UK upgrades threat level against MPs following lawmaker's killing

LONDON British Home Secretary Priti Patel told MPs in parliament on Wednesday that following an independent review, the threat level that they face has been upgraded to “substantial”, which means an attack against them is “likely”. 
It was commissioned by Patel following the killing of Sir David Amess, a lawmaker who was stabbed to death last week.
The independent review was carried out by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), which has five levels of threat: low, moderate, substantial, severe and critical.
Patel said there had been a “change in risk” following the review.
”While we do not see any information or intelligence which points to any credible, specific or imminent threat, I must update the House that the threat level facing members of this House is now deemed to be substantial,” she told MPs.
”This is the same level as the current national threat to the UK as a whole.”
In February, the UK’s national terror threat level was downgraded from “severe” to “substantial.”
Patel said: “I can assure the House (of Commons) that our world-class security and intelligence agencies and counter-terror police will now ensure this change is properly reflected in their operational posture.”
“I will always ensure face-to-face contact, robust debate and the wider benefits of our democracy are defended and protected,” she said. “But we must all take this change in risk seriously.”
Patel then called on MPs to make use of the security provisions and support available to them.
“As well as for our own sake, we have a duty of care to protect our staff and the general public,” she said.

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UK's Nationality and Border Bill 'might be defeated' at House of Lords: Lord Alfred Dubs

LONDON A member of the House of Lords said he hoped the government’s controversial Nationality and Borders Bill will be defeated by the Lords in later stages of its legislation.
Lord Alfred Dubs’ remarks came during a crowded pro-refugee and pro-migration rally at Parliament Square on Wednesday.
The rally was joined by more than 2,000 protesters, who were shouting the now-famous slogan of “Say it Loud and Say it Clear: Refugees are Welcome Here.”Dubs said he was attending the protest in support of the refugees and “we don’t like the British government’s proposals on refugees.”
“We think they are in breach of human rights; we think they are in breach of the 1951 Geneva Convention. They will make criminal of the refugees seeking safety,” Dubs told Anadolu Agency.
Dubs, who himself was one of the children saved from Nazi-occupied Prag in then-Czechoslovakia, said the new bill was at the committee stage in the House of Commons and the government may not be defeated in the upper chamber.
He said the new bill damages the rights of vulnerable individuals and it is “against the international human rights.”
“I think the world should stand together and we should defend the rights of the refugees, not seek to criminalize and punish them,” Dubs said, adding the UK is “setting a bad example at the moment.”
The Nationality and Borders Bill includes some articles which are criminalizing illegal entry to the UK and giving the government extended rights to deport any migrants who did not come on necessary paperwork. The protest
The protest to denounce the new bill was organized by many NGOs and organizations, including the Amnesty International, Refugee Council, Solidarity with Refugees, Women for Refugee Women and IMIX.
Representing the Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), the organization’s International Director Dr. Christos Christou was also present at the square.
Christou told Anadolu Agency that they were in the protest to “demonstrate against the bill, [and its] consequences that we already know.”
He said the European policies “punish” those people who seek safety.
Christou said: “This bill… is trying to do the same. We advocate the safe passages. And we advocate against all these disastrous push-backs that happen and we advocate against this inhumane treatment of people, who only seek for safety.”He said that “anything that prioritize insecurity or discrimination than humanity is contradictive [to human rights]”, adding that refugees should be treated with dignity as fellow humans, rather than treated as threat.

