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Tough Drug Laws Have No Impact On Use - Report

Written By andika jamanta on Kamis, 30 Oktober 2014 | 18.26

By Tadhg Enright, Sky News Correspondent

Severe criminal penalties on drug taking makes no difference to the level of substance use in a country, a Government report has indicated.

The first Home Office study of the issue based on international evidence has caused a split within the coalition, with Lib Dems supporting its proposed reforms and the Conservatives opposing them.

It found "no apparent correlation between the 'toughness' of a country's approach and the prevalence of adult drugs use".

"There is evidence from Portugal of improved health prospects for users, though these cannot be attributed to decriminalisation alone," the report said.

"There are indications that decriminalisation can reduce the burden on criminal justice systems."

Video: 'Tory MPs Don't Like Drug Evidence'

It also found worse health outcomes in the Czech Republic after possession was criminalised, and no evidence of lower use.

Danny Kushlick, founder of Transform Drug Policy Foundation, called the report a "historic moment" in drugs policy.

"For the first time in over 40 years the Home Office has admitted that enforcing tough drug laws doesn't necessarily reduce levels of drug use," he said.

Although it was completed several months ago, the report has been kept under wraps to be released alongside another study which recommends so-called legal highs be criminalised.

Video: Inside A UK Cannabis Factory

The Lib Dems have long supported a review of Britain's drugs policy and the party's minister in the Home Office, Norman Baker MP, told Sky News he backs its findings.

"We're very clear that what we need to do is move towards a health based approach - to stop criminalising people unfairly and to make sure that we don't lock people up, but rather deal with it as a health issue," he said.

But a Home Office spokesperson said: "This Government has absolutely no intention of decriminalising drugs.

"Our drugs strategy is working and there is a long-term downward trend in drug misuse in the UK."

Video: Mourning Mum In Legalise Drugs Call

But the Home Office is giving strong consideration to the report backing the criminalisation of so-called legal highs, which are sold online and in high street "head" shops.

Both coalition parties back a blanket ban on their sale, which has been welcomed by campaigners including Maryon Stewart, whose daughter, Hester, died in 2009 after taking a lethal cocktail of alcohol and the legal substance GBL.

She told Sky News: "In that time, there've been as many crime prevention ministers as there have years, and it's been a really difficult journey.

"I think everyone agrees that there needs to be change, what's happening right now isn't working."

Video: 2012: Brand Speaks Out Over Drugs

An opinion poll in The Sun suggests for the first time, most Britons believe the war on drugs can never be won.

A total of 71% of those surveyed said the war had failed, while 51% said it will always be doomed. The survey found 65% supported a review of drugs policy.

18.26 | 0 komentar | Read More

Child Grooming 'Normal' In Parts Of Manchester

By Nick Martin, North of England Correspondent

Child sexual exploitation is a "real and ongoing problem" that has become "normal" in some parts of Greater Manchester, according to a new report.

It suggests that youngsters are exposed to an increasing amount of explicit music and pornography which it is claimed is fuelling the problem. 

The independent report by Ann Coffey, Labour MP for Stockport, was commissioned by Tony Lloyd, the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, in response to a number of high-profile child exploitation cases.

Home Secretary Theresa May described its findings as "shocking".

In 2012, nine Asian men were jailed for grooming girls with alcohol, drugs and gifts before forcing them to have sex with multiple men.

Video: 'I Was Scared And Terrified'

The case led to claims the authorities had ignored the problem for reasons of "political correctness".

Ms Coffey said: "My observations will make painful reading for those who hoped that Rochdale was an isolated case. This is a real and ongoing problem.

"I have been concerned about the number of people who have told me that in some neighbourhoods child sexual exploitation had become the new social norm.

"This social norm has perhaps been fuelled by the increased sexualisation of children and young people and an explosion of explicit music videos and the normalisation of quasi-pornographic images.

"Sexting, selfies, Instagram and the like have given rise to new social norms and changed expectations of sexual entitlement, and with it a confused understanding of what constitutes consent."

Video: 'We're Not Looked At To Be Objects'

Some schoolgirls told her they were regularly approached by older men in the street and urged to get into cars on their way home from school.

The problem will not be tackled unless there is a "sea change" in public attitudes away from a culture of blaming children and young people for bringing about their own sexual exploitation, the report claimed.

Nicola Pomfrey first became the victim of exploitation from the age of 14. She said the man she was with controlled every aspect of her life. 

