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December 5, 2010

UK Parliament to vote on tuition fee rise on Thursday

UK Parliament to vote on tuition fee rise on Thursday

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Students protesting outside the UK parliament in November.
Image: BillyH.

The controversial plan to raise university tuition fees in England and Wales will be voted on in the House of Commons on Thursday, December 9. The policy has been the cause of protests across the United Kingdom by students, some of which have turned violent. It has also been a source of considerable criticism and political difficulties for the Liberal Democrats and has raised questions as to the long-term viability of the Coalition government.

The new policy on tuition fees will allow universities to double the current tuition fees from £3,290 per year to around £6,000 per year, as well as allowing some universities to get special approval from the Office For Fair Access (OFFA) to raise their fees to £9,000 per year. If passed, the new fee structure will apply starting in the academic year of 2012/2013. The vote on Thursday will only be on the fee rise, with other matters being voted on in the new year following publication of a new higher education white paper.

Vince Cable and Nick Clegg will likely vote for the changes, but how many Lib Dems will join them?
Image: Nick Clegg.

In addition to increasing fees, the policy will increase the payment threshold at which payment is made. It is currently set at £15,000 and will rise to £21,000, but the interest rate will also rise. It is currently 1.5% but will now vary from between 0% and 3% plus inflation (using the Retail Price Index).

The fee increase follows the publication of an independent review by Lord Browne, former chief executive of BP, a process started by Peter Mandelson, the former Business Secretary. Before the election, two main options were mooted for funding reform in higher education: either an increase in tuition fees or a graduate tax. The Browne Review endorsed the former and the findings of the Review form the basis of the government’s policy. The graduate tax was supported by the Liberal Democrats before the election, and in the Labour leadership elections it was supported by Ed Balls and the winner of the leadership election, Ed Milliband.

Conservative members of the Coalition intend to vote for the reform, and the Labour opposition have been vociferous critics of the rise in fees, despite the previous government’s introduction of top-up fees. The Liberal Democratic members of the Coalition have been left in a politically difficult position regarding the fee hike and have been target of much criticism from protesters. Liberal Democrats have opposed the rise in tuition fees: their party manifesto included a commitment to ending tuition fees within six years, and many signed a pledge organised by the National Union of Students to not vote for any increase in tuition fees.

The Coalition agreement allows Liberal Democrats to opt to abstain on votes for a number of policies including tuition fees. Many Liberal Democrats are expected to abstain, and a few MPs have stated that they will vote against it including former party leader Sir Menzies Campbell, and the recently elected party president Tim Farron, as well as a number of Liberal Democrat back-benchers. Liberal Democrat party leaders have said that they will act collectively, but the BBC have said senior Liberal Democrats have admitted in private that government whips will not be able to force all Liberal Democrats to vote for the policy.

On Tuesday, the Liberal Democrats parliamentary party will meet in the Commons to decide on their collective position. If all ministers decide to vote for the policy, it will probably pass, but if only cabinet ministers (and maybe parliamentary private secretaries) vote for the policy, there is considerable risk of it not passing. If the Coalition does not manage to get the policy through Parliament, it will fuel doubts about the continued effectiveness and viability of the government.

How deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and business secretary Vince Cable vote has been of considerable controversy. Although under the Coalition agreement, they are allowed to abstain, suggestions of doing so have prompted criticism. It was suggested last week that Cable may abstain even though as business secretary he is directly responsible for higher education policy, and has been heavily involved in designing the proposals. Cable has said that Liberal Democrat support of the tuition fee changes has allowed them to push it in a more “progressive” direction.

Cable has now decided that he will vote for the policy, and argues that the policy has “a lot of protection for students from low income backgrounds and graduates who have a low income or take time out for family”. He also believes “there’s common consensus that the system we’ve devised is a progressive one”.

“Dr Cable has performed so many U-turns over the issue of university funding that he is spinning on his heels,” said National Union of Students president Aaron Porter. “That may stand him in good stead with the Strictly Come Dancing judges but the electorate will see it differently.”

Former deputy PM John Prescott has joked about Vince Cable’s u-turns on Twitter.
Image: Steve Punter.

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott joked on Twitter that “On tuition fees we’ve noticed Vince Cable’s remarkable transformation in the last few weeks from stalling to Mr In Between”—a reference to a previous attack Prescott made on Gordon Brown as having transformed from “Stalin to Mr Bean“.

