Science

Nearly a third of all weapons used by Isil on the battlefield were manufactured in EU, report claims 

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Nearly a third of all weapons used by Isil on the battlefield were manufactured in the European Union, according to the most thorough investigation yet into how the jihadist group acquired its vast arsenal.  

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants relied heavily on guns and ammunition produced by Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Germany, a report released on Thursday by Conflict Armament Research (CAR), an international organisation that documents weapons trafficking in war zones, revealed.

The only bigger producer of weapons used by the group was found to be China.

The revelation sits uncomfortably with the EU’s effort to degrade the group’s military capacity, CAR researchers say, and highlights how easily weapons can end up in the wrong hands in “messy” conflicts.

Their 200-page report provides the most comprehensive, verified study of the group’s weapons to date, presenting an analysis of more than 40,000 items recovered from Isil forces over three years.

It concludes that international weapon supplies intended for rebel factions in the Syrian conflict ended up with Isil, “significantly augmenting the quantity and quality of weapons in its arsenal”.

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World’s largest passenger plane in Christmas stunt over Germany  

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A skilled pilot embraced the Christmas spirit with a festive stunt while flying over Germany and Denmark.

Flying the world’s largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, the pilot drew the outline of a Christmas tree – complete with decorations – in the sky on 13 December.

An outline of the flight path at 40,000ft was shared by Flightradar24, a site which tracks air traffic in real time, after the plane took off from Hamburg for the five-hour flight.

A spokesperson for Airbus explained it was a normal internal test flight before the delivery of a new aircraft, adding: “There are hundreds of these flights every year.

“The routing of these flights is flexible, they take-off and land at the Airbus Airport in Hamburg-Finkenwerder,” they told The Telegraph.

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Britain First leader Paul Golding arrested in Belfast over rally speech as his deputy faces Twitter ban

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Ms Fransen and Paul Golding, the party’s leader, separately face charges for inciting racial hatred over protests in Kent, dating back to the summer.

Following the revelation Mr Trump had retweeted her videos, she wrote on Twitter  in capital letters: “The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has retweeted three of Deputy Leader Jayda Fransen’s Twitter videos! Donald Trump himself has retweeted these videos and has around 44 million followers! God bless you Trump! God bless America!”

Ms Fransen has posted more than 15,000 tweets since opening her Twitter account 18 months ago.

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Vladimir Putin says it’s ‘not my job’ to create rivals for his 2018 election bid, as he hosts annual press conference

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The subtext was that anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny has been barred from running.

“It’s not my job to raise competitors,” Mr Putin said, noting that Russia had seen huge growth in GDP and incomes during his 18 years in power. He said the opposition “shouldn’t make noise in the streets,” hinting at the street protests Mr Navalny called in dozens of cities across Russia this spring.

“That’s the main problem of those who want to be a competitive opposition … they need to present real issues that people will believe in,” he said.

Mr Navalny was among those live-tweeting the press conference, lampooning softball questions and Mr Putin’s rose-tinted answers.

After Mr Putin argued that the opposition should offer real alternatives rather than street protests, Mr Navalny tweeted the electoral platform he published on Wednesday.

“This is what the non-parliamentary opposition is offering, Vladimir Vladimirovich,” he wrote. “You’re just trying hard not to notice.”

Mr Putin also said he will run as an independent, a logical move given that his personal popularity is higher than that of the ruling United Russia party.

The party is headed by PM Dmitry Medvedev, who served as president from 2008-12 before giving up the seat to Mr Putin in a maneuver to avoid the constitutional two-term limit. 

Mr Putin then batted away a question about whether over-reaching security officials were the real traitors to the country.

“You love to provoke with you traitors and fifth columnists,” he said before taking a more staid question about the central bank.

The first hour of the press conference were focused on the economy, which is expected to return to moderate growth after flagging under low oil prices and Western sanctions.

Putin will ‘defend the honour’ of its athletes in civil courts

After an hour-and-a-half of questions about the economy and the election, Mr Putin’s press secretary shifted the conversation to sport. Last week, the International Olympic Committee banned Russia from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics for its systematic doping, saying its athletes would have to compete under a neutral flag.

Mr Putin argued that Russia was the victim of double standards and said the government would bring lawsuits in civil courts to “defend the honour” of its athletes who had been banned for doping violations.

