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Raised Terror Threat Prompts Government Talks

Written By andika jamanta on Sabtu, 30 Agustus 2014 | 18.25

Caution No Excuse For Chaotic Response To IS

Updated: 6:52pm UK, Friday 29 August 2014

By Sam Kiley, Foreign Affairs Editor

This is a Corporal Jones moment: "Don't Panic!"

But it is one that, so far, has revealed that the British approach to the rapid emergence of Islamic State from almost nil to "a deeper and greater threat than we have ever seen before" has been as chaotic as the Dad's Army character.

David Cameron has now elevated IS above al Qaeda in terms of the danger it poses to the safety of British citizens.

And the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has raised the immediate threat level for the UK from substantial to severe – which means it's likely.

The Prime Minister will announce new measures to restrict the ability of would-be terrorists to leave the UK to get training and to return to commit atrocities.

For now, though, he has continued to rule out the use of force to battle IS in its home territory.

Instead the UK will continue to offer logistical and intelligence support to the US which has been conducting very limited air strikes against the 'Caliphate'.

If, as the PM suggested, this is to be a conflict that could last years or decades, then there is clearly no rush.

But caution can no longer be an excuse for chaos in the response.

The world isn't the way that anyone would wish it. Not now and not for the foreseeable future.

The next generation of Britons will be facing a Malthusian struggle over resources with a hungry China, a Russia brimming with ambitious consumers, Africa's exploding population, India's intellectual empire, and global warming.

The mess that is the Middle East may have its roots in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I and sectarian rivalry – but it will be further fuelled by the competition that is going to drive conflicts for years to come.

These may involve a long-term campaign against political Islamist terror.

But that won't be the only problem the UK and her allies will face.

For proof one only has to look at eastern Ukraine.

Nato's leaders are going to meet in Wales next week to thrash out priorities and strategy for the next few years.

Cameron's recent short speech and his appearance on Monday in the Commons, is a clear sign that he's steeling himself to grasp a handful of nettles.

He's bracing the British for a long haul conflict with the IS. He's fortifying the debate over what it is to be British by insisting that adopting "British values" are not an option or a choice but "a duty".

He will soon have to help drag more money for Nato out of its members.

And he'll be ordering his security services to come up with tactics and long-term strategies to deal with the uncomfortable realities of the modern world that politicians have been refusing to confront.

These are that it's going to get more dangerous, more expensive, harder work and just tougher all around. Few politicians will want to sell that less than 12 months from an election.

18.25 | 0 komentar | Read More

Missing British Boy Ashya Could Be In Spain

Hampshire Constabulary has confirmed there is positive information to suggest the family of Ashya King may now be in Spain.

The police force said it now has information which suggests the family has strong links to the Marbella area and that they may be travelling there.

The family's car was spotted on Friday, according to police, which has shifted the focus of the search to Spain.

Officers are now working with Spanish authorities in a continued effort to locate the missing five-year-old, who has a brain tumour.

Pics: Naveed King Five-year-old Ashya needs treatment for a brain tumour

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead said: "The need to find Ashya is now desperate. It is really important that we find him and ensure he receives medical attention at the earliest opportunity.

"We still don't know whether the King family has any spare batteries for the machine which administers food, the knowledge, or any way of recharging the battery. Without properly administered food Ashya's situation is very serious.

"We have information to suggest that the family may well be on the way to Spain and our search is concentrating on the Marbella area.

"I do have to stress although that's what we're focusing our attention at this point in time, they could equally be anywhere and we would urge anybody on the continent to stay vigilant, keep your eyes open, and if they see the vehicle they're travelling, if you see the family or indeed if you see Ashya please contact police."

Police fear for the life of a sick five-year-old boy taken without consent by his parents, if he is not found within 24 hours Ashya was taken from the hospital by his parents Brett and Naghemeh

Mr Shead added officers would be contacting hospitals across Europe, looking for someone matching the little boy's description or symptoms to see if he has been admitted.

Ashya's family took him from Southampton General Hospital, where he was receiving treatment, at around 2pm on Thursday and travelled on a ferry to Cherbourg, France, two hours later.

The little boy is in a wheelchair and is being fed through a tube. He has undergone "extensive surgery" - with his last operation seven days ago.

Police were told by the hospital that the little boy was missing at 8.35pm that day - more than six hours after he was taken by his parents - Jehovah's Witnesses Brett King, 51, and Naghemeh King, 45.

The family, from Southsea, is travelling in a grey Hyundai I800 Style CRDI registration KP60 HWK.

