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Author Archives: Andleeb Hanif

  1. Offshore tax experts warns of UK tax risks and penalties

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    UK tax risks and penalties warning international bank accounts and investments

    By Amit Puri

    Amit Puri is a Director in the Tax Investigations & Disputes team, with Lancaster Knox LLP. Amit was a Senior Investigator and Offshore Tax Team Leader at HMRC in London, where he spent almost 11 years.

    Ground breaking legislative provisions are already in place, which require UK resident individuals to voluntarily disclose historic UK tax non-compliance to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), in relation to income/gains arising offshore and assets held outside of the UK too.

    HMRC has already started receiving these rich banking records and will continue to do so automatically, every year now, from 100+ jurisdictions (under the Common Reporting Standard). For example, bulk data from Indian banks began to flow in to HMRC last summer (2017), whereas Pakistan and Dubai/UAE have committed to do the same from this year (2018).

    This international tax transparency standard was developed by the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with the help of many tax and fiscal authorities around the world.

    The goal was to provide a uniform framework to help identify ‘offshore tax evasion’, e.g. untaxed investment (interest and dividend) income and gains that arise overseas as well as identifying taxable assets held overseas for inheritance tax purposes.

    So, what information has been exchanged?

    The intelligence represents millions of lines of banking data, which can be filtered, analysed and cross-checked against HMRC’s existing records.

    Client names, addresses and other identifying information is accompanied by information relating to: interest income; ; dividend income; investment and any other income; income from certain (cash-value) insurance products; proceeds on the disposal of financial assets and annual balances/values (even if that's nil, because there is no minimum threshold).

    Also, broadly speaking, where non-financial entities, for example: companies and trusts, hold reportable financial accounts, the extended reporting provisions require that those entities’ 'controlling persons' are identified too and reports made accordingly. For example: shareholders, directors, trustees, settlors, beneficiaries etc.      

    Off the back of this drive, HMRC has been sending out warning letters to those individuals it has more information about now, challenging them by saying they had a ‘final opportunity to bring your worldwide tax affairs up to date’.

    Nudge letters
    These are commonly referred to as ‘nudge’ letters, designed to encourage people to seek professional advice to explore their exposure to UK taxes.

    I started seeing these letters from the end of summer 2017.

    From experience, HMRC tend to issue some 10,000 letters like this at a time, but there has been no confirmation yet as to whether this has been the case here.

    Personally, I have seen many of these, because clients who have received them have been relatively quick to show them to their accountants or other trusted advisers, who have then promptly referred them to me.

    Under HMRC’s ‘Requirement to Correct’ (RTC) rules such voluntary disclosures must be made by the end of September 2018, following which the highly punitive, new financial and non-financial sanctions commence – ‘Failure to Correct’ (FTC).

    It is more important than ever to ensure that our financial and UK tax affairs are reviewed urgently, to ensure there is little or no exposure to these RTC/FTC provisions, because these new sanctions are particularly stringent and difficult to manoeuvre.

    New FTC sanctions  
    Simply put, failure to disclose and correct UK tax irregularities by 30 September 2018 will result in attracting the new and significantly harsher FTC sanctions, including for example:
    a minimum financial penalty of 100% (of the tax payable) - irrespective of whether mistakes were made due to carelessness; HMRC more easily publicly 'naming and shaming' those being charged penalties
    an asset-value based financial penalty too, of up to 10%

    Additionally, where relevant offshore assets have been moved from one jurisdiction to another (less transparent one), then there could be an additional financial penalty, representing 50% of all other relevant penalties being charged!

    Next steps
    Time is running out – September 2018 is fast approaching – for those potentially affected by the new RTC and FTC provisions. I recommend that anyone who considers this might apply to them, i.e. they potentially have an issue (accounts/assets/holding structures outside of the UK) to review, rather than resolve, that they take professional advice ASAP, on a free and confidential basis, to explore their potential exposure.

    There are of course many reasons why people hold financial accounts and investments outside of the UK, for example: greater privacy, greater returns on capital, inheritance of ancestral wealth and temporary residence. Therefore, the receipt of financial accounts information by HMRC will not always result in additional UK tax needing to be paid, but it does warrant a review of their affairs or high-level discussion, to be able to demonstrate to HMRC they are indeed UK tax compliant.

    Make sure you, your friends/family and clients seek specialist advice ASAP and take advantage of a free and confidential tax health check, to ensure overseas accounts and assets are UK tax compliant.

  2. One of Bradford’s largest doctor’s practice at the heart of TV series

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    Facing patients with problems such as as gambling addiction, chicken pox, sore feet and self harm, one of Bradford’s largest GP surgeries stars in a fascinating and observational 43-episode-long television documentary.

    As Channel 5’s landmark TV series ‘GPs: Behind Closed Doors’, has moved to the North of England for the first time to The Ridge Medical Practice in Great Horton - right into the heart of the Asian community.

    "Growing up in a working class family, Bradford has afforded me every opportunity to further my education and allow me to break through the barriers that can stop working class children progressing,” says Dr Khan speaking to the Asian Express.

    This is the only show on British TV to be filmed inside a working General Practice, offering a disarmingly honest and often entertaining look at the stresses, strains and joys of working in, and using, the NHS in modern Britain.

    The health care professionals and staff at The Ridge Medical Practice have a staggering 23,000 patients on their books and 14 GPs registered to work with the practice.

    Bradford born and bred Dr Amir Khan has been with Ridge Medical for seven years and is a partner at the Practice. After studying Medicine at Liverpool Medical School, he retuned to his home city to work as a fully qualified GP.
     
    "Growing up in a working class family, Bradford has afforded me every opportunity to further my education and allow me to break through the barriers that can stop working class children progressing,” says Dr Khan speaking to the Asian Express. 

    “I also had a very supportive family and mum who would stop at nothing to make sure I had everything I needed.”

    For Dr Khan, working in Primary Care is both simultaneously challenging and rewarding. 

    “Working in inner city Bradford, there is a real mix of patients,” he says.

    “We have our South Asian patients, our Caucasians and an increasing number of Eastern Europeans.  

    “Although there can be an issue with language barriers and cultural expectations, all our staff work at our Practice because they love this mix of patient, and it really is a case of no two days are ever the same!”

    But, with GP surgeries facing unprecedented pressures and receiving less than 10% of the total NHS budget whilst handling 90% of its workload, worrying questions rise on how long this vital community service will survive.

    “As a Practice we do not get any more money for being in a socially deprived area,” discloses Dr Khan.

    “For assisting patients with language barriers or people from different cultures, where immunisations or cancer screening are not given the same importance - we are paid just the same as those who work in lovely middle class leafy suburban areas.

    “It’s a challenge, but one our staff relish and rise to, and this is evident on the show.”

    Being part of a TV series, the Practice feels it’s a unique opportunity to show the positive work that goes on in primary care in Bradford.

    “Bradford doesn’t always get the best press and we are hoping this will go some way in changing that,” he adds.
     
    “We are really pleased to be part of ‘GPs: Behind Closed Doors’, it will shine a light on Bradford and the positive way we come together as a people to help one another when we are at our most vulnerable.

    “The production company have been so supportive and listened to our concerns and worked with us to make this the best, most honest and disarmingly open look at how a GP surgery works and how everyone has a role to play in keeping the NHS going.”

    You can catch GPs: Behind Closed Doors On Channel 5 every Wednesdays at 8pm. The series began on Wednesday 29th August, visit www.my5.tv to watch previous episodes.

  3. Beauty and Beyond… Leeds to play host to cosmetics festival

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    EXPERT: British makeup artist and columnist Ruby Hammer MBE who co-founded Ruby & Millie make up joins the line of influential speakers at the festival

    Leeds will host its first ever city-wide cosmetics festival that aims to look beyond beauty, and it seems some of the city’s biggest retailers have signed up!
     
    Made Up Leeds will be an inclusive, city-wide festival that goes beyond beauty with a jam-packed two days of free events, demonstrations, tutorials, speakers and special offers.
     
    During September 29th and 30th, the festival includes talks from British makeup artist and columnist Ruby Hammer MBE, who co-founded Ruby & Millie make up.

    Visitors can expect makeovers, tutorials and a ‘meet and greet’ by Love Island stars Kaz Crossley and Alexandra Cane, plus demonstrations from top hair stylist and E4’s Body Fixers star Danny Richo.

    The full-line up is yet to be announced and will be revealed in the coming weeks.
     
    Retail giants including John Lewis, Harvey Nichols, Debenhams, Trinity Leeds, The Merrion Centre, St Johns Centre and The Light, supported by Leeds BID.

    In total, more than 90 cosmetics stores, franchises, restaurants and bars are taking part with more than 110 individual offers available.
     
    Andrew Cooper, Chief Executive at Leeds BID, said: “Leeds is already firmly on the map for its incredible retail offering but we’re ready to build on that reputation and take it one step further – we want Leeds to become a beauty capital of the UK.

    “Leeds is a city where beauty can be found in so many different forms. Made Up Leeds will reflect that diversity, whilst offering a platform to the best talent from Yorkshire and further afield.”
     
    Stand-out events include a Beauty Space pop-up on Briggate with its own ‘Glam Bars’ hosted by John Lewis, offering hair and make-up services for shoppers, and a ‘Beauty Bridge’ at Trinity Leeds with mini makeovers, hair tips and beauty advice.

     Commuters can also get glammed up at Harvey Nichols’ ‘Eyes & Lips’ counters located at Leeds Train Station throughout the weekend.
     
    Festival-goers will need to sign up at www.madeupleeds.co.uk to get their ‘Glamour Passport’ and goody bag, which can be picked up at collection points across the city centre and includes a full list of offers, samples and information on speakers and demonstrations.

    For details, and to get your Glamour Passport, visit www.madeupleeds.co.uk.

  4. TAXI: Rein in the law breakers

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    Library picture

    A new scheme will see local authorities working together to make it more difficult for taxi and private hire drivers to break the law.

    Five West Yorkshire local authorities and York have agreed to a joint enforcement partnership scheme which will allow action to be taken against any illegal activity from a driver licensed by any of the six councils when they are driving within the combined borders.

    Offences include: driving without insurance, picking up passengers on the street who haven’t pre-booked, driving with vehicle defects such as defective brake lights or bald tyres, displaying incorrect signs so that it is not clear the vehicle is a taxi, smoking whilst sat in the taxi, and driving without the correct licence.

    Until now if one of the authorities checked a private hire or hackney carriage taxi licensed by another authority there was little they could do to stop it being driven illegally or unsafely.

    Taxi driver associations have welcomes the move, but suggest for drivers who passed a check in one authority to be given a seven-day receipt which could be produced to enforcement officers in other authorities. This would ensure the same vehicle and driver are not being checked multiple times in the same week as they travelled through different council areas.

    The cross border enforcement is the first of many projects the six authorities – Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York - are working on to support the taxi and private hire trades and improve the safety and comfort of their passengers.

    Councillor Sarah Ferriby, the Council's executive member for healthy people and places, said: “When you get in a private hire vehicle or taxi you should be confident that the vehicle is safe, well maintained and that the driver is licensed, insured and trustworthy.

    “The only way to guarantee that is to have a strict set of rules that are regularly enforced.

    “It makes absolute sense to carry out cross border enforcement – when we travel by private hire or taxi we do not restrict our journeys to one area, so licensing authorities shouldn’t restrict how we enforce the rules around driving those vehicles.

    “It is worth saying that the majority of taxi and private hire drivers and their vehicles are safe and comply with the law.

    “For them this change will have no impact. It is those who believe that the law doesn’t apply to them, who selfishly drive without considering the safety of their passengers, who will notice a change.”

  5. Cemetery murder victim named, detectives appeal for information

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    Police investigating the fatal shooting of a man in a cemetery have named the victim as they continue to appeal for information.

    Alhough formal identification has not yet taken place, the victim can now be named as 22-year-old Ismail Tanrikulu from Tottenham.

    Armed officers, the National Police Air Service (NPAS) and London Ambulance Service (LAS) attended the cemetery at 07:53hrs on Monday, 3 September following reports of a shooting.

    They found a man suffering from gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

    A post-mortem examination will be held on Friday, 7 September.

    An investigation has been launched by officers from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, who retain an open mind as to the circumstances surrounding the incident.

    Detective Chief Inspector Andy Partridge said: “I am particularly interested in hearing from anyone who may have been in the grounds of the cemetery or in the vicinity of Fryatt Road or Jellicoe Road on the morning of Monday, 3 September, between 07:00hrs and 08:00hrs.

    "Did you see anyone acting suspiciously? Anyone who contacts us can be assured that their information will be treated in the strictest confidence.”

    No arrests have been made. Enquiries are ongoing.

    Anyone who witnessed this incident or has information should call police at the incident room on 0208 358 0300 or contact police via @MetCC quoting CAD 1450/03SEP.

  6. Posters stating ‘Israel is a racist endeavour’ pop up across London

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    The posters deliberately mock one of the examples of contemporary anti-Semitism newly adopted by the Labour party (PICTURE CREDIT: Aine Lagan)Police are investigating after posters describing Israel as a “racist endeavour” sprung up at bus stops across the capital.

