UK

  • UK foreign minister warns Russia against ‘any action’ against Ukraine ahead of NATO talks
    London [UK] : The United Kingdom will use all economic and diplomatic means at its disposal to prevent the Russian incursion into Ukraine, and such move by Moscow would be strategically wrong, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Tuesday.“We will support Ukraine and stability in the Western Balkans, to safeguard their security and build their economic resilience … Any action by Russia to undermine the freedom and democracy that our partners enjoy would be a strategic mistake,” Truss said in a statement issued by her office ahead of NATO foreign ministers meeting in Latvia scheduled from Tuesday through Wednesday. In response, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that London out-shadows Moscow in terms of strategic failures.The event meeting should further unite NATO allies in the face of “continued destabilizing actions by Russia and Belarus,” the statement added.“We do not encroach on strategic mistakes – this is the historical prerogative of Britain,” she wrote on her Telegram channel.The alliance is set to gather top diplomats of its countries in Riga to discuss the alleged amassing of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine, Belarus-Poland border migration crisis, Afghanistan, as well as “the situation in the region with NATO’s close partners Georgia and Ukraine.”Ahead of the meeting, Truss visited the UK troops stationed in Estonia within the framework of NATO enhanced presence in the Baltic region, including Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.
  • UK’s parliamentary group report pulls apart Islamabad’s complicity, culpability in crimes against minorities
    London [UK]: The United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Pakistani Minorities has severely criticized the role of Islamabad in a steadily deteriorating human rights situation of minorities in the country. A 67-page report, which called the human rights situation in Pakistan a national and international tragedy, highlighted all forms of atrocities that the minorities of Pakistan were being subjected to on an everyday basis.It said that even after over seventy years of independence, abductions of minority girls, their forced conversions and subsequent marriages was a widespread phenomenon in Pakistan. And calling them a heartrending issue, the report noted that successive governments in Pakistan had failed to take any effective action to prevent this tragic and inhuman practice. Based on the written submissions and the oral evidence presented before an Inquiry conducted by the APPG, it was confirmed that Hindu and Christian communities were specifically being targeted by Islamic fundamentalists. The inquiry revealed that the issue of abductions, forced conversions, and forced marriages of religious minority women and girls is a serious issue for the vulnerable and marginalised Hindu and Christian communities in Pakistan. The report read “Provisional estimates in a study ‘Forced Marriages and Forced Conversions in the Christian Community of Pakistan’ suggest that up to 1,000 religious minority women and girls face this fate every year.” “However, the true numbers may never be ascertained. All these cases meet with impunity. Usually, after […]
  • Scotland confirmed 6 cases of Omicron coronavirus variant
    London [UK] : Six cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been confirmed in Scotland, taking the total for the United Kingdom up to nine with the previous three infections detected in England, the Scottish health authorities reported on Monday.“Six cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant have been identified in Scotland. Four cases are in the Lanarkshire area and two have been identified in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area,” the Scottish semiautonomous government said in a statement, with Scotland’s Health Secretary Humaz Yousaf adding that “all will receive expert help and support and Public Health Scotland will undertake enhanced contact tracing in all cases.” According to Yousaf, this will be a worrying time for the six people now identified as having the new variant. All will receive expert help and support and Public Health Scotland will undertake enhanced contact tracing in all cases.He warned that since there was still much to learn about this new variant of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 regarding its severity, transmissibility and response to treatments and vaccines, people must be cautious and do everything they can to minimize the risk of spreading infection.On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified the new strain of the coronavirus, Omicron, as one of concern, since it may be more transmissible and dangerous. Cases of the new variant have already been confirmed in multiple countries and governments rushed to suspend travel with southern […]
  • Omicron variant might spread among fully vaccinated people, says PM Johnson
    London [UK]: As the new COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’ has caused worry among governments around the world, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday said that there are chances that the new strain could spread among people who are double vaccinated.“I must stress this, as always with a new variant, there are many things that we just can not know at this early stage. But our scientists are learning more hour by hour. And it does appear that Omicron spreads very rapidly and can be spread between people who are double vaccinated,” Johnson said during a press conference. PM’s remarks came after the United Kingdom reported the first two cases of the Omicron variant.UK’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced on Saturday that the two cases were discovered on Friday, one in Chelmsford and another in Nottingham. Both cases “are linked,” Javid added, stating that both patients are currently isolating at home.Besides the Uk, Germany has also reported its first two cases of the Omicron variant.WHO identified the new South African strain as one of concern, as it is reported to carry a high number of mutations — 32 — which possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous. The WHO has dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.Following the reports about the new variant, the United States, the European Union, Canada, Israel, Australia and other countries have restricted travel from several southern African […]
  • UK to increase global military presence under ‘Future Soldier’ plan
