Manchester bomber was seen ‘praying’ at venue before attack

The Manchester Arena bomber was spotted “praying” at the venue 50 minutes before he carried out the attack and asked what he had in his rucksack, the inquiry into the bombing has heard. It was one of two possible “missed opportunities” to stop Salman Abedi in the hour before the bombing on 22 May 2017, the public inquiry into the attacks heard. Opening the inquiry on Monday, its chairman stressed he was “not looking for scapegoats” but searching for the truth about how Salman Abedi planned and executed the suicide attack, which killed 22 people and injured a further 260. The inquiry, which is being heard in a modified court room at Manchester magistrates court, could not begin until Abedi’s younger brother, Hashem, was tried and convicted of helping to plan the attacks, after being extradited from Libya last year. He was sentenced to at least 55 years in prison …

‘We don’t know what to do’: asylum seekers flown to Spain by Home Office

The 11 Syrians said they were sitting outside Madrid airport with no food, water or support Eleven Syrian asylum seekers have been abandoned outside the airport in Madrid where a Home Office charter flight deposited them, the Guardian has learned. The men, ranging in age from 18-45, said they had been sitting in temperatures of 32 degrees since their flight landed in the Spanish capital at around 10am on Thursday morning. The asylum seekers said many of them were removed from the UK without their identity documents. One man told the Guardian he has three brothers in the UK, while another said he had two. Family ties in the UK are part of the claim to remain that the Home Office considers under rules known as the Dublin regulation, whereby one European country can return asylum seekers to the first European country they are known to have passed through. The …

FBI Investigates Pilots’ Reports of Person Flying Jetpack Near Los Angeles Airport

(LOS ANGELES) — The Federal Aviation Administration and the FBI said Tuesday they are investigating reports from airline pilots that someone was flying in a jetpack as they approached Los Angeles International Airport to land last weekend. “Two airline flight crews reported seeing what appeared to be someone in a jetpack as they were on their final approaches to LAX around 6:35 p.m. PDT Sunday,” the FAA said. The statement did not elaborate. The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that the FBI has launched an investigation. FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told the Times that agents at the airport were investigating after the pilot reported the incident to the control tower. “The FBI is aware of the reports by pilots on Sunday and is working to determine what occurred,” the agency said in a statement. Fox 11 Los Angeles obtained recordings of communications between the aircraft and the tower. “Tower, American …

Grounded beef? Airlines sell in-flight meals to earthbound travellers

Airlines are not known for their excellent cuisine. A tray of plastic-sealed plane food is, for some travellers, barely tolerable at 30,000 feet. Yet, as the coronavirus pandemic has halted flights around the world, a growing number of airlines are now flogging in-flight meals to grounded customers. Thai Airways began advertising meal boxes in April, when the pandemic struck, selling anything from stir fried tiger prawn to beef cheek with cumin sauce. In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific is selling meals to airport staff, while Indonesia’s national airline Garuda is offering its food as takeaway dinners on a tray. It’s served just as if you’re on a flight, said Rubi Haliman, from Tangerang, Indonesia, who has already ordered four meals from Aerofood ACS, the catering company for Garuda. “We get the whole set [of potted dishes],” he said. “My favourite was nasi daun jeruk: rice with lemon flavour,” said Rubi. On …

Belarus deports Swedish journalist amid media crackdown

A Swedish photojournalist has been deported from Belarus, amid a crackdown on local and foreign media and ahead of further mass protests planned for this weekend against the president, Alexander Lukashenko. Paul Hansen was given 24 hours to leave the country and banned from Belarus for five years. He was one of 50 reporters rounded up by riot police on Thursday and taken into custody, ostensibly so their documents could be checked. One of those detained was the BBC’s Moscow correspondent, Steve Rosenberg. Most of the journalists were later released but four Minsk-based correspondents were detained overnight and appeared in court on Friday, charged with organising illegal protests. They included the photographer Alexander Vasukovich and Katsiaryna Andreyeva, a reporter with the independent Belsat TV channel. On Friday night, Dominic Raab condemned the attack on press freedom. The British foreign secretary tweeted: “I condemn the mass detention of over 50 journalists …

