Articles by "UK"

Outgoing council chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council Nicholas Holgate (Photo by AFP)
Council chief of Kensington and Chelsea Nicholas Holgate has stepped down after coming under fire for the borough’s handling of the last week blaze that killed 79 people at the Grenfell Tower.
In a statement on Wednesday, Holgate said the deadly fire was "heart-breaking" but he had to resign to avoid causing a "distraction."
"Despite my wish to have continued, in very challenging circumstances, to lead on the executive responsibilities of the council, I have decided that it is better to step down from my role, once an appropriate successor has been appointed,” said Holgate, who took on the job in 2014.
Holgate blamed his resignation on the government of UK Prime Minister Theresa May, a claim that was denied.
Demonstrators hold a banner in support of Grenfell Tower victims in London, June 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Noting that he communities and local government secretary had on Tuesday "required the leader of the council to seek my resignation," Holgate said Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid had forced him to give up his position.
The claim was dismissed by a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government, who said, "The appointment of chief executives is entirely the responsibility of the local authority."
Holgate hoped that the ongoing investigations would reveal “the truth of the causes of this tragedy.”
Labour welcomes the decision
Shadow housing secretary John Healey welcomed Holgate’s resignation, saying he was “right to go.”
“His council went awol in the days after this terrible fire - at a time when the victims, survivors, those families still looking for their family members who were missing, needed help on the ground and, above all, someone to reassure them and coordinate the relief and help efforts,” he told BBC.
The government and the council have come under heavy fire for their response to the fire.
May and members of the local council stirred outrage when they walked back earlier pledges to re-house the survivors of the fire in the same neighborhood.
The burned-out shell of the Grenfell Tower block. (Photo by AFP)
May also faced overwhelming pressure after it was revealed that the former Gavin Barwell, the former housing minister who was recently appointed as the prime minister’s adviser, had failed to OK a fire safety review request he had received.
The council has been accused of using a banned cladding material during that £8.6m refurbishment of the tower. The material has been blamed for the fire’s quick spread to all floors.
May has ordered these and all other allegations to be included in a full public inquiry into the fire.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her son Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales prepare to take their seats as they arrive in the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London on June 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

UK Queen Elizabeth II has presented Prime Minister Theresa May’s policies to the new Parliament, at a tumultuous time for Britain and as May’s future in power remain uncertain.
The queen took to Westminster on Wednesday to read out a list of the government's intentions for the lawmakers on their first day in office, following the June 8 snap general election that saw May’s Conservative Party lose its narrow majority.
The legislative program that the monarch laid out on behalf of May was a pared-down version of her party manifesto for the election and dropped some key promises to instead focus on Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU).
“My government’s priority is to secure the best possible deal as the country leaves the European Union,” said Elizabeth II. “My ministers are committed to working with Parliament, the devolved administrations, business and others to build the widest possible consensus on the country’s future outside the European Union.”
Eight of the 27 bills that were included in the agenda revolved around Brexit, while the rest were focused on other issues such as the recent wave of terror attacks that hit Britain as well as the deadly apartment block fire in Grenfell Tower last week.
Absent on the list, however, were May’s manifesto pledges to tax the elderly more heavily for their own care and slash free lunches for schoolchildren, the very unpopular policies that were blamed for May’s uninspiring election performance.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends the first session of Parliament, June 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Faced with growing calls to step down since the vote, May has been struggling to save her reign by striking a deal for a minority government with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
The deal plunged into new jeopardy on Wednesday after the DUP handed in an expensive £2 billion list of demands to the Tories, including £1 billion pumped into the health service in Northern Ireland and a similar figure for infrastructure projects, according to the BBC.
If true, this would make it impossible to get a deal on Thursday, the new deadline that was announced after a series of similar delays.
Notwithstanding the uncertain future she faces, May has decided to press ahead with the previous schedule for the EU talks. UK Brexit Secretary David Davis held the first round of talks with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday.
Corbyn attacks May
Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who managed to win many seats for his party in the election against all odds, took the opportunity on Wednesday to attack May and pitch himself as her replacement.