On Question Time this week, Liberal Democrat treasury secretary Danny Alexander also confirmed he is prepared to vote for the policy but delegated the question to the meeting of Liberal Democrats on Tuesday.

The politics of the tuition fee debate may also affect the by-election taking place in Oldham East and Saddleworth following the removal of Phil Woolas, where Liberal Democrat and Conservative candidates will both be standing for the first by-election following the formation of the Coalition government.

Opposition to the policy has become the focus for a large number of protests across the country by both current university students, many school pupils and political allies of the student movement.

On the Nov. 10 demonstration, protestors occupied Millbank tower.
Image: Charlie Owen.

On November 10, between 30,000 and 52,000 protesters from across Britain marched through central London in a demonstration organised by the National Union of Students and the University and College Union, which represents teachers and lecturers in further and higher education. At the November 10 protest, a number of people occupied Millbank Tower, an office block which houses the Conservative Party. Fifty people were arrested and fourteen were injured. NUS president Aaron Porter condemned the attack and said it was caused by “those who are here to cause trouble”, and that the actions of a “minority of idiots” shouldn’t “undermine 50,000 who came to make a peaceful protest”.

Following the November 10 march, other protests have taken place across the country including an occupation at the University of Manchester, a sit-in at the John Owens Building in Manchester, and a demonstration at the University of Cambridge. A protest was also run outside the offices of The Guardian where Nick Clegg—who was giving a lecture inside the building—was executed in effigy while students protested “Nick Clegg, shame on you, shame on you for turning blue” (blue is the colour of the Conservative Party).

A graffitied police van in Trafalgar Square at the November 24 demonstration.
Image: yllA.

On November 24, a large number of protests took place across the country including a mass walk-out from universities and schools organised on Facebook, numerous university occupations, and demonstrations in Manchester, Cambridge, Birmingham, Leeds, Brighton and Cardiff, and a well-publicised occupation of University College London.

In London, a protest was planned to march down Whitehall to Parliament, but police held protesters in Trafalgar Square until they eventually broke free and ran around in a game of “cat and mouse” along the side streets around Charing Cross Road, Covent Garden and Picadilly Circus.

Simon Hardy from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts described the police response including the controversial ‘kettling’ of protesters as “absolutely outrageous”. Green MP Caroline Lucas raised the police response including the use of kettling in the House of Commons and stated that it was “neither proportionate, nor, indeed, effective”.

On November 30, protests continued in London culminating in 146 arrests of protesters in Trafalgar Square, and protests in Cardiff, Cambridge, Newcastle, Bath, Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Belfast, Brighton, Manchester and Bristol. Protesters in Sheffield attempted to invade and occupy Nick Clegg’s constituency office. Occupations of university buildings started or continued at University College London, Newcastle University, Cambridge University and Nottingham University, as well as council buildings in Oxford and Birmingham.

A “day of action” is being planned on December 8, the day before the Commons vote, by the National Union of Students.



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November 4, 2010

UK judge clears policeman of fraud during London bomb probe

UK judge clears policeman of fraud during London bomb probe

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ambulances responding to the London bombings. Today an officer was cleared for the second time of defrauding the Metropolitan Police while investigating the attacks.

A judge cleared a police detective today of fraud relating to money intended for use investigating the London bombings in 2005. Detective Sergeant Peter Allbut was accused of keeping £9,200 set aside to accommodate officers sent to Leeds during the probe.

Southwark Crown Court was told by Paul Watson QC, prosecuting, that Allbut was given access to an American Express card to withdraw funds to pay rent bills after the cost of hotels was deemed excessive. Allbut was alleged to have on three occasions between February and May 2007 to have siphoned funds into his personal bank account. Allbut denied three counts of fraud relating to £2,200, £4,000 and £3,000.

After today’s conclusion of the prosecution case Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC ruled there was insufficient evidence against the officer and ordered the jury to find him not guilty. It is the second time Allbut has been cleared of criminal financial dealings in the course of his duties with the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command.

In July Allbut and a fellow Detective Seargent, Nevill Caldecourt, were tried over allegations they had purposely overcharged for flat rentals on expenses. Both were found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud and misconduct in a public office. Last month another counterterrorism officer with the force was convicted alongside his wife on a similar case in which he overcharged his employers for apartments. Detective Constable Daren Pooley and his wife Nicola were convicted of conspiracy to defraud for running the scheme while deployed to Leeds after the London bombings.



