direction.

    Compared to the 488 chassis, the visual mass of SP38 appears concentrated over the rear wheels as the wedge design sharply stretches towards the front. In plan view, the strongly tapered nose expands towards muscular wheelarches, giving the car potency and agility.

    Specific inset headlights were designed to be as thin as possible, with the mandatory DRL (daytime running lights) units relocated to add character and functionality to a slim bumper lip reminiscent of the 308 GTB. On the side, the defining air scoop of the 488 GTB is completely concealed where the sheet metal folds in on itself from the low beltline on the door and into the rear wheelarch and three-quarter light.

    The effect is dramatic, as it reinforces the importance of the rear volume while, at the same time, maintaining the air flow to the intercoolers at the base of the side window. The dynamic styling continues over the engine cover, which sheds its rear glass and is treated as a flip-up assembly in carbon fibre with shutlines slashing the flanks in a gesture directly reminiscent of the F40’s. Three transversal slats slash across the engine cover to evacuate engine heat, and the smooth integration of a substantial rear spoiler is a hint at the famous rear wing of the F40. The trailing edge of the spoiler links seamlessly with the wing and with the aerodynamic diffuser at the bottom, to create a suggestive frame surrounding the tail volume.

    Thought we don’t yet know whether the new bodywork has had any effect on performance, but seeing as a regular 488 does 0-62mph in three seconds flat and runs on to 205mph thanks to its 3.9-litre, twin-turbo, 661bhp V8 and seven-speed DCT, the SP38 shouldn’t be too slow.

    A full Tailor Made cabin trim puts the finished touches on this truly special Ferrari, which will be on public display for the first time at the upcoming Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Saturday 26th May 2018.

  8. ‘F-ck You Muslims’ spray painted on school wall

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    Canadian councillors praised and thanked for their expeditious efforts to promptly remove racist graffiti

    Racist graffiti has promptly been removed from the walls of a Muslim school in Toronto’s eastern region, Scarborough, after a city councillor spotted the hateful messages spray-painted on the brick walls.

    The Toronto Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker who discovered the expletive-filled vandalism while out for a morning walk, denounced the defacing of Wali ul Asr East learning institution on Tuesday 23rd May, which had been spray painted with racial rhetoric.

    “The first thing I thought is ‘I can’t let the kids see this tomorrow morning,” said Baeremaeker.“It’s disgusting. It’s not who we are.”

    “I can’t imagine a 5-year-old or 10-year-old innocent child coming to school and parents having to walk past this type of hateful, racist graffiti.” Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker

    The racist graffiti messages, which read “FUCK U MUSLIMS,” was first obscured by vehicles before being removed from the walls of the school by workers. The messages were spray-painted in red and black on the brick walls of the school.

    “They come early to play basketball, they come early to study, they come early because they love school,” he said to CTV News, a Canadian news agency. “

    “We’re going to have 250 kids come here this morning. We don’t want them to see that as they walk into school. I can’t imagine a 5-year-old or 10-year-old innocent child coming to school and parents having to walk past this type of hateful, racist graffiti.”

    The local Muslim community have thanked Toronto Council for acting so expedtiously, while Wali ul Asr Muslim school said that they were grateful to the city councillors, the city crews and the larger community for the outpouring of support that they’ve received since the incident.

    “The actions of a misguided individual does not change the spirit of coexistence that is an integral part of the fabric of the Canadian society. We plan to use this incident as a positive learning experience for our students and have them focus on the exceptional support we are receiving,” said a spokesperson for the school.

    Wali ul Asr school has several campuses ranging from kindergarten to Grade 12.

    “In these holy days of Ramadan, we thank Allah for being part of a respectful and tolerant society; the actions of a misguided individual does not change the spirit of co-existence that is an integral part of the fabric of the Canadian Society,” they added.

    Other graffiti, which crossed out words in red spray paint on a school sign and depicted a middle finger, was being washed off early Tuesday afternoon.

    Toronto's Mayor, John Tory, spoke out saying that this type of hatred is “unacceptable at any time but it is disturbing someone would choose to do this during Ramadan.” He urged police to “use every effort to track down whoever did this.”

    City officials said detectives are investigating the incident as “mischief “relating to the property.

    The courts will, at a later date, be tasked to determine whether the act falls under the category of a hate crime.

    “This is not who we are in the City of Toronto,” Jim Karygiannis, councillor for Scarborough-Agincourt, responded. “This is just one individual — deranged individual — that needs to be charged, and I hope that the full force of the police comes underneath him.”

    This is the third such incident at the school.

    Both councillors Karygiannis and De Baeremaeker have requested funding to install surveillance equipment. "We live in a city where diversity is our strength, that's our motto," Karygiannis said. "For somebody to do this, it gets me very upset."

  9. Mother becomes first woman in England to be convicted of forced marriage

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    The mother has been jailed for four-and-half years for the forced marriage and perjury charges.

    A mother has become the first person in England to be convicted of forcing someone into marriage, after she deceived her daughter into travelling to Pakistan for what she thought was a family holiday. 

    The Birmingham woman, who is in her 40s but cannot be named for legal reasons, took her daughter there to marry her daughter to a man she had been promised to.

    After their arrival, the mother told her daughter that her wedding would be happening within days.

    The victim was shown a picture of her future husband - whom she recognised as the man she had been introduced to during a trip to Pakistan when she was 13. 

    When she protested and threatened to return home, her mother told her she had no choice and it was a ‘cultural matter’.

    She threatened to burn the victim’s passport to prevent her ever returning to the UK. 

    The victim was beaten by her mother and other relatives as punishment for her ‘defiant’ behaviour. 

    Desperate, she managed to use her mother’s phone to make contact with friends in the UK and explained she was going to be married against her will; she begged them to help her. 

    Eventually, after days of continuous pressure, she was made to sign a marriage certificate, and was taken to a wedding ceremony. 

    Alerted by her friends, Birmingham City Council Children’s Services and West Midlands Police asked the victim’s mother to come to the UK.

    She came, leaving the victim behind with her new husband, and lied to the High Court under oath, claiming that her daughter had not been married.

    When the judge ordered that the victim be returned to the UK, her mother threatened her with black magic, leaving the vulnerable and terrified victim no choice but to lie as well. 

    Eventually, supported by her friends and other members of her family, the victim found the courage to tell the truth about what had happened to her in Pakistan.

    Her mother was arrested and interviewed, and claimed that the marriage had been consensual. 

    Following a three week trial at Birmingham Crown Court, she was convicted of deceiving her daughter into leaving the country for a forced marriage, forcing her daughter to marry and perjury. She was cleared of perverting the course of justice.

    Detective Superintendent Sally Holmes, from the West Midlands Police Public Protection Unit, said: “This has been a very sensitive and complex case to investigate and our priority throughout has been the welfare of the young victim. 

    “The impact on her has been tremendous, and her bravery in coming forward is extraordinary. Her mother tricked her, lied to her and hit her, leaving her facing no alternative but to go ahead with a wedding she wanted no part of. 

    “It’s vital that people who are being forced into marriage understand that West Midlands Police will believe and support them.

    “Anyone who is considering marrying a person against their will must understand that we will thoroughly investigate any such offences, wherever they take place in the world. 

    “Specialist Public Protection officers have worked hard to ensure that they did all they could to obtain justice for this victim. 

    “Protecting the public and helping those in need runs through everything we do, and thankfully that’s exactly what we’ve been able to do in achieving justice in this case."   

  10. £250kg cocaine and 9kg crystal meth worth over £22 million seized in drug haul

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    Drugs worth millions and a firearm seized as investigations target organised crime and violence along class A supply chain

    A man and a woman have been charged respectively with firearms and drugs offences as investigations by a joint NCA and Metropolitan Police unit targeted organised crime and associated violence from UK ports to London streets.

    The two investigations are part of sustained efforts to tackle the range of threats posed by the class A drugs trade, particularly undermining of UK border controls, and the use of violence and weapons by those controlling distribution within the UK.

    32-year-old Spanish national, Olivia Anton-Altamirano, was charged with drugs importation in relation to the seizure of 259kg of class A drugs smuggled into the UK from Mexico, which were hidden inside a specially-constructed, industrial fruit processing machine.

    The haul included 250kg of cocaine and 9kg of methamphetamine (crystal meth) worth an estimated combined street value of £22 million.

    Officers from the joint NCA and Metropolitan Police Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) had arrested her at her home in Blackheath two days earlier.

    On the day Anton-Altamirano was charged, 32- year-old Sher-Afghan Kattak, was arrested in White City following a surveillance operation by the OCP.

    He was charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, following the discovery of a converted blank-firing BBM Gap pistol and loaded magazine in the locker of a nearby health club

    Kattack was further arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs and has since been remanded in police custody.

    The fruit processor containing the cocaine and methamphetamine had arrived at London Gateway Port on 17th March 2018 and was immediately treated as suspicious by Border Force officers.

    Due to the construction of the 3.5 tonne machinery and the fact it had been laced with lead, it took a team of Border Force and OCP officers several hours to break into the concealment. It was eventually found to contain the drugs haul, which was removed.

    John Coles, head of Specialist Operations at the NCA, said: “These investigations demonstrate our systematic response to the threats posed by the trade in class A drugs, and our ability to take effective action at different points of the supply chain.

    “Here we have a potentially lucrative plot by organised criminals to smuggle 259kg of class A drugs into the UK, which would have eventually found itself being sold on the streets of London.

    “Not only would these profits have gone on to fund the continued supply of dangerous drugs, it would have further fuelled the serious violence that we so regularly see associated with this kind of activity.

    “Those drugs would have been distributed by criminal groups who fight for and enforce control of that supply with the use of lethal firearms like the one recovered here.

    “The work of the Organised Crime Partnership showcases the shared commitment of the NCA and the Metropolitan Police to keeping people safe from organised crime and the violence it brings.”

  11. Sorting out finances is the UK’s most popular task

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    To-do list tension: UK households face an average of 33 tasks a week

    A new study has revealed that Britain’s to-do-lists are jam-packed, as the nation battles to get an unwieldly number of tasks ticked-off each week.

    The FCA, which commissioned the research and is encouraging people to put checking whether they’re eligible to claim for PPI on their to-do-list, has subsequently enlisted the help of 90s icon Mr. Motivator and ultra-organised Rachel Riley, to help the public complete those tasks they’ve been putting off. 

    The research revealed that three in five (60%) admit to feeling completely overwhelmed by the volume of tasks they need to complete each week, such as sorting out finances, walking the dog and mowing the lawn. While more than two thirds (67%) feel like they are operating on “autopilot”, meaning that to-do-lists get forgotten.

    With so much to do, and almost a third of us (29%) saying we’re simply too busy to do it, it’s clear to see why people struggle to do everything on their list each week. It’s therefore understandable why three-quarters (75%) of the population plan to use the long bank holiday weekend to tick things off their to-do-lists.

    Rachel Riley, Countdown's numbers expert and supporter of the FCA’s PPI campaign, says: “Life can often feel overwhelming with the number of things we need to do, so it’s easy to understand why many of us find it difficult to tame those to-do-lists. This is especially true when it comes to tasks that we don’t consider urgent, feel like too much of a hassle or just sound a bit boring, like checking whether you’ve been mis-sold PPI.  “But tackling our to-do-lists doesn’t have be tortuous and we all know how good it feels to finally tick off that one nagging task that’s been stuck on there for what feels like forever. That's why I’m supporting the FCA’s PPI Deadline campaign, to give a little bit of help to those who need it to get that satisfying feeling of smashing through their to-do-list this week.”

    There are a number of motivating factors that help people get things off their to-do-list, including: feeling less stressed when it’s done (62%), a deadline (48%) and feeling like it will impact loved ones, as well as ourselves, if the task isn’t completed (40%). As an added encouragement, the FCA has worked with 90s icon Mr. Motivator to help inspire people to tick things off their to-do-list. To view the video, click here: 

    Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, says: “Almost half the population say a deadline is the motivation they need to get things done, so we’re urging everyone to make sure they get one important thing ticked off their list this bank holiday, and that’s checking whether they’re eligible to claim for PPI.  The deadline for making a complaint is 29 August 2019.”

    If you need help checking if you were mis-sold PPI or want to decide whether to make a complaint before the deadline, visit

    Rachel’s top five tips for ticking things off your to-do-list

    1.      Plan – Write your to-do-list the night before. You’ll wake up knowing exactly what you need to do.

    2.      Prioritise – Tackle your trickiest task first and for the rest of the day you’ll feel like you’ve achieved something. 

    3.      Go digital – Hunting around for scraps of paper down the back of the sofa isn’t the way to stay on top of your to-do-list; keep it all in one place, such as on your phone.

    4.      Don’t procrastinate – Set yourself a deadline and stick to it!

    5.      Reward – Keeping on top of your to-do-list is a tricky business, so when you manage to tick things off make sure you take time to reward yourself for having been so organised!

