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British Police ‘Satisfied’ They Know Identity of Car Attack Suspect

British counterterrorism police say they believe they know the identity of the man they arrested Tuesday after he crashed a car into a group of pedestrians and cyclists outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

Authorities have not publicly identified the man, saying only he is a 29-year-old British national who is originally from Sudan.

He is being held on suspicion of preparation of a terrorist act as well as attempted murder.

Police said Wednesday the priority for investigators remains figuring out the motivation behind the incident that injured three people. Two of those hurt were taken to the hospital for treatment, but both have since been released.

Officers have completed searches at two sites in Birmingham and one in Nottingham, and another search was ongoing Wednesday at another address in Birmingham.

London Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu told reporters on Tuesday that based on what authorities knew about the suspect so far it did not appear that he was someone previously known to British counterterror or intelligence agencies.

Prime Minister Theresa May wrote in a post on Twitter, “My thoughts are with those injured in the incident in Westminster and my thanks to the emergency services for their immediate and courageous response.”

President Donald Trump also reacted to the incident on Twitter, saying: “Another terrorist attack in London… These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!”

Last year, a man drove a car into pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge, killing four people there before stabbing to death a police officer outside parliament. Police shot that attacker dead.

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British Police ‘Satisfied’ They Know Identity of Car Attack Suspect

British counterterrorism police say they believe they know the identity of the man they arrested Tuesday after he crashed a car into a group of pedestrians and cyclists outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

Authorities have not publicly identified the man, saying only he is a 29-year-old British national who is originally from Sudan.

He is being held on suspicion of preparation of a terrorist act as well as attempted murder.

Police said Wednesday the priority for investigators remains figuring out the motivation behind the incident that injured three people. Two of those hurt were taken to the hospital for treatment, but both have since been released.

Officers have completed searches at two sites in Birmingham and one in Nottingham, and another search was ongoing Wednesday at another address in Birmingham.

London Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu told reporters on Tuesday that based on what authorities knew about the suspect so far it did not appear that he was someone previously known to British counterterror or intelligence agencies.

Prime Minister Theresa May wrote in a post on Twitter, “My thoughts are with those injured in the incident in Westminster and my thanks to the emergency services for their immediate and courageous response.”

President Donald Trump also reacted to the incident on Twitter, saying: “Another terrorist attack in London… These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!”

Last year, a man drove a car into pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge, killing four people there before stabbing to death a police officer outside parliament. Police shot that attacker dead.

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Malta Lets European Migrant Ship Safely Dock After 4 Days at Sea

The United Nations on Wednesday welcomed Malta’s agreement to allow a European rescue ship carrying 141 migrants to dock at one of its ports after the vessel became the latest to stuck in a disagreement among various nations about what to do with people rescued at sea.

The U.N.’s refugee agency further commended France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain for joining Malta in taking in the migrants once they reach shore.

But the agency’s chief Filippo Grandi said the situation never should have existed, calling it “dangerous and immoral” that rescue ships are left to sit at sea while governments do their best to take as little responsibility as possible.

“There is an urgent need to break away from the current run of impasses and ad-hoc boat-by-boat approaches on where to dock rescued passengers,” Grandi said. “Only with clearly identifiable ports of safety will shipmasters feel confident when responding to distress calls that they’ll be able to promptly disembark passengers, and won’t become objects of lengthy negotiations.”

After initially refusing to let the Aquarius dock, Malta changed its mind when five other European Union nations agreed to take in the migrants. Malta called it a “concrete example of European leadership and solidarity.” 

The migrants to be given refuge across the EU include 141 from the Aquarius, and 114 others Malta rescued in the Mediterranean Monday.

France, which has agreed to take in 60 of the migrants, is thanking Malta “for its humanitarian gesture.”

“Maybe European states have finally understood that this concerns our common border at the south of Europe, that this is a problem for the 28 member states, and that we can’t avoid responsibility,” said Frederic Penard of the European rescue group SOS Mediterranee, which operates the Aquarius with Doctors Without Borders.

On Friday, the Aquarius picked up the 141 migrants who were stuck in unstable wooden boats off the Libyan coast.

SOS Mediterranee said most of the migrants came from Somalia and Eritrea and had been held in inhumane conditions in Libya before heading out to sea. Many were suffering from malnutrition.

Thousands of people from sub-Saharan Africa and countries such as Syria and Afghanistan try crossing the Mediterranean every year to escape war, terrorism and poverty for a better life in the European Union.

Italy had been the most popular destination for the migrants because its islands are closest to the coast of North Africa.

But Italy is refusing to accept any more, saying it has done enough and that other EU members must pitch in. 

