British police make 10th arrest in Manchester bombing probe

British police make 10th arrest in Manchester bombing probe
UK authorities have arrested another suspect in the “fast moving investigation” into the terrorist attack on the Manchester Arena, bringing the total number of arrests to ten – with eight men still in custody.

Greater Manchester Police arrested the man on Friday morning in connection with Monday’s bombing which killed 22 people following Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester.

“This morning we have arrested a man in the Moss Side Area,” police said in a statement.

“As it stands ten people in total have been arrested in connection with the investigation, of which a man and a woman have since been released without charge,” the statement reads.

Authorities are keeping an “open mind” as the “fast-moving” investigation continues, the police added.

Police also conducted a search at an address in the ”St. Helens area of Merseyside,” in North West England on Friday morning.

Two men were arrested in Manchester on Thursday morning. One of them was detained following searches of an address in the Withington area of the city, while the other was arrested in a part of Greater Manchester that was not disclosed. Raids across the area continue.

“I want to reassure people that the arrests that we have made are significant,” Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins told reporters Thursday.

“These searches will take several days to complete, as you would expect, therefore there will be some disruption. However, it is important that we continue with these searches,” Hopkins said. “We are now carrying out associated searches at a number of addresses.”

On Monday night, British-born Salman Abedi detonated a “highly sophisticated” nail bomb at Manchester Arena killing 22 people, including young children. Twenty people are still in a critical condition in hospital following Britain’s worst terrorist attack since the 7/7 atrocity 12 years ago.

Philippines crisis ‘transmogrified into invasion by foreign terrorists’

Philippines crisis ‘transmogrified into invasion by foreign terrorists’
The Maute group confronting the Philippine army in Marawi City is no longer considered a local terrorist organization as it has been reinforced by jihadists of Malaysian, Indonesian and “other nationalities,” the country’s authorities have announced.

“Before it was just a local terrorist group. But now they have subscribed to the ideology of ISIS. They want to make Mindanao as part of the caliphate,” Solicitor General Jose Calida told a news conference, according to Reuters.

READ MORE: Russia & Philippines sign defense cooperation agreement, reaffirm unity against terrorism

He added that Indonesians and Malaysians are among the Islamist radicals who are fighting the army. Meanwhile, an army spokesman said six foreigners were killed in Mindanao on Thursday, including militants of Malaysian, Indonesian and “other nationalities.”

“What’s happening in Mindanao is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens” but “has transmogrified into an invasion by foreign terrorists who heeded the clarion call of the ISIS to go to the Philippines if they find difficulty in going to Iraq or Syria,” Calida added, as cited by InterAksyon news.

The terrorist group is aiming to create an Islamic State “province” in Mindanao and will target anyone to achieve their objective, Calida warned.

“People they consider as infidels, whether Christians or Muslims, are also targets of opportunity,” he said. “What it worrisome is that ISIS has radicalized a number of Filipino Muslim youth.”

Duterte deploys commandos, attack helicopters to retake Marawi from ISIS-linked fighters (VIDEO) https://on.rt.com/8cqd 

Photo published for Duterte deploys commandos, attack helicopters to retake Marawi from ISIS-linked fighters (VIDEO) —...

Duterte deploys commandos, attack helicopters to retake Marawi from ISIS-linked fighters (VIDEO) —…

Philippines special forces launched an attack on Islamist militant positions in Marawi City early Thursday morning in a bid to retake the city from the ISIS-affiliated Maute group. The operation…

rt.com

On Thursday, Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) announced that, since Tuesday, at least 31 fighters of the IS-linked Maute group were killed in Marawi City.

“As of this report, 31 terrorists were already neutralized and 6 high-powered firearms were recovered by the troops,” said Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, head of Joint Task Force ZamPeLan.

At least 13 government troops and police officers lost their lives since Tuesday.

“Our troops are doing deliberate operations in areas we believe are still occupied or infested with the terrorists’ presence. I specifically ordered our soldiers to locate and destroy these terrorists as soon as possible,” Bautista added.