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Millionaire’s daughter, 15, ‘stranded in London after rail staff refuse to believe she is a child’

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A millionaire businessman has spoken out after claiming rail staff at London Euston refused to let his teenage daughter board a train home because they did not believe she was a child.

James Timpson, chief executive of Timpson Shoe Repairs, said 15-year-old Niamh was stranded alone after an inspector stopped her at the barrier as she went to alight the Virgin Trains service to Crewe, saying she looked too old for her ticket.

He tweeted about his anger, showing a picture of her ticket, which has “NOT A CHILD” scrawled across it.

Mr Timpson branded the company a “disgrace”, and wrote: “Virgin Rail at Euston. Why do you stop a 15 year old girl at the barriers (who has a valid ticket) from traveling home.

“You say she has no ID to prove how old she is. It’s 7pm and she is alone now at the station. When did you have to prove how young you are? You are a disgrace.”

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Under-16s will require parental permission to use Facebook says draft French law

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French children under the age of 16 will require parental approval to open an account on Facebook or any other social network under draft legislation presented on Wednesday.

The clamp-down on Facebook use for the young is part of a French bill that seeks to adapt data privacy regulations and improve access to the information internet companies gather, store and in many cases sell to other firms about people’s online activity.

“Joining Facebook will involve parental authorisation for minors aged under 16,” said Nicole Belloubet, the French justice minister.

The minister said signing up to join a social network would involve ticking a box to confirm that approval from parents or rightful guardians had been obtained, and that the box-tick amounted to a declaration governed by law.

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Grenfell fire memorial: Royals attend St Paul’s Cathedral service

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“I hope I’m just not hoping for too much, but I am expecting a lot from this service, especially words of healing, and of truth.”

Royals a constant strand of support

Ben Gabbitas, whose close friend Sheila died in the fire, hailed the Royals’ presence as a constant strand of support through the uncertainty of the past six months.

The 48-year-old said healing would take a long time and that “the service and people’s faith is an important part of what’s getting them through”.

Mr Gabbitas said he had been immediately struck by the way the tragedy touched the nation, praising the “almost immediate spontaneous, visceral response of people wishing to help”.

He said: “Another unifying force was the presence of the sovereign, which seemed almost immediate again in terms of they hardly needed to be consulted.

“I think the nation at that point appreciated her being present, and particularly William and Harry, and I think that was a unifying force of which there were no politicians who managed that.”

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Archbishop warns Brexit can only be a success if we have an ‘insults ceasefire’

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has asked MPs to have a ceasefire on pejorative language towards one another after a day of vicious Brexit arguments led to a crushing defeat for Theresa May.

Justin Welby warned that if the pejorative language continues, it will be difficult to make a success of leaving the European Union.

He told BBC’s Today Programme: “We go back a hundred and three years, we find Christmas 1914 there was a ceasefire. It would be very good to have a ceasefire from insult and the use of pejorative terms about people at this time.

“As a country we have a future ahead of  us, we made a decision about Brexit, that is clear, both sides are saying that.

“How we do that is a question for robust political argument but there is a difference between disagreeing and personalised attacks on people, because if we are going to make a success of Brexit – and that is possible to do –  we should make a success of it, it offers opportunities as well as challenges, then we need a leadership that is united in their attitude to the future even if divided in policy.

“Therefore we need reconciliation and unity.”

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At least 6,700 Rohingya, including hundreds of children, killed in first month of Burma violence, says MSF

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At least 6,700 Rohingya Muslims died “horrific” deaths in the first month of Burma’s military crackdown in the country’s northern Rakhine state, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) revealed on Thursday.

The figure, which includes at least 730 children under the age of five, most of whom were shot, is the highest estimated death toll yet of the violence that erupted on August 25, triggering a mass exodus of over 620,000 Rohingya refugees from Burma, also known an Myanmar, into neighbouring Bangladesh.

“What we uncovered was staggering, both in terms of the numbers of people who reported a family member died as a result of violence, and the horrific ways in which they said they were killed or severely injured,” said the aid group’s medical director Sidney Wong.

MSF’s findings come from six surveys of more than 2,434 households sheltering in the overcrowded, squalid refugee camps along the Bangladeshi border.

While the organisation cautioned that the figures were a conservative estimate, the death toll still soars above Burmese military claims that only 400 people, including 376 “terrorists” were killed during their operations.  

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Pictures of the Day: 14 December 2017

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