Breaking News -- United Kingdom
|David Cameron Accused of 'Desperation' as Migration Watch
Chairman Sir Andrew Green is Appointed Peer
by Ewan Palmer
The chairman of Migration Watch Sir Andrew Green has been awarded a life peerage after being nominated by David Cameron.
Green, a former professional diplomat for 35 years, will sit as a cross-bencher in the House of Lords.
The former UK Ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabi has been an outspoken opponent of mass immigration to the UK and co-founded Migration Watch UK together with Prof David Coleman in 2001.
Cameron's decision to make Green a peer was criticised by the Labour party as proof the Conservatives are attempting to appease the rise in support from Nigel Farge's Ukip party by showing it intends to crackdown on immigration.
Baroness Royall, Labour's leader in the House of Lords, said Green's appointment is nothing more than a "short-term political gain" for Cameron.
She tweeted: "More desperation in face of UKIP...Does the PM do anything in the interest of the country?"
The thinktank Migration Watch has been accused in the past of not always providing accurate or balanced statistics in terms of immigration to the UK. However, it has also been praised by some right-learning newspapers for offering more accurate data than the Home Office.
The group said Green's appointment as a peer is a "clear endorsement at the highest level" of the work that MigrationWatch has been doing.
A spokesperson added: "In the early years, there was widespread reluctance to discuss the issue at all but Migration Watch has worked steadily to improve public understanding of the impact of the very high levels of net migration of the past 15 years. Under Sir Andrew's guiding hand Migration Watch has undeniably become a leading voice in a very necessary debate."
Farage said he was "delighted" with Green's appointment to the House of Lords.
He added: "For years, despite the opprobrium and attacks he has doggedly applied statistics and hard evidence to the thorny questions surrounding migration into this country.
"Without his clear work, the debate in this country would still be typified by attempts to blank out debate. His calm, accurate and methodical approach has changed the whole climate around the debate. The political class and the country at large owes him a debt of gratitude."
Downing Street dismissed suggestions that Green being made a peer is proof the party is pandering towards Ukip.
A spokesperson said Green was chosen as he had "contributed in two areas of public service and public life.
"He has served for over 35 years in the diplomatic service. Since then he has made a contribution by the work he has done on the migration and immigration debate," the spokesperson added.
David Cameron cracks down on use of charities to fund terrorist organizations
by Rowena Mason - Guardian
Charities being used as a front for terrorism are facing a further crackdown after David Cameron unveiled new powers and an extra £8m for the charities watchdog.
The prime minister announced the new money and a draft protection of charities bill before a meeting of his “extremism taskforce” which is to examine the government’s counter-terrorism strategy.
Cameron has published the draft legislation amid concerns about whether the UK is doing enough to stop funding reaching Islamic State (Isis) terrorists in Syria and Iraq . The measures include: banning people with convictions for certain criminal offences – such as terrorism or money laundering – from being a charity trustee; a new power to disqualify a person from being a charity trustee if the Charity Commission considers them unfit; and a requirement for a charity to shut down in an inquiry where there has been misconduct or mismanagement that risks undermining public trust.
It would also close a loophole that has stopped the Charity Commission from taking enforcement action in the past, including where trustees have resigned in order to avoid removal and disqualification.
Ministers have repeatedly made announcements over the last year about how they are toughening up charity rules and the powers of the Charity Commission, working with Ofcom to deal with extremist broadcasts, improving the inspection regime and strengthening the rules for countering extremism in schools.
At a meeting on Thursday with internet providers, the government is also likely to demand that they take more action to remove terrorist material from the web.
Cameron said it was part of his goal of confronting “the menace of extremism and those who want to tear us apart”.
“Today’s changes will help make sure that when people donate to charity, their money always goes to genuinely good causes,” he said. “They will help us become a country that stands even taller in the world, and prouder and stronger too.”
Sir William Shawcross, chairman of the Charity Commission, said: “I welcome the draft bill. It will give us new powers which will help us to be a more effective regulator. The new power to issue an official warning, for example, will allow us to warn trustees that we are monitoring their compliance with the law in situations where more forceful intervention would not be appropriate. We will play our full part in the pre-legislative scrutiny and will continue to push for more measures included in the consultation to be included in the bill.”
Government reveals scale of online fight against jihadist propaganda
by Patrick Wintour - Guardian
David Cameron condemns 'extremist poisonous narrative' and has asked YouTube to take down video of Cardiff man in Syria.
As many as 15,000 items of "jihadist propaganda" have been taken down from the internet due to government pressure since December 2013, Downing Street said on Monday.
David Cameron said the "extremist poisonous narrative" leading people to fight in Syria could end up with "people dead on our own streets".
His official spokeswoman revealed that the British government was pressing YouTube to take down a video posted three days ago by a Cardiff-born man now in Syria calling for fellow British Muslims to join the war in Syria.
She said the video should not be hosted by YouTube. Parts of the video have also been hosted by a number of news websites including Mail Online and the Telegraph.
Cameron said in a statement: "We are putting more of our resources in terms of intelligence, security [and] policing into stopping people to travel to Syria, monitoring them properly when they return and making sure we reduce the risk to our country. The most important thing of all is to stop this radicalisation in the first place.
"That's why my counter-extremism taskforce is about driving out the extremist, poisonous narrative and getting it out of our schools, getting it out of our universities, getting it out of our campuses, getting it out of our prisons, confronting it wherever it appears, because we know the end part of this extremist narrative can mean people dead on our own streets."
The scale of the government activity may reflect an increase in British government monitoring or alternatively an increase in the number of such videos being posted in the UK. Either way it represents a huge logistical problem for the government.
Nasser Muthana, a 20-year-old medical student, can be seen in the Syria video wearing a white turban and claiming that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has fighters from as far afield as Cambodia, Australia and the UK.
His family, from the Cardiff area, said he had travelled to join the conflict with his brother Aseel, 17. Their father, Ahmed Muthana, has said he is "heartbroken" that his sons left the UK to fight in Syria, and told the Guardian that they had "betrayed Great Britain".
A YouTube spokesman said: "YouTube has clear policies prohibiting violent content or content intended to incite violence, and we remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users. We also terminate any account registered by a member of a designated foreign terrorist organisation and used in an official capacity to further its interests.
"We allow videos posted with a clear news or documentary purpose to remain on YouTube, applying warnings and age-restrictions as appropriate."
A Twitter spokesman said it did not actively monitor content on the platform but its rules "prohibit the publication or posting of direct, specific threats of violence against others or any unlawful use".
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