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament shows Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as she responds to Prime Minister Theresa May, June 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The opposition leader, who refused to bow to the queen, said at the beginning of the parliamentary session that the government has "apparently run out of ideas altogether."
While noting that Labour was "a government in waiting," Corbyn said people in many traditionally Tory areas had chosen “hope over fear” by voting for his party.
The so-called Queen’s Speech was marred by “Day of Rage” protests outside Westminster, where hundreds of Londoners had gathered to call for May’s resignation.

Hundreds of angry protesters have rallied in the “Day of Rage” demonstrations across London to urge British Prime Minister Theresa May to resign over her failed policies.
The protests began on Wednesday morning, when large groups of people started marching towards the government offices and the parliament building in Westminster as May and Queen Elizabeth II were preparing to address lawmakers.
Chanting “May must go” and “Justice in, Tories out,” the protesters also demanded justice for the people who lost their loved ones and their homes in the Grenfell Tower fire that killed at least 79 people last week.
The event was organized by the Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary, a group that aims to build “a new Britain” through protest rallies.
The group wrote in an incendiary Facebook post that the Tories were waging a "class war" on the working class, declaring that "there will be no peace until this government is brought down."
Demonstrators hold up placards during "Day of Rage" protests in central London, June 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The organization also charged that politicians are looking to “divert rage and fury” by promising reports and investigations into the Grenfell blaze while walking back their promises to re-house the victims.
May had initially promised to house all of the survivors in Kensington, the same neighborhood as the tower, but later on said some people might be required to live out of the borough.
Corbyn as prime minister
Some of the protesters also took the opportunity to renew calls for May to be replaced by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn led a strong campaign during the June 8 snap general election, which saw his party gain more seats in parliament and strip the Tories off their majority.
A woman with holds a placard as she participates in Day of Rage protests in London, June 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The outcome of the vote cost May dearly and worsened her already weak job approval ratings, raising speculations about her future in power.
The protests overshadowed the Queen’s Speech, where May and the queen laid out Britain's policies over the next two years.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage condemned the protests and said it was not the right time for May to quit.
Meanwhile, the London Socialist Party announced that it was planning to lead another anti-May protest in Parliament Square from 4 pm.
A third separate demonstration, dubbed Stand Up To Racism, was also due to begin on 6 pm.
Since her dismal election performance, May has been struggling to save her faltering reign by forming a minority government with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.

This file photo taken on February 20, 2017 shows a woman wearing a top showing flags of European Union countries during a "Flag Mob" demonstration in Parliament Square in central London on February 20, 2017, part of a national day of action in support of migrants in the UK. (AFP photo)
A study carried out in Britain suggests that the country is receiving far fewer numbers of migrants from European Union countries this year.
The results of the study released on Wednesday by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said migration from EU countries to Britain had fallen sharply in 2016, adding that the number of people arriving from Eastern European countries for work in Britain had fallen by about a third since the Brexit vote in June 2016.
The study said a fall in allocations of National Insurance numbers, required by people looking to work or claim social welfare in Britain, showed a significant decline in the number of people arriving from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
It found that the figure fell to the lowest level since the countries became part of the EU in 2004, adding that about 26,000 nationals of those states had registered with authorities in the first three months of this year, about a third lower than the first quarter of 2016.
The study said a plunge in the pound, which came after the Brexit vote, could be to blame for the fall in migration from EU states to Britain.
"The referendum result led to a wave of concern in global financial markets about the UK economy, which immediately resulted in a decline in the value of the pound against other major currencies, reducing the relative value of wages for foreign workers," said the study.
Estimates suggest that about 3.6 million EU citizens were living in Britain in 2016, one million of them from Poland. A third of those migrants live in London and most of them are employed in farming, catering and the state-run National Health Service.
Carlos Vargas-Silva, the acting director of the Migration Observatory, said Britain was no longer an attractive country for workers. He said migrants are also becoming increasingly irritated by the uncertainty surrounding their long-term legal status in Britain and also an increase in highly-publicized xenophobic attacks.
“We are seeing indications that the UK has become less of an attractive destination for migrants from Poland and the other A8 countries since the referendum on leaving the EU,” Vargas-Silva said.
Britain has officially started negotiations for leaving the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May will announce her plans for the breath-taking talks in the coming days.

Opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn attends a vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque in north London on June 20, 2017, following a van attack on pedestrians nearby on June 19. (Photo by AFP)
Leader of the UK Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn has urged all communities in Britain to stay united following the recent terror attacks in the country.
Corbyn made the comments on Wednesday during a vigil held for victims of Monday’s terror attack outside a mosque in north London.
"Those that set off bombs in London on 7/7 and killed people from this borough. Those that supported and that person who set off that bomb in Manchester that took so many lives, those that killed people with knives on London bridge, and this incident, they were all designed to achieve the same thing; attacks on a community that will bring about a division on all of our communities,” Corbyn said.
British opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (L) meets locals at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London. (Photo by AFP)
“The only response can ever be, one of bringing communities together in solidarity and support for each other at a time of crisis,” he added.  
A large number of people attended the ceremony to pay tribute to those affected by the incident. They held signs and chanted slogans against Islamophobia.
On Monday, Corbyn said, “all mosques across this country will get the protection they need.”
In the early hours of Monday, a van drove into Muslim worshipers outside Finsbury Park Mosque. One person was killed following the assault and nine others were taken to hospitals with injuries. The London Metropolitan Police said the incident was treated as a terrorist attack.
Members of the media gather at a Police near the scene in Finsbury Park area of north London after a vehicle hit pedestrians, on June 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The incident bore the hallmarks of a terrorist attack in the British capital earlier this month.
Terror on and near the London Bridge left at least eight people dead and wounded almost 50 others on June 3.
Eight minutes after the first emergency call, armed police forces killed ringleader Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22.
The vehicle used by the attackers where it crashed into railings at the southern end of London Bridge, June 3, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The three knife-wielding assailants drove a hired van into pedestrians on the bridge and stabbed others in Borough Market in an attack initially praised and subsequently claimed by the Daesh Takfiri group.
A similar attack on March 22 left five people dead after a man drove a rented car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a policeman to death.
Terrorist alert has been set at "severe" in Britain, meaning an attack is highly likely.

British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster (Photo by AFP)
British Prime Minister Theresa May's negotiations on staying in power with the support of the Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have not proceeded as expected.
“Talks are ongoing with the DUP and we continue to work towards a confidence and supply arrangement,” a Conservative source told Reuters on Tuesday.
“As we have said, both parties are committed to strengthening the Union (between the UK's member nations), combating terrorism, delivering Brexit and delivering prosperity across the whole United Kingdom."
“While our discussions continue it is important the government gets on with its business.”
DUP sources also complained of the lack of “negotiating experience” on the Conservative side, a day after the separate Brexit talks also got underway.
“The negotiations haven't proceeded in a way that DUP would have expected,” a source told Sky News.
May had called for a snap election in April in hopes of getting an increased parliamentary majority that could have strengthened her position before going into two years of intense negotiations with the European Union about Britain’s departure from the bloc.
However, May’s election gamble spectacularly backfired. British voters dealt her a devastating blow last Thursday, wiping out her parliamentary majority and throwing the country into political turmoil.
Now, the premier has been trying to save herself by forming a coalition government with the DUP, which won 10 seats. May and DUP leader Arlene Foster have met to discuss a plan to form the government.
The DUP has been urging May's government to give “greater focus” to the negotiations and that the DUP “can't be taken for granted.”
May’s office announced on Saturday that the DUP had agreed to support her government on the basis of a “confidence and supply” arrangement in parliament.
The so-called confidence and supply agreement means that the supporting party will back the government in motions of confidence by either voting in favor or abstaining, while retaining the right to vote otherwise in matters of conscience. "Supply", on the other hand, refers to bills required for a minority government to receive funds to allow it to enact its policies.
Tory MPs have threatened they would object to a formal coalition, citing the DUP’s position on abortion, climate change and gay rights.
A total of 326 seats is needed for a majority in the Commons, as efforts to run a minority government are usually doomed to fail because of the inability to get any legislation through the parliament, which means that an arrangement with another political party is essential.

