Posts Tagged ‘London’

Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law arrested in connection with corruption cases

October 9, 2017


Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. File photo   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The National Accountability Bureau team took former army captain Muhammad Safdar into custody minutes after his arrival from London at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport.

Pakistan’s anti-corruption authorities on Monday arrested the son-in-law of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif from an airport here in connection with corruption cases pending against him.

A team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) took former army captain Muhammad Safdar into custody minutes after his arrival from London at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport along with his wife Maryam Nawaz.

Safdar has been nominated by NAB in one of three corruption cases filed on September 8 against Pakistan’s former premier Sharif, his daughter Maraym, sons Husain and Hasan and his son-in-law Safdar.

The couple had arrived to appear before an anti-graft tribunal in connection with the NAB reference pertaining to London properties owned by the Sharif family.

Safdar was later presented before a court in Islamabad, NAB officials said. Maryam, who was not detained, separately appeared in the same court for the first time.

However, Sharif and his two sons were absent as they are in London where 67-year-old Sharif’s wife is battling throat cancer.

Sharif attended the previous two hearings but went to London last week to see his ailing wife.

The court held brief hearing and took a break before announcing the hearing will resume shortly. During the brief hearing, Maryam was given copies of the case documents.

Sharif’s lawyer also presented an application to exempt him from appearance today as he was with his wife in London.

The trial judge had earlier issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of Safdar and Sharif’s two sons for failing to appear in court in the last hearing held on October 2.

The court, however, repeated the bailable warrants for Sharif’s daughter.

“We are going back and will appear before the court and go through the wheels of justice. We respect the rule of law and the Constitution,” local media quoted Maryam as saying.

Asked whether her brothers would return to Pakistan to face the NAB references against them, she said, “Hassan and Hussain would themselves tell you about their decision“.

Safdar told Geo News that the couple had decided to return to Pakistan on the advice of their lawyers.

Sharif had to step down as prime minister and president of the ruling PML-N party after he was disqualified by the Supreme Court on July 28 in the Panama Papers scandal.

Sharif was re-elected as the president of the ruling PML-N on October 3 and immediately demanded that those who disqualified him should respect the people’s mandate and democracy.


London: Police incident after ‘car mounts pavement’, injuring a number of pedestrians

October 7, 2017

By Jon Sharman
The Independent

A major police incident is underway and several people have been injured after a car reportedly mounted the pavement outside London’s Natural History Museum.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “It is believed that a number of pedestrians have been injured.

“Officers are on scene, and the London Ambulance Service have been called. A man has been detained at the scene. Enquiries to establish the circumstances and motive are underway.”

The Met said it was called at 2.21pm. The force originally said the man had been formally arrested, but later revised its statement.

Lesley Carter drove past the scene moments after the initial incident.

He told The Independent: “Saw the man pinned down by about six people. One guy was trying to pin him down with his four- or five-year-old daughter in his arms.

Man held outside Natural History Museum after car ploughs into musuem

“It looked like the car had smashed in to the wall between two other cars and the guy got out to run before being pinned down. Loads of people running away and within minutes the police had turned up.”

A witness told Sky News: “When I heard the crash I saw people running. It was a bit panicky.”

Police asked anyone with information to call 101.

The Natural History Museum tweeted: “There’s been a serious incident outside the Museum. We are working w/ @metpoliceuk and will provide an update when we have more information.”

The A4 Cromwell Road is closed in both directions between Thurloe Place and Queen’s Gate.

More follows…


Natural History Museum crash: People hit by car

The BBC’s Chloe Hayward said it looked like a car had hit a boulder outside the museum

BBC News

Several pedestrians have been injured after a car hit people near the Natural History Museum in London, police say.

The Metropolitan Police said one person had been detained following the incident in Exhibition Road in South Kensington.

A BBC reporter at the scene said she had been told by police the injuries were minor.

Police said inquiries are under way to establish the circumstances and any motive.

A Downing Street spokesman said the prime minister is “being kept up to date on events”.

Car which hit pedestrians went on to plough into two other vehicles 

Car which hit pedestrians went on to plough into two other vehicles  CREDIT: DANNY SMITH

BBC reporter Chloe Hayward was leaving the Natural History Museum as the incident happened.

“I could see a car diagonally across the road, looking like it was going into one of the boulders on the side of the road, and I could see a crowd of people around what was clearly one or two people on the pavement,” she said.

She added there were now armed police at the scene.

“We have had lots of police coming onto the scene, helicopters above, and I can see an ambulance which is definitely having someone put in, but it isn’t clear how bad that injury is.”