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October 10, 2010

Residents of Leeds, England neighbourhood plagued with crime ask council for help

Residents of Leeds, England neighbourhood plagued with crime ask council for help

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

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Residents of a Leeds, England neighbourhood have requested help from a council because their neighbourhood is plagued by crime, overcrowding, and community tensions.

Hyde Park, Leeds, England, where crime has increased by seven percent over the last year. Residents have written to the council asking for help to improve the area.
Image: Gunnar Larsson.

Leeds City Council received a request for help from residents of Hyde Park, who said they were worried about the increasing level of anti-social behavior and worsening community relations. A report will be unveiled on Wednesday by a council delegation, highlighting the problems in the area. “The people living in Hyde Park come from widely different population groups… these groups have very different customs, needs and living styles and this can provoke high levels of tension in the area,” the delegation said.

The council claims that because of the 28 per cent ethnic minority population and the 40,000 students living in the neighbourhood, there are tensions between residents. They added, however, that they are actively encouraging people to work together, citing a multi-faith forum, a cricket competition and activities which bring old and young together.

The report says that the council are trying to build relationships between Muslims and police, something which they said is “particularly important after the area’s connection to the London bombings on 7th July 2005.” A local newspaper reported that “the Shebab project introduces young Muslims to role models from sport and culture and also runs scholars’ talks to counter extremist ideologies.”

Crime has increased by 7% in the past year in Hyde Park, and residents noted that anti-social behaviour was getting worse. The council said that an anti-burglary task force had helped to reduce the number of thefts from homes. Residents complained that there was a lack of pride in the area, and at the end of the academic year in the summer, large piles of rubbish were left in streets, yards and alleyways. The report adds that the council operates a recycling scheme aimed towards teenagers, and that rubbish collections have increased.

Cquote1.svg [We are] slightly frustrated with certain communication issues that we’ve had with the council Cquote2.svg

—Jake England Johns, campaigner

The Guardian reported on Wednesday that campaigners are attempting to “take control of a derelict school building and transform it into a community hub are appealing for sponsors and partners in a bid to turn their dreams into reality.” They say that the unused building, owned by the council, could be used for meetings and events. A volunteer group of residents have been working on a business plan, and have gained support from local businesses to create “a vision of an open, accessible and valuable resource for all.”

A member of the commitee, however, said he was “frustrated” with the council’s attitude towards the plans. “The RPCC is slightly frustrated with certain communication issues that we’ve had with the council, but we’re working with them and hoping to gain further assistance going forward,” he said. “It’s a shame that certain setbacks could have been avoided.”

The deputation added that “a major factor in Hyde Park’s suffering is its high level of population density”, which they conceded is something they are unable to change. The council responded to complaints that streets are “cheap and unhealthy takeaways, letting agents and boarded-up shop fronts,” by saying that Hyde Park Corner and Headingley are, according to the Yorkshire Post, “thriving shopping areas and work had taken place to ensure a good mix of outlets.”

The report concludes: “The council acknowledges that because of the very particular circumstances which exist in the neighbourhood, Hyde Park faces difficult challenges which affect the quality of life of residents and that ‘normal’ service levels may not be sufficient to tackle some of these. The council will do more to enable local people to influence how services work and how local problems are tackled. Local community and voluntary groups will be invited to play an active role.”



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April 2, 2010

Oldest living European person reaches age 114

Oldest living European person reaches age 114

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Friday, April 2, 2010

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Map of England with Leeds highlighted in red.

The oldest European, Florrie Baldwin, turned 114 on Wednesday. Baldwin, who was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England on March 31, 1896, has been recognised as the oldest person in Europe since 2009.

Baldwin, who lives in the Radcliffe Gardens Nursing Home, Leeds, is also known to be the fourth-oldest living person in the world, behind Eugenie Blanchard from Saint Barthélemy (Caribbean), France , Neva Morris from the United States and Kama Chinen from Japan.

On reaching the milestone, she was sent a congratulatory telegram from Queen Elizabeth II, the British monarch.

David Worsnop, Baldwin’s 64-year-old grandson, stated: “When I’m chatting to people I don’t know well and I tell them I’ve got to go and see my grandmother they often give me a funny look. When my mother told the girl in the post office she wanted a Mothers’ Day card, the assistant looked at her as if she was crazy. But my grandmother is amazing, every year we say this will most likely be the last year we will do this. We have been saying that for 14 years but she keeps battling on.”

Baldwin puts the reasons for her longevity down to hard work and clean living. Worsnop adds determination to this: “I think that’s her secret. She’s very strong-willed. I think that’s the main thing, her strength of character.”