It also said cooperating with private rescue ships like the Aquarius plays into the hands of human traffickers who get large sums of money and abandon their passengers at sea.

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British Police Search for Motive In Westminster Crash

British police are investigating several addresses in Birmingham and Nottingham in connection with a suspected terror attack near the Houses of Parliament Tuesday in London. A 29-year-old man was arrested after driving a silver Ford Fiesta into a crowd of pedestrians and bike riders, causing injuries, before he ran into a barrier. The police have not identified the man but said he was a British citizen originating from another country and not a London resident. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports.

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Thieves in Belgium Steal More Than $1M Worth of Red Bull Drinks

Thirsty thieves stole more than 300 pallets of Red Bull cans worth around one million euros ($1.13) from a depot in Belgium in what police described on Tuesday as a “very professional” heist.

The energy drink — whose slogan is “Red Bull gives you wings” — was stolen on Sunday from an industrial estate in Menin district, on the French border.

The team of thieves took around 12 hours and made repeated trips to take the equivalent of 11 trucks worth of the drink from the depot, which is on the motorway linking the Belgian city of Ghent to Lille in northern France.

A Belgian police source told AFP they were using CCTV images to identify the suspects, and would not rule out that they had inside help.

Belgium’s Dutch-language Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper made fun of the brand’s slogan, saying “it seems 950,000 cans have themselves been given wings.”

Red Bull was created in the 1980s by the Austrian businessman Dietrich Mateschitz and is a major sponsor of sports including motor racing,

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Watchdog: Russian-Made Arms in Rebel-Held Eastern Ukraine

A security watchdog on Tuesday said for the first time it had spotted Russian-made weapons in rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine, despite the Kremlin insisting it has not provided arms in the conflict.

The statement from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is a rare independent confirmation that sophisticated Russian-produced arms are involved in the fight between the Ukrainian army and separatists.

In a statement to AFP, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine said that on July 28, it had “spotted four distinct electronic warfare systems … in areas not controlled by the government.”

The mission said one of its drones had seen the Leer-3, Krasukha-2, Bylina, and Repellent-1 systems some 64 kilometers (40 miles) south-west of the rebels’ stronghold Luhansk.

The systems – designed to jam mobile communication and disable radar guided missiles – started being produced only a few years ago and are made in Russia.

The OSCE report did not explicitly name the country of origin.

Repellent-1 was designed to disable and destroy drones at distances of up to roughly 30 kilometers, according to Russian media.

The mission confirmed to AFP that its drones, which are used to monitor the four-year-old conflict, have been jammed dozens of times, but refused to speculate on the source of the interference.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since the conflict with Moscow-backed rebels broke out in April 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of funneling troops and arms across the border.

Moscow has denied the allegations despite overwhelming evidence that it has been involved in the fighting.

The OSCE team’s 600 members are the only independent monitoring mission in the war-torn area.

They provide daily reports on the fighting and have drawn the insurgents’ ire for accusing them of being responsible for most violations of a truce deal.

 

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Swedish Leader Voices Anger After Dozens of Cars Burned

Masked youths torched dozens of cars overnight in Sweden and threw rocks at police, prompting an angry response from the prime minister, who denounced an “extremely organized” night of vandalism.

About 80 cars were set ablaze overnight, chiefly in Sweden’s second largest city, Goteborg, and nearby Trollhattan, an industrial city, and fires were also reported on a smaller scale in Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city, police said Tuesday.

 

In Trollhattan, northeast of Goteborg, where at least six cars were burned, rocks were also thrown at police and roads were blocked. Goteborg is 400 kilometers (250 miles) southwest of Stockholm.

 

Police noted the fires started within a short period of time and believe “there is a connection between the blazes.”

 

“As of now we have no motive whatsoever,” police spokesman Christer Fuxborg told The Associated Press. “Our theory is that the fires have somehow been coordinated on social media like Snapchat but we do not know why.”

 

Local newspaper Goteborg-Posten noted police in recent days have been active in pursuing drug dealers in Frolunda, a suburb of Goteborg where of some the fires took place.

 

“Honestly we do not know whether this has something to do with it,” Fuxborg said.

 

Photos posted by Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet showed black-clad men torching cars on a parking lot near Goteborg.

 

Sweden’s news agency TT said witnesses had seen “masked youngsters” running away.

 

Several youths that police met at the scene have been identified.

 

“We have spoken with them but we cannot conclude they started the fires. We also have spoken with their parents,” Fuxborg said, adding police were in the early stages of the investigation.

 

Two people, aged 16 and 21 and living in Frolunda were detained for questioning, Fuxborg said. They later were formally arrested on suspicion of arson. More suspects likely could be detained.

 

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven lashed out at the perpetrators, asking them: “What the heck are you doing?”