On Tuesday night, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire island of Mindanao under martial law for 60 days after battles between government troops and the Maute in Marawi escalated. On Wednesday, Duterte warned that he will not hesitate to declare martial law throughout the entire country if terrorism spills beyond Mindanao.

The Philippines leader also promised to resign if extremists prove him incapable of maintaining peace in his country.

“As president, if I cannot confront them, I will resign,” Duterte said Wednesday. “If I am incompetent and incapable of keeping order in this country, let me step down and give the job to somebody else.”

‘System let me down’: US man who spent 24yrs in jail on wrongful murder conviction speaks to RT

A newly freed man wrongfully convicted of murder at the age of 19 is grateful for friends, family and allies, crediting them for his ability to stave off anger towards the justice system that had locked him up for 24 years.

Sean Thomas was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in 1993. He then spent a chunk of his youth, his entire 20s, 30s and early 40s, fighting for his innocence from behind bars. He had been wrongfully convicted of the 1990 fatal shooting of Puerto Rican businessman Domingo Martinez who was taking a $25,000 check to a store in Philadelphia.

Thomas had an alibi, but the jury was not convinced. A court dismissed one of his appeals in 1999, and from 2004 to 2009, he unsuccessfully sought help in proving his innocence. His nightmare ended on Tuesday after a court reversed Thomas’ conviction on the basis of newly discovered evidence.

“There was a box that was found by the police department that contained documents that showed that there was an alternate theory of the murder that was never presented, never handed over to the defense,” James Figorski, Thomas’ attorney, told RT.

After a near quarter-century incarcerated for a crime he did not commit, Thomas feels “wonderful,” he told RT.

“I can feel the rain,” he said. “I get to do what I want to do, and I can enjoy life.”

When asked if he harbored any ill feelings toward the criminal justice system that robbed him of much of his life, Thomas surprisingly answered, “I don’t feel angry.”

“I feel more disappointed that the system let me down,” adding, “I support myself with a nice group of people that believed in me, and I believe in them.”

Figorski was always optimistic about Thomas’ eventual freedom, but he told RT that he expected it to come “a few years down the road.” Figorski’s surprise at getting justice within 24 years for a man unlawfully imprisoned just means for him that there is more work to be done.

“I think that if Sean had had money and power, this wouldn’t have happened to him. I think it was done to Sean, because he basically could not defend himself against the state,” Figorski said, describing US justice as a “two-tiered justice system.”

There is no provision in Pennsylvania that requires Thomas be reimbursed for wasting away in a cell. He will have to sue for a chance at monetary compensation for what happened to him.

Figorski’s organization, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, has heard from “hundreds of people” in the state’s jails and prisons who claim they too are innocent. The organization has exonerated 10 people since 2009.

Figorski told RT that legislation is needed, in order to make it possible to “challenge convictions in a meaningful way.”

LA will pay over $24m to wrongfully convicted men who spent decades in jailhttp://on.rt.com/728y 

Jared Kushner subject of FBI Russia investigation: reports

Donald Trump’s son-in-law is reportedly being investigated for meetings with the Russian ambassador and a sanctioned bank. He failed to disclose the meetings when applying for White House security clearance.

Washington Jared Kushner (Getty Images/AFP/N. Kamm)

US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, US news outlets reported Thursday.

Meetings between Kushner and Russian officials in December have come under scrutiny as part of an investigation into potential Russian meddling in the US election, newspaper “The Washington Post”and broadcaster NBC reported.

Kushner, a key White House adviser who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, reportedly met late last year with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Russian banker Sergey Gorkov.

“The Washington Post” cited anonymous “people familiar with the investigation,” who said the FBI investigation did not mean Kushner was suspected of a crime.

Gorkov, is chairman of VneshEconomBank, a state bank under US sanctions since July 2014.

Kushner intially failed to declare the meetings in forms required to obtain security clearance to serve in the White House. His lawyer later said it was a mistake, telling the FBI that he would amend the forms.

“Mr Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings,” Jamie Gorelick, one of his attorneys, said in a statement.

“He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry.”

Kushner is the only current White House official known to be considered a key figure in the FBI probe, which is targeting other members of Trump’s campaign team.

