‘Potential Act of Terror’ as Van Hits Pedestrians in ‘Major Incident’ at London Bridge, Reports of Stabbings Multiple Injuries
“Police responded to an incident in central London on Saturday night following a report a van has hit a number of pedestrians on London Bridge. The Met Police has confirmed they responded to reports of stabbings in nearby Borough Market, and there were reports of gunfire. The Prime Minister confirmed the incident is being treated as an act of terrorism.
At 2208hrs British Summer Time (BST), Metropolitan Police officers responded to reports of a vehicle in collision with pedestrians.
Witnesses have said a white van mounted the pavement and ran over pedestrians.
There are reports there are armed police at the scene, and about five people are being treated for their injuries after being hit by the vehicle.
BBC reporter Holly Jones, who was on the bridge at the time of the incident, said the van was driven by a man and was “probably travelling at about 50 miles an hour”.
Ms. Jones said the van, which was travelling from the direction of central London, headed towards the south side of the river.
She later reported seeing a man being arrested by police. She said he was handcuffed and had his shirt off.
An eyewitness told Sky News he saw people who seemed to have been run over and people being placed in an ambulance covered in blankets.
A nearby railway station has been closed and police are advising people to stay away from the area.”
German Finance Minister Responds to Manchester Attack: Christians Can Learn from Muslim Migrants
“The growing number of Muslims in Germany represents not a threat but a learning opportunity, said Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, discussing Islam in the wake of the Manchester attack.
“It is fanaticism, not only in Islam, that leads to terrible crimes,” he said, speaking on German public radio station Deutschlandfunk Wednesday evening, when asked about the Islamist attack in which 22 mostly young people, including an eight-year-old girl, lost their lives.
“It is certainly a misunderstanding of religion when belief slips into fanaticism or, at worst, violence.
“The world’s great religions all preach the message that one must look upon others as their sisters and brothers, and that one must live with the other because man cannot live alone,” Schäuble told presenter Christiane Florin.
“‘Islam is part of Germany’ is a sober, factual statement,” the minister remarked, commenting on sentiments voiced by Chancellor Angela Merkel on more than one occasion – which are not shared by the majority of Germans.
“Anyone who denies this denies reality and is therefore not suited to being a politician, because politics begins with the confrontation of reality,” he added.
The country’s rapidly growing Muslim demographic presents an “opportunity” for “Christians, and all who live in Germany”, Schäuble stated, adding: “We can learn from them.
“Many human values are very strongly realised in Islam. Think of hospitality, and other things like, what is there… And also tolerance, I believe, for example.”
Discussing his recently published book, Protestantism and Politics, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) minister said the church has no monopoly on truth and criticised voices within who “argue too much in secular matters from a point of religious conviction.”
BBC Anchor: Europe Has to ‘Get Used’ to These Attacks
“Leaders like President Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May are rejecting that message. They both offered strong statements in response to ISIS’ barbaric attack, May condemning the terrorists’ “cowardice” and Trump calling them “evil losers,” both pledging to seek justice.
Accepting terrorism as the norm is not acceptable. We must fight back and defend our homeland. The “Mother of All Bombs,” which killed 94 ISIS fighters, is an example of how the Trump administration has refused to sit idly by and let terror reign worldwide.
BBC host Katty Kay, responding to Monday night’s suicide bombing in Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert, told viewers Tuesday that Europeans are going to have to “get used” to terror attacks in their backyards.”
“Masjid Al-Islam mosque Imam Hafiz Abdul Hannan, an illegal immigrant from Pakistan, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents where they say they are enforcing a 2016 deportation order, according to the Associated Press.
In 2006, Hannan was arrested by authorities for his involvement in filling out fraudulent applications in order to receive religious worker visas for foreign nationals. The investigation was a nationwide sting at the time.
Now, Hannan who has been at the helm of the Connecticut mosque since 2013, is likely to be deported back to Pakistan, with mosque officials demanding attendees not to speak to the media about the case.
