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Glasgow protest sees Border Agency van blocked during operation – Nicola Sturgeon furious

Glasgow: Protestors surround immigration enforcement van

The immigration enforcement van was pictured parked on Kenmure Street, with protesters sitting on the road in front of it and a crowd around the vehicle and one man apparently lying underneath the vehicle. Roughly 200 protesters were reported to be at the scene, with chants of “Leave our neighbours, let them go” and “Cops go home” being heard.
A large number of police officers in face masks were in attendance.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “At around 9.55am this morning, police were called to support colleagues at the UK Border Agency at an address in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, Glasgow.

“A number of protesters are now at the location. 

“Officers are at the scene and inquiries are continuing.”

Glasgow Pollakshields

The stand-off is happening in the Pollakshields area of the city (Image: GETTY)

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has also voiced her opinion (Image: Twitter)

Mohammad Asif, director of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation, was one of what he said were hundreds of neighbours protesting against the action.

The 54-year-old said: “We’re here against the hostile environment created by the Tories and the British state.

“The same people who run from the British and American bombs put at the back of the van right now. And they are about to be deported.

“And it’s on Eid you know… the guys are not even allowed to pray. How do you do that in a democratic society? It’s a sad day.”

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Police Glasgow

Police surround the van (Image: GETTY)

He added: “The good thing about this city and this country is these are all local people here who are here to defend their neighbours.”

Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, wrote on Twitter: “Not close to the details on this but this is shocking, disgraceful and racist if people are raided by enforcement officers amidst the pandemic on the day of #Eid.”

Scotland’s First Minister is furious at the timing of the Home Office action, lashing out at the Westminster Government in a series of tweets. 

She said: “Today’s events were entirely down to UK Home Office actions. Police Scotland were in an invidious position – they do not assist in the removal of asylum seekers but do have a duty to protect public safety. They act independently of ministers, but I support this decision.

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Protesters Scotland

Protesters make their point in support of those about to be deported (Image: GETTY)

Protests Glasgow

An estimated 200 protesters were reported to be at the scene (Image: GETTY)

Police and protesters in Pollakshields

Police and protesters in Pollakshields (Image: PA)

“I disagree fundamentally with UK Home Office immigration policy but even putting that aside, this action was unacceptable. To act in this way, in the heart of a Muslim community as they celebrated Eid, and in an area experiencing a Covid outbreak was a health and safety risk.

“Both as MSP and as FM, I will be demanding assurances from the UK Government that they will never again create, through their actions, such a dangerous situation. No assurances were given – and frankly no empathy shown – when I managed to speak to a junior minister earlier.”

Tom, a neighbour who joined the protest, compared the immigration operation on Eid to a police raid on Christmas Day.

The 31-year-old, who did not want to give his surname, said: “The solidarity shown today shows the community will not stand for their neighbours being dragged from their homes.

“I’d ask Christians to reflect on what it would feel like to have your house raided on Christmas Day.”

He said the police presence was “increasing fairly rapidly”, with 10 vans at the scene at around midday.

Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf has asked to speak to Home Secretary Priti Patel (Image: GETTY)

I am deeply concerned by this action by the Home Office

Nicola Sturgeon

Ms Sturgeon waded in earlier, tweeting: “As constituency MSP, I am deeply concerned by this action by the Home Office, especially today in the heart of a community celebrating Eid.

“My office is making urgent enquiries and stands ready to offer any necessary assistance to those detained.”

She subsequently added: “The UK Home Office action today is creating a dangerous and unacceptable situation in Pollokshields.

“As local MSP, I am also seeking urgent answers from them – they must resolve this situation ASAP.”

Anas Sarwar

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar was also voiced his concern (Image: GETTY)

Ms Sturgeon also retweeted a post by Sikhs In Scotland voicing concern about the situation. 

Scotland’s Justice Secretary and MSP for Glasgow Pollok Humza Yousaf has asked to speak to Mrs Patel about the scenes in Glasgow.