A banner covered in tributes outside Finsbury Park Mosque, near to the scene of the June 19 van attack on pedestrians, in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
British experts and Islamic leaders have expressed concern at the worrying level of Islamophobia in the UK following the attack on Muslims at the Finsbury Park mosque, pointing to the divisive rhetoric of British tabloids.
Opposition politicians, writers and cartoonists in the liberal press are condemning the swirling currents of hatred that led to a white driver, Darren Osborne, slamming his van into worshipers outside the mosque in north London, shouting “I want to kill all Muslims.”
J.K. Rowling, a British novelist, film and television producer, pointed to heated rhetoric by Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins, as the Harry Potter author tweeted "let's talk about how the #FinsburyPark terrorist was radicalized."
Martin Rowson, a cartoonist for The Guardian, responded to the Finsbury Park attack with a drawing of Osborne's hired van bearing an advertisement on the side that said, "Read The Sun and Daily Mail."
According to The Independent, there has been a fivefold rise in hate crimes against Muslims across Britain in the days since Sunday’s London Bridge terror attack, where assailants ran over pedestrians and went on a stabbing spree at a nearby restaurant, killing 7 people and injuring 48 more.
British whites accounted for 91 of 260 arrests for terrorism-related offences last year, an increase of 28 percent from 2015 and the only ethnic group to show an increase, government statistics reveal.
Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Islamophobic helpline Tell Mama, said a factor fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment is violence and hatred promoted by the British tabloids.
Tributes and flowers placed in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 20, 2017, for the victims of a van attack on pedestrians on June 19. (Photo b AFP)
“But sadly, whenever you have a major incident, you have headlines and opinion writers who are allowed to spew out some of the most inflammatory content simply to spawn clickbait and newspaper sales,” Mughal told AFP.
Raffaello Pantucci, a counter-terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute, said, “It's unfortunately a vicious circle.”
“Terrorism has no faith, no religion. They are trying to damage our relationship: we will not let them do that,” Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque said.
British Muslims have faced an “explosion” in faith-based hate crimes since the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU. In March, thousands of people took to the streets in London and other cities to protest against the rise in Islamophobia, racism and anti-refugee motions in the country.

British Prime Minister Theresa May reacts as her shoe falls off whilst arriving at Finsbury Park Mosque in the Finsbury Park area of north London, June 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has been accused of paying disproportionate attention to what she calls the threat from “Islamic extremism” while failing to notice the rise in the far-right terrorism threat.
While May has been busy blaming the recent wave of terror attacks in the UK over “evil” extremists influenced by a “perversion of Islamic teachings,” the recent attack on a mosque in London showed that she was looking in the wrong place, The Independent reported Tuesday.
According to the report, unpublished Home Office figures show that nearly one third of people being monitored under the Channel anti-terror program in 2016-17 leaned towards extreme right-wing ideologies and were vulnerable to radicalization.
The figure stood at around 25 per cent in 2015-16 and rose by around 10 percent in the following period.
The rise came into attention after 47-year-old Darren Osborne, a father-of-four from Cardiff, was arrested for running over Muslim worshipers outside a mosque in Finsbury Park on Monday.
Flowers and tributes are pictured in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 20, 2017, following a van attack on worshipers on June 19. (Photo by AFP)
Eyewitnesses said Osborne shouted "I'm going to kill all Muslims," and made "taunting" gestures killing one man and injuring 11 others in the attack.
Another famous instance of far-right terrorism happened last year, when Thomas Mair shot and stabbed Jo Cox, a Labour Party Member of Parliament.
The Channel program is an extension of the so-called Prevent terror program, which was championed by May when she was Home Secretary.
Introduced with the 2015 Counter Terrorism and Security Act, the program and its over-exaggerated image of radicalism resulted in a wave of maltreatment against Muslims and prevented Muslim students from voicing their opinions in lectures and seminars for fear of being accused of extremism.
Tim Farron speaks up
Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron said the government’s inaction in the face of far-right terror has created a “better climate” for more attacks.
“While all the rhetoric from the Conservative government has been about Islamic fundamentalism, it has largely ignored the rising threat from white extremists who are every bit as dangerous and depraved as any other terrorist,” he argued.
The Lib Dems leader, who has announced his upcoming resignation, said May doesn’t even know “where to start when it comes to bringing our divided communities together.”
Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Tell Mama, a group that fights Islamophobia in the UK, said there had been a “systemic failure” on government’s part in identifying the threat posed by the far-right.

