Pro Palestinian protesters storm UK factory ‘supplying Israeli drone parts’

Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
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Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
Activists from Palestine Action occupying the site are intending to be as disruptive as possible. (VX Pictures)
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Activists from Palestine Action occupying the site are intending to be as disruptive as possible. (VX Pictures)
Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
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Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
Activists from Palestine Action occupying the site are intending to be as disruptive as possible. (VX Pictures)
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Activists from Palestine Action occupying the site are intending to be as disruptive as possible. (VX Pictures)
Activists from Palestine Action occupying the site are intending to be as disruptive as possible. (VX Pictures)
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Activists from Palestine Action occupying the site are intending to be as disruptive as possible. (VX Pictures)
Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
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Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
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Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
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Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
Activists from Palestine Action occupying the site are intending to be as disruptive as possible. (VX Pictures)
9 / 11
Activists from Palestine Action occupying the site are intending to be as disruptive as possible. (VX Pictures)
Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
10 / 11
Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
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Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
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Updated 11 June 2021

Pro Palestinian protesters storm UK factory ‘supplying Israeli drone parts’

Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
  • Héroux-Devtek, which owns APPH, denied that it supplied parts to Elbit
  • Palestine Action alleges that drones manufactured by Elbit are used to ‘bombard and surveil Palestinian civilians before entering the global market’.

LONDON: Pro-Palestinian activists stormed a factory run by a Canadian-owned aerospace company in northern England on Thursday.
The protesters claimed the plant supplies components for an Israeli drone manufacturer.
Three activists from Palestine Action “at 4:30 a.m. stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone,” the group said.
“This is why as Palestine Action we targeted this company...and as part of the campaign growing to #ShutElbitDown, we are now expanding and targeting suppliers who would provide parts for the Israeli weapons, and also the companies who are housing them in their premises, because without these companies Elbit would not be able to operate,” Huda Ammori, co-founder of Palestine Action, told Arab News.
Palestine Action alleges that drones manufactured by Elbit are used to “bombard and surveil Palestinian civilians before entering the global market, sold as battle-tested to repressive regimes across the globe.”
However Héroux-Devtek, which owns APPH, denied that it supplied parts to Elbit, the BBC reported.

The company’s president and CEO Martin Brassard, said Héroux-Devtek had designed and manufactured the nose landing gear for the British Watchkeeper WK450 surveillance drone for use with the British Army.
“Since the initial manufacturing was completed around 2012, Héroux-Devtek has been involved with the low-level maintenance of the NLG to support the ongoing operational use of this aircraft with the British Army via our customer UTACS,” he said.
“The equipment and services we provide for this equipment have never been exported, with EUU (End User Undertaking) statements for UK only.”
Amoori said activists occupying the site are intending to be as disruptive as possible, adding that police arrived at the scene at around 6 a.m.
The protesters were still on the roof late into Thursday evening.
Cheshire police said their role was to impartially allow for protesting, while ensuring that others can continue in their legitimate business activities, or commuting.
“However where offenses are committed we will take action,” the statement added.

Amoori said she expected the activists to remain on the roof for a while.
The storming of APPH Runcorn, near Liverpool, follows a similar protest on Wednesday at the headquarters of LaSalle Investment Management, who are the landlords of Elbit’s London offices.
The group has vowed to continue to target all “complicit suppliers, landlords, shippers, financiers, and more” that Elbit rely on for their operations.
On May 26, Palestine Action occupied the Elbit factory in Tamworth. “We have occupied three factories in the past month, and we have taken action against Elbit’s landlords as well,” Amoori added.


Partying youths defy Paris police for third night running

Partying youths defy Paris police for third night running
Updated 25 min 4 sec ago

Partying youths defy Paris police for third night running

Partying youths defy Paris police for third night running
  • Officials have urged people to continue respecting social distancing limits as the country emerges from its third COVID-19 lockdown

PARIS: Paris police said Sunday that three people were detained after officers used tear gas to disperse hundreds of youths gathered for a street party in defiance of COVID-19 social distancing limits and an 11:00 p.m. curfew.
The so-called Project X gatherings, a reference to an American film from 2012, on the vast lawns in front of the Invalides war museum on Saturday was the third since Thursday.
Videos on social media showed largely maskless youths surrounding a car and then climbing and jumping on its roof, while others bombarded police vans with bottles.
Other parties were broken up in the Tuileries gardens near the Louvre and on the banks of the Seine River, police said, as people enjoying warm evenings outside found it difficult to respect the coronavirus curfew.
Many bars across the city remained open after 11:00 p.m. over the weekend, the first since the curfew was pushed back from 9:00 p.m. last Wednesday, according to AFP reporters.
“We had our ‘bac’ [high school exit exam] this year and we really needed to let loose,” said Cedric, 17, who came with friends from the nearby 15th district of the capital.
Officials have urged people to continue respecting social distancing limits as the country emerges from its third COVID-19 lockdown.
Since Wednesday, bars and restaurants are allowed to serve patrons indoors for the first time since October, and the government plans to drop the nationwide curfew entirely on June 30.
Health authorities reported 3,972 new cases over the previous 24 hours on Saturday, while the number of patients in intensive care fell to 2,110, far below the peak of nearly 6,000 during the third wave of cases that began in March.
Thirty-four deaths were reported, bringing the French total to 110,407.