He tweeted: “This UK Border Force Operation, in Polloksheilds, the heart of the Muslim community, on Eid is a demonstration of the UK Govt’s hostile environment.

Anas Sarwar

Anas Sarwar’s tweet (Image: Twitter)

“I have asked to speak to the Home Secretary to gain further details & make clear just how unacceptable this situation is.”

He subsquently added: “I am disappointed that out of 8 Home Office Ministers none of them could make themselves available to speak to me.

“Having spoken to the DG for Home Office in Scotland I have urged him to abandon the forced removal.

“He will consider next steps & I have requested an update.”

Glasgow: Protesters surround van to stop immigration removal

Meanwhile Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said he was “disgusted by the Home Office raids”.

He tweeted: “It is particularly unacceptable that this is happening during a pandemic, in an area that has a spike in cases and on the day of Eid.”

Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross has yet to comment.

Express.co.uk has contacted the Home Office for comment.

(More to follow)

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Millions blocked from free online streams as popular movie site shut down for good

Millions of film fans hoping to settle down for a night of free entertainment are set to be sorely disappointed. That’s because one of the world’s most popular movie streaming sites has just been shut down for good. 123movies.la has been in operation since 2017 and in just four years has become a huge success with around 30 million people heading to the site each and every month.
That’s hardly a surprise considering that the platform was offering numerous blockbuster movies without anyone needing to sign up for a premium and expensive subscription plan. It even featured an easy way to filter films by genre, actor and box office collection.

With such a huge user base, this free way to stream Hollywood films hasn’t gone unnoticed with The Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) finally managing to track the owners and down and close the website.

ACE is backed by some of the world’s biggest film studios and media companies which include, Amazon, Fox, Netflix, MGM, HBO, Sky, Paramount and Disney.

ACE says that further to cease-and-desist communication and a settlement with the operator, the popular streaming website has shut down and the domain has been transferred to ACE.

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“The theft of online content is the single greatest threat to the global audiovisual community, harming both local and foreign films and businesses, threatening jobs, undermining investment, reducing tax contributions to governments, and stifling creativity,” the firm said in a post on its site.

“ACE will continue its efforts around the world to protect the rights of its members.”

This latest block comes as a number of UK Internet Service Providers were recently forced to ban a number of websites in the UK.

ISPs such as Virgin Media and Sky are now stopping customers from accessing platforms including www9.0123movies.com, w5.123movie.cc., 123moviesfun.is and wvw1.123movies.net.

Sky and Virgin Media are acting on a new ruling from the High Court which has asked Internet Service Providers to block users from visiting some sites.

The request came from the Motion Picture Association (MPA) who are trying to stop premium content from being viewed for free. The MPA represents five of the biggest Hollywood studios, Disney, Paramount Pictures, Universal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, as well as Netflix.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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Condor ferries blocked between Jersey and Guernsey amid fishing row

Condor Ferries confirmed to Express.co.uk one of its boats has been blocked by French ships embroiled in a fishing row.
Elwyn Dop, Condor Ferries’ Operations Director, said: “Due to the disruption this morning in St Helier, Jersey, the departure of our freight ship, Commodore Goodwill, had to be delayed until safe passage could be arranged.

“She arrived in Jersey at 04:30, discharged her cargo as usual before leaving for Guernsey at 11:15, just over four hours behind schedule. Timings for today and tomorrow have therefore been revised to accommodate the delay.

“Disruption was minimal with no impact on the freight supply chain, which brings in 95% of the essential food, medical and other goods into the Channel Islands.

“We expect our freight and passenger vessel, Commodore Clipper, to operate to Jersey this afternoon from Portsmouth and Guernsey as normal.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Why Apple and Google just BLOCKED an update for your NHS Covid-19 app today

An update to the NHS Covid-19 app has been blocked by Apple and Google – leaving iPhone and Android users without access to the planned features as lockdown restrictions begin to lift across England and Wales. The team behind the NHS contact-tracing app had planned for the latest update to coincide with the new rules coming into force, which allows hair-dressers, gyms, and non-essential retail to re-open.

