Mr Cameron Will Travel To Brussels For His Last European Council Summit As Prime Minister.

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David Cameron is to meet leaders of other EU states for the first time since the referendum vote for Brexit.

Government sources said that the PM would use the potentially awkward meeting to urge the other 27 leaders and EU institutions to take a “constructive” approach to negotiations over a new relationship with the UK.

But he will resist pressure for an early start to the two-year talks process, insisting that it is a matter for his successor as PM to decide when to issue formal notification of Britain’s intention to leave the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

The new PM may not be in place until as late as September 2.
The new PM may not be in place until as late as September 2. Credit: PA

Despite calls for an “immediate” move to withdrawal negotiations from European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, the new PM may not be in place until as late as September 2.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested Britain could hold another vote on the leaving the EU.

Mr Cameron will attend a working dinner devoted to the consequences of the referendum vote, which has sent shockwaves through Europe’s political establishment and sent stock markets tumbling across the continent.

But he has not been invited to the second day of the summit, when the other 27 leaders will hold informal discussions on the stance the EU should take towards the UK’s demands.

Standard & Poor's downgraded the UK
Standard & Poor’s downgraded the UK Credit: PA

The summit comes a day after ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded the UK by two notches from its top AAA grade to AA, warning that victory for Leave had led to “a less predictable, stable and effective policy framework”.

A Government source said Mr Cameron would use the meeting to “encourage people to think about how the UK and EU make the best of the decision of the British people”.

He will make the point that, until the withdrawal negotiations are complete, the UK remains a full member of the EU entitled to the full rights of membership.

After telling the House of Commons on Monday that it was vital for Britain to maintain the “strongest possible” economic links with the EU, Mr Cameron will tell fellow leaders that a good economic relationship is in the interests not only of the UK but of all the remaining member states.

Source: http://www.itv.com/news/2016-06-28/cameron-to-meet-eu-leaders-for-first-time-since-brexit-vote/

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Zaventem Airport Partially Operational, Following Terror Attacks.

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Brussels airport plans to partially reopen on Sunday with new security controls, 12 days after it was attacked by suicide bombers. Airport authorities said three Brussels Airlines’ flights would depart for European destinations.

Zaventem has not handled passenger flights since the attack on its departure hall claimed by the so-called Islamic State group.

The attacks on the airport and a metro station left 32 people dead.

In another development, Belgian authorities charged a third suspect – named only as Y A – with terrorist offences linked to a plot to attack France.

The charges come in the wake of the arrest of Frenchman Reda Kriket in a Paris suburb on 24 March.

More screening

Brussels airport chief executive officer Arnaud Feist said that “from Sunday morning, Brussels Airport should be partially operational”.

He said he was expecting to receive official authorisation for the reopening later in the day.

The first flight is expected to take off in the early afternoon for the Portuguese city of Faro. The others will be bound for the Greek capital Athens and Turin, Italy.

Passengers will only be able to get to the airport by car or taxi – the terminal is still closed to trains and buses.

Under the new security arrangements:

  • vehicles and passengers travelling to the temporary departures area will be screened on the access road
  • an additional police check and ID and boarding pass check will take place at the entrance to the temporary departures area. Those not flying will not be allowed in
  • passengers will then proceed towards the departure gates, undergoing the usual access and security controls

Late on Friday Belgian officials reached a deal with police unions on enhanced security at the airport.

The dispute had delayed the reopening.

Mr Feist said he hoped the airport would get back up to full capacity in time for the start of the summer holidays at the end of June.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35951454

 

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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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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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DAVID CAMERON: “UK Security Had Been Stepped Up In The Wake Of A VERY REAL TERROR THREAT Across Europe”

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David Cameron will chair an emergency meeting later to determine the UK’s response to the Brussels attacks.

Two Britons were injured in the blasts at the city’s airport and metro on Tuesday which left 34 people dead.

There are also concerns for David Dixon, an IT programmer from Nottingham, whose family said he had not been seen since the attacks.

Mr Dixon has lived in Brussels for 10 years with his partner and their young son, friends said.

He travelled to work every day on the city’s metro, but has not answered his phone or made contact since the explosions.

His partner Charlotte Sutcliffe has been driving from hospital to hospital in Brussels trying to find him.

Brussels attacks: Latest updates

Her sister Marie Sutcliffe told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Charlotte had struggled to get information because phone networks were disrupted and much of the city locked down following the attacks.

“Understandably, she is very, very distressed. Not everybody has been identified yet of the injured so it’s just waiting for that process to happen,” she said.

“It’s just waiting, which is heartbreaking and very worrying.”

Friend Simon Hartley-Jones said: “He’s a lovely guy. He’s an amazing man who deeply, deeply loves his son and we all want to find him.”

Armed police at St Pancras station, LondonImage copyrightAP
Image captionSecurity has been stepped up St Pancras Station and other UK transport hubs

Twin blasts hit Zaventem airport at about 07:00 GMT on Tuesday. Another explosion at Maelbeek metro station near EU headquarters happened an hour later.

Brussels police have issued a wanted notice for a man seen pushing a luggage trolley through the airport along with two other suspects shortly before the twin explosions.

The two other men died in the attacks after detonating suicide devices, a Belgian prosecutor said.

Anti-terror raids have taken place across Belgium. So-called Islamic State (IS) said it was behind the attacks.


More about the attacks

Brussels airport after the explosionImage copyrightPA

 

Specialist police from the UK have been sent to Brussels to help with the investigation, while the government’s emergency Cobra committee will meet for a second time on Wednesday morning to discuss UK security.

Security has been stepped up at UK ports, airports and other transport hubs, and more Border Force officers deployed to carry out checks on people and vehicles arriving.

