1. Shamima Begum: Isis runaway asking for sympathy
Shamima Begum has issued a plea to the UK government for “mercy” after the home secretary moved to strip her of her British nationality. The British-born 19-year-old, who travelled from east London to Syria to join Islamic State in 2015, wants to return because her newborn son is unwell and she does not want him to return to the UK alone.
Some of the controversial statements she has made to the press since being discovered by a Times journalist in a Syrian refugee camp have drawn harsh criticism from members of the public. But many still believe she should be tried in the UK.
Related Video: Shamima Begum “a bit shocked” over UK plan to revoke citizenship
British teenager Shamima Begum, who moved from London to Syria four years ago to join ISIS, has said she was "a bit shocked" to learn that the UK plans to strip her of her British citizenship to prevent her from returning home.
Speaking from a refugee camp in Syria, the 19-year-old told CNN affiliate ITV that it was "kind of heartbreaking to read" a copy of the Home Office letter sent to her parents informing them of its decision. Begum, who gave birth over the weekend and is seeking a return to Britain, called the move "hard to swallow" and described it as "a bit unjust on me and my son."
2. Two dead and 12 injured as Venezuelan troops open fire on civilians as they step in front of Maduro's army convoy to try and keep the Brazilian border open for aid
Two people have been killed and 12 injured after Venezuelan troops opened fire on civilians trying to keep a border checkpoint open for aid deliveries.
Troops arrived at a checkpoint set up by an indigenous community in Kumarakapai, on Venezuela's southern border with Brazil early this morning.
But when civilians tried to block a convoy of tanks, soldiers opened fire killing two people including a woman named as Zorayda Rodriguez, 42, and wounding 12 others.
Gran Sabana Mayor Emilio Gonzalez said soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas and the injured people were taken for medical treatment.
But pictures and video footage taken by a Brazilian journalist appears to show bullet casings taken from the scene along with medics treating people covered in blood from wounds to their legs.
The villagers are believed to have been trying to keep open a section of the border so that aid could be moved into the area from Brazil. President Nicolas Maduro ordered the frontier with the country shut yesterday and is now considering shutting the border with Colombia.
3. Iran claims to hack, seize control of U.S. drones in Iraq and Syria
Iran’s Fars News reported Thursday that Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Aerospace Force, claimed Iran had been able to hack into a “U.S. Army command center” and seize control of drones being operated in Iraq and Syria. Adam Kredo followed up on this with a report at the Washington Free Beacon.
You can read the claims of Gen. Hajizadeh at the original (English version) Fars News article. Russia Today’s RT America broadcast with Rick Sanchez has a dramatically narrated sequence showing the drone camera videos supplied by the Iranians as evidence.
Iran penetrates into US command center, picks up drones control
4. University suspends student Ukip member, 19, who sparked outrage by saying the NHS should not be free to immigrants and complained about the “Islamisation” of Britain during class discussions
A student who claimed the NHS should not be free to immigrants and lamented about the “Islamisation” of Britain has been kicked out of his university.
Sebastian Walsh expressed his controversial opinions during class seminars and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) decided to suspend him after they received several complaints about his behaviour.
The 19-year-old student also branded halal meat “barbaric” and “inhumane” and vowed to friends he would never eat at Subway or KFC due to the way the animals are killed. [...]
(On a break) “I just mentioned that I would never touch Subway or KFC because they use halal meat in their products. I don't agree with barbaric slaughter on any sort of animals for a religion.”
He said: “All I did was voice my opinions during debates about immigration.”
5. IT programmer Muslim convert, 37, screams Allahu Akbar as he is jailed for four years for posting a hate-filled rant on Facebook blaming Britain for the “inevitable” Manchester bombing the day after the attack
A Scottish IT programmer turned Muslim convert screamed “Allahu Akbar” as he was jailed for posting a rant on Facebook in support of the Manchester Arena bombing the day after the attack.
Hamza Siddiq - born Andrew Calladine - took to social media while colleagues held a minute's silence to remember the 22 people killed in the 2017 terror attack.
He wrote: “I do not think the attack in Manchester was the best choice of action to take but I refuse to apologise for it or pretend I don't know the cause.
“The blame for it lies at the feet of the politicians, their police and their armies.
