London Bridge attack prompts raids, review of prison laws
Raids were conducted in Stafford in the west Midlands on Saturday with growing demands to review laws governing release of prisoners. The demands raised by people come within 24 hours of killing of two by convicted terrorist Usman Khan before being shot dead on London Bridge on Friday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who visited the scene of the attack, said he wanted to “toughen up sentences” so that those convicted of terrorism offences are not released early. Khan, 28, was released on licence in December 2018, wearing an electronic tag.
Flags flew at half-mast across the UK as the Parole Board said it had no involvement with Khan’s release, who was released automatically on licence (as required by law), without being referred to the board. He was convicted and sentenced to jail in 2012.
Khan was reportedly attending a University of Cambridge conference on prisoner rehabilitation near London Bridge, called ‘Learning Together’. His actions prompted much concern in the university and Cambridge, where election campaigning has been suspended.
Stephen J Toope, Cambridge vice-chancellor, said: “I am devastated to learn that today’s hateful attack on London Bridge may have been targeted at staff, students and alumni attending an event organised by the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology”.
“We are in touch with the Metropolitan Police, and awaiting further details of the victims. We mourn the dead and we hope for a speedy recovery for the injured. Our thoughts are with all their families and friends.”
It emerged that Khan wrote a letter in 2012 from the Belmarsh prison, seeking to go on a deradicalisation course, so that he could reform and become “a goof British citizen”.
He wrote: “I would like to do such a course so I can prove to the authorities, my family and society (sic) in general that I don’t carry the views I had before my arrest and also I can prove that at the time I was immature, and now I am much more mature and want to live my life as a good Muslim and also a good citizen of Britain”.
Queen Elizabeth led many tributes to the police and members of the public who restrained Khan. She said in a statement: “Prince Philip and I have been saddened to hear of the terror attacks at London Bridge. We send our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones and who have been affected by yesterday’s terrible violence”.
Thailand foreign minister Don Pramudwinai said that the Sri Lankan government led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe did not object to Gotabaya Rajapaksa's visit to Thailand. However, the former president need to figure out his accommodation himself as the Thai government has refused to make any arrangements for the same.
The WHO said that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 continues to remain dominant worldwide, contributing nearly 70 per cent to all virus sequences shared with the world's biggest publicly available virus database. It added that other Omicron subvariants such as BA.4 and BA.2, appear to be decreasing in prevalence as BA.5 takes control.
A special flight with 107 Indian traders landed in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou on Tuesday, carrying many who were stuck in India since 2020 despite business interests in China because of the restrictions imposed by Beijing on international travel to contain Covid-19. This particular group of Indian merchants boarded the special China Southern Airlines flight from New Delhi and landed in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, on Tuesday.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is planning to submit a written proposal to the UN to create a commission, made up of three world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to promote a world truce for a period of five years, MSN web portal reported. The Mexican President proposed that the top commission should include Pope Francis, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and Indian PM Narendra Modi.
China on Wednesday, in only its third white paper on Taiwan since 1993 and the first after President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, said it will not “renounce” the use of military force to bring the self-governed island under its control as its armed forces concluded the largest ever exercises around the island but announced that it will conduct regular patrols in the region.