U.K. rail station utilizing solar power, timber materials and rainwater harvesting wins planning approval

This illustration depicts how the station would look once built. Arup The planning application for a U.K. rail station that will integrate a number of sustainable design features has been granted approval by authorities, as efforts to “green” public transport infrastructure continue. The building will be located in Solihull, near the city of Birmingham, and serve as an interchange for passengers using the HS2 line, a major high-speed rail network which, once up and running, plans to reduce travel times between London and other major urban centers in the country. Matthew Botelle, HS2’s stations director, said the Solihull building would be “net zero carbon in operation,” adding that it would adopt “the latest eco-friendly design and sustainable technologies.” According to HS2, the facility will utilize solar power, harvest rainwater and harness natural ventilation and daylight. “From the striking roof supported by light-weight glulam timber – inspired by the form of …

Costa Rica is allowing U.S. travelers again — but only if they come from the right states

After the summer surge in Covid-19 cases in the United States, countries have taken one of two positions toward American travelers: welcome them or — more likely — ban them all. A new plan by Costa Rica takes a nuanced approach. On Aug. 19, the Central American country announced it is welcoming the residents of six U.S. states.   Which states were chosen?   Residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont will be able to fly into Costa Rica from Sept. 1. That opens the possibility of travel to Costa Rica to approximately 35 million Americans, or almost 11% of the U.S. population. Multiple reports cited a Costa Rica tourism official as saying the country chose U.S. states that have outbreak conditions that are similar to or better than those in Costa Rica. Costa Rica closed its borders to international travelers on March 18 and reopened them on Aug. …

Pandemic pushes airline SAS to $235.8 million loss in May-July

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) Airbus A320 planes are parked at the Copenhagen Airport in Kaastrup, Denmark, on March 15, 2020. Johan Nilsson | AFP | Getty Images Airline SAS swung to deep loss in its fiscal third quarter, it reported on Tuesday, as cost cuts did not make up for the collapse in air travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic from which the industry is now slowly emerging. The airline, part-owned by the governments of Sweden and Denmark, said losses before tax in the May-July period amounted to 2.07 billion Swedish crowns ($235.8 million), compared with a profit of 1.49 billion a year earlier. Sales tumbled to 2.51 billion crowns from 13.4 billion. “Demand continues to return slowly and in line with the estimated ramp-up plan we presented in the second quarter,” CEO Rickard Gustafson said in a statement.  “During the fourth quarter, we will continue to ramp-up production and we expect to …

Comatose Russian dissident Alexei Navalny stable upon arrival in Germany

German emergency personnel walk past the army ambulance which transported Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny on August 22, 2020 at Berlin’s Charite hospital.   Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who is in a coma after a suspected poisoning, arrived in Berlin on a special flight Saturday for treatment by specialists at the German capital’s main hospital. A representative of the NGO that arranged the flight confirmed that the plane had landed and that Navalny was in stable condition.   “Navalny is in Berlin,” Jaka Bizilj, of the German organization Cinema For Peace, told The Associated Press. “He survived the flight and he’s stable.” He said all other information on the 44-year-old’s health would have to come from his family and the German doctors now looking after him.   After touching down shortly before 9 a.m. at a special area of the capital’s Tegel airport used for government and military flights, Navalny …

Bomber’s brother gets 55 years for Manchester concert attack

The brother of the suicide bomber who set off an explosion at a 2017 Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England has been sentenced to a minimum of 55 years in prison By SYLVIA HUI Associated Press August 20, 2020, 3:57 PM 3 min read LONDON — The brother of the suicide bomber who set off an explosion at a 2017 Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds, was sentenced Thursday to a minimum of 55 years in prison. Hashem Abedi, 23, had denied helping plan the attack at Manchester Arena but was found guilty of murder, attempted murder, and conspiring to cause explosions. His sentencing had been postponed due to travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. His elder brother Salman Abedi set off the bomb in the arena’s foyer at the end of the May 22, 2017 concert, as fans — including thousands of children …

