Monday 11 December 2017

New 'lone wolf' spy agency unit

MI5 has set up a "lone wolf" terrorism unit as part of one of the biggest operational shake-ups in the organisation's history.

The security agency has already foiled one attack that was in "the advanced stages of planning" using a scheme to "manage individuals judged to present a risk of carrying out violent acts of terrorism alone or in small groups". The UK government said that MI5 had changed the way that new intelligence leads were processed, developed new ways to identify potential terrorists acting alone, and now had better communication channels with the police.

Ukraine death toll hits 6,000

More than 6,000 people have died in eastern Ukraine since the start of the conflict almost a year ago, the UN human rights office has revealed.

The Geneva-based body says hundreds of civilians and military personnel were killed in recent weeks alone after an upswing in fighting particularly near Donetsk airport and in the Debaltseve area.

Israeli speech to raise tension

The United States and Israel showed signs of seeking to defuse tensions ahead of a speech in Washington by Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu when he will warn against a possible nuclear deal with Iran.

Policy differences over the negotiations with Iran remained firm, however, as Netanyahu set off for the US to deliver the speech, which has imperiled ties between the two allies. Israel fears that President Barack Obama's Iran diplomacy will ultimately allow its enemy to develop atomic weapons, something Tehran denies seeking.

Shatner unable to send off pal

William Shatner cannot attend the funeral of his friend and Star Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy due to a prior commitment for charity, the actor said on Twitter.

Shatner and Nimoy portrayed the two best-known characters on the original Star Trek TV series launched in 1966 and in a series of films, with Shatner playing the adventurous Captain Kirk and Nimoy as the logic-bound, half-alien Mr Spock.

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