This week headline news 5/2/2017

UK

  • An 18-year-old man has been found dead in a pub car park in Llanbedrog, near Pwllheli, Gwynedd after being shot this weekend. The victim, who police are yet to name, is said to have been shot by a group of ‘up to four men’ whilst he sat in his vehicle outside of the Ship Inn pub on Sunday night.
  • Cabin crew at British Airways are set to participate in six days of industrial action over low pay this week, in what staff are describing as a ‘dispute over poverty pay’. The airline has said that the strikes should not affect passengers and added that they have increased sanctions on employees who participate by threatening to dock two years of bonuses and remove all staff travel discounts for the next year.
  • An undergraduate student from the University of Bristol has been found dead beneath Clifton Suspension Bridge this Monday, in what police believe to be a suicide. The body of Lara Nosiru, 23, from Thurrock, in Essex, was discovered after friends notified the local authority of her disappearance. Nosiru was in the final year of her neuroscience course and a keen dancer. Her death follows that of three other students over the past few months: Miranda Williams, 19, Daniel Green, 18, and 18-year-old Kim Long. A spokesperson for the university said it has been carrying out a review of its mental health services.
  • Thousands of people took to the streets of London this Saturday in protest over Donald Trumps’ upcoming state visit. Demonstrators urged Prime minister Theresa May to withdraw her controversial invitation after the president caused outrage over his recent “racist” travel ban. Protestors walked from the US embassy to Downing street, brandishing placards with “No to scapegoating Muslims” and “No to Trump, No to War”, written on them. 

Foreign 

  • Heavy snow and avalanches in Afghanistan and Pakistan have claimed the lives of nearly 100 people this week, as officials warn of more snow storms to come. The worst-hit areas are the mountainous north-eastern province of Badakhshan, Nangahar in the east and Parwan near Kabul, which has seen several homes destroyed and major roads closed down.
  • Turkish police have detained 445 people suspected of having links to ISIS this week after carrying out early morning raids in 18 provinces. The co-ordinated raids saw the arrest of suspects in southeastern Sanliurfa, Gaziantep and Istanbul- where an ISIS attack at New Year left 39 people dead. 
  • The US federal appeals court has rejected Donald Trump’s request to reinstate a travel ban blocked by a federal judge on Friday. The ruling means the travel ban will remain suspended until the full case has been heard on Monday. The controversial ban has been named ‘unconstitutional’ by several lawyers as protestors say it ‘violates freedom of religion rights by appearing to target Muslims’. 
  • The French interior ministry has confirmed that a man was shot outside the Louvre museum in Paris this Friday, after attacking a soldier with a machete. French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that the incident clearly represented “an attack of a terrorist nature” after 29-year-old Abdullah attacked a soldier, leaving him with scalp wounds. Despite being shot 4 times by a second soldier, Abdullah is said to be in a stable condition in hospital. 

Politics made easy: What is the Chilcot report?

What is the Chilcot report?

The Chilcot report is a huge document over two million words long which looks into the UKs involvement in the Iraq war. The report, also known as the ‘Chilcot enquiry’, was initiated by the former UK prime minister, Gordon Brown and later deferred to Sir John Chilcot, a British privy counselor and president of the UK’s independent policing think tank, the police foundation.

The report considers the UK’s involvement in Iraq from 2001 to 2009, covering the run-up to the conflict, the subsequent military action taken and the aftermath of the war. Its aim is to establish how and why decisions were made and to ensure that if a similar situation were to occur in the future, the British government is well equipped to respond in a manner that holds the countries best interests at heart. The report took more than seven years to complete before it was published online after various attempts were made by the Foreign office and the government to block several documents from being made public. Some conversations between former UK prime minister Tony Blair and former US president, George Bush were said to be “detrimental” to British-American relationships and thus they were removed from the report.

So what happened?

As I discussed in my previous post: politics made easy: what is the war in Iraq? in 2003, the US led an invasion of Iraq which was supported by British troops. The sole aim of this invasion was to remove Saddam Hussein from power, as both the U.S and UK believed him to be harboring weapons of mass destruction. Despite not everyone agreeing with this invasion and many raising the issues of a high chance of loss of life and the huge financial costs that would be involved, it was given the go ahead.

Where any weapons found?

Whilst Iraq’s army was defeated and Saddam Hussein was captured and later executed, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found.

What does the report say?

Here are some of the key findings of the report:

  • The UK had NOT utilized all of the peaceful solutions to solve the conflict in Iraq, before it invaded. In other words, the UK had not acted appropriately or correctly in going to war with Iraq.
  • Former US president George bush and his administration (his team) repeatedly ignored advice from the UK on how to oversee Iraq after the invasion, including what to do with the country’s money and oil supply.
  • The report found that there was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein, in fact, in terms of nuclear and chemical weapons, Iran, North Korea and Libya were considered greater threats at the time.
  • British intelligence gave false information to the government when they said that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction- he did NOT.
  • The UK military was ill-equipped and unorganized in their planning of the Iraq invasion, subsequently adding to the increased death toll of British soldiers.

The report did not however, come to a conclusion as to whether not not the invasion of Iraq could be deemed legal or illegal.

The invasion of Iraq lasted more than 8 years, during which time it is estimated that more than 461,000 people were killed.