Interpol yellow notice alert for missing boy Ashya King Interpol has issued a yellow alert in 190 countries

Interpol has sent out a missing persons alert to its 190 member countries as concerns for the boy's welfare have grown.

Ashya is likely to be in a wheelchair or buggy, cannot communicate verbally and is immobile, a police spokesman said.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said Ashya was allowed to leave the ward under his parents' supervision and hospital staff raised the alarm when his absence "became a cause of concern".

Legal experts have said that it is "unlikely" that the Kings had committed an offence by taking Ashya out of hospital.

A post on Hampshire Constabulary's Facebook page said: "This is my mother's friend, she has run away in desperation because they cannot accept that there is nothing that can be done for their son and want to look for help abroad.

"Please don't judge, they are a very sweet loving family and I can only believe they are doing this because they want to help their son."

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James Argent: Towie Star Found 'Safe And Well'

The Only Way Is Essex star James Argent has been found "safe and well", his father has told Sky News, after his family reported him missing and a police hunt was launched.

Argent's father said his son had been in touch to explain his "phone was broken and he's now on his way to Blackpool".

His agent Neil Dobias also confirmed the news: "I'm not sure of any of the details but he's called home and spoken to his mum. I just know that he's safe and well."

Police had earlier said they were concerned for Argent's welfare after he was reported missing by his family.

James Argent (R) with Tom Pearce (L) at the National Television Awards in London Argent with Towie's Tom Pearce at the National Television Awards in January

Known as "Arg" on the hit reality show, he was last seen at around 3am on Friday at his home in Woodford Green, Essex.

He was meant to be flying out of Gatwick on Friday morning, but he did not make his flight and did not contact his family, friends or agent, who he was supposed to be meeting.

They said it was was "unusual" and very out of character, so increasingly the concern grew for his well-being.

His agent told Sky News earlier: "James was meant to meet me at the airport yesterday morning for a work trip to Majorca but he never turned up and now we are all very concerned."

James Argent completes the London Marathon in 2012 Argent completing the London Marathon in 2012

The 26-year-old, who joined the Towie cast along with his best friend Mark Wright when the series first aired in 2010, is known to frequent the Brentwood area and nightclubs in Redbridge.

Argent, who has more than 1.4 million followers on Twitter, mentioned missing his ex-girlfriend and Towie co-star Lydia Bright in his most recent tweet on Thursday.

He wrote: "I really miss my old pal @LydiaRoseBright will you hurry up and get back from Italy ASAP! #Needy x."

Their will they/won't they relationship was the focus of the Essex-based show's last series.

Lydia Bright and James Argent Argent with Lydia Bright

The response on Twitter to concerns about Argent's whereabouts was huge this morning.

Former Towie star Sam Faiers tweeted: "We're all worried come home @RealJamesArgent."

Fans also expressed their concerns on social media, with one tweeting: "I hope @RealJamesArgent is found unharmed and well!! Xx."

Another wrote: "Omg can't believe it, hope @RealJamesArgent is okay."

Later, Towie star Gemma Collins tweeted: "Arg is ok."

Argent collected Towie's Bafta Audience Award in 2011 and completed the London Marathon in just over six hours in aid of Cancer Research in 2012.

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Putin: Ukraine Assault Like Nazis In WW2

Written By andika jamanta on Jumat, 29 Agustus 2014 | 18.25

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Ukraine's assault on its eastern cities is reminiscent of the Nazi siege of Leningrad.

He urged Kiev to begin "substantive" negotiations with the separatists to achieve peace, adding that Russians and Ukrainians are "practically one people".

"It is necessary to force the Ukrainian authorities to substantively begin these talks - not on technical issues… the talks must be substantive," Mr Putin told a youth camp outside Moscow.

He also said Russia needed to strengthen its position in the Arctic economically and politically.

Earlier Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has dismissed claims that its troops are fighting in eastern Ukraine as "conjecture".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Mr Lavrov: 'No proof of Russian involvement'

"We're hearing various conjectures, not for the first time, but not once have any facts been presented to us," he said at a news conference.

Mr Lavrov was speaking after the US accused Russia of lying about its involvement in Ukraine and warned of tougher economic sanctions.

Speaking at the White House, President Barack Obama said Russia has been supporting pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine "for months".

He ruled out any direct US military intervention but said Russia would incur "more costs and consequences".

President Mr Obama: 'There will be consequences'

"The separatists are backed, trained, armed, financed by Russia. Russia determined that it had to be a little more overt in what it had already been doing, but it's not really a shift," Mr Obama said.