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December 22, 2009

Scottish nurse loses appeal in murders of four patients in England

Scottish nurse loses appeal in murders of four patients in England

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

St James’s Hospital in Leeds, UK

A man from Scotland who killed four elderly women and attempted to murder a fifth while working as a nurse in England has lost his appeal. Colin Norris, 33, from Glasgow, gave his victims overdoses of insulin which sent them into comas.

Norris, who was struck off the nursing register following his convictions, was convicted in March last year of murdering Doris Ludlam, 80, Bridget Bourke, 88, Irene Crookes, 79, and Ethel Hall, 86, as well as the attempted murder of 90-year-old Vera Wilby. Only Wilby ever awoke from her coma. He was convicted by a majority verdict at Newcastle Crown Court and sentenced to thirty years to life in prison.

William Clegg QC, defending, told the Court of Appeal in London that the deaths at the General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital in Leeds could have been caused by “severe spontaneous hypoglycaemia” causing “naturally raised insulin levels” in the patients. He said this possibility had never been properly investigated.

Clegg also challenged Mr Justice Griffith Williams’ summing up to the jury in the original trial. However, having also heard arguments from the prosecution, given by Robert Smith QC, the panel of judges did not agree. Lord Justice Aikens stated that the judges directions “cannot validly be criticised” and went on: “We reject both grounds of appeal. The case against the appellant was very strong indeed. We are quite satisfied that the convictions… on all five counts were safe. The appeal is dismissed.”



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September 2, 2007

Cricket: India defeat England in fifth one-day international

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Cricket,England,Europe,India,Leeds,Sports — admin @ 5:00 am

Cricket: India defeat England in fifth one-day international

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Sunday, September 2, 2007

India have beaten England by 38 runs (Duckworth-Lewis method) in the fifth One-Day International of the series at Headingley, Leeds, England.

Indian opening batsmen Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar started quickly, recording an opening partnership of 116 runs before Tendulkar was caught behind for 71 runs and Ganguly was dismissed for 59. Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh shared a 94 run partnership, with Yuvraj Singh reaching 72 and Gambhir scoring 51 runs. After 47 overs of the Indian innings, rain stopped play with India at 286-4. Play soon resumed however, and after Mahendra Singh Dhoni was caught behind for 24 and Rahul Dravid run out on 24 runs, India completed their fifty overs with a score of 324-6.

Chasing a substantial target of 325 runs, England suffered an early blow when Alastair Cook was caught behind off Ajit Agarkar’s bowling. Ian Bell and Matt Prior shared a 90 run partnership before Prior was stumped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni for 46 runs. Soon afterwards Kevin Pietersen was caught behind for a duck while Ian Bell was caught behind for 44 runs. Rain once again interrupted the match and when play resumed England faced a revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 311 runs off 45 overs. England captain Paul Collingwood hit 91 not out, but the rain returned after 39 overs and the match finished with England still 38 runs behind the new Duckworth-Lewis target of 281 runs from 39 overs.

England lead the seven match series 3-2. The sixth match will be played at The Oval, London on 5 September.

Toss: England won, and chose to field first.

Flag of India.svg India innings
Player Status Runs Balls 4s 6s Strike rate
S C Ganguly c Cook b Panesar 59 79 7 2 74.68
S R Tendulkar c Prior b Lewis 71 59 13 0 120.33
G Gambhir c sub (A W Gale) b Broad 51 66 5 0 77.27
Yuvraj Singh c Anderson b Collingwood 72 57 10 2 126.31
M S Dhoni c Prior b Anderson 24 17 3 0 141.17
R Dravid run out (Prior) 24 17 3 1 141.17
K D Karthik not out 2 3 0 0 66.66
Z Khan not out 4 3 1 0 133.33
Extras (b 3; lb 2; w 12) 17
Total (6 wickets; 50 overs) 324 42 5

Fall of wickets: 1-116 (Tendulkar, 19.4 ov), 2-150 (Ganguly, 26.5 ov), 3-244 (Gambhir, 41.4 ov), 4-266 (Yuvraj Singh, 44.3 ov), 5-311 (Dhoni, 48.4 ov), 6-318 (Dravid, 49.3 ov)