    The posters are believed to have been installed in response to the Labour party’s decision to finally accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism on 4th September.

    The large signs have appeared in Westminster, Waterloo and Bloomsbury.

    They have a plain white background behind the words: “Israel is a racist endeavour.”

    This design evidently mocks the IHRA definition, which states that "claiming the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour" equates to anti-Semitism.

    Transport for London (TfL) said the adverts were “absolutely not authorised” by themselves nor their advertising partner JCDecaux. TfL said they would be removed from the network “immediately”.

    The Met tweeted to say police in Lambeth were investigating reports of fly-posting and that "offensive material will be removed”.

    Many have describing them as “vile” and “terrifying”. Others claim the adverts were a “hate crime”.

    A TfL spokesperson said: “It is fly posting and therefore an act of vandalism which we take extremely seriously. We have instructed our contractors to remove any of these posters found on our network immediately.”

  7. Top India court legalises gay sex

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    India’s top court has ruled that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a fundamental violation of rights. This means that gay sex is no longer a criminal offence in the country.

    The ruling at India's Supreme Court today overturns a 2013 judgement that upheld a colonial-era law, known as section 377, under which gay sex is categorised as an "unnatural offence”.

    Under section 377 certain sexual acts, including anal and oral sex, could be punishable by a 10-year jail term.

    However, there remains strong opposition for the ruling among religious groups and in conservative rural communities.

    Delivered by a five-judge bench headed by India's outgoing chief justice Dipak Misra, the decision was unanimous.

    The ruling now stands as the “final say in the matter” and cannot be challenged. As such, it represents a huge victory for India's LGBT community.

    Reading out the judgement, chief justice Dipak Misra said: "Criminalising carnal intercourse is irrational, arbitrary and manifestly unconstitutional.”

    Another judge, Indu Malhotra, said she believed "history owes an apology" to LGBT people for ostracising them.

    Justice DY Chandrachud said the state had no right to control the private lives of LGBT community members and that the denial of the right to sexual orientation was the same as denying the right to privacy.

    Critics say in a largely conservative India, it will be some time before attitudes change and communities finds full acceptance.

  8. Only a minority of black and Asian people in England are prepared to become organ donors

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    New fund aims to break down barriers of organ donation in these communities

    Almost a third of black and Asian people in England are unsure about donating their organs for lifesaving transplants after their death, according to new research by NHS Blood and Transplant.

    A higher proportion - 37% - said they did not want to be an organ donor. Just 11% of those surveyed said they would definitely donate, while the remainder would consider it.

    The main barrier is the belief that organ donation is against their culture or religion. However, all the major religions in the UK support organ donation and transplantation.

    Just one in five of those surveyed were aware that organs matched by ethnicity had the best chance of success. Only one in 10 knew that people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to need an organ transplant than white people.

    The survey results have been released to coincide with the launch of a call for applications for funding through a new community investment scheme to help break down myths and barriers and increase support for organ donation among black, Asian and ethnic minority communities.

    Community and faith-based groups from across England and Wales are now being invited to apply for funding for projects to promote organ donation. The Department of Health and Social Care and Welsh Government funded scheme is being led by NHS Blood and Transplant.

    Jackie Doyle-Price, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Mental Health and Inequalities said: “The community investment scheme that I am launching is to help black, Asian and ethnic minority communities come together to discuss whether or not they wish to donate their organs. Organ donation saves lives and is especially important from these communities where donation rates have been historically low.

    “Donation is a deeply personal decision, and a gift. Unfortunately, myths and perceived barriers to donation remain - I am determined to tackle these misconceptions to make sure everyone understands the life-saving power of donation before making their choice, and what better place to do this than through local communities.”

    Anthony Clarkson, NHS Blood and Transplant Interim Director for Organ Donation and Transplantation, said: “Our research findings underline how important it is to address myths and barriers and encourage more people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to talk about organ donation.

    “Community and faith-based organisations occupy a trusted place in their communities and can play a vital role in increasing support for and understanding of organ donation.

    “This community investment scheme will enable these groups to promote a positive organ donation message and encourage more people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds to decide that they want to be a lifesaving organ donor and to share that decision with their families.”

    An estimated £115,000 will be available for projects in England in the first year of the scheme. £20,000 will be available for projects in Wales. Organisations operating at a local level in both England and Wales will be able to put in separate applications or combined applications to cover both areas.

    There will be two levels of funding available. Applicants can apply for funding for projects up to £2,499 or for projects over the value of £2,500. All applications will be reviewed by an independent judging panel which will also oversee the projects as a steering group.

    To support bidders with their applications, NHS Blood and Transplant will be holding a free workshop on Thursday 13 September from 10am-2pm in Herschel Conference and Meeting Room at Mary Ward House, 5 – 7 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SN.

    It is not essential to attend the workshop to be able to put in an application for funding.

    Applications should be received no later than 5pm on Monday, September 24th. Projects will need to be completed by end June 2019.

    The community investment scheme is part of a Government campaign led by NHS Blood and Transplant with support from the National BAME Transplant Alliance (NBTA) to address the urgent need for black, Asian and minority ethnic donors.

    To reserve a place, at the conference, please email community.funding@nhsbt.nhs.uk

  9. Children’s charity gets support from Sir Mick Jagger and the England and India cricket teams

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    Rock and roll legend Mick Jagger has given his backing to national cricket charity Chance to Shine, helping the organisation to provide more young people with the opportunity to play and learn through cricket.

    Jagger, whose father was a cricket fan and PE teacher, is a long-time supporter of the game and of Chance to Shine’s work.

    During the final Specsavers Test Match between England and India at the Kia Oval (7-11 September), Jagger has pledged to back the players on both teams to the tune of £20,000 each time one of them scores a hundred or takes five wickets and £10,000 if they score a fifty or take three wickets.

    Since 2005, the charity has given more than four million children in over 15,000 state schools across the country the opportunity to play cricket. In addition, the Chance to Shine Street programme brings the game to thousands of young people in the most deprived urban areas of England. ‘Street’ uses the sport to increase aspiration, promote social cohesion and create opportunities in many diverse communities.

    Mick said, “I follow England - the game in general, in fact - from wherever I am in the world and thought this would be a fun way to make some money for Chance to Shine. It’s been an exciting series that has got people talking cricket so let’s reflect that; with every inspiring performance comes a new fan and the younger those fans are, the better it is for cricket’s future.” He added, “No pressure on either Joe Root’s guys or Virat Kohli’s - though the bigger they go at the Oval the better!”

    Laura Cordingley, Chance to Shine Chief Executive, said, “We are so delighted that Sir Mick will be supporting Chance to Shine during the final Test. I’m sure that the players from both sides will do us proud, while also helping to raise truly significant funding for Chance to Shine.”

    Chance to Shine is encouraging cricket-loving fans to follow Sir Mick’s lead and give £20 for a century or five-wicket haul and £10 for a 50 or three wickets. All donations will be matched pound for pound by England & Wales Cricket Board until 30 September. Donations can be made at chancetoshine.org/donate

  10. Key women’s and girl’s safeguarding campaign gets a Police donation

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    A thousand pounds has been jointly contributed to Islamic Relief UK by both West Yorkshire Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

    The Force is supporting the charity's 'Honour Her' campaign, which was launched in April 2018.

    Backed by the Muslim Council of Britain, it is a major faith-inspired advocacy initiative to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls.

    It takes a pro-active stance against domestic abuse, sexual violence, human trafficking, forced and early child marriage, female genital mutilation and so called "honour" killings.

    West Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable, Dee Collins said: "When I met with the Police and Crime Commissioner, we agreed that the work of the charity is crucial to our local response and decided to make a donation.

    "Every year, we look to provide a financial gesture to groups across our county, which work to tackle some of the biggest challenges within our communities.

    "The money comes out of the Police Property Act Fund, which is used for various charitable causes.

    "In backing the 'Honour Her' campaign, we hope it will go some way to educating people and preventing the associated crimes from occurring in the first place.

    "The recent ground breaking case in Leeds, for instance, which saw the parents of a teenager jailed over a forced marriage, really underlines the need for the charity's work.

    "It is vital that victims have the confidence to report these types of offences and see that the police and our partners are working together to deal with the perpetrators.

    "It also helps to bolster our approach locally, supplementing our own ongoing efforts in relation to controlling behaviour and domestic abuse.”

    West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns Williamson added: "This charity directly focuses on many of the issues that I am personally passionate about tackling and have raised at both a local and national level.

    "Having just refreshed my Police and Crime Plan for West Yorkshire, one of the key outcomes I have set is around safeguarding the most vulnerable in our communities.

    "Dealing with Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery are also subjects close to my heart and which I lead upon nationally.

    "Dealing with Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery are subjects close to my heart and in my role as APCC lead and Chair of the national network, I am committed to driving forward collective efforts to keep the victims and survivors of this heinous crime at the core of what we do.

    "I have seen first-hand, how the areas highlighted in the 'Honour Her' campaign can impact upon people's lives and I am keen to support it in any way I can."

  11. Want to see Anushka Sharma pulling a needle and thread?

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    Anushka Sharma has completely de-glamed for her role as a rural housewife in the next Yash Raj film.

    Anushka plays a simple, down to earth, sincere yet ambitious embroiderer from heartland India in Yash Raj Film's upcoming entertainer Sui Dhaaga – Made in India.

    Anushka’s character in the film becomes self-reliant by using her talent of embroidering and she makes a name for herself in her community along with her husband, Mauji, a tailor.

    Anushka’s look in this much-awaited film has been extremely praised and the costume director, Darshan Jalan, revealed how he studied rural housewives to finalise Mamta’s look on Anushka.
     
    “Anushka's character and look brief was very simple which (to be honest) makes things more complex because it must be relatable.

    “The character is that of a housewife living on a lower middle class income in city outskirts! It was clear from the get go that Anushka would wear synthetic saree(s) primarily because they are cheap but most importantly it's washes easily and dries quickly.” says Darshan.
     
    He adds, “In my opinion, achieving the day to day look of a regular person is more challenging because there is no room for error.

    “We come across these people every day and I studied them thoroughly before finalising every minute detail. I have vivid memories of a lady coming to our house on Saturdays (we called her Shanivaar Wali), to collect donation for the local temple. She always wore synthetic saree in same colour tones, always covered her head - which is not only a tradition but a shield from heat and cold! Memories like these become reference points!”
     
    Anushka says, “I love Mamta’s look! It’s so simple and so different from how audiences have seen me in movies. I’m thankful to the audiences who have loved Mamta after seeing the trailer and full marks to Darshan and my make-up artist Clover Wootton for making Mamta raw, real and relatable.

    “From the pallu over my head, to the dhaaga that I wear around my neck to the decision to go completely without make-up, all this has created this character. The best part was that it took flat 20 minutes to get into Mamta’s look. Mamta will always be a very, very special role in my filmography.”
     
    A film about finding love and respect through self-reliance, Varun Dhawan is paired opposite Anushka. Both champion actors, Anushka and Varun have been paired for the first time and are definitely the most awaited on-screen pair of 2018. Yash Raj Films’ entertainer Sui Dhaaga - Made in India is set to release on September 28 this year. 
     
    Sui Dhaaga – Made In India brings together National Award winning producer-director combo of Maneesh Sharma and Sharat Katariya after their blockbuster Dum Laga Ke Haisha. The film is a special salute to the inherent entrepreneurial spirit of the youth of India and its local artisans. 

  12. Asian role models to be celebrated at London event

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    The outstanding achievements of the Asian community in Britain will be showcased and celebrated at this year’s Asian Achievers Awards at the Grosvenor House hotel, Park Lane, London on Friday, 14 September.

    Now in its 18th year, the Asian Achievers Awards pays tribute to the best of British Asian talent across the arts, community service, the professions, uniformed services, sports and the world of business.

    In addition, the awards will raise vital funds for this year’s chosen charity partner, Oracle Cancer. So far, the awards have raised £1.5m for several charities over the years.

    This year’s ceremony promises to be the biggest yet with some 800 guests including an array of celebrities, entrepreneurs, MPs, industry leaders, senior professionals, titled dignitaries and members of the uniformed services.

    As ABPL Chairman CB Patel explained: “I am delighted to unveil the shortlist for this year’s nominees – each of whom is singularly responsible for bringing the Asian community to the centre stage of British life. They are inspiring role models for us all and for future generations.”

  13. Teen admits to making bogus bomb threats that saw 400 schools evacuated

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    Duke-Cohan sent bogus bomb threats that saw over 400 schools in the UK being evacuated

    A teenager has admitted making bogus bomb threats that triggered the evacuation of more than 400 UK schools and an airport security scare.

    George Duke-Cohan, 19, from Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty at Luton Magistrates Court,  to three counts of making hoax bomb threats following an investigation by the National Crime Agency.

    He had first created panic in March 2018 when he emailed thousands of schools in the UK warning about explosives. 

    This resulted in more than 400 schools in the UK evacuated in March 2018 , according to the NCA. He was arrested just days later.