She told Sky News: "It felt like we were friends at first, he kept buying me food and cigarettes. Then it turned into a relationship.

"But as time went on I felt like I was trapped, there was no-one I could turn to and I became isolated from friends and family.

Video: Dec 2013: MP Criticises Police

"I was vulnerable, I needed the attention and I got it from the wrong place.

"At the time I didn't feel like telling the police, or a social worker or a teacher would do any good. I suppose I didn't think they would believe that I was a victim."

Home Secretary Theresa May said a public consultation would be held on whether teachers, doctors and other officials should have a duty to report any suspicions - or face the law.

"This is yet another disturbing report which highlights unacceptable failings by authorities at a local level to ensure the protection of children," said Mrs May.

"The report's findings about the scale of child sexual exploitation and attitudes towards it are particularly alarming."

Video: Sep 2012: Handling Of Abuse Slammed

Hayley Harewood, chief executive of Oldham-based charity Keep Our Girls Safe, which helps around 200 young girls at risk of sexual exploitation, agreed with the report's findings.

"It is true that in some areas child sexual exploitation is normal. It is often the first experience many girls have in terms of a relationship," she said.

"On most occasions the girls don't realise what's happening to them until it is too late and they are trapped."

The 148-page report, titled Real Voices - Child Sexual Exploitation In Greater Manchester, recommends a radical new approach to tackling the problem led by young people, which recognises that the police, justice system and children's services alone cannot succeed in protecting children.

18.26 | 0 komentar | Read More

Mosque Closure Is 'Declaration Of War' - Abbas

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the closure of Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque as a "declaration of war".

The mosque, in the Al-Aqsa complex which contains sites holy to Muslims and Jews, was closed by Israel following the shooting of a Jewish activist.

Speaking hours after the closure, Mr Abbas said: "This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation.

"We hold the Israeli government responsible for this dangerous escalation in Jerusalem that has reached its peak through the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque this morning.

"This decision is a dangerous act and a blatant challenge that will lead to more tension and instability and will create a negative and dangerous atmosphere.

"The state of Palestine will take all legal measures to hold Israel accountable and to stop these ongoing attacks."

Minutes after the comments, the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a hike in police numbers.

He said: "I have ordered a significant increase in forces as well as in means (available to them) so we can both ensure security in Jerusalem and also maintain the status quo in the holy places."

American-born activist Yehuda Glick was shot by a gunman on a motorbike as he left a conference, in an incident that has seen tensions rise in Jerusalem.

He is a well-known ultranationalist and advocate of greater Jewish prayer access at the Al-Aqsa complex.

His attacker was described as speaking in "heavy Arabic-accented Hebrew", according to Moshe Feiglin of the Likud party.

Mr Glick, 48, is in a serious condition in hospital and his shooting comes after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police. 

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police surrounded the home of a man suspected of the shooting on Thursday. The suspect, identified as Muataz Hijazi, 32, then opened fire before police shot back and killed him.

Residents said hundreds of Israeli police and special units had been involved in trying to capture Hijazi, an Islamic militant recently released from prison.

Afterwards, local youths began throwing stones at police and dragged a rubbish skip into the middle of the road as police fired back with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Sky News Middle East reporter Tom Rayner said: "This is a very explosive situation and there will be great concern about whether or not the security forces here can keep a lid on this."

He said the closure at Al-Aqsa was the first in 14 years, adding: "It sits right at the heart not just of arguments and conflict in Jerusalem but at the very heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict altogether because sovereignty of that area defines what could be a two-state solution.

"Any attempts to block off access to that holy site are inevitably read as attempts to take sovereignty over the wider area of Jerusalem. That is why it is such an explosive issue when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a whole."

18.26 | 0 komentar | Read More

Rocket Explosion: 'Hazardous Materials' Warning

Written By andika jamanta on Rabu, 29 Oktober 2014 | 18.25

People have been warned to keep away from any hazardous debris they might find after an unmanned rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station exploded seconds after lift-off.

NASA footage showed the Antares rocket, built and launched by Orbital Sciences Corp, bolting off its coastal launch pad at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and exploding in a huge fireball seconds later.

Enveloped in flames, the rocket collapsed to the ground, as a cloud of dark grey smoke rose from the wreckage.

No one was injured and the damage so far appears to be limited to the facilities, according to the company.

