PHOTO MOMENT: Kindness should not be the exception

“Kindness should become the natural way of life, not the exception.”

Kindness is one of the most beautiful aspects of humanity. Doing good things for each other, helping others and being there as a shoulder to cry or rest on. However there are a lot of dark things happening in this world, and at times, it well seems kindness is in short supply.

Let’s move from hatred, discrimination, warmongering and violence and learn to treat each other more with kindness and understanding. Let’s make it our natural way of life, not just something to be unwrapped only for special occasions.

Check out my new blog GIFVILLE here.

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc.
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HEATHROW AIRPORT EXPANSION: Activists block airport

VIJAY SHAH via The Telegraph

Heathrow Airport, one of the main airports for the London region, is experiencing massive delays and ‘travel chaos’ after activists opposed to the airport’s expansion blockaded a tunnel leading to the facility, Britain’s Telegraph reports today.

Activists belonging to campaign group Plane Stupid, who are opposed to an extra runway being built at the airport which lies near west London, created a traffic block in a tunnel leading to Terminals 1, 2 and 3, causing massive tailbacks for holidaymakers and other travellers in the area. Five people have already been arrested for the disruption by the protest, which was held as the UK’s Parliament debates airport expansion. Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports are pushing cases forward to ministers to add extra runways, in Heathrow’s case, it’s third, as both airports handle ever increasing numbers of passengers. 

Campaign groups, including Plane Stupid, are opposed to these expansions as they say the increased number of flights and airport activity will cause higher amounts of air pollution and noise to residents in the immediate area of Heathrow, as well as helping contribute to global climate change.

Pictures published by the Telegraph show two men in high-visibility clothing resting around a white van parked across the lane in the tunnel. The van is covered in two homemade banners reading “NO NEW RUNWAYS and “NO IFS NO BUTS, NO 3RD RUNWAY” in large letters. The second slogan is said to have been an election promise made by UK prime minister David Cameron before he was elected . A Twitter-style hashtag which appears to read “#PLANE STUPID” can also be partly observed.

Heathrow’s official Twitter account @HeathrowAirport warned travellers of delays this morning at 8.51, stating “Protest activity in the inbound tunnel is currently affecting traffic around the central terminal area and terminals 2 & 3 at Heathrow.”. The central terminal referred to is also known as Terminal 1.

Plane Stupid put out a press release on their website to declare the blockade. Spokesperson Cameron Kaye said: “Airport expansion would wreck the legally binding Climate Change Act, risking wiping out 55 per cent of species this century and displacing 75 million more people from their homes by 2035.

“If aviation growth isn’t reduced, by 2037 aviation alone could emit all of the carbon it’s safe for the UK to emit.”

Kaye also added: “The government needs to choose: build new runways or stop climate chaos: it’s that simple.”
“There is already airport capacity for families taking their yearly holiday. New runways only benefit the 15 per cent of flyers who take 70 per cent of our flights, cooking our planet.”

“These are rich frequent leisure flyers. The most reliable predictors of frequent flyer status are a household income over £115,000 and owning a second home abroad, but it’s the poorest people who suffer most from climate change.”

Plane Stupid also took to Twitter to announce the tunnel blockage, tweeting on their official account @planestupid: “At 7:40am today three Plane stupid activist have blockaded the entrance tunnel to Heathrow terminals 123. #planestupid #no3rdrunway #climate”

If Heathrow’s petition to the Government is successful, it will build the new runway just north of its two existing ones, in an area near the suburban town of Harmondsworth.

Ministers are currently debating the findings of the Airports Commission, who have published a final report into the case for Heathrow expansion. The debate began at 9.30am local time.

In its release, Plane Stupid quoted “local resident Neil Keveren”, from nearby Harmondsworth, saying: “No one wants to do this. They feel they have to. People feel they have no choice.

“After we campaigned for years, David Cameron was elected promising ‘no ifs, no buts: no third runway’.

“In 2010 the High Court ruled third runway plans ‘untenable in law and common sense’ because they breached the Climate Change Act.