Kiev said on Friday a call by Russian President Vladimir Putin for separatists to open a 'humanitarian corridor' to allow encircled Ukrainian troops to withdraw was further proof they were "led and controlled directly from the Kremlin".

"I'm calling on insurgents to open a humanitarian corridor for Ukrainian troops who were surrounded in order to avoid senseless deaths," Mr Putin said in a statement.

He went on to praise the pro-Russian separatists whom he described as "insurgents" for "undermining Kiev's military operation which threatened lives of the residents of Donbass and has already led to a colossal death toll among civilians."

Satellite imagery of Russian tanks in Ukraine, provided to Sky News by security forces A satellite image allegedly showing a Russian military incursion in Ukraine

It is thought Mr Putin was referring to Ukrainian troops who have been trapped outside the strategic town of Ilovaysk, east of Donetsk, for nearly a week.

A top insurgent in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk promptly reacted to Mr Putin's appeal but said the Ukrainian troops would have to lay down their arms before they were allowed to go.

"We are ready to open humanitarian corridors to the Ukrainian troops who were surrounded with the condition that they surrender heavy weaponry and ammunition so that this weaponry and ammunition will not be used against us in future," Alexander Zakharchenko said on Russia's state Rossiya 24 television.


According to the UN, a total of 2,593 people have been killed in the fighting in eastern Ukraine since it erupted in mid-April.

It said on Friday the figure includes civilians as well as Ukrainian and separatist combatants, but not the 298 victims of the MH17 Malaysian Airlines plane crash.

"The trend is clear and alarming. There is a significant increase in the death toll in the east," Ivan Simonovic, UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, told journalists.

He predicted civilian casualties would continue to rise "as each side increases its strength, through mobilisation, better organisation or the deployment of new fighters and more sophisticated weapons and support from outside

Nato is due to hold an emergency meeting on the crisis later today, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said an EU summit on Saturday would discuss the prospect of further sanctions.

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Missing Ashya: Videos Reveal Fight For Life

Ashya King's fight for life after being diagnosed with a brain tumour has been chronicled in a series of poignant videos filmed by his brother.

One video shows Ashya in hospital while another includes a message assuring the boy: "Everyone is praying for you. We just want to see your smile again."

The posts were uploaded to Facebook and YouTube by Ashya's brother Naveed, after the brain tumour diagnosis was made by doctors.

Pics: Naveed King Naveed posted this picture of Ashya with his mother

Speaking into the camera in a message directly to Ashya, he said: "I haven't slept. I've been awake all night worrying.

"We love you so much. We're all here for you.

"Everyone is praying for you. We just want to see your smile again. No kid at the age of five deserves to have a brain tumour.

"Let's just hope the doctors know what they're doing and they know exactly where to operate and what to take out, and they take everything out and you can be better.

"And when we look back in 10 years' time when you're 15, we can actually see that things have changed for the better.

Pics: Naveed King Ashya was "progressing slowly" according to one of the videos

"Just because they're bad at one point doesn't mean they'll always be bad. I love you so much. I can't wait to see you."

Police have launched a "major investigation" to find Ashya who was taken from Southampton General Hospital to France against medical advice.

In other videos - which Sky News has chosen not to show - Ashya is clearly in distress as he undergoes treatment for his condition.

On August 18 Naveed posted an update on Facebook signed "King family", saying Ashya had been "progressing slowly".

The post included several pictures, one showing Ashya with his mother, and another of a large stitched wound at the back of the boy's head and neck.

Pics: Naveed King Naveed said that his family were staying in a "charity home"

Naveed wrote: "He (Ashya) is now able to swallow (only liquid things like water and on odd occasions soft yoghurt) but not chew or move his leaps (sic).

"He can also close his eye lids but still struggles in moving his eyes to look at people or things.

"He is still unable to talk to explain how he feels or what may be hurting him on occasions.

"As a family we thank everyone who has taken their time in prayer for Ashya to get better and also by the amazing gifts he has received from those prayers!

"He is still far from being a normal child and still not out of the danger zone of where minor issues could cause severe problems for his brain, so please continue to pray for him to have the strength and to be able to recuperate quickly!"

In another YouTube video posted earlier this month, Naveed said his family had been staying in a "charity home" and he was visiting his brother twice a day in hospital.

He said Ashya was struggling to move his legs and arms or swallow food and had only recently been able to close his eyelids.

"He's progressing slowly," Naveed said.

