Netanyahu's main rival in Israeli election voices agreement with him on Iran

MUNICH (Reuters) – Former general Benny Gantz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strongest challenger in an election scheduled for April, voiced support on Sunday for the right-wing leader’s tough policy toward Iran.

“I am standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the fight against Iran’s aggression,” Gantz, a former chief of Israel’s armed forces and a centrist candidate, told the Munich Security Conference.

Polls predict that Netanyahu’s Likud party will win the April 9 election, taking about 30 of parliament’s 120 seats – enough to form a coalition of right-wing and religious factions similar to one he now heads.

The surveys forecast a second-place finish, with some 20 seats, for Gantz’s Resilience party. That would line him up to join a future Netanyahu-led coalition – unless he tries to mobilize other factions against the incumbent.

In the speech, Gantz echoed many of Netanyahu’s themes in describing Iran as a danger to the Middle East and the world.

“On my watch, there will be no appeasement. On my watch Iran will not threaten Israel by taking over Syria, Lebanon or the Gaza Strip. Nor will it undermine pragmatic regimes in the Middle East. On my watch, Iran will not have nuclear weapons,” Gantz said.

Netanyahu, in an apparent swipe at Gantz, said in public remarks to his cabinet on Sunday that as prime minister he had spearheaded a campaign against Iran and “today we have all kinds of hitch-hikers who are riding the wave”.

Netanyahu has strongly opposed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and international powers, and Israel’s air force has carried out numerous attacks in neighboring Syria against Iranian forces allied with President Bashar al-Assad.

“When Israel’s security is under threat, there is no daylight between us,” Gantz said about Netanyahu.

Gantz spoke shortly after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the conference that risk of war with Israel was great and accused it of violating international law with its bombing campaigns in Syria.

Gantz, while not commenting directly on Zarif’s allegations, cautioned the forum not to be “fooled by his lies” or eloquence.

On prospects for Middle East peace, Gantz did not mention the Palestinians or the collapse of talks with them in 2014. But he said Israel “will always reach its hand out to anyone who seeks peace with us” while guarding its security interests.

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Six people face arrest over Patisserie Valerie scandal

Six people including three junior staff members are facing arrest over £40million black hole in Patisserie Valerie’s accounts

  • Serious Fraud Office has already been arrested after discovery of false accounts
  • A further five are ‘under investigation’, including three junior members of staff
  • Patisserie Valerie went into administration last month closing 72 UK stores 
  • It has been bought by Irish firm Causeway Capital preserving nearly 2,000 jobs 

As many as six people face arrest over the Patisserie Valerie scandal, it has been claimed today.

The high street patisserie went into administration in January, closing 72 stores and leaving 920 people jobless.

It happened three months after a £40million hole was discovered in the company’s accounts along with fraudulent cheques and emails about fabricating invoices.

One person has already been arrested and a further five are under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, the Sunday Times reports.  

Among the five allegedly being probed are three junior members of staff.

As many as six people face arrest over the Patisserie Valerie scandal, it has been claimed today. File image used 


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Former executive chairman and Sunday Times columnist Luke Johnson has assisted with the inquiry as a witness but is not a suspect, according to the newspaper.

Nonexecutive directors Lee Gisberg and James Horler are also not being investigated. 

A source says the suspected fraud involves someone counting voucher sales twice to inflate profits and failing to pay VAT bills of between £10million and £12million. 

Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley (pictured) submitted a bid for the chain, but later pulled out, complaining that he had been locked out of the process by KPMG, which is managing the administration

There are around 15 email accounts involved in discussing cash shortages.  

The bakery was bought at the eleventh hour by Irish firm Causeway Capital this week.    

Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley subsequently submitted a bid for the chain, but later pulled out, complaining that he had been locked out of the process by KPMG, which is managing the administration.

Causeway Capital’s Matt Scaife said on Thursday: ‘Patisserie Valerie is heritage brand, much loved by its loyal customers. 

‘This investment should mark the end of a turbulent period for customers and suppliers alike.’

The cake firm’s parent company, Patisserie Holdings, has been grappling with the fallout of the accounting fraud since October.

Last month the firm said the extent of fraud meant it was unable to renew its bank loans with HSBC and Barclays and it did not have sufficient funding to continue trading, leaving it with no option but to appoint KPMG as administrator.