“Now Cameron might just build it anyway. We have tried every other option. We have been forced to be disobedient just to be heard. To save our homes and our planet.”

London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, has also previously expressed his displeasure at enlarging Heathrow, preferring instead to build an entirely new airport on an artificial island in the Thames Estuary east of London.

However, Rob Gray, of the Back Heathrow campaign, which support the airport’s expansion, said: “This demonstration by a handful of protestors does not represent the views of most people in west London or beyond.

“Of the 70,000 responses to the Airports Commission public consultation, 82 per cent were in favour of Heathrow expansion.

“A new runway has strong cross-party support in Parliament and is backed by the majority of UK businesses, international airlines and local residents.”

The Metropolitan Police, which is responsible for law and order in the Heathrow region, commented: “Officers are currently dealing with a protest near the inbound tunnel of Heathrow airport.
“They were called at 7.42am on Thursday, November 26. Five arrests have been made.”

People travelling towards Heathrow should expect severe delays and should seek alternative routes.

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“Travel chaos as Heathrow protesters blockade tunnel leading to airport” – Leon Watson, The Telegraph – Home – News – Earth – Green Politics – Planning/Telegraph Media Group Limited (26 November 2015)
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BLACK FRIDAY: Don’t let it become ‘black eye’ day

VIJAY SHAH via SWNS digitalhub

The American commercial tradition of Black Friday has made its presence felt on our shores and high streets these past couple of year. One of the most important days for sales and footfall in the retail calendar, Black Friday is when shops slash the prices of items like white goods, clothes and electricals by as much as 50-70%. While Black Friday is a blessing for bargain hunters, it has also become notorious for scenes of absolute mayhem, with videos surfacing of shoppers tussling with and climbing over each other to hook that last widescreen smart TV. In some cases, stores participating in Black Friday sales had been forced to call police in to quell fights and near riots.

Despite the bad publicity around some incidents on Black Friday, a recent survey of 2,000 adults produced by the Nationwide building society found that one in ten Britons is still prepared to brave the crowds and stand toe-to-toe with fellow shoppers to bag those once-a-year heavily reduced must-haves. The study also found that many shoppers are prepared to tough it for the best bargains, with many survey respondents expecting to awaken their aggressive streaks as they hit the high streets for this year’s Black Friday events on November 27.

(c) SWNS digital/72Point


The Nationwide survey figures also show that in 2014, one in three adults made a trip to the shopping centre on Black Friday. This year, the average shopper is expected to spend £176. Altogether, customers are predicted to spend £120 million on debit cards alone, more than on December 19th, the last Friday before Christmas, when shopkeepers and retailers expect to recieve the most takings as people scour the shops for last-minute festive gifts.

Phil Smith, head of current accounts at Nationwide, which commissioned the study, said: “For many, Black Friday coincides with the last payday before Christmas, so they use it to kick-start and supplement their Christmas shopping.

“And with only a limited number of the best deals available, tensions can spill over, resulting in arguments over goods usually associated with panic buying.

‘’This means that in the cold light of day, what seemed to be a good bargain could end up being a waste of money.

“Customers should consider doing a little bit of research and planning beforehand, as many stores will advertise offers ahead of time.

‘’In doing so, we can ensure we’re buying the goods we actually want at a discounted price rather than being tempted by the lure of a bargain on something we don’t particularly need.”

The Nationwide survey also predicted the most popular Black Friday items shoppers will want on their lists include home appliances such as microwaves, coffee machines, and blenders, laptops, computer and video games and televisions.

However reduced items often quickly run out of stock, leading to customers duking it out in the aisles and jackets and hair being pulled. The Nationwide’s shopping poll discovered that men are nearly twice as likely to clash over stuff on the shelf as women. One in eight (13%) were prepared to get into an argument with another shopper, compared with 7% of surveyed female respondents. Ironically for the arguments over the last television or CD player that will be occurring in stores up and down the British Isles, the poll also discovered that one in eight adults (13%) will end up returning goods for refunds.

In fact, Black Friday could result in thousands of returned items, as more than half confessed to surrendering to impulse purchases on the day.