    Top 20 most common tasks

    Sorting out banking / finances

    Planning and preparing evening meals

    Booking appointments: dentist / doctors etc

    Taking out the rubbish

    Changing the bed linen

    Filling in forms e.g. passport applications

    Renewing insurance

    Purchasing new clothing / uniform items

    Holiday planning (booking / organising)  

    Doing the ironing

    Filling the car up with petrol

    Speaking to energy companies to get a better deal

    Loading the dishwasher

    Garden maintenance

    Calling repair men/tradesmen

    Booking the car in for MOT/Service

    Organising days out with friends

    Planning family get togethers

    Cooking breakfast 

    Hosting a Sunday lunch


  12. UK calls for independent investigation into Israel-Gaza killings

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    Alistair Burt, a minister at the foreign office responsible for Middle East affairs, told the parliament "the UK supports an independent investigation into what has happened.”

    Following an outcry from human rights groups accusing the Israeli military of using excessive force on the Israel-Gaza border, which left 60 dead and injured over 2400 people on Monday 14th May, Britain has now called for an "independent investigation" to take place.

    Calls for a probe come from Alistair Burt, a minister at the foreign office responsible for Middle East affairs. He told the parliament "UK supports an independent investigation into what has happened.”

    Burt repeated Britain’s commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict, and said it did not agree with the US decision to move its embassy. He also told parliament that the government had "no information to suggest UK-supplied equipment" was used against Gazans.

    Burt also called on Israel to show "greater restraint" in the use of live fire, and said that the inquiry should look into why so much was used. However, he also said it was "deplorable, but real, that extremist elements have been exploiting these protests", adding the UK government "understands the reasons why Israel would seek to protect its border and its border fence".

    Germany has signalled its support for an investigation.

    "It is our view that an independent investigation commission can clarify the violent incidents and the bloody violations at the border area," said German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert.

    Meanwhile, the Arab League’s permanent committee on human rights has urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to urgently investigate "the crimes of the Israeli occupation" against Palestinians. "Israel is an oppressive and murderous entity and its politicians and officers must be taken to the ICC," Amjad Shamout, the committee’s chairman, said in a statement.

    The Arab League held emergency talks on Wednesday 16th May to discuss what it has called Washington’s "illegal" relocation of its embassy to the disputed city.

    Most of the 60 Gazans killed on Monday were shot by Israeli snipers, Gaza’s health ministry said. At least 2,400 others were wounded in the bloodiest day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 2014 Gaza war, which took place as the US unveiled its new embassy.
    On Monday 14th May, tens of thousands had gathered near the border in protest while smaller numbers approached the fence and tried to break through, with Israeli snipers positioned on the other side.

    The death toll led to strong condemnation from rights groups and concern from a range of countries, but the US, which blamed Hamas, blocked the adoption of a UN Security Council statement that would have called for an independent probe into the violence, diplomats said.

    Human rights groups say Israeli soldiers deployed near the Gaza protests were required to operate according to the international legal framework applicable to police and other law enforcement officials, which is part of international human rights law. It holds that the "intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life".

    "An attempt to approach or crossing or damaging the fence do not amount to a threat to life or serious injury and are not sufficient grounds for the use of live ammunition," Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said.

    "This is also the case with regards to stones and Molotov cocktails being thrown from a distance at well-protected security forces located behind defensive positions."

    so far, the US has blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for an investigation.

    Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East director, said: "This is a violation of international standards, with Israeli forces in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes."



  13. College brings drama school training to Bradford

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    Tom Alsersley, who has appeared in soaps Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks, hails from Skipton but had to move away from home to find the right training.

    New drama courses are being launched in Bradford in a bid to stop budding actors feeling they must move leave Yorkshire to get drama-school style training.

    Bradford College hopes its two new specialised degree-level courses – in acting and musical theatre – will halt the drain of drama talent from the county.
    The HND (Higher National Diploma) courses have been designed by the college’s drama lecturer and professional actor, Tom Aldersley, who was driven to introduce them by personal experience.

    Tom, who has appeared in soaps Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks, hails from Skipton but had to move away from home to find the right training.

    “I had to leave Yorkshire and go and live in Manchester for my training and it has always been a bug bear of mine that there wasn’t anything suitable closer to home,” explained Tom.

    “I have used my experience of not just being an actor for 15 years but of having taught at other drama colleges and universities to create courses that are practical, vocational and that will give students the skills and experience that employers want.

    “The new courses will effectively create a drama school-type course over two years here at the college and I hope it will attract local talent for whom the cost and practicality of moving away from home, especially to the capital, is a barrier to entering the industry. We should also be attractive to students from further afield too as Bradford is a very affordable city.

    “The college has offered performing arts courses for many years but not with the chance to specialise like this before. These courses are much more vocational. Some drama school training is idealistic rather than realistic. This training is all about making the students industry-ready and them proactively getting work. As soon as the students start they will begin developing a professional portfolio and their final performance will be a showcase to industry professionals including directors and agents.”
    The courses are being offered via the college’s Northern School of Creative Industries.

    Tom believes Bradford’s growing reputation as a filming location could also be a draw to students. Two major TV hits have been filmed at Bradford College in recent years – Gunpowder for the BBC, featuring Kit Harrison and Liv Tyler, and Kay Mellor’s ITV drama Girlfriends, which starred Miranda Richardson, Zoe Wanamaker and Phyllis Logan. Bafta-winning period drama Peaky Blinders and the comedy film Funny Cow have also been shot in the district and Bradford is also the world’s first UNESCO City of Film.

    “With the increasing number of productions will come greater opportunities for work experience and networking,” Tom said.

    “The college also has strong links with the Royal Shakespeare Company, working with them and the Alhambra Theatre on education projects for local schools.

    “Students will also have the chance to gain direct employment opportunities through a theatre company run by our graduates.

    “I believe we are offering something quite unique in Yorkshire and a viable alternative to going to drama school in Manchester, Birmingham or London.

    “No previous experience is necessary and we welcome mature students. The age of those already signed up ranges from 20 to 50 years.”

    The courses run for the first time this September and anyone considering applying can call Tom for an informal chat on 01274 433 333 or find more details on the college website or attend the next open day on Saturday July 7.

  14. Organised crime group altered business emails to rip-off more than £1m

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    Two members of a Nigerian organised crime group who committed more than £1m worth of fraud and money laundering after staging a mass phishing con have been jailed after a National Crime Agency investigation.

    Emmanuel Mmaduike and Olawale Kashimawo, both 31, spent the money on a lavish lifestyle – hiring a helicopter, driving flash cars – and regularly posed for photographs of themselves with wads of money, expensive watches and drinking champagne.

    The duo’s organised crime group (OCG) was based in south-east London and obtained thousands of business email addresses and passwords enabling the group to divert payments due to the companies to themselves

    Mmaduike’s role was to fraudulently access victim email and alter invoices to direct payment to mule bank accounts run by Kashimawo, of Claycorn Court, Esher, Surrey.

    Kashimawo subsequently laundered the cash by arranging withdrawals and international bank transfers carried out by other fraudsters.

    The pair are believed to have committed more than £1m worth of fraud and money laundering between April 2015 and November 2015.

    In March last year Mmaduike, known as Bigdoz, was jailed for six years and 10 months after admitting money laundering, fraud and perverting the course of justice in relation to a sham marriage to a Dutch national.

    Officers from the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) began investigating in November 2015 after receiving a report of a £24,000 fraud.

    Investigators arrested Mmaduike at his home in Ashmore Road, Woolwich, London, in 2016.

    They recovered masses of evidential data and forged documents showing he had a bogus wedding with a woman who flew in and out of the UK in just 10 hours for their ceremony.

    Today, at Kingston Crown Court, Kashimawo, was jailed for six years and nine months.

    He admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering - one relating to his partner Mmaduike and the second relating to OCG accomplices.

    NCCU head of investigations Tony Adams said: “This case is about business email compromise and cyber enabled fraud.

    “The OCG sent out convincing emails to victims purporting to be from well-known service providers and companies asking them to input their details.

    “They could then alter payment details.

    “UK businesses should exercise caution when authorising significant transactions – particularly if there is a last-minute change of account details.

    “If in doubt speak to the intended recipient of the funds on the phone prior to making a large payment.

    “Keep passwords safe and do not use the same passwords for multiple online accounts.

    “The NCA and our partners are continuing to tackle business email fraud and money laundering. It is imperative victims report such compromises as soon as possible and retain all evidence.”

    For information about protecting private details online visit or if you feel you have been the victim of fraud visit the Action Fraud website at

  15. Facebook

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    583 million fake accounts shut down after revelation of abusive content

  16. RUGBY

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    A second British amateur rugby player has died after complaining of breathing difficulties on returning from a nightclub in Sri Lanka

  17. Mental Health Awareness Week – big hugs all round

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    Whilst awareness and acceptance of mental conditions at the milder end of the spectrum is near commonplace, the same cannot be said for severe illnesses such as bipolar, addictions and schizophrenia. Stigma and misunderstanding still pervade and some conditions are more readily accepted than others, and in the Asian community even more so.

    Societally we may think we’re ‘clued up’ on mental health, but a survey conducted by YouGov, a quarter of the public were unaware that addiction to opioids (a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin) is more deadly than cervical cancer, and just 42% realise that it takes a psychiatrist to diagnose bipolar disorder.

    Lack of awareness of the most severe mental health conditions mean the public are not alert to how serious mental illness can be. Research conducted by Ipsos MORI shows that only 59% of the public expect a referral to a consultant for an eating disorder compared to 86% for cancer.

     With the objective of raising awareness during Mental Health Awareness Week (14th-20th May), Sharing Voices Bradford - a leading BME mental health organisation in the city were out on Tuesday 15th May dressed up as Micky Mouse and Minnie Mouse to promote positive mental health by sharing free hugs with members of the public.

    “ It was an amazing day. We got a fantastic response from the public and were able to put a smile on everyone’s face by a small action such as sharing a hug,” explains Faisal Tariq Community Development Worker.

    “Our aim was to  raise awareness about mental health and give insight to the valuable services we offer across the district.” 

    Sharing Voices provides holistic and culturally sensitive support to the BME communities in Bradford while challenging the taboos and stigmas around BME mental health and helping improve statutory service provision.

    If you know of anyone suffering with mental health issues then please feel free to contact them for support and advise on 01274 731166.

  18. Gazans bury their 60 dead after bloodiest day of Israel border protest

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    Palestinians gathered in Gaza city on Tuesday 15th May for the funerals of some 60 people, including an eight-month-old baby girl, killed by Israeli troops who fired tear gas into tented protest encampments set up a few hundred yards inside the border.

    Violence on the border on Monday 14th May took place as the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem. It was the bloodiest for Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza conflict, and along with the 60 dead injured over 2,200 Palestinians by gunfire or tear gas.

    Palestinian leaders have called Monday’s events a massacre, and the Israeli tactic of using live fire against the protesters has drawn worldwide concern and condemnation.

    Reeling from the previous day's violence, Palestinians marked 70 years since the Nakba, or catastrophe, the day on which the state of Israel was established on May 15, 1948.  There are fears of further bloodshed.

    Meanwhile on the Gaza-Israel border Israeli forces took up positions to deal with the expected final day of the Palestinian protest campaign which began 30th March. So far the protests have seen 109 Palestinians killed and around 12,000 people wounded. No Israeli casualties have been reported.

    Israel defended it's position stating it acted in "self-defence" to defend its borders and communities. Its main ally the United States has backed that stance, with both saying that Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the coastal enclave, instigated the violence.

    Throughout the last six weeks, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been campaign via protests dubbed “The Great March of Return” which revives calls for refugees to have the right of return to their former lands, which now lie inside Israel. They were forcibly expelled from their homes by Israelis in 1948.  

    Monday’s protests were fired by the opening ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem following its relocation from Tel Aviv. The move fulfilled a pledge by U.S. President Donald Trump, who in December 2017 recognised the contested city as the Israeli capital.

    Palestinians envision East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they hope to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel regards all of Jerusalem, including the eastern sector it captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move that is not recognised internationally, as its “eternal and indivisible capital”.

    Most countries say the status of Jerusalem - a sacred city to Jews, Muslims and Christians - should be determined in a final peace settlement and that moving their embassies now would prejudge any such deal.

    Netanyahu praised Trump’s decisions but Palestinians have said the United States can no longer serve as an honest broker in any peace process. Talks aimed a finding a two-state solution to the conflict have been frozen since 2014.

    Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the Gaza violence. Hamas denied instigating it but the White House backed Netanyahu.

    “The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response,” White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters.

    Trump, in a recorded message on Monday, said he remained committed to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He was represented at the embassy ceremony by his daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, U.S. envoy to the Middle East.

    The Trump administration says it has nearly completed a new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan but is undecided on how and when to roll it out.