Patisserie Valerie chief executive Steve Francis said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Causeway Capital as our partners in Patisserie Valerie, ending a disruptive period of uncertainty for the business.

‘The affection and loyalty for the brand among our customers and employees, and Causeway Capital’s enthusiasm and support for the business, creates for us the foundations for an exciting future for the business. ‘

A £40million hole was discovered in the company’s accounts along with fraudulent cheques and emails about fabricating invoices. File image used 

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Novichok poison victim Sergei Skripal’s health ‘is deteriorating’

Novichok poison victim Sergei Skripal’s health ‘is deteriorating and doctors fear the former MI6 spy, 67, will never fully recover from the chemical attack’

  • Former spy is under close medical supervision at home, intelligence source said
  • His condition is not considered critical and his daughter Yulia is in ‘good health’
  • The pair were poisoned by nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury in March last year

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal is being treated by doctors amid fears he may never fully recover from the Novichok attack, reports claim.

Mr Skripal, 67, has reportedly suffered a deterioration in his health and is under close medical supervision at his home.

‘His health has got worse and he’s been receiving medical care at his home,’ a well-informed intelligence source told the Sunday Times. 

‘No one has any idea of what will happen to him because there’s very little that’s known about the impact the nerve agent will have in the long run’. 

 Sergei Skripal (pictured with his daughter Yulia) has suffered a deterioration in his health and is under close medical supervision at his home, a well-informed intelligence source said

The former MI6 agent was poisoned in Salisbury last year alongside his daughter Yulia, 33, when he came into contact with the nerve agent Novichok.

The pair were rushed to Salisbury District Hospital in a critical condition – but were discharged in April and May.

Toxicology experts said there is no way of predicting the long-term effects of Novichok – but studies into other nerve agents have revealed issues with memory loss and muscle functionality. 


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Wayne Carter, an associate professor at Nottingham University, said: ‘The agent itself would essentially likely be metabolised and removed, but the fingerprints of its effect could be long standing.’

Mr Skripal’s current condition is not considered critical, reports said.

A source for Scotland Yard, who is familiar with the case, added that there is ‘no doubt’ Mr Skripal will be receiving medical care for ‘some time’.


Two Russian nationals have been accused of travelling to the UK to try to murder Mr Skripal with Novichok (Pictured left Ruslan Boshirov and right Alexander Petrov)

Yulia, who appeared in a video interview after the attack, is said to be in good health. 

Mr Skripal has not been seen in public since the failed assassination attempt. 

His niece, Viktoria Skripal, claimed in January that British authorities may have covered up Mr Skripal’s death in an attempt to make Russia look bad. 

But the Metropolitan Police confirmed at the time that her uncle is still alive. 

The Novichok poisoning claimed the life of Dawn Sturgess, 44, who fell ill in Amesbury months after the incident.


The Novichok poisoning claimed the life of Dawn Sturgess (pictured left with Charlie Rowley right) who fell ill in Amesbury months after the incident

She died in hospital in July after coming into contact with a perfume bottle believed to have been used in the attack on the Skripals and then discarded.

Her partner, Charlie Rowley, 45, was also exposed to the same nerve agent but was treated and discharged.

A counterfeit Nina Ricci perfume bottle – which Ms Sturgess handled – is thought to have contained the substance. 

Three Russian nationals have been linked to the assassination attempt on Mr Skripal and his daughter.

Evidence gathered by intelligence agencies led the Government to conclude that the three men were officers from the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU.

Two suspects – known by their aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – were caught on CCTV in Salisbury the day before the attack.

A third suspect was unmasked as high-ranking Russian spy Denis Sergeev earlier this week. 

The Kremlin denies being behind the attack.

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Florida inmates help rescue baby after dad locks keys in car

For once, police were thankful a group of criminals broke into a car.

A group of inmates on work duty in New Port Richey, Florida, came to the rescue of a forgetful father who accidentally locked his keys — and, more importantly, his 1-year-old baby — in his truck earlier this week.

Five prisoners, along with deputies from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, were working to repair medians outside the West Pasco Judicial Center on Thursday when they saw the father begin to panic and a crowd gather around the locked car.

An onlooker provided the inmates with a wire hanger and they went to work.

“[We were] surprised when somebody had a wire coat hanger, [and] we were able to get the door open enough to get it in there, unlock the door,” Richard Stanger, from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, told Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS.