"It still might be a couple of weeks before he can maybe move an arm or two and might be a couple of months before he can walk."

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Missing Ashya: Feeding Tube Runs Out Today

"Time is running out" for a five-year-old boy with a brain tumour who was taken from hospital by his parents, police said today.

Hampshire Constabulary said "there are serious concerns" for the life of Ashya King as he needs constant medical care.

At a press conference this morning, officers revealed that Ashya had been operated on seven days ago, and had been fed through a tube in his hospital bed.

Ashya King. CCTV captures Ashya being taken from the hospital in his wheelchair

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead said: "The feeding system is battery operated and that battery will run out today.

"It is vital that we find Ashya today. His health will deteriorate rapidly."

He added: "Time is running out for this little boy. We need to find him and we need to find him urgently."

Pics: Naveed King Ashya needs 24 hour medical attention, say police (pic Naveed King)

Ashya's parents - Brett King, 51, and Naghemeh King, 45, - boarded a cross-Channel ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg at 4pm yesterday, police said.

The parents went with Ashya's six siblings.

Police said Ashya was taken from Southampton General Hospital at around 2pm yesterday by his family, who live in St David's Road, Southsea, Portsmouth.

The family took the ferry to Cherbourg The family boarded a ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg The family arrived in France at 8pm They arrived in France at roughly 8pm The family are still believed to be in France Police believe the family are still in France

CCTV images captured the moment the boy was wheeled out of the hospital, apparently by his father.

Ashya is still likely to be in a wheelchair or buggy, he cannot communicate verbally and is immobile, a police spokesman said.

The family, believed to be Jehovah's Witnesses, are travelling in a grey Hyundai I800 Style CRDI, registration KP60 HWK.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead said time was running out

Police said they arrived in France at 8pm local time last night and are still thought to be in the country.

Hampshire Constabulary said: "We are working with our counterparts in France to activate their emergency child rescue alert procedures to locate the family as soon as possible.

"If we do not locate Ashya today there are serious concerns for his life.

Pics: Naveed King Ashya with his father in hospital (pic: Naveed King)

"He is receiving constant medical care within the UK due to recent surgery and ongoing medical issues.

"Without this specialist 24-hour care Ashya is at risk of additional health complications which place him at substantial risk."

In a video posted on YouTube last month, Naveed King said his little brother Ashya had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and was undergoing emergency surgery.

Speaking into the camera in a message directly to Ashya, he said: "I haven't slept. I've been awake all night worrying.

Ashya King. Ashya King was being cared for at Southampton General Hospital

"We love you so much. We're all here for you. "Everyone is praying for you. We just want to see your smile again.

"No kid at the age of five deserves to have a brain tumour.

"Let's just hope the doctors know what they're doing and they know exactly where to operate and what to take out, and they take everything out and you can be better.

Hampshire Police's tweet asking for help finding Ahya King. Hampshire Police have launched a social media campaign to find Ashya

"And when we look back in 10 years' time when you're 15, we can actually see that things have changed for the better.

"Just because they're bad at one point doesn't mean they'll always be bad.

"I love you so much. I can't wait to see you."

Pics: Naveed King Ashya with his mother Naghemeh (pic Naveed King)

Naveed, whose Instagram profile says he is 20, describes himself as a Jehovah's Witness on the social networking site.

Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions on religious grounds but are open to other medical procedures.

A spokesman for Brittany Ferries confirmed the family had travelled on board its cross-Channel ferry and the company was assisting Hampshire Police with its inquiries.

Brett King Father Brett King is thought to have taken the boy from hospital A car similar to that used by King family. Pic: Hampshire Constabulary A car similar to the one driven by the King family

Detective Superintendent Dick Pearson, of the Hampshire Major Investigation Team, said: "He needs to be taken to a medical facility for his urgent health requirements as soon as he is located.

"We have also launched a social media appeal and would urge everyone to share this appeal, particularly if you have friends and relatives in France and bordering countries."

Anyone with information about Ashya's whereabouts should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101, quoting Operation Aquilion.

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Ukraine: Russia Has 'Invaded' The Country

Written By andika jamanta on Kamis, 28 Agustus 2014 | 18.25

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Russian troops have entered the country.

He has cancelled a working trip to Turkey and called an emergency meeting of Ukraine's security and defence council.

Mr Poroshenko said it followed "the rapidly deteriorating situation in Donetsk region, in particular in Amvrosiyivka and Starobesheve, as Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine".

