London Holds Exhibition to Highlight Scythian Culture

Scythians

London – The Scythian people, predecessors of the Mongols, ruled a massive area of the Eurasian steppe located between Northern China and the Black Sea, between the ninth and the second century B.C. Little has been known about their culture, until now.

The “Scythians: Warriors of Ancient Siberia” exhibition was launched at the British Museum in London to change the people’s perception of this ancient culture.

Back then, people feared the Scythians, calling them “warriors on horseback”. They used to drink milk from the skulls of their enemies, tattoo themselves with charcoal and consume cannabis.

The Scythians, who spoke Persian, had no written language, so information about them comes from ancient Greeks, Assyrians and Persians.

The exhibition’s website reads: “For centuries, all traces of their culture was missing, and buried under the ice.”

The exhibition, which runs until January 14, wonders whether the civilization is the inspiration behind the famous “Game of Thrones” book and television series.

Most of the 200 pieces featured in the exhibition come from southern Siberia. Many of them are borrowed from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and are being exhibited outside of Russia for the first time.

The artifacts are are well preserved because they have been buried under ice in the burial hills and tombs of the Altai Mountains in Central Asia.

The exhibit includes pieces discovered at archaeological excavations during the rule of Russia’s Peter the Great in the early 18th century. They include the head of a chief from Scythian tribal, displaying his tattooed skin and glittering gold necklaces. Other pieces include embellished gold for men and women, pendants, leather shoes, and some well-preserved pieces of cheese.

According to the German News Agency (dpa), the exhibit also features engraved stone and massive sarcophagi.

The Scythians, predecessors of the Huns and Mongols, revered horses and relied on them in their wars. Horses, adorned with heavy embellishments, were often buried with their owners to accompany them in their afterlife.

ISIS’ Now-Dead Executioner Unmasked in Raqqa for the First Time

The masked British militant Mohammed Emwazi from a video released by ISIS.

London- British sources revealed the face of British terrorist Mohamed Emwazi, whose other names also included “Jihadi John” and “Jailer John,” after receiving exclusive video footage of the terrorists inside Syria.

One of them was linked to the Manchester bombings, Raymond Matimba, according to a report published by the Telegraph daily.

Matimba, who was born in Zimbabwe but lived in Manchester before joining ISIS, was filmed in a cafe in Raqqa, Syria, talking with the likes of Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John, ISIS hacker Junaid Hussain, and recruiter Reyaad Khan.

The video seems to show that Matimba, long thought to be a fringe figure in the terror group, is actually a key figure and is now likely to be the UK’s most wanted terrorists – if he is still alive.

The footage was captured by a source in Raqqa in 2014 who gave it to The Telegraph after the area of the city he lives in was liberated by US-backed SDF forces, who now have the city surrounded.

Matimba – who also goes by the name Abu Qaqa al-Britani al-Afro- is known to have links with Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi, as the pair were recruited to join ISIS by the same man, Raphael Hostey.

They are also thought to have visited the same mosque together in south Manchester before Matimba left the UK, first going to Barcelona and then to Turkey where he crossed into Syria.

The recorder of the video told The Telegraph that Matimba was a key figure in the Manchester attack, telling ISIS commanders that he hated the city and wanted it to become a target.

He is then thought to have exchanged messages with Abedi in the months leading up to the attack, which killed 22 people, though what was said is unclear.

The source also said Matimba was known for his skills with a rifle and trained ISIS snipers. In every photo and the video, he is shown with an AK at his side.

Matimba’s fate is currently unknown. His family says he updated them on his life in Raqqa until last year when he stopped responding.

It had been reported he was killed in the fighting, but his death has never been confirmed.

Now-deceased ISIS executioner Emwazi was born in Kuwait but raised in west London, where he was reported to have enjoyed a typical childhood and schooling.

ISIS claims he was radicalized sometime in 2005, after the London bombings, before making several trips to the Middle East over the next few years.

Amnesty International Exposes Illicit $46m South Sudan Arms Deal

People walk along a street in Juba

London- Amnesty International exposed in a recent research how a shell company in the heart of London’s West End acted as an intermediary in huge prospective arms deals to war-torn South Sudan and other countries, thanks to regulatory gaps which are making the UK a hotspot for companies involved in illicit arms transfers.

Commercial documents name S-Profit Ltd, a tiny UK-registered company, as the ‘supplier’ in a 2014 deal to provide at least US$46m worth of small arms, light weapons, and ammunition to the South Sudanese government. The report, From London to Juba: a UK-registered company’s role in one of the largest arms deals to South Sudan, also reveals that the UK government has been aware of similar practices taking place on British soil for more than eight years, without taking effective regulatory action.

“South Sudan is awash with weapons that have been used to kill and maim thousands of civilians, causing Africa’s biggest refugee crisis. The UK government has been a vocal proponent of a UN arms embargo on South Sudan, yet is turning a blind eye to illegal deals taking place right under its nose,” said James Lynch, Amnesty International’s Head of Arms Control and Human Rights.