European Commission member in charge of Brexit negotiations with Britain, Michel Barnier offers his hand to Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis (L) to shake hands at the European Commission in Brussels on June 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The UK has started the marathon negotiations for its exit from the European Union (EU) by giving in to the bloc’s demands on how the talks should be held.
Hours after arriving in Brussels to kick off the first day of the talks on Monday, UK Brexit Secretary David Davis agreed to settle the divorce terms before getting to the details about future relations with the EU.
This is a stark retreat from Davis’ core demands before the talks, where he had called for parallel talks on both aspects of the process.
The British minister raised the issue once again yesterday only to be shut down by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, who said the European Council would only proceed to future ties when "sufficient progress has been made" in other areas.
The EU has demanded an early agreement on three issues: the rights of EU nationals living in the UK; the UK’s “exit” payment to the EU; and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
    Davis, who had warned the EU’s timetable would risk an early collapse of the talks, said after meeting Barnier that backtracking on London’s preferences was not a sign of “weakness.”  
    "It's not when it starts, it's how it finishes that matters," he argued, noting that the timetable was "completely consistent" with what the government of Prime Minister Theresa May had aimed for.
    ‘EU not in to make concessions’
    Asked if he had made any concessions to the UK in exchange, Barnier said the talks were not about “punishment” or “revenge” and the two sides had to simply accept the “responsibility and the consequences” that came with their decisions.
    British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis (2L) and his delegation attend a meeting with European Commission member in charge of Brexit negotiations with Britain, Michel Barnier (2R) and his delegation at the start of Brexit negotiations at the European Commission in Brussels on June 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
    "I am not in a frame of mind to make concessions, or ask for concessions," he said.
    "Basically, we are implementing the decision taken by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, and unravel 43 years of patiently-built relations,” he added, referring to the last June EU referendum in the England, where 52 percent voted in favor of Brexit.
    First day agreements
    The two sides agreed to initially hold a week of negotiations every month until a new structure is defined.
    They also agreed to set up working groups of "senior experts" to work on the three key issues.
    Davis said there was already “much common ground” on citizens’ rights. Some 3.5 million EU nationals live in the UK compared to 1.2 million Britons spread around the continent.
    The UK has also dismissed an ultimatum by the EU to pay a “divorce bill” of around £60 billion before sitting at the negotiating table.
    May expects the process to be completed by March 2019 but the EU has warned that the two sides should reach a deal before October 2018.

    People pass posters showing images of missing people, in Kensington, west London, on June 19, following the June 14 Grenfell Tower block fire.
    The death toll from a blaze that torched a London tower last week has climbed to 79, according to the British police.
    "I'm afraid to say there are now 79 people that we believe are either dead or missing and I sadly have to presume are dead," London Police Commander Stuart Cundy told reporters on Monday.
    Police had earlier put the toll from the inferno at the Grenfell Tower in west London at 58 presumed dead.
    Cundy said five of the dead have been formally identified. But authorities had already suggested that they might never be able to identify many of the victims due to the intensity of the fire.
    Cundy said the search and recovery operation was ongoing in the charred 24-story tower.
    Members of the emergency services work inside the charred remains of the Grenfell Tower block in Kensington, west London, on June 17, following the June 14 fire at the residential building. (Photo by AFP)
    "This is an incredibly distressing time for families and they have my commitment that we will do this as quickly as we possibly can," he said.
    The fire broke out in the early hours of Wednesday in the social housing block in trapping residence inside.
    The government of British Prime Minister Theresa May has said it is working to initiate a public inquiry into the disaster promptly.
    The prime minister has been facing public anger over her administration's slow and inadequate response to the incident.