Nationwide’s Phil Smith added: “This Black Friday, people should consider putting money aside for something they actually want rather than simply buying something because it is listed as a bargain.

‘’The benefits of impulse saving can have a positive impact on our finances. And for those who make big home appliance purchases, consider extending your warranty to cover all eventualities.’’

Several leading high street names including Curry’s, Argos, GAME and John Lewis are already gearing up with in-store Black Friday linked promotions and figures for online shopping too are expected to reach stellar proportions. Last year, £810 million was spend online alone by UK shoppers.

“Don’t Let Black Friday Turn Into Black Eye Day” – SWNS digital/72Point (25 November 2015)

VIGILANTE: Does London need one?


In between the colourful pages of comics or the viewing recommendations on Netflix, there are many fictional towns plagued by baddies, criminals and no-gooders of all sorts, terrorising the inhabitants and making everyone’s life a sodding misery. Crime is rampant, evil prevails and no-one is foolish enough to walk the streets at night.

But, where there is bad, there must be good to put it in its place. A vigilante to right wrongs, put baddies behind bars and fight evil while living for another day. Gotham City has Batman, Smallville has Superman, and New York has Spiderman. Although these are fictional examples, does having a vigilante who takes it upon his or her self to protect decent and upstanding citizens make the difference to a huge, bustling and crowded city like our London?

London is a cool place to live. It is brimming with culture, history, trends, fun, entertainment, and the everyday trappings of life. With a population of eight million, it is a hard city to police. The Met, the British Transport Police and the City of London Police do a fantastic job keeping our streets safe and managing Londoners’ welfare, but even before the current wave of Tory cutbacks and tougher rules for recruitment of new police officers, it is an obvious fact that the days of the ‘bobby on the beat’ are long dead, and logistically it would be impossible to have a cop patrolling each and every street, road, avenue, drive, cul-de-sac and alleyway. London has more than 60,000 streets. It’s a tall order and an impossible one at that.

English: The City of London skyline as viewed ...

English: The City of London skyline as viewed toward the north-west from the top floor viewing platform of London City Hall on the southern side of the Thames. In the foreground: Dixie Queen and Millennium Time at Tower Millennium Pier. This is a 5 segment panoramic image taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 24-105mm f/4L IS lens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As much as London is a fun and vibrant place to live, let’s not kid ourselves. Like in any big city or town even, crime is a fact. People do get robbed, murdered, assaulted and conned. According to the latest crime figures published by the Met Police and other sources, crimes number in their tens of thousands. Since 1990, an average of 171 homicides takes place across the 32 London boroughs every year. In 2008–09 alone, there were 70,962 assault with injury offences. London is also home to many gangs involved with everything from guns and drugs to prostitution and illegal immigration. Gang members have no qualms about wandering the streets tooled and ready to main and kill. In 2009 alone, 3,295 gun-related offences were reported to crime-fighting authorities. At about the same time, 12,611 offences were reported where a knife was involved. Even teenagers are not safe, with around 13-15 fatally stabbed or shot every year in our city. Add to that, 35,857 robberies, and thousands of other crimes such as assaults, muggings, vandalism, shoplifting. Figures reported by London newspaper The Evening Standard in January this year suggest the violent crime has increased by 22 per cent, with Haringey borough alone seeing a 38 per cent jump.

Now don’t get me wrong, London isn’t some crim-infested hellhole where you are fleeced (or as we say, rinsed) of your worldly possessions the moment you step out of your front door. I am a born and bred Londoner who has lived here all of his thirty-one years of life. I have been mugged only twice, saw one opportunistic attempt at a burglary (someone had opened the back door of my houseshare while us housemates were out) and once had someone point a knife at me years ago in school. I live in one of the roughest and poorest parts of London.