“Community members should not contact media or give any statement regarding the current situation of Imam Hannan being detained by ICE,” the note from mosque officials states. “The majlis will make a statement if deemed necessary with more insight into the situation.”
Zuckerberg’s Open Borders Group: Enforcing Immigration Law ‘Hurts Public Safety’
“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s open borders organization says President Trump’s push to improve enforcement of immigration laws “hurts public safety.”
In a statement following a House Judiciary Committee hearing on a number of bills that would increase enforcement of immigration laws and border security, Zuckerberg’s pro-amnesty FWD.us organization said enforcement measures should be scaled back.
“Congress’s repeated obsession with passing laws that would lead to huge increases in deportations of undocumented immigrants without any serious criminal record puts millions more families at risk and hurts public safety for everyone,” FWD.us President Todd Schulte said.
Schulte cited support for an alleged “all-time high of 90%” support for amnesty for illegal immigrants, despite the last few amnesty bills being voted down due to public backlash.
Rather than enforcement measures to deport the estimated 11 to 30 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., Schulte said Congress and the Trump administration should pass amnesty and potentially increase the number of foreign guest workers who enter the U.S. every year on Green Cards, the H-1B visa, the H-2B visa and the H-2A visa, all of which can displace Americans in favor of cheaper, foreign workers.
“Instead, Congress should pass smart immigration reform that would strengthen border security, create a pathway to citizenship for those undocumented immigrants who can pass a background check, and modernize our broken legal visa system to fit the needs of today’s economy,” Schulte said.
Schulte said amnesty for illegal immigrants would “make our nation safer.”
May Day Riot. Portland OR. 5/1/2017 Live News Action
Portland May Day march erupts into fiery riot; 25 arrested
“Protesters shattered business windows, set bonfires in the streets and vandalized a police car Monday afternoon in downtown Portland as a May Day protest devolved into a short-lived but chaotic riot.
The demonstration began as a city-permitted march featuring impassioned but peaceful rhetoric, but it ultimately was defined by black-clad protesters, fires and property damage. Ninety minutes into the march, police declared the gathering a riot. Officers used flash-bang grenades to disperse the crowd after they pronounced the march illegal, eventually arresting 25 people.
May 1 is International Workers’ Day, and protesters from the Philippines to Paris celebrated by demanding better working conditions. The holiday historically celebrates laborers’ rights but in recent years has expanded its focus in the U.S. to support immigrants.
In Portland, the afternoon began with a rally in the South Park Blocks, where speakers addressed about 1,000 people in Shemanski Park while a group of self-described anarchists gathered at a distance from the microphones.
Police at the periphery of the rally confiscated several sticks, poles and homemade shields — which were in sharp contrast to the more plentiful balloons, banners, costumes and props that otherwise filled the park. Some of the black-clad demonstrators burned small American flags.
Marchers set off after about 90 minutes, chanting as they marched south along the park blocks and turned toward the waterfront. Marchers remained mostly peaceful as they meandered past City Hall and the west side of the Justice Center.
But things turned violent as some in the crowd began throwing rocks and full soda cans at police while the mass moved north on Southwest 2nd Avenue.
Police later said items protesters threw or launched at officers also included fireworks, road flares and smoke bombs. They initially said anarchists also threw Molotov cocktails.
Police in riot gear rolled in after the first objects were lobbed. Shortly after, police declared the assembly “unlawful” and warned that any marchers in the streets faced arrest.
The first of two main flashpoints came shortly after at Southwest 4th Avenue and Morrison Street, where demonstrators lit a large bonfire in the intersection using traffic cones, newspaper and brochure boxes, wood and a pallet. The blaze produced a plume of black smoke that rolled skyward next to a Starbucks and MAX tracks.
Officers rushed the scene, firing flash-bang grenades to disperse the crowd. The flames were quickly extinguished.
Police shortly after declared the demonstration a riot, saying protesters had vandalized a police car, were “attacking” officers and were vandalizing property.