    The United States on Monday blocked a Kuwait-drafted U.N. Security Council statement that would have expressed “outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians” and called for an independent investigation, U.N. diplomats said.

    A Palestinian mother mourns the death of her 8-month-old baby girl, Laila al-Ghandour, who died after inhaling tear gas during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem at the Israel-Gaza border. Laila's funeral took place in Gaza City Tuesday 15th May along with funerals of 59 others killed by Israeli forces.

    Eight-month-old Laila al-Ghandour died from tear gas fired by Israeli forces at a protest camp, which was a few hundred yards inside the border.

    In Geneva, the U.N. human rights office condemned what it called the “appalling deadly violence” by Israeli forces and said it was extremely worried about what might happen later.

    U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said Israel had a right to defend its borders according to international law, but lethal force must only be used a last resort, and the violence used on Monday 14th May was not justified by Palestinians approaching the Gaza fence.


    Marked on 15th May, it translates as ‘the catastrophe’ - the day Israel was created in 1948. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes in violence. This culminated in war between the newly created Jewish state and its Arab neighbours in 1948. 2018 marks 70 years. More than two-million people are crammed into the narrow Gaza Strip, which is blockaded by Egypt and Israel and is suffering a humanitarian crisis.


  19. and the groom wore trainers…

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    At her wedding ceremony, Sonam looked as if she’d just walked out of a fairytale.

    Sonam and Anand, looking dapper and totally in love, as they made their first official appearance as a couple before the media.

    But while it's usually Sonam who sets tongues wagging with her unusual fashion choices, at the newly wed's star-studded wedding reception it was her husband Anand Ahuja - a Delhi-based businessman, that stole the show.

    Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor poses with her husband Anand at their wedding reception

    Looking pretty dapper, he stepped out in a smart bandhgala sherwani paired with white Nike trainers.

    Of course, this sent the Twitterati into total frenzy, igniting users to come to fend Anand’s choice of footwear. 

    Amteshwar Sethi wrote: “I am assuming Anand Ahuja wore those Nike sports shoes to reception because he might have refused to pay shagun to his sisters-in-law for ‘Joota chupaahi’ ceremony in exchange of his traditional shoes (sic).”

    Reportedly, Anand is massively obsessed with  trainers and has a huge collection of over 100 pairs. In April 2017, Anand was featured as one of GQ India’s “Sneakerheads of Instagram”.

    The wedding reception itself however proved a gala night, with the partying going on till around 2 a.m. and saw Bollywood's who's who in attendance.

    Father of the bride, veteran actor Anil Kapoor, danced away with as much vigour as young stars like Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor, as well with superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan.

    Salman Khan jammed away with Mika Singh on stage on his hit song ‘Tan tanaa tan’, ‘Mujhse Shaadi Karogi’, ‘Aaj Ki Party Meri Taraf Se’, and had Shah Rukh, Anil and Varun Dhawan matching his steps.

    Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan obviously having a great time

    Also adding to the revelry was the energetic Ranveer Singh, who set the dance floor on fire with his moves. Filmmaker Karan Johar too, had the crowd cheering for him as he grooved to songs like ‘Shava Shava’ and ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo’ on stage.

    Anil was the star of the night as he put up an age-defying "jhakaas" performance on his all-time hit ‘My Name Is Lakhan’ and later was joined on stage by nephew Arjun and they danced to ‘Tune Maari Entriyaan’.

    Other Bollywood stars who attended included Rekha, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha and family, Satish Kaushik, Javed Akhtar, Rani Mukerji, Shahid Kapoor, Mira Rajput, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Twinkle Khanna, Kangana Ranaut, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sidharth Malhotra, Rishi Kapoor, Swara Bhasker, Madhuri Dixit, Kajol, Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shilpa Shettty and Suniel Shetty.

  20. Memorial service to mark 33rd anniversary of Bradford City fire

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    Friday, 11 May marks the 33rd anniversary of the Bradford City AFC fire disaster at Valley Parade.

    The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Abid Hussain, will attend the memorial service on Friday, 11 May to remember the 56 people who died in the disaster in 1985.

    The Mayor and Mayoress of Lincoln will represent the city of Lincoln at the event. Bradford City were playing Lincoln City in their last home match of the season in 1985 when the fire ripped through the ground killing 54 Bradford City fans, two Lincoln City fans and injuring many more.

    The service which starts at 11am will be conducted by The Revd Canon Alistair Helm.

    The service, which is attended by the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives or were injured, as well as local people, takes place at the Bradford City Fire Memorial sculpture in Centenary Square.

    Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Abid Hussain, will attend the memorial service


    The Lord Mayor of Bradford will lead a wreath laying ceremony by laying a wreath on behalf of the city and the district. Wreaths will also be laid by the Mayor of Lincoln, a representative for Bradford City AFC, bereaved families and the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Once these wreaths have been laid, others who wish to lay their own wreaths or floral tributes are welcome to do so.

    Following the laying of floral tributes, 'Abide with Me' will be sung by those present.

    Lord Mayor of Bradford Coun Abid Hussain said: "It is extremely important to the city and district that we take time to remember those who were affected and those who continue to be affected by the tragic events on 11th May 1985. I hope people will come to Centenary Square and pay their respects."

  21. He watched live sexual abuse of a four-year-old

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    Adam Nowak, 41, habitually used online chat room which shared indecent images of children

    A man who watched a four-year-old girl being sexually abused has been jailed following a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.

    Adam Nowak, 41, of Lambeth, London, was a habitual user of an online chat room used to share indecent images of children and was logged in while the assault was streamed in real time from Denmark in 2015.

    The girl has since been identified and safeguarded by authorities and the offender arrested.

    Nowak was sentenced on 22nd February 2018 at Kingston Crown Court to two years and four months imprisonment.

    He had admitted nine offences, including encouraging the commission of an either way offence, possessing indecent images of children and possessing extreme pornography.

    The judge also imposed a five-year sexual harm prevention order and placed Nowak on the sex offenders register for ten years.

    Nowak is the fourth UK man to be convicted as part of the NCA’s investigation into the assault.

    Matthew Abbott, 34, of Coombe Dale, was sentenced to three years in prison while Gareth Gascoigne-Leopold, 35, from Tadley, Hampshire was made subject to a ten-year sexual harm prevention order.

    The fourth offender, who was a minor at the time of the offence, was made subject to an 18-month community order and a five-year sexual harm prevention order.

    Graham Ellis, NCA operations manager, said: “When these offenders logged in to that chat room, they provided the perpetrator with an audience. You don’t have to be physically in the room to be a participant in child abuse.

    “The victim, a four-year-old girl in Denmark, has been identified and protected and the offender who streamed the abuse has been arrested.

    “NCA officers are dedicated to keeping children safe from abuse and detecting and bringing to justice offenders who participate in their suffering.”

  22. Man who attempted to murder four children has sentence increased

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    A man who attempted to kill four young children by beating them with a hammer before deliberately driving into a stone wall has had his sentence increased after the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, referred it for being too low.

    On 22 August 2017 Owen Scott, 29, was driving with the children, aged between 9 months and 8 years. Possibly due to a cocaine and cannabis-induced psychotic episode, Scott attacked the children with a hammer, striking their heads multiple times. He then deliberately drove his car, containing the children, at over 90 mph into the stone wall of a pub outside Huddersfield.

    All four children were left with devastating injuries, and medical reports have suggested there may be lasting psychological damage and cognitive impairment. Two of the children require ongoing medical attention, and one will be wheelchair dependent for life.

    Scott was originally sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 13 years 188 days at Sheffield Crown Court. Today, after the Solicitor General’s reference, the Court of Appeal increased his minimum term to 24 years.

    Commenting on the sentence increase, the Solicitor General said: “Four children’s lives have been devastated by Scott’s actions, and the physical and mental scars will stay with them for the rest of their lives. I am pleased that the Court of Appeal has agreed to increase Scott’s sentence to properly reflect the seriousness of his crime.”

  23. Appeal: £20,000 of Gold Stolen During Armed Robbery in Birkby

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    Detectives are appealing for witnesses after £20,000 of gold was stolen during a robbery in Birkby.

    The incident happened on Thursday 26 April between 12:45 and 13:10 on Sufton Street.

    Suspects forced their way into the jewellers after distracting the shop owner. Once inside the premises, there was an altercation between them and the shop owner who was thrown on the floor.

    They then proceeded to damage the display cases with sledge hammers and filled large bags with jewellery before fleeing the scene.

    They drove off from the scene in a white Ford Transit van which was displaying false registration places.

    The vehicle was abandoned behind a row of shops a short distance away and was seized by police. It is thought the suspects then got into a cream or white coloured car and drove along Bradford Road to escape.

    The victim sustained minor injuries as a result of the altercation.

    The suspects are described as four Asian males and one mixed race.

    Detective Constable Robert Brook, of Kirklees CID, said: “This was a frightening situation for the shopkeeper who was confronted by the suspects in the store.

    “Fortunately, he sustained minor injuries during the incident, but was left very shaken.

    “The suspects made off with a significant amount of jewellery worth around £20,000. I would like to appeal for witnesses who may have been in the area and may have seen the suspects or either of the vehicles near to the scene or driving away.

    “I urge anyone with anyone information to contact Kirklees CID via 101 quoting crime reference number 13180198331.”

    Information can also be reported to police via the Webchat facility on the West Yorkshire Police website or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

  24. Men attempted to cut off gold bangles from woman

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    Bar Home Lane, Keighley (Picture from Google Maps)

    Police investigating an attempt robbery in Keighley are appealing for information when two males approached a woman in her forties and demanded she handed over the gold bangles she was wearing.

    The incident is said to have occurred in Bar House Lane at about 4pm on Tuesday, 1 May, 

    When the victim refused hand over her gold, one of the males is said to have used a knife to try and remove one of the bangles.

    The suspects were disturbed by a passing vehicle and made off in another vehicle, which was said to be blue and is believed to have driven off towards Steeton.

    The victim suffered minor injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment.

    Detective Constable Hannah Mansell, who is investigating this incident, said: “We believe the suspects may have followed their victim as she was walking towards the junction with Ferncliffe Drive and would be keen to speak to anyone who saw a blue saloon-type car in the area around this time.”

    Anyone else who may be able to assist the investigation is asked to contact Bradford District CID on 101, quoting crime reference 13180207703 or by using the ‘Contact Us’ options at

    Information can also be reported anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

  25. Best Foot Forwards – the new pre-action protocol for debt claims

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    Luke Patel of Blacks Solicitors

    The courts are constantly refining the process under which claims are brought and managed, and one of the major motivations since the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules in 1998 has been the idea of fair dealing between parties in the interest of justice.

    This is partly enshrined within the rules themselves, starting with the “overriding objective” of allowing the courts to deal with cases “justly and at proportionate cost,” and includes encouraging parties to settle matters through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation.

    Another way the courts encourage reasonable conduct is the imposition of pre-action protocols, set courses of action that parties are expected to follow before the claim reaches the court.

    Some areas of law already have such guidance, including construction disputes, defamation and professional negligence claims but since 01 October 2017 a new protocol has been in place to cover debt claims, perhaps the widest reaching protocol yet imposed.

    The new protocol applies only to claims seeking repayment of a debt owed by an individual to a business. In this case, a sole trader (an individual who is also a business) would be covered both when pursuing a debt or when being pursued. The protocol does not apply to debts owed by partnerships or limited companies, nor does it apply to debts that are entirely personal between two individuals (such as a loan between family members).

    There is already a generally accepted procedure for bringing debt claims including an initial “letter before action” requesting payment and warning of legal consequences. However the new protocol imposes stricter requirements on a claimant to provide the debtor with all necessary information regarding the debt and how it can be paid and requires the provision of a statement of account and interest calculation together with a set of reply forms and an information sheet.

    Previously, letters before claim might require payment or response in 14 or even 7 days, but the protocol allows a full 30 days for response, after which the creditor can take matters to court. The debtor’s response should use the set reply form and enclose supporting documents, and may state that they are seeking debt advice, for which the creditor must allow them additional time. In any event, if a response has been received, the creditor must wait at least 30 (more) days from response – or from the provision of any documents requested by the debtor – before issuing proceedings.

    In cases where the protocol applies and is not followed, the Court will take this into account when making directions, and may well effectively require the parties to go through the various stages above before the case can be advanced, or may impose costs sanctions. It is likely that non-compliance by the creditor will be considered a far more serious breach than non-reply by a debtor who subsequently seeks to raise a defence, so any business looking to recover debts after 01 October should be very aware of what steps to take.

    Blacks Solicitors have a dedicated team who are experienced in dealing with all types of debt collection and enforcement for individuals and businesses. Please contact Luke Patel on 0113 227 9316 or email him “”.

  26. Leeds blind charity wins international leadership award

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    An organisation that has been the only service of its kind for almost thirty years dedicated to South Asians with visual impairment  has picked up an international accolade.

