A Freedom Of Information Request Has Unveiled A 20% Increase In Children Arrested For Firearms Offences In The UK

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The number of children arrested for suspected gun crimes in the UK has soared by 20% in the last year, new figures reveal.

Children as young as 10 have been arrested for firearms offences over the past three years.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that 1,549 children were arrested for suspected firearms offences between 2013 and January 2016, with the number of cases jumping by 20% in the past year.

The cases involve weapons such as air rifles, imitation firearms, BB guns and Tasers.

The FOI requests were sent by the Press Association to all police forces in the UK, with 29 forces responding.

Of those that responded the biggest police force – the Metropolitan Police – recorded the most firearm offences, arresting 679 youths under the age of 18.

Ian Cameron Swanston’s brother was shot dead in Manchester in 1999. He is now a trustee of the charity Mothers Against Violence, which works with young people in communities affected by crime.

He told Sky News that for some young people guns mean status and protection.

“What I’m hearing from young people is that actually I need to protect myself,” he said.

“If I’m going out and I know there’s something going on there’s a sense of it’s easier to carry a knife, carry a gun.

“We’ve created an environment which is quite fearful for young people, they are fearing their own lives, they’re seeing it as an answer.”

School pupils have also been targeted by gangs who use them to hide money, drugs and weapons.

Youth worker and former gang member Jennifer Blake told Sky News children are often used by gangs because they are less likely to be stopped and searched by police.

“A young 10-year-old on a little bike … police aren’t going to think: ‘Yeah, he’s suspicious, let’s stop him’.

“Some of them think it’s exciting until something happens and they realise: ‘Wow, what have I got myself into’.

“Once a young person is groomed, and depending on the perpetrator, the threats that could be given to that young person, fear for their family, they’re going to continue, they’re going to want to go down that road.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics for the year ending in September 2015, found that the overall number of gun crime offences recorded has risen by 4%.

Here is a breakdown of some of the key  gun crime statistics:

:: The Metropolitan Police said it arrested 679 children –  by far the biggest number

:: Nottinghamshire Police arrested 60 people under the age of 18

:: The Police Service of Northern Ireland reported 23 arrests

:: North Wales Police arrested 14 boys

:: Merseyside Police said 78 youths were arrested

:: West Yorkshire Police arrested 138 children

:: Forces which did not reply included Greater Manchester Police and Police Scotland

Source: http://news.sky.com/story/1668473/child-gun-crime-arrests-rise-by-20-percent-in-uk

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NEWS UPDATE BRUSSELS: Faycal Cheffou, Has Been Released Due To A Lack Of Evidence

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The only suspect charged with murder over last week’s Brussels attacks has been released due to a lack of evidence, Belgian prosecutors say.

Faycal Cheffou, an independent journalist, was widely reported to be the third individual in CCTV footage of suspects at Brussels airport.

He was charged with terrorist murder after 35 people, excluding the bombers, were killed in the suicide bombings.

But a prosecutor’s statement read: “The indications that led to the arrest of Faycal C were not substantiated by the ongoing inquiry.

“As a result, the subject has been released by the examining magistrate.”

The announcement is a major blow to an investigation that has netted half a dozen people charged with lesser offences.

Earlier on Monday, police had issued an appeal for witnesses, saying they were seeking to identify the man caught on CCTV at the airport.

In the video, the hat-wearing suspect, wearing white, appears to smile as he glances over and says something to his alleged accomplices.

The accomplices – suicide bombers Ibrahim el Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui – blew themselves up in the atrocity.

But police say the third man appeared to have left his bomb, which failed to explode, and fled.

Security officials did not name the suspect in the hat, but many Belgian media reports suggested he was Faycal Cheffou.

However, that now appears to be unlikely.

Cheffou reportedly acted as a co-ordinator of aid for refugees arriving in Maximilian Park in Brussels last year.

The developments came as a victim of the airport bombing said there should be no backlash against Muslims.

Walter Benjamin has had a leg amputated since he was blown across Zaventem airport by two huge blasts.

He warned that ordinary Muslims should not be held responsible, hours after far-right protesters hijacked a peace protest in the centre of Brussels.

He told RTL: “I hope people will be smart enough to understand that 99.99% of the Muslim population is extraordinary and does not get involved (with extremism).

“Twenty or 30 people don’t represent an entire community.”

Source: http://news.sky.com/story/1668425/police-release-brussels-terror-suspect

 

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The State Of Idaho Approves Bill Allowing Residents To Carry Concealed Firearms Without a Permit, Inside City Limits.

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Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has signed Senate Bill 1389 into law. It will relax the state’sgun policy and remove permitting requirements for concealed carry. Prior to SB 1389, residents age 18 or older could carry concealed firearms without a permit outside of city limits. Open carry is already legal within city limits.

Despite giving SB 1389 his signature, Otter expressed concern about the bill’s lack of a training or education requirement for those who would carry concealed. In a letter to the president of the Idaho Senate, Otter addressed public safety concerns that law enforcement raised throughout the development of the bill and urged individuals who are considering concealed carry to receive training in firearm safety.