    Cundy on Monday promised an "exhaustive" criminal investigation into the tragedy.
    "We will go where the evidence may take us," and do everything possible "to ensure that those responsible will be brought to justice," he said.
    "If I identify... an issue that is a risk to public safety, we will be sharing that immediately with the relevant authorities," he added.
    According to some local residents, there were about 600 residents at the 120-apartment building when the fire broke out, and they say that not many could have escaped because the blaze engulfed the entire building rapidly.
    So, the residents are claiming that the final death toll could be much higher than what British authorities are giving.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the Finsbury Park Mosque on Monday. (Photo by Reuters)
    British Prime Minister Theresa May has been heckled and booed as she visited a mosque in north London, where a terrorist attacked Muslim worshipers as they were leaving the place on Sunday night after offering prayers.  
    At least one person died and ten others were injured when the attacker with his van rammed into worshipers coming out from the Finsbury Park Mosque. Britain's largest Muslim organization said it was a "violent manifestation of Islamophobia."
    As May was leaving after visiting the mosque on Monday, one man shouted "how come you were so quick today," an apparent reference to her initial failure to visit victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in which dozens of people, mainly Muslims and other ethnic minorities lost their lives on Wednesday in west London.  
    The man said, “Mrs. May, have you had a faster taxi?”
    People hold a small demonstration as the car carrying Theresa May leaves the scene in Finsbury Park, north London. (Photo by AP)
    A number of activists from Islington Stand Up To Racism also protested against May’s visit and shouted at her from over the road.
    The Muslim Council of Britain in a statement condemned the Finsbury Park Mosque attack, and said that the perpetrator was “motivated by Islamophobia.”
    Witnesses also said that the attacker was shouting, “I want to kill Muslims.”
    Attack 'was an evil borne out of hatred'
    May met with Muslim community leaders at the mosque and slammed the attack.
    She later emerged with the representatives of different religions at her side, and talked to reporters.
    "The terrible terrorist attack which took place last night was an evil borne out of hatred and it has devastated a community,” she said.  
    "I am pleased to have been here today to see the strength of that community coming together, all faiths united in one desire to see extremism and hatred of all sorts driven out of our society,” she added.
    "There is no place for this hatred in our country today and we need to work together as one society, one community, to drive it out, this evil which is affecting so many families."
    In a statement earlier, May said, “Today’s attack falls at a difficult time in the life of this city, following on from the attack on London Bridge 2 weeks ago – and of course the unimaginable tragedy of Grenfell Tower last week, on which I will chair another meeting of Ministers and officials later today.”
    May lauded the people who apprehended the attacker and handed him over to the police.
    Imam who 'protected attacker from mob' speaks 
    Imam Mohammed Mahmoud 
    The angry mob was beating up the assailant but an imam at the Muslim Welfare Center and his friends moved forward to protect him.
    Imam Mohammed Mahmoud told reporters how he protected the attacker from the crowd after he was pinned down at the scene.
    “We arrived at the scene within minutes and we found the assailant on the floor. He had been restrained by around three people. We found a group of people quickly started to collect around the assailant. And some tried to hit him, either kicks or punches. By God’s grace we manage to surround him and to protect him from any harm. We stopped all forms of attack and abuse towards him that were coming from every angle,” he stated.
    “A police van drove past so we flagged them down we told them the situation. There’s a man he’s restrained. He mowed down a group of people and there’s a mob attempting to hurt him,” he added.
    “We pushed the people back. He didn’t say a word. It wasn’t me alone. There was a group of brothers,” the imam said.
    “He seemed calmed. I just heard he said ‘I did my bit,'" he added. 
    ‘All Muslims love Corbyn’
    Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (center) and London Mayor Sadiq Khan (left) visit the scene of a terrorist attack in north London on Monday. (Photo by Reuters) 
    Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan also visited the mosque and censured the deadly attack.
    “I am shocked by this horrific and cruel attack in Finsbury Park,” Corbyn said in a statement.
    When Corbyn entered the mosque, a man was heard shouting: “I love you!”
    “All Muslims love you,” a second man shouted.
    The mayor of London called the incident “a truly horrific terrorist attack on our city.”
    "My thoughts and prayers, as I'm sure the thoughts and prayers of all of London and the country, are with all those affected by the attack last night, particularly the man who tragically died last night at the scene,” he said.

