Friend of Manchester Arena bomber to be released on parole

Friend of Manchester Arena bomber to be released on parole
Police officers stand guard in Manchester as they continue their investigations in the wake of the Manchester Arena bomb attack. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 November 2020

Friend of Manchester Arena bomber to be released on parole

Friend of Manchester Arena bomber to be released on parole
  • Abedi visited Abdallah in prison twice and the pair were in regular telephone contact discussing martyrdom
  • Abdallah has “important evidence” about the background to the deadly attack

LONDON: A friend of the Manchester Arena bomber imprisoned on terror charges is to be released on parole.
Abdalraouf Abdallah, who has “important evidence” about the background to the deadly attack, has refused to cooperate with the public inquiry into it, The Guardian reported.
He was visited by attacker Salman Abedi in jail in the months leading up to the arena bombing in which 22 people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured.
Abedi visited him in prison twice and the pair were in regular telephone contact discussing martyrdom, the inquiry heard.
Abdallah was jailed in 2016 for more than five years for involvement in helping people join extremists in Syria. Despite his refusal to speak to lawyers for the inquiry about his links with Abedi, Abdallah will be released on parole.
He is claiming legal privilege by refusing to answer questions that may incriminate him, the hearing into the attack was told.
“We have no doubt he is a witness with important evidence to give. We are continuing to pursue this line of inquiry. We hope on reflection he will cooperate, so will press for him to give evidence before the inquiry,” Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, previously said.
“Salman Abedi’s relationship with Abdalraouf Abdallah was one of some significance in the period prior to the bombing and we are determined to get to the bottom of it,” Greaney added.
Abedi visited Abdallah in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison in February 2015 while he was on remand for terror offenses and in January 2017 at another prison in Liverpool.


Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try
A view of Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit, with a rocket underneath the wing of a modified Boeing 747 jetliner, during test launch of its high-altitude launch system for satellites from Mojave, California, U.S. January 17, 2021. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 January 2021

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try
  • The rocket’s upper stage coasted for a period, reignited to circularize the orbit and then deployed the nine CubeSats

LOS ANGELES: Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reached space on Sunday, eight months after the first demonstration flight of its air-launched rocket system failed, the company said.
A 70-foot-long (21.34-meter-long) LauncherOne rocket was released from beneath the wing of a Boeing 747 carrier aircraft off the coast of Southern California, ignited moments later and soared toward space.
The two-stage rocket carried a cluster of very small satellites known as CubeSats developed and built as part of a NASA educational program involving US universities.
The launch occurred after the Boeing 747-400 took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert north of Los Angeles and flew out over the Pacific Ocean to a drop point beyond the Channel Islands.
“According to telemetry, LauncherOne has reached orbit!” Virgin Orbit tweeted later. “Everyone on the team who is not in mission control right now is going absolutely bonkers.”
The rocket’s upper stage coasted for a period, reignited to circularize the orbit and then deployed the nine CubeSats.
The flight developments were announced on social media. The launch was not publicly livestreamed.
Virgin Orbit, based in Long Beach, California, is part of a wave of companies targeting the launch market for increasingly capable small satellites, which may range in sizes comparable to a toaster on up to a home refrigerator.
Competitor Rocket Lab, also headquartered in Long Beach, has deployed 96 payloads in 17 launches of its Electron rocket from a site in New Zealand. Another of its rockets was nearing launch Sunday.
Virgin Orbit touts the flexibility of its capability to begin its missions by using airports around the globe.
Virgin Orbit attempted its first demonstration launch in May 2020.
The rocket was released and ignited but only briefly flew under power before it stopped thrusting. The lost payload was only a test satellite.
The company later said an investigation determined there was a breach in a high-pressure line carrying cryogenic liquid oxygen to the first-stage combustion chamber.
Virgin Orbit is separate from Virgin Galactic, the company founded by Branson to carry passengers on suborbital hops in which they will experience the sensations and sights of spaceflight.
Virgin Galactic expects to begin commercial operations this year in southern New Mexico.