Did not bat: A B Agarkar, R R Powar, Piyush Chawla

Flag of England.svg England bowling
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Econ
J M Anderson 10 1 60 1 6.00
J Lewis 10 1 63 1 6.30
S C J Broad 10 0 84 1 8.40
P D Collingwood 10 1 48 1 4.80
M S Panesar 8 0 50 1 6.25
R S Bopara 1.1 0 7 0 6.00
K P Pietersen 0.5 0 7 0 8.40
Flag of England.svg England innings (Target: 281 runs from 39 overs)
Player Status Runs Balls 4s 6s Strike rate
A N Cook c Dhoni b Agarkar 4 11 0 0 36.36
M J Prior st Dhoni b Ganguly 46 45 4 0 102.22
I R Bell c Dhoni b Ganguly 44 38 8 0 115.78
K P Pietersen c Dhoni b Khan 0 3 0 0 0.00
P D Collingwood not out 91 71 3 4 128.16
O A Shah c Dhoni b Powar 15 36 0 0 41.66
R S Bopara c & b Powar 11 16 1 0 68.75
S C J Broad c Karthik b Piyush Chawla 1 3 0 0 33.33
J Lewis c Dhoni b Agarkar 17 15 2 0 113.33
J M Anderson not out 1 1 0 0 100.00
Extras (b 1; lb 2; w 3; nb 6) 12
Total (8 wickets; 39 overs) 242 18 4

Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Cook, 3.1 ov), 2-97 (Prior, 13.5 ov), 3-102 (Pietersen, 14.6 ov), 4-104 (Bell, 15.5 ov), 5-145 (Shah, 25.5 ov), 6-193 (Bopara, 31.6 ov), 7-196 (Broad, 32.6 ov), 8-240 (Lewis, 38.4 ov)

Did not bat: M S Panesar

Flag of India.svg India bowling
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Econ
Z Khan 8 0 44 1 5.50
A B Agarkar 7 0 58 2 8.28
S C Ganguly 7 0 26 2 3.71
Piyush Chawla 5 0 31 1 6.20
S R Tendulkar 5 0 35 0 7.00
R R Powar 7 0 45 2 6.42

England: A N Cook, M J Prior (wkt), I R Bell, K P Pietersen, P D Collingwood (capt), O A Shah, R S Bopara, S C J Broad, J M Anderson, M S Panesar, J Lewis

India: S R Tendulkar, S C Ganguly, G Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, R Dravid (capt), K D Karthik, M S Dhoni (wkt), R R Powar, Piyush Chawla, Z Khan, A B Agarkar

Man of the Match: S C Ganguly (India)

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and N J Llong
TV Umpire: I J Gould
Match Referee: R S Mahanama (Sri Lanka)
Reserve Umpire: P J Hartley

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March 23, 2007

British police detain 2005 London bombings suspects

British police detain 2005 London bombings suspects

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Three men suspected of involvement in the July 7 suicide bombings in London have been detained by terrorist police, in the first major arrests in the case following the attacks following a lengthy police investigation.

Two of the suspects were detained at Manchester Airport while they were attempting to board a plane to Pakistan, while the other was found in Leeds.

The arrests in Manchester occurred around 1300 GMT while the arrest in Leeds took place around 1600 GMT.

Fifty-two people were killed in the 2005 bombings on three London Underground trains and buses. The devices used were detonated by four bombers.

Police are able to hold the suspects for twenty-eight days under the new anti-terror laws. The four men have been held on the suspicion of the commission, preparation, or instigation of terrorist acts.

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July 19, 2005

Suspected \’mastermind\’ of London bombings no longer a suspect

Suspected ‘mastermind’ of London bombings no longer a suspect

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Egyptian chemist arrested in Cairo last week has no links with the London bombings, officials have said. The Egyptian interior ministry published a report which “made clear there was no link between Magdi Asdi el-Nashar and Al Qaeda or the bombings”. Mr Nashar has still not been named a suspect by British police.

Just after his arrest, the Egyptian interior minister said that reports linking Mr Nashar to al-Qaeda were “groundless” and based on a hasty conclusion. Mr Nashar has always denied being part of the London bombings; however he is reported to have told investigators that he helped arrange the rental of a flat for one of the bombers, Hasib Hussain.

Mr Nashar has always maintained that he had intended to return to Leeds at the end of a holiday in Egypt, which began a week before the bombings.

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  • “Possible ‘mastermind’ of London bombings captured in Egypt” — Wikinews, July 15, 2005

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July 18, 2005

Six people arrested under immigration laws in Leeds, England

Six people arrested under immigration laws in Leeds, England

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Monday, July 18, 2005

Six people were arrested in northern England today under immigration laws. The arrests were made in a suburb of Leeds, where two of the suspected bombers of the London terrorist attacks lived.