US politics: virtual Democratic convention to start amid coronavirus crisis – live updates

The Guardian’s Emily Holden has more on the Trump administration’s decision to allow oil drilling in in the Arctic national wildlife refuge. The 19-million-acre refuge in north-east Alaska, known as ANWR, is a wellspring for wildlife. The move will open up the 1.6 million-acre coastal plane, where polar bears and foxes reside and to or through which millions of migratory birds fly. The porcupine caribou herd is critically important to the indigenous Gwich’in people, many of whom make their homes on or near its migration route.   “This is our nation’s last great wilderness,” said Adam Kolton, the executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League. “Nowhere else in the five-nation circle polar north do you have such abundant and diverse wildlife.” The lease sales will set off legal battles. Environmental groups and tribes argue that the administration’s assessment of environmental risks was flawed.   The announcement comes as Democrats open …

Island nations have the edge in keeping Covid away – or most do

Nations from New Zealand to Cuba closed borders promptly with strict quarantine rules, but the UK won’t admit its ‘serious mistake’   Schoolchildren in Taiwan eat lunch behind plastic partitions to curb the spread of the coronavirus in April. Photograph: Sam Yeh/Getty Images Island nations have an advantage when it comes to stopping travellers importing disease, be it Covid or other infections. Seas are usually harder to cross than land, and beaches are easier to police. There are no cross-border towns, and fewer ways to sneak over frontiers.   These advantages, combined with strict quarantine policies, have made island nations some of the most successful at containing Covid. But the ones that did best had shut themselves off from the world to varying degrees. And a fresh outbreak of cases in New Zealand last week suggests coronavirus can evade even tight controls. Experts say the lack of special border measures …

A Girl Fleeing The Men Who Raped Her Came To The US Seeking Protection, But ICE Quickly Sent Her Back

  After weeks of traveling through Mexico carrying her infant daughter, the 17-year-old thought she would soon be reunited with her parents and finally leave behind the threat of the men who had raped her in Guatemala. Claudia had just been rescued by Border Patrol agents after the smuggler her parents had hired abandoned her in the Arizona desert. The teenager had survived a situation hundreds of immigrants lost in the desert don’t, but Claudia’s hopes were quickly dashed when she was informed that under a coronavirus pandemic policy, she would be quickly sent back to Guatemala without the chance to request asylum.   Claudia, who is being identified by a pseudonym to protect her identity, was interviewed by UNICEF in Guatemala about her experience and gave permission for the audio to be shared with BuzzFeed News. “I was so close to being with my parents,” Claudia said in the …

Another Trip To Bedminster Means More Taxpayer And Donor Money In Trump’s Pocket

WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump returned to his New Jersey golf course Friday to host a campaign event, meaning yet more donor and tax dollars flowing into his own cash registers. New York City’s police union is set to endorse Trump’s reelection at his Bedminster resort Friday evening, allowing it to charge Trump’s campaign for the rental of the meeting space and catering. Taxpayers, meanwhile, must pay for rooms and food for Secret Service agents and other staff during his stay.   Neither the Trump campaign nor the Trump Organization, his family business that runs his hotels and golf resorts, responded to HuffPost queries about how much the campaign would be charged for Friday’s event. The Washington Post has reported that the Secret Service has been renting a cottage for agents to stay in for $17,000 a month, even when Trump is not there ― an amount higher than homes …

By sea, rail or by air, Brits scramble to get out of France

LONDON — Cars lined up at ports while trains and planes filled out fast as British tourists scurried to get out of France on Friday before a deadline that would require them to quarantine at home for two weeks.Families cut summer vacations short and other travelers made hasty plans to return to the U.K. by whatever means possible before the 4 a.m. Saturday deadline. Eurostar trains between Paris and London and airport lounges that were almost empty earlier in the coronavirus pandemic filled with passengers. Those with more means opted for private jets.   The exodus was prompted by the British government’s decision late Thursday to take France off a list of nations exempt from traveler quarantine requirements because of a sharp rise there in new virus infections. For those who cannot work from home on their return, the mandatory self-quarantine could see them penalized financially.   The U.K. move …