    London [UK]: The United Kingdom is determined to step up its military presence in the world, according to a plan, released by the UK defence ministry on Thursday.“More of the Army will be deployed across the globe, more of the time. Greater forward deployment will improve our ability to anticipate crises and be ready to compete beneath the threshold of open conflict. It will prevent conflict by reassuring allies and partners and deterring adversaries,” the “Future Soldier” modernization plan read. The UK defence ministry also announced an additional investment in military equipment, worth 8.6 billion pounds (USD 11.46 billion), during the next decade. This will raise the total investment to 41.3 billion pounds for the same period.UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Future Soldier is reinforced by the ambition outlined in the Defence Command Paper to transform the Army into a more agile, integrated, lethal, expeditionary force.”“We have underpinned this generational work with an extra £8.6bn for Army equipment, bringing the total investment to £41.3bn,” he added.A total of over 100,000 soldiers will serve in the British Army by 2025, according to estimates of the ministry, as the UK regular army is expected to include 73,000 soldiers, and the number of reservists will stand at 30,000.One of the most substantial innovations is a new Ranger Regiment, which will start operating from December 1, 2021. As a part of the Army Special Operations Brigade, the […]
  • Study finds COVID infection risk rises after second vaccine dose
    London [UK] : A new study has found a gradual increase in the risk of COVID-19 infection from 90 days after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.Results confirm that protection wanes with time and suggest a third (booster) dose might be warranted. The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘BMJ’.The study was carried out by the Research Institute of Leumit Health Services in Israel. Israel was one of the first countries to roll out a large scale covid-19 vaccination campaign in December 2020, but it has seen a resurgence of infections since June 2021.The findings confirm that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provided excellent protection in the initial weeks after vaccination, but suggest that protection wanes for some individuals with time.Across the world, large scale covid-19 vaccination campaigns are helping to control the spread of the virus, but even in countries with high vaccination rates, breakthrough infections can occur, which scientists think is due to a gradual loss of immunity over time.Examining the time elapsed since vaccination and the risk of infection could provide important clues about the need for a third injection and its preferred timing.To do this, the researchers examined electronic health records for 80,057 adults (average age 44 years) who received a PCR test at least three weeks after their second injection and had no evidence of previous covid-19 infection.Of these 80,057 participants, 7,973 (9.6 per cent) had […]
  • Sikhs for Justice farce ‘Referendum’ on Khalistan exposed
    London [UK] : Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), fake “Referendum” on the creation of Khalistan – for a separate Sikh nation was exposed in a raid by UK police that said that very few people participated.According to certain reliable inputs emerging from the Indian community in the UK, especially the Sikh community-based in London, the UK Metropolitan police carried out a raid on the office of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) located on the First floor of Sadda Superstore, 356 Bath Road, Hounslow, UK on November 15, reported dailysikh. The police took away all electronic devices and documents pertaining to the so-called ‘Referendum’ held by the SFJ recently. While the ‘Referendum’ turned out to be a farce with very few people participating, there was speculation that SFJ members were using various electronic devices to create fake Identity cards and relevant documents pertaining to bogus voters in order to push up the voting numbers during the ‘Referendum’.Police had received information regarding nefarious activities being carried out by SFJ representatives at their office. Significantly, police detained an individual ostensibly with links to Pakistan.The recent ‘Referendum’ by SFJ was totally rejected by the over eight hundred thousand Sikh diasporas living in the UK. The only ones who came to vote were a select group of Khalistanis and some neutral individuals with no particular leanings, who were lured to the polling booths on some pretext or the other, reported dailysikh.Since […]
  • UK demands Beijing provides further evidence of tennis player Shuai’s safety
    Moscow [Russia] : The United Kingdom is concerned for the safety of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who temporarily disappeared after accusing a senior Chinese politician of sexual assault, and demands that Beijing allow her to speak out without fear of repercussions, the country’s foreign ministry told RIA Novosti.“We are extremely concerned at the apparent disappearance of Peng Shuai, and are following the case closely. The Chinese authorities should urgently provide verifiable evidence of her safety and whereabouts. Everyone should be allowed to speak out without fear of repercussions. All reports of sexual assault, anywhere in the world, should be investigated,” the ministry said. Peng disappeared from public view after publishing on November 2 a statement on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, accusing the former Chinese vice-premier, 75-year-old Zhang Gaoli, of sexually assaulting her. The post was immediately deleted, Peng’s accounts were removed from the Chinese social networks and the athlete stopped communicating, raising concerns for her safety.Several countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, have demanded that Beijing provide verifiable evidence of Peng’s safety and whereabouts. The global tennis community also joined the demands and called for a full and impartial investigation into the allegations of sexual assault against the former vice-premier.On Sunday, the tennis star finally appeared in public for the first time in several weeks at the opening ceremony of a teenage tennis match final in Beijing. She […]
  • Britain invites ASEAN to G-7 meeting, signifies ‘growing Indo-Pacific tilt’
    London [UK] : Ministers from the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialised nations are set to participate in a meeting that will take place in Britain’s Liverpool next month.The G-7 meet, under the presidency of Britain, will commence from December 10 and will continue for three days, stated the UK government. Britain will be hosting this year’s G-7 meet and has for the first time invited the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), signifying a “growing Indo-Pacific tilt”, reported Kyodo News, citing UK government sources.Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno addressing a press conference in Tokyo on Monday stated that the invitation to ASEAN nations portrays UK’s “willingness to strengthen its involvement in the Indo-Pacific region.”The British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office mentioned that G-7 will look into global issues, including economic resilience in the post-COVID times, global health and human rights, reported Kyodo News.“I want us to build a worldwide network of liberty that advances freedom, democracy and enterprise and encourages like-minded countries to work together from a position of strength,” the agency quoted Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is most likely to represent Japan at the meeting.Meanwhile, the central Japan city of Nagoya today declared its bid to host the G-7 summit at the Nagoya Congress Center in 2023, reported Kyodo News.