    A man hangs a Union Flag next to an EU flag at EU headquarters in Brussels. (AP file photo)
    The government of UK Prime Minister Theresa May is about to begin negotiations with the European Union (EU) on Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc, as London’s approach remains uncertain following the recent general election.
    UK Brexit Secretary David Davis and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier were set to officially kick off the talks on terms of the divorce in Brussels later on Monday.
    "Today marks the start of negotiations that will shape the future of the European Union and the United Kingdom, and the lives of our citizens,” Davis is expected to say.
    "And while there is a long road ahead, our destination is clear - a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU. A deal like no other in history," he would say of the outcome of the talks.
    While the UK has projected a two-year period for the process after invoking the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in March, Barnier has warned that London should agree to a deal before October 2018.
    The talks would begin four days before the anniversary of last year’s EU referendum, where 52 percent of British voters opted to end the UK’s decades-long membership to curb immigration and get rid of the bloc’s financial regulations.
    European Commission member in charge of Brexit negotiations with Britain, Michel Barnier (L) and British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis (Photo by AFP)
    According to British media, the negotiations would focus on exit terms before deciding the future relations.
    EU diplomats hope that the first day of the talks, coupled with May’s meetings with EU leaders during a Brussels summit on Thursday and Friday, would clear the air after testy exchanges between both sides on crucial issues such as maintaining citizens’ rights and a financial settlement that the UK has to pay.
    Some 3.5 million EU nationals live in the UK compared to 1.2 million Britons spread around the continent.
    Davis said late last month that EU's demands to protect its citizens’ rights in the UK were "ridiculously high."
    The UK has also dismissed an ultimatum by the EU to pay a “divorce bill” of around £60 billion before sitting at the negotiating table.
    May’s challenges at home
    May insisted to proceed with the negotiations schedule despite facing increasing calls to step down following a dismal performance in the June 8 election, which cost her party its narrow majority in Parliament.
    UK Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo by AFP)
    The embattled PM, who called for the snap vote in mid-April to get “a stronger hand” in Brexit talks, is now trying to form a minority government with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
    The challenge has cast doubt on the outcome of the EU talks which will be voted on by the parliament.
    May has made it clear that if the two sides miss the deadline without achieving a deal she would take the country out of the EU regardless, raising the prospects of a so-called “hard Brexit.”
    in the run-up to the EU vote, May was a fierce anti-Brexit campaigner while Davis supported the cause.
    The premier's Brexit headaches also include Scotalnd, which has demanded a key role in the talks as it voted against leaving the block.

    KEY POINTS:

    • A van has driven into a group of people near at Seven Sisters Rd near London's Finsbury Park Station.
    • Reports at least 10 have been injured, four possibly dead
    • Emergency services seen doing CPR on some people
    • The group were believed to have been worshipers leaving Ramadan night prayers.
    • One person, believed to be the driver, has been arrested
    At least 10 people are believed to have been injured, and four possibly killed, after a van drove into a group of Muslims who were leaving late-night prayers in North London.
    Parts of Seven Sisters Rd near Finsbury Park Station have been cordoned off while emergency service workers try to help the injured.
    Witnesses have described seeing the van plough into the group and the driver being wrestled to the ground and held down until police arrived.

    Others have described watching emergency service workers doing CPR on the injured and managing to save at least one critically injured person.
    Police have confirmed one person has been arrested and they are dealing with "a number of casualties" but not commented on whether anyone has died.
    Al Jazeera Arabic is however reporting four people have been killed.
    Local resident Alec Wilson tweeted he had never seen so many police and ambulances head down the busy road.One caller told LBC radio station people from a local mosque had been drinking coffee at a cafe by the mosque. He said he had seen six people on the floor.
    Another caller said: "I saw police giving CPR, getting the heart going again and another guy on the floor."
    Cynthia Vanzella tweeted: "Horrible to watch police officers doing cardiac massage at people on the floor, desperately trying to save them. I just hope they did."
    The secretary-general of the British Muslim Council says he is shocked and outraged to hear a van had intentionally run over worshippers leaving Ramadan night prayers.