Joe Lieberman out of leadership run

Joe Lieberman, a former US Senator and vice presidential candidate, withdrew from consideration as the next director of the FBI on Thursday due to a potential conflict of interest.

Lieberman currently works at a New York City law firm led by Marc Kasowitz, whom Trump hired to represent him against collusion investigations by the Justice Department and Congress, which are being conducted concurrently with that of the FBI. The law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, has represented Trump on many occasions over previous years.

Former US Sen. Joseph Lieberman departs the White House after meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump (Getty Images/W. McNamee)Joe Lieberman, a favorite to head the FBI, has removed himself from the running

“With your selection of Marc Kasowitz to represent you in the various investigations that have begun, I do believe it would be best to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest,” Lieberman wrote in a letter to Trump on Wednesday, which was made public on Thursday.

Lieberman was considered a top candidate to become FBI director. Trump said last Thursday that he was “very close” to selecting a new director. The White House did not release an immediate comment on Lieberman’s withdrawal.

Trump fired previous FBI director James Comey on May 9. In his role, Comey led the FBI’s campaign collusion probe. Trump and Russia have both denied the accusations.

Lieberman served as a Senator from Connecticut from 1989 until he retired in 2013. He was the Democratic vice presidential candidate during the 2000 US presidential election, but later left the Democratic party to serve as an independent.

aw, kbd/kl (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

Watch video00:57

Trump: ‘no collusion’ with Russia

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Obama in Berlin for landmark church assembly

Former US President Barack Obama addressed the church congress saying “we can not hide behind a wall.” This year, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is the featured topic, with many big names making an appearance.

Watch video02:55

Merkel, Obama debate faith and politics

Former US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke in front of tens of thousands of people before the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Thursday to discuss God, faith and the state of the world.

Speaking on a panel on the first day of Germany’s Protestant Church Assembly, Obama praised Merkel’s “outstanding work” and described her as one of his “favorite partners” during his eight years in office. He lauded Merkel’s handling of the refugee crisis, while at the same time reflected that he “didn’t always have the tools” to end the war in Syria.

“Despite our best efforts, there is a vicious war,” Obama said.

The former US president warned of succumbing to nationalism and a closed world – an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump.

Reports: Obama warned Trump about Flynn’s Russian ties

Obama makes first public speech since leaving office

“In this new world we live in, we can’t isolate ourselves, we can’t hide behind a wall,” he said before the gate that once separated East and West Berlin.

Obama has made few appearances since leaving office. He said he spent time with his family, working on his foundation for youth and catching up on lost sleep.

Obama is the most famous guest among the approximately 140,000 expected participants at the four-day “Kirchentag.”

It is a star-studded occasion: 2,500 events, 30,000 contributors and guests from all over the world celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the Protestant culture of debate.

More than 100,000 worshippers attended three open-air services on Wednesday evening in central Berlin to mark the start of the Protestant gathering.

Those attending include Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba, Grand Imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque Sheik Ahmed el-Tayyib, philanthropist Melinda Gates, German singer and songwriter Max Giesinger, German climate change researcher Ottmar Edenhofer, UN envoy Staffan de Mistura and Israeli author Amos Oz.

A new movement

The German Protestant Church Assembly, or “Kirchentag,” which has been held every two years since 1949, is an international and yet typically German event at the same time. It was founded by the East Prussian politician Reinold von Thadden, a member of the Confessing Church, which opposed the Nazi regime. Von Thadden was active in the resistance during the Nazi era and later acted as president of Kirchentag until 1964.

“Apart from the Confessing Church branch, the Protestant Church did not play a laudable role in National Socialism,” says Protestant Church Assembly spokesperson Sirkka Jendis. “That is why dedicated lay people said, ‘We need to create a forum to help ensure that something like that cannot happen again.'”

From the “Protestant Week” in Hanover in 1949 emerged a Protestant lay movement that deliberately set itself apart from the official church and held regular congresses. “The broad scope and public relevance is unique,” says Jendis. In view of the numerous panels on subjects including the flight of refugees, migration, war, tolerance and integration, she says it is clear to her that, “this Church Assembly may become political.”