  • UK ‘must try to engage’ with ‘Islamic Emirate’ in Afghanistan
    London [UK] : Amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that Britain must engage with the current Taliban government to tackle the existing crisis in the country.Johnson made the remarks in response to a question UK lawmaker in the parliament, TOLOnews reported. Stating that Afghanistan looks like ‘hell on earth’, Labor Party member Sarah Champion asked Johnson “how and when” will aid that has been pledged by the UK be provided to the people of Afghanistan.Johnson explained that the UK had no other choice but to engage with the current Afghan government to assist the overcoming of crisis in the troubled nation.“There is no point in the UK just standing on the sidelines and failing to engage with the Taliban,” he said.“They may not speak for all Afghans, far from it, but they are some kind of authority – even if a very imperfect authority. The UK must try to engage, for the sake of the people that you’re talking about,” Johnson said.The “Islamic Emirate” welcomed Britain prime minister’s statement, TOLOnews reported.“We welcome the remarks of the British Prime Minister. The official engagement will definitely make Afghanistan’s relations better with the world. The gates of understanding and negotiations are opened by the Islamic Emirate. If there is any challenge, it can be solved via this path,” said Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesperson for the “Islamic Emirate” of Afghanistan.This […]
  • UK admits it faces “severe” terror threat after two violent incidents
    London [UK] : The United Kingdom has raised its level of threat from Islamist terrorism to “severe” after two violent incidents in Liverpool and Essex in the last one month, a Canada-based think tank reported.International Forum For Rights And Security (IFFRAS) citing counter-terror experts reported that more future threats are expected in the United Kingdom, adding that however, no Islamist group has come forward to accept responsibility for the attacks so far. British security minister Damien Hinds suspected the incident could be the result of online radicalisation – the latest aspect of Islamist terror to threaten Europe. Hinds revealed “the security services had disrupted more than 30 late-stage plots in the last few years”, IFFRAS reported.A suicide bomber blew himself up with an explosive device near a maternity hospital in Liverpool on November 15.According to MI5, a British domestic counter-intelligence agency, the Islamist terrorist threat to the country is real.“Terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, including Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), possess both the intention and the capability to direct attacks against the West. The UK is a high-priority target for Islamist extremists and they pose a significant threat to our country and to our interests and citizens abroad. Despite the current main focus on terrorism originating from Syria and Iraq, the threat of terrorism also emanates from other parts of the Middle East and regions such […]
  • UK, Poland sign agreement on plans to cooperate on creating Air Defense System
    London [UK] : The United Kingdom and Poland have signed an agreement on the intention to create a new air defense system, the UK Ministry of Defense said.The agreement was reached during the visit of UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace to Poland where he held talks with his Polish counterpart, Mariusz Blaszczak “A first for the UK-Poland relationship, the Statement of Intent will see the two countries share pioneering technology to develop NAREW, Poland’s future Ground-Based Air Defence System, which is anticipated to have a multi-billion-pound budget. The agreement will provide enhanced security and defence development for both countries, while developing and sustaining critical skills across the missile sector in Poland and the UK” the ministry said in a statement on late Thursday.“In the UK, MBDA’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) family has been confirmed for the NAREW programme. Flying at supersonic speeds, CAMM missiles can destroy modern air threats including stealth aircraft and high-speed missiles. Each CAMM family missile is equipped with an advanced active radar seeker that can see even the smallest, fastest and stealthiest targets through the worst weather and the heaviest electronic jamming,” the statement added.
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