An eyewitness who was walking to the Science Museum on the same street, said: “When waiting for the light, we heard what I thought was gunshots and saw a car drive over the pavement. We just ran. My friend dived on the floor and cut her hands.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “When it calmed down we walked back to where we’d been and saw a gentleman on the floor being restrained by police.”

Connor Honeyman, from Essex, who was in the queue for the museum, said: “We heard a horrible thudding noise and a car engine. Everyone started running and screaming inside.

“We ran in, everyone was following us, and then all the security guards ran out and they closed the main entrance. There was much confusion before the police got there.”

See also The Telegraph:

Asia markets gain after Wall Street notches up records

October 3, 2017


© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP | People take cover at a country music festival in Las Vegas after a mass shooting left at least 59 dead and hundreds injured

HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets gained Tuesday following fresh records on Wall Street, with investors cheered by the release of strong economic data.All three US indices ended at records, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 0.7 percent Monday.

Analysts said the markets were unaffected by a mass shooting at a Las Vegas hotel that left at least 59 dead and hundreds injured.

“The global markets trudge on searching for opportunities realising these tragedies are becoming all too commonplace,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA.

“And as cynical as that may seem, that is the reality we’ve come to accept,” he added.

US manufacturing activity rose to its highest level in September in 13 years, making investors bullish about the third-quarter US earnings season, which begins in around 10 days.

Companies in the S&P 500 are projected to report a five percent year-over-year gain in operating earnings-per-share (EPS), according to CFRA Research.

US President Donald Trump’s market-friendly tax reform proposals, including a plan to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, have also buoyed investors.

Hong Kong rose 1.5 percent after a long weekend and Tokyo gained 0.7 percent while Singapore edged down 0.2 percent.

Japanese banks and automakers were higher despite an announcement from Nissan late Monday it was recalling some 1.2 million cars in Japan that had failed to meet domestic rules on vehicle inspections.

The gains came after the Bank of Japan’s Tankan survey showed business confidence had hit its highest level in a decade.

– ‘Risk aversion waning’ –

“Global growth folks, global growth. That’s the economic story of the night as the raft of manufacturing PMI’s released in the past 24 hours tell the story of a continuation of this trend toward synchronisation and strength,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader.

“Gold continues to fall as the global economy grows… (and) as risk aversion wanes,” he added.

Equity markets in London, Paris and Frankfurt also rose but Spain’s IBEX index fell 1.2 percent and the euro slid against the dollar following a police crackdown on the banned Catalonia independence referendum.

Catalonia’s leader declared victory in the referendum to secede from Spain, prompting a warning from Madrid that it would do “everything within the law” to prevent the region from declaring independence.

The referendum was marred by shocking scenes of police violence with security forces moving in on polling stations across the region to stop people from voting, in some cases using batons and firing rubber bullets to disperse crowds.

– Key figures around 0300 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.7 percent at 20,558.23 (break)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.5 percent at 27,974.68

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1712 from $1.1733

Dollar/yen: UP at 113.07 yen from 112.71 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3250 from $1.3277

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 16 cents at $50.42 per barrel

Oil – Brent North Sea: DOWN 23 cents at $55.89 per barrel

New York – DOW: UP 0.7 percent at 22,557.60 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,322.82 points (close)

British economy grows 0.3% in second quarter — Mired in the “slow growth lane”

September 29, 2017


© AFP | The British economy is getting used to life in the slow growth lane
LONDON (AFP) – Britain’s economy expanded 0.3 percent in the second quarter, unrevised official data showed Friday, as analysts said it was mired in the “slow growth lane” after last year’s Brexit vote.

Gross domestic product growth for the first quarter, or April-June period, was however upgraded to 0.3 percent from 0.2 percent previously, the Office for National Statistics added in a statement.

The second-quarter reading was in line with market expectations for no change in the growth rate.

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor at the EY ITEM Club research group, noted that the “UK remained stuck in slow growth lane in second quarter”.

He also forecast that the economy would see uninspiring growth for the foreseeable future, as consumer spending is pegged back by high inflation.

“We suspect that the economy will continue to see lacklustre growth over the fourth quarter of 2017 and the early months of 2018.

“The squeeze on consumers will remain appreciable in the near-term and could very well deepen in the fourth quarter as consumer price inflation likely to briefly rise above 3.0 percent and earnings growth remains muted.”

British inflation has risen sharply in recent months as a Brexit-hit pound raises import costs.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate jumped to 2.9 percent in August compared to 2.6 percent in July, recent data showed.

The Bank of England’s chief task is to use monetary policy as a tool to keep the annual inflation rate close to a 2.0-percent target level.

Image result for Bank of England, carney, photos

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England

Copenhagen Joins Battle to Lure Financial Firms From London After Brexit

September 29, 2017

LONDON — Denmark’s business minister was meeting financial technology firms in London on Friday as part of a two-day drive to lure them from Britain after Brexit.

