Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Sunday, 7 July 2013
Britain deported radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan on Sunday to face terror charges, ending a nearly decade-long legal battle to expel the man once dubbed Osama bin Laden's deputy in Europe.
The Palestinian-born preacher, 53, was taken from prison in an armoured police van to a military airfield on the outskirts of London, where he boarded a privately chartered jet that lifted off into the night sky.
Britain was finally able to expel the father-of-five after the two governments last month formally approved a treaty guaranteeing that evidence obtained by torture would not be used against him in any retrial.
Home Secretary Theresa May said his departure proved that the government's efforts to deport him had been worth the £1.7 million ($2.7 million, two million euros) legal bill and would be "welcomed by the British public."
"This dangerous man has now been removed from our shores to face the courts in his own country," she said in a statement released seconds after Abu Qatada's plane took off.
Handout photo issued by the Ministry of Defence of Abu Qatada (left) at RAF Northolt. Photo: PA
Jordanian officials said they expected him to arrive in Amman later Sunday morning, with the flight taking around five hours, although they have not said what they will do with him when he does arrive.
British newspapers said he would be taken straight to jail near Amman.
Television pictures showed Abu Qatada dressed in a white robe as he boarded the aircraft at the RAF Northolt base in west London. He had earlier left high security Belmarsh jail in southeast London in a blue armoured police van flanked by three police cars.
Abu Qatada was condemned to death in 1999 for conspiracy to carry out terror attacks including on the American school in Amman but the sentence was immediately reduced to life imprisonment with hard labour.
In 2000, he was sentenced to 15 years for plotting to carry out terror attacks on tourists during the millennium celebrations in Jordan.
Under Jordanian law, Abu Qatada faces retrial for the offences on his return, because the original convictions were made in absentia.
The radical cleric has been in and out of British prisons since 2002, although he has never been convicted of any crime, and London has been trying to deport him since 2005.
British and European courts blocked his expulsion on the grounds that evidence might be used against him that had been obtained by torture.
But after years of legal battles his lawyers unexpectedly said in May that he would return there once the fair trial treaty was ratified by the Jordanian parliament.
"I am glad that this government's determination to see him on a plane has been vindicated and that we have at last achieved what previous governments, parliament and the British public have long called for," May said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron had previously said he would be "one of the happiest people in Britain" when Abu Qatada was finally deported.
Abu Qatada's wife and five children are expected to remain in Britain, where he first came in 1993 seeking asylum.
Born Omar Mahmud Mohammed Otman in Bethlehem in the now Israeli-occupied West Bank, Abu Qatada is a Jordanian national because the town was part of Jordan when he was born.
Videotapes of his sermons were allegedly found in the Hamburg flat of 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta while top Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon once branded Abu Qatada Osama bin Laden's deputy in Europe, although Abu Qatada denies ever having met the slain al-Qaeda leader.
Jordanian Salafist leader Mohammad Shalabi, who is better known as Abu Sayyaf, told AFP this week that his followers were hopeful Abu Qatada would be allowed to go home instead of returning to jail.
"God willing, he will be declared innocent after a fair and quick trial," Shalabi said.
Theresa May, the fifth successive home secretary to try to expel Abu Qatada, announced the so-called "Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters" with Jordan in April after months of negotiations.
The treaty was then ratified by the British and Jordanian parliaments. It does not specifically mention Abu Qatada, but gives guarantees for cases like his.
Edited by Steve Wilson for telegraph.co.uk
Around 100 powers are to be permanently seized from Europe in a dramatic move this week.
In the first part of efforts to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the European Union, ministers will announce plans to claw back the powers.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will give MPs details of proposals to opt out of 133 EU measures covering justice, home affairs and the police — including the controversial European Arrest Warrant — by next spring.
Some of the measures that are seen to be in the national interest will then be opted back into, in a complex process, but “more than two thirds” will disappear permanently from British law, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
The move follows last week’s unanimous Commons vote in favour of moves to hold an “in-out” referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU by 2017.
David Cameron has promised to hold a referendum after a major diplomatic drive to redefine the terms of Britain’s relationship with the 27 other countries in the union.
Senior government sources said the announcement on the mass justice and home affairs opt-out, which is expected on Tuesday, should be seen in this context, while Tory Eurosceptics, who originally wanted all 133 measures to be dumped permanently, said that the move was an “acid test” of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation strategy.