Ronda Miller, manager of the Ocean Deli in Wallops Island, told the Reuters news agency she felt the force of the blast from five miles (8km) away.

Video: 'Holy Cow': Plane Captures Fireball

Investigators quickly secured the perimeter of the area and blocked any outside interviews of witnesses or staff, citing classified equipment that had been aboard.

The cause is not yet known, and NASA mission control in Houston, Texas, called it a "catastrophic anomaly".

Engineers said the countdown had gone according to plan and there were no issues apparent with the machinery.

Video: Beware 'Hazardous' Rocket Debris

Speaking at a news conference, Orbital Sciences executive vice president Frank Culbertson warned of the dangers of debris around the site.

He said: "I do want to caution the public…This is an accident site and it is a rocket. It had a lot of hazardous equipment, hazardous materials on board, that people should not be looking for or wanting to collect souvenirs over."

Anyone who finds anything should not touch it, keep others away from it and contact the local authorities, Mr Culbertson added.

Video: 'Launch Failures Do Happen'

The rocket was carrying a Cygnus spacecraft packed with nearly 5,000lb (2,200kg) of food, supplies and materials for space experiments.

One of the items on board was a nitrogen tank to manage the ISS' air supply, said Tariq Malik, managing editor of Space.com, who also added that some scientists had been waiting years to get their hardware on board.

Also among its payload were some Maryland crab cakes for the space station crew.


  1. Gallery: Antares Rocket Explodes In Huge Fireball

    These images capture the moment a rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station exploded seconds after lift-off from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia

  2. The rocket was unmanned and no one is thought to have been injured

  3. The cause of the explosion is unknown but authorities have warned people not to touch any of the debris as it could be "hazardous"

  4. NASA confirmed that the crew of the ISS is not in danger because of the failed mission

  5. The Cygnus spacecraft was carrying nearly 5,000lb (2,200kg) of food, supplies and materials for space experiments

  6. A picture of the craft docking with the International Space Station on a previous mission. Continue through for more pictures

  7. A map showing where the launch could be viewed from on the US east coast

The launch was postponed on Monday after a boat ventured into a restricted zone within 10 minutes of take-off.

NASA is paying Virginia-based Orbital Sciences and California-based SpaceX to keep the space station stocked after the space agency retired its own space shuttles.

Orbital has a $1.9bn (£1.1bn) contract with NASA for a total of eight supply missions. The rocket itself and the cargo ship were valued at $200m (£123m).

Video: What Was On Board Rocket?

The mission, known as CRS-3, was to be Orbital's fourth trip to the ISS.

After the launch, Cygnus was meant to remain in orbit until 2 November, then fly itself to the station so astronauts could use a robotic crane to snare the capsule and attach it to a berthing port.

NASA spokesman Rob Navias said there was nothing on the rocket that was urgently needed by the six people living on the station.

18.25 | 0 komentar | Read More

Asylum: 29,000 Cases Unresolved Since 2007

By Tom Parmenter, Sky News Correspondent

Failings in the UK's asylum system have led to an "extremely concerning" backlog of cases - with the Home Office accused of being in chaos over immigration.

Some 11,000 asylum seekers have been waiting since 2007 to be told whether they can stay in the country.

In total there are 29,000 cases waiting to be resolved, according to a damning report.

Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said: "To make matters worse, the department is also failing to meet its targets for dealing with newer claims, so it is now creating another backlog for itself.

"The number of claims awaiting an initial decision was up 70% to 16,273 in the first three months of 2014 compared to the same period last year.

Video: Asylum Process System In Chaos

"It is deeply worrying that the Home Office is not tracking those people whose applications have been rejected to ensure that they are removed from the UK."

The report said there are 175,000 people whose applications to stay in the UK have been rejected and are still awaiting removal.

The Government scrapped the UK Border Agency last year as part of major reforms. 

One asylum seeker has told Sky News she feels mentally "tortured" after being left in limbo.

Her case has been repeatedly delayed and nine months after applying for asylum the Ugandan woman still has not been given a proper interview about her request.

Fearing further delays to her claim, she asked only to be known as "Namusoke" and explained to Sky News: "I feel tortured here in the UK, I feel depressed, stressed and traumatised, so I really feel bad because I can't help nothing for myself.

"I'm a beggar, which I was not born to do."

The woman is fleeing persecution in her homeland due to the fact she is a lesbian - homosexuality is deemed illegal in Uganda.

Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said: "The immigration system we inherited was totally dysfunctional.

"Turning around years of mismanagement has taken time, but it is now well under way.

"We have reformed visa routes to make them more resistant to fraud and cancelled failing contracts; and we are addressing the backlogs we inherited."

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: "This report lays bare how Theresa May and David Cameron are presiding over one failure after another in our immigration system."

The Refugee Council's head of advocacy, Lisa Doyle, said: "It's extremely concerning that so many people are still waiting for a decision on their asylum claim, years after first applying."

On Tuesday the mayor of Calais said Britain's benefits system had become a magnet for asylum seekers making their way across the English Channel from France - and that many are "prepared to die" to make the journey.

18.25 | 0 komentar | Read More

Tech And Staff Failures Behind Asylum Backlog

The failure of two major IT projects and "ill-judged" staffing decisions have led to the loss of more than 50,000 asylum seekers who cannot be found in Britain, according to a report by MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report reveals the Home Office is unable to track tens of thousands of asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected.

Some 175,000 people whose applications were unsuccessful have been placed in a "migration refusal pool" to await removal from the UK.

While some applicants may have left voluntarily, the department does not know how many remain because it lacks "a system to check departures from the UK".

In 2012, the department employed Capita to confirm the records and whereabouts of those refused permission to stay.

Video: We Need A 'Whole New System'

Capita was unable to find more than 50,000 people, with the department in some cases failing to retain even basic information such as addresses and postcodes.

The failure has been blamed in part upon a "botched" attempt by the now-defunct UK Border Agency to downgrade its caseworkers.

The report found the move led to 120 experienced caseworkers leaving the agency, adding that new staff with the "right skills" will be needed to clear the backlog.

Failures in large-scale IT projects have exacerbated the problem, leaving the department to operate with out-dated technology.

The Home Office has cancelled both the Immigration Case Work (ICW) IT programme and the ill-fated e-Borders system, which cost almost £1bn.

The report says: ""The Department had expected large-scale IT projects... to transform its processes and allow it to produce better information and substantial financial savings."

But the failure of the programmes left the department without a "comprehensive, system-wide IT strategy" to deal with asylum seekers.

"IT limitations mean the department cannot track people through the immigration system, or ensure people with no legal right to remain are removed from the UK," the report says.

Video: Asylum Seeker Has To Beg To Survive

"As a matter of priority, the department should identify the future IT capabilities it requires so it can develop a comprehensive, system-wide IT strategy that will deliver the required capabilities."

On Tuesday, the mayor of Calais said Britain's benefits system had become a magnet for asylum seekers making their way across the English Channel from France.

Skills Minister Nick Boles warned that Britain has lost control over immigration, and may not be able to stem movement from within the EU.

"We may never be able to control it entirely because it's a fundamental principle of the EU," Mr Boles told Total Politics.

"It will be very hard for the British people to accept that... we're going to be the net recipient of a very large amount of immigration every year," he added.

Labour's shadow immigration minister David Hanson said the Government's immigration policy is in "tatters".

He said: "The Skills Minister has admitted that the Government's grand promises have increased rather than decreased public concern.

"Yet they have still deterred the top skills and talent the economy needs. It is the worst of all worlds."

18.25 | 0 komentar | Read More

Lloyds Cuts 9,000 Jobs And 200 Branches

Written By andika jamanta on Selasa, 28 Oktober 2014 | 18.26

Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed 9,000 job losses and 200 branch closures as it moves to bolster its digital banking offering through a £1bn investment over three years.

The bank - part-owned by the taxpayer - said the job and branch cuts would take place as consumers' habits continued to shift towards online banking services.

Lloyds said it would be investing in remote advice services for customers, who would be increasingly expected to use online banking or self-service facilities within branches instead of dealing with staff face to face.

Sources at the bank told Sky News it had previously shed 45,000 jobs since its bailout at the height of the banking crisis.

The news was contained in its latest results which showed a nine-month profit before tax of £1.61bn - 5% down on the same period last year.

Lloyds said the figure included an extra £900m provision for the costs associated with the payment protection insurance mis-selling scandal.

Sky News reported on Monday night that Lloyds and other major banks were all planning to put aside extra funds, giving them a combined provision of more than £22bn.

Video: The Cost Of Banking To The Banks

Lloyds accounts for half the total.

Underlying profits for the business, which includes Halifax and Bank of Scotland, rose 41% to £2.2bn in the third quarter.