Back to our main question, does London need a vigilante?. There are a lot of criminals in this city and having a vigilante around to mop up crime would be a huge help to the police with their stretched and shrinking resources. The British media have been awash lately with stories of ordinary people who have taken on superhero-like personas and even got themselves kitted out in costumes to boot. In March 2015, the Mirror reported on the appearance of 200 ‘superheroes’ in cities across America, all ordinary people with day jobs and family responsibilities who don masks and capes (and maybe underpants over Spandex bottoms) and protect their communities. In Seattle, Phoenix Jones dresses in a superhero outfit of his own design and tackles car theft, street fights and change the car wheels of distressed motorists five days a week. The American capital, Washington, DC, has its ‘Guardian’ who wears a full-body stars-and-stripes outfit and wanders the troubled areas behind the Capitol building. Then there’s RazorHawk, from Minneapolis, who was a professional wrestler for fifteen years before joining the Real Life Super Hero movement. Some even come equipped with a sense of witty humour that would make the Fantastic Four beam with pride. New York, home of the fictional Spiderman and Superman/Clark Kent, does actually have a real-life superhero fighting against its troublesome trade in narcotics. The Big Apple’s ‘Dark Guardian‘ approaches drug dealers making sales in cannabis in the city’s Washington Square Park at night, shines a light in their faces, and sends the pot merchants scurrying with the firm words “This is a drug-free park!”. American real-life superheroes and city vigilantes also carry out community services such as helping the homeless and elderly people and giving advice to schoolkids.

London, too, has its guardian of the streets and protector of the innocent. Step forward The Shadow. Wearing a bandana and keeping his identity well-hidden as a superhero should, he has been credited with saving a woman from a pervert who attempted to assault her in Greenwich. The crook had tried to grope her, The Shadow appeared from the shadows, and put the octopus fingered creep in a hold lock, while telling the woman to flee to safety. “If anyone thinks they can get away with this sort of thing then they are mistaken,” the Shadow told the Evening Standard. “I live in hope that one day people who cause fear through crime to others will fear me enough to think twice about their actions,” he added. The unknown hero was previously called the Bromley Batman, after an area of south Greater London near to Kent and he has been fighting crime for three years. Some people however had dismissed the existence of The Shadow as a mere urban legend.

It’s not just London, mind you. The UK’s other big metropolises also have their iconic crime-fighting legends. Head to Salford, near Manchester and you may have a chance encounter with Knight Warrior, a youngish lad in blue and black with some tough biking gloves. His real name is Roger Hayhurst, a 19-year-old gardener by day, who possesses the superpower of a “supernatural desire to make the world a better place.”. He mainly tackles the drunk hooligans that regularly pour out of Salford’s pubs, kicking off ‘cos someone looked at their ‘bird’. He also distributes food to the city’s street dwellers. Yeovil, a charming seaside resort in Somerset, southern England, can lay claim to having its very own ninja, 33-year-old Ken Andre, whose alter-ego is Shadow. Wearing the mysterious black suit of a true master of the dark ninja arts, Andre’s approach to vigilante justice includes stopping drug dealers and muggers. He is well-versed in the sacred martial art of ninjutsu to which he was inducted as a child and once caught a carjacker in his tracks by hurling nunchuks at him. In his own words, “I tied him to the lamppost using his own legs and called the police.”

Does London need a superhero dispensing vigilante justice? In many ways yes. Vigilantes can help the police with tackling crime, assisting them and reaching out to the community, a badly needed thing in a city notorious for its individualistic mentality, where people mind their own business and not everyone is helpful or considerate. Vigilantes can be the best option in places where the police are simply not there, due to their falling numbers and strained resources, such as on housing estates or tourist areas late at night, when most police patrols end. They are more personable and relatable, particularly as many people feel uncomfortable or downright dismissive of the police, and let’s face it, superheroes are pretty cool, right? Vigilantes can be tolerated by the police and community, even encouraged, provided they stick by the rules of the law and don’t take things too far, for example by shooting dead a rapist. Having a vigilante around your area can also do wonders for people’s perception of crime and their safety too. Knowing that there is someone around making crims feel tetchy and always looking over their shoulder means you don’t have to worry about constantly looking over yours. Having a vigilante around means we can feel safe, knowing there is a good guy out there, selflessly giving up their time to make our homes safer and more secure. Being such a massive sprawl of a city, London has more than enough room for different kinds of vigilantes, and with common goals, they could easily form a Justice League of their own.