    Leeds’s Association of Blind Asians (ABA) won the 'NGO Leadership Award' at the World CSR Conference in Mumbai, India.

    ABA was recognised with this award for its committed service to the South Asian communities with visual impairment outside India.

    The conference lasted two days and focused on strategies for the success of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and provided a global platform for charities and businesses to work together. 

    Dr Leena Inamdar, Chairperson at ABA, said: "I am delighted that ABA has been awarded and recognised globally.

    “Despite being a small local charity in Leeds, ABA has served the South Asian community with visual impairment to lead independent lives and improve their quality of life.

    “The award acknowledges the high-quality work by our staff and supporters who truly deserve this award for their service to this community over the years.”

    ABA has supported visually impaired South Asian people in Leeds to improve their lives and make them independent. Blind and partially sighted South Asian community have various cultural and religious needs which acts as barriers to inclusion in society. ABA does advocacy, home visits, and run weekly social groups to cater to specific needs of the community.

    Mrs Debbani Ghosh, Manager at ABA, said:  "The South Asian community is more likely to develop sight loss than any other community in the UK. As demographics are changing we are continuously trying to increase our service reach and CSR is one major avenue to sustain the funding.”

  27. “I was asked for sexual favours…”

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    Bollywood's Dark Secret: Actress speaks about being sexually exploited in exchange for work in film industry

    Well-known Marathi actress Usha Jadhav has created a stir with her confessions on BBC World News documentary "Bollywood's Dark Secret" where she has spoken about being sexually exploited in exchange for work.

    "It wasn't planned as a big expose or anything. It was an experience that I had gone through, which I had put behind me long ago. I was young, I was raw and inexperienced and I was asked for sexual favours by this person who was in a position to get me work. I had moved on," said Usha.

    "I had the strength to get over the traumatic experience. I had put the experience behind me. Then I got to know about this documentary that the BBC was making on why the casting couch expose that had hit America after (producer) Harvey Weinstein was exposed, has not reached India's entertainment industry.

    "I was asked if I had any incidents of exploitation to share. I did, and I shared it in the documentary."

    Usha said it is important for exploited girls to come forward with their experiences.

    "There can be a backlash, yes. You may lose the chance for work because some powerful people will see you as a snitch. But the repercussions work both ways. You may lose out on some work. But you may gain a much wider victory for the movement to stop the sexual exploitation of strugglers and newcomers who don't know any better.

    "Unless more voices come forward, it (the casting couch) won't be stopped."

    Usha said she is happy she spoke up.

    "I never thought of the impact my disclosure will make. It was just something that needed to be told on a given platform. I wish more people from the Indian entertainment industry will come forward with their own narrative of exploitation.

    "It will help the #MeToo movement to reach our entertainment industry."

  28. Fabulous four-year-old Leeds pianola smashes records again!

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    So you might not think playing the xylophone is a big deal - after all - it’s a kindergarten instrument. It’s something you just tap a little aimlessly with your toddler for some sweet-sounding chimes and perhaps may even have a go at playing a couple of tunes hit and miss, right? Wrong.

    Try succeeding playing (off by heart that is) 83 songs by memory - oh, and you’ve got to go back in time when you were only four-years-old.

    Well, we’ve found a four-year-old who can do just that and much more besides!

    Record-breaking Laasya Chigurupati wowed readers in 2017 when we first broke the story of her musical genius of playing numerous tunes by memory on her xylophone.

    At the time, aged just three-years-old, gifted Laasya dazzled world record adjudicators for the first time when she played 52 songs in 25 minutes - and all by memory. This earned her a much-deserved position in the world of record-holders with Asset World Records, and she holds the title as the youngest to play the most number of tunes by memory on her xylophone.

    Fast forward to now and little Laasya has extended her talent to learning how to play the piano, not only that, she now plays on both on the xylophone and piano to perfection.

    Armed with her mini keyboard (piano), she’s played a whopping 83 songs by memory, making making her the youngest to hold two world records by the mastering the art of successfully playing tunes on two different instruments.

    At the ripe age of two, Laasya’s capacity to grasp information was noticed when her parents Jithender and Aparna realised she had the ability to soak up and recite Sanskirt poetry.

    Laasya’s amazed parents, cautious of not over-bearing their toddler, began introducing music, poetry and toddler toys, which included a xylophone.

    Aparna says Laasya would listen intently to nursery rhymes and then mimic them on the xylophone - almost to perfection. “She just had this incredible ability to soak everything up.

    “We were so careful not to over burden our tiny little girl, but she seemed happier and happier every time she learnt something new.”

    By the age of three, Laasya's talent was featured in Asian Express newspaper, following which she’s been termed across numerous newspapers and online media as a "mini maestro", "musical princess", "musical maestro" and "child prodigy".

    And that’s not all.

    Along with being selected for the top 150 world records exhibition organised by World Records Biennale Foundation, Laasya's talent and achievements have been recognised by the prestigious Delta Academies Trust who have given her a scholarship to develop her musical genius.

    FORTUNATE: Little Laasya's loving mum Aparna and dad Jithendar have recognised her talent and encouraged her to experiment at her own pace

    Jithendar and Aparna commented: “Seeing Our daughter happy is one of the best things in our life. No matter how old she is, she will still be our baby girl.

    “We are so proud of her achievements at her tender age.We take immense pride when we are called as ‘Laasya’s Parents’.

    “We will always be there to support you for eternity our lovely angel Laasya.”

    ... and so do we at Asian Express. Good luck Laasya!

  29. “From the land of Gandhi, we have become a land of gang rapists” -Mallika

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    Actress Mallika Sherawat has expressed her displeasure over increasing number of reports on rape cases in India. She has said that from the land of Mahatma Gandhi, the country had become a land of gang rapists.

    Mallika said: "I think what's happening with women and children of this country is absolutely shameful.

    "From the land of Gandhi, we have become a land of gang rapists and I think it's the media in the country that is really a strong force today. So all hopes are pinned on the media.

    "If it's not in the media, then nobody would know about these cases. I think because of pressure from the media, these new laws have been enforced. So we are really thankful to the media for this," she added.

    "We haven't been able to protect women and children of our country and I have been reading about such kind of crimes on a daily basis in newspapers."

    President Ram Nath Kovind last month approved an ordinance to hand out the death penalty for those convicted of raping girls younger than 12 years.

  30. Finally a doner with a 100% beef guarantee

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    It has been a long time since we’ve had a good doner kebab without hesitating to think about what’s in it.

    As consumers become ever-increasingly more vigilant about what they’re eating, doner has been in the spotlight on the matter of precarious quality control standards, with many questioning exactly what’s in them.

    Eastern Delight, a brand already established in already a very popular product in Dubai, Cyprus and Spain promises to take your concerns away with a 100% beef and 100% halal guarantee, and a zero-tolerance policy on compromising on quality.

    Keen to bring a shield of trust to takeaway owners, Eastern Delight have had dozens of nationwide roadshows where they’ve given out thousands of free doner kebabs and Turkish shawarma chicken, with raving responses.

    Hooking onto an Eastern Delight roadshow at national food giants Adams Cash & Carry, Asian Express saw consumers give “clean”, “juicy” and “very, very delicious” verdicts, with many coming back for second helpings.

    Also, first time in the fast food industry, there’s a very exciting invention called Doner Dog - again with a 100% halal and 100% beef promise.

  31. Naseebo Lal sups up Frangoz magical smoking mocktail goblet

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    Naseebo Lal one of Pakistan's most-renowned female singers visited Frangoz in Bradford

    One of Bradford’s unrivalled eateries had a generous sprinkle of celebrity star dust grace them when iconic Pakistani vocalist Naseebo Lal popped in for a cocktail and a bite to eat.

    Frangoz, on Legrams Lane, who play regular host to the city’s big wigs from British music artists to those in the sports arena, bring a world of fusion foods prepared by five star chefs and sweet exclusive creations to Bradford.

    The family-owned and run business has caused quite a stir with their smoking goblets, gigantic freak shakes and their 32oz Tomahawk steaks and more besides; and they simple love giving their guests a treat.

    So when father Saj Waris and son Lal discovered they had an opportunity to host Naseebo Lal at Frangoz - they immediately knew they’re diners would go ‘radio ga ga’ for it.

    Says Manager Lal Waris: “Naseebo Lal is an old-school traditional Pakistani singer, she’s one of the most-renowned female singers of the country.

    “Our roots are from Pakistan, and much like many of our customers are fans of Naseebo - especially since her music has been reborn by her collaborations with new artists. 

    “There aren’t many Pakistani stars active on the international circuit , but  she is - she’s refreshed the traditional Punjabi music scene and created a lot of new fans by engaging with younger audiences.”

    Asian Express wanted to know what Naseebo decided to try out at Frangoz - they’ve a mammoth menu featuring five different cuisines.

    “Naseebo stuck to our desi range on Frangoz menu,” reveals Lal.

    “She started with our Sizzling Mixed Grill, had a Lamb Karahi, Pilau Rice, a side of Beefy Nachos and Sweet Chilli Chips! And to top it of she went for two of our magical smoking goblets - Virgin Mojito and Strawberry Bliss.

    “Her son, who’s also very musically talented opted for one of the kids meals.”

    On the day, as word got out that Naseebo Lal was in town, people began to flock to the site. Soon Naseebo had quite a queue of fans for pictures and brief chat, and she obliged gracefully. She even enthralled everyone by singing one of her signature tracks ‘ae jo seeli seeli aundi ae hawa’.

    Upon her departure, Naseebo reiterated that she “absolutely loved Frangoz and even more so the love of the people and the City of Bradford."





  32. Leeds United FC urged to cancel tour in Myanmar

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    “This is a country where there is state-sponsored ethnic cleansing and genocide. It is not a place to play sport and it is not a place to invest your money with a clear conscience.” Amjad Bashir

    Campaigning MEP Amjad Bashir urges Leeds United Football Club to cancel two games in Myanmar

    Campaigning MEP Amjad Bashir is calling on Leeds United's owner, Andrea Radrizzani, to cut all financial ties he has with Myanmar - as well as to cancel the club's forthcoming tour to the strife-ridden country.Leeds is set play two games in May in the country, where families have fled their homes because of military operations.

    Mr Bashir, Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, has written and asked for a meeting with club officials to give them his first hand experience of the brutality of Myanmar state and to appeal to them to cancel two post-season matches scheduled there.

    It has reported that two companies owned by Radrizzani - Aser and Eleven Sports, had business partnerships in the region and were expected to benefit from the tour.

    LUFC: Andrea Radrizzani is being urged to cancel the Leeds United Football Club’s tour in Myanmar where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled crimes against humanity

    Five Leeds MPs have also sent a letter urging Leeds United to reconsider playing games in Myanmar. The public letter said it would be "deeply inappropriate for Leeds United to play in Myanmar. It was signed by Labour quintet Rachel Reeves, Hilary Benn, Richard Burgon, Fabian Hamilton and Alex Sobel.

    Shadow sports minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan called the trip "morally corrupt", but Radrizzani defended it.

    The chairman himself released an open letter saying: "I also want to be clear that I am active in the Southeast Asia region with going business practices that provide jobs and help to develop the local sports and media sectors.

    "I have similar goals for Myanmar, along with many other British businesses that trade with and operate in the country."

    Mr Bashir, a long-standing campaigner for Myanmar's persecuted Rohingya minority, responded: "When I delivered my letter to Elland Road I was not aware chairman Andrea Radrizzani had direct personal financial interests in that part of Asia and is apparently planning to expand them into Myanmar.

    "That makes clear the motivation behind the tour but it also means there is a wider problem he should address.”

    "If the folk in charge at Elland Road do not realise that, they are misguided and need a crash-course in the realities about this country - they could start by Googling 'Myanmar' and 'Rohingya'."

    Bashir, who has campaigned for the protection of Myanmar's brutalised Rohingya minority, said: "By playing football there, they would be giving succour to a brutal regime and aligning themselves with the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing and genocide."

    He added: "This is a murderous and blood-soaked rogue state.

    "Decent people should be isolating them and doing all they can to ensure people face justice for crimes against humanity - not going there for games of football, however lucrative.

    "If the folk in charge at Elland Road do not realise that, they are misguided and need a crash-course in the realities about this country - they could start by Googling 'Myanmar' and 'Rohingya'.

    "If they do not cancel this tour immediately, they will do a terrible wrong to the Rohingya, our country, the city of Leeds and fans like me.

    “This is a country where there is state-sponsored ethnic cleansing and genocide. It is not a place to play sport and it is not a place to invest your money with a clear conscience.

    "I appeal again to the club management to meet me too discuss these issues and to Mr Radrizzani to reconsider both the tour and his wider investment in this brutal regime."

    Leeds' tour to Myanmar has also been questioned by Amnesty International due to the country's "brutal" human rights record.