Officers stymied the protest on the west side of City Hall about 10 minutes later, swooping in on protesters from the north and south and taking dozens into custody.”
France is trying to stop Marine Le Pen at all costs
|| NY Post
“France’s political mainstream, shut out of the presidency by an angry electorate, united on Monday to call on voters to back centrist Emmanuel Macron and reject Marine Le Pen’s populist nationalism.
Politicians on the moderate left and right, including the Socialist and Republicans party losers in Sunday’s first-round vote, maneuvered to block Le Pen’s path to power in the May 7 runoff.
Voters narrowed the presidential field from 11 to two. France’s presidential election is widely seen as a litmus test for the populist wave that last year prompted Britain to vote to leave the European Union and U.S. voters to elect Donald Trump president.
The defeated far-left candidate, Jean-Luc Melenchon, pointedly refused to back Macron, and Le Pen’s National Front is hoping to do the once-unthinkable and peel away voters historically opposed to a party long tainted by racism and anti-Semitism.
Le Pen went on the offensive against Macron in her first public comments Monday.
“He is a hysterical, radical ‘Europeanist.’ He is for total open borders. He says there is no such thing as French culture. There is not one domain that he shows one ounce of patriotism,” she said.
European stock markets surged, and France’s main index hit its highest level since early 2008, as investors gambled that the rise of populism around the world — and the associated potential unpredictability in policymaking — may have peaked.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel wished Macron “all the best for the next two weeks.”
Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, tweeted that “the result for Emmanuel Macron shows: France AND Europe can win together! The center is stronger than the populists think!”
Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie, made it to the second round against Jacques Chirac in 2002 and was crushed in the runoff. Many commentators expect the same fate for his daughter, but she has already drawn far more support than he ever did and she has transformed the party’s once-pariah image.
Chirac refused to debate Jean-Marie Le Pen on principle. Macron has already agreed to share a stage with his daughter.
Le Pen offers an alternative for anyone skeptical of the EU and France’s role in it, said Louis Aliot, another National Front vice president.
“I’m not convinced that the French are willing to sign a blank check to Mr. Macron,” he said.”
How Marine Le Pen responded to the Bataclan Islamic Terror Attack in 2015
It emerges three major French intelligence failures may have let the killers get through
|| Daily Mail UK | Nov 2015
““Vital clues were missed that could have averted the Paris atrocities, it was feared last night as it was revealed that:
– A heavily armed suspect was stopped on his way to the French capital more than a week ago but German police who uncovered an arsenal of weapons in his car did not tell anti-terror chiefs.
– At least one of the terrorists was a Parisian who had been on a terror watch list for five years, but was not being monitored closely enough to be stopped before he took part in the murderous attack.
– Greek authorities believe that two of the gunmen sneaked into Europe posing as a refugee from Syria – heightening fears that not enough security checks are being carried out on migrants.
Read more here including warning graphic images: Daily Mail | Nov 2015
French election: Marine Le Pen wins through to final showdown against Emmanuel Macron, early results suggest
|| Independent UK
“Marine Le Pen is expected to make it through to the second round run-off of the French presidential election, first results suggest.
With 20 million votes counted from France’s 47 million strong electorate, the figures put the leader of the far-right Front National (FN) on 24.38 per cent, where she is expected to face centrist Emmanuel Macron who is on 22.19 per cent.
The figures do not include results from France’s major cities, where Ms Le Pen’s level of support tends to be low relative to smaller towns and villages where counts were complete.
The vote is expected to mark the end of a political era since the two major parties – the Socialist party and the centre-right Les Republicains – which have traditionally been the pillars of France’s political arena, are expected to be eliminated in the first round of the election.
Conservative Francois Fillon is on 19.63 per cent with 20 million votes counted and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon is on 18.09 per cent. projections suggest Mr Melenchon and Mr Fillon will both claim around 19.5 per cent of the votes, with Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon set to pick-up an historically-low 6.2 per cent.
Mr Macron said that the vote showed that the election meant “turning a page in French political history”.