There are some cons to having vigilantes that should be mentioned. London is a massive city, with hundreds of communities and peculiarities. Unless he or she had real superpowers, it would be nigh on impossible to tackle every crime and stop every crook. Even the police can’t be everywhere at once. Vigilantes can put their lives at risk should criminals be armed. Use your imagination as much as you like, but it is highly unlikely that your rented Superman costume can actually stop a bullet or a jab from a flick-knife. Vigilantes, with or without the superhero costume, are only human. There is always the risk of a vigilante getting too ‘drunk’ on their power, and taking things into their own hands. There are also moral implications of vigilante justice, not to mention legal ones.

Everyone loves superheroes and superheroines, whether real or imagined. They are larger-than-life personifications of the best bits of humanity, putting their own lives at risk to help others. But while we can salute one-man crime fighters and their special brand of vigilante justice, we shouldn’t forget the many unsung heroes who make London a better and safer place – neighbours looking out for each other, people who give to charities, ambulance staff, police officers, doctors, nurses, social workers, foster parents, and many others who may not wear capes or tie up criminals with webs, but are just as valuable for our London.

“Crime in London” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“Violent crime in London soars by 22 per cent” – Joe Murphy, Evening Standard – News – Crime (8 January 2015)
“Real life superheroes transform into masked vigilantes to protect cities of America” – Kara O’Neill and Sy Bean, Mirror – News – Weird News – Crime/Mirror Online (11 March 2015)
“London has its own real-life superhero” – Matt Kamen,é Nast UK (3 July 2015)
“10 Outrageous Real Life Superheroes” – Andrew Handley, Listverse/Listverse Ltd (24 March 2013)
“File:City of London skyline from London City Hall – Oct 2008.jpg” – David Iliff (diliff), Wikimedia Commons (11 October 2008)

SULLEE J: The Proposition

Sullee J, Baltimore’s dopest MC and rapper, returns with his latest single, “The Proposition” from his Victory mixtape, produced by JustChris, a fellow MC based out of Tremont, Illinois, USA. The artist’s latest track is all about his style on the microphone, his unmistakable delivery in tune to the ticking of a clock. He speaks on current issues and the ideology behind the system. A solid track that both inspires and makes you think.

“This is geometry over a beat, calculated with a high dose of truth and equal to nothing but dopeness! Sullee J is not playing! “

“The Proposition” is fresh for viewing on YouTube and you can download the track for free on the SoundCloud link below.

Sullee J Management.
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IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: Countries to help Iranian government redesign reactor

VIJAY SHAH via Reuters and Newsweek

As part of ongoing negotiations between several mainly Western countries and the Islamic Republic of Iran over its nuclear facilities, a group of six nations have offered to assist Tehran in redesigning a nuclear reactor, as the theocratic government rebuilds relations with the outside world, Reuters and Newsweek reports.

Iran’s national news agency IRNA released a statement today saying that the group of six world powers will give Iran support in reconfiguring the Arak heavy-water plant, 190 kilometres (120 miles) southwest of Tehran. The Arak facility will be converted so that it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium, the IRNA document said.

The official document was signed on separate days last week by the Iranian foreign minister plus his counterparts in the ‘P5+1’ group. The P5+1 countries and countersignatures are the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany. The European Union also signed the document, represented by its foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

The Arak plant was a spanner in the works for recent talks between Iran and the other world powers due to its weapons capabilities. The P5+1 group had concerns that Iranian possession of nuclear warheads would escalate tensions in the Middle East and that the Iranian government would use the weapons on Western ally Israel. The two countries have a longstanding hatred of each other and both have threatened to target each other with nuclear armaments in a hostile war of words.

Preparation at Arak will involve removal and decommissioning of the heavy-water reactor’s core to reduce Arak’s output of plutonium, meaning less material for a possible nuclear device, and a way for Iran to prove it is only using nuclear technology for peaceful means such as electricity generation. Doing so will also enable the Islamic Republic to free itself of the sanctions imposed by the US, EU and others.