    Some Leeds fans have voiced their anger on social media, while Leeds United Supporters Trust said it was "a strange and controversial choice, given the dangerous political climate Myanmar currently finds itself in

    Amnesty International says ‘it certainly seems like an odd choice of country to choose to tour’.

    Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen

    “Far too often sporting events have been used as a cheap PR tool to 'sportswash' the stain of a country's human rights record.”

    Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: "It certainly seems like an odd choice of country to choose to tour. The last year has seen the human rights situation in Myanmar deteriorate dramatically. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled crimes against humanity in Rakhine State to neighbouring Bangladesh; those who remain continue to live under a system amounting to apartheid. The Myanmar authorities have continued the brutal crackdown despite a global outcry. Far too often sporting events have been used as a cheap PR tool to 'sportswash' the stain of a country's human rights record. Leeds are scheduled to play an All-Star XI in Yangon on May 9 and then Myanmar's national team in Mandalay on 11th May. Both cities fall outside areas which the Foreign Office has advised should be avoided. We're not going to tell Leeds United where they should and shouldn't visit. But if the tour does go ahead, the club should use its leverage to call for an end to the crackdown and raise with the Burmese authorities the plight of the hundreds of thousands of families who have been brutalised and forced to flee their homes."

  33. Is Sajid Javid back in the frame to replace Theresa May?

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    Sajid Javid was promoted to Home Secretary on Monday 30th April following Amber Rudd’s abrupt but much-called for resignation over the ‘Windrush Scandal’.

    For much of Theresa May's premiership, Sajid Javid's been a Cabinet minister on the sidelines. Mr Javid, a former investment banker and MP for Bromsgrove since 2010, has been communities secretary for about 18 months.

    The 48-year old, who previously served as business and culture secretaries, led the government's response to last year's Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

    A protege of George Osborne, Mr Javid is not particularly a close ally of the prime minister herself. He was demoted in the first May reshuffle, moved from the business department to local government.

    In subsequent reshuffles there were always whispers that she might let him go, but somehow he hung on.

    Many are now touting that his promotion to Home Secretary marks a big change in his fortunes and is a smart appointment.

    However, he did face calls to stand down as business secretary over his response to the steel crisis in 2015 which saw Tata Steel cut thousands of jobs.

    On housing, he has lobbied tirelessly behind closed doors to kick-start house building, demonstrating to the public that he is with them even if the political appetite for radical change doesn't exist in the Treasury or Number 10.

    He also is someone who has already expressed public anger about the Windrush fiasco. He's also an experienced minister, who has been at several departments without major calamities.

    For him, challenges ahead are huge. But for him the opportunity is too.

    Ms Rudd's departure came after she faced mounting criticism over her handling of the Windrush scandal and immigration policy.

    The Windrush generation settled legally in post-war Britain and automatically got the right-to-remain in the UK - but the UK government did not keep a record of everyone in that position.

    Some people who do not have the paperwork to prove they are in the UK legally have been detained, lost their jobs and denied access to medical care.

    This has prompted calls for the government to abandon its "hostile environment" policy on illegal immigration, which Ms Rudd and Mrs May continued to defend.

    Mrs May might have had more obvious Cabinet allies in Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley, her predecessor James Brokenshire and party chair Brandon Lewis.

    However, it's clear it would have been dangerous to put someone in to clean up Windrush who had worked in the department when that policy was being implemented. Mr Javid doesn't have any of that baggage.

    As a second-generation migrant, he brings empathy to a department that has been badly damaged by its inhumane treatment of the Windrush generation.

    His background makes him the perfect frontman to begin righting those wrongs. His appointment as culture secretary in 2014 made him the first of the 2010 intake to make into Cabinet.

    Speaking shortly after his new appointment, Mr Javid stated he would be looking "very carefully" at existing policy.

    "The most urgent task I have is to help those British citizens that came from the Caribbean the so-called Windrush generation and make sure that they are all treated with the decency and the fairness that they deserve," he said.

    The Home Office sits at the heart of some of the most complex and challenging decisions in government. His promotion as the new Home Secretary will see him face massive tasks, including him trawling through a dozen dossiers from the police and intelligence agencies asking for permission to intercept the communications of people who are a threat to the UK.

  34. GSAL students raise over £3000 for Rohingya Muslims

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    UNITED: The team of student volunteers for the Rohingya fundraiser at GSAL

    Students in the Islamic Society at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) have teamed up in a fundraising effort to support Rohingyan people displaced from their homes in Myanmar.

    An evening of family fun held at the school raised £3,085 for the charity Penny Appeal, which will use these vital funds to provide food, clothes, blankets, hygiene items, water and shelter for Rohingyan refugees.


    The event was organised by Year 13 students Husna Mahmood, Adnan Akhtar, Aiman Zaidi and Bushra Tellisi. They were supported by Mrs Nema Saeed, individual needs teaching assistant and Muslim faith coordinator, and a team of around 20 student volunteers who stepped in to help.

    Bushra explained why they wanted to help the Rohingya: “We kept seeing the Rohingya in some news sources, but not all despite it being such a big crisis. We were inspired by a successful fundraiser at the school for Syrian refugees five years ago and wanted to do something ourselves to help.”

    KEY ORGANISERS: Aiman, Mrs Saeed, Bushra, Husna and Adnan

    Aiman commented: “We wanted our fundraiser to be a family activity and for the whole school, something for all ages and faiths. It brought the whole community together and was a big team effort.” 

    The students received help and donations from across the local community, meaning that most of the ticket money could be donated directly to the charity. My Lahore restaurant donated the food and Starbucks donated coffee, while parents and others gave items for an auction and materials for games, crafts and other activities. Live musical entertainment was provided by sixth form band The Aerials.

    ROCKIN': 6th Form band 'The Aerials' gave a sensational live performance to guests on the night


    Khalil Benkhalil, Penny Appeal fundraiser manager for the north of England, visited GSAL to collect the cheque. He said: “I was inspired when the students approached us, they are so busy with other pressures in their A-level year but still found time to be selfless and pulled off a wonderful event.

    Adnan Akhtar, Bushra Tellisi, Husna Mahmood and Aiman Zaidi present a cheque to Khalil Benkhalil

    “The amount raised is testament to their passion and effort and will provide lifesaving aid to the Rohingyan people straight away.”

  35. £3 million overhaul for Bradford food giant

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    United Food Cash and Carry is part of the renowned Kashmiri Jinnah Group of companies

    United Food Cash and Carry is set to launch a new 120,000 sq. ft. store after an unprecedented £3 million expansion and lucrative investment which has seen the business grow exponentially.

    The grand opening is set to be held on 30th April 2018 at 10:00 am and will enable suppliers to sample food on the day, in addition to welcoming both existing and new customers with special offers that will be running exclusively on the week of the launch.

    United Food Cash and Carry is a family owned business that has been part of the renowned Kashmiri Jinnah Group of companies. Jinnah Group is a dining and restaurant company that owns a chain of restaurants across the areas of Bradford, York, Harrogate and Selby and due to high demand the company is set to cater for their growing list of clients.

    The company provides services to over 500 businesses in and around the UK, in addition to providing over 2000 product lines and boasts their own fleet of delivery vehicles that deliver throughout the areas of Yorkshire and Lancashire respectively.

    The rapid growth of the business has led to the creation of 20 new jobs which the Managing Director, Saleem Akhtar says is just the start as he is aiming to implement the creation of 20 new jobs in the near future. This initiative will help with providing employment in the Bradford area and will impact the economy at large in providing more opportunities for people who wish to join the company.

    From having started as a small grocery store in humble surroundings, United Food Cash and Carry has now prospered into a business that has been a supplier to countless numbers of restaurants in and around the Yorkshire and Lancashire areas and continues to provide exceptional customer services and quality products to all its clientele.

    The expansion is set to include the implementation of plans to enhance the butchery department and add new product lines such as crockery products for restaurants and catering businesses. The business attracts customers from outside areas such as Liverpool and Middlesbrough and has hopes to further excel in their delivery and product offerings with the new expansion underway.

    The new store will make the company one of the largest distributors of produce and equipment for restaurants, caterers and fast food chains making it a thriving development for the region.

  36. Press regulator finds Times newspaper distorted Muslim foster case story

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    FAKE: The article included a photograph of the girl with a woman, said to be her foster carer, wearing Islamic dress. They digitally altered the image to cover the woman’s face with a veil.

    The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) has ruled the Times "distorted" its coverage of a five-year-old who was placed with Muslim foster carers. The front-page article on 28th August was headlined Times “Christian child forced into Muslim foster care”.

    The Times newspaper, ran three front-page stories after a five-year-old girl was removed from her mother's care by Tower Hamlets council in east London.

    The articles indicated the “white Christian child” was ‘distressed’ that Muslim foster carers stopped her from eating bacon, confused her by speaking Arabic and removed a crucifix.

    They didn’t have a photograph of the girl and instead used a stock picture of a Muslim family to elaborate the the story in print and online. The image included a photograph of the girl with a woman, said to be her foster carer, wearing Islamic dress. They electronically altered the image to cover the woman’s face with a veil.

    Tower Hamlets council said that the newspaper’s front-page headline, "Judge rules child must leave Muslim foster home", was misleading because the child was to go live with her grandmother.

    It’s emerged that the grandmother of the child, also of a Muslim background, did not speak English.

    The council complained that the story which was published on the front page of the newspaper’s 30th August edition – the third front page dedicated to the story that week – implied that a judge had ruled against Tower Hamelts by ordering that the then five-year-old girl be removed from the Muslim household.

    The press regulator ruled that the article breached rule one of the editors’ code of practice, which concerns accuracy.

    The Ipso ruling, which was published in full on page two of the newspaper, called the article a “distortion” of the issue.

    Ian Brunskill, the paper's assistant editor, whilst addressing the Commons Home Affairs Committee investigation of the reporting of minorities on Tuesday 24th April admitted the paper's reporting had caused “enormous offence, it's caused enormous upset."

    The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said it was the first time a story relating to Islam had been corrected on the front page of a newspaper.

    Harun Khan, the organisation's secretary general, said: "It is about time the Times was forced to apologise for promoting what was widely known to be an inaccurate, misleading and bigoted narrative about Muslims.

    "We hope that this will mark a turning point in the tolerance the Times has shown for anti-Muslim bigotry in its coverage and commentary."

    The chief executive of Tower Hamlets council, Will Tuckley, said it had complained because it wanted to defend its own foster carers.

    He said: "From the start we had concerns about the validity of the allegations about the foster carers.

    "For example one allegation was that they did not speak English, even though that is a prerequisite for any foster carer.

    "The allegation that the foster placement was a bad choice by the council was also found by Ipso to be distorted information."

    The Times mentioned the Independent Press Standards Organisation ruling on the front page of Wednesday's 25th April paper and publishes the full adjudication on page two and online.

    The Independent Press Standards Organisation ruled the paper should publish the adjudication on page six or more prominently, as well appearing in the top 50% of online stories for 24 hours as on its website.

    The Daily Mail also picked up the story on its front page the following day under the headline: “MPs’ anger as Christian girl forced into Muslim foster care”. The Daily Mail also used a digitally edited stock picture of a Muslim woman with a veil holding a child’s hand. The former Mail Online columnist and commentator Katie Hopkins tweeted an image of the front page, asking: “Which individual at Tower Hamlets was responsible for the abuse of this little girl?”

  37. WEMBLEY SHOCKER! £800m offer from US billionaire Shahid Khan to buy national stadium

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    US billionaire Shahid Khan is worth an estimated $8.7 billion (picture Sky News)

    The Football Association has confirmed it has received an offer, thought to be worth £800m, to sell Wembley.

    It has been reported that Shahid Khan, US billionaire and current owner of Fulham FC and NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars, is a prospective buyer.

    Car parts tycoon Shahid Khan, who is estimated to be worth around $8.7 billion (£6.25 billion), is understood to have struck an outline agreement with FA boss Martin Glenn to transfer the “home of English football” to foreign ownership for the first time.

    The extraordinary proposal, which will send shockwaves through the sport, was put before the full board of the domestic game’s governing body on 25th April.

    It is understood the approach includes £500m for the stadium and £300m for the FA to keep the Club Wembley debenture and hospitality business.

  38. Bradford & Bingley mortgages sale to return £5.3 billion to UK taxpayers

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    A £5.3 billion sale of Bradford & Bingley (B&B) mortgages acquired by the taxpayer during the financial crisis has been authorised by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond. The sale will enable the full repayment of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) loan to B&B, marking a major milestone in the plan to recover taxpayers’ money.

    Following a highly competitive auction, two portfolios of mortgages will be sold to an investor group led by Barclays Bank PLC. The proceeds from this sale will be used to repay the FSCS’s loan to B&B in full and in turn reduce the national debt.