“Glaring gaps in UK company regulation mean a dealer of illicit arms can go online and set up a UK company to front its activities with fewer checks than joining a gym or hiring a car. The UK must urgently review its company registration procedures – right now it provides the perfect conditions to become a hotspot for the kind of irresponsible arms transfers that have devastated South Sudan.”

The weapons in question form part of a previously undisclosed 2014 contract between a Ukrainian state arms company and a UAE-based company to procure US$169m of weapons on behalf of South Sudan. These include thousands of machine guns, mortars, RPGs and millions of rounds of ammunition.

If fulfilled, the total deal would constitute one of the largest publicly disclosed arms transfers to South Sudan since the outbreak of fighting in December 2013.

Amnesty International has not been able to determine whether some or all of the weapons listed in these documents have yet been delivered to South Sudan. However, a UK company may violate UK export control laws even by being involved in the negotiation of an arms deal to South Sudan. The involvement of the Ukrainian state-owned arms company and a UAE private company in weapons supplies to South Sudan also potentially contravenes the Ukraine and UAE’s obligations as signatories to the Arms Trade Treaty.

S-Profit’s director –a Ukrainian national based outside the UK – denied to Amnesty International that the firm had supplied military products to South Sudan, but has not responded to further questions, including whether it played an intermediary role.

Amnesty International affirmed that it has provided UK authorities with the documents and information it has obtained. The report also reveals that the UK government has, for more than eight years, been aware of UK shell companies being used unlawfully as contract vehicles for weapons dealers to supply arms to human rights violators and embargoed destinations including Syria, Eritrea and South Sudan. Yet, the UK has made no regulatory changes to address these gaps.

Meanwhile, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit said he was not happy about the ongoing civil war and suffering of citizens in the country.

“I am not really happy. I can be seen to be happy but hurting inside. How can I be happy when I see my people suffering? People are starving and dying in criminal actions and battles.” Kiir said in an interview with SSBC on Friday.

“Being the leader I must put a brave face where I can be seen to be happy but I am not happy,” he added.

Kiir pointed out that the national dialogue is a hope that will reunite the people of South Sudan address grievances which were not tackled by the 2015 peace accord.

The world’s youngest nation has been embroiled in a violent conflict since 2013, when a split between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar, escalated into outright civil war.

The devastating conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions that have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

Uber Ready to Make Concessions to Reverse London Licence

Uber

London- US taxi firm Uber is prepared to make concessions as it seeks to reverse a decision by London authorities not to renew its license in the city, which represents a potentially big blow for the fast-growing company, ‘The Sunday Times’ reported.

The newspaper also quoted sources close to London’s transport body as saying the move was encouraging and suggested the possibility of talks.

“While we haven’t been asked to make any changes, we’d like to know what we can do,” Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager in London, told the newspaper.

“But that requires a dialogue we sadly haven’t been able to have recently.”

A spokesman for Transport for London (TfL) declined to comment.

The newspaper said Uber’s concessions were likely to involve passenger safety and benefits for its drivers, possible limits on working hours to improve road safety and holiday pay.

TfL stunned the powerful US start-up on Friday when it deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service for safety reasons and stripped it of its license from Sept. 30, although the company can continue to operate while it appeals.

UK’s FM Says Against Adopting Any New EU Rules During Brexit Transition

UK

British foreign minister Boris Johnson will stand against any step made to abide by European Union rules issued after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported.

Johnson, who campaigned in favor of leaving the EU in last year’s referendum, is one of Britain’s highest-profile politicians and seen as a possible replacement for Prime Minister Theresa May, Reuters reported.

Johnson praised On Friday a speech by May in which she revealed her plan for a roughly two-year transition period after Brexit.

But the Telegraph reported that Johnson had set out a new set of demands.

“Boris will be one of those Cabinet ministers pushing to make sure we don’t have any new EU rules and regulations during the transition,” a cabinet source was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

May pointed out the fact that Britain and the EU start with identical regulatory standards and said she wanted “a practical approach to regulation that enables us to continue to work together in bringing shared prosperity to our peoples.”

She did not say whether she thought EU regulations passed during the transition period would be matched by Britain but said, on EU law, that British courts would be able to take European Courts of Justice rulings into account, Reuters reported.

May’s Brexit minister David Davis said he did expect British and EU regulations to diverge over time after Brexit.

Six People Injured in Suspected London Acid Attack

London- Six people were believed to have been injured on Saturday after a group of males reportedly sprayed a noxious substance in a number of attacks in an area around a shopping center in east London, police said.

The incident was not being treated as terror-related, a police spokesman said.

The attacks occurred near the Stratford Centre, in Stratford, police said. Earlier they had said the incident took place around the bigger Westfield shopping center which is nearby.

“A number of people have been reported injured at different locations – believed to be six people. We await further details,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

One male was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, the statement said.

