Terrorism suspect who escaped from London prison is captured while riding a bike

Photo provided by the Metropolitan Police of Daniel Abed Khalife who escaped from a London prison while awaiting trial on terrorism charges. (File/AFP)
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Updated 09 September 2023
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Terrorism suspect who escaped from London prison is captured while riding a bike

  • Daniel Abed Khalife was on the run four days before a massive search managed to nab him Saturday

LONDON: A former British soldier facing terrorism charges who snuck out of a London prison on a food delivery truck was captured Saturday, police said.
Daniel Abed Khalife was nabbed while riding a bicycle along a canal path west of London after a four-day manhunt.
Khalife escaped from the Wandsworth Prison kitchen Wednesday and got outside the gates by strapping himself to the bottom of a catering truck.
Khalife, 21, was awaiting trial on charges of violating Britain’s Official Secrets Act by gathering information “that could be useful to an enemy” and planting fake bombs at a military base. He was discharged from the British army after his arrest earlier this year and denied the allegations. His trial is set for November.
The breakout ignited a storm of criticism as political opponents linked the escape to years of financial austerity by the United Kingdom’s governing Conservative Party. The government said an independent investigation would determine how Khalife escaped the medium-security prison that opened in 1851 during the reign of Queen Victoria.
“We need answers about how on earth a prisoner charged with terror & national security offenses could have escaped in this way,” Yvette Cooper, a member of the Labour Party in the House of Commons, wrote on social media Saturday.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak thanked the police and public and said the inquiry would get to the bottom of how Khalife got away.
The escape prompted extra security checks at major transport hubs, particularly in and around the Port of Dover, the main boat crossing from England to France, and led to the shutdown of a major highway at one point.
London counter-terror police had offered a 20,000 pound ($25,000) reward for information leading to his arrest. It was not immediately clear if anyone was in line for the reward.
Police on Friday had announced a breakthrough in the search after a witness reported seeing Khalife at a busy intersection near the prison shortly after the escape.
Metropolitan Police’s counterterrorism commander Dominic Murphy wouldn’t say if the sighting was confirmed by surveillance cameras, but London has one of the most robust security camera networks in the world and any footage could have helped track his whereabouts.
“In terms of the investigation, it really gathered momentum yesterday afternoon, with a number of calls from the public, but really took a different course last night, when we did an intelligence-led search in the Richmond area in the early hours of this morning,” Murphy said. “Whilst we didn’t find him at that search, while we were at that search, we had a number of calls from the public over the next hour or two, giving us various sightings of him.”
Police had received reports he was seen in the Chiswick area of west London and they descended there on Saturday morning, with police cars and vans swarming the area and helicopters hovering overhead.
Paul Wade said he opened his curtains to find five police officers outside his home.
“They said ‘I expect you know why we are here,’” he said. “They were checking everybody’s gardens.”
But Khalife was nowhere near there when a plainclothes officer ultimately made the collar in the late morning, Murphy said.
Khalife was pulled off a bicycle along the canal near the community of Northolt, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from where he escaped.
Murphy said he was cooperative when arrested. He now faces additional charges of being unlawfully at-large and being an escaped prisoner.


Argentine President Milei travels to France to meet Macron after outcry over racist soccer chants

Updated 1 min 15 sec ago
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Argentine President Milei travels to France to meet Macron after outcry over racist soccer chants

The Argentine presidency said that in addition to meeting Macron and other French officials at the Elysee Palace on Friday, Milei would attend the 2024 Olympic opening ceremony
Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, said she held “constructive” talks about Milei’s libertarian reforms with Argentine Economy Minister Luis Caputo