The NHS Covid-19 app, available free to download on iPhone here and Android here, is designed to stop the spread by tracking when you’ve been in close contact with someone who has the virus. It uses Bluetooth to keep tabs on people in your proximity.

With the latest update, the Department of Health had coded the NHS Covid-19 app to upload a backlog of their venue check-ins, which are handled with the large QR codes outside shops, pubs, and restaurants, if they tested positive. This information, which would track which venues they had visited while potentially being contagious with the virus, would be used to warn others.

However, Apple and Google have explicitly banned this functionality. This limitation has been in place from the start.

Apple is the creator of iOS, the mobile operating system that powers every iPhone model worldwide, while Google develops Android, which is used and customised by dozens of different manufacturers, including Samsung, Sony, LG, OnePlus, Nokia, Oppo, as well as Google’s own Pixel line of smartphones. iOS and Android are the most popular smartphone operating systems on the planet – and the partnership between Apple and Google is designed to enable contract-tracing between as many people as possible. The system developed by the two Californian rivals is designed to anonymise and protect smartphone owners’ privacy.

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If your smartphone has been in close proximity to an iPhone or Android owner who later tests positive for coronavirus, Apple and Google’s system will warn you. The NHS app, which is built on this system, employs a “risk-assessment” algorithm to determine the likelihood that you might’ve contracted the coronavirus.

If the system believes it’s unlikely – maybe they were stood on a station platform while you were inside the carriage of a train that pulled up beside them – you won’t receive any further notifications from the app. If there’s good reason to believe you might have Covid-19 –if you were both inside and in close proximity for a prolonged period, for example – the app will tell you to self-isolate.

Why was the NHS Covid-19 app update blocked?

The problem with the latest update from the Department of Health was that it allowed the Government to receive a history of your movements. By sharing the venue check-in information after a positive test, the Government would be able to see your recent movements in explicit detail, from the shops you visited that morning to the restaurants and pubs. This is something that Apple and Google do not want their technology used for.

While the system is able to alert users who have been in close proximity with someone who later tests positive – that information is not shared with any other organisations or governments.

In order to use the system developed by Apple and Google – which is made available for free, health authorities have to agree not to collect any location data using the contact-tracking software. After all, it’s easy to see how this data could be used maliciously by governments and law enforcement across the globe.

Since the latest update submitted to Apple and Google for the NHS Covid-19 app broke these rules, iPhone and Android users did not receive the update as planned today. Instead, Apple and Google continue to make the previous version available in the App Store and Google Play Store, respectively.

When questioned why the terms and conditions of the technology were swerved, the Department of Health declined to discuss how the misstep occurred. Instead, a spokesperson told the BBC: “The deployment of the functionality of the NHS Covid-19 app to enable users to upload their venue history has been delayed. This does not impact the functionality of the app and we remain in discussions with our partners to provide beneficial updates to the app which protect the public.”

Scotland has avoided the block because it offers two apps for the public. While Protect Scotland uses the privacy-focused system from Apple and Google, it also offers Check In Scotland, which is built on its own system that shares venue histories with the authorities.

The UK Government initially avoided Apple and Google’s free-to-use contact-tracing system because of its focus on privacy. By developing its own rival system, the UK Government wanted to keep the location data from smartphone owners.

The planned app, which cost £12 million and took three months to develop, could not accurately detect contact between iPhone and Android, due to the limitations around Bluetooth imposed on the operating system by Google and Apple. This restriction is designed to stop applications in the background (i.e. not displayed on the screen at all times) from constantly checking Bluetooth connections to keep tabs on nearby users. This is a privacy concern – do you really want Facebook to keep track of all the people you’ve passed in the street today, for example? However, the restriction is also designed to stop serious battery life drain. Unfortunately, the feature prevented the NHS app from finding 25 per cent of Android phones and 96 percent of iPhone owners.

As such, it was scrapped and the UK Government used the freely available – albeit, more limited due to the restrictions on location data – option from Apple and Google.

