A teenager who traveled to Syria to join Islamic State has called on people in the UK to have sympathy for her, the day after giving birth to a boy in a refugee camp. Shamima Begum, 19, who left the UK with two school friends in 2015, spoke to the Times while heavily pregnant earlier this week from the al-Hawl refugee camp in north-eastern Syria. She said she was desperate to come back to the UK. Begum married Yago Riedijk, 27, a Dutch convert to Islam, 10 days after arriving in the city of Raqqa in 2015. She had two children, both of whom died.
John Cantlie, a British journalist who was taken hostage in Syria in 2012 and appeared in a number of ISIS propaganda videos during his time in captivity, is believed to be alive, UK Security Minister Ben Wallace said Tuesday. Cantlie, an experienced war photographer, was covering the Syrian conflict when he was abducted alongside American journalist James Foley, who was later beheaded by ISIS. Asked generally about British hostages around the world, Wallace said the UK does not pay ransom and discourages other countries from doing so.
An attempt by British lawmakers to prevent a no-deal Brexit was gaining momentum on Wednesday after the opposition Labour Party said it was highly likely to throw its parliamentary weight behind the bid. The United Kingdom, in the deepest political crisis since World War Two, is due according to law to leave the European Union at 2300 GMT on March 29, yet it has no approved deal on how the divorce will take place. Prime Minister Theresa May is battling to break the deadlock after last week’s crushing defeat of her two-year attempt to forge an orderly divorce raised the prospect of an exit without a deal.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has seen off a bid to remove her government from power, winning a no-confidence vote by 325 to 306. Rebel Tory MPs and the DUP – who 24 hours earlier rejected the PM’s Brexit plan by a huge margin – voted to keep her in Downing Street. Giving her reaction to the result, Mrs May told MPs she would “continue to work to deliver on the solemn promise to the people of this country to deliver on the result of the referendum and leave the European Union”.
The British police and military forces were working on Wednesday to upgrade the security of airspace around London Heathrow Airport, the busiest in Europe, after drone sightings briefly interrupted service there Tuesday evening. The sightings, which prompted the airport to halt flight departures for about an hour, came less than three weeks after Gatwick, Britain’s second-busiest airport, was shut down for parts of three days because of drone sightings.
The second largest airport in the UK has been closed after what police called a ‘deliberate act’ using drones. Drones were spotted near the airfield of Gatwick Airport on Wednesday night causing its closure. The police are considering the ‘tactical option’ of shooting down the drone. The Army has been called to assist the police.
British Prime Minister Theresa May retains her position as Tory leader following a vote on Wednesday night. The secret no-confidence vote weakened May’s leadership as she won by just 200 to 117 votes in the wake of Brexit disagreements. May continues to seek changes to the Brexit deal to increase its appeal to Parliament.
The British academic Matthew Hedges has returned to the UK, a day after he was pardoned and released in the United Arab Emirates after being sentenced to life in prison for spying. The UAE released Hedges, 31, on Monday after showing a video of him apparently confessing to being a member of Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency. Britain denied he was a spy and welcomed his release.
A British Ph.D. student has been sentenced to life in prison in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for spying. Matthew Hedges, 31, of Durham University, has said he is innocent, and that he had been researching the country’s security strategy. Prosecutors say he admitted the charges in an Abu Dhabi court, which found him guilty of “spying for or on behalf of” the UK government. British Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK was urgently seeking talks with the Emirati government on the issue.
Official UK figures showed that wages excluding bonuses increased at their fastest pace in nearly ten years. The latest report from the Office for National Statistics showed wages 3.1% higher than in the same quarter last year. The chief economist at the Bank of England noted signs of a ‘new dawn’ for wage growth in UK.