The incident occurred around 8 p.m. (1900 GMT), it said.

Photographs posted online showed police officers crouching over an apparent victim of the attack as they treated him.

The number of acid attacks has increased in Britain in recent years, linked to robberies and gang-related violence.

The government said in July it would look at tougher punishments for people who attack others using acid, Reuters reported.

London Metro Bombing Suspect Purchased Bomb-Making Ingredients Online

London- Reports released on Saturday revealed that the perpetrator of the subway station bombing in London earlier this September had bought components to his hand-made explosive from “Amazon”, reported the “Times.”

Ahmed Hassan, 18, has been charged with attempted murder and using chemicals to cause an explosion likely to endanger life over the failed attack on a London metro train during the morning rush hour on September 15.

Amazon.com (AMZN.O) later was reviewing its website after an investigation found that it could help users buy the ingredients to make a bomb using its “Frequently bought together” and “Customers who bought this also bought” features.

According to Reuters, Britain’s Channel 4 News found the online retailer’s algorithm was suggesting items that could be bought together to produce explosives on Monday, days after an apparently home-made bomb was detonated on the London Underground network.

The ingredients, which are legal to purchase, were included in a “Frequently bought together” section in the listings for chemicals, the broadcaster said.

Other materials that could be used in bomb-making, such as ball bearings, ignition systems, and remote detonators, were available on the site, and some of them were suggested on the same page as the chemicals in the “Customers who bought this item also bought” section, Channel 4 said.

“All products sold on Amazon must adhere to our selling guidelines and we only sell products that comply with UK laws,” the company said in a statement.

“In light of recent events, we are reviewing our website to ensure that all these products are presented in an appropriate manner.”

The company said it would also continue to work closely with police and law enforcement agencies when circumstances arise where we can assist their investigations.

The explosion of what appeared to be a home-made bomb on a London Underground train on Friday injured 30 people.

Pictures on social media after the attack showed what appeared to be a device contained in a white plastic bucket. It engulfed the railway carriage in flames, although it appeared that it did not fully explode.

Uber has its London Licence Stripped

Uber

London’s transport regulator stripped Uber on Friday of its license to operate from the end of September. The decision will affect more than 40,000 drivers in a massive blow to the taxi app.

“Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications,” Transport for London (TfL) said.

Uber has the right to appeal the decision within 21 days.

Globally, Uber has went through a tumultuous few months after a chain of scandals involving allegations of sexism and bullying at the company, leading to investor pressure which forced out former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick.

In London, Uber has faced criticism from unions, lawmakers and traditional black cab drivers over working conditions, Reuters Reported.

The app has been forced to quit several other countries.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he backed the decision.

“All companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers,” he said.

“It would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.”

In a break with the startup’s usual combative tone, Uber’s new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi asked London to please work with the ride service. He told employees the company needed to act with integrity but that he did not believe Uber had done everything it was accused of in London.

Sixth Arrest over London Underground Attack

British detectives have arrested a 17-year-old youth in connection with a bomb attack on a London Underground train last week, bringing the total number of arrests to six, police said on Thursday.

The young man was arrested under the Terrorism Act in the early hours of Thursday in Thornton Heath, south London. The other arrests had taken place in Dover on the south coast of England, Hounslow in west London and Newport in Wales.

“This continues to be a fast-moving investigation. A significant amount of activity has taken place since the attack on Friday,” said Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command.

“We now have six males in custody and searches are continuing at five addresses. Detectives are carrying out extensive inquiries to determine the full facts behind the attack,” he said.

A home-made bomb went off on Sept. 15 during the morning rush hour on a packed underground Tube train at Parsons Green station, sending flames through the carriage, although it appeared that the device did not fully explode.

The attack, which was the fifth major terrorism incident in Britain this year, left 30 people injured. Some commuters suffered burns, while others were injured in the stampede to the exit that ensued.

Five Suspects in Custody over London Train Attack

British police detained on Wednesday two more men over the bombing of a packed London Underground train last week which injured 30 people.

The men, aged 48 and 30, were held under terrorism laws in Newport in south Wales. Another 25-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday evening, London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Two other men who have been detained in connection with the attack at Parsons Green underground station remain in police custody.

“This continues to be a fast-moving investigation. A significant amount of activity has taken place since the attack on Friday,” said Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command.

“Detectives are carrying out extensive inquiries to determine the full facts behind the attack.”

The home-made bomb went off on Friday during the morning rush hour on the packed train, engulfing the carriage in flames.

On Saturday, police arrested an 18-year-old man in Dover, southeast England, and a 21-year-old in west London over the attack. Neither has been charged.

The improvised device on the underground train appeared to have been prepared in a white bucket which had been placed inside a frozen food bag. The blast inflicted flash burns on passengers when it went off.

Following the attack Britain raised its terrorism threat level to the maximum, but downgraded it from critical to severe on Sunday.

A total of 36 people have been killed in Britain this year in militant attacks.