Earlier the security and defence council said the border town of Novoazovsk and other parts of Ukraine's south-east had fallen under the control of Russian forces who were staging a counter-offensive with rebels.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko A worried-looking Petro Poroshenko

"A counter-offensive by Russian troops and separatist units is continuing in south-east Ukraine," the council said in a post on Twitter.

It said Ukrainian government forces had withdrawn from Novoazovsk "to save their lives" and were now reinforcing troops in the port city of Mariupol.

It added that Russian forces and separatists were combining to launch attacks on Ilovaysk and Shakhtarsk, east of Donetsk.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of having "deliberately unleashed a war in Europe" and called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting, a called echoed by Lithuania.

- Ukrainian troops on their way to Novoazovsk on Tuesday

The US ambassador to Ukraine has said Russian troops have been directly involved in the fighting.

"An increasing number of Russian troops are intervening directly in fighting on Ukrainian territory," Geoffrey Pyatt wrote on Twitter.

"Russia has also sent its newest air defence systems including the SA-22 into eastern Ukraine and is now directly involved in the fighting."

On Wednesday a top rebel leader, Alexander Zakharchenko, admitted Russian troops were fighting alongside his insurgents, but said they were on "holiday" after volunteering to join the battle.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in Minsk Mr Putin and Mr Poroshenko at 'peace' talks in Minsk on Tuesday

There has been increasing concern in Kiev and the West of Russia's direct involvement in the conflict -- a charge Moscow has repeatedly denied.

The spiralling tensions come two days after Mr Poroshenko and Mr Putin held their first talks in three months but made little progress despite talk of a peace roadmap.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has demanded an explanation from Mr Putin over the reports about Russian troops, while French President Francois Hollande has warned their involvement would be "intolerable and unacceptable".

The European security body OSCE had called a special meeting to discuss "Russia violations in Ukraine" before the invasion reports.

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MP Douglas Carswell Quits Tories For UKIP

Conservative MP Douglas Carswell has announced he is defecting from the Tories and joining UKIP.

The MP For Clacton in Essex said he made the decision because he believes UKIP is the only party that can break up the "cosy Westminster elite".

Flanked by his new party leader Nigel Farage, Mr Carswell was cheered by supporters as he said he take the unusual step of resigning from Parliament and fighting to win back his seat for UKIP in a by-election.

Mr Farage told his latest recruit: "I think what you've just done is without doubt the bravest, most honourable and noblest thing I've seen in British politics in my lifetime."

The Prime Minister responds to the killing of James Foley David Cameron, who is in Scotland, was not told about his MP's decision

Mr Carswell was scathing in his criticism of David Cameron and his Government - accusing the Prime Minister of being insincere in his vow to reform Britain's relationship with Europe.

He said he had not told the PM of his decision in advance.  

Speaking to Sky News moments after the announcement, he said: "I don't think they're serious about the change this country needs. This country needs serious political reform.

"They're not serious about making government accountable to Parliament and Parliament accountable to the people.

He added: "I know David Cameron is not serious because I've heard him say it."

He admitted that he could lose the by-election but said he would trust the voters to make their own decision.

Nigel Farage insisted Mr Carswell was not the only sitting MP who backed his policies.

He told Sky News: "I've spoken to people in the Conservative Party and the Labour Party who do not want Britain to be borderless, who think this is doing great damage to the working opportunities of people in Britain.

"I don't think Douglas Carswell is going to be considered an isolated eccentric - there are other MPs out there considering their options."

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "This is a regrettable and frankly counterproductive decision.

"As he's said, the only way to get an referendum on the EU is to return a majority Conservative government.

"The Conservative Party will contest the forthcoming by-election vigorously to make the people in Clacton have a strong conservative voice in this parliament and the next."

Sky News Political Editor Faisal Islam said: "This is precisely the sort of move that turns what might have been called a protest vote in May into something more substantial.

"Douglas Carswell is known for his views on Europe but he's also popular for a variety of reasons.

"The Prime Minister's up in Glasgow trying to keep the Union together and now he's trying to stitch his party together.

"And the old Conservative problem of Europe raises its head again, at the worst possible time."

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Shaun Wright 'Should Face Criminal Probe'

Police Commissioner Shaun Wright should face a criminal investigation over the Rotherham child abuse scandal, a Labour MP has said.

John Mann told Sky News he is writing to Home Secretary Theresa May asking for police to investigate Mr Wright with a view to bringing a case of misconduct in public office against him and others responsible for childcare while hundreds of children were abused.

The Bassetlaw MP said an independent force, rather than Mr Wright's South Yorkshire Police, should take charge of the inquiry.