“It was an inevitable consequence of British foreign and domestic policy towards Muslims.”
6. Cheshire Police found guilty of discrimination after rejecting white heterosexual man for job
A police force has been found guilty of discrimination after it refused to give a potential recruit a job because he was a white heterosexual man.
Cheshire Police are believed to be the first organisation in the UK to be found guilty of using positive action to discriminate by deciding to shun 25-year-old Matthew Furlong in 2017.
The force rejected him while in the midst of a diversity drive after a report found in 2015 it was one of only four constabularies to have no black officers.
Mr Furlong, whose father is a serving detective inspector at Cheshire Police, claimed he was told after the interview stage "it was refreshing to meet someone as well prepared as yourself" and that he "could not have done any more".
The graduate in particle physics and cosmology was later told he had lost out to other candidates, leading his father to lodge a complaint.
7. Swedish court convicts pensioner for saying Somalis are “lazy”
A Swedish court has convicted a 70-year-old man of “hate speech” for claiming on social media that Somalis are lazy and don’t work.
In a unanimous decision, the district court of Uddevalla handed down a guilty verdict, ordering the man to pay 60 daily fines of SEK 120, for a total of SEK 7200 (700 euros).
The court said that the man’s Facebook post, which linked to an article by Swedish public broadcaster SVT, was “derogatory” to the reputation of Somalis as a group. In his post, the man contested the article’s claim that some 20 percent of Somalis are out of work in Sweden, adding that Somalis avoid work because “they are the laziest people in this world.”
As Breitbart News reported, the pensioner was reported to police by the left-wing activist group Näthatsgranskaren, Swedish for “Network Examiner,” which boasts to have reported at least 800 people to the police.
8. Saudi sisters stopped in Hong Kong as they flee kingdom
Two young Saudi sisters in Hong Kong said on Thursday they had been intercepted by kingdom officials at the city's airport while attempting to escape to Australia, in the latest case of women fleeing the ultra-conservative country.
The pair, who have adopted the aliases Reem and Rawan, said in a statement from their lawyer they had renounced Islam and fear the death penalty if forced to return to Saudi Arabia.
The sisters aged 20 and 18, whose representatives say they suffered violent abuse, fled to Hong Kong in September from a family holiday in Sri Lanka and were planning to fly on to Australia.
But they say they were obstructed by Saudi officials and have been living in hiding in the Chinese city for nearly six months since.
“We fled our home to ensure our safety. We hope that we can be given asylum in a country which recognises women's rights and treats them as equals,” the pair said in the statement shared by prominent lawyer Michael Vidler.
9. ISIS terrorist who became known as “the Voice of Paris attacks” after he claimed responsibility for killing 129 people is killed in Syria
A top French jihadist who voiced an audio recording claiming responsibility for the November 2015 Paris attacks has been killed.
Fabien Clain, thought to be in his early 40s, was killed in Islamic State's last Syrian redoubt of Baghouz, sources who didn't wish to be identified have said.
He is believed to have left France in 2015, after converting to Islam, to join the self-proclaimed caliphate.
In his video after the Paris attacks, Clain can be heard announcing that “eight brothers wearing explosive belts and carrying assault rifles” had conducted a “blessed attack on... Crusader France.”
The chilling propaganda recording warned that the Paris 2015 jihadist rampage was just “the beginning of the storm.”
10. US gas company Anadarko’s convoy attacked in Mozambique
One person was killed and six others injured when two convoys operated by U.S. gas giant Anadarko came under attack in northern Mozambique, an area which has been rocked by a spate of violence, the company said Friday.
The convoys were targeted Thursday, February 21 on a road linking Mocimboa da Praia to Afungi bay in Palma, the nerve center of Mozambique’s nascent gas industry following the discovery of huge reserves.
Armed men blocked the road and attacked the convoy with firearms, company sources told AFP, with local media suggesting more than a dozen attackers were involved. [...]
A journalist in Mocimboa da Praia town told AFP that the Mozambican worker, identified by the company as Gabriel Couto, was beheaded. [...]
Hardline Islamists have been blamed for several deadly attacks in the Muslim-majority, oil and gas-rich Cabo Delgado province in the past year, stoking unrest just as Maputo pushes ahead with exploration efforts.