Reinold von Thadden-Trieglaff (picture-alliance/dpa)Von Thadden launched ‘Kirchentag’ in post-war Germany

Controversial guests

Current Protestant government leaders in Germany will participate in this year’s congress: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble will discuss what is holding Europe together, the Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) chancellor candidate Martin Schulz will talk about credibility and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will take part in the holiday church service in Wittenberg.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere’s whirlwind participation will see him make seven Kirchentag appearances, including one together with Al-Azhar’s Sheik Ahmed el-Tayyib. “I think it is great that he is coming to join the discussion,” de Maiziere told the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit. “Controversial guests like him are a gain for the Church Assembly.”

But Protestant debate culture also has its limits. There was great opposition to the invitation of 43-year-old Anette Schultner, the national spokesperson of “Christians in the AfD,” a Christian organization of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a right-wing populist political party. She wants to explain to visitors why their faith and their membership in the AfD are compatible with each other.

Watch video02:21

DW exclusive with Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Head of the Protestant Church in Germany

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Trump calls on NATO members to contribute ‘their fair share’

NATO members are hoping to appease US President Donald Trump with firmer plans to increase national defense spending. Trump has once again urged NATO members to pay more, saying 2 percent of GDP was the minimum.

Watch video00:39

Trump: NATO members lagging on defense spending is ‘not fair’

US President Donald Trump on Thursday repeated calls for members of the NATO military alliance to pay more, saying that payments must make up for “the years lost.”

Speaking in Brussels at his first NATO summit, Trump said 23 of the 28 NATO allies owed “massive amounts of money” and that this was “not fair to the people and tax payers of the United States.”

He also urged his NATO counterparts to fight terrorism, and to make the management of immigration a priority.

“You have thousands and thousands of people pouring into our various countries and spreading throughout, and in many cases we have no idea who they are,” he said.

Trump repeatedly cited uncontrolled immigration as a major driver of crime and terrrorism during his presidential campaign, and, as president, has tried to introduce a travel ban on people wanting to enter the US from six majority-Muslim countries.

NATO members agree to increased spending plans

NATO members later reassured Trump they were committed to increasing spending, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Leaders agreed to develop annual national plans to meet the 2 percent target, he said. The first set of reports on these plans will be completed in December.

Stoltenberg said the plans would also detail the types of military equipment members wanted to purchase and how they intended to contribute to NATO operations. NATO defense ministers would review the plans in February.

The agreement confirms a NATO decision from 2011 to increasing spending toward 2 percent of GDP by 2024.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “confirm means: not more and not less.”

‘Deeply troubling’ leaks

Belgien Trump und Stoltenberg (Reuters/C. Hartmann)NATO leaders are hoping to appease Trump with formal action against IS and with firmer plans to increase spending

His comments came after he began the meeting by leading a moment’s silence for victims of the Manchester bombing, which he described as “a barbaric and vicious attack on our civilization.”

Ahead of the NATO meeting, Trump issued a written statement in which he called leaks of sensitive British information about the attack to the US press “deeply troubling,” and said he was asking the Justice Department and other agencies to “launch a complete review of this matter.”

The statement comes amid anger from Britain about the intelligence leaks, and a decision by Manchester police to withhold information from the United States about the investigation into this week’s bombing, in which 22 people died.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to confront Trump over concerns that US officials might be behind the leaks to media outlets.

UK | Trauerbekundungen nach dem Anschlag in Manchester (picture-alliance/empics/D. Lawson)The bomb attack in Manchester was the worst in Britain since the July 7, 2005 attacks

9/11 memorial

Trump also unveiled a memorial to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington at the new NATO headquarters,

“The NATO of the future must include a great focus on terrorism and immigration as well as threats from Russia and NATO’s eastern and southern borders,” he said at the unveiling.

In his speech at the ceremony, the US president made no explicit reference to Article 5 of the NATO treaty, the mutual defense pact that commits allies to defend any of the 28 members that come under attack. Article 5 has been activated only once – after the 9/11 attacks.

Trump has so far refused to personally commit to Article 5.