The job cuts announced by Lloyds represent around 10% of its current workforce of 88,000 and form part of its plans to "digitise" the bank.

Video: 1964: Banking For the Ladies

Earlier this year, the British Bankers' Association published research showing that UK-based customers conducted almost 40 million mobile and internet banking transactions each week in 2013, a huge increase on the previous year.

The branch closures will mainly affect urban areas where there are already high concentrations of Lloyds branches.

Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said: "Over the last three years the successful delivery of our strategy has ensured that we have become a safe, highly efficient, UK-focused retail and commercial bank.

Video: Banks To Use Twitter Cash Transfers

"The next phase of our strategy will use these strong foundations as a basis for meeting the rapidly-changing needs of our customers, and sets out how we will grow the business in a way that will deliver increasing and sustainable returns for our shareholders."

Shares have been under pressure since the results of a European stress test to see how lenders would cope in maintaining the buffer of capital they hold in the event of a financial crisis.

Lloyds passed the test but performed the least well among UK banks, adding to fears that it may struggle when details of a further exercise by the Bank of England are published in December.

18.26 | 0 komentar | Read More

Energy Crunch: Plan To Keep The Lights On

National Grid has warned that the UK may be forced to resort to emergency measures to keep the lights on if bad weather strikes this winter.

Its annual Winter Outlook report looking at the capacity margin - the gap between total electricity generating capacity and peak demand - was compiled as the country misses output from five key power stations following fires or safety checks.

The network operator put the figure at just 4.1% - its narrowest since 2006/7 - and said that margin of spare capacity could fall further to just 2.8% if weather conditions took a turn for the worse.

Such a scenario would mean the grid failing to meet its "basic reserve requirement" of spare capacity needed to run the system, forcing it to adopt contingencies such as paying factories to shut down and supplying reserves from mothballed power stations.

National Grid said it was finalising contracts with three sites, Littlebrook in Kent, Rye House in Hertfordshire and Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, to provide reserve capacity that would widen the margin by 2%.

The prospect of an electricity crunch has risen since the summer, when a key measure of risk, called Loss of Load Expectation (Lole) was forecast at 0.5 hours for the coming winter.

Video: Warning Expected Over Blackout Risk

Since then the Lole risk measure has risen to 1.6 hours, factoring in the fires that have caused the permanent shutdown of Ironbridge in Shropshire and the temporary closure of Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire.

A power station in Barking will also close, while a planned return to service for four EDF nuclear reactors at Heysham in Morecambe, Lancashire, and at Hartlepool, will see them return at only 75% capacity.

A fire earlier this month put half of operations out of action at Didcot B power station in Oxfordshire - which has capacity to supply a million homes.

The part of the site affected by the blaze is expected to return to around 50% service this week.

The Grid report said gas supplies were well ahead of expected peak demand but warned of the uncertain impact of tensions over Ukraine, which could strangle availability from the continent.


  1. Gallery: 1970s Britain Hit By Power Cuts

    Paul Caldecott, six, was forced to stay at school because his parents couldn't pick him up

  2. Four women work in a Slumberdown office in Bond Street, London, during a miner's strike in 1973

  3. A woman breast feeding her baby during a blackout at St Andrews Hospital, Dollis Hill, northwest London

  4. Working for Slumberdown had its advantages as these women could wrap themselves in quilts to keep warm during a blackout

  5. Customers and staff at an HMV shop in Oxford Street, London, during a power cut in December 1973

The report warned that in the "extreme scenario" of cold winter conditions and Russia cutting off supplies, the UK may have to arrange factory shutdowns as well and rely on expensive imports from markets further afield such as Asia and South America.

Cordi O'Hara, director of market operation, said: "The electricity margin has decreased compared to recent years, but the outlook remains manageable and well within the reliability standard set by Government.

"As system operator, we have taken the sensible precaution to secure additional tools to bolster our response to tighter margins."

Energy Minister Matt Hancock said lights would stay on across the country.

He told BBC Radio 4: "There will be secure energy supplies this winter. There will be no power cuts to householders."

18.26 | 0 komentar | Read More

Last British Troops Fly Out Of Camp Bastion

Written By andika jamanta on Senin, 27 Oktober 2014 | 18.26

By Alistair Bunkall, Defence Correspondent

The last British troops have left Camp Bastion in a secret mission that started at dawn.