However the police say they are not linking the arrests with the London bombings. Early reports had suggested that the men had been arrested under anti-terrorism laws as part of the London bombing investigation, a statement on the West Yorkshire Police website said they were working closely with the Metropolitan Police as part of their enquiry, but at the current stage they were not linking the arrests with the recent incidents in London.

All six men remain in police custody and West Yorkshire Police have yet to release more details about the arrests.

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July 15, 2005

Possible \’mastermind\’ of London bombings captured in Egypt

Possible ‘mastermind’ of London bombings captured in Egypt

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See Suspected ‘mastermind’ of London bombings no longer a suspect, July 19, 2005
 

Friday, July 15, 2005

July 7 London bombings
Latest coverage
See also
Background
  • Profile: Al Qaeda
  • A list of terrorist incidents

The alleged mastermind behind the London bombings was reported captured in Cairo, Egypt last week. Police believe that a U.S. trained chemist, Magdi Asdi el-Nashar, 33, helped build the bombs that killed over 50 people.

Mr. el-Nashar, who has a PhD from Leeds University, left England two weeks before the bombings. After the London bombings, British authorities initiated a worldwide manhunt that found him in Cairo. State security officials reported they have begun questioning el-Nashar with British agents in attendance.

Mr. el-Nashar arrived in Britain in October 2000 to study for his doctorate, which he was awarded in May. A university spokesperson said he was doing “environmentally friendly research involving chemically inactive substances.”

The Egyptian interior ministry has said “[Mr] el-Nashar denied having any relation with the latest events in London. He pointed out that all his belongings remained in his apartment in Britain.”

Friends of Mr. el-Nashar said he “was well-liked and showed no interest in politics.” His friend, Kadhem Al-Rawi, a doctor in Islamic Principles at the European Institute of Human Sciences in Wales said “He had a great personality. You would never ever expect this kind of action from him. Impossible.” This is a recurring theme heard from many of the suspected bombers, families and friends. Many believed the suspects had little or no motive to carry out the attacks.

BBC security correspondent, Gordon Corera, said it was believed that Mr. el-Nashar handed over keys to a house in Leeds that was used by the bombers. British police are searching a house in Leeds linked to Mr. el-Nashar, although he is not yet formally named a suspect. He told questioners that he was on holiday in Egypt and left all his belongings in his apartment, but his plans were to return to Britain.

The alleged involvement in the attacks by Mr. el-Nashar is yet unclear. Police said they were hunting financiers, supporters and chemists who assembled the bomb used in the attacks.

Explosives

A man injured in the bus bombing in Tavistock Square died in hospital on Thursday, bringing the number of confirmed victims to 51. Three of the bombers have also been confirmed dead, with the fourth also thought to have died.

Sources have told the BBC that explosives found in one of the homes is from ingredients available from high-street chemists.

They were the same kind of explosive Richard Reid had in his shoes when he tried to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight in 2001.

Anti-terrorist agencies are worried other “educated amateurs” could try to make more of the explosive, as the risk of accidents in the manufacturing process is very high.

Al-Qaeda operative

A suspected al-Qaeda member may have entered Britain via a Channel port two weeks before the bombs, but was not kept under surveillance. The man apparently left Britain hours before the blasts.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair said there was nothing connecting the man to the plot, but added that investigators expected to find evidence linking al-Qaeda to the attacks. He said the bombers were only the “foot soldiers” of the operation and the mastermind was still being sought.

“What we’ve got to find is, who encouraged them, who trained them, and who’s the chemist,” he said.

He said police would also work with the Muslim community, which he said had been “close to denial” about extremist preachers, to defeat terrorism. “We will break this horror that has descended upon us,” he said.

Suspects

The current suspects for carrying out the London bombings are:

  • Mohammad Sidique Khan: Aged 30, from Beeston, Leeds, recently moved to Dewsbury, married with baby. ID found at Edgware Road blast site.
  • Hasib Mir Hussain (confirmed): Aged 18, lived Holbeck, Leeds. Reported missing on day of bombings. Said to have turned very religious two years ago. ID found in No 30 bus.
  • Shehzad Tanweer (confirmed): Aged 22, born Bradford, lived Beeston, Leeds. Studied religion in Pakistan. Forensic evidence linking him to Aldgate blast.
  • Lindsey Germaine: Jamaican-born man who lived in Buckinghamshire.

Sources

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