BUENOS AIRES: Argentine President Javier Milei arrived Thursday in Paris, his office said, where he is expected to meet French President Emmanuel Macron after tensions escalated between their countries over the Argentine soccer team’s derogatory post-match chants about French players.
A short clip captured during Argentina’s Copa America victory celebrations in Miami earlier this month shows triumphant Argentine players chanting a song considered racist toward French players of African heritage. “They play for France but their parents are from Angola,” the refrain goes, with some transphobic slurs mixed in.
French officials castigated the Argentina athletes in the Instagram live video posted by midfielder Enzo Fernandez, who publicly apologized. The French soccer federation filed a legal complaint over the “unacceptable racist and discriminatory remarks.” Fernandez’s English club Chelsea started an internal disciplinary procedure.
“Argentina is the enemy in France,” was a headline Thursday in Argentine newspaper Clarín, citing the deafening boos and jeers that greeted the Argentine national anthem in Paris.
Censure from the soccer world snowballed into a political scandal last week when Argentina’s conservative vice president, Victoria Villarruel, defended Fernandez and the team, saying that Argentina would not tolerate criticism from a “colonialist” country.
In a widely shared social media post, she insisted that Argentina was not a racist country because, unlike France, “We never had colonies or second-class citizens. We never imposed our way of life on anyone.”
“Enough with faking indignation, hypocrites,” she added.
French diplomats in Buenos Aires were seething.
President Milei, a right-wing populist, has sought to walk a fine line — nodding to the upswell of nationalism buoying the Argentina team while attempting to curb diplomatic backlash. Already, Milei’s rhetorical attacks on leaders and enthusiasm for the far-right have sparked diplomatic rows with Argentina’s historic allies and major foreign investors, Brazil and Spain.
Last week, Milei removed the undersecretary of sport, Julio Garro, from his post for requesting that team captain Lionel Messi apologize for the chants. “No government can tell the Argentine national team, world champion and two-time champion of Copa America, what to comment, what to think or what to do,” Milei’s office said at the time.
But more recently the presidential spokesperson, Manuel Adorni, has tried to distance Milei from what he called Villarruel’s “personal” and “unfortunate” comments.
He said that Karina Milei, the president’s sister and general secretary, took it upon herself to disavow Villarruel’s remarks in a meeting with the French ambassador last week.
“It’s a comment that does not represent the opinion of the government,” Adorni said of Villarruel’s post. “Relations with France are intact.”
But controversy has only mounted after chaos engulfed the Olympic men’s soccer match between Argentina and Morocco.
Doubling down on her nationalist messaging, Vice President Villarruel posted footage of Wednesday’s incident, showing Morocco fans invade the field and rain bottles and other objects down on Argentine players in an outpouring of anger over Argentina’s late goal.
“Although they insult us and whistle our anthem, Argentina is destined for greatness,” she wrote.
The Argentine presidency said that in addition to meeting Macron and other French officials at the Elysee Palace on Friday, Milei would attend the 2024 Olympic opening ceremony and hold talks with French business leaders.
The investment-focused meetings come as Argentina seeks to lobby for support from major shareholders of the International Monetary Fund, including France and the US, to reach a new deal for extra funds.
Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, said she held “constructive” talks about Milei’s libertarian reforms with Argentine Economy Minister Luis Caputo on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro, where G20 finance ministers were gathering.
As in previous months, Georgieva praised Argentina’s performance in fighting inflation and slashing the deficit, writing on X, “We are committed to support the govt’s efforts to turn around the economy for the benefit of Argentine people.”
But she said nothing about an imminent new loan for the crisis-stricken country.
Argentina — the IMF’s biggest debtor — needs more cash to pay the fund back for past borrowing under the program, originally worth $57 billion in 2018.
Analysts say that right-wing Milei is pinning his hopes on Donald Trump becoming president of the US, the IMF’s main stakeholder.
“The expectation of the government is that a Trump administration would be more politically favorable to Milei and that by early next year it would exert some pressure on the IMF,” said Marcelo J. García, Americas director at geopolitical risk firm Horizon Engage.

Where We Are Going Today: Hues florist in Jeddah

Updated 49 sec ago
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Where We Are Going Today: Hues florist in Jeddah

Hues in Jeddah is a florist that offers hands-on bouquet-making workshops allowing participants to learn essential floral skills and techniques.

These workshops are designed to be fun, educational, and engaging, making them perfect for celebrating special occasions like bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays, or girls’ nights.

Once you step into the shop, you will feel the friendly atmosphere and personalized guidance to ensure everyone feels comfortable. It is fun, educational, relaxing, therapeutic and enjoyable.

Roses, spray roses, delphinium, and matricaria are particularly popular, along with seasonal blooms, and the spiral floral arrangement is the most requested among workshops.

It is a great activity to share with friends who appreciate the opportunity to learn new skills and create something beautiful, it is also one way to celebrate happy moments with loved ones.

During the workshops, participants are guided through every step of the process, from selecting the perfect blooms to crafting stunning floral arrangements. They are provided with all the necessary tools and materials, including a variety of fresh flowers, greenery, containers, and floral tools.

The experience is further enhanced by the personalized guidance offered by the Hues team. Once the workshop is over participants can enjoy keeping the flower bouquet they have made.

Located in Rawdah district, Prince Saudi Al-Faisal, Hues also offers a range of services, including flower cart rentals, bespoke floral arrangements, and event planning for corporate events, gifting, hotels, and private occasions like dinners and weddings.

For more information, please visit the Hues website at www.hues-sa.com.


Chills and thrills as City Walk horror house opens its doors in Jeddah

Updated 4 min 37 sec ago
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Chills and thrills as City Walk horror house opens its doors in Jeddah

  • Horror House of Raya and Sakina takes visitors back in time to a rural Egyptian village

JEDDAH: A new attraction at City Walk, part of this year’s Jeddah Season, promises to fascinate and terrify in equal measure.