    While police have yet to comment on the cause or whether it was an act of terrorism speculation has spread quickly on social media.
    Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of Finsbury Park mosque, told the Sun: "Whoever did this, he did it to hurt people and it's a terrorist attack.
    "We call it a terrorist attack as we called it in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge."
    The incident comes after a group of terrorists in a white van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge in early June.
    Seven people were killed and 48 taken to hospital after the attackers stabbed people at random with hunting knives.
    Police have not clarified where the group were coming from in the latest attack.
    Mahir Dar tweeted it was a mosque in Seven Sisters Rd by the entrance of Finsbury Park station, not Finsbury Park mosque.
    Finsbury Park Mosque - in the North London suburb of Islington - has a controversial history, and has been linked to extremist activity in the past.
    Shoebomber Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussauoi attended the mosque, and in 2002 it was reported that weapons training took place there.
    Several people are injured as a vehicle hits pedestrians in the Finsbury Park area of north London and, police says.
    "There are a number of casualties being worked on at the scene. There has been one person arrested," police said in a statement on Monday.
    After 12:20 am (2320 GMT), police received a report of collision on Seven Sisters Road, which runs through the Finsbury Park.
    "There are a number of casualties being worked on at the scene," London police said. "There has been one person arrested."
    According to some reports a van hit the crowd as at least one person was arrested in connection to the case.
    “We have been informed that a van has run over worshippers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque. Our prayers are with the victims,” said the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella body, on Twitter.
    The head of the MCB, Harun Khan, also said in a tweet that the van had "intentionally" run over people leaving prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.
    Three people were said to have been seriously injured near the mosque.
    The incident bore the hallmarks of a terrorist attack in the British capital earlier this month.
    Terror on and near the London Bridge left at least eight people dead and wounded almost 50 others on June 3.
    Eight minutes after the first emergency call, armed police forces killed ringleader Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22.
    The three knife-wielding assailants drove a hired van into pedestrians on the bridge and stabbed others in Borough Market in an attack initially praised and subsequently claimed by the Daesh Takfiri group.
    A similar attack on March 22 left five people dead after a man drove a rented car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a policeman to death.
    Terrorist alert has been set at "severe" in Britain, meaning an attack is highly likely.

    Scores of protesters have taken to the streets of London to mark the International Quds Day in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
    The demonstration was held on the last Sunday of the holy month of Ramadan and saw people marching down Regent Street before gathering at the junction with Oxford Street.
    The protesters chanted “Free Palestine” and carried signs that read “Boycott Israel”, “Freedom for Palestine” and “Zionism = racism.”
    Calls for boycotting Israel remained the main theme of the protest, a trend that has been promoted by pro-Palestinian activists for years as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS.
    The demonstrators also held banners that condemned Israel’s “criminal siege and occupation” of Palestinian lands and stated that “Judaism rejects the Zionist state.”
    The rally began outside of the BBC headquarters and ended at the US Embassy in central London, according to Press TV’s correspondent Roshan Muhammed Salih.
    Co-organized by the Islamic Human Rights Council, the event also featured Jewish speakers who drew a line between being anti-Israeli occupation and anti-Semitism, an accusation that pro-Israeli lobbies often use to stifle protests.
    Anti-Israeli sentiments have risen among people across the world — including in the UK — over Tel Aviv’s discriminatory policies in the occupied territories and toward the Gaza Strip.

    The occupied Palestinian territories have seen tensions ever since Israel introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.
    More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of October 2015.
    In the UK, students in many universities have been leading various campaigns in solidarity with Palestinians despite a widespread crackdown by university officials.
    The trend reached its peak when a group of students in the University of Manchester went on a hunger strike in solidarity with more than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners who had been refusing food for days to raise awareness about the abuses they were being subjected to in Israeli jails.
    The last Friday of the month of Ramadan has been designated by the late Imam Khomeini as the International Quds Day.

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