The inmates were described as “low-risk offenders.”

“A lot of them, like these individuals, they know they made bad mistakes, bad choices, but they want to do the right thing in life,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said.

In a cellphone video shot by the truck’s owner, deputies can be heard telling the dad to “pop his head in the window” every once in a while, so the baby doesn’t get scared by all the “strange faces.”

It took about two minutes for them to pop the lock — and trigger the car alarm — in order to get the baby out of the truck.

The victory triggered celebration by those who had crowded around the vehicle.

Luckily it was a fairly cool day in the Tampa area with a high of 72 degrees on Thursday.

ABC News’ Olivia Rubin contributed to this report.

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‘Man with gun’ confusion sparks mass panic at Orlando Airport

Chaos erupts at Orlando Airport after a man who tried to breach checkpoint reaches into his pocket prompting onlooker to yell ‘he has a gun’ sending panicked travelers fleeing in terror

  • Ryan Scott Mills, 37, was arrested at Orlando International Airport on Saturday
  • Mills was approached by police at a security checkpoint at around 12:15pm
  • Authorities say Mills ‘reached into pocket’, prompting others to fear he had gun 
  • Panic ensued as travelers in line burst through checkpoint and fled
  • Authorities said it was a false alarm and Mills was not armed 

Cell phone video filmed at Orlando International Airport shows panicked travelers fleeing the departure hall after a man who allegedly tried to breach a security checkpoint was rumored to have had a gun. 

Authorities say 37-year-old Ryan Scott Mills was arrested after he attempted to breach a security checkpoint at the airport.

Mills approached the west checkpoint that leads to gates one through 59 at around 12:15pm on Saturday, an airport spokesperson told the Orlando Sentinel.

In a tweet, Orlando Police said that as authorities attempted to arrest Mills on Saturday, he reached into his pocket, prompting ‘unknown persons’ nearby to yell that he had a gun.

Police said panic ensued, though there was no gun.

Ryan Scott Mills, 37, is seen above being arrested at Orlando International Airport on Saturday


Mills allegedly tried to breach a security checkpoint. When other travelers noticed him reaching into his pocket as police approached him, one of them is said to have yelled that he had a gun, igniting panic


Travelers who were on line at the checkpoint burst through security and headed for the gates


Amateur cell phone video from the scene shows travelers fleeing in terror while alarms were blaring

Passengers then burst through the security checkpoint and sped toward the gate.

Video filmed by one of the travelers at the airport captured the chaos of the scene.


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Children are seen crying while rope barriers are knocked over. Alarms can be heard blaring throughout the hall.

The traveler who took the amateur video on their cell phone said Mills was thought to have had ‘a grenade or something in his hand,’ according to ABC News.

Sgt. Eduardo Bernal told the Sentinel that Mills was detained under a Florida law that allows for people to be involuntarily committed if deemed dangerous.

Sgt. Eduardo Bernal told the Sentinel that Mills (above) was detained under a Florida law that allows for people to be involuntarily committed if deemed dangerous

Charges of disorderly conduct and resisting an officer without violence are pending

According to his Facebook page, Mills is a resident of Gainesville, Florida

Mills was also thought to have had ‘a grenade or something in his hand’ according to witnesses

Charges of disorderly conduct and resisting an officer without violence are pending.

According to his Facebook page, Mills is a resident of Gainesville, Florida. 

Airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell said screenings temporarily stopped at the checkpoint for gates one through 59.

A number of people suffered minor injuries because of what appeared to be a stampeded of scared passengers.

The checkpoints opened an hour later and screenings resumed as per usual.


Panic also ensued at Orlando International on February 2 when a Transportation Security Administration officer jumped to his death inside the airport. Robert Henry (left), 36, an off-duty officer, died after he fell from the Hyatt Regency Hotel into a busy atrium at the airport

This is the second unusual incident at the airport that ignited chaos this month. 

Panic also ensued on February 2 when a Transportation Security Administration officer jumped to his death inside the airport.

Robert Henry, 36, an off-duty officer, died after he fell from the Hyatt Regency Hotel into a busy atrium at the airport. 

TSA agents are among the 420,000 federal workers considered essential employees required to work without their paychecks during a government shutdown. The closure began December 22 and lasted for 35 days. 

Henry’s brother, Evan Henry, remembered his late older brother a ‘beloved son, brother and dedicated Transportation Security Officer.’ 