    There will be no changes to the terms and conditions of the mortgages sold. Borrowers do not need to take any action.

    The Chancellor, Philip Hammond said: "We are determined to recover the money the taxpayer invested during the financial crisis as soon as we can. The sale of these Bradford & Bingley loans is yet another significant step in putting the crisis behind us.

    "The proceeds of this sale will go towards reducing our national debt and securing a brighter future for the next generation."

    B&B’s and NRAM Limited’s (formerly part of Northern Rock) closed loan books are managed by UK Asset Resolution (UKAR) on behalf of the taxpayer. Following today’s (26 April 2018) transaction, UKAR now owns c.£14 billion worth of assets, down from £21 billion in September 2017 and from £116 billion in 2010.

    This sale will raise sufficient funds for B&B to repay its loan from the FSCS - made at the time of nationalisation to finance the transfer of customers’ deposits to Santander UK - which will, in turn, allow the FSCS to repay its own loan from HM Treasury. Repayment of these loans will end the need for a special levy on deposit-taking banks and marks the end of a legacy of the 2008 financial crisis.

  39. Over 200 Jewish and Muslim women unite to fight hatred and bigotry

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    UNITED: Nisa-Nashim saw over 200 Jewish and Muslim women travel to the conference to represent locations including Manchester, Leeds, Exeter, Peterborough, Surrey, Bournemouth, Luton and Birmingham (picture credit: Yakir Zur)

    Women from all around the UK came together to fight hatred in an increasingly ‘difficult and dangerous world’ at Europe’s largest Jewish-Muslim conference.

    Hosted by Nisa-Nashim – Britain’s Jewish Muslim women's network, the conference took place at the LSE on Sunday 22nd April.

    With a diverse range of speakers, sessions covered topics from the loss of life in the Israel/Palestine conflict to a practical guide to self-defense.

    FRIENDSHIP & SUPPORT: Co-Founders Julie Siddiqi and Laura Marks OBE with their daughters (picture credit: Yakir Zur)

    More than 200 Jewish and Muslim women travelled to the conference to represent locations including Manchester, Leeds, Exeter, Peterborough, Surrey, Bournemouth, Luton and Birmingham. There were also delegates from all over London and surrounding areas including Golders Green, Hampstead, Ilford, Wimbledon, Ealing and Harrow.

    INFLUENTIAL: Keynote speaker Robi Damelin from a joint Israeli-Palestinian organisation had the audience in tears

    Many delegates were moved to tears by keynote speaker Robi Damelin, of The Parents Circle - Families Forum, a joint Israeli-Palestinian organisation of more than 600 families, all of whom have lost a relative in the ongoing conflict, that works towards reconciliation between the nations and a sustained peace.

    Entitled ‘Change Makers’, the ground-breaking conference also featured a panel of inspiring female leaders who have been a force for change. Attendees heard from activist and author Helen Pankhurst – the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst – Gabby Edlin of the charity Bloody Good Period, Curzon PR CEO Farzana Baduel and Deputy Lieutenant and women’s champion Pinky Lilani CBE.

    The day also featured many opportunities for creating new friendships between faiths, with delegates bonding over food, poetry and tea. Afternoon prayers were also part of the packed schedule, with Jewish and Muslim services being held side by side.In her opening remarks, Laura Marks OBE, Jewish Co-Founder of Nisa-Nashim, said: “Over the last year, the world has continued to be a difficult and dangerous place. Seventy one people died in the horrific Grenfell Tower tragedy, 22 young people were murdered at a concert in Manchester, we’ve seen cars driven into innocent people in Stockholm, Barcelona and New York City and Darren Osborne’s murderous attack at Finsbury Park Mosque.

    “Antisemitic hate incidents have reached a record level in the UK. Anti-Muslim hate crime has increased, both here and abroad.

    “But what we are focussing on at this conference is the need to stick together - and genuinely support each other – no ifs, no buts, no what abouts, just friendship and support.

    “One thing I have learned over many years of campaigning with and for women is that we get things done and we don’t put more barriers in the way in doing so. Women are driving change in society today and everyone in this room is a part of that.”

    Julie Siddiqi OBE, Muslim Co-Founder of Nisa-Nashim, said: “We must not allow people around us to pitch Jews and Muslims against each other… to fight over who is the most hated!

    “The Nisa-Nashim approach is one of collaboration, of meeting and getting to know each other as friends, to understand that in many ways we have a lot in common, in other ways we are different and all of that is fine, to be celebrated and above all, respected.

    “We need to be brave, we need to make changes, we need to be the change we want to see in the world and we need to take others with us.

    “This, my friends, is what change makers look like!”

    Powerful Jewish women urge protection of Muslim women

    Nisa-Nashim early this month organised a powerful letter signed by 50 Jewish women - including MPs Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth, Facebook Vince President Nicola Mendelsohn CBE and Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Gillian Merron – to local election candidates urging them to protect Muslim women from abuse and attack.

    The letter asked candidates for an immediate strategy to make Muslim women safe and then to develop a longer-term policy on the issue of gendered Islamophobia.

    The Jewish women decided to the unprecedented action after reading a report from Tell MAMA that the greatest impact of anti-Muslim hatred is felt by women who are visibly Muslim – noting that more than half of the victims of incidents were female.

    Laura added: “The list of women who signed the letter is impressive – MPs, Peers, business leaders, charity CEOs and rabbis from all sides of the religious and political spectrum, united in solidarity. What’s more, everyone signed within 12 hours of being asked.

    “Not one of the 50 women we asked said no. Not one questioned what we were doing. Everyone signed up immediately… showing once again that we have more in common.”

  40. Going “quackers” – Bradford to “hook-a-duck” for Yorkshire Air Ambulance

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    Around 4,000 yellow rubber ducks will take to the water in the Mirror Pool in Bradford’s multi-award winning City Park on Friday 27th April, as part of Yorkshire Air Ambulance’s Yellow Yorkshire Day.

    The ducks are generously on loan from Burley-in-Wharfedale Community Trust which holds an annual duck race (PIC: Wharfedale Observer)

    The "quackers" idea came from Bradford Council's Landscape Architect Saira Ali, who felt a fun activity would encourage people to have a go and "hook-a-duck" for Yorkshire Air Ambulance - the official charity for the Tour de Yorkshire 2018, which comes to the district on May 4 and 6.


    Bradford Council's Landscape Architect Saira Ali

    People are being encouraged people to take part in activities with a yellow theme on Yellow Day on 27th April, to raise money to support their vital work.

    People will be able to take part in a fun hook-a-duck type game choosing their duck from the Mirror Pool to win prizes and raise money for the life-saving charity.

    Prizes have been donated by local businesses and attractions as well as from Tour de Yorkshire sponsors, Soreen, Mugshots and the Black Sheep Brewery.

    The council’s swim school Bradford Aquatics has also donated swimming lesson packages and free family swims at council pools. People can also win a child’s summer Sport and Activity Camp donated by the council’s Community Sports and Activities Development Unit.

    People will also get the chance to win ‘tea with the Lord Mayor of Bradford’, a £20 voucher for Jinnah restaurant, two £20 vouchers from The Broadway shopping centre, a night in the Mercure Hotel in Bingley, two gift packs from Timothy Taylor's, a family pass for National Trust East Riddlesden Hall, a voucher for a mountain bike skills course worth £60 and tickets for Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Alhambra donated by Bradford Theatres.

    The ducks are being generously loaned to Bradford Council, who will run the event, by Burley-In-Wharfedale Community Trust. The Burley-in-Wharfedale Community Trust, who run an annual duck race, have also donated prizes for entrance to their duck race which takes place on 10 June this year.

    The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Abid Hussain will hook the first duck to start the fundraising event.

    Saira Ali from Bradford Council said: “We are delighted to be able to turn our fabulous Mirror Pool yellow with ducks to raise money for this amazing charity. We are so grateful to those who have donated prizes. I would urge everyone to come along and have a go at the ‘hook-a-duck’ and support this incredibly worthwhile cause.”

    The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is an independent charity providing a life saving rapid response emergency service to 5 million people across the whole of Yorkshire. The service is operational seven days a week, 365 days a year. The Charity currently attend over 1,000 incidents a year, an average of 4 incidents every single day. Last year they treated 1067 patients at scene and carried 599 of those to hospital for emergency treatment.

    The YAA currently operates two helicopters – one based at Nostell Air Support Unit, near Wakefield and the other at RAF Topcliffe, near Thirsk.

    To keep both of Yorkshire's Air Ambulances maintained and in the air, the YAA needs to raise £12,000 every single day, which is the equivalent of £4.4m a year. The generosity that they receive really is the life blood of the Charity.

    Kerry Garner, West & South Yorkshire Regional Fundraising Manager from Yorkshire Air Ambulance, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the official charity partner for this year’s Tour de Yorkshire. We’re so grateful for this fantastic opportunity to run many valuable fundraising initiatives alongside the race and raise awareness of the lifesaving work we carry out every day across the region and particularly poignant within the cycling community. The support we have received from the people of Yorkshire so far has been absolutely outstanding, everyone has really gotten behind this event and we’re so proud to be apart of it. Huge thank you to Bradford Council for organising such a fun event and supporting our Yellow Yorkshire Day!”

  41.  Tory councillor shared blog which called Muslims “parasites”

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    The Conservative Party has suspended a councillor who shared a blog that called Muslims “parasites”.

    Mike Payne, a councillor in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, shared a 2013 blog from headlined ‘France Slashes Benefits to Muslim Parasites by 83%’ on Facebook and Twitter.

    The Board of Deputies of British Jews tweeted that “This kind of hateful, dangerous language has no place in society, or any political party. All parties must stamp out racism.”The Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors anti-semitism in the UK condemned the councillor in a tweet on 5th April.

    Veronica Coffin, who authored the shared blog, has previously written that former President Barack Obama was a Muslim, and referred to the actress Meghan Markle in the derogatory slavery-era term ‘mulatto’, suggesting that she and Prince Harry may have a ‘black baby’. A recent homophobic tweet from Ms Coffin suggested that ‘gays’ are responsible for Aids.

    The blog is hosted on a website by a man named Tom O’Halloran, who, in his radio show in 2014, said that Islam is not a religion but a “totalitarian, expansionist, militaristic, seditious political system hiding behind the mask of religion.”
    An investigation has found that days after the terror attacks in Paris on 13th November 2015, Mr Payne shared a YouTube video which featured Brigitte Gabriel, the founder and CEO of ACT! for America, described by the New York Times in 2008 as a ‘radical Islamophobe’.

    She was speaking at a Heritage Foundation event in 2014. In the clip, she claimed that “180 to 300 million” Muslims globally are “dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization” which she qualified by stating that a majority were not radical, but added that the ‘peaceful majority’ were irrelevant on 9/11, and then crassly compared the situation to Nazi Germany.

    Angel Rabasa, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, challenged Gabriel’s central claim about terrorism in a 2015 interview with the Christian Science Monitor.

    A user in the comments, however, replied to Mr Payne’s post, stating that it was: “Dangerous, irresponsible nonsense that I’m surprised you are sharing Mike.” Adding that: “I am personally not even socially correct, never mind politically correct but for you to post this sh*t in your position is tantamount to inciting racial hatred and I urge you to think again.”

    In reply, Mr Payne said: “Certainly wouldn’t wish to offend. Especially you. But her opinion was very interesting. Last week there was research published that showed approx 16% of the TOTAL population of France had sympathy with ISIL. And 27% of French youth, which was even more worrying.” Others defended Mr Payne and further challenged the criticism directed at him. The poll cited by Mr Payne has been scrutinised over at the Washington Post.

    On Twitter, the councillor has also interacted with the anti-semitic white national account @AngloNatio, favouriting a tweet about demographics, before replying: “I dunno mate but I think it might have had something to do with uncontrolled immigration policies put in place by successive labour Governments perhaps?” on 1st April 2018.He also favourited a tweet by a staunchly anti-Muslim Twitter account which accused the Labour Party of being anti-white, antisemitic, pro-Islamic and pro-open borders.


    Mike Payne is now an Independent Conservative and will face no council investigation but the Conservative Party says it will continue its own investigation.

  42. Asifa Bano: Rape & murder of an 8-year-old highlights Kashmir’s tensions

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    ASIFA BANO: A gang of eight Hindu men, including a retired govt official & four police officers have been arrested over the brutal gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl. Fierce protests across Kashmir, India, are taking place between Hindus and Muslims.

    As thousands take to the streets to denounce sexual violence others demand justice for the men accused of the brutal gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Indian-administered Kashmir.

    The case has put the state on edge. A gang of eight Hindu men, including a retired govt official and four police officers have been arrested over the brutal gang rape and murder of little Asifa Bano. Fierce protests across Kashmir, India, are taking place between Hindus and Muslims.

    The child Asifa Bano, while grazing her nomadic family’s horses went missing, only for her small, lifeless body to be found days later.

