Tag Archive: capital

‘Fake suicide vest’ bomber detained

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SHOPPING CENTRE ON HIGH ALERT: A suspect wearing a fake suicide belt was detained at the scene(pic credit: @Will90lfc’s Twitter)

SHOPPING CENTRE ON HIGH ALERT: A suspect wearing a fake suicide belt was detained at the scene(pic credit: @Will90lfc’s Twitter)

Brussels in lockdown after phoney terrorist sparks chaos

Brussels was once again in high alert after a terror suspect sparked a false bomb alert after strapping a device full of 'salt and biscuits' around his waist.  

Belgians have feared a terrorist attack since November, in the wake of the massacres in Paris that killed 130 people, with extra police and military mobilised.

The capital of Belgium is also still reeling from attacks on 22nd March, when Deash bombers targeted a Brussels airport and subway, killing 32 people. 

Police descended on the City2 Shopping Mall in the heart of the city and taped off surrounding roads, while five underground stations were also in lock down.

A suspect was detained at the scene and armed police were called in amid reports he told officers he was wearing a bomb vest. 

Belgian authorities now say the man was not carrying explosives.

Ine Van Wymersch, spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutors' office later said the suspect 'is being questioned at the moment' and added 'there were no explosives’.

The incident comes a week after anti-terrorism investigators were alerted to the possibility that small groups of Daesh extremists had left Syria for France and Belgium with plans to stage attacks, including inside shopping malls.

Belgian authorities have also charged three men with 'attempted terrorist murder' after raiding dozens of homes linked to a reported threat to fans during a Euro 2016 football game. 

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Traffic-less Leeds? Plans to turn Yorkshire’s unofficial capital into a motor-free zone

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UPROAR: Not only are the lions of Leeds in uproar about the proposed plans, but taxi drivers are ready to get their claws out

UPROAR: Not only are the lions of Leeds in uproar about the proposed plans, but taxi drivers are ready to get their claws out

Leeds is a city of beauty but like all busy metropolises that attract car drivers, it tends to suffer from clutch-grinding congestion.

The city has direct access to the M1, M62 and M621, making it a motoring hot spot for drivers across the country.

As Leeds bids to be named European Capital of Culture 2023, civic chiefs and transport planners are working to turn the car-clogged city centre into a walkers’ and cyclists’ playground.

This comes after data was released by Global Action Plan (GAP) - based on World Health Organisation and regional Public Health data – which predicted there will be over 2,500 premature adult deaths in Yorkshire this year from bad quality of air.

Ideas currently under consideration include the closure of City Square to general traffic.

John Askham, from Leeds Private Hire Drivers Association, said such plans would be calamitous for the city’s taxi drivers.

“I’ve heard talking of plans to close the whole of Briggate to traffic, which includes removing the Hackney Carriage rank,” he said. “It’s going to cause chaos for Hackney Carriage and private hire drivers alike.

“The public are totally bemused as to what is happening with Leeds City Council’s plans for the future.”

He continued: “The public don’t rate the bus services. They get you from A to B but they don’t take you where you need to go. Especially in bad weather, you don’t want to be dropped by a bus at City Square when have to be at the Merrion Centre.”

A report produced by Leeds City Council late last year said: “Reducing the impact of traffic on our urban core will support our long-term public realm ambitions for the city.

“[There is] a clear vision of what Leeds will look and feel like in 2023 and beyond – a central area with a civic arrival space, welcoming and easy to walk and cycle around.

“An accessible city centre park, with quality urban spaces, European style greened boulevards and well-connected cultural assets.”

It added: “As the first point of arrival for many to our city, our railway station and City Square should reflect its landmark civic status, and both our identity and values as a city.

“Across the city, people have told us they want City Square to be more welcoming, animated by active uses that draw visitors into a vibrant city centre.

“As a key part of our cultural heritage and space of civic pride, above all the square should be a gateway which provides easy access to the economic, social and cultural opportunities of a knowledge rich city centre.”

John Askham made a salient point when asked if the council are trying to score ‘brownie points’ for the title of European City of Culture rather than considering the people of Leeds’ needs: “Come June-time, will we even be in the EU? They obviously haven’t thought of that.”

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London chooses ‘hope over fear’: Sadiq Khan named capital’s Mayor

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sadiq khan (800x480)

British-Pakistani Sadiq Khan, became the first ever Muslim Mayor of a major western capital last week after cruising to victory in the London Mayoral candidate race.

The 45-year-old son of a bus driver took 1,310,143 votes (57 per cent), after second preferences were taken into account, defeating Conservative’s Zac Goldsmith in second on 994,614 votes (46 per cent).

It was a campaign that resulted in the highest ever turnout of voters for the capital’s mayor, and speaking after his victory, Khan said he was incredibly proud.

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“I want to thank every single Londoner for making the impossible possible,” he said. “I’m so proud that Londoners have today chosen hope over fear and unity over division.”

Khan’s comments came after his Tory rival, Goldsmith, was criticised for allegedly using Islamophobic tactics in his bid to win the Mayoral seat.

Without referencing him directly, Khan added that Labour had fought a ‘positive campaign’.

“Fear doesn't make us safer, it only makes us weaker, and the politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city,” he added.

LEADING THE CAPITAL: Labour’s Sadiq Khan has been elected as the new Mayor of London after defeating Conservative candidate, Zac Goldsmith, by more than 300,000 votes

LEADING THE CAPITAL: Labour’s Sadiq Khan has been elected as the new Mayor of London after defeating Conservative candidate, Zac Goldsmith, by more than 300,000 votes

BRITAIN-POLITICS-LONDON-MAYORDuring Goldsmith’s campaign, leaflets were sent to Hindu, Sikh and Tamil voters which warned them that Khan was ‘dangerous’. Although not directly referencing that he was Muslim, several recipients noted that they felt it was an attempt to discredit the candidate due to his religion.

A separate letter also warned people that Labour ‘planned to tax gold jewellery’ – again seen as a move aimed at stocking community tensions.

Home Secretary, Theresa May, added that Khan’s election would be ‘unsafe’ at a time when the capital is facing a ‘real threat of terrorism’ because of his history of defending extremists when he was a human rights lawyer.

Goldsmith’s campaign was slammed by Conservative former Cabinet minister, Baroness Warsi, who labelled it an ‘appalling dog whistle campaign’ which had lost the party ‘the election, our reputation and credibility on issues of race and religion’.

Even the sister of Goldsmith, Jemima, tweeted: “Sad that Zac’s campaign did not reflect who I know him to be – an eco friendly, independent-minded politician with integrity.”

Khan’s tally of over one million votes gives him the largest personal mandate of any politician in UK history.

sadiq khan sworn into office (800x444)

He has vowed to tackle the housing crisis in London during his time as Mayor, adding that public transport fares will be frozen for four years.

Other plans mentioned include making half of all new homes ‘genuinely affordable, pedestrianising Oxford Street, and restoring the capital’s air quality to a safe, legal level.

sadiq khan 1 (800x561)

 

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