“While S1389 is consistent with the U.S. Constitution, Idaho values and our commitment to upholding our constitutional protections from government overreach, I am concerned about its lack of any provision for education and training of individuals who choose to exercise the right to concealed carry,” the Republican lawmaker wrote.

“Such a safeguard would seem to be part of the Second Amendment’s ‘well-regulated’ standard. What’s more, the addition of a simple training requirement in this bill could have addressed the concerns of our valued law enforcement leaders and others who cherish both the shooting culture and the safety of shooters and non-shooters alike.”

Otter added that in the absence of an educational provision, “I also encourage the Legislature to monitor the exercise of this new law and respond appropriately when and if the lack of statutory education and training requirement undermines public safety.”

Other states that already allow concealed carrying of guns without a permit include Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, Wyoming and West Virginia.

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/no-permit-required-new-law-allows-concealed-guns-idaho-cities-n546756

 

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Fidel Castro To Obama,” We Are Self-Sufficient, And Don’t Need Any Gifts From The Empire”.

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The retired revolutionary, who has reacted tepidly to Cuba’s rapprochement with the United States, scoffed at what he described as Obama’s call to forgive and forget more than half a century of Cold War enmity.

“Listening to the words of the US president could give anyone a heart attack,” Castro wrote in his first public reaction to the visit.

“My modest suggestion is that he think and not try to theorize about Cuban politics,” said the 89-year-old leader of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, who handed power to his younger brother Raul in 2006.

He made the comments in a tortuous opinion piece headlined “Brother Obama” and published in Granma, the official newspaper of Cuba’s communist party.

Obama, who met Raul but not Fidel Castro during his three-day visit last week, defied the regime’s warnings not to wade into Cuba’s internal affairs, meeting with anti-Castro dissidents and calling for democracy and greater freedoms.

“Voters should be able to choose their governments in free and democratic elections,” he said in an unprecedented speech carried live on Cuba’s tightly controlled state television.

Castro lashed out at that speech, the symbolically charged centerpiece of the first visit by a US president in 88 years.

“Obama gave a speech in which he used the most syrupy words,” he wrote, recounting the long history of acrimonious relations between Havana and Washington as he defended the accomplishments of his 47-year rule.

“Nobody has any illusion that the people of this noble and selfless country will surrender glory and rights and the spiritual wealth that has come through the development of education, science and culture,” Castro wrote.

“I would also warn that we are capable of producing the food and material wealth we need with the labor and the intelligence of our people. We don’t need any gifts from the empire.”

– PR problem –

Obama’s visit posed an awkward public relations problem for the Castro regime, juxtaposing a charismatic, 54-year-old leader known for the political brand of “change” with the octogenarian brothers who have ruled the island since 1959.

The fact that Obama is black and the Castros are white was not lost on Cubans, many of whom also have African roots, and Castro appeared to take particular umbrage both at the US president’s relative youth and his description of both countries as New World nations “built in part by slaves.”

“He doesn’t mention that racial discrimination was erased by the Revolution, that retirement benefits and salaries for all Cubans were decreed before Mr Barack Obama was 10 years old,” he wrote.

Castro remained out of sight during Obama’s visit, which aimed to cement the thaw announced in December 2014 by the US president and Raul Castro, who has proven more reform-minded than his older brother.

Fidel Castro waited a month and a half to publicly give his blessing to the US-Cuban rapprochement, and then gave it only a lukewarm embrace.

Since announcing their landmark rapprochement, the United States and Cuba have reopened embassies in each other’s capitals and are slowly normalizing ties.

But several thorny issues remain unsettled, including the fate of the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, which Cuba wants back, and Washington’s more than five-decade-old embargo on the island, which Obama again called on Congress to lift.

Since stepping down, Fidel Castro has spent part of his time writing reflections that occasionally appear in the communist party press.

His last public appearance was in July 2015.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/cuba-no-gifts-us-fidel-castro-105802607.html

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BREAKING NEWS: North Carolina Governor Sued Over A New Law That Blocks Transgender Individuals From Using Public Bathrooms

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A federal lawsuit was filed Monday against the North Carolina governor and other state officials over a new law that blocks transgender individuals from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity and stops cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances to protect gay and transgender people.