Gas explosion in China kills 11, rescue operation ongoing

Gas explosion in China kills 11, rescue operation ongoing
Updated 13 June 2021

Gas explosion in China kills 11, rescue operation ongoing

Gas explosion in China kills 11, rescue operation ongoing
  • Rescue efforts were continuing, a statement by the government in Shiyan city said
BEIJING: At least 11 people were killed and 37 others seriously injured when a gas line explosion ripped through a residential compound in central China’s Hubei province on Sunday, local officials said.
Rescue efforts were continuing, a statement by the government in Shiyan city said, adding at least 144 people were pulled from a badly damaged market building.

As summit ends, G-7 urged to deliver on vaccines, climate

As summit ends, G-7 urged to deliver on vaccines, climate
Updated 13 June 2021

As summit ends, G-7 urged to deliver on vaccines, climate

As summit ends, G-7 urged to deliver on vaccines, climate
  • Uncertain how firm the group’s commitments will be on coronavirus vaccines
  • Leaders mingled with Queen Elizabeth II at a royal reception on their first evening

FALMOUTH, England: The Group of Seven leaders aim to end their first summit in two years with a punchy set of promises Sunday, including vaccinating the world against coronavirus, making huge corporations pay their fair share of taxes and tackling climate change with a blend of technology and money.
They want to show that international cooperation is back after the upheavals caused both by the pandemic and the unpredictability of former US President Donald Trump. And they want to convey that the club of wealthy democracies — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — is a better friend to poorer nations than authoritarian rivals such as China.
But it was uncertain how firm the group’s commitments will be on coronavirus vaccines, the economy and the environment when the leaders issue their final communique. Also unclear was whether all of the leaders would back the United States’ call to chastise China for repressing its Uyghur minority and other abuses.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the summit’s host, wanted the three-day meeting to fly the flag for a “Global Britain,” his government’s initiative to give the midsized country outsized influence when it comes to global problem-solving.
Brexit cast a shadow over that goal during the summit on the coast of southwest England. European Union leaders and US President Joe Biden voiced concerns about problems with new UK-EU trade rules that have heightened tensions in Northern Ireland.
But overall, the mood has been positive: The leaders smiled for the cameras on the beach at cliff-fringed Carbis Bay, a village and resort that became a traffic-clogged fortress for the meeting. The last G-7 summit was in France in 2019. The pandemic scuttled the planned 2020 event in the United States.
The leaders mingled with Queen Elizabeth II at a royal reception on their first evening, and were served steak and lobster at a beach barbecue on their second.
America’s allies were visibly relieved to have the US back as an engaged international player after the “America First” policy of the Trump administration.
“The United States is back, and democracies of the world are standing together,” Biden said as he arrived in the UK on the first foreign trip of his 5-month-old presidency. After the G-7 summit, the president is to have tea with the queen on Sunday, attend a NATO summit in Brussels on Monday and hold talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday.
At the G-7, Johnson described Biden as a “breath of fresh air.” French President Emmanuel Macron, after speaking one-to-one with Biden, said, “It’s great to have a US president part of the club and very willing to cooperate.”
The re-energized G-7 made ambitious declarations during their meetings about girls’ education, preventing future pandemics and using the finance system to fund green growth. Above all, they vowed to share vaccine doses with less well-off nations that urgently need them. Johnson said the group would pledge at least 1 billion doses, with half that coming from the United States and 100 million from Britain.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commended the vaccine pledge but said it’s not enough. To truly end the pandemic, he said, 11 billion doses are needed to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the world’s population by the middle of next year.
“We need more and we need them faster,” Tedros said.
Public health advocates said much more than just doses was needed, including money and logistical help to get shots into the arms of people in poorer countries.
“It’s not enough to just get vaccines flown into capitals,” said Lily Caprani, head of COVID-19 vaccines advocacy for UNICEF. “We can’t let them potentially go to waste or be at risk or be at risk of not being delivered. So it’s a real end-to-end solution that’s needed.”
The leaders’ final communique is expected to formally embrace placing a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent on large multinational companies to stop corporations from using tax havens to shift profits and to avoid taxes.