    While under investigation, Duke-Cohan twice targeted schools in the UK and US with hoax messages - before phoning-in a fake report of a hijacked aircraft.

    The moment when 19-year-old George Duke-Cohan calls US Police Airport Bureau  telling them his daughter spoke to him from a hijacked United Airlines flight 

    Then in April, he sent a mass email to schools in the UK and the US claiming that pipe bombs had been planted on the premises.

    On 9 August, the hacker group known as ‘Apophis Squad’ claimed on their Twitter page that flight UAL 949 had been grounded due to their actions.

    National Crime Agency investigators working with the FBI identified that whilst on pre-charge bail for the threats to schools, Duke-Cohan made bomb threats to the US-bound flight via phone calls to San Francisco Airport and their Bureau police.

    In a recording of one of the phone calls which was made while the plane was in the air, he takes on the persona of a worried father and claims his daughter contacted him from the flight to say it had been hijacked by gunmen, one of whom had a bomb.

    Moment hacker George Duke-Cohan, 19, makes phone call to the United Airlines flight saying the plane was hijacked resulting in grounding of the flight 

    On arrival in San Francisco the plane was the subject of a significant security operation in a quarantined area of the airport. All 295 passengers had to remain on board causing disruption to onward journeys and financial loss to the airline.

    In an operation supported by Hertfordshire Police, Duke-Cohan was arrested by NCA officers for the third time at his home in Watford on Friday 31 August.

    Officers recovered multiple electronic devices belonging to him, the use of which was in contravention to the pre-charge bail conditions imposed on him.

    He has been remanded in custody and is due to appear at Luton Crown Court on 21 September.

    NCA Senior Investigating Officer Marc Horsfall said: “George Duke-Cohan made a series of bomb threats that caused serious worry and inconvenience to thousands of people, not least an international airline.

    “He carried out these threats hidden behind a computer screen for his own enjoyment, with no consideration for the effect he was having on others.

    “Despite being arrested and having conditions imposed restricting his use of technology, he persistently broke those conditions to continue his wave of violent threats.

    “Law enforcement take such offences extremely seriously.

    “This investigation proves that operating online does not offer offenders anonymity. We will identify you and you will be brought before the courts.”

  14. Tributes pour in for 23-year-old charity worker who died in car crash

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    “He was a true humanitarian”

    Owess Munir, 23, tragically died after his Lexus ploughed into a tree

    An entire community is mourning the death of an avid young charity worker who was making his way home after a fundraiser.

    Owess Munir, from Cardiff, had been in attending a charity event in Manchester on Sunday 2nd September. The grey Lexus IS 220 he was driving left the carriageway and ploughed into a tree, at around 12.25am in the early hours of Monday morning.

    Emergency crews were scrambled to the scene at Princess Parkway, near to the junction of Palatine Road in Northenden, but Mr Munir was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Three men who were passengers in the vehicle were taken to hospital suffering from various injuries and the road was closed for several hours.

    Described as a “selfless human being”, Owess had worked as a volunteer and staff member for the international aid and development charity Islamic Relief since he was 16-years-old.

    Being the Wales regional Community Fundraising and Volunteer Officer, Owess was one of the charity’s tireless workers and had recently returned from an aid trip helping Syrian refugees.

    Sultan Ahmed, Islamic Relief’s spokesperson said that staff, volunteers and anyone that had worked with Owess were ‘devastated’ with the news of his tragic death.

    “We offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences and prayers to his parents and younger siblings,” said Mr Ahmed.

    “Owess wasn't just a member of the team, but our little brother, a beloved and valued member of the Islamic Relief family.

    “He was known as someone who will always go the extra mile and would never say no to a request for help.
     
    “He was very popular with all his colleagues, and was well known for his infectious positivity. He always went out of his way to make volunteers feel loved and supported.”
     

    Owess Munir with his Islamic Relief family

    Owess started volunteering with Islamic Relief in 2011 aged just 16, supporting the fundraising efforts of the organisation.

    He got involved in the Cakes 4 Syria Campaign, street collections, fundraising dinners and raising funds for several emergencies, helping to improve the lives of thousands of vulnerable people around the world.

    He then became a staff member in the fundraising team two years ago.

    Owess Munir was a dedicated aid worker

    “Owess always showed extreme dedication to charitable causes, both overseas and in his home town of Cardiff, and touched the lives of countless people,” adds Mr Ahmed.

    “In February this year, he travelled to Jordan to help Islamic Relief deliver blankets and warm clothing to Syrian refugees.

    “He was a true humanitarian who devoted his life to serve those in need and to inspire young and old to do the same.

    “Owess worked extremely hard for Islamic Relief, but also found time to support many other organisations in his spare time. In fact, shortly before his tragic accident, Owess had travelled to Manchester to help with a fundraising event hosted by another charity. This sums up Owess; he would go out of his way to support people doing good work for those in need. He was a selfless person who leaves this world having made his mark on so many people’s lives around the world. He will be sorely missed, but fondly remembered.

  15. Trump administration cancels $300M aid to Pakistan over terror record

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    Trump accuses Islamabad of rewarding past U.S. aid with “nothing but lies and deceit"

    A final decision to cancel a further $300 million in aid to Pakistan has been made by the U.S. military, sources say. It has accused Islamabad of not doing enough to root out militants from its border region with Afghanistan. 

    The proposed cuts mark a new low in what have already been deteriorating relations with the United States' longtime ally. $500 million in U.S. Coalition Support Funds has already been stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year.

    The Coalition Support Funds, which the Pentagon is currently reviewing, were part of a broader suspension of aid to Pakistan announced by President Donald Trump at the start of the year. 

    The Trump administration has claimed Islamabad is granting safe haven to militants who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighbouring Afghanistan - a charge Pakistan denies. Trump has accused Islamabad of rewarding past U.S. aid with “nothing but lies and deceit".

    U.S. officials had previously held out the possibility that Pakistan could win back the funding if it showed that it was taking decisive actions to root out insurgents.

    But a final decision was made "due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy," Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner has said. 

    If the cuts are approved by Congress, the Pentagon aims to spend the money on "other urgent priorities.

    The chairman of Pakistan's senate foreign relations committee, Mushahid Hussain, claims that the money in question was owed to Pakistan and did not constitute aid.

    Analysts say that the Trump administration’s increasing closeness with Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi is leaving space for other countries such as China, Russia, Iran and Turkey to gain influence in Pakistan.

    Russia in particular has launched a charm offensive in Pakistan including the signing of a military cooperation pact, helicopter deliveries and officer training exercises.

    While Russia-Pakistan strategic dialogue, training and military sales began in earnest around a decade ago, the Trump administration’s apparent antipathy along with the victory of cricket-icon-turned-anti-corruption crusader Imran Khan in July’s election appear to have provided an opportunity for Moscow to significantly ramp up its influence in the country.

    Such changes could have a big effect on the war in Afghanistan. Trump has grown increasingly frustrated with the conflict, prompting U.S. peace talks with the Taliban.

    Khan, who once suggested he might order the shooting down of U.S. drones if they entered Pakistani airspace, has opposed the United States' open-ended presence in Afghanistan. In his victory speech, he said he wanted "mutually beneficial" relations with Washington.

    Meanwhile Trump has repeatedly railed against Pakistan’s reluctance or inability to crack down on extremists in its border regions, including militants in the Taliban-linked Haqqani network.

    Trump claims the U.S. has given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years.

    U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley has also accused Pakistan of playing a “double game” on fighting terrorism. Haley said Pakistan would work with the U.S. at times, while at the same time harboring terrorists that attack American troops in Afghanistan.

    The proposed cuts are not the first move to withdraw U.S. military support to Pakistan. Ali J. Siddiqui, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S., confirmed  that the U.S. has also axed a long-standing military training program between the two countries.

    Separately, the Trump administration announced it would eliminate U.S. funding to the United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) calling it an "irredeemably flawed operation."

  16. Bradford filmmaker ready for the big screen

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    Suman Hanif explores the British Pakistani community and it’s complexities warts and all…

    Suman Hanif: “In mainstream media, it’s rare to find a British Pakistani writer, director, producer, actor or a crew member attached to films that represents the British Pakistani community.”

    A Bradford film graduate looks set for a big screen future having already had her debut documentary successfully screened at an international film festival.

    Pakistan-born Suman Hanif, who came to Britain at ten-years-old, graduated with a First-class honours degree a couple of years ago. Her first documentary film titled 'Plates’, gathered acclaim after it was screened across Yorkshire as well as at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea.

    Now, the young woman with a passion for creative storytelling, aims to connect people through the medium of film with her next £200k project.

    Spurned by the desire to dispel damning stigmas attached to the British Pakistani communities, Suman’s ‘Amara and Family’ is a film inspired by real-life incidents which she’s either been involved with or witnessed.

    Disagreeing with current representations of the Pakistani community in mainstream media, Suman decided to that she had a responsibility to address misconceptions as well as expose out-dated ideologies from within.

    Suman’s commitment to storytelling is clearly evident: “For a lot of working professionals, filmmaking is not a job it’s a passion.

    “The film industry is extremely competitive, but for me my passion and will to succeed kept me going through challenging stages of my life.”

    ‘Amara and Family’ questions whether old Pakistani traditions and customs have become a burden on modern generations in Britain. The film will be made in Bradford with British Asian actors for an audience worldwide.

    “I’m taking a step forward with my next film, which explores the lives of British Pakistanis - the second largest ethnic community in Britain, who migrated to England after 1950s, and their generations today.

    “The screenplay is inspired by real-life incidents, and characters currently present in the British Pakistani community.

    “I feel that there are many stories overlooked and undervalued about the Pakistani communities in the UK and around the world.

    "In mainstream media, it’s rare to find a British Pakistani writer, director, producer, actor or a crew member attached to films that represents the British Pakistani community.”

    Having been fascinated with the media industry and a fan of Alfred Hitchcock films from a very early age, Suman would often question and probe what went into making gripping visual content.

    “I started making my own short films on the phone. I used to experiment with sound and effects to create a story, this became my favourite hobby,” admits the former Bradford College student.

    “Now for me, filmmaking is about discovering human complexities in all forms and shapes.

    “As a filmmaker, I want to discover stories that are not heard or found. My community is also my audience. In my films, I try to explore the growing concerns in the communities and try providing a solution in my films.

    “I also believe I have a responsibility to culture. Culture, traditions and values make us who we are. Reflecting various cultures in films will help develop and connect communities.

  17. Sajid Javid: ‘80,000 pose online sexual threat to children’

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    Is ANY child safe online?

    Home Secretary Sajid Javid

    Sajid Javid in flagship speech declares it his "personal mission" to tackle all forms of child abuse

    An internet watchdog has found that for images and video captured of live-streamed child sex abused, a staggering 98% of victims were aged 13 or younger.

    The noise being made form charities, such as Barnado’s, is now louder than ever with them calling for greater oversight of social media live streaming.

    At least 80,000 people in the UK are believed to pose a sexual threat to children online, the home secretary Sajid Javid claims.

    Shocked by the figures released by the online researchers at Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), in a flagship speech at London headquarters of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), he’s declared it’s his "personal mission" to tackle all forms of child abuse.

    Popular social media services including Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, Youtube and Snapchat all have a minimum age limit of 13. In a sample group of 1,000 children between 10-16 years old, 85% of respondents under 13 admitted accessing live streaming sites. The survey was conducted by YouGov.

    In an IWF investigation, conducted between August and October 2017, it discovered 2,082 sexual abuse images sourced through live streaming.

    Of that sample group, the report says 28% of the children were between seven and 10 years old, and 69% of the victims were between 11 and 13 years old.

    The report added that "none of the imagery identified in the study included the physical presence of an adult”.

    The majority of the images and videos captured were when a child was unsupervised in their bedroom or bathroom with the door closed.

    Mr Javid's speech follows the allegation by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that Google is refusing to co-operate with the UK in removing illegal content.

    In 2017 the IWF found 69% of images analysed were on image host distributors outside the UK, which exploits a legal loophole meaning the "core websites remain online and immune to takedown”.

    "Live streaming is being used by predators to groom children online," explained Barnado’s CEO Javed Khan.

    "Children use live streaming apps that are not appropriate for their ages so tech giants need to ensure they put robust age-verification rules in place.”

    According to the the National Crime Agency (NCA), on average around 400 people are arrested in the UK every month for offences connected to child sexual abuse and exploitation.

    Without naming Google, NCA has blamed technology companies for providing "encryption and increased anonymity on the internet" which it suggests is enabling offending.

    Ministers are warning of the widespread use of encryption by technology companies following a meeting in Australia of senior political figures from the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

    The Five Eyes, composed of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, was accused of conducting global internet surveillance after Edward Snowden leaked secret documents to journalists in 2013.

    Technology companies including Google were heavily criticised at the time of the revelations for what was perceived to be their assistance of organisations such as the UK's GCHQ in conducting this alleged surveillance.