It could also open up a new rift with the Liberal Democrats, who oppose Mr Cameron’s referendum plan.
Tuesday’s announcement will be made after months of intense internal wrangling between Tories and Lib Dems over which justice and home affairs powers should be kept and which should be permanently dropped.
Conservative ministers want to exploit Labour’s confusion over whether it will make its own referendum pledge, as well as the party’s wider difficulties surrounding the row over attempts by the Unite union, its biggest paymaster, to influence the selection of parliamentary candidates.
Other flagship coalition measures likely to appeal to Conservative supporters will be spelt out in detail this week — including the new curriculum for five- to 14-year-olds that will see Winston Churchill restored to history lessons and plans for the privatisation of Royal Mail.
Mrs May is expected to tell MPs that the process of opting out of the EU’s justice and home affairs measures by the end of May 2014 — as Britain is entitled to do under the terms of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty — will be followed by a process of opting back into some laws that it is in the national interest to retain.
The most controversial is the European Arrest Warrant, which senior Conservative sources say gives rise to “concerns” — including the fact that Britain currently hands over many more suspects to other countries than it receives to face justice here.
Other concerns include the length of time suspects can be held without trial in some other EU countries and the apparently trivial offences for which British police are asked to arrest people so that they can be sent abroad.
Ministers have been pressing for the warrant to be “reformed”, amid signs that it could be one of the measures that is eventually retained. The Lib Dems are key supporters of the warrant.
Other measures among the scores from which Britain is expected to opt out include DNA profiling and fingerprint checking, some co-operation on cross-border crimes and plans for an EU-wide driving ban.
One plan Britain is particularly keen not to be part of is that of a European-wide public prosecutor with sweeping powers of investigation and arrest across member states.
Although some laws will remain after the “opt back in” process, Conservative sources welcomed the symbolism of the announcement of a major opt-out of EU powers just days after plans for an in/out referendum got a 304-vote unanimous backing in the Commons.
Dominic Raab, a Conservative MP, said: “This is a crucial opportunity to put British law enforcement ahead of Brussels’ thirst for political control and an acid test for the wider Conservative strategy of renegotiating terms with the EU.”
Thursday, 4 July 2013
Grant Shapps MP makes joint appearance with Caroline Ansell in Eastbourne Town Centre
Friday, 28 June 2013
Classic Eastbourne Buses pressed back into service to celebrate 110years of motor bus operation in the Borough of Eastbourne
Most who know me, know that I'm a bit of a petrol head and whilst this tends to revolve mainly around classic and modern British brands of cars, I also enjoy an occasional ride through our green and pleasant countryside on a steam train and the views you only tend to find from the top deck of a bus.
Thursday, 27 June 2013
The Coronation Festival, which takes place in the gardens of Buckingham Palace on 11-14 July, is a celebration of innovation, excellence and industry through trade and craft. Uniquely, it will be the first time that more than 200 companies who hold Royal Warrants of Appointment are brought together on this scale,to showcase their goods, services and skills.
Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Executive Officer said: ‘Jaguar and Land Rover were each granted their first Royal Warrants in 1951, a year before The Queen ascended the Throne. We are honoured and delighted to be celebrating this long and unbroken relationship by supporting the Coronation Festival.’
For more information about the Coronation Festival, visitwww.coronationfestival.com.
Thursday, 6 June 2013
- Traditional Afternoon Concert with Mayfield Band 16 June 3pm.
- Sunday Night at the proms with Wealden Brass 16 June 8pm.
- 1812 Firework Concert with Eastbourne Silver Band 19 June 8pm.
- Queen tribute show with Mercury 21 June 8pm.
Wednesday, 5 June 2013
At the next coronation we will be able to celebrate a great feat of British engineering
I was looking at those amazing pictures of Hillary and Tenzing yesterday, and I could see how the news must have broken over London like a thunderclap. Just imagine. The beautiful young Queen is on the verge of being crowned. After years of post-war privation the country is already buzzing – and then word comes from Kathmandu, a coded message that takes two days to arrive.
For millions, if not billions, of years, Mount Everest has been the highest place on Earth, a sacred and implacable place, a white goddess of the clouds; and in all that time no human being has ever set foot on its summit – until today. Today the people hear that a team of alpinists has made it, and, by Jove, they are British! Well, one of them is a New Zealander and the other is Nepalese, but the expedition is British, all right. Hooray!