The IRNA document states that Iran will hold the role of ‘project manager’. China will act as the plant’s re-designer and builder of the new reactor, while the United States will offer technical know-how and help review the redesigned facility to ensure it meets safety and negotiation-related guidelines. The Americans will be assisted in the review by France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Russia will also be involved, providing consulting services at Arak.

“The primary design of Arak reactor will take one year. Then the (P5+1) working group has three months to approve it,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s atomic energy agency, was quoted as saying on Saturday by state broadcaster IRIB.

Iran had previously always insisted that the 40-megawatt plant had medical purposes, producing radioactive isotopes for use in cancer radiotherapy and not for manufacturing weapons-grade ‘fissile’ plutonium. The country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had only agreed to the reconversion work at the Arak site if other countries at the negotiation table ceased insisting that Iran’s nuclear programme was being used under ‘past military dimensions’, in other words, that it was intended to create nuclear bombs. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is undertaking work on another plant at a military complex in Parchin at the moment, had collected samples from that facility will announce its own conclusions on possible military nuclear applications on Iran by the 15th December this year.

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“World Powers to Help Iran Redesign Reactor as Part of Nuclear Deal” – Reuters via Newsweek – World/Newsweek LLC (21 November 2015)
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CHARLOTTE HIGH SCHOOL FIGHT: Clash between American schoolchildren; officer caught on camera as police intervene


VIJAY SHAH via News Locker, Mirror Online and WSOCTV

British newspaper The Daily Mirror reports today on a shocking video of students fighting at a high school in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.

The ‘brutal’ and ‘savage’ brawl led to the arrest of a 15-year-old pupil as well as the discovery of a set of brass knuckles by the school’s policing team after the fight took place, putting the school on lockdown.

The video footage shows the fight being broken up by a school police officer at Harding University High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. The officer is seen struggling with the student before placing him in handcuffs. Students scream and curse as arms go flying. The officer is seen grappling with and restraining the pupil who is later seen lying on the floor, as another student off-camera shouts “Get off of him”, as a large crowd assembled. Local news station TWC News reported that brass knuckles were later found among the pupil’s possessions in the clearup after the fight, suggesting perhaps that the disorder was preplanned.

Stunned by the incident, and amid increasing violence involving weaponry in schools all over the developed world, parents of pupils at Harding University High had expressed their concerns over safety. One parent told WSOCTV news station that she wanted to see security at the school ‘beefed-up’.

“It’s difficult, because it seems like the same problem keeps happening over and over again,” said the parent.

The student has been charged with assault on a police officer, simple assault, resisting arrest, and weapons charges. For reasons of age, his name and other particulars had not been reported.

The school’s principal (headteacher) Eric Ward issued a statement regarding the fight. In it he said “Several students became engaged in a physical altercation during transition to third period.”

“The altercation was a serious one and one of our school resource officers and several staff members intervened to break up the situation and restore order.

“I take this incident and any issues involving student and staff safety at our school very seriously.

“School staff and CMPD (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department) are determining further details and disciplinary action will be taken as necessary.”

It is not known if any other students have been arrested or expelled from school over the incident. The officer is also under investigation, according to WSOCTV.

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc.
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“Brutal high school brawl caught on camera as school cop breaks up scrapping teens” – Sam Webb, Mirror – News – World News  – Schools/Mirror Online (21 November 2015) via News Locker  – UK news
“VIDEO: Fight caught on camera inside Charlotte school” – Allison Latos, – Home – News – Local/9WSOCTV/Cox Media Group Television/Cox Media Group (20 November 2015)

PARIS ATTACKS: French citizen arrested after gun dumped in Gatwick airport bin

VIJAY SHAH and ‘SUNSHINE SU’ via Crawley News

A French national has been arrested by police in the United Kingdom after a gun was dumped in a bin at Gatwick Airport outside London, the Crawley News reported on Saturday.