    • How to report child sex exploitation
    • If you're worried that a child or young person is at risk or is being abused you can contact the children's social care team at your local council. You can remain anonymous.
    • You can report it online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command (CEOP).
    • Or you can call the NSPCC 24-hour helpline on 0808 800 5000 for expert advice and support.
    • If a child is at immediate risk call 999, or call the police on 101 if you think a crime has been committed.
    • Children and young people can call Childline free on 0800 1111 where trained counsellors are available 24 hours a day, every day.
  18. Delhi’s women shelters to be inspected after abuse allegations

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    Every shelter for vulnerable women and girls across Delhi will be inspected after accusations of sexual abuse at several Indian care homes and admission from the country’s minister for women that “many more” cases are likely to exist.

    The widening scandal, including allegations that one care home in Bihar state had a room that functioned as an abortion clinic for when its abused occupants became pregnant, has so far led to the suspension of more than 20 government officials and at least 14 arrests.

    Two dozen girls were removed on from a shelter in Deoria, Uttar Pradesh, the 21st facility where sexual or physical abuse is known to have been alleged. Up to 18 girls registered at the same care home are reportedly missing.

    Public anger at the alleged crimes is forcing the federal and some state governments to begin scrutinising a shelter system that even top officials admit is poorly inspected and could be riddled with cases of abuse.

    “It’s not only frightening, it makes me sad,” the minister for women, Maneka Gandhi, said on Monday. “I know there will be many more because, for years and years, we have paid no attention, apart from giving them money.”

    The shelters house adults and children who cannot be cared for at home, sometimes because they were abandoned or abused by their families, as well as people on remand or those deemed to have been trafficked.

    The first cases emerged in June after police in Bihar filed charges against operators of several shelters named in an audit of the system conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Science (Tiss).

    Tiss found reports of abuse “varying in forms and degrees of intensity” in every one of the 110 institutions in the state run by private NGOs but funded by the Bihar government.

    The worst was a home in Muzaffarpur district where it found “grave instances of violence” including at least 30 girls who claimed to have been raped, many as part of an organised exploitation ring. Auditors said conditions inside the facility were appalling.

    “The girls had no access to any sort of open space and were literally locked up in their wards, except for when they went to the dining hall to take their meals,” they said.
    At another facility in the state capital, Patna, a girl was reported to have killed herself because of the “violent atmosphere” at the shelter.

    Gandhi asked MPs to inspect the care homes in their district, while the Delhi commission for women said it would form a team to conduct surprise inspections of every facility in the Indian capital.

    Swati Maliwal, the city’s commissioner for women, said she had never found anything on the scale of the Muzaffarpur home, but that “conditions in these facilities need to be improved”.

    “In one home I inspected in 2015, we found one doctor assigned to thousands of children, medicines being inappropriately given and girls who had been there for years without being formally rehabilitated,” she said.

    “There is often a shortage of staff, or resources, or an abundance of apathy.”

  19. Young mum ‘killed in double murder’ was on the phone to police when she was attacked

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    Raneem Oudeh, 22, and Khaola Saleem, 49, were both attacked in the early hours (Police handout)

    A mum and daughter killed in a suspected double murder were on the phone to police as they were attacked, according to detectives.

    Raneem Oudeh, 22, and Khaola Saleem, 49, were attacked in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday, at Ms Saleem’s house in Solihull, West Midlands.

    Janbaz Tarin, Miss Oudeh’s former partner, is being sought over the incident. He has so far not been traced.

    Police have launched a large-scale operation to trace the Afghan national and the force has warned against anyone “shielding” the 21-year-old.

    West Midlands Police said there had been “a number of calls” from Miss Oudeh to the force on Sunday night.

    Police said one of its call handlers was on the phone to the young woman when “the situation quickly escalated” – and “immediately” dispatched officers to the scene who arrived “within minutes”.

    Officers rushed to the victims’ home in Northdown Road, shortly after 12.30am, finding them fatally wounded.

    Three addresses have been raided by police, including one in Sparkhill, in nearby Birmingham, as part of the investigation.

    Police are searching for Janbaz Tarin fter the incident (police handout)

    Computer equipment and mobile phones have been seized and a van is undergoing forensic examination.

    The suspected murder weapon has also been recovered.

    Neighbours say they were woken by screams coming from Ms Saleem’s address, where Miss Oudeh lived with her mother, as they were attacked.

    Miss Oudeh had a two-year-old son, though Tarin is not the father, and had moved to England from Syria, along with Ms Saleem, who had six children.

    Family say they had been left “devastated” by the loss.

    Police said they had received dozens of phone calls and were currently looking at the information and a number of potential sightings.

    Detective Inspector Caroline Corfield, leading the investigation, said: “We have a team of detectives working around the clock… (to) get justice for Raneem and Khaola’s family.

    “The response from the public to our appeal has been positive and we are following up all credible lines of inquiry but we need anyone with information on Tarin’s whereabouts to get in touch.

    The public has been advised not to approach Tarin and to call 999 if he is spotted.

  20. As Jewish and Muslim friends we’ve worked out what we have in common…

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    "As Jewish and Muslim friends, we have worked out what we have in common and how we can set a positive example"

    We have learned that the will of good people to create relationships between communities living side by side can overcome and break the dangerous cycle of fear and hate

    ‘This climate leaves us more hopeful than ever that communities across the nation can play their role in cutting through the hate and insults’ (Mustafa Field and Natan Levy)

    In today’s environment some may ask what we – a Jew and a Muslim – could possibly have in common. The truth is, we’ve been friends for years and we share a great deal, including a common understanding of what it means to be on the receiving end of prejudice. 

    Prejudice, unfortunately, can be found in all corners of society, and spreads like a virus. It is often caused by a lack of knowledge and false interpretations, despite what Britain ultimately stands for, which is mutual respect, liberty and tolerance. But our lived reality shows that while there is hate and discrimination that certainly needs to be tackled, there is also huge compassion, cross-community understanding and shared values in our brilliant Britain.

    As the directors of a grassroots organisation which aims to bring communities together, this climate leaves us more hopeful than ever that communities across the nation can play their role in cutting through the hate and insults thrown about in the media and on social platforms, and to set a positive example. This includes work colleagues sharing a lunch, parents getting to know each other at the school gates and inter-faith learning, like the recent Ramadan iftars that have just taken place, where Jews opened their doors to Muslims breaking the fast, and the Jewish festival of Sukkot, where mosques hosted the Jewish community. This gives communities the chance to create relationships and celebrate all that is positive about being different. 

    So much hate is driven by fear of the unknown. But what we have learned is that the will of good people to create relationships between communities living side by side can overcome and break the dangerous cycle of fear and hate. If you see prejudice, it’s time to call it out. 

    Mustafa Field

    It’s always worth emphasising that “Muslims” and “Jews” are not homogenous communities. People have different experiences and identities based on factors like their heritage, ways of practising their faith, beliefs and culture. These debates have certainly brought out these different views within our communities. One size does not fit all.

    Nonetheless, for the Muslim community, there are some common experiences. For example, we have found that it is often women who can feel especially vulnerable as they are more “visibly Muslim”, either wearing a niqab, hijab or burqa.

    I have heard from brave women who have had their headscarves torn from them on public transport and who felt afraid to be who they are in public. However, this is thankfully not a norm and we must be clear that this is a country where such despicable acts are not tolerated.

    Many Muslim women tell me how they feel confident of their faith and proud to be who they are on the streets, shopping centres, workplaces and public transport. This includes being defended by non-Muslims on the rare occasions they have faced intimidation. Women want and deserve to know that if they are targeted, other people will come to their aid.

    We cannot be foolish and pretend that incidences of hate crime are in no way linked to false misinterpretations of Islam. That is why during last year’s terrorist attacks, Muslims like myself felt it was important to take a stand and make clear that Islamist extremism in no way represents our faith or attitudes. We were just as disgusted as everyone else. While some in the community felt we should not have to “defend” ourselves for actions we were in no way responsible for, the majority were proud that we took a stand against this hatred as well as the hatred of the far right. It shows that our experiences are different but there is a common desire to address fear and hate.

    Rabbi Natan Levy

    The Jewish community is a small one, and so it sometimes surprises me to see how often our faith is in the news. Many of those I have spoken to have been hurt to see some of the headlines but reassured to know that these issues will not be swept under the carpet. 

    I spoke to a young Jewish woman who had taken to social media to explain why antisemitism was wrong and instead was met with vile online abuse, often very personal and misguided. 

    On the other hand, some members of the community epitomise young British resilience and wish the debate would just go away and everyone would “get over it”! 

    As Jews, we are proud of our faith. When we organise cross-faith activities and members of the Jewish people see that hate is confined to a tiny minority of our country, it is in fact enormously reassuring. Hate crime is on the agenda but that does not make it a normal and accepted part of everyday life. For those of all faiths and none, whatever your race or background, we are all fighting the same battle: to drown out extreme views. 

    After all, it us who are decent and normal. Not them. 

     

    Mustafa Field is director and Rabbi Natan Levy is head of operations at the Faiths Forum for London, an organisation which empowers religious communities to work together towards a better future.

  21. JUDWAA! Identical twins with identical ambitions scoop top grades at GCSE

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    Twins (L-R) Aryan and Arnav Kotwal achieved all top grades at GCSE

    No, it's not Bollywood's Salman Khan in a double role, but real-life identical twins Arnav and Aryan Kotwal who are celebrating after clocking up 13 grade 9s and seven A*s between them in their GCSEs.

    Having achieved the highest grades possible under the new GCSE marking system, Arnav and Aryan who study at the Grammar School At Leeds (GSAL) now head into the sixth form where they will study identical A-levels in maths, further maths, chemistry and biology.

    Aryan said: “We opened our results simultaneously this morning and were so surprised when we saw our grades.”

    “It was super exciting,” said Arnav.

    The twins’ classmate Vivaan Thopte also notched up the best possible grades in all his exams, with three A*s and seven 9s, and will study the same subjects at A-level.

    Arnav Kotwal, Vivaan Thopte and Aryan Kotwal achieved the best possible GCSE grades

    Other top performers include Sasha Gill, Kiran Tulwa, Ruhi Pullan and Hassan Tahir, who achieved all A*, 9 and 8, broadly equivalent to a clean sweep of A*s under the previous grading system.

    Also celebrating impressive results are Zara Hossain-Ibrahim, Bismah Hussain, Hannah Punnoose, Taskiya Rahman, Aneesh Varma and Aditi Zamvar, who passed all their exams with grades A/A* and 7 or above.

    Half of all GCSE grades achieved at GSAL were the highest possible at A*/8 or above… an increase of 7 percentage points on last year’s results.

    GSAL students celebrate success in their GCSE examinations

    Nineteen students scooped 10 A*/8/9 in every subject, including four who secured the highest possible grades in every subject, with one student sweeping the board with 11 top grades.

    More than a third of the cohort - 64 students - achieved 10 grades at A/7 or above.

    As well as an increase in top grades from 43 per cent to 50 per cent, the school maintained 71 per cent passes at grades A/7 and 98 per cent of passes at C/4 or above.

    Principal Sue Woodroofe said: “This is an outstanding set of results in a year when there has been much speculation about fewer pupils being able to achieve as highly as in previous years.

    “I am delighted for our students who richly deserve this tremendous success. Some 26 per cent of the new GCSEs achieved are grade 9 – a stunning achievement against about 4 per cent nationally.

    “This is the second year of the phasing in of reformed GCSEs with numerical values and this has, undoubtedly, created feelings of uncertainty and anxiety among young people. All we can ask of our children is what we should always be asking of them: simply, that they do their best.

    “I could not be more proud of this year’s GCSE students and I am grateful to staff and parents whose support for, and encouragement of, the children has been first class.”

    “This is the second year of the phasing in of reformed GCSEs with numerical values and this has, undoubtedly, created feelings of uncertainty and anxiety among young people. All we can ask of our children is what we should always be asking of them: simply, that they do their best.

    “I could not be more proud of this year’s GCSE students and I am grateful to staff and parents whose support for, and encouragement of, the children has been first class.”

  22. Leeds students achieve stunning A levels

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    (Back) Tanaya Maslekar, Snigdha Mahajan, Adil Omar, Harin Wijayathunga and Nikhil Scott; (Front) Mahika Gogi, Sanjana Gunasekaran and Shiva Sairam

    Students at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) smiled with joy as they opened their A level results. Tamanna Dasanjh, of Alwoodley, attained a stellar four A* grades in chemistry, maths, further maths and physics.

    Nikhil Scott, of Alwoodley, attained A* grades in classical civilisation, history and Latin with an A in English literature. He has a place at Christ’s College, Cambridge to read history. Sanjana Gunasekaran, of Meanwood, achieved A* in economics and history with an A in maths. She has a place at Brasenose College, Oxford to read law with European law. Adil Omar of Adel, achieve A*s in maths and further maths with an A in chemistry and B in economics.

    Head Boy Harin Wijayathunga, of Meanwood, netted A* in biology with A grades in chemistry and maths. Kane Vyse-Peacock of Roundhay, scored A* in physics with A grades in maths and economics.