Tuesday, 4 June 2013
The County Council will receive £220,000 over two years to tackle poor health among vulnerable and marginalized people in Hastings and Eastbourne.
The money will help those who have low levels of physical activity, poor mental health and poor diets to be supported by their communities to make changes to their lifestyles and make best use of the facilities and support available in their communities
Helping people to get involved will be a focus of the project, with local people who want to do more in their communities, but don't know how, to be supported to develop activities in their neighbourhoods.
Cllr Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council, said: “We are delighted to have secured funding from the Big Lottery Fund.
“As well as tackling health issues among our most vulnerable residents, the money will encourage communities to work together and support one another to lead healthy lifestyles.”
The aim of the project is to identify and highlight community centres, pubs, church halls and sports club that are available, but not widely used by marginalized groups, encourage residents who would not usually see themselves as volunteers to help their neighbours and help vulnerable people who are socially isolated or have care needs access support.
Dr Diana Grice,Director of Public Health for East Sussex County Council said: “This funding will enable us to recognise and support the skills, qualities and resources in our local communities and make the best use of these to help people improve their own and their communities' health.”
Further informationNotes to editors
Portsmouth City Council, as an existing Big Wellbeing portfolio lead organisation, were asked to co-ordinate a bid for, focussing on vulnerable populations across the South East. East Sussex public health department was one of five public health departments invited to participate by Portsmouth.
The other local authorities were Brighton & Hove, Medway, Portsmouth, Southampton, Slough.
Public Health funding already included in the East Sussex Commissioning Grants Prospectus 2013 was included in the bid as match funding in the first year.
The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40 per cent of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
Although there have been no fatalities in East Sussex, there have been incidents of cows attacking walkers, particularly those with dogs.
Following last month's attack, East Sussex County Council is reminding people that the normally docile animals can become aggressive towards walkers with dogs and charge, especially when calves are present.
Councillor Carl Maynard, Lead Member for Transport and Environment, said: “Thankfully serious incidents involving walkers and cattle are very rare. However, we would always recommend walkers take steps to keep themselves as safe as possible.
“We want people to enjoy the beautiful countryside East Sussex has to offer, but we would encourage people to consider taking a mobile phone when out walking so they can call for help if they need to.”
Walkers are advised to follow this simple advice to ensure they stay safe;
• Do be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you
• Do move quickly and quietly and if possible walk around the herd
• Do keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead
• Do not get between cows and their calves
• Do not hang onto your dog. If you are threatened by cattle – let it go as the cattle will chase the dog
• Don't put yourself at risk. Find another way round the cattle and rejoin the footpath as soon as possible
• Don't panic or run. Most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow, just walk on quietly.
John Archer, Environment and Land Use Adviser for the NFU in the south east, warned walkers to remember the countryside is a working environment and said it is not always possible to separate grazing animals from public rights of way.
He added: “Walkers should be mindful of their surroundings and especially vigilant on entering a field where the whole field cannot be seen. Follow the advice above and be sympathetic to animals that are rearing their young – please give them space.”
Malcolm McDonnell, East Sussex Footpath Secretary of the Ramblers, said: “Our beautiful East Sussex countryside is working farmland, which helps form its character and make it such a pleasure to walk in. However, with any working environment, there are certain risks, but the incidents of people being attacked by cattle are few and far between.
“We urge everyone out walking to be aware of the ‘dos and don'ts' of walking in fields with cows and their calves at this time of year, but not to let the very low risk of cattle attacks put them off enjoying the countryside when it is, arguably, at its loveliest.”
Hampden Park is the first area in Eastbourne to benefit from new LED street lighting - find out more here!
The work in the town is being carried out on a ward by ward basis and residents will be given the opportunity to raise concerns and asks questions before the changes are made.
Main roads in Hampden Park will continue to be fully lit by the new lights, but street lights in residential areas will be dimmed during the night.
The planned changes have been drawn up by East Sussex County Council in consultation with Eastbourne Borough Council, Sussex Police and other stakeholders.
Changes to street lights across the county are being made in a bid to save £885,000 by 2016.
Members of East Sussex County Council's street lighting team will be on hand to answer questions and listen to people's concerns at the engagement event which runs from 9am to noon on Saturday 8 June, 2013, at Hampden Park Community Centre, Brodrick Road, Hampden Park.
Comments or concerns about the proposed changes in Hampden Park can also be made online by clicking here or at local libraries.