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Daka’s 4-goal haul leads Leicester to comeback win over Spartak Moscow

ANKARALeicester City’s Zambian forward Patson Daka on Wednesday scored four goals in a UEFA Europa League match against Spartak Moscow as the Foxes bagged a precious 4-3 win in Russia.Spartak Moscow took a 2-0 lead in the game as Aleksandr Sobolev scored in the 11th minute and Jordan Larsson added another one in the minute 44.But after Larsson’s goal, Daka was unstoppable as he netted four goals for Leicester City in the 45th, 48th, 54th, and 79th minute at Otkritie Bank Arena.Sobolev finished in the 86th minute but his double was not enough to save Spartak Moscow.Leicester City secured a notable 4-3 victory to return home with three points.”I don’t know what happened after we scored our second. Maybe we were too confident and lost focus. We had a good first half but we didn’t do much in the second,” Larsson said after the loss.Meanwhile, Spartak Moscow Manager Rui Vitoria praised Leicester City.”Scoring two first-half goals was a very good indication of how our plan was unveiling against top opposition. But after that, Leicester just made the most of our mistakes. They are a quality side, so quick in attack and decision making,” Vitoria said.”I’m super satisfied with Patson Daka after his four goals,” Leicester City Manager Brendan Rodgers said.”He (Daka) never stopped smiling and working hard after joining Leicester. I’m so happy for him and his goals. He scored his first goal in the Premier League last Saturday, now four in Europe. Amazing,” Rodgers added.Daka, 23, became the first Zambian player to score a hat-trick in a major European competition.
He joined from Red Bull Salzburg in July.

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UK health secretary warns ‘pandemic is not over’

LONDONBritish Health Secretary Sajid Javid said at a press briefing on Wednesday that the “pandemic is not over” and that COVID-19 cases could hit 100,000 per day by winter.It was the first COVID-19 briefing in over a month, reflecting growing worries at the pace at which cases are increasing in the country.“We have always known that the winter months would pose the greatest threat to our road to recovery, as the darker skies and colder weather provide perfect conditions not just for Covid-19 to thrive, but for other seasonal viruses too. Ahead of winter, just as we expected, we are starting to see this impact,” Javid said.“Cases are rising, and they could go yet as high as 100,000 a day. We’re also seeing greater pressure on the NHS across the UK, approaching 1,000 hospitalizations per day,” he said.“This pandemic is not over,” Javid said.The UK currently has one of the highest levels of COVID-19 cases in the world.In a sign of how serious the situation in the UK has become, Morocco announced today it was banning all flights from the UK effective midnight Wednesday.The UK’s infection rate is 66 times that of Morocco over the past seven days.Morocco’s ban also applies to Germany and the Netherlands.The UK recorded on Wednesday case numbers close to 50,000 for the second time this week, with yesterday’s daily infection numbers being the highest since mid-July.Call for people to get booster jabsAll this has led to health officials in the country to call on the government to implement its Plan B, which includes face masks and working from home.Javid resisted these calls in his press briefing, however.Instead, he called on over-50s to get the booster vaccination shots, saying: “All of these precious moments we’ve been able to restore over the past few months, the loved ones we’ve been able to see and the collective experiences we’ve been able to share, they’ve been possible because of our vaccination program and because so many of you came forward when it was your time.“If we want to secure these freedoms for the long-term, the best thing that we can do is come forward once again when that moment comes.”He continued by outlining other ways the British public could help limit the rise in cases: “After the decisive steps we’ve taken this year, none of us want to go backwards now, so we must all play our part in this national mission and think about what we can do to make a difference.“Although vaccinations are our primary form of defense, there are many more things we can all do to contain the spread of this virus, like meeting outdoors where it’s possible, and if you can only meet indoors, letting in fresh air. Like wearing a face covering in crowded enclosed spaces, especially if you’re coming into contact with people you don’t normally meet. And like taking rapid tests as part of your weekly routine,” Javid said.The British health secretary also touched on the new Delta variant AY.4.2, which is thought to be slightly more transmissible.“That new variant is now spreading, and while there’s no reason to believe at this time that AY.4.2 poses a greater threat, the next variant or the one after that might do,” he said.Nevertheless, Javid said that the UK needed “to be ready for what’s around the corner,” adding that the UK Health Security Agency will continue to assess whether AY.4.2 is likely to become dominant across Britain.Antiviral drugsJavid also announced that the UK secured deals for two antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19 this winter, pending regulatory approval.Britain will buy 730,000 courses of treatments by Pfizer and Merck, with the drugs called PF-07321332 and molnupiravir respectively.They will be given to patients before they get seriously ill, helping reduce the chances of their condition deteriorating to the point that they need to go to the hospital.Both drugs are yet to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.Javid said: “Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have been building an armory of life-saving measures to tackle the virus and protect the country – including our phenomenal vaccination programmed and therapeutics.“I am delighted to confirm we may soon have a new defense in our arsenal with two new antiviral drugs that we have secured. Our work is far from done though – and we’ll continue our tireless work to secure more innovative treatments so we can protect as many people as possible from the virus, its variants and future diseases.”British government data published on Wednesday showed that there were a further 49,139 cases recorded across the UK over the past 24 hours, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to over 8.5 million. There were also a further 179 deaths, bringing the total to 139,031.Up to and including 19 October 2021, over 49.5 million first doses of vaccine have been administered, or 86.1% of the population aged 12 or over, and over 45.4 million second doses of vaccine, or 79%.