    Harshel Bahl, of Adel, attained A* in maths, A in economics with B and C grades respectively in physics and further maths. Arjun Dasgupta, of Alwodley, scored A grades in all his subjects of chemistry, maths and physics. Mahika Gogi of Meanwood, attained A*in maths with A grades in English literature and German. Hassan Iqbal, of Bradford, netted A grades in biology, chemistry and economics. Snigdha Mahajan, of Bramhope, attained As in biology and Spanish with a B chemistry. Tanaya Maslekar, of Bramhope, achieved A* in economics, A in biology with a B in chemistry.

    Nathan-Dhruv Mistry, of Meanwood, scored A grades in chemistry and maths with a B in biology. Hanaan Nazir, of Roundhay, achieved A in geography, with Bs in maths and economics. Jasmin Rehman, of Harewood, scored A* in psychology with A in business studies and B in biology. Shiva Sairam, of Horsforth, netted A* in classical civilisation, with an A in history and a B in English literature.

    Ripudaman Singh, of Otley, attained A* in economics, A in religious studies, with Cs in maths and physics. Hannah Wakefield, of Roundhay, attained A* in music with B grades in chemistry and maths. Hamzah Yousaf, of Pudsey, scored A* in economics, with an A and B grades in history (early) and maths respectively. Aiman Zaidi, of Harehills, netted A in biology, B grades in maths and chemistry with a C in physics.

    In all one hundred students achieved ABB, the coveted grades required by leading universities.

    Of the top 100 students, 54 picked up the top grades of A*/A with 15 scooping all A*s.

    Three of the 15 who swept the board with the top grade, achieved four A*s and a further 12 achieved three A*s.
    Some 52 per cent of the GSAL cohort, who are among the first to take the reformed A-level courses, achieved a minimum of ABB grades.

    Principal Sue Woodroofe said: “After the press coverage about the more rigorous reformed A-levels I’m delighted that almost half of our grades were at A*/A and three-quarters of grades were A*-B.

    “Our students have achieved a superb set of results and their dedication and diligence has been impressive. These results are the culmination of years of commitment by staff and students alike, well supported by their families too. They leave the school well placed for the next chapter of their lives and we are very proud of them.”

  23. Keighley to share £500,000 boost for local growth

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    Keighley and district is to benefit from more funding for economic growth thanks to Bradford Council’s successful bid for funding from the Leeds City Region Partnership Business Rates Pool.

    The Keighley and Bradford Community Led Local Development programme will share £500,000 Business Rates Pool funding to improve employment opportunities in Keighley East, West and Central wards along with the Bradford areas of Great Horton, Manningham and City.

    The Keighley programme will offer tailored business support with training and small grants, promotion of entrepreneurship and self-employment, employability skills training and help for people to plan career pathways.

    Keighley Community Led Local Development will also run tailored business support with training, advice, mentoring and coaching sessions for local entrepreneurs.

    Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “We’re really pleased to have secured this funding for Keighley. 

    “We know Keighley has a great business community with a strong manufacturing base.  Anyone who has been to the Keighley Business Awards knows that enterprise is alive and well in Keighley.  This funding helps us build on this potential.”

    David Gagen, Keighley Community Led Local Development Programme Manager, said: “Keighley CLLD is delighted with the additional funding for the area. This will make the programme much more accessible by reducing the amount of match funding required from potential applicants.”

  24. UK encourages overseas journalists to apply for South Asia Journalism Programme Fellowship

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    British High Commissioner encourages journalists to apply for South Asia Journalism Programme Fellowship
     
    The British High Commissioner Thomas Drew is encouraging journalists from across Pakistan to apply for the UK Government’s prestigious Chevening South Asia Journalism Programme (SAJP) Fellowship.

    SAJP is aimed at mid-career journalists from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bangladesh.

    The programme is funded by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Fellows will undertake a bespoke fellowship programme titled ‘Good Governance in a Changing World: the Media, Politics and Society’.

    It explores the different ways in which the media play a part in holding democratic processes to account, including government, the civil service and security, as well as the broader political system in both the South Asia region and the UK.

    The British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said: “The Chevening SAJP Fellowship is a unique opportunity for journalists in Pakistan to interact and share best practice with their fellow journalists from across the region. Since 2012, we have sent over 40 journalists from the leading media organisations in Pakistan on the SAJP fellowship.
     
    “In addition, a number of respected journalists have also benefited from the Chevening Scholarship Programme which gives scholars the opportunity to study a fully-funded one year masters degree in the UK.
     
    “Our support to journalists remains unwavering. Last year we trained over a 100 journalists in ‘Media Ethics and Safety’ using our Chevening SAJP alumni as master trainers and we also introduced the first certification for media practitioners in partnership with the Centre for Excellence in Journalism at the IBA earlier this year.
     
    “I whole-heartedly encourage relevant journalists to apply not only for the Chevening SAJP fellowship but also for the Chevening Scholarship Programme. They will join a prestigious list of Chevening alumni that have gone on to achieve excellence in the field of journalism.”

  25. Birmingham money launderer has three months to repay £480k or go to jail

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    A convicted money launderer whose family claimed his 123 prize-winning lottery tickets paid for his house, has been ordered to repay the cash in three months or go to prison for four and-a-half years.

    Kashaf Ali Khan, 44, at Birmingham Crown Court, was ordered to pay £480,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

    This follows his conviction last year when he was sentenced to 22 months in prison for two counts of money laundering following a National Crime Agency investigation.

    At his trial, his father, Malik Abdullah Farooq, said his son bought the house with money he gave him from the 123 prize-winning tickets from the Pakistan lottery.

    The NCA employed an expert statistician who said Khan’s father’s ‘good luck’ was as likely as winning the UK National Lottery jackpot 40 weeks running.

    Khan admitted he used laundered money to pay for his £412,000 house as well as using criminal cash to pay an earlier money laundering conviction.

    At the hearing the Court heard how Khan benefited from £673,857.89 of criminal cash. This was the value of his Prospect Lane home and criminal money he used to repay a previous confiscation order back in 2010

    This confiscation order represents the value of the available assets, namely the house which is currently valued at £480,000.

    If Khan, does not repay back the money within three months he faces a further four and-a-half years in jail.

    Adam Warnock, NCA Commander, said: “This order should send a clear message that we will pursue all criminally obtained assets and prevent lifestyles funded through criminal enterprises.
    "Khan is a career criminal who has benefited significantly from the proceeds of that activity."

  26. Running down dementia

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    Emdad Rahman successfully completed 100 kilometres to raise awareness of Dementia.

    The Barking & Dagenham resident finished his course record today and celebrated with tea and a selfie with the Honourable Mayor of Barking & Dagenham.

    Participants on Running Down Dementia are encouraged to lace up, raise £100 and defeat Dementia by running or walking 100km before the end of August and power life-changing dementia research.

    Barking Mayor Sanchia Alasia commented, “Dementia has a direct effect not only on the wellbeing of the person living with it, but also their family too, along with impacting on friends, acquaintances, colleagues and the community.

    “The consequences are far reaching. Well done to Emdad and everyone who has taken part in Running Down Dementia to raise awareness and revenue for such a vital cause.”

    Emdad added, “I love Running Down Dementia as its an opportunity to involve and update my family, friends and community whilst running in the streets, open spaces and at parkrun.

    “Right now 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia. Around every one of those people are friends and family, often struggling to keep life on track themselves. But by taking part in Running Down Dementia, I believe I’ve given hope to them all by funding vital dementia research.

    “I’m grateful for the support I’ve had.”

    Running Down Dementia is an award-winning challenge from Alzheimer's Research UK and parkrun. It challenges participants to run 100km before 31 August and raise £100 for cutting-edge dementia research.

    Alzheimer's Research UK is proud to be the official charity partner of Parkrun UK.
    parkrunners have so far helped raise more than £890,000 for world-class research, which will help us in our mission to bring about the first life-changing treatment for dementia by 2025.

  27. E-cigarette battery explosion

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    Firefighters yesterday assisted a man suffering burns to his legs, hands and right forearm after an e-cigarette battery exploded in a house.

    Three crews, two from Wigan and one from Hindley, responded to a call from a property on Dixon Drive in Shevington at 6.45pm on Wednesday 22 August.

    On arrival firefighters established that although no fire was under way the homeowner was in some pain and distress after the battery, which had been in his trouser pocket, exploded while he was in his living room.

    Firefighters also comforted distressed family members, including a young girl of around five years of age who had witnessed the incident.
    The e-cigarette battery itself had been thrown out the rear of the property into the back garden – crews retrieved what remained of the battery for fire investigation purposes.

    Inside, a large burn mark roughly the size of a beermat was identified on a carpet while the injured man, who was conscious and breathing, was treated by emergency services colleagues from North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and swiftly taken to nearby Whiston Hospital.

    Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service (GMFRS) Watch Manager, Glyn McGann from Wigan, who was at the scene, said: “Having been called to a domestic emergency in Shevington yesterday I’m pleased to say GMFRS were quickly on the scene and made a swift assessment of the situation.

    “Though there was nothing to extinguish it was important for us to assist the injured homeowner and his family who were clearly in some distress. The gentleman had been in his lounge when the battery exploded in his trouser pocket, injuring both his thighs. Following this, the battery fell onto the floor, burning the carpet.

    "The man then picked up the battery and threw it out of the house, in the process sustaining further injuries to both hands and his right arm.

    “Crews were able to collect for assessment what remained of the e-cigarette battery.

    “You may not know, but every year 200 people die and 2,000 people are injured across Britain in fires that start in living rooms. With this incident in mind, never put a battery in your pocket and make sure when storing them to do so safely.”

    When using e-cigarettes and Lithium-ion batteries and electrical devices ensure you:

    • Always use the charger that came with your device
    • If you need to buy a replacement battery always choose a branded, genuine product from a supplier you can trust. There are lots of fakes out there, and it can be difficult to spot the difference
    • Avoid storing, using or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures
    • Make sure your batteries are stored safely and away from other metal items such as keys
    • Protect batteries against being damaged – that's crushed, punctured or immersed in water
    • Don’t leave items continuously on charge after the charge cycle is complete – it's best not to leave your phone plugged in overnight, for example
    • Never cover chargers or charging devices – that includes using your laptop power lead in bed
  28. Aagrah Group wins national award in London 

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    DELIGHTED: Aagrah Managing Director Mr. Mohammed Aslam, MBE, Deputy Lieutenant (centre), Tahir Iqbal, Director (left) Wasim Aslam, Director (right)

    The Aagrah Restaurant Group won the coveted Best Asian Restaurant Chain United Kingdom Award at the Asian Food and Restaurant Awards (AFRA) at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London.

    The awards, in their inaugural year, aim to recognise and celebrate the standout Indian restaurant operators across the growing multi-billion pound dining sector. 

    Only the best, most innovative and creative chefs and restaurants get a shot at the title and an award that opens doors to future success.

    Accepting the award Aagrah Managing Director, Mr. Mohammed Aslam, MBE, DL, commented: “By continuing to get our chefs to embrace creativity, not only do we to create a unique dining experience but we also ensure that modern curry cuisine continues to evolve. It is a great honour for Aagrah Group to receive this United Kingdom title”.

    Aagrah celebrates 41 years in business this year. The company has twelve restaurants across Yorkshire, a purpose built conference and banqueting centre, The Midpoint Suite, Pudsey, seating 450, an outdoor catering unit, catering for up to 5000 people nationally.

    The Aagrah group also enjoys a share of the home dining market through their range of authentic tarka cooking sauces available in supermarkets. Many of the sauces from the range have won The Guild of Fine Food Great Taste award. These awards are the world’s largest and most trusted food and drink awards.

    Asian Food and Restaurant Awards pays homage to the leading lights of the Asian hospitality, services and supplier sectors amid a who’s who guest list of ministers, VIP’s, dignitaries, celebrities and Asian restaurateurs and suppliers from across the UK.

    Following its inaugural ceremony in 2017 that was marked by a special message from HRH The Queen, AFRA 2018 recognised the achievements and contribution being made by South Asians in Britain.

  29. Bradford’s Broadway shopping centre wins award

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    The Broadway shopping centre in Bradford has been awarded a certification by the People’s Parking which verifies its capacity to cater for people of all needs and abilities thanks to the quality of the facilities in its multi-story car park.

    The 1,323 space car park is the first in the UK to receive the People’s Parking award for its motorcycle parking facilities.

    People’s Parking, a national accreditation scheme for car parks, has granted the centre an award in a number of other categories. The car park has been recognised as accessible for disabled people, as well as being family and shopper-friendly. 

The centre also has charging points for electric vehicles and is convenient for commuters travelling by train or bus.

    The centre has 63 disabled bays and 54 extra wide parent and child bays to make loading and unloading pushchairs and prams easier.

    Dave Downes, Deputy Centre Manager, at The Broadway, has said: “It’s fantastic for The Broadway to be recognised by People’s Parking. We have worked hard to ensure everyone who wishes to visit the shopping centre can do so easily and in a stress-free manner.

    “We know how important it is for people to have a sense of independence and we want our visitors to be able to go about everyday activities, such as shopping trips, without having to worry whether they can use the car park safely.”

    People’s Parking founder Helen Dolphin said: “Through my work as an independent mobility consultant and as a disabled person myself, I know first-hand the difficulties many of us face when coming in and out of car parks.