    On the morning of 17th January, Muhammad Yusuf Pujwala – a member of the nomadic Bakarwal tribe, was sitting outside his home in Kathua when one of his neighbours came running towards him. He stopped in front of Mr Pujwala and broke the news: they had found his eight-year-old daughter, Asifa Bano. Her body lay in bushes in the forest, a few hundred metres away.

    Mr Pujwala belongs to a community of Muslim nomadic shepherds called Gujjars who crisscross the Himalayas with their goats and buffaloes. There’s always been tensions over their tribe’s periodic stays in the land.

    All eight men accused of raping and killing Asifa are Hindu.

    Asifa's father believes his daughter was killed by the Hindu men for the sole purpose of driving her people away.

    To add to the volatility of Asifa's case, police say she was killed in a Hindu temple and that the temple's custodian plotted her death as a way to torment the Bakarwals.

    The crime has shocked the community, exposing the fault lines between Hindu-majority Jammu and the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley in a sharply divided state. The Kashmir valley has a tumultuous relationship with India - there has been an armed revolt in the region against Indian rule since 1989.

    According to police reports, little Asifa was given sedatives and for three days, raped several times by different men, and eventually strangled on 17th January. To ensure she was dead, Asifa's killers hit her twice on the head with a stone.

    Asifa’s family wanted to bury her in a graveyard where they had purchased some land a few years ago and had already buried five people there. But when they arrived there they family said they were surrounded by Hindu right-wing activists who threatened them with violence if they were to continue with the burial.

    They had to walk seven miles to bury Asifa in another village.

    In the months since, Asifa's death has brought anguish to Kathua, the small town where she was killed, but it's also brought division. Asifa's case is the latest example of India's religious friction: as some denounce sexual violence and demand justice for Asifa's family, others demand justice for the men accused.

    Police arrested eight men, including a retired government official, four police officers and a juvenile in connection with Asifa's death.

    Earlier this month, a chaotic scene unfolded outside a courthouse in Jammu and Kashmir, as a mob of Hindu attorneys tried to physically stop police from filing charges against the men accused. Two ministers from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also attended a rally in support of the accused.

    Police still managed to complete the paperwork and charged the eight men.

    Protests have now spread across much of Kathua. Hindu activists argue that some of the police officers who worked on the case are, like Asifa, Muslims – and cannot be trusted.

    Asifa's case has shaken India’s Legislative Assembly. Weeks after her body was found, lawmakers still questioned the police's behaviour in the days after Asifa disappeared: police waited two days to file a report after Asifa disappeared

    When Asifa went missing on 10th January, her family was living in a village around 72km (45 miles) east of Jammu city. On that afternoon, her mother recalls, Asifa went to the forest to bring home the horses. The horses returned but Asifa did not.

    Ms Naseema informed her husband. He and some neighbours started looking for her. Armed with flash lights, lanterns and axes, they went deep into the forest and searched through the night. But they could not find her.

    Two days later, on 12th January, the family filed a police complaint. But, according to Mr Pujwala, the police were not helpful. One of the police officers, he alleges, said Asifa must have "eloped" with a boy.

    Five days later, Asifa's body was found. She had been tortured. Her legs were broken, her nails had turned black and there were blue and red marks on her arms and fingers.

    Talib Hussain, a Bakarwal social activist fighting on behalf of Asifa's family, told The New York Times that Bakarwal nomads for generations have leased land from Hindu farmers so that their animals can graze during the winter.

    In recent years, however, Hindus in the Kathua area have campaigned against the nomads. Believed to be at the campaign's helm is the accused custodian, Sanji Ram - a 60-year-old retired government official. "His poison has been spreading,'' Mr Hussain told The New York Times.

    "When I was young, I remember the fear Sanji Ram's name invoked in Muslim women. If they wanted to scare each other, they would take Sanji Ram's name, since he was known to misbehave with Bakarwal women.''

    Accused of Asifa’s the rape and murder are Sanji Ram, police officers Surender Verma, Anand Dutta, Tilak Raj and Mr Khajuria, Mr Ram's son, Vishal, his nephew, a juvenile, and his friend, Parvesh Kumar.

    "It was about land," adds Mr Hussain, who also led a protest in support of Asifa's family and alleges he was arrested and threatened by local police.



  43. Lords slam Government’s green paper on integration

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    DISAPPOINTED: The committee’s Chairman Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbots says the Governments has failed to provide long-term programmes to build trust and confidence amongst the country’s citizens

    The House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement has called on the Government to reverse its lack of commitment to citizenship policies in the UK, and commit to making changes for a more cohesive and vibrant society.

    While the Committee welcomed the publication of the Government’s Integrated Communities Strategy green paper, published on 14th March 2018, it was disappointed that 15 months after the Casey Review was published the Government was publishing only a consultation document. Consultation is not a substitute for action.

    One of the main themes that emerged from the Committee’s nine month inquiry was a lack of progress as regards to integration and the Government’s neglect of services aimed at removing barriers, notably English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teaching.

    The Committee says that barriers preventing people from feeling part of society and contributing to it are not being addressed by the Government, and in some areas are being exacerbated by it.

    It also says that Government must do more to reach out beyond the “usual suspects” in minority communities and focus on understanding the views of women and young people in these communities. And communities themselves must recognise the need to adapt to changing social and economic conditions.

    There has been a drastic reduction in funding for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) – 54% in six years – which the Green Paper does nothing to address. The Government should aim to restore funding for ESOL to the previous amount by 2019/20.

    Local authorities should prioritise ESOL teaching in communities, in venues alongside other services such as childcare, and through women’s organisations.

    Chairman of the Committee Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts said: “A cohesive and dynamic society is dependent on citizens feeling secure, engaged and fulfilled. The Government has not so far given sufficient focus to establishing long-term programmes which build trust and confidence between state and citizen.

    “To break down the barriers preventing integration in society the Government must take action. The green paper published in March was disappointing in being yet another consultation exercise with no firm proposals.

    “We hope that the Government will consider our recommendations and restore funding to ESOL teaching, and aim to engage more with local communities, and especially women’s groups. These are realistic solutions to make a significant step towards a more coherent, confident and inclusive society.”


  44. She didn’t wash her hair for 10 days & lost 8 kilos in two weeks!

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    After making her debut in the Malayalam movie ‘Pattam Pole’ (2013), actress Malavika Mohanan is all set to wow the audiences with her Hindi film debut.

    Under the guidance of the director par excellence Majid Majidi in his first India focused film ‘Beyond the Clouds’, Malavika prepared for her role playing ‘Tara’ with great intensity.

    The actress adopted method acting, especially for a crucial and heart-wrenching jail sequence for which Malavika needed to lose around eight kilos in just 15 days.

    She endured the tough task with determination, an intense workout and a very strict diet to convincingly look like an inmate. Not just that, when the shoot was in progress she decided not to wash her hair for 10 days to lend her look and feel complete authenticity.

    Malavika commented: “Majidi sir has very clear vision for all his characters. All his characters are real people going through real issues.

    “It started with my losing weight before I started filming to physically look like an inmate. With the help and guidance of a nutritionist and my gym trainer, I could achieve this goal in just 15 days.

    EWWW: Diving deep into character and help look like a genuine inmate, Malavika didn't wash her hair for ten days straight

    “By the time I was in the shoot-process, I had taken my deep dive into the character. So I went on to the extent of not washing my hair for 10 days for them to genuinely look dirty and messy.”

    Written by maverick Indian filmmaker and screenwriter Vishal Bhardwaj, the film is set against the backdrop of Mumbai’s bustling streets and slums, the mise-en-scene at once colourfully playful and darkly sinister.

    Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman’s spirited soundtrack adds a further dimension to the drama thriller.



  45. WHO SHOT JR?

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    Luke Patel

    The case of Noel Conway v The Secretary of State for Justice has been in the headlines recently. In that case, Mr Conway, who suffers from terminal motor neurone disease was challenging the law on assisted dying, arguing that the Suicide Act 1961 was incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998. Mr Conway was seeking a judicial review (“JR”) of the blanket ban on assisted dying as contained in the 1961 Act.

    But what is JR? It is the process of challenging the legality of decisions made by local or central government. The courts have a supervisory role in ensuring that decision makers act lawfully. It is important to note that the JR process does not examine the merits of a decision but instead looks at its lawfulness (i.e. whether there has been an error of law in reaching the decision made).

    JR requires permission from the court. Applicants need to apply for permission within three months of the decision being made (except for planning cases which must be within six weeks).   The time limits are absolute and strictly applied and to proceed you have to demonstrate that you have an arguable case. The court will reject cases where it cannot see any arguable error of law.

    If a claim for JR is successful then usually the original decision is “quashed”. This typically results in the decision process having to be followed again. What it does not mean is that a different decision must be reached. It is possible, for example, that exactly same decision could be reached all over again.  

    Previously, bringing a claim for JR was not only costly but also a very complicated process. In an effort to simplify the procedure and to reduce costs new guidelines on bringing JR have been issued. This guidance aims to make it easier for parties to bring JR claims and for the court to deal with such cases quickly and proportionately in relation to costs.

    The guidance draws together all of the relevant statutory provisions, rules of procedure, and other procedural aspects of judicial review into one document. No new law has been enacted but parties pursuing a claim for JR will now be expected to act in accordance with it.

    The guide provides assistance on starting a claim, applying for permission for JR, dealing with hearings, the remedies available, specific practice points, how to end a claim, costs and the appeals process. In short, it provides a comprehensive guide on how to pursue a claim for JR. However, this area of the law is still a minefield. So we are back to the question in the title – “Who Shot JR?”. You do not have to look too closely as the answer is in this article!

    If you are involved in any claim for JR or require advice in connection with it then Blacks Solicitors can assist. Please contact Luke Patel on 0113 227 9316 or email him at “”.


  46. 139 years for Heathrow ‘airport insider’ cocaine smuggling

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    British Airways baggage handler Joysen Jhurry, 41, assisted by his colleague Mohammad Ali, 41, arranged to move suitcases containing the drugs off the plane and have them placed on baggage carousels for domestic arrivals

    A criminal network that used corrupt baggage handlers to smuggle at least £16 million worth of drugs through London’s Heathrow Airport have been sentenced to a total of over 139 years in prison.

    The conspiracy was brought to an end in December 2016 following an 18-month investigation led by the National Crime Agency, with support from Border Force and Heathrow Airport, during which over 100 kilos of cocaine and 44 kilos of cannabis was seized.

    Airport carousel collections

    Surveillance officers watched as British Airways baggage handler Joysen Jhurry, 41, assisted by his colleague Mohammad Ali, 41, arranged to move suitcases containing the drugs off the plane and have them placed on baggage carousels for domestic arrivals.

    Around the time of each flight, Jhurry was in phone contact with his right-hand man Preetam Mungrah, 44, who acted as the intermediary between him and the organisers.

    The bags would then be collected by couriers arriving on internal fights from other airports in the UK, who could exit Heathrow domestic arrivals without going through customs controls.

    The couriers

    Moses Awopetu, 38, Felicia Kufuor, 66, and Francisca Archer, 26, received a text containing a photo of the suitcase they were due to pick up. Each was arrested on separate occasions by either Border Force or NCA officers as they attempted to leave the airport concourse.

    In charge of the drug importations and onward distribution was Damion Goodhall, 30, Wilfred Owusu, 31, Mark Agoro, 52, and Michael Sutherland, 48, who organised for cocaine to be flown in from Brazil on at least six separate occasions.

    They were heavily supported by Aziz Abdul, 37, a long-time friend of Owusu.

    Sutherland’s assistant, Leiona Townsend-Bartley, 32, helped out with logistics by liaising with couriers and booking flights or hotels.


    Amongst the evidence used to convict the group in 2017 was a series of call logs highlighting the constant contact between numbers in Brazil and the organisers, as well as between them, Jhurry and Mungrah.

    Members of the group were also filmed by NCA officers meeting on numerous occasions, either at each other’s houses or in public places, to discuss their criminal business.

    Eight members of the network were arrested in dawn raids across London on 14 December 2016.

    Jhurry, Goodhall, Agoro, Abdul and Awopetu pleaded guilty, but the rest of the group were convicted for their roles in the conspiracy in two separate trials at Kingston and Southwark Crown Courts.

    All 11 sentenced

    All 11 were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court. Owusu and Sutherland both received 20 years for their organisational roles, whilst Agoro was sentenced to 14 and a half years and Goodhall to 11 and a half.

    Baggage handlers Jhurry and Ali received 16 and 15 years respectively.

    NCA regional head of investigations Brendan Foreman said: “This was a sophisticated plot and at the centre of it was a man who used his privileged access to Heathrow and insider knowledge of the airport’s systems for criminal purposes.

    “This kind of corruption threatens the security of the UK border and the public at large which is why the NCA and its partners are tackling it as a priority.