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Inside the horrifying, unspoken world of sexually abusive nuns

It’s the line from scripture that stayed with Cait Finnegan for nearly half a century as she tried to suppress the painful memories of the sexual abuse she says she suffered at the hands of her Catholic clergy educator.

“God is Love,” Sister Mary Juanita Barto told Finnegan as she repeatedly raped her in classrooms at Mater Christi High School in Queens in the late 1960s.

The abuse began when Finnegan was 15 and continued throughout her high school years — on school buses to out-of-town sporting events, at religious retreats in upstate New York, at Finnegan’s childhood home in Woodside and at a Long Island convent.

“She was obsessed with me 24 hours a day,” Finnegan, now 67, told The Post. “The woman owned me.”

After graduating high school in 1969, Finnegan struggled to deal with the abuse and tell her story, but her efforts fell on deaf ears.

“Nobody wanted to hear about the Vestal Virgins back then,” she said.

But after Pope Francis recently made the bombshell admission that some nuns were abused by priests and even used as sex slaves, dozens of Catholics have come forward to report a tangential, and just as evil, phenomenon — sexual abuse by nuns.

“This is the next big thing for the church — the biggest untold secret,” Mary Dispenza, a director at Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a St. Louis-based advocacy group.

“In the past, victims were very much ashamed and afraid to tell their stories, but they are starting to come forward and we are expecting that this may be as big as the priest abuse scandal.”

The group has heard from 35 people in the last several days who claim they were physically and sexually abused by nuns, said Dispenza, a former nun who claims she was abused as a young girl by both a priest and a nun. Finnegan told The Post she approached SNAP for support a few years earlier.

Dispenza, 78, has fought for more than two decades for justice for victims of clergy abuse and plans to take her fight to the Vatican on Monday. She and her group are demanding the Pope help victims of nun abuse and fire anyone who has covered up crimes by Catholic clergy.

“We want them gone immediately,” she said.

She also wants the Vatican to require Catholic leaders to contact police right away if they are confronted with abuse, rather than alerting local bishops or other church hierarchy first.

And in states where the statute of limitations has been amended to allow victims of sexual abuse to file complaints, SNAP is urging them — some now in their 60s and 70s — to file claims against their alleged abusers.

“Finally, they will have a chance at justice,” she said.

Last week, New York opened up a window for old cases with the passage of the Child Victims Act. The measure, which had languished in Albany for more than a decade, allows a one-year window for alleged victims to file lawsuits against their attackers, no matter when the abuse occurred.

Before the new law, New York had one of the most restrictive statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse. Victims now have until age 55 in order to file civil suits and can press for criminal charges until age 28. The old statute capped lawsuits at age 23.

Dispenza, who spent 15 years in a habit before becoming an activist against the Catholic church, is bracing for an onslaught of cases against nuns, who typically run schools and orphanages, and spend exponentially more time with children than priests.

“They are with kids at school every day from nine to three,” she said.

They also far outnumber priests. There are 55,944 nuns in the US and 41,406 priests, according to statistics compiled by SNAP.

Eight years ago, when a handful of victims of nun abuse came forward to SNAP, Dispenza urged the Chicago-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic nuns, to address the issue and reach out to victims of nun abuse. The group refused to put the issue on the agendas of their annual meetings, Dispenza told The Post.

A spokeswoman for LCWR refused to discuss how many victims of nun abuse had reached out to them, and referred to a statement on the group’s web site that reads in part, “We encourage persons with grievances involving allegations of sexual misconduct by a woman religious to approach the individual religious congregation involved. We believe that it is at this level that true healing can begin.”

In her 2014 memoir, “Split: A Child, a Priest and the Catholic Church,” Dispenza details the sexual abuse she endured at the hands of a Catholic priest in the gritty East Los Angeles neighborhood where she grew up. Despite the childhood rapes by the priest — who was trusted by her family — Dispenza decided to become a nun, only to be faced with similar abuse from a superior sister while she was a novitiate.

“She took my face in her two hands, and kissed me all over my face,” she recalled of the encounter in a convent she would not name. “And then I just remember leaving. I felt the same way I felt as a child. I felt lost, I felt abandoned, I felt confused, I felt alone.”

Finnegan said she also felt alone, and was unable to speak of the abuse she endured by Sister Mary Juanita who “vowed to chastity as she raped me.”