Copenhagen faces fierce competition from Frankfurt, Paris, Luxembourg and Dublin in the battle to attract firms needing an EU base after Britain leaves the bloc in 18 months’ time.

“That’s a tough game,” Danish business minister Brian Mikkelsen said in a telephone call from Level39, the fintech hub in London’s Canary Wharf financial district.

Image result for London's Canary Wharf, photos

London’s Canary Wharf financial district

“We are going to make it cheaper and easier to be in Denmark.”

Denmark, which has already begun a review of regulation and taxes to remove burdens on financial companies and staff, is meeting 25 firms in London, including Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, State Street and BlackRock.

“We would like to be the northern European hub for the financial sector,” Mikkelsen said.

He said Denmark will launch a “sandbox” to allow fintech firms to experiment with new apps on actual customers without having to go through burdensome licence applications and regulatory approvals first.

Sandboxes were spearheaded by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority and are being quickly copied across the world by governments keen to attract fintech firms along with the jobs and growth prospects they bring.

Mikkelsen said no financial firm from Britain had applied for a licence in Denmark, which is mainly focussing on fintech and asset managers, rather than seeking big lenders, pitting it against smaller rivals such as Dublin and Luxembourg, rather than Paris or Frankfurt.

“Our aim while we are here is the asset managers and fintech start ups. We have a very well educated and flexible labour force and in Denmark we are very digitised.”

(Reporting by Huw Jones)

Airport Check In Computer Systems Crash — 125 airlines around world impacted

September 28, 2017

The Telegraph

By Danny Boyle and 

  • Passengers struggle to check-in due to systems failure
  • ‘Glitch’ with software used by 125 airlines around world
  • Delays at airports including Heathrow and Gatwick
  • Problems also appear to affect some online check-ins
  • Software firm confirms ‘network issue causing disruption’
  • Services ‘gradually being restored’, it says in midday update

Air passengers are suffering major disruption at airports around the world after computer check-in systems crashed.

Problems have been reported at airports including London’s Heathrow and Gatwick, Charles de Gaulle in Paris,  Zurich, Melbourne, Johannesburg, Changi in Singapore and Washington DC’s Reagan Airport.

Travellers endured long waits at check-in desks after the outage from about 10.30am on Thursday.

 Passengers queue amid check-in delays

 Passengers queue amid check-in delays at Melbourne airport CREDIT: OSAMANASIR/TWITTER

The problem has been affecting Amadeus Altea software used by 125 airlines and appeared to also have hit some online check-ins.

Gatwick described the situation as a “momentary IT glitch” and said it was not causing flight delays, adding that it believed the system was “back up and running” after about 15 minutes.

Heathrow said it was causing “intermittent” problems, but that passengers were still able to check-in, “although the process may take slightly longer than usual”.

Baltimore/Washington International airport delays

Queues at Baltimore/Washington International airport CREDIT: POORROBIN/TWITTER

Amadeus, the company that provides the software, confirmed a “network issue that is causing disruption”.

In a statement at shortly after midday, it said: “Technical teams are working on the problem, services are gradually being restored.”

However, it is understood that it could take longer for the systems to return to full service at all airports.


Global Airport Check-In Computer Systems Fail — Reports

September 28, 2017

Panicked passengers across the globe took to Twitter to say that computer systems have been hit at numerous airlines

AN AIRPORT check-in system used throughout the world went down earlier today – affecting major airports like Gatwick, Heathrow, Washington DC and Paris Charles De Gaulle.

Panicked passengers across the globe took to Twitter to say that computer systems were hit at numerous airlines.

 Airlines at Gatwick were affected by the software failure. File picture

Airlines at Gatwick were affected by the software failure. File picture

A spokesperson for Lufthansa said the Altea Amadeus booking system – a product used by many airlines – was affected.

And Gatwick Airport said a few airlines that operate there were affected but the outage lasted only a few minutes.

One passenger wrote: “If your entire system is down at REAGAN airport in DC, does that mean the planes aren’t leaving on time?”

Althea Campbell added that all systems are down at OR Tambo International in Gauteng, South Africa.

And @heykvb wrote: “Looks like @lufthansa’s computer system is down. Hope I can still get home today.”

British Airways computer systems down ‘across the entire world’ causing queue chaos at UK airports

It has also been reported that the entire check-in system at Singapore’s Changi Airport, one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia, was affected by the glitch.

Airlines believed to be affected include Qatar, Lufthansa, Air France and Qatar, Lufthansa, Air France

There were reportedly long waits at check-in desks and the cause of the problem is currently unclear.

IT expert Tyrone Kennedy posted: “Systems down in Gatwick just hope it’s not another #wannacry can’t check in at the mo.”