Watch video02:48

Bruce Stokes, of the Pew Research Center, on attitudes to NATO in Europe and North America

‘Implied commitment’

Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, said, however, that Trump’s presence at the event underscored the White House’s “commitments and treaty obligations.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also unveiled a monument comprising parts of the Berlin Wall, intended to symbolize efforts to end the division of Europe.

“Germany will not forget the contribution NATO made in order to reunify our country. This is why we will indeed make our contribution to security and solidarity in the common alliance,” she said.
Read: Trump says NATO is ‘no longer obsolete’

Belgien Brüssel NATO-Gipfel Gruppenfoto (Picture alliance/dpa/B. Doppagne/BELGA)German Chancellor Angela Merkel (in red) also unveiled a memorial to the Cold War

 

Differences remain with EU

Earlier in the day, Trump met with EU officials in Brussels in a bid to smooth over relations after he championed Brexit and criticized the bloc on the campaign trail.

Belgien Tusk empfängt Trump in Brüssel (Reuters/F. Lenoir)Trump met with EU leaders ahead of a NATO summit

Trump met with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, with the two sides agreeing on a number of issues and reaffirming counter-terrorism cooperation.

But after the meeting, Tusk said there were also differences over several key issues.

“We agreed on many areas, first and foremost on counter-terrorism. Some issues remain open, like climate and trade. And I am not 100 percent sure that we can say today – we means the president and myself – that we have a common position, common opinions about Russia,” said Tusk.

Trump has softened his criticism of NATO and the European Union since coming to office, and EU officials suggested that he expressed concern on Thursday that Brexit could cost US jobs.

European leaders have also been urging Trump to keep US commitments to the Paris climate deal to reduce greenhouse gases.

Read more: Ex-US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief pleads for Paris climate deal

Watch video02:45

Brussels: Trump opponents stage noisy protest

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Trump travel ban blocked by Va.-based federal appeals court

Barnini Chakraborty

A Virginia-based federal appeals court blocked the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban, becoming the second circuit court to uphold lower court rulings against the policy.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond issued the ruling Thursday, following arguments May 8.

The ruling means the Trump administration still cannot enforce its travel ban which affects six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Sudan.

“We remain unconvinced [the ban] has more to do with national security than it does with effectuating the President’s promised Muslim ban,” the court said.

The ruling was issued by the full, or en banc, court, in a 10-3 ruling with two abstentions.

“Congress granted the president broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation,” the chief judge of the circuit, Roger L. Gregory wrote.

Judge Paul Niemeyer sharply dissented from the decision, saying it will make the U.S. more dangerous.

“Regrettably, at the end of the day, the real losers in this case are the millions of individual Americans whose security is threatened on a daily basis by those who seek to do us harm,” Judge Dennis Shedd wrote in a separate dissent.

Trump issued his first executive order creating a travel ban on Jan. 27. That order, which included Iraq, sparked protests at airports around the country and brief detentions of hundreds of travelers. It was met with immediate resistance from the courts, with several federal district judges issuing orders blocking aspects of the order.

On March 6, Trump issued a revised travel ban striking Iraq and excluding existing visa and green card holders.

Another federal appeals court is considering a similar appeal of a Hawaii-based judge’s ruling blocking the visa ban. The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in that case May 15.

Both cases are likely headed to the U.S. Supreme court, according to legal experts.

The first travel ban in January triggered chaos and protests across the country as travelers were stopped from boarding international flights and detained at airports for hours. Trump tweaked the order after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the ban.

The new version made it clear the 90-day ban covering those six countries doesn’t apply to those who already have valid visas. It got rid of language that would give priority to religious minorities and removed Iraq from the list of banned countries.

Critics said the changes don’t erase the legal problems with the ban.

The Maryland case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center on behalf of organizations as well as people who live in the U.S. and fear the executive order will prevent them from being reunited with family members from the banned countries.

“President Trump’s Muslim ban violates the Constitution, as this decision strongly reaffirms,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case. “The Constitution’s prohibition on actions disfavoring or condemning any religion is a fundamental protection for all of us, and we can all be glad that the court today rejected the government’s request to set that principle aside.”

Fox News’ Bill Mears and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

 

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