Bomb disposal squads were called into the airport on Saturday to investigate an item left in a bin on the airport’s premises at the North Terminal. The terminal was shut down and evacuated and a controlled explosion was carried out on the item, later identified as a gun.

English: Gatwick's North Terminal building and...

English: Gatwick’s North Terminal building and transit station (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

British airports are on high alert after the killing of around 130 people by three teams of gunmen armed with guns and explosive devices in the centre of Paris on Friday afternoon. Two or three bombs exploded near the Stade de France where a football friendly was taken. People were also massacred at a concert and while dining at a Cambodian restaurant and at local bars. Several of the gunmen are believed to have entered France via road from Belgium with contraband weapons possibly smuggled in from the Balkans.

Alongside the weapon at Gatwick, police also found personal items possibly linked to the French citizen, who is now in custody. Sussex Police said that the items were removed to be forensically examined and that the viability of the weapon, whether it was live or decommissioned, has not yet been established by their ballistics team.

The Daily Mail newspaper reported that the French national, a man whose details have not been given in the Crawley News report, has in fact two guns on his person. He was said to have walked up to a check in desk operated by budget airline EasyJet. This has not yet been confirmed officially though.

The report does identify the man as being of 41 years of age and originating from Vendôme, a small ton in central France, around 100 kilometres from Paris. He has been charged with firearms offences. Airport officials say the French citizen had not passed through any passport or security checks.

Detective Superintendent Nick May said: “The man is being interviewed as we try to determine the circumstances of the incident, but at this time it is too early to say what his intentions, if any, were.

“However, given the events in Paris on Friday evening, there is heightened awareness around any such incident and it is best that we treat the matter in all seriousness.

“We are aware that there is concern about what has happened in France, but the general threat level remains the same and people should be aware as usual of anyone acting suspiciously and report any concerns immediately.”

Police attended the incident at 9.30 am local time and the North Terminal was evacuated about an hour later, the Crawley News reports.

A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: “Following a full and thorough search by the Police, we are now able to re-open our North Terminal to passengers. Passengers should check with their airlines for information about their journey.

“Our priority is always the safety and welfare of our passengers and extra Gatwick staff are on hand to assist those who have experienced significant disruption to their journey today.

“We are working with our airlines to return North Terminal to usual operations. South Terminal is operating as normal.”

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“UPDATE: French man arrested after gun thrown into bin at Gatwick, police confirm” – Chris Ballinger, Crawley News/Local World (14 November 2015)
“File:Gatwick North Terminal 122.JPG” – Dbx54, Wikimedia Commons (4 January 2009)

PARIS MASSACRES: 150 believed killed in terrorist atrocity

VIJAY SHAH via Rediff News & Google News

The French capital is in mourning today after a coordinated attack by terrorists said to be allied with the so-called Islamic State on bars, restaurants and the Stade de France left around 150 people dead. Most of the fatalities occurred at a Cambodian restaurant where terrorists armed with AK-47s gunned down diners and tourists as they dined. Suicide bombs were also set off at one of Paris‘ largest stadia, the Stade de France, where a football match between France and Germany was taking place. Gunmen also targetted a death metal concert, shooting at concert goers as they fled screaming.

The news has sent ripples of shock and disgust throughout the world, and social media posts urged people to pray for Paris and France, as well as the victims. Another 180 people have been hospitalised, many of them with serious injuries.

(c) Sebastien Amiet/Wikimedia Commons

Indian news service reports that sets of terrorists, some carrying guns and others wearing bombs strapped to vests, attacked seven sites around central Paris. One of these is believed to be the Avenue de la Republique, popular with tourists and packed as Paris gears up for the Christmas season.

Rediff reported that the worst carnage took place on yesterday night (Friday 14th November) as gunmen stormed a concert where am American death metal band were performing. Dozens of fans were taken hostage, and the terrorists were reported as hurling grenades at panicked concertgoers as they tried to flee the venue. The Parisian gendarmerie later stormed the Bataclan concert hall building, killing three attackers, reeling in horror at the bloody scenes that unfolded before them last night. Pictures taken after the siege show police securing the road just outside the Bataclan and establishing a perimeter.