In May than 200,000 victims across 150 countries were infected by malicious software known as WannaCry.

Last month it was reported that British Airways’ IT systems crashed for the seventh time in just over a year.

Furious passengers faced queues of up to two-and-a-half hours to check-in for flights.

See also:

Worldwide airport chaos after computer check-in systems crash – latest news

Suspected acid attack in London leaves six injured

September 24, 2017


© AFP/File | A police officer on duty at Stratford station in east London on June 6, 2017

LONDON (AFP) – A suspected acid attack in east London injured six people, police said Sunday adding that they had arrested a 15-year-old male.Police were called late Saturday to the Stratford Centre near London’s Olympic Stadium after a noxious substance was sprayed during an argument between two groups of males.

They said the incident was not terror related.

There were 431 acid attacks in London last year, 398 of which were carried out in Stratford’s borough of Newham.

Police said “the injuries sustained were not “life-threatening or life-changing”.

“We are working with the Home Office to explore possible restrictions around the sale of corrosive substances in conjunction with retailers and manufacturers.”

Witnesses told the Press Association that an argument had broken out shortly beforehand.

Burger King employee Hossen, 28, said a local homeless man came into the fast food outlet “to wash acid off his face”.


Six injured in east London ‘acid attack’

September 24, 2017

BBC News

Footage of police and other emergency services around Stratford has been shared on social media

Six people have been injured in Stratford, east London, in a reported acid attack.

Police were called to Stratford Centre, opposite Westfield, just before 20:00 BST, following an “altercation” between two groups of males where a noxious substance was thrown.

Ambulance crews treated six males at the scene for their injuries, and three of them were taken to hospital.

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm.

Those reported injured were believed to be in a number of different locations, sparking initial fears that people had been sprayed at random.

However the Met Police said those injured were connected to the initial attack.

Police cordon off part of the area

Ch Supt Ade Adelekan said: “I would like to be very clear concerning this incident.

“What initially may have been perceived as a number of random attacks has, on closer inspection, been found to be one incident involving two groups of males.”

No-one suffered life-threatening or life-changing injuries.

Witnesses at the scene said an argument had broken out among a group of people.

A man who gave his name as Hossen, an assistant manager at Burger King, said a victim had run into the fast food chain to “wash acid off his face”.

Emergency services outside Stratford Centre
One man said a victim ran into a Burger King to “wash acid off his face” — PA photo

The 28-year-old added: “There were cuts around his eyes and he was trying to chuck water into them.”

Tahseen Taj lives in one of the buildings just opposite the shopping centre and was disturbed by the noise.

“I could hear a lot of ambulances and police from around 20:45, but also there’s a West Ham match today; I thought it must be a football brawl,” she said.

“But after some time it just increased and increased, and there were a lot of fire brigades and ambulances and police, and it was quite chaotic to be honest.

“I was quite worried.”

Police outside Stratford station
A cordon remains in place around the Stratford Centre area. PA photo
Police say 4 college students were attacked on Sunday (September 17, 2017) with acid by a woman at a train station in southern France, injuring at least 2 of them. Authorities say the woman had “a psychiatric history.”

City of London will not renew Uber’s operating licence

September 22, 2017

AFP and Reuters


© Ben Fathers, AFP | A man holds a smartphone showing the Uber app in London on September 22.


Latest update : 2017-09-22

London stripped Uber on Friday of its licence to operate from the end of September in a huge blow to the taxi app that will affect more than 40,000 drivers in one of the world’s biggest cities.

Regulator Transport for London (TfL) said Uber’s conduct posed risks to public safety and it would not renew its licence when it expires on Sept. 30. Uber has 21 days to appeal and can continue to operate until the appeal process has finished.

“Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications,” TfL said.

Uber, which accounts for a third of private hire vehicles on London’s streets, said it would contest the decision.

“Transport for London and the Mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice,” said Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager in London.

“We intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.”

Uber has been attacked by London’s black cab drivers who say it has undercut safety rules and threatened their livelihoods.

The U.S. firm has also faced criticism from unions and lawmakers and been embroiled in legal battles over workers’ rights.

>> Read more: UK tribunal rules Uber drivers deserve workers’ rights

Uber has endured a tumultuous few months after a string of scandals involving allegations of sexism and bullying at the Silicon Valley start-up that forced out former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick.

The app has been forced to quit several countries including Denmark and Hungary and faced regulatory battles in multiple U.S. states and countries around the world.

One of Uber’s British competitors in London, Addison Lee, is also awaiting a decision from TfL about a longer-term licence. The company declined to comment on Friday.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he backed the decision to reject Uber’s application for a new licence.

“All companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers,” he said.

“It would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.”