Canada pays final homage to Muslim family killed in terror attack

Canada pays final homage to Muslim family killed in terror attack
Updated 13 June 2021

Canada pays final homage to Muslim family killed in terror attack

Canada pays final homage to Muslim family killed in terror attack
  • Canadian PM Trudeau called the killings a “terrorist attack” and vowed to clamp down on far-right groups and online hate
  • The four victims were killed by Nathaniel Veltman while they were out for an evening walk near their home in London, Ontario

LONDON, Canada: Several hundred people gathered in London, Ontario on Saturday to pay homage to a Muslim family deliberately mowed down by the driver of a pick-up truck, in an attack that has shocked Canadians and which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced as “terrorist.”
Four members of the Afzaal family — a man and his wife, their teenage daughter and his mother — were out for a walk in their London neighborhood Sunday when a 20-year-old man in a black pickup truck drove into them on purpose, according to authorities.
A fifth family member, a nine-year-old boy, was seriously injured.
On Saturday, hundreds of people filled a large parking lot and a football field next to the London Islamic center, where a private ceremony was held, to join in a public remembrance around the family’s four caskets, each covered with a Canadian flag.
“The very fact that their coffins are draped in the beautiful Canadian flag is a testimony of the fact that the entire Canadian nation stands with them,” Pakistan’s ambassador to Canada, Raza Bashir Tarar, told the crowd.
The ceremony, with brief remarks and prayers, was broadcast live on major Canadian networks.
“We are not alone in our grief,” said Ali Islam, an uncle of Madiha Salman, one of the victims. He stressed that the outpouring of support “has been the first step toward finding a way to heal.”
“We realized that our extended family was much larger than we could have ever imagined.”
Another speaker at the event, Sajid Ali Mohamed, noted that the attack on the Muslim family has been described as terrorism, instead of being blamed on mental illness.
“If it’s not a turning point, at least it’s a nudge in the right direction,” he said.

Pallbearers arrange the caskets at a funeral service for the terror attack victims in London, Ontario, on June 12, 2021. (Geoff Robins/The Canadian Press via AP)

The funeral cortege then headed to a cemetery — as people lined the route in a show of solidarity — for the private burial of Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha, 44, their daughter Yumna, 15 and Salman’s mother Talat, 74.
Many people wore either green ribbons, in support of the Muslim community, or mauve ones, Yumna’s favorite color.The attack has badly shaken the Muslim community and other Canadians as well.
Numerous vigils and solemn commemorations have taken place across Canada in recent days.
On Friday, several thousand people joined in an ecumenical walk through the streets of London, which is home to some 30,000 Muslims.
Many bore posters reading “We are all human” or “Hate kills.”
People also paid homage Friday in Quebec City, where a January 2017 mosque shooting claimed six lives.
The latest attack has fueled debate about the prevalence of Islamophobia in Canada and, within the Muslim community heightened fears that outward signs of religious affiliation can make a person a target.
In an interview with the CBC network, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said the attack had shocked people across Pakistan.
He called on the international community to take action against “hate websites which create hatred among human beings.”
“Some international leaders, or leaders in the Western countries, actually don’t understand this phenomenon,” he added in excerpts of the interview released ahead of its broadcast on Sunday.
Twenty-year-old Nathaniel Veltman, who has no criminal record and no known link to any extremist group, has been charged in the attack with four counts of first-degree murder and one of attempted murder.
Police say the attack was planned and motivated by hatred, and have not ruled out adding terrorism-related charges.
Trudeau has promised to step up the fight against extremist groups.
Following the attack, Canadian deputies adopted a nonbinding resolution, introduced by the left-leaning New Democratic Party, calling for a national summit on Islamophobia this summer — as many Canadian Muslim organizations have demanded.


Shooting in Texas capital leaves 14 wounded; one suspect still at large

Shooting in Texas capital leaves 14 wounded; one suspect still at large
Updated 13 June 2021

Shooting in Texas capital leaves 14 wounded; one suspect still at large

Shooting in Texas capital leaves 14 wounded; one suspect still at large
  • Two of the injured were in hospital in critical condition and the other 12 were in stable condition

TEXAS: Fourteen people were wounded after two men opened fire at each other in a busy entertainment district in downtown Austin, Texas early on Saturday, police said, adding that one of the suspected shooters remained at large.
Gunfire erupted at about 1:30 a.m. in the Sixth Street area, a popular nightlife destination in the state capital, Austin Police Department Interim Chief Joseph Chacon said in a news conference on Saturday afternoon.
"This does appear to be an isolated incident between two parties," he said. "Most of the victims were innocent bystanders."
Police officers who were nearby rushed to the scene where they applied tourniquets and performed CPR on victims, Chacon said.
Two of the injured were in hospital in critical condition and the other 12 were in stable condition. There were no deaths, Chacon said.
The Austin Police Department said on Saturday evening that one suspect had been arrested with the help of the US Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, and that officers were continuing to follow up on leads to apprehend the remaining suspect.