    “Border Force, Airport authorities and the airline community were vital in helping us to stop this organised crime group in its tracks and pull together the evidence which lead to them being sentenced to significant jail time today.”

    Border Force Heathrow Director Nick Jariwalla said: “Border Force Officers played a crucial role in this lengthy investigation, helping to bring these individuals to justice.

    “They used their in-depth knowledge of the infrastructure at Heathrow to provide invaluable insight to colleagues at the National Crime Agency and the final operation to arrest suspects was very much a joint effort.

    “This is just one example of how Border Force officers keep restricted and prohibited items out of the country and prevent them getting into the hands of organised crime groups.”

    Details of those convicted 

    • Preetam Mungrah, dob 13/02/1974, of Woodville Road, Thornton Heath. Found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine and cannabis in October 2017. Sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison.
    • Wilfred Owusu, dob 22/10/1986, of Foulden Road, Stoke Newington. Found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine and cannabis in October 2017. Sentenced to 20 years in prison.
    • Mohammad Ali, dob 06/06/1976, of Spackmans Way, Slough, Berkshire. Found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine in February 2018. Sentenced to 15 years in prison.
    • Michael Sutherland, dob 27/10/1969, of Sunnybank Road, South Norwood. Found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine and possessing crack cocaine with intent to supply in February 2018. Sentenced to 20 years in prison.
    • Francisca Archer, dob 16/12/1991, of Foulden Road, Stoke Newington. Found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine in February 2018. Sentenced to six years and six months in prison.
    • Leiona Townsend-Bartley, dob 06/08/1985, of Garnies Close, Peckham. Found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine in February 2018. Sentenced to six years in prison.
    • Felicia Kufuor, dob 19/11/1951, of Ashburnham Road, Bedford. Found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine in February 2018. Due to be sentenced on 1 June 2018.

    Details of those who had previously entered guilty pleas

    • Joysen Jhurry, dob 29/11/1976, of Grange Gardens, Banstead. Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine and cannabis. Sentenced to 16 years in prison.
    • Moses Awopetu, dob 03/06/1979, of no fixed abode. Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine. Sentenced to six years and nine months in prison.
    • Damion Goodhall, dob 19/09/1987, of Singleton Close, Tooting, London. Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine. Sentenced to 11 years and six months in prison.
    • Mark Agoro, dob 07/11/1965, of Mayflower Road, Chafford Hundred. Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine and cannabis. He was also found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine at a separate trial. Sentenced to 14 years and six in prison.
    • Aziz Abdul, dob 16/07/1980, of no fixed abode. Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine and cannabis. Sentenced to 9 years and six months in prison.
    • Danovan Bull (courier), dob 12/12/1971, of Hickmore Walk, Clapham. Pleaded guilty to possession of class A drugs with intent to supply at Isleworth Crown Court in January 2016 and was sentenced to six years in prison.



  47. 50 tonnes of Dales stone heads to London to showcase Yorkshire

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    35 tonnes of walling stone and 15 tonnes of glacial boulders are being collected in the Dales for the Welcome to Yorkshire show garden at RHS Chelsea.

    It is all on loan from the Bolton Estate to make sure this year’s garden at the prestigious flower show in London next month is authentically Yorkshire.

    The 2018 design showcases Yorkshire’s iconic countryside and green spaces and also celebrates the county’s plentiful natural materials, traditional crafts and skilled artisan food production; the aim is to encourage those who see the garden, to visit the country and experience its beauty first-hand.

    Designer Mark Gregory who is celebrating his 30th year at Chelsea has been inspired by the stunning Yorkshire Dales, world famous for its Wensleydale cheese, wildflower and buttercup meadows and iconic drystone walls.

    The stone, collected from near Castle Bolton in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, will be used to create a genuine drystone wall and to construct a stone bothy in the garden. The glacial boulders will be used to help create a tumbling beck and fast flowing stream. All items are on loan and will be returned to the Bolton Estate after the show.

    This year’s garden will also showcase the wonderful and unique local produce found in the Dales, especially Yorkshire Wensleydale. Genuine traditional cheese making equipment is being loaned to Welcome to Yorkshire by the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes. This will be used when cheese production takes place in the bothy at certain points during the show, adding even more genuine Yorkshire sights and smells to the garden.

    Sir Gary Verity Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “It’s brilliant to see this stunning design being turned into reality. Borrowing some genuine pieces of Yorkshire is a fantastic way to make our garden shine as brightly as this great county does when viewed first hand.

    Sir Gary Verity Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire

    "We’re incredibly grateful to the Bolton Estate, Wensleydale Creamery and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority for all their help and support in making this happen. We promise to take great care of these precious pieces of Yorkshire and return them straight after the show”

    Garden designer Mark Gregory said: “To create a garden that truly evokes the beauty of Yorkshire you have to start with the right ingredients. We wouldn’t be doing it justice if we didn’t borrow part of the soul of the county and it’s amazing that we are being given access to this kind of quality material. We’re trying to make it as authentic as possible, but we are also being incredibly respectful to the environment.”

    David Hartley, Managing Director at The Wensleydale Creamery, said: “We are very excited for the start of this wonderful project, which will create a little piece of the Yorkshire Dales in Chelsea, allowing us tell our historic story and showcase our much-loved Yorkshire Wensleydale in a truly authentic setting.”

    Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Chief Executive, David Butterworth, said:

    “We are pleased to support this wonderful garden inspired by the stunning landscape of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. We hope it will, in turn, inspire visitors to the Chelsea Flower Show to come and enjoy the sights, smells and tastes of the Park for themselves.

    “The whole purpose behind the involvement of the National Park Authority in an event of this kind is to ensure that the Park itself, its landscape, communities and businesses remain in the public eye and benefit accordingly.”

  48. Barred for life: Nawaz Sharif disqualified from ever holding office again

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    Friday the 13th certainly proved unlucky for Pakistan’s deposed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The Supreme Court disqualified from holding office for life amid an ongoing corruption trial and ahead of general elections due this year.

    The Supreme Court barred Sharif, 67, from politics earlier in July over an undeclared source of income, but the veteran leader maintains his grip on the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, even though he is no longer its leader.

    Friday’s ruling addressed an ambiguity over whether he was barred for life or for a specific period for not being honest. The ruling was an interpretation of a constitutional article that has been used to remove legislators from office before, a senior lawyer said.

    Sharif and his family have called the corruption proceedings a conspiracy, hinting at intervention by the military, but opponents have hailed them as a rare example of the rich and powerful being held accountable. The military denies any such intervention.

    Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb told reporters “nameless and faceless people” had interfered to orchestrate Sharif’s political demise and the downfall of the PML-N.

    “Now they disqualified (Sharif) for life. But people of Pakistan will decide whether the disqualification of an elected prime minister is for one day or for life,” she added.

    Sharif is currently appearing before an accountability court in Islamabad on other charges linked to London properties his family owns - proceedings ordered by the Supreme Court last July - that could see him jailed if found guilty.

    Sharif has served as prime minister three times and each time was removed from office - in 1993 by presidential order, in 1999 by a military coup that saw him jailed and later exiled before returning when General Pervez Musharraf stepped down, and in 2017 over the corruption probe.

    His allies have called the proceedings a political vendetta.

    Sharif was also removed as head of the party he founded when the courts overturned a legal amendment by PML-N lawmakers in February that allowed him to remain party president despite being disqualified from public office.

    Despite not being party leader, Sharif has considerable sway over the workings of the PML-N and enjoys the support of its core leadership.

  49. Premium Oud retailer opens new site on Roundhay Road in Leeds

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    A well-renowned luxury perfumery which boasts the largest collection of Oud products in the world, has brought its elite range of premium fragrances to Roundhay Road in Leeds.

    Ilyas Salim, founder of Scent Salim, stands by his statement that the store has a scent for everyone - be it the exotic, the romantic, the introvert or the contemporary.

    Salim who’s established his bespoke collection over two decades, is a long-time aroma enthusiast and showcases over a thousand fragrances in his inventory, along with a hundred-or-so exclusive Ouds.

    Holding a Masters in Islamic Sciences, Salim fell in love with fragrances as a child and knew he wanted to work with them.

    Ilyas Salim founder of Scent Salim

    Being a self-proclaimed “perfectionist”, he carefully procures the highest quality products from each brand to really ensure that fragrances are of the most premium quality. Delivering a first class service to his customers is a personal committal, and endeavours to making his customers feel like royalty.

    With the aim of offering remarkable products with reasonable price-tags, Salim specialises in non-alcoholic perfumes from the Middle-East and Asia. His stock includes fragrances from very well-known brands like Arabian Oud, ASQ, Ajmal, Amouage, Roja Dove as well as creations under the ‘Scent Salim’ brand.

    Working alongside ten work staff and twenty-five distributors, Salim supplies well over one hundred outlets across the UK. He manufactures, retails and wholesales perfumes, ouds, home fragrances, Arabian car air fresheners and personalised fragrances.

    The team sources natural ingredients from around the world – the Frankincense from Oman, Jasmine from the UK and Ireland, and Oud comes from Thailand, Cambodia, India and Bangladesh.


    “In the Middle East everyone wears fragrance, more so than in the UK and Europe. These types of Ouds only really have flagship stores in Europe and we stock a lot of special editions and limited items,” says Salim.

    “We stock elite brands that can only be found in specialist boutiques or in Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

    “We do have two or three of the best “western brands” such as Tom Ford, Creed etc, these are quite popular and John Lewis has started selling them too, but our main line is the Arabian brands.”

    The perfumery prides itself on providing luxury unique wedding favours, which have proven to be a popular hit with their customers, making their special occasion stand out.

    What gives Scent Salim that unique edge is the unrivalled quality of fragrances, which are known to last weeks on end on clothes. The store houses many award-winning scents which have been recognised in Dubai festivals and London perfume shows.

    The store attracts many VIP clients including footballers and high profile Asian artists. Scent Salim also has celebrity clientelle from Pakistan and Middle Eastern countries, including the Habtoors family and the Dubai royal family.

    Scent Salim has thousands of customers in over 50 countries and they supply to both trade and individuals.

    Salim personally promises you will find all of your favourite scents and fragrances alongside something new and inspiring all under one roof.

    If you want to sample the fragrant delights that Scent Salim has to offer, you can visit their new flagship store on 6 Roundhay Road, Leeds, LS8 2SH. 

    To contact Scent Salim, you can visit their website: for more details and information on their products or ring them on 0113 345 2711. Alternatively, you can email them:

  50. British PM under pressure to apologise for Sikh massacre

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    On the occasion of Vaisakhi on 13th April 1919, soldiers of the British Indian army fired at more than 10,000 unarmed men, women and children who had gathered at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar,  India.

    Following lobbying of a number of Commonwealth leaders Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to come under pressure at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Demands are that she should commit to make a full apology in UK Parliament for the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre also known as the Amritsar massacre, before the 100th anniversary next year.

    Before the last snap General Election in the UK in June 2017 the Sikh Federation (UK) put forward a five-point agenda building on the Sikh Manifesto 2015-2020 published before the 2015 General Election.

    One of the five demands was for the next British Prime Minister to recognise Britain’s mistakes from the past and make a full apology for the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre before the 100th anniversary in 2019.

    Sikhs in the Diaspora have approached political leaders in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan and a number of African countries. The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has been asked to lead the call for an apology for the massacre.

    Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has been asked to lead the call for an apology for the Amritsar massacre

    Trudeau on 18th May 2016 himself made a full apology in the House of Commons for the Komagata Maru incident from 1914 when over 350 passengers – nearly all Sikhs and British subjects – were denied entry, starved of food and water for two months with the ship eventually being forced to return to India.

    In February 2013 David Cameron visited Jallianwala Bagh, in Amritsar and described the Amritsar massacre that was far more devastating and controversial as "a deeply shameful event in British history, one that Winston Churchill rightly described at that time as monstrous. We must never forget what happened here and we must ensure that the UK stands up for the right of peaceful protests”.

    Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: “For the last four years we have been commemorating the huge sacrifices by Sikh soldiers, referred to as the lions of the Great War, who fought and died for Britain during World War One.”

    “However, it is not enough for the UK Government today to be supporting and promising funding for a monument in central London to mark those Sikh sacrifices for the freedom of Europe and denying the worldwide Sikh community a full apology in Parliament for the 13 April 1919 massacre that came within months of the Great War.”

    “It is ironic that Justin Trudeau may be leading calls for Theresa May to apologise for the 1919 Amritsar massacre given the recent tensions between India and Canada for Justin Trudeau’s unflinching support for the Sikh community.”

    “Interestingly the Indian media are running several stories today about the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre on the back of a tweet by Narendra Modi and are calling the British massacre a genocide.”

    “The Indian authorities should not have double standards and accept it when politicians in Canada, Australia, UK and USA or officials at the United Nations refer to the events of 1984 as a Sikh Genocide.”