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US issues warrant to seize Iranian oil tanker

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USS Boxer Iranian Drone

Washington, Aug 17 The US Justice Department has issued a warrant to seize a detained Iranian oil tanker, the Grace 1, a day after a judge in Gibraltar ordered it to be released, the media reported on Saturday.

The Grace 1 supertanker, which is carrying 2.1m barrels of oil, was detained on July 4 on suspicion of illegally transporting oil to Syria.

A last-minute legal attempt by the US to keep the tanker detained was rejected by Gibraltar on Thursday, leading to the release of the tanker which was also carrying 24 Indians on board.

The authorities in Gibraltar also released the captain of the Grace 1, who is Indian, and three officers who had been arrested and bailed without charge pending the outcome of the investigation.

The Justice Department on Friday said claimed that it can seize Grace 1, and all of the oil on board, based on alleged violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, bank fraud, money laundering, and terrorism statutes.

It has also ordered $995,000 to be seized from an account at an unnamed US bank linked to Paradise Global Trading LLC, which the US claims is associated with businesses that act for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Guard Corps (IRGC), reports the BBC.

Neither Britain nor Gibraltar have responded to the US warrant.

The Iranian super tanker Grace 1, said to be carrying 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil, was seized on July 4 in the Strait of Gibraltar as it was suspected of carrying oil to war-torn Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

On July 19, Gibraltar’s Supreme Court extended the period of detention of Grace 1, and set a new hearing for August 15, the government of the British Overseas Territory said in a statement.

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Johnson vows Britain will break free of its ‘manacles’ from the EU like the Incredible Hulk

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Boris Johnson

London, Sep 15 : While insisting, Britain will break out of the “manacles” of the European Union (EU), UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared himself to The Incredible Hulk as he promises to ignore a new House of Commons legislation ordering him to delay Brexit if negotiations break down.

“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” the Prime Minister told The Mail in an exclusive interview on Sunday, while insisting that Britain will break out of the “manacles” of the European Union (EU)

Johnson’s remark comes ahead of a meeting on Monday with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg.

He said that the UK would emulate Bruce Banner, the mild-mannered Marvel scientist who transforms into the Hulk when angry.

“Banner might be bound in manacles, but when provoked he would explode out of them. Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is the case for this country. We will come out on October 31 and we will get it done.”

In the interview, Johnson also said that there were “real signs of movement” in Berlin, Paris and Dublin over ditching the backstop that would tie the UK or Northern Ireland to EU rules – the issue which proved fatal to former Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal.

“I think that we will get there,” he said. “I will be talking to Jean-Claude about how we’re going to do it.

“I’m very confident. When I got this job everybody was saying there can be absolutely no change to the Withdrawal Agreement, the backstop was immutable, the arrangements by which the UK was kept locked in to the EU forever, they said no one could change that.

“They have already moved off that and, as you know, there’s a very, very good conversation going on about how to address the issues of the Northern Irish border. A huge amount of progress is being made,” he told The Mail.

If he fails to strike a deal, Johnson is adamant that he will not obey Parliament’s order to ask the EU to extend the Brexit deadline from October 31 to January 31, 2020.

The Prime Minister had earlier said that he would rather “die in a ditch” than to delay Brexit.

Downing Street strategists have said that they have devised a secret plan, known only to the Prime Ministed and three key advisers, which they claim will allow them to ignore the legislation without breaking the law – although most legal experts were sceptical that such a ruse could work.

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London’s 1st Trans Pride receives Overwhelming’ support

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London Trans pride

London, Sep 15 The first-ever Trans Pride in London’s Soho Square has received “overwhelming” support as hundreds of people turned out for the event, the media reported on Sunday.

Organiser Lucia Blayke said about 1,500 people turned up for the event on Saturday, the BBC reported.

The event started with a march from Hyde Park Corner to Soho Square, the capital of London’s LGBT+ scene.

“It’s been absolutely incredible and overwhelming. I was not expecting this many people to turn up and to march with such unity,” said Blayke.

The organiser added that the response to the event was far more positive than she had expected.

“I was concerned about safety, concerned about numbers but it’s been really smooth, it’s been safe…”

The sentiment was echoed by an attendee who said: “Everyone here knows what you’re going through, it was definitely needed.”

The event had a celebratory feel to it, with many trans and non-binary people being supported by friends.

“I’ve only recently come out as trans and it was the first event for trans so we all came down to celebrate it,” another attendee said.

According to the UK government, there are approximately 200,000-500,000 trans people in the country.

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Help Kashmiri children return to school: Malala to UN

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Malala Yousafzai

London, Sep 15 Nobel Prize laureate and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai has urged the UN to act and work towards helping Kashmiri children return to school amid the ongoing restrictions in the valley.

“I am asking leaders, at #UNGA and beyond, to work towards peace in Kashmir, listen to Kashmiri voices and help children go safely back to school,” Dawn news quoted Yousafzai as saying in a series of Twitter posts on Saturday.

Restrictions were imposed in the Kashmir Valley since India on August 5 revoked Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and also bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.

“I am deeply concerned about reports of 4,000 people, including children, arbitrarily arrested and jailed, about students who haven’t been able to attend school for more than 40 days, about girls who are afraid to leave their homes,” she wrote.

In her tweets, Malala also shared her account of corresponding with people over the past week belonging to various walks of life, including journalists, human rights lawyers and students.

“I wanted to hear directly from girls living in Kashmir right now. It took a lot of work from a lot of people to get their stories because of the communications blackout. Kashmiris are cut off from the world and unable to make their voices heard,” she said.

Yousafzai has also commented on the Kashmir issue in the past where she had appealed for an end to the conflict in the region after relations between India and Pakistan nosedived following the revocation of Article 370.

She had called on all South Asians, the international community and authorities to respond to the Kashmiris’ suffering.

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