 

In an interview on Swedish radio, he said he was “really getting mad” and that “society must react in a tough manner.” He said the fires seemed to be “extremely organized.”

 

No injuries have been reported. However, the fires occupy police and rescue officials and frighten residents.

 

“You damage residential areas and ruin it for your neighbors,” Lofven said.

 

“I am speechless. This so terrible, it’s destructive and it’s pure evil,” Jonas Ransgaard, a member of the Goteborg City council, told local daily Goteborgs-Posten.

 

 

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White House: Trump Aide Bolton Met Turkish Envoy to Discuss US Pastor 

White House national security adviser John Bolton met on Monday with Turkey’s ambassador to the United States to discuss Turkey’s detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, the White House said.

“At the Turkish ambassador’s request, Ambassador John Bolton met with Ambassador Serdar Kilic of Turkey (on Monday) in the White House. They discussed Turkey’s continued detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson and the state of the U.S.-Turkey relationship,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

“The fact that there’s ongoing discussions between the two countries regarding Brunson’s return to the U.S. is positive,” said Jay Sekulow, an attorney for U.S. President Donald Trump who is also representing Brunson’s family. “I look forward to the Brunson family returning to the U.S.”

Relations between NATO allies Turkey and the United States are at a low point, hurt by Brunson’s detention, as well as diverging interests in Syria. Trump doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports last week, contributing to a precipitous fall in the lira.

U.S. officials have given no indication that the United States has been prepared to give any ground over the Brunson issue, with Trump seemingly content to keep up economic pressure.

The United States is also considering a fine against Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank for allegedly helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions. Earlier this month, the United States imposed sanctions on two top officials in Erdogan’s cabinet in an attempt to get Turkey to turn over Brunson.

Last week, Trump tweeted that “our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said the Trump administration was carefully monitoring the financial situation in Turkey after its currency fell to a record low against the U.S. dollar on Monday.

“We’re monitoring it very closely. Treasury Secretary (Steven) Mnuchin is monitoring it very closely,” Hassett, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told MSNBC.

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White House Adviser Hassett: US Monitoring Turkey Situation ‘Very Closely’

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on Monday the Trump administration is monitoring the financial situation in Turkey “very closely” after the Turkish currency fell to a record low against the U.S. dollar on Monday.

“We’re monitoring it very closely. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is monitoring it very closely,” Hassett, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told MSNBC.

The Turkish lira has lost more than 40 percent against the dollar this year, largely due to worries about President Tayyip Erdogan’s influence over the economy, his repeated calls for lower interest rates, and worsening ties with the United States.

Hassett said President Donald Trump’s decision to double tariffs on Turkish steel was “a tiny, tiny fraction” of Turkey’s gross domestic product, “so for the currency to drop 40 percent is a sign that there are a lot of economic fundamentals that are out of whack in that country.”

“When a country loses it connection to liberal democracy then you don’t really know what’s going to happen next to the economy and I think there is a lot of uncertainty,” Hassett said.

Turkey’s lira pulled back from a record low of 7.24 to the dollar on Monday after the Turkish central bank pledged to provide liquidity, but it remained under selling pressure and its meltdown caused further unease on global markets.

Trump announced on Friday the doubling of tariffs on U.S. imports of Turkish steel to 50 percent. The White House said Trump would use a section of U.S. law that allows for tariffs on national security grounds to impose the increased duties.

Washington and Ankara have been at odds for months over an American pastor detained in Turkey, the Syrian civil war and other diplomatic issues.

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Greek Town Loves Movie Score Maestro Morricone — And It Shows

Once upon a time in central Greece … a small town fell in love with famed film composer Ennio Morricone and painted a huge mural in his honor.

The residents of Larissa have launched a fan club dedicated to the Italian maestro — known for his scores for classic movies Once Upon a Time in America, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and The Mission.

Members of the Cultural Society of Friends of Ennio Morricone Music in Greece screen his films and broadcast his concerts live on screens at archaeological sites.

In the latest sign of their appreciation, they have commissioned a mural of Morricone’s bespectacled profile on a five-story residential block, about 1,000 km (620 miles) away from his birthplace in Rome.

“It is very visible, we wanted a clear illustration of him, so it could always remain here in our town, magnificent, like him and his large body of work,” said society president Konstantinos Papakostas.

Papakostas set up the society in 2010 after seeing the Oscar-winning composer perform live in the Italian capital, then Assago, Milan.

He spread the word in Larissa and has since persuaded 1,080 fellow townspeople to sign up as members.

“I am completely in awe of him and his music,” Papakostas said.

Morricone, who turns 90 this year, is still composing music and has a series of performances lined up as part of “The 60 Years in Music” tour.