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Jul 24, 2015

Britain needs to stay in EU to support transatlantic ties, Obama says

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said he wants Britain to stay in the European Union and help maintain the post-war transatlantic partnership, prompting angry responses from Eurosceptic lawmakers in London.

“Having the United Kingdom in the European Union gives us much greater confidence about the strength of the transatlantic union,” Obama said in an interview with the BBC. He said Britain being inside the EU had helped make the world a safer and more prosperous place since World War Two.

Jul 22, 2015

Koran fragments found in UK library are among world’s oldest, says university

LONDON (Reuters) – Fragments of a Koran manuscript found in a British university library are from one of the world’s oldest surviving copies of the Islamic text, and may even have been written by someone who knew Prophet Mohammad, researchers said on Wednesday.

Radiocarbon dating indicated that the parchment folios held by the University of Birmingham in central England were at least 1,370 years old, which would make them one of the earliest written forms of the Islamic holy book in existence.

Jul 21, 2015

UK’s Osborne tightens screws on government spending plans

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s finance minister George Osborne launched a new front in his austerity push on Tuesday as he challenged some government departments to find spending cuts of up to 40 percent by the end of the decade.

Osborne said he would announce on Nov. 25 how he would find an extra 20 billion pounds ($31 billion) of annual departmental savings, on top of deep cuts to welfare spending that he unveiled earlier this month in a post-election budget.

Jul 20, 2015

UK’s Cameron unveils anti-extremism plan, urges internet firms to help

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron set out a five-year strategy to tackle extremism in Britain on Monday, vowing to take on those responsible for radicalising young British Muslims and demanding that internet companies do more to help.

To tackle what he called the “struggle of our generation” Cameron outlined a counter-extremism strategy designed to halt the spread in Britain of the radical ideology promoted by Islamic State militants (IS or ISIL) in Syria and Iraq.

Jul 17, 2015

Britain says its pilots conducted Syria air strikes

LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) – British pilots have taken part
in air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, the
defence ministry said on Friday, angering some lawmakers who two
years ago refused to back military action there.

The ministry said pilots had taken part in Syrian missions
on behalf of its allies, the United States and Canada, and were
“effectively operating as foreign troops”.

Jul 15, 2015

Britain hopes to re-open Iran embassy by year-end: Hammond

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain hopes to re-open its embassy in Iran before the end of the year, foreign minister Philip Hammond said on Wednesday following an agreement between Iran and six major world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program.

After more than a decade of negotiations, Iran agreed on Tuesday to long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West suspected was aimed at creating an atomic bomb. In return, the United States, European Union and United Nations will lift sanctions and unfreeze billions of dollars of Iranian assets.

Jul 14, 2015

Britain announces Calais ‘secure zone’ to curb migrants

LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) – Britain plans to create a
‘secure zone’ at the French port of Calais to protect lorries
heading for England from migrants trying to enter the country
illegally, interior minister Theresa May said on Tuesday.

Migrants fleeing war, political turmoil and poverty make
daily attempts to board lorries and trains heading for Britain,
drawn by family ties, a growing economy and a perception that
the British system treats migrants better than other countries.

Jul 9, 2015

Eyeing UK’s top job, Chancellor Osborne lays claim to political centre ground

LONDON (Reuters) – Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said on Thursday he was creating a new centre ground in the country’s politics with his plans to cut welfare and boost pay, burnishing his credentials to become the next prime minister.

Osborne used his freedom as a close ally of Prime Minister David Cameron to announce an overhaul of Britain’s tax and spending system on Wednesday in his first budget plan since the centre-right Conservative Party won elections in May.

Jul 8, 2015

UK’s poorer families face cuts as Osborne reshapes welfare state

LONDON, July 8 (Reuters) – Britain’s poorer families will
have their welfare payments cut over the next five years as part
of finance minister George Osborne’s plans to rebalance public

Osborne used a much-anticipated budget announcement on
Wednesday to set out how he intends to reshape Britain into what
he called a low-tax, small-state economy following the
Conservative Party’s unexpectedly decisive victory at a national
election in May. av

Jul 7, 2015

Dream of better life in Britain fuels Calais migrant chaos

CALAIS/LONDON July 7 (Reuters) – Like many migrants drawn to
the French port of Calais, Ali, a 22-year-old Iraqi, is
convinced his life will be better if he can make it across the
30 km (20 mile) stretch of sea separating him from Britain.

“I know people in London, they can help me and it will be a
new life,” Ali said, speaking on the outskirts of a Calais
migrant slum. “It cannot be worse than in France.”