The rarest of events just happened in the Middle East: something win-win-win

The United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates pulled off the rarest of feats on Thursday: a diplomatic win-win-win in the Middle East. President Donald Trump announced a historic breakthrough in which the UAE will normalize relations with Israel in exchange for Israel dropping its plan to annex parts of the West Bank that Palestinians claim for a future state. The Palestinian leadership will inevitably denounce the development, but it would be wiser if they didn’t: This agreement could benefit them, too. The Palestinian leadership will inevitably denounce the development, but it would be wiser if they didn’t: This agreement could benefit them, too.   Until now, Israelis and Palestinians have been locked in a moribund process to trade land for peace after the initial euphoria of the early 1990s that followed the signing of the Oslo agreement between the Palestinians and Israel, and the Wadi Araba peace treaty …

The Saudi Crown Prince Allegedly Kidnapped These Siblings And Tried To Kill Their Dad

  Two weeks after the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi crown prince allegedly sent a death squad to Canada, targeting a former Saudi intelligence official, according to a new lawsuit.   A team of 50 armed men, dressed in plainclothes and driving unmarked cars, arrived early in the morning on March 16 at the home in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where Omar and Sarah Aljabri lived. They were looking for the two siblings, now 22 and 20, respectively. The men “roused [Omar and Sarah] from their beds in the early morning hours and ‘disappeared’ them,” according to a lawsuit. “It’s now almost five months from their disappearance and there’s not a single sign,” their brother Khalid Aljabri told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview Friday from Canada. “You really come down to the basic question at this point: Are they alive or dead?” The siblings’ father, Saad Aljabri, filed a …

Canberra residents remain trapped on Victorian border after NSW ‘reneges’ on transit deal | Canberra

Canberra residents remain trapped on the Victorian border after the New South Wales government “reneged” on an agreement to allow them to pass through southern parts of the state to return home, and despite offers to dispatch Australian Capital Territory police to escort them back. ACT residents have now been on the Victoria-NSW border for four days, still without any clear indication of when, or if, they will be allowed to pass through southern NSW to return home. The residents were initially granted permits by the ACT and NSW governments to transit through the state to get to Canberra on Friday. But police blocked them at the border due to a last-minute change to NSW travel restrictions the night prior – made without any real notice – requiring those travelling to NSW from Victoria to fly through Sydney airport and enter self-funded quarantine there. The ACT government has since made …

101 – 5 Events to Utilize a New York City Limousine Service

While many individuals perceive a New York Limo service as a luxury booked for the wealthy, others are welcoming the concept that a New york city limo can be both cost effective and practical. There are numerous events where a limousine makes more sense than other kinds of transportation. Here are 5: 1. Airport Transport With the increased security steps at airports across the country – and particularly at New york city airports – it’s far too much of an inconvenience to drive yourself to the airport. When you have to park and drag your travel luggage to a shuttle bus and into the airport, it can include another hour to the time you have to allot for pre-boarding. Whether you’re searching for JFK airport transportation, or require a ride to LaGuardia or Newark, a limo service can be just the ticket. You can enter style in a stretch limousine, …

100 – Bonita Springs – Enjoy Tropical And Relaxed Florida Way Of Life

It is a place that stays tropical year long and the fishing and golfing possibilities never ever ends. It is the charming town of Bonita Springs. Bonita Springs is located northwest of Miami, Florida and is in between Fort Myers and Naples on the Gulf of Mexico. History’s popular story of Juan Ponce de León places him near to Bonita in 1513 looking for the eternal youth. Although the tale is a mystic metaphor, one see to this resort-like town can truly bring back the spirit and reenergize the soul. The 33 square miles of Bonita Springs uses an incredible quantity of recreational diversity. Frequently referred to as “The Gateway to the Gulf” the beaches of Bonita Springs are unsurpassed in charm. For the outdoors lovers there are various activities to enjoy. The natural mangroves settings of the Imperial River are not only best for snook and trout fishing but …