Two transgender men, a lesbian, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina want a judge to declare the state law, House Bill 2, unconstitutional and a violation of federal laws banning sex discrimination.
“While the discriminatory, stated focus of the legislature in passing H.B. 2 — the use of restrooms by transgender people — is on its own illegal and unconstitutional, H.B. 2 in facts wreaks far greater damage by also prohibiting local governments in North Carolina from enacting express anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” the lawsuit says.
The suit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The defendants are Gov. Pat McCrory, state Attorney General Roy Cooper III, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina and board Chairman W. Louis Bissette Jr. Two of the plaintiffs are university system employees, and one is a university student.
McCrory signed the bill, called the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, on Wednesday.
The General Assembly went into special session that day to push through the legislation.
The law came in response to the city of Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance that, among other things, made it possible for transgender individuals to use public bathrooms of the sex with which they identify.
Equality North Carolina and other groups quickly attacked the legislation, but lawmakers defended it.
“One of the biggest issues was about privacy,” North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore said. “The way the ordinance was written by (the) City Council in Charlotte, it would have allowed a man to go into a bathroom, locker or any changing facility, where women are — even if he was a man. We were concerned. Obviously there is the security risk of a sexual predator, but there is the issue of privacy.”
Georgia has also received attention recently after its state Legislature approved a bill that would allow religious groups to deny service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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BRUSSELS: Riot Police Confront Mourners And Protesters At The Place De La Bourse

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Riot police have been deployed following angry scenes at the Brussels square where tributes have been left to Tuesday’s terror victims.

Police fired water cannon to disperse hundreds of suspected far-right protesters who disrupted a peaceful gathering at the Place De La Bourse.

The protesters, many of them dressed in black and wearing balaclavas, chanted nationalist and anti-immigrants slogans as they made their way into the square.

“This is our home” and “The state, Daesh accomplice,” they shouted in unison, referring to the so-called Islamic State group which said it carried out for Tuesday’s twin attacks.

Several members of the crowd unfurled a large banner with an anti-IS message on the steps of the Brussels Stock Exchange.

A number of the protesters then set off firecrackers and threw signs as they were confronted by police.

Around 10 people were arrested at the scene, police said.

A March Against Fear had been due to take place at the square, which has become a shrine to the victims of the attacks.

It was called off by the event organisers after Belgium’s interior minister urged protesters not to attend, saying police were too stretched. Mob in Belgian square surrounded by police

Hundreds of people were nevertheless gathered to pay their final respects when the protesters invaded.

Sky’s Enda Brady, who is in the Place De La Bourse, said protesters have now been cleared out of the area and the atmosphere is calm.

Police in Brussels carried out 13 new raids on Sunday, taking nine people into custody for questioning and releasing a further five.

Authorities also charged another man – who was shot by police at a tram stop on Saturday – with membership of a terror group.

It comes a day after a man identified as Faycal Cheffou was charged with terrorist murder, participation in a terrorist group and attempted terrorist killings.

Reports suggesting he may be the so-called “man in white”, who fled the airport in Brussels after his bomb failed to detonate, have not been confirmed.

Two other men, pictured on CCTV moments before the attack, blew themselves up in the airport departure lounge.

An hour later another bomb exploded on a subway train as it was pulling out of the Maalbeek metro station.

Ties between Brussels and Paris attackers

 International Web Of Terrorism

Police have revised the number of people killed in the attacks, confirming the three suicide bombers killed 31 people – 15 died in the airport blast and 13 in the metro explosion.

Read on: http://news.sky.com/story/1667909/riot-police-confront-mob-in-brussels-square

 

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Alton Towers Has Opened Its Doors To The World’s First Virtual Reality Rollercoaster, ‘Galactica’.

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Alton Towers’ Galactica uses motion sensors to link the physical twists and turns to computer graphics played on headsets.

10:09, UK,Monday 28 March 2016

 

The world’s first rollercoaster that’s fully synced with virtual reality has opened at Alton Towers.

Galactica uses motion sensors next to every seat to link the physical twists and turns to computer graphics played on headsets worn by the riders.

The video takes thrill seekers on a 189-second flight from a space station through an asteroid belt to the canyons of an alien world.

Simon Reveley from Figment Productions, which created the VR ride, said the link between the physical sensations and the virtual world makes for an immersive experience.

“We can amplify things,” he said.

“If we put you on a turn, we can turn you further than you are in the real world.

“As long as we accelerate at the right time, and match the turns, the rest is up for grabs.

“It means there’s a lot of fun to be had with the VR experience.”

We asked Becky Ervin to test the new experience.

She said: “You are going round, twisting and turning. But it’s what you are seeing through the headset that completely changes it.”

The ride at the Staffordshire theme park is a revamp of the Air rollercoaster.

Its launch comes shortly after the Smiler rollercoaster reopened, following a crash in June last year which left five people with life-changing or serious injuries.

Until now, rollercoasters have competed on superlatives.

The Ferrari Rossa in Abu Dhabi is the world’s fastest at 150mph. And the Kingda Ka in the United States is the tallest at 139m.

But Britain’s only “thrill engineer”, Professor Brendan Walker, said VR gives designers new options.

“You are putting a mask over your eyes so you can’t see the real world, so that is going to make you a bit anxious,” he said.

“Because the ride designer has scripted the VR experience to match the physical bodily experience the levels of immersion in the virtual world become even greater.”

Sky News tried the new ride – it is the rollercoaster reimagined.

But computer graphics can’t replace the adrenaline rush of seeing the track fall away and the real world flash by.

Source: http://news.sky.com/story/1668051/the-rollercoaster-reimagined-vr-ride-opens

 

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