    “A few small changes to payment methods or parking bays can make life far easier for disabled shoppers, as well as parents with small children, who might otherwise avoided visiting somewhere for fear of having to deal with poorly equipped parking facilities.”

    People's Parking was founded in 2016 by disability campaigner Helen Dolphin MBE and is primarily aimed at improving car parks for customers, enabling them to find a car park which meets their needs.

  30. Historic Park Avenue cricket ground gets 100 ball contest to mark redevelopment

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    A one hundred ball cricket match was hosted to celebrate Yorkshire Day, and mark the development of Bradford’s Park Avenue cricket ground.

    The match, played by amateurs from the Parklane Foundation and the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, was hosted to celebrate and showcase the continuing redevelopment of the historic Park Avenue cricket ground in Bradford.

    The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation is the official charity and community arm of Yorkshire County Cricket Club. The foundation is a registered charity that delivers community projects across the county. Using the power of cricket, the Foundation aims to make a lasting, positive impact on the lives of those living in Yorkshire.

    The Parklane Foundation is the charitable arm of the Yorkshire-based property developing giant Parklane Group. The foundation has a close relationship with sporting bodies around Yorkshire, being owners of the Leeds Golf Centre and recently investing to support the redevelopment of the Park Avenue cricket ground.

    Naveen Ahmed, Managing Director of the Parklane Foundation, explained: “I was delighted to attend this fantastic match on Yorkshire Day. At the Parklane Foundation we are committed to investing in communities across Yorkshire – and that’s why, earlier this year, we were thrilled to work with Yorkshire County Cricket Club to support the redevelopment of Park Avenue in Bradford.

    “Using our relationships with people like Yorkshire County Cricket Club, we’re working to support inclusivity and diversity across Yorkshire – bringing people from all backgrounds together to secure a better future for our region.”

    Mark Arthur, Chief Executive of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, added: “We were delighted to work with the Parklane Foundation on hosting this historic match. The Parklane Foundation is a committed partner of the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, supporting our plans to redevelop Park Avenue into a cricket facility fit for the 21st century. We look forward to working with Naveen and the rest of the Parklane team for years to come.”

    The match was attended by a range of stakeholders from around Yorkshire, including Lord Mawson and Zulfi Karim, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire.

    Lord Mawson, a Bradford-born social entrepreneur, is heavily involved in social entrepreneurship and supporting community growth.

    He explained: “I was delighted be invited to attend this historic cricket match and learn about the great work the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation and the Parklane Foundation are doing together.

    “The last time I was at Park Avenue I watched Freddie Trueman play – so it was fantastic to be back here and see the ground after so many years.

    “Investing in cricket facilities like Park Avenue is a brilliant way to bring people from across Bradford and Yorkshire together – ensuring that our wonderful and diverse communities can thrive.”

  31. Case filed against Sidhu for hugging Pakistan Army Chief

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    Navjot Singh Sidhu, a minister in India's Congress-led government in Punjab, is under attack for hugging the Pakistan Army Chief, by the BJP and Akali Dal leaders.

    An Indian lawyer has filed a case against cricketer-turned-politician Sidhu for insulting Indian Army by hugging the Pakistan Army Chief at the swearing-in of Imran Khan as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

    During a press conference earlier in August, Sidhu had clearly highlighted that the invitation extended to him was in personal capacity.

    Prior to attending Khan's oath-taking ceremony, Sidhu on Friday said that he sees himself as “a goodwill ambassador of India.”

    Before entering the President House on Saturday 18th August, Sidhu said: “People like Khan Sahab (Imran Khan) create history. With this invitation, they have honoured me. People who build relationships are respected, people who break them are disrespected and I am one of those who respect relationships. It’s a new dawn. This government has come to change this country’s perception, picture and destiny, with high hopes and expectations.”

    Lawyer Ojha said he has filed the case at Muzaffarpur's Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Court in Bihar on Monday 20th August under Indian Penal Case sections involving sedition. In his complaint, he said Sidhu's gesture "hurt the people of the country (India)".

    Ojha said: "The court has admitted the case and will hear it next week," he said.

    On Friday, Imran Khan was elected as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, defeating his rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Shehbaz Sharif . While the 65-year-old cricketer-turned-politician bagged 176 seats, Sharif, the PML-N president and the brother of jailed former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif managed to secure just 96 seats.

    In the July 25 general elections, the PTI had emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats. The number increased to 158 in Pakistan's National Assembly (NA) after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued notifications of the successful candidates on the reserved seats for women and the minority community.

     

  32. Kerala Floods: 22,000 rescued so far

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    Over 22,000 people have so far been rescued from the flood-hit Indian state of Kerala, after monsoon rains finally eased.

    Military teams as well as disaster response forces and local fishermen reached some of the worst-hit areas.

    Helicopters also brought much-needed supplies to communities cut off by two weeks of incessant rain.

    More than 350 people have been killed, most of them in landslides, since the monsoon started in June.

    Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the number of people taking refuge in the 5,645 relief camps now stood at 725,000.

    Now the state's disaster management team, say they are preparing to deal with a possible outbreak of waterborne and airborne diseases in relief camps

    Rescue officials said efforts on Sunday had been concentrated on the town of Chengannur, where about 5,000 people were reported to be trapped, and in the Alapuzha and Ernakulam districts.

     

    Survivors at evacuation centres have described spending days without food or water.

    As the rain eased, some evacuated residents returned to see what was left of their homes.

    Many have said they would stay in relief camps for a few more days because they don't have enough money to repair their homes or replace what they have lost.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the area on Saturday, and promised an immediate grant of 5bn Indian rupees (£55m; $71m).

     

  33. Imran Khan to be inaugurated as Pakistan prime minister

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    Imran Khan brings new hope to the country's political landscape (Picture Credit: Zill Niazi)

    Imran Khan, 65, Pakistan’s greatest cricket star, bringing fresh political hope for the country, has been elected prime minister of Pakistan in a vote at the country's National Assembly.

    In Friday's vote, Mr Khan was backed by 176 National Assembly members. His opponent, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif, received 96 votes.

    His PTI party won the most seats in July's elections, more than two decades after he first entered the political arena.

    He will be sworn in on Saturday 18th August.

    In what is the climax of his career that began in the 1970s for a man once widely seen in the West, and particularly in the UK, as an Oxford-educated playboy, Mr Khan will now inherit a country with a mounting economic crisis.

    He has vowed to create a "new Pakistan”.

    His promise of change includes improved education and health facilities, and more jobs for young people - who constitute nearly 64% of the country's population and provide the bulk of Mr Khan's electoral support.

    The charismatic sports star, who captained Pakistan to a World Cup victory in 1992, has long-styled himself as a pious, populist, anti-poverty reformer.

    But it’s taken over twenty years for him to become a serious contender for political power.

    In 2013, his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI), considered the country's "justice movement", emerged from obscurity as the third largest political force, after former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and former president Asif Zardari's "inherited" Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

    Mr Khan ran his political campaigning on an anti-corruption platform that pledged to improve the lives of the country's poor with an "Islamic welfare state”.

    Prior to the election, Mr Khan stated that his initial focus would be on the economy. Pakistan's currency, the rupee, has declined drastically in the last year. Inflation is on the rise and the trade deficit is widening.

    Exports such as textiles have taken a hit from cheaper products by regional competitors, including China. Analysts say the new government may need to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the country's second bailout since 2013, which could complicate efforts to boost welfare.

    After the 25th July election, Mr Khan also vowed to hold talks with India to seek a resolution to the dispute over the Kashmir region, a key flashpoint between the nuclear-armed countries.

    He also called for "mutually beneficial" ties with the United States, despite being an outspoken critic of that country's anti-terrorism measures. US President Donald Trump recently cut aid to Pakistan, accusing it of providing a "safe haven" to terrorists active in neighbouring Afghanistan.

    In the lead-up to the election, Mr Khan was widely seen as the favoured candidate of the powerful military, which was accused of meddling against his rivals.

    Veteran political observers believe that in the medium term Mr Khan may find himself on a collision course with the military establishment.

    This is because once he assumes power and takes sight of the bigger picture, say, he will find that the route to improving health and education, and to creating jobs and triggering the economic growth that Pakistan needs, passes through territory appropriated by the military.

    Like his predecessors he will realise, they say, that he must first reduce conflict and tension in the region, especially with India, where such issues are widely blamed on Pakistan's security establishment.

    Many say he will also have to reform the country's bureaucracy and judiciary, and ensure and reinforce the writ of the government in areas ceded to rent-seeking business interests often allied with the military.

    Three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted from office in 2017 over corruption allegations, who was jailed in the lead-up to the vote, and his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, led the PML-N party into the election.

    After the election, the three major opposition parties banded together to nominate Shahbaz Sharif as a joint candidate in a bid to thwart Mr Khan.

    However, the PPP party of assassinated ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto - is reported to have withdrawn its support for Mr Sharif in the run-up to the vote and abstained on Friday.

    The PPP and PML-N have dominated Pakistani politics for decades, governing several times in between periods of military rule, political critics say Mr Khan may have to find a way to work with them rather than casting the two parties as chief enemies.

  34. Spiral Collection – a bag for everyday and every occasion

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    Stand out from the crowd with your pick from the colourful collection of bags in array of sequins, rainbow colours, metallic rose gold or prints such as Donut Sky to Hummingbird Blue.

    With a bag for each day and every occasion, the Spiral Collection has something to cover each look this season - backpacks, cross body’s and of course - the essential bumbag.

    Spiral have an outstanding array of styles ranging from their 16 unique bag silhouettes (check out the Tribeca and SOHO bags), to eye-catching prints and fabrications (glitter, sequins, galaxy and much more), and even leisure-inspired gym bags

    They really have something to finish off every style aficionado’s wardrobe this season.They have every trend covered this year from Crayola, Pastel Attack and even Fringing.

    Available in 25 different countries and throughout ASOS, Zalando, John Lewis and Selfridges to name a few, they are an Influencers go to for all these occasions!

    The Spiral collections start from £11.99 for bum and flight bags and from £29.99 for backpacks.
    Visit http://www.spiraluk.com for the full collection

    *Did we mention they’ve been picked up by Cara Delevigne and Karlie Klossi!?*

  35. Pakistan Community Welfare Attaché visits University of Huddersfield

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    Mrs Fizzah Niazi, Community Welfare Attaché at the Consulate General of Pakistan, toured the campus and met students from the University’s Pakistani Student Society

    Links between the University of Huddersfield and the Consulate General of Pakistan have been further strengthened by a fact-finding visit from a woman whose role is to work closely with the Pakistani community throughout the UK.

    She is Mrs Fizzah Niazi, who is Community Welfare Attaché at the Consulate. On her first visit to Huddersfield, she toured the University campus with International Student Experience Manager Alan Tobi and Head of International Projects Shamim Ghani.

    She also met key members of the University’s Pakistani Student Society and discussed their subject areas – including engineering, business, psychology and economics – plus their experience on campus and graduate opportunities in the UK.

    “It was a wonderful experience visiting the University of Huddersfield and meeting our bright international students from Pakistan,” said Mrs Niazi.

    She praised the University’s various Schools, including “vibrant arts and music school environment, open spaces and upcoming architecture block” and its characterful older buildings, described as “a delight to visit”.

    “It was enlightening to share ideas and information about the University’s dedicated International Office and our offices,” said Mrs Niazi, adding that it was “refreshing to see such a close liaison between the students and International Office. Our office will always be happy to help facilitate further linkages and collaborations in Pakistan.”

    Mrs Niazi described her role at the Consulate General.

    “I work around Pakistani employment promotion through our public sector recruitment department and facilitate the Pakistanis – students or employees – residing in the UK with consular assistance surrounding various issues.”

    International Student Experience Manager Alan Tobi said: “We were delighted to welcome the Community Welfare Attaché for her first visit to Huddersfield. Our relationship with the Consulate is continuing to grow and so is the reputation of the University within Pakistan.

    “It was especially pleasing to see the high levels of engagement that she had with our students and the opportunities that this will present.”

  36. Bradford bids to host Rugby League World Cup 2021

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    Members of the Bradford bid team and players from Bradford Bulls and Keighley Cougars Women's Teams

    In partnership with Bradford Bulls RLFC and Keighley Cougars RLFC, Bradford Council has submitted its bid to be part of the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.

    To celebrate submission of the bid to host the women’s element of the tournament, the bidding team, members of Bradford Bulls Women’s Team and representatives of the Council got together to see the Rugby League World Cup trophy, when it was the centre piece to a special exhibition of current and retired Rugby League silverware, at Bradford City Hall on Saturday 11 August.

    If the Bradford bid is selected venues throughout the district could be used to host matches, team base camps and training camps.

 Odsal Stadium, the home of the Bulls, would be used to host matches between women’s teams from across eight countries, with their state of the art training facility at Tong High School being used as a training camp.

    Base camps for the international teams could include the Cedar Court Hotel on Rooley Lane, The Bradford Hotel and the Midland Hotel in the city centre and Hollins Hall Marriott Hotel in Baildon.