Waves of aircraft lifted off from the base in Helmand, bound for Kandahar Airbase, in an operation that had been planned for months.

The last British helicopter to leave was the Chinook, with six Apache gunships providing close air support.

Five Hercules aircraft, two Chinooks, four US Sea Stallions and two Hueys were used to lift 950 US and UK personnel.

Security has now been handed over to Afghan forces.


  1. Gallery: A Timeline In Pictures

    October 7, 2001: US President George W Bush announces the US and Britain have started bombing Afghanistan

  2. March 26, 2006: The first regular British troops of the Helmand Task Force unload their kit after arriving by helicopter to an American-run base in Lashkar Gah in Helmand

  3. April 25, 2006: Defence Secretary John Reid announces Britain's GR7 Harriers would stay on in Afghanistan until at least 2007

  4. January 2, 2008: Prince Harry sits with a group of Gurkha soldiers after firing a machine gun from the observation post on JTAC Hill, close to forward operating base Delhi, in Helmand Province

  5. February 21, 2008: Prince Harry riding an abandoned motorcycle past his Spartan armoured vehicle, in the desert in Helmand

  6. The Ministry of Defence announced in February 2008 that the then 23-year-old Prince, an officer in the Household Cavalry regiment, had spent the past 10 weeks secretly serving in Helmand

  7. February 20, 2008: Prince Harry sitting below the turret of his Spartan armoured vehicle as he communicates with other units by radio

  8. July 13, 2009: US Marine Sergeant Anthony Zabala runs to safety as an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explodes in Garmsir district of Helmand

  9. 2009 saw the most IED attacks of the war so far, with 7,228 IED attacks killing 280 coalition soldiers

  10. November 10, 2009: Friends and family react as hearses carrying the coffins of six dead soldiers pass mourners lining the High Street in Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire

  11. November 14, 2010: Prince William salutes the memorial to the British soldiers killed in Afghanistan, during a remembrance day ceremony at Camp Bastion

  12. Capt Judith Gallagher with the Dragon Runner developed by Qinetiq which can remotely disarm IEDs and can be carried by a soldier in a back pack

  13. July 20, 2010: Soldiers from Scots Guards during an operation at an Afghan National Police base on Punjab hill, Helmand

  14. January 28, 2011: Mr Miliband arrives at Camp Bastion in Helmand for his first visit to Afghanistan

  15. January 29, 2011: Labour leader Ed Miliband, shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander watch a landmine detection exercise at Camp Bastion

  16. April 9, 2011: British troops, most of whom are new in theatre starting their tour, travel in a chinook helicopter to Lashkar Gah in Helmand

  17. April 10, 2011: A Chinook makes a delivery at Patrol Base Attal in Helmand

  18. July 20, 2011: Afghan elders wait for beginning of a handing over ceremony of control of security in the town of Lashkar Gah to the Afghan police and army

  19. July 27, 2011: Cpl Ryan Wordsworth of X-Ray Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines, brushes his teeth at Patrol Base Kalang in Afghanistan

  20. November 14, 2011: A soldier from the Alpha (Grenadier) company, the 3rd Battalion Royal regiment for Scotland meets a young child on a patrol in Nad e-Ali

  21. March 22, 2012: Sergeant Jon Van Zyl of the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment stands in front of two Mastiff vehicles and beneath Venus and Jupiter in the clear Helmand desert sky

  22. December 18, 2012: The Princess Royal talks to Lieutenant Colonel Ben Wrench, Major Angus Watson and Sergeant Gardner in Camp Tombstone during her visit to Camp Bastion

  23. January 21, 2013: Prince Harry does a pre-flight check of his Apache helicopter after starting his 12 hour VHR (very high ready-ness) shift

  24. Harry scrambles to his Apache

  25. April 2, 2013: Petty Officers inspect a Chinook airframe for small arms fire damage as part of the ongoing battlefield maintenance and repair on Camp Bastion

  26. October 5, 2013: Soldiers approach a Chinook aircraft in the Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand

  27. October 11, 2013: An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier from 3 Brigade 209 Kandak looks through his rifle scope as he is trained on marksmanship skills at ANA Camp Shorabak, Helmand

  28. December 23, 2013: Private Zina Saunders, a dog handler, gives Hazel Christmas presents which were sent by the handler's friends and family in the UK

  29. December 23, 2013: Soldiers based at Patrol Base Lash Durai, Afghanistan get into the festive spirit

  30. October 3, 2014: David Cameron addresses British troops at Camp Bastion in Helmand for the final time before troops wind down their mission in Afghanistan

It was crucial to trick the Taliban into thinking there were more troops at the base than there actually were.