The prosecutor of Paris, Francois Molins, said that five attackers have been killed. Other reports said six militants had been taken down, but no-one has yet determined how many took part in the atrocities or if any gunmen are still at large.

In five other shootings, it was reported that 38 were murdered. These took place in the 10th and 11th arrondissements (districts) of Paris, an area comparable to outlying parts of central London. Two explosions occurred outside the Stade de France, where the France vs. Germany match was in attendance by the country’s president Francois Hollande. Reports of casualties at the stadium have not yet been confirmed by police or the prosecutor’s office, but spectators were seen vacating the stadium in droves.

It is not yet known who exactly was behind the attacks, but the president believes that IS were responsible. Some reports claim that IS have claimed responsibility, hours after British IS member Mohammed al-Emwazi, popularly known as ‘Jihadi John’ was allegedly killed in a drone rocket strike in Raqqah, Syria.

Following the attacks, Hollande declared a nationwide state of emergency, the first in many years and today also instituted a three-day period of mourning for the many who lost their lives going about their daily business. President Hollande also ordered the closing of France’s borders to prevent any remaining gunmen from fleeing. Paris has gone into virtual shutdown with the city’s Metro train service as well as schools, universities and government building closed down today.

Hollande who was led to safety as the Stade de France attack unfolded, spoke on French television to say that the country would stand firm and united.

“This is a terrible ordeal that again assails us,” he said. “We know where it comes from, who these criminals are, who these terrorists are.”

He later visited the Bataclan hall, and said that France would wage a ‘merciless’ fight against terrorist forces. Thousands of police, paramedics and doctors were put on immediate emergency duty and all leave of absence was cancelled. Around 1,500 army reinforcements were brought into Paris and hospitals were getting ready for the influx of injured.

  • IS have claimed responsibility, saying that the attacks were in revenge for Western and Arab state-led strikes against their operatives in Syria. They have lauded the atrocity as an ‘act of war’.
  • All sporting fixtures in Paris have been cancelled.
  • Several cities including London, Melbourne in Australia, New York and Dublin, Ireland have lit up buildings in the colours of the French tricouleur in solidarity with Paris.
  • UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a telegram stating that the Paris teror attacks are against all of humanity. Governments, including those from the UK and US have also expressed their horror at the atrocities.
Francois Gautier, Facebook, Facebook Inc.
“Bloodbath in Paris: Over 150 dead as terrorists plan Mumbai-style attacks” – Rediff News/ (14 November 2015)
Google News.
“File:Marche hommage Charlie hebdo et aux victimes des attentats de janvier 2015 (31).jpg” – Sébastien Amiet (sébastien amiet;l), nikleitz2009 & Paris 16, Wikimedia Commons (11 January 2015)

DIWALI 2015: New HEM festive graphic unveiled

In celebration of the festival of lights, Diwali, which arrives this year on the Wednesday, 11th of November and which coincides with Armistice Day in the UK, the Half-Eaten Mind has unveiled a special commemorative graphic.

The graphic is part of a long tradition on the blog for what is termed in the business as ‘homemade graphics’. Every Diwali since 2013, HEM’s blogger and editor Vijay Shah uses his graphic designs skills to produce special edition graphics which serve as not only a bit of fun and celebration, but also as a tip of the hat to the talent that goes on behind the scenes.

This year’s image is derived from a wallpaper offered by and created via image design site piZap. It features three symmetrical and stylised diyas (lamps) arranged over Paisley patterns in a nod to traditional north Indian art. The design carries the official HEM branding as well as a QR code which when scanned with a suitable app on a mobile phone, can take the viewer to the blog.

The graphic will be featured on the HEM social networks nearer the occasion.

The Half-Eaten Mind would like to wish our readers, supporters and the Community a very happy Diwali in advance.

“Beautiful HD Happy Diwali Greetings Images of Diyas” – Celebrate Diwali With Us/Kopasoft (14 August 2015)
“Vector – Pattern” – CanStockPhoto/Can Stock Photo Inc.

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