    Bradford has a long history and heritage of Rugby League, from Odsal stadium hosting the match with the largest attendance on record, to the Keighley Cougars being the venue for the first televised international game.

    The women’s game in Bradford is also strong with the Bulls Women’s team the current Super League and Challenge Cup winners, as well as 10 players from the team also selected for and played in the England side which made it to the semi-finals of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

    Bradford’s City Hall is also the prospective home of the new Rugby League Museum subject to Rugby League Cares and Bradford Council securing the necessary funding.

    Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “Our district is no stranger to hosting major international sporting events, with Ilkley’s Cow and Calf Rocks a stage finish location for both the women’s and men’s Tour de Yorkshire this year.

    "Having the women’s element of the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 would be great for Bradford. This tournament really does bring people together from different cultures across the world and being a host would bring great benefits to the district as well as provide an excellent opportunity to showcase the district on the world stage.

    “Working with our partners the Bradford Bulls and the Keighley Cougars who both have strong women’s teams the aim, as well as giving a warm welcome for these top class athletes and their fans, is to provide a sustainable legacy, especially for girls and women competing in the game across the district.”

    Ken Jones, Strategic and Commercial Consultant at Bradford Bulls, said: “If our bid is successful our focus will be on engaging local schools and community groups to encourage both boys and girls to take part in rugby league events, and we also want to get into the South Asian community, where we feel that there is untapped talent.

    "

The tournament will be hosted between October and November 2021. It will feature 16 nations in the men’s format and eight in both the women’s and wheelchair formats. The bid team of Phil Barker and Andy Ross from Bradford Council, Jones and Russ McFarlane from Bradford Bulls and Neil Cullen from Keighley Cougars expect to hear within a month to six weeks if their World Cup bid has been successful.

  37. Freedom march to celebrate Indian Independence Day

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    A freedom march to celebrate the anniversary of Indian Independence will take place in Cardiff on Wednesday 15th August starting at 9.30am.

    Hundreds of people are expected on the parade which will start at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi near the Wales Millennium Centre and finish at Cardiff Castle with a flag raising ceremony.

    The event has been organised by Indian Honorary Consul Raj Aggarwal and will be attended by the Lord Mayor Cllr Diane Elizabeth Rees, Cardiff City Council Cabinet member Russell Goodway and Indian businessman Sanjeev Gupta from Liberty Steel and Miss Wales Bethany Steel.

    There procession will take around an hour to get to Cardiff Castle where there will be performances of traditional Indian dance and and music performances, and a flag raising ceremony.

    The event is celebrating the anniversary of Indian Independence which happened on August 15th 1947 and is open to all members of the public to attend for free.

    In his speech Indian diplomat Raj Aggarwal will say : "Thank you all for sparing your valuable time in joining us to celebrate the success of Indian Democracy. The Indian Diaspora are happily settled in Wales. They are highly successful, hard working and integrate well with the local community and are committed to success and prosperity of Wales."

    The procession will start at 10.30m at the Mahatma Gandhi statue, close to the National Assembly and Wales Millennium Centre on Lloyd George Avenue in Cardiff Bay. A procession of hundreds of people, many in traditional Indian dress will then proceed down to Cardiff Castle where there will be a flag raising ceremony at 11am. There will be dancing and music performance along the route as well.

  38. “IMMORAL”: India rejects patent plea for sex toy

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    A Canadian company's patent plea in India for a vibrator has been rejected because the patent office deems that sex toys violate "public order and morality".

    The India's patent office invoked India's obscenity law, saying the law "has never engaged positively with the notion of sexual pleasure".

    The patent office said sex toys are considered to be obscene objects and are illegal in India, despite a 2011 court ruling that said sex toys could not be considered obscene.

    An Ontario-based company called Standard Innovation Corporation had applied for a patent in India for a new vibrator, to prevent generic local copycats being sold in the market, according to Shamnad Basheer, a visiting professor of law at India's National Law School who is working on a book about public health law.

    The country's patents office upon rejected the plea, said that sex toys lead "to obscenity and moral deprivation of individuals".

    "These are toys that are not considered useful or productive. Mostly these are considered to be morally degrading by the law," the office said.

    "The law views sex toys negatively and has never engaged positively with the notion of sexual pleasure".

    The office also invoked the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a 155-year-old colonial-era law, which criminalises gay sex and unnatural intercourse, in refusing the patent.

    An appeal to strike down provisions of the law is currently pending before the Supreme Court.

    "Why should the patents office handle moral decisions? Officials trained in technical science are not supposed to decide whether an invention is moral or immoral," Prof Basheer told the BBC.

    Sex toys are openly sold online, and in a thriving black market in India.

    A survey by an online store selling sex toys in India last year found that 62% of the buyers of sex toys in India were men, while the remaining 38% were women.

  39. Westminster Car Crash – Police statement

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    Statement from Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu in relation to this morning's incident in Westminster

     

    At 07:37hrs a silver Ford Fiesta was involved in a collision in front of the Houses of Parliament.

    That vehicle collided with cyclists and pedestrians before hitting a barrier and coming to a stop.

    Two people have been taken to hospital. One man has been discharged and one woman remains in hospital being treated for serious but thankfully, non-life threatening injuries.

    Another man was also treated at the scene but didn’t require hospital treatment.

    The driver of the Fiesta, who was alone in the vehicle, was arrested at the scene by armed officers who were already nearby.

    The man, who is in his late 20s, was arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences and has been taken to a south London police station where he remains in custody.

    Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident and the investigation is being led by officers from the Counter Terrorism Command.

    Officers are searching the vehicle and no other weapons have been found at this time.

    At this early stage of the investigation, no other suspects at the scene have been identified or reported to police. There is no intelligence of further danger to Londoners or the rest of the UK in connection with this incident.

    Our priority is to formally identify the suspect and establish his motivations if we can. He is not currently co-operating.

    However, as you would expect, detectives from the Counter Terrorism Command are making various other urgent enquiries to ensure there is no outstanding risk to the public.

    I would urge anyone who thinks they may have information that could assist the investigation to call police on 0800 789 321. Thank you to all the people who have already come forward.

    Similarly, anybody who captured footage or images of the incident can download these to us via our website www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk

    We are treating the scene and Parliament Square as a crime scene. Cordons are likely to be in place for some time as the investigation team continues to carry out its important work to establish what happened.

    I appreciate that this has caused a great deal of disruption to those who may live, work or be visiting the area, and I thank the public for their patience and understanding whilst we deal with this incident.

    We will be working as quickly and diligently as possible in order to reopen the area, but in the meantime I would ask that the public avoid the area.

    The safety of the public is our top priority and the Met Police will continue to do all we can to protect the people of London.

    As always, the public should remain vigilant and if you see anything suspicious or something that causes concern, then please dial 999.

  40. Manhunt: Manchester man wanted in connection with firearms incident

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    The National Crime Agency are appealing for information on the whereabouts of a Manchester man wanted in connection with a firearms incident.

    At around 9.30pm on Saturday 28 July, two men were seen driving a white VW Passat in the area of Allama Iqbal Road in Oldham.

    The vehicle was followed but unbeknown to officers a firearm and ammunition was thrown out of the car window near the Fiddlers Green pub, Alexandra Terrace, off the A6 Stockport Road, Levenshulme.

    The firearm was found by a member of the public and handed in.

    On Thursday 9 August, a 22-year-old man was arrested at his home address in the Levenshulme area of Manchester in connection with the incident, but the NCA urgently want to trace another man, Salman Gull, aged 24, of Wilbraham Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester.

    Andrew Etherington, NCA Operations Manager, said: “This is an extremely serious offence whereby a firearm was thrown from a car as it drove down a busy road.

    “Fortunately, the individual who found the weapon immediately informed police, however, there could have been a very different outcome.

    “We are appealing to members of the public who may know the whereabouts of Salman Gull or have any information that can help us find him.

    “It is important that we find Gull as soon as possible. I would like to remind that anyone helping Gull or actively frustrating our attempts to locate him could find themselves being arrested.”

    Salman Gull is an Asian male, aged 24. He is 6ft, of a heavy build and has a beard. He speaks with a northern accent. He has a three inch scar on right wrist.

    Anyone with information on Gull’s whereabouts should contact the NCA on 0370 496 7622 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

  41. Boris Johnson to be investigated over ‘Islamophobic’ burka comments

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    Boris Johnson is to face a Conservative Party investigation over his comments about women who wear the niqab.

    Tory officials opened the inquiry into the former foreign secretary after receiving complaints about his widely-criticised remarks.

    The probe could, in theory, lead to the MP being expelled from the party, although such an outcome appears highly unlikely.

    Mr Johnson caused outrage after calling the Muslim niqab veil "absolutely ridiculous" and suggesting women who wear it look like "letterboxes" and "a bank robber".

    Several senior Conservatives have called for action to be taken against him, with some demanding he have the party whip removed.

    Theresa May and Brandon Lewis, the Conservative Party chairman, and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson have all called on Mr Johnson to apologise for the comments.

    He has so far refused to do so, with allies insisting the criticism of his comments was "ridiculous".

    The probe will investigate whether Mr Johnson breached the party's code of conduct, which says members must "lead by example to encourage and foster respect and tolerance".

    It will initially focus on collecting evidence and statements to determine whether the inquiry should proceed. Mr Johnson will be given the opportunity to provide a statement outlining "any evidence or details that will help establish their position".

    If there is deemed to be enough evidence of a breach of rules, a disciplinary panel consisting of at least three people will be appointed by Mr Lewis. Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 committee of Tory MPs, will select one member.

    The panel will determine whether Mr Johnson broke any rules and pass its conclusions to Ms May and the Conservative Party board, who will decide what punishment, if any, he should face.

    Two Tory peers are among those who have called for disciplinary action to be taken against Mr Johnson.

    Lord Sheikh, the founder of the Conservative Muslim Forum, said he had written to Mr Lewis calling for "severe action" and suggesting the whip be removed from the former foreign secretary.

    Baroness Warsi, a former co-chair of the party, called Mr Johnson's comments "reprehensible" and said there should be "real action" and "consequences" if he refuses to apologise.

    As well as the complaints made to the Conservatives, Mr Johnson has also been reported to the police and to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.

     

  42. Time limit tool to tackle social media addiction

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    Facebook has announced new tools to tackle social media addiction, available in its app and on Instagram.

    Users will now have access to an activity dashboard, a daily reminder and a way to limit notifications to help them control the time they' are spending online.

    The company said it "developed these tools based on collaboration and inspiration from leading mental health experts and organisations" as well academics and its users.

    To access the tools on either app, users need to go to their settings page and on Instagram tapping "Your Activity", and on Facebook tapping "Your Time on Facebook" to access a dashboard showing them how they have spent their time.

    Facebook stated: "We have a responsibility to help people understand how much time they spend on our platforms so they can better manage their experience.”

    The company also added "it's not just about the time people spend on Facebook and Instagram but how they spend that time", following reports about social media damaging users' mental health.

    A survey by the charity Scope found that social media sites make almost two thirds of people feel inadequate about their own life achievements and jealous of others.

    A poll by Sky Data revealed that just 1% of people believe that platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram make bullying less of a problem among children.

    "It's our responsibility to talk openly about how time online impacts people - and we take that responsibility seriously," stated Facebook.

    "These new tools are an important first step, and we are committed to continuing our work to foster safe, kind and supportive communities for everyone."

  43. Jailed heroin wholesaler ordered to pay back over £740,000 of illicit earnings

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    Daljinder Bassi

    A Wolverhampton man who acted as a wholesaler to drug dealers in the West Midlands has been ordered to pay back £742,270 in a confiscation hearing.

    Daljinder Bassi, 36, was jailed for 13 years in February this year following an investigation by the National Crime Agency and Met Police Organised Crime Partnership (OCP).

    Bassi used various hiding places in his home, including under the floorboards, beneath the insulation in the loft and within the wall cavities, to store cash and class A drugs in powder, rock and block.

    Bassi drugs in wall hide

    The cash hidden in the walls was only accessible from the loft using a home-made pulley system. 

    OCP officers searching his home in October 2017 seized £737,000 in cash, 22kg of heroin, cocaine and mixing agents. The drugs recovered would have had a total estimated street value of £2.5 million.

    Bassi cash

    At Wolverhampton Crown Court, Bassi was ordered to hand over £742,270 – based on an assessment of his available assets. His total criminal benefit figure was judged to have been £1,187,650.

    If he does not pay the sum of money within three months, he will be sentenced to a further five years and five months in prison.

    Bassi drugs pulled out of wall

    Matt McMillan from the Organised Crime Partnership said: “Bassi made huge sums of money by selling dangerous class A drugs; a business that directly fuels serious violence and gang culture.

    “In most cases, the OCP’s work does not stop at a criminal conviction. Wherever possible, we will look to strip offenders of their illicit earnings and make sure they aren’t able to fund a luxury lifestyle once they’ve served their time.

    “If Bassi satisfies the confiscation order, he’ll be released from his sentence when he expects to be. If not, he’ll serve over five more years and still be expected to pay this bill at the end.”