Tornado fast jets and Reaper drones kept watch over the flight path into Bastion airport to prevent attacks on incoming aircraft during the past few days.

Dummy missions were flown by helicopter crews to give the impression of a base still at its peak.


  1. Gallery: Life In Camp Bastion

    Soldiers from 2nd Royal Tank Regiment relax in transit accommodation as they prepare to leave Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan after a gruelling six month tour

  2. British troops cross themselves during prayer as they stand at ease on the parade square at Camp 501, Camp Bastion

  3. The coffin containing the body of British Army soldier L/cpl Paul "Sandy" Sandford is carried by his fellow soldiers during his repatriation ceremony

  4. Troops from various regiments including Sandford's, the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment held a repatriation ceremony for the British soldier killed in action on 6 June, 2007

  5. British soldiers play a game of Scrabble as they watch the live broadcast of the Royal wedding

  6. Soldiers wait to talk to then Chancellor Gordon Brown, with a cross in the foreground - part of a monument in the memory of fallen comrades

  7. Merlin Pilot Wing Commander Nigel Colman Officer Commanding 78 Squadron sits at the back of a Merlin at Camp Bastion

  8. Troops observe the minute's silence at Camp Bastion during a special Armistice Day Parade on the 93rd anniversary of the end of the First World War

  9. Lieutenant Chris Millen, serving with 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, relaxes in his bedspace in transit accommodation as he prepares leave Camp Bastion

  10. Capt Robbie Robertson (left) and Capt Olly Denning spar at Camp Bastion

  11. Troops from 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards with a Scimitar tank

  12. Trooper Ben Rakestrow (right), 21, from Egypt squadron, 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, sits on his rather colourful bedspread with friends in transit accommodation at Camp Bastion

  13. Royal Military Police (RMP) as they clear their vehicle and its shelter of snow following a rare snow shower

  14. British soldier Jamie Anderson lifts weights as he passes time at Camp Bastion

  15. A British soldier controls the ball during a football match as comrades (background), and an Afghan National Army soldier, right, look on during a football training session at Camp Bastion

Illume flares were fired nightly by the Royal Artillery Corp from different locations to light up the surrounding Helmand countryside.

The perimeter guard towers were manned until the very last moment - and with the shake of the hand, the towers were handed over to Afghans.

The Afghans themselves, who shared the neighbouring Camp Shorobak and now control Bastion, were only told the date of "B-Day" hours before it happened.

Video: Fallon: Afghanistan Now Safer Place

More follows...

Video: Britain's War In Afghanistan Ends

18.26 | 0 komentar | Read More

British Doctor 'Unlawfully Killed' In Syria

By Tom Parmenter, Sky News Correspondent

An inquest into the death of a British doctor in Syria has found he was unlawfully killed.

Dr Abbas Khan, from south-west London, was arrested in the conflict-hit country in November 2012 whilst volunteering in a hospital.

The married father-of-two had travelled to the rebel-held city of Aleppo to treat injured civilians.

His family campaigned for his release for months before he was found dead on 16 December 2013.

Syrian officials say he hanged himself in a jail cell after 13 months in custody but his family believed he was murdered.

When he died, the 32-year-old orthopaedic surgeon was on the verge of being released from prison and being allowed home for Christmas.

During the inquest in London, the jury heard evidence from Dr Khan's mother Fatima who, the chief coroner Judge Peter Thornton said, had been "extraordinarily persistent" in trying to locate and free her son.

In evidence she explained how she travelled to Damascus alone when she found out her son was being detained on terror charges.

She trawled embassies and prisons with a picture of her son who was working as a surgeon when he was arrested in November 2012.

When she eventually tracked him down she described how he has a fingernail missing and that his feet were badly burnt.

During a two-week hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, the jury heard there was no evidence Dr Khan had gone to Syria to fight.

Judge Thornton said: "It is clear that he wanted to use his medical skills to help others, and that included helping others in conflict-torn Syria."

The coroner had previously said the main issues for the jury to consider were: did Dr Khan take his own life, or was he "forced in some way by his captors to take his own life against his will", or was he "unlawfully killed" by his captors?

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