The terror threat level has been at “severe” since August 2014, meaning an attack is highly likely.

Mr Cameron said UK authorities were continuing to review information coming in – and would raise the terror threat level if there was information of a direct threat.

Meanwhile the Foreign Office is warning Britons travelling to Brussels to be “alert and vigilant and stay away from crowded places”.

An emergency number for those worried a relative may have been affected has also been issued – 020 7008 0000.

Belgium is observing three days of mourning and a minute’s silence for the victims will be held at 11:00 GMT.

People gather and light candles at the Place de la Bourse during a vigil to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks in Brussels, Belgium. 22 March 2016Image copyrightEPA
Image captionVigils for the victims have been held in the Place de la Bourse in Brussels

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35878639

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BREAKING NEWS BRUSSELS: Brothers Khalid And Brahim El-Bakraoui Behind Airport Blast

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Two suicide bombers who attacked the international airport in Brussels have been named by as the brothers Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui.

The RTBF broadcaster said the pair were known to police. A third man pictured with them at the airport is still being sought.

Twin explosions at the airport and another at a metro station on Tuesday left about 34 dead and 250 wounded.

Belgium is observing three days of national mourning.

So-called Islamic State (IS) has said it was behind the attacks and warned that more would follow.

A minute’s silence for the victims will be held at midday (11:00 GMT).

Brussels attacks: Latest updates

RTBF said the brothers were known to police and had criminal records.

The broadcaster said that Khalid el-Bakraoui had used a false name to rent the flat in the Forest area of the Belgian capital where police killed a gunman in a shootout last week.

It was during that raid that police found a fingerprint of Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the Paris terror attacks of 13 November. He was arrested in a raid last Friday.

Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure said Khalid el-Bakraoui was being sought for terrorist activities while Ibrahim was reportedly on the run after a sentence for other criminal activity.

La Derniere Heure also said that the third man in the airport CCTV image of the three men handed out by police is Najim Laachraoui.

Laachraoui was named earlier in the week by police as a wanted accomplice of Abdeslam.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35879141

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BREAKING NEWS: Belgium Mourns Following Bomb Attacks. A Minute’s Silence For The Victims, Will Be Held At Midday (11:00 GMT)

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Three Days Of Mourning, Following Bomb Attacks That Left 34 People Dead And About 250 Wounded.

Belgium is observing three days of mourning following bomb attacks in the capital Brussels that left 34 people dead and about 250 wounded.

A minute’s silence for the victims will be held at midday (11:00 GMT).

Police are continuing a huge manhunt for a suspect caught on CCTV shortly before two bombs exploded at Zaventem airport on Tuesday morning.

An hour later another blast tore through a metro train near the Maelbeek station.

So-called Islamic State (IS) has said it was behind the attacks and warned that more would follow.


More about the attacks

Live updates

What we know so far

Why was Brussels attacked?

Crisis information

Eyewitnesses recall explosions

In pictures: Brussels explosions

Full coverage


Meanwhile, the US state department has urged US citizens of the “potential risks” of travelling to Europe.

A statement said terror groups were planning “near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants and transportation”.

Tuesday’s blasts came four days after the capture in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam who investigators say was involved in last November’s terror attacks in Paris.

Abdeslam is due to appear before a pre-trial court in Brussels on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people crowded into Place de la Bourse late into Tuesday night, lighting candles and placing flowers in a vigil for the victims of the attacks.

Many cities around the world illuminated their landmarks in the colours of the Belgian flag in a show of solidarity.

Raids took place in Brussels and across Belgium on Tuesday as anti-terror police sought those linked to the attacks.

Eiffel Tower lit up in the colours of the Belgian flag. 22 March 2016Image copyrightReuters
Image captionThe Eiffel Tower was lit up in the colours of the Belgian flag in tribute to the victims
Zaventem airport remains closed under tight security, 23 MarchImage copyrightAFP
Image captionZaventem airport remains closed under tight security

They issued a wanted notice for a man seen walking with two other suspects at the airport just before the blasts at a check-in hall.

He was pushing a luggage trolley with a suitcase thought to have contained a bomb that did not explode.

The two other men are presumed to have died after detonating suicide devices. They were wearing a black glove on the left hand, possibly to hide the devices. The third man was wearing no glove.

The explosions happened in quick succession shortly after 08:00 local time (07:00 GMT) and the other bomb was found and destroyed in a controlled detonation.

CCTV grab of suspectsImage copyrightEPA
CCTV grab of suspectsImage copyrightEPA
CCTV grab of suspectsImage copyrightEPA
Image captionImages of the three suspects. The top two are thought to have died at the airport, the third is being sought

A taxi driver who had reportedly driven the three suspects to the airport gave police an address in the Schaerbeek area of Brussels where another explosive device and an IS flag were among items recovered.

Police helicopters hovered over the city late into the night as the search operation continued.

About an hour after the airport blasts on Tuesday morning, another explosion struck the Maelbeek metro station near EU headquarters.

The cause of the blast has not been confirmed but IS said it too was a suicide bombing.

Police said about 20 people died on the metro train and about 14 at the airport.

Belgium has raised its terrorism alert to its highest level.

Transport across Brussels was paralysed after the explosions but some services later resumed. The airport is unlikely to reopen for several days.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said Tuesday was “a day of tragedy, a black day” and urged citizens to show “calmness and solidarity”.

World leaders have sent condolences and messages of solidarity.

US President Barack Obama called the blasts “outrageous attacks against innocent people” while the 28 EU leaders – in a joint statement – said the bombings were an “attack on our open, democratic society”.

Map showing where the Brussels attacks took place

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35878597

 

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