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UK's Nationality and Border Bill 'might be defeated' at House of Commons: Lord Alfred Dubs

LONDONA member of the House of Lords said he hoped the government’s controversial Nationality and Borders Bill will be defeated by the Lords in later stages of its legislation.Lord Alfred Dubs’ remarks came during a crowded pro-refugee and pro-migration rally at Parliament Square on Wednesday.The rally was joined by more than 2,000 protesters, who were shouting the now-famous slogan of “Say it Loud and Say it Clear: Refugees are Welcome Here.”Dubs said he was attending the protest in support of the refugees and “we don’t like the British government’s proposals on refugees.”“We think they are in breach of human rights; we think they are in breach of the 1951 Geneva Convention. They will make criminal of the refugees seeking safety,” Dubs told Anadolu Agency.Dubs, who himself was one of the children saved from Nazi-occupied Prag in then-Czechoslovakia, said the new bill was at the committee stage in the House of Commons and the government may not be defeated in that chamber.He said the new bill damages the rights of vulnerable individuals and it is “against the international human rights.”“I think the world should stand together and we should defend the rights of the refugees, not seek to criminalize and punish them,” Dubs said, adding the UK is “setting a bad example at the moment.”The Nationality and Borders Bill includes some articles which are criminalizing illegal entry to the UK and giving the government extended rights to deport any migrants who did not come on necessary paperwork.The protestThe protest to denounce the new bill was organized by many NGOs and organizations, including the Amnesty International, Refugee Council, Solidarity with Refugees, Women for Refugee Women and IMIX.Representing the Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), the organization’s International Director Dr. Christos Christou was also present at the square.Christou told Anadolu Agency that they were in the protest to “demonstrate against the bill, [and its] consequences that we already know.”He said the European policies “punish” those people who seek safety.Christou said: “This bill… is trying to do the same. We advocate the safe passages. And we advocate against all these disastrous push-backs that happen and we advocate against this inhumane treatment of people, who only seek for safety.”He said that “anything that prioritize insecurity or discrimination than humanity is contradictive [to human rights]”, adding that refugees should be treated with dignity as fellow humans, rather than treated as threat.

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5 FETO terror members nabbed in southeastern Turkey

KAHRAMANMARAS, TurkeyTurkish police on Wednesday arrested five fugitives from the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in southeastern Kahramanmaras province.Counterterror teams nabbed a teacher who was dismissed from the profession and a former lieutenant, identified as N. P and K. A. T, respectively, in simultaneous operations concerning membership in the FETO/PDY terror group, according to a statement by the provincial security directorate.N. P. had a finalized prison sentence of six years and three months and was transferred to prison. K. A. T. was released on conditions of trial without arrest.Separately, a former deputy inspector and two shopkeepers, identified as Z. K, A. O. S. and N. Y, respectively, were arrested in simultaneous operations in Elbistan. They were apprehended for membership in the FETO/PYD terror organization.The three convicts, each with finalized prison sentences of three years and nine months, were transferred to prison after routine procedures.FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people dead and 2,734 injured.Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.* Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara

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Popular culture discussed at TRT World Forum 2021

ISTANBULA session on popular culture and dissent was held at the TRT World Forum 2021 on Wednesday.This year’s forum is being held under the theme, Power and Paradox: Understanding Grand Strategy in the 21st Century.Speaking at the session, Charles Burchell, founder of Lex Sounds, said pop music is a genre hard to define.Burchell, also a music producer and trainer, stated that pop music consisted of a wide spectrum and noted that the genre usually indicated the periodical demands of consumers or what the record companies as well as the industry invested in.Burchell argued that the pop music or pop culture elements were mostly part of the entertainment field and it could offer artistic expressions offering something new that would change peoples’ perspective or reoffer the previous contents.Noting that the artistic expression and entertainment industry were two separate things, he added that pop music could contain both of them.Stephen Duncombe, a professor of Media and Culture at New York University, said there were sharp lines between the culture of elite and common people back in the day, however, this distinction has disappeared now.Duncombe said that all people are consumers of popular culture. Some still opt to go to opera events, which he said is perceived as a bit of higher culture, but everyone are consumers of TV series, he added.Lucy Moyse Ferreira, member of University of Arts London, said she does not agree by any means that with the distinction between high culture and low culture, and that this is a way of thinking that is left behind.Ferreira explained that, contrary to what is often thought, the trends in the fashion field do not start with the elite wearing an outfit, they go up from the street and then luxury design houses have to adapt to them.*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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US senators seek answers from firm on reported forced Uyghur labor

WASHINGTONA bipartisan trio of US senators sought answers Wednesday from American electronics firm Universal Electronics Inc. in the wake of a damning report that implicated it in China’s “genocide of Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang.”Democratic Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez was joined by committee members Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican, in the letter, which seeks answers from Chief Executive Officer Paul Arling following a Reuters report that alleged the company struck a deal with Beijing to transport Uyghur laborers from Xinjiang to Qinzhou.”This arrangement bears clear signs of forced labor, raising concerns that your firm may be directly implicated in the Chinese government’s genocide in Xinjiang,” the senators wrote, further citing a number of documented abuses against Uyghurs by China’s ruling party.”Given these ongoing, well-documented abuses, American companies must scrupulously avoid forced Uyghur labor in their Chinese operations, including by carefully vetting arrangements with third-party labor agents. The new reports indicate Universal Electronics may be failing in this duty,” they added.The report alleged that Uyghurs who were transported to the facility in Qinzhou in southern China live in segregated dormitories, are subject to constant police surveillance and are subject to the Chinese government’s “education activities.””We believe these conditions bear obvious signs of forced labor. We are especially troubled that Universal Electronics appears to have done little to investigate or remedy the situation,” the senators wrote.According to UN data, at least 1 million Uyghurs are held against their will in places Beijing calls “vocational training centers,” which the international community defines as “re-education camps.”China does not provide information on how many camps are in Xinjiang, the number of people held or how many have returned to social life.While the UN and other international organizations reiterated demands that the camps be opened for inspection, China has allowed a few designated centers to be partially viewed by a small number of foreign diplomats and journalists.Several countries have accused China of ethnically cleansing Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Beijing has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the allegations as “lies and (a) political virus.”

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Over 114.63M coronavirus vaccine jabs given in Turkey to date

ANKARATurkey has administered over 114.63 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched an immunization drive this January, according to official figures released on Wednesday.Over 55 million people have gotten a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while around 47.71 million are fully vaccinated, the Health Ministry said.Turkey has also given third booster shots to more than 10.9 million people.The ministry also recorded 29,760 new cases, 214 fatalities, and 28,803 recoveries over the past 24 hours.As many as 361,350 virus tests were done over the past day, the data showed.In August, Turkey expanded vaccine eligibility to young people age 15 and older, and those over 12 with chronic ailments.Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed over 4.91 million lives in at least 192 countries and regions, with more than 241.86 million cases reported worldwide, according to the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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