Speaking on Sky News Sunrise, he said: "I'm writing to the Home Secretary and to South Yorkshire Police asking for an investigation into misconduct into public office, which is a criminal offence, for wilful neglect of duty.

uploaded from ROTHERHAM WRIGHT.jpg Shaun Wright is facing fresh calls to resign over the Rotherham scandal

"Having looked at the law, it seems to me that there is a case to be heard, potentially by him - also potentially by others involved in this scandal for wilfully failing to act."

Mr Wright is facing fresh calls to resign after he quit the Labour Party to keep his £85,000-a-year job on Wednesday night.

He announced his move less than an hour after Labour threatened to suspend him from the party over his perceived failings in the key child protection role from 2005-2010.

Mr Wright was a Rotherham councillor, charged with heading up the local authority's child protection services at the height of the scandal, where an estimated 1,400 children are believed to have been groomed and abused by gangs of Asian men.

Rotherham abuse scandal Sonia Sharp has apologised to victims of abuse in Rotherham

On Tuesday, a highly critical report highlighted widespread failings at both Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police for allowing that abuse to continue unchecked for more than 16 years.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - speaking on his LBC radio phone-in - became the latest senior politician to call for Mr Wright to go.

He said: "As Theresa May said, she can't tell the police and crime commissioner, who clearly should do the decent thing and stand aside, to do so.

"All we can do, which is what I'm doing now, which is what everybody's doing, across parties, is to say 'please, do the decent thing and stand aside because you have to take responsibility and then let's try ... to go after the perpetrators."

Rotherham's former director of children's services has said sorry to children abused in the town and said she wished more could have been done to help them.

Sonia Sharp, who was in the key role from 2005-2008, said it was known "that there were many children in the community at risk and feared that this was the tip of an iceberg".

Dr Sharp, now working for the Australian state of Victoria's department of education and early childhood development, said: "You can't be a director of children's services and not take responsibility for what happens to children. 

"I am sorry that these children and young people suffered terrible abuse and I wish we could have done more to prevent the abuse of children and young people in Rotherham."

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UN Says Syria May Have Used Chemical Weapons

Written By andika jamanta on Rabu, 27 Agustus 2014 | 18.25

The United Nations has said it believes the Syrian regime used chemical weapons in civilian areas eight times in April.

The report by the independent Commission of Inquiry said it believed chlorine was the agent used on multiple occasions.

"Reasonable grounds exist to believe that chemical agents, likely chlorine, were used on (northern Syrian villages) Kafr Zeita, al Tamana and Tal Minnis in eight incidents within a 10-day period in April," it said.

"Witnesses saw helicopters drop barrel bombs and smelled a scent akin to domestic chlorine immediately following impact," it pointed out.

Victims, it said, had suffered "symptoms compatible with exposure to chemical agents, namely vomiting, eye and skin irritation, choking and other respiratory problems".

It marks the first time the UN has assigned blame for the use of the chemical agent. 

Militant Islamist fighters parade on military vehicles along the streets of northern Raqqa province of Syria Islamic State fighters in northern Raqqa province

President Bashar al Assad's regime and the opposition have both accused the other of using chemical agents, including chlorine, in the bloody uprising that began in March 2011 and in spite of Damascus promising to hand over all its chemical arms.

The report on the human rights situation also found that public executions, as well as amputations, lashing and mock crucifixions regularly take place on Fridays in parts of Syria controlled by Islamic State (IS).

In the 45-page document, the panel described beheadings of boys as young as 15, men flogged for things like smoking or accompanying an "improperly dressed" female relative, and women publicly lashed for not following the group's strict dress code.

Still image from video shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad as he is sworn in for a new seven-year term at the presidential palace in Damascus President Assad was sworn in for another seven years in July

IS, which declared a "caliphate" in an area stretching across northern Iraq and eastern Syria, is also recruiting and training children as young as 10, with teens being used in active combat and suicide-bombing missions, the report said.

"This is a continuation - and a geographic expansion - of the widespread and systematic attack on the civilian population," according to the report of the four-member commission that is chaired by Brazilian diplomat and scholar Paulo Sergio Pinheiro.

The commission was created three years ago by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate abuses committed in the war, which is estimated to have killed nearly 200,000 people.

It will present to the council next month its latest report covering a litany of war crimes and crimes against humanity it says were carried out by the Syrian government, IS and opposition groups.

Syria has said it is ready to cooperate with the international community in the fight against the militants who have taken over areas straddling both Iraq and Syria.

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