Addressing her supporters in her fiefdom in Hénin-Baumont, Ms Le Pen said the first hurdle towards the Elysée Palace has been overcome.
She hailed the results as “historic” and warned “the survival of French civilisation” was now at stake.
Supporters of Ms Le Pen were quick to hail her, waving flags and shouting “We will win!”
Quentin Leclerc, 22, a history student said: “Marine Le Pen is making history after Brexit [and] Donald Trump.”
“The second round is another battle but we are prepared,” he added.
Michèle Lojanne, who came with her 16-year-old son, said: “really happy she is in the 2nd round”. Louise-Marie Le Maire, 50 and unemployed, said it was “a pity that she is not first but the right wing takes a slap.”
Marion Maréchal Le Pen, Marine’s niece and a FN MP called Ms Le Pen’s progression to the second round run-off “a historic victory for patriots and sovereignists”.
In Paris, others were not so happy. Police have fired tear gas on the Place de la Bastille in eastern Paris as crowds of young people, some from anarchist and anti-fascist groups, gathered to protest at Ms Le Pen’s second-place finish and her anti-immigrant policies.”
“When Marine Le Pen was a child growing up in Paris, her friends never slept over – their parents wouldn’t allow it. And no matter how hard the blond, blue-eyed girl studied at school, her teachers often mocked her, hardly concealing their disdain. Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was so reviled in French mainstream society that someone set off a bomb in the stairwell outside their apartment four years after he founded the fringe far-right National Front (FN) political party in 1972.
Ms. Le Pen describes in her autobiography, “A Contre Flots,” or “Against the Current,” a childhood that was full of insults, suffering, and injustice – all simply because of her family name.
She cannot say the same of her adulthood.
The girl who grew up in the harsh shadow of her provocative, nationalist father has risen to become one of the most popular politicians in France – and one of the most important opposition leaders in the world. Now, as the campaign for the French presidency reaches its denouement – with Le Pen having a distant but not inconceivable chance of winning – she has pushed the FN closer to the Élysée Palace than her father ever did and is expanding her influence over French and European politics.
The party leader, who is both anti-immigrant and anti-European Union, inspires an almost cultlike following. She now garners support among large swaths of the population, including a growing number of mainstream voters who once rejected her. Many of them carry photos of her in their wallets.
At rallies, supporters chant her name in trancelike reverence. “Marine! Marine! Marine!” came the cry at a recent campaign stop in Metz in France’s Grand Est, a former mining region that’s reeling economically.
Le Pen, tall and confident, walked onto the stage cutting a striking figure. She was dressed modestly, as is her style, in a dark blue blouse cut out at the shoulders that was at once feminine and authoritative. The arena was filled with those who want out of the EU, who want immigrants out of France, who want the ruling elite out of office. And if they are separated by disparate, and sometimes irreconcilable desires – some eschew her left-wing protectionist trade policies but love her right-wing crusade to stop foreigners from coming in – they seem united in a longing for the grandeur of a France they can barely grasp anymore.
In voices thick with nostalgia, these voters – and the candidate they would elevate – may well decide the future of Europe. The EU, the postwar bloc that France helped to found, probably couldn’t survive if the country withdraws from the organization, which is what Le Pen wants to have happen.
The following that she has amassed both reflects and reinforces the nationalist revival sweeping across Europe and around much of the world. The populist rebellions in so many countries that shun globalism, open borders, and multiculturalism may be the most dominant political trend of the 21st century – and perhaps no one embodies the mood of the movements better than Le Pen.
She is not just Donald Trump with a more natural hairdo and a French accent. Her political roots date back to her teenage years, her rise has been methodical, and she is peaking in popularity at the most important moment for Europe in a half-century – one that may decide whether the EU survives or splits apart.
“This is the cleavage of 21st-century democracies,” says Pascal Perrineau, an expert on populist movements at Sciences Po in Paris. “It’s not a cleavage between the right and left anymore, or between conservatives and progressives. It’s a new kind of split between open societies and closed societies.”