The spine-chilling Horror House of Raya and Skena takes visitors back in time to a rural Egyptian village steeped in evil, horror, and mystery.

Raya and Skena, Egypt’s most infamous serial killers, left a grisly legacy that has fascinated and horrified for over a century.

In late 1919 and throughout 1920, the sisters led a fearsome gang in Alexandria, targeting mainly women, and committing a string of murders and robberies. Their reign of terror sparked widespread panic and left an indelible mark on Egyptian crime history.

The siblings were arrested along with their husbands and other gang members after police found a number of corpses buried beneath one of their houses. They were charged with the murder of 17 people and later sentenced to death.

The horror house experience begins as visitors step into the recreated house of Raya and Skena. As they leave the courtyard, they find themselves transported back in time to a foreboding rural Egyptian village. The atmosphere is thick with a sense of impending doom, as evil forces seem to lurk in every shadowy corner.

Visitors navigate this frightening setting, where they are besieged by wicked presences, leading to a confrontation fraught with danger and confusion. The attention to detail and historical accuracy, combined with modern horror elements, give this experience a magical touch of horror and excitement.

“This was the most thrilling experience of my life,” said Syeda Sarah, a Jeddah resident. “It felt like stepping into a real-life horror story. The atmosphere, the details — everything was spot on.

Raya, above and Sakina, Egypt’s most infamous serial killers, left a grisly legacy that has fascinated and horrified for over a century. (Wikipedia)

“They give you a lamp at the door, which you carry inside as you walk through the dark rooms, encountering horrifying characters in Egyptian attire. The sight of Skena sitting in the corner, screaming, was terrifying. The realism in recreating Egypt is incredible.”

Another resident, Jumana, who visited the attraction with a group of friends, shared a similar sentiment.

“The Horror House of Raya and Skena is truly a unique concept," she said.

“My friends and I were on edge the entire time, and the historical aspect made it even more fascinating. I am from Egypt, and often heard this story from our relatives when we visited.

“This horror house brought those stories to life. There were many unexpected elements, like a fake head falling from the ceiling or a dead body wrapped in a white cloth. The banging of utensils by characters in Egyptian attire was incredibly creepy. It’s a must-visit for anyone coming to City Walk, especially to experience the Cairo zone and this horror house.”

The City Walk attraction has become a must-see for thrill-seekers, offering a blend of fear, fascination, and a sense of stepping into a dark chapter of Egypt’s past.

Visitors can book tickets at the zone or through the Saudi Events app to avoid queues.


Saudi deputy foreign minister discusses Sudan crisis with UN, EU delegates

Updated 15 min 56 sec ago
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Saudi deputy foreign minister discusses Sudan crisis with UN, EU delegates

DJIBOUTI: Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed Al-Khuraiji met with EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Annette Weber, on the sidelines of the Second Consultative Meeting on Enhancing Coordination of Peace Initiatives and Efforts in Sudan, held in Djibouti.

In separate meetings, he also met with the UN Envoy for Sudan, Ramtane Lamamra, and US Special Envoy for Sudan, Tom Perriello.

During these meetings, they reviewed the latest developments in Sudan, explored ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation, and discussed topics of mutual interest.
 


Fishermen of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province gear up for shrimp season

Updated 16 min 24 sec ago
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Fishermen of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province gear up for shrimp season

  • For the 2024 season, 710 fishing boats have been authorized, including large and small fishing boats

RIYADH: Fishermen in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province are preparing for this year’s shrimp season, which begins on Aug. 1 and lasts six months.

Shrimp fishing will take place along the Arabian Gulf coasts of the Eastern Province, stretching some 1,000 km from Khafji Governorate in the north to Uqair Governorate in the south.

For the 2024 season, 710 fishing boats have been authorized, including large and small fishing boats.

These are distributed as follows: 30 fishing boats at the Manifa port, 20 fishing boats at the Safaniya port, 330 fishing boats at the Jubail port, 160 fishing boats at the Qatif port and 170 fishing boats at the Darin Island port.

The director of the Eastern Province Branch of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Fahd bin Ahmed Al-Hamzi, told the Saudi Press Agency that the ministry is providing top-quality services to the Kingdom’s fishermen.

The ministry has reduced the time required to issue shrimp fishing permits and opened online applications, he added.

The region will also see the development of new fishing ports as part of a ministry project, as well as a scheme to supply and install engines and emergency radios for fishing boats.

Saudi Arabia has affirmed its commitment to protecting sustainable fish stocks and the livelihoods of fishermen, and investing in aquaculture projects.