  44. Honorary Doctorate for first non-white CEO in Barnardo’s 150 year history

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    BARNARDOS: Chief executive Javed Khan is the first non-white CEO in the charity’s 150-year history

    One of the leading figures in the UK charity sector has been honoured by the University of Salford. 

    Javed Khan, Chief Executive of children’s charity Barnardo’s, received an honorary doctorate in Business Administration at a ceremony at the Lowry, MediaCityUK.

    As a British Pakistani, he is the first non-white CEO in Barnardo’s 150 year history.  

    Javed Khan with Margaret Rowe, Dean at Salford University

    At Barnardo’s, Mr Khan leads a staff team of over 8,000, with 23,000 volunteers, making it the UK’s largest national children’s charity. Last year the charity helped transform the lives of more than 301,000 of the UK’s most vulnerable children, young people, parents and carers.

    After gaining a BSc degree in Mathematics from the University of Salford in the 1980s he began his career as a teacher in the West Midlands, and then made rapid progress through the education sector holding posts of Head of Mathematics, Assistant Principal in a large further education college, through to Director of Education in local government. 

    Javed has dedicated his life to public service and supporting the most vulnerable. In 2016 Javed has also won the ‘Spirit of Britain’ award at the prestigious British Muslim Awards.

    Mr Khan said: “I had a fantastic experience at Salford University, which gave me a brilliant education in Mathematics and in life. I’m really grateful to the professors who believed in me, and the friends who inspired me – it’s thanks to Salford that I have got to where I am today.

    “Ever since graduating, I’ve worked with young people and communities to achieve a positive future, first as a Maths teacher, and then as a leader in Education and in Local Government, and now as Chief Executive of Barnardo’s.

    “It’s a great privilege to be awarded this honorary doctorate and to come back to Salford to share the journey that I have been on. I hope it sends a message to young people across the UK that regardless of where they’re from, or the challenges they have faced,  the future is theirs for the taking.

  45.  Majority of Brits plan to swap diesel with their next car purchase

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    UK motorists look set to go green in the near future, as 55 per cent plan to swap diesel for a more ‘planet-friendly’ alternative with their next car purchase.

    A study of 2,000 motorists currently in the market for a new vehicle found 42 per cent are concerned that they may be taxed more in the near future if they decide to buy a vehicle which runs on diesel.

    As a result, more than half are considering switching to a car which runs on a more eco-friendly fuel in the near future.

    And 53 per cent think diesel vehicles will become less popular over the next two years.

    Despite concerns about rising diesel tax, three in five drivers have no idea what the changes to the Vehicle Excise Duty are and what they entail.

    Of those who do understand what the VED is, 76 per cent believe the legislation – which will tax diesel vehicles more heavily from April 2019 – is punishing diesel drivers.

    A spokesperson for Vantage Leasing, which commissioned the study, said: “Whether drivers are making a concerted effort to be greener, or because they want to avoid the rising taxation on diesel vehicles, it looks like a shift to eco fuels is coming.

    “And while many drivers seem unaware of the changes coming to the Vehicle Excise Duty, it seems to be doing its job in dissuading the purchase of new diesel vehicles.”

    Of the drivers considering making the switch, 40 per cent are doing so because they want to drive a vehicle which is better for the environment.

    Four in five drivers surveyed consider themselves ‘eco-conscious’, and 83 per cent are concerned about the future of the planet.

    And 63 per cent currently worry about the effect their vehicle is having on the planet.

    One in four drivers think a vehicle which runs on eco fuels is the more practical option as they believe they will be cheaper than diesel going forward.

    One in ten also think eco fuels are more futuristic and two thirds think leading a greener lifestyle has become ‘cool’ in recent years.

    Tesla is the car brand drivers most associate with environmentally-friendly driving, followed by Toyota and Nissan.

    But the study also found our eco-friendly tendencies take a backseat to costs, when running a greener vehicle becomes more expensive.

    For 27 per cent of buyers cost is more important than the environmental impact of the vehicle, with one in four opting to buy a cheaper, less environmentally-friendly car over a more expensive eco-friendly car.

    And 48 per cent think purchasing and running and eco-friendly vehicle is more expensive than a petrol or diesel alternative.

    When asked to consider which kind of engine produces the best performance, petrol is perceived as the best, followed by diesel.

    Only one in 10 thought a hybrid engine would produce the best performance and five per cent favourite an electric engine.

    A spokesperson for Vantage Leasing, added: “Our views around eco-friendly driving still appear to be split.

    “On one hand we have the desire to be conscientious about the planet and the environment, but there is also the perception that making the switch to an eco-friendly car will hit us harder in the wallet.

    “With the changes in legislation coming in 2019, which will make owning a diesel vehicle a more expensive affair, making the switch to something greener may become a more enticing proposition.”

  46. Man guilty of murdering father-of-seven in ‘brutal’ axe attack

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    GUILTY: Imran Muhammed had previous convictions for dishonesty and was an over-stayer in the country, giving him a motive to kill

    A store worker has been convicted of murdering a father-of-seven with an axe before taking his body in a shopping trolley to a cemetery.

    Imran Muhammad, 31, had searched terms such as "how to kill a man with a hammer" and "how to kill a man with one punch" on his mobile phone four days before the attack.

    He murdered Seyed Khan, 49, with a metal axe at the A-Z Furniture and Carpets Shop in Ilford, south east London, on 24 January. He will serve at least 24 years in prison. Mohammad was also sentenced to five years in prison, to run concurrently, after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice.

    MURDERED: Seyed Khan died following 12 blows to the head with the weapon

    Mr Khan, from Thamesmead, was looking after the shop for a friend when he suffered more than 12 blows to the head with the weapon, according to local reports.

    Muhammad was working at the shop when Mr Khan caught him stealing. He is then said to have begged Mr Khan not to tell the store's owner what he had done.

    Muhammed had previous convictions for dishonesty and was an over-stayer in the country, giving him a motive to kill, the court heard.

    Muhammad has reportedly not admitted this was reason for the killing but it is strongly suspected to be the motive.

    After the murder Muhammad tried to clean the premises and painted over the walls.

    He transported his victim's body and the axe in a shopping trolley to Ilford cemetery in the early hours of 25 January.

    Muhammad then hid his body in undergrowth.

    Mr Khan's body was found eight days later, by which time Muhammad had fled to Glasgow.

    Muhammad was found guilty of murder after a trial at the Old Bailey in London. He had previously admitted perverting the course of justice.

    Devi Kharran, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This was a brutal and premeditated attack on a hard-working family man.

    "Imran Muhammad went out of his way to cover his tracks.

    "After murdering Mr Khan he painted over bloodstains in the shop and also called the police claiming to have been robbed and injured by a stranger, leading to him being taken to hospital.

    "In the days that followed police put out numerous appeals in search for Mr Khan while all along Muhammad knew that he had murdered him.

    "It was eight days until Mr Khan's body was found and by that time Muhammad had fled to Glasgow.

    "Using forensic evidence, witness accounts and CCTV footage showing Muhammad's journey to the cemetery where Mr Khan's body was found, the prosecution was able to prove Muhammad had deliberately carried out this murder.

    "I hope this conviction brings some closure to the family and friends of Mr Khan.”

  47. Half of students consider studying abroad due to ‘extortionate’ UK tuition fees

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    Half of students are considering studying abroad - due to ‘extortionate’ UK tuition fees, research has revealed.

    A study of 750 students aged 16 and over found seven in 10 think the cost of higher education at home is ‘too high.’ And three in five are concerned Brexit could increase the cost of UK tuition fees even more.

    Amid this, the poll commissioned by foreign exchange specialists, Caxton, found four in 10 believe studying overseas is likely to lead to a higher paid job upon graduation.

    In comparison, just 14 per cent are confident studying in the UK would set them up for financial success in the future.

    Edward Gott, head of premier clients at Caxton, said: “It’s clear that an education overseas can offer a wealth of benefits, bringing financial rewards as well as opportunities for significant cultural enrichment.

    “Although it might at first appear a daunting investment proposition, Brits can in fact save thousands of pounds by looking overseas to further their studies and reap the rewards as a result.”

    The research found the USA is the most popular choice for those who would like to study abroad, followed by Spain and Germany.

    But exchange rates would play a part in deciding which country to study in for 54 per cent, with one fifth more inclined to move abroad if foreign exchange rates were more beneficial towards the pound.

    Researchers also polled 1,000 parents and found more than half would support their children should they decide to study abroad.

    Almost half believe it would enable their kids to have ‘new and exciting experiences’, while 45 per cent think it would provide them with important life skills.

    Despite this, 44 per cent of mums and dads admit they would be worried about financing their child’s studies overseas.

    But should they decide to pursue further education abroad, parents would most like to see their kids head to the USA.

    Edward Gott added: “We’re working closely with a number of our Premier clients who fund children at overseas universities, as well as retired or mature students looking to study abroad.

    “Living in a foreign country presents a number of challenges – from making regular payments for tuition fees and living costs, to working out a savings plan and managing unexpected currency fluctuations.

    “All clients like to budget and manage costs and we take time to understand their needs, hedge their specific currency exposure and set up the transfer of funds to work like clockwork.
    “It takes the headache away and allows them to focus on the fun stuff.”

    TOP 10 – COUNTRIES UK STUDENTS WANT TO STUDY IN:
    1. United States of America
    2. Spain
    3. Germany
    4. Italy
    5. France
    6. Australia
    7. Canada
    8. Japan
    9. Netherlands
    10. China

  48. Man guilty of planning terrorist attack to kill the Prime Minister

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    A man is facing years in jail after a joint investigation between the Metropolitan Police, MI5 and FBI foiled his plot to kill the Prime Minister.

    As part of his intended attack, Naa’imur Rahman, 20, of north London, sought to detonate a bomb in the vicinity of Downing Street. Rahman planned to use the ensuing chaos to gain access to Downing Street so that he could assassinate the Prime Minister, Teresa May.

    However, unbeknown to Rahman, as he was putting his plans together he was confiding with a network of online role-players from the Met Police, MI5 and the FBI who, in turn, introduced him to real-world undercover police officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.

    Replica suicide jacket: Naa’imur Rahman sought to detonate a bomb in the vicinity of Downing Street

    Rahman went on to meet these officers on a number of occasions, culminating in his arrest in November 2017 shortly after Rahman collected what he believed to be a homemade bomb but was in fact a harmless replica.

    In September 2017, Rahman unwittingly contacted an online role player working with the FBI, who in-turn introduced him to online role-players from MI5 and the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.

    Rahman gradually revealed his ambition to carry out a terrorist attack, targeting the Prime Minister. He gave details of the preparatory work he had been doing, including carrying out reconnaissance around Parliament.

    Counter Terrorism detectives were able to recover CCTV footage of him carrying out the reconnaissance around Westminster.

    Rahman also sought the officers’ help to obtain a bomb and gave an undercover counter terrorism police officer his jacket and a rucksack to be converted into a suicide jacket and bomb in a bag.

    The officer again met Rahman in the former’s car a week later, on 28 November 2017, by which time the items had been converted into replica improvised explosive devices.

    Rahman, on receipt of the items, told the covert officer “Now I’ve seen everything, it feels good,” not knowing that moments later he would be arrested.

    As Rahman walked away from the car, waiting Met Police Counter Terrorism officers and specialist officers from the Met Police Firearms Command moved in and arrested him.

    Following a four-week trial, Rahman was found guilty at the Old Bailey of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts.

    Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, who is the Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism in the UK, said: “Rahman is an extremely dangerous and determined individual.

    “Rahman’s target was the Prime Minister but he had no qualms about killing innocent bystanders in the process of reaching her. In fact, at one point he told a covert counter terrorism officer that even if he could not reach the Prime Minister, he just wanted to strike fear into people.

    “This case demonstrates the strength of the cooperation between the UK’s intelligence agencies and the FBI. As a result, we were able to disrupt Rahman’s plans and ensure that a terrorist attack was prevented.”

  49. Church and charity join forces for diversity

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    A Yorkshire charity is celebrating 25 years of working with the Church of England to support disadvantaged communities.

    In July 1993 the Bishop of Bradford David Smith visited a QED Foundation computer training course aimed at helping people into further education, training and employment. And recently Dr Toby Howarth, who succeeded to the office in 2014, expressed his support after visiting the charity.

    QED Foundation was founded by Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, who is still its chief executive, in 1990. It soon became one of the most influential organisations working on behalf of disadvantaged ethnic minority communities in the UK.

    Dr Ali now sits on the board of governors of York St John University, which has a Church of England foundation.

    'Over the past year the two organisations have developed a fruitful partnership with a focus on improving access to students from more diverse backgrounds,' says vice chancellor Professor Karen Stanton. 'Work is now under way to develop stronger links with schools in the Bradford region.

    'Dr Ali is advising the university on changes to policies and practices to build a more racially diverse workforce. The mission and values of our organisations are closely aligned and York St John is now an official sponsor of QED Foundation. Dr Ali is also supporting the university to develop its overseas links with Asia and the Middle East.’

    Rev Smith describes QED Foundation as 'one of the best projects I came across'.