Le Pen’s stance on national identity – preventing more foreigners from coming in and diluting what it means to be French – resonates as much as any issue with her followers. It’s also what makes her sound the most like her father. She wants to reimpose immigration controls at the border. She promises to prevent companies from relocating abroad for cheaper labor.
While detractors criticize her for stirring up hate, pointing often to a statement she made in 2010 comparing Muslims praying in the streets with the Nazi occupation of France, she has tapped into a deep anxiety about radical Islam in France. It has been fed by major terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice that together killed more than 230 people. At the same time, 1.3 million refugees and asylum-seekers, mostly Muslim, have entered Europe in the throes of upheaval in the Middle East, which the far-right easily conflates with terrorism.
“Let’s give France back to France,” says Le Pen at the Metz rally.
As her followers chant “On est chez nous,” or “We are in our house,” she adds: “What I want is not to close the borders. It is simply to have them – and control them.”
What is known about the attack that occurred on the Champs-Elysées in Paris
|| Le Monde Paris
“Only three days of (before) the presidential election, a policeman was killed and two others seriously injured in a shooting, Thursday, April 20 around 21 hours on the famous Champs-Elysees in Paris .
A board defense should hold around the head of state Friday at 8 pm and investigators are continuing their investigations. Update on the circumstances of the attack.
An assailant shot Thursday night at police stationed in a vehicle “static surveillance” on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. These are officers from the 32 th Response Company management of public order and traffic of the Prefecture Police of Paris (DOPC) that were targeted.
One of them was killed and two others wounded. The assailant was shot by a firing response. According to the spokesman of the Interior Ministry, Pierre-Henry Brandet, the attacker has used an “automatic weapon” , a “weapon of war” , he said.
//From Google (adjusted) translation of original French. /CJ
‘IS’ claims deadly police shooting on Paris’ Champs-Elysees
|| Deutsche Welle
“A policeman has been killed on Paris’ Champs-Elysees in what President Francois Hollande has described as a terrorist incident. The so-called “Islamic State” has claimed responsibility. The assailant has been killed.
The so-called “Islamic State” (IS) jihadist group claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack on Paris’ bustling Champs-Elysees in which a police officer was shot and killed. At least two other officers were seriously wounded.
While authorities did not confirm any links between IS and the assailant, President Francois Hollande said at a press briefing that he was convinced the incident pointed to a terrorist attack.
The assailant was neutralized by other police officers in the vicinity. Reports suggest that he was known to security services and had previously been flagged as an extremist.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said investigators had verified the identity of the 39-year-old shooter and raided the suspect’s home in the eastern suburb of Paris. The identity was not released.
Earlier reports suggested that at least one other attacker was complicit in the assault. However, eye witness accounts seemed to counter these claims. Prosecutors said they are trying to determine whether the assailant had any accomplices.
France has been under a state of emergency since 2015 after a spate of Islamist militant attacks that have killed more than 230 people in the country in the past two years.
Attacker’s history of attempted murder against officers
The unnamed assailant, who was known to authorities before Thursday’s attack, had previously been the focus of an anti-terror probe, sources close to the investigation said. The assailant was arrested in February on suspicion of plotting to kill officers but was released due to a lack of evidence.
In 2005, he was convicted on three counts of attempted murder, two of which were against police officers. The charges dated back to 2001, when the attacker was fleeing from police in a stolen vehicle. Armed, he shot and wounded both officers before being apprehended and placed in custody.
While incarcerated, he also seriously injured another officer who was escorting him from his cell, grabbing his gun and firing several times.
‘IS’ claims responsibility
Amaq, the propaganda agency affiliated with the so-called “Islamic State,” said the jihadist group had claimed responsibility for the shooting and that the gunman was a member of the group. However, the claim from IS came uncharacteristically quickly following the attack. French intelligence has not yet confirmed any connection between the attacker and the jihadist group.
Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press news agency that the neutralized attacker had deliberately targeted police officers guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt metro station at the center of the avenue.”