The UK wasn’t the only country to reject the privacy-focused approach developed by Apple and Google, Germany, Italy and Denmark also attempted to create their own system that would work as effectively as the one created by the Silicon Valley companies behind the operating system.

Thousands of animals aboard cargo ships could die if Suez Canal remains blocked, NGO warns

As efforts to dislodge the huge container ship stuck in the Suez Canal intensified Saturday, an animal-rights nonprofit is airing concerns over animals trapped in cargo vessels.

Ships carrying livestock destined for different countries in Europe and Asia are among the billions of dollars worth of vital cargo and sensitive products backlogged on the vessels whose way is blocked.

The EU director of NGO Animals International Gabriel Paun warned that thousands of animals being transported on 13 vessels — mostly Romanian — could be at risk of dying if the situation is not resolved in the next few days.

More ships carrying livestock are currently approaching the Suez Canal, Paun said.

“We are sitting in front of a major tragedy if the channel is not released in the next 24 hours because there are vessels that will run out of [livestock] food and water in the next two days,” Paun said.

Some ships have food and water for six more days and “if decide today to return to Romania, then they have a chance — but if the blockade lasts between two and six more days we will have a disaster,” Paun added.

One ship carrying livestock, the Nabolsi, has been sailing for 21 days after departing from Colombia on March 6, and is now awaiting passage by the blocked canal with animals on board, Marine Traffic spokesman Georgios Hatzimanolis said.

Each day that passes comes at a high cost to companies and countries whose trade has been held up by the gridlock. About 12% of the world trade volume passes through the Suez Canal, and it usually handles about $ 10 billion a day in cargo.

More than 18,800 ships with a net tonnage of 1.17 billion tonnes passed through the canal during 2020. That’s an average of 51.5 ships per day.

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ABC Owned TV Stations contributed to this report.

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Russia promotes Arctic sea route as viable alternative to blocked Suez Canal

The Northern Sea Route could become an effective alternative to the Suez Canal, which has been completely shut down since Tuesday, state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom said in a series of half-joking tweets.

The proposal comes days after a 400-meter container ship got stuck in the crucial marine passage for global trade. The incident has sparked fears over rising shipping costs and evoked deep concerns about the interruption of supply chains linking Europe and Asia.
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In a Twitter thread, Rosatom listed three reasons to view Russia’s strategic Arctic shipping route as a viable alternative. The first one stemmed from tracking data that showed the ship drew a giant phallus in the Red Sea before it got jammed. The state-run corporation cheekily pointed out that the Northern Sea Route offers much more space for drawing naughty pictures with the help of a giant cargo ship.

The company also said that its nuclear icebreaker fleet, which is the largest in the world, would be easily able to free any ice-bound vessel. The tweet was illustrated with an image showing Rosatom icebreakers rescuing a cargo ship trapped in the ice this winter.

Rosatom’s Arctic fleet, which includes five nuclear-powered icebreakers, a container ship, and four service vessels, is operated by Rosatomflot, based in the Russian port city of Murmansk. The icebreakers are used for navigation and rescue operations along the Northern Sea Route.

In the third tweet, Rosatom posted a waggish gif featuring the lead character from the 1997 American spy comedy ‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery’, showing Powers stuck in a shuttle carriage that’s moving back and forth in a narrow tunnel, the image of a bulk carrier stuffed with containers photoshopped on top. 

The Russian authorities have recently turned the development of the Northern Sea Route into one of the key strategic priorities for the state.

In January, Minister of National Resources and Environment Dmitry Kobylkin said cargo shipping in Russia’s northernmost territorial waters would top 80 million tons as early as 2024.
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Russia’s Arctic provides the shortest maritime route linking Europe and Asia. The ice waterway passes through several seas of the Arctic Ocean, including the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, Chukchi Sea, and partially the Bering Sea in the Pacific Ocean.

Rosatom said in a separate tweet that a “Trip from Murmansk to Japan on the Northern Sea Route is 5770 miles & 12 840 miles through the Suez Canal,” adding that the Egyptian route may be blocked for days.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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