Finnegan, a widow whose husband was a former Catholic priest, now lives in Pennsylvania where she has run a group home for needy children and is the minister of the Celtic Christian Church.

Although her alleged abuser died in 2014, Finnegan said she still cannot bring herself to discuss the abuse openly, even after years of therapy and writing in her “Abuse by nuns” blog.

“Well, the little girl in me wept because that kid had longed for Juanita to be a spiritual mother to me … that’s how I loved her, as a mother,” she wrote. “I remember when I met her I thought she was so smart and holy, oh yeah, and funny. Wrong.”

She said she never told her father — “I was afraid of what he would do to the nun when he found out” — and only summoned up the courage to tell her mother of the trauma just before her death in 2002.

“Sexual abuse leaves scars that last for life,” she wrote on the blog. “Dealing with those wounds and scars, and surviving through daily life is a challenge for many of us. Silence sometimes is a kind of defense which allows victims to hide from the pain (for a while).”

Some of her therapy was paid for by the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Mary Juanita’s religious order that has its origins in 19th century Ireland and now ministers to the poor around the world. The Sisters of Mercy taught the girls at her high school; the boys were taught by the Christian Brothers. In 1981, the school became the co-ed St. John’s Prep.

Finnegan said she has suffered with PTSD and anxiety for most of her adult life and has turned to prayer and research on sexual abuse to try to forgive what was done to her. She will not describe in any detail how she was raped.

“More than 14 percent of nuns have been sexually abused themselves,” said Finnegan. “It’s this unattended rage they live with. It’s going to come out as physical abuse of children and sexual abuse. I believe it’s what turns so many of them into nasty bitches in the convent.”

When Finnegan finally summoned up the courage to confront Sister Mary Juanita in the early 1990s — more than 20 years after graduating high school in 1969 — she found herself tongue-tied.

“I froze and became that 15-year-old kid again,” she said. “I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t move.”

She was even too nervous to enter her office at a Long Island convent.

“Sorry, I have to go,” she told the nun who had terrified her. And then she left.

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Magaluf holds international summit to stop boozy Brits turning resorts into holiday hellholes

UK and German tour operators, the British Embassy, the Spanish Tourism Bureau in London and hoteliers were all invited to the crackdown meeting.

The Government of the Balearic Islands wants to put an end to bad behaviour and violence, especially from the Brits who flock to the resort each summer.

So officials organised the summit – which took place in Palma on Wednesday – to debate proposed policy changes for the resorts and airlines.

“Excessive alcohol intake by air passengers has economic, medical and welfare ramifications, and is identified as a top three risk to aviation safety,” the event description states.

“Incidents on airplanes may in the worst scenarios endanger the lives of many.

“Apart from the nuisance incurred to the other passengers, drunkenness on airplanes causes flights to be diverted, distracts the cabin crew from their normal safety duties and implies a hazard in emergency evacuations.

“Thus, excessive alcohol consumption seems to be continuing beyond the flight itself, causing anti-social behaviour and danger to tourists’ health.

“In this sense, dangerous practices and uncivil behaviour appear in some tourist destinations.”

PROPOSED BAN ON ALL-INCLUSIVE DEALS

A proposed ban on free-flowing alcohol in all-inclusive hotels in Majorca and Ibiza was just one of the topics up for discussion.

The summit comes just months after a ban was put on booze cruises and pub crawls in Magaluf.

Last year, Magaluf also introduced tougher "on-the-spot" penalties, with fines for anti-social behaviour soaring by at least four times.

Any holidaymaker involved in rowdiness will now be fined £350 (€400) instead of the £87) €100 of 2017 and £437 (€500) euros for any breach of the peace involving alcohol.

The same rise was applied to any tourist caught urinating in the street who will now have to fork out €400 whilst the fine for going naked or semi-naked in a public place was doubled to €400 as well.

Calvià council, which covers all the main tourist hotspots in and around Magaluf, published a revised list of existing sanctions which were increased in price.

One of the main objectives was to tackle drinking in the street and bottle parties, one of the most common problems during the tourist season.



FINE TIME Increased fines being introduced in Magaluf

1. 500 fine for any event organiser breaching alcohol rules.

2. 400 fine for any act or individual who "goes against the composure, order and urbanity required for social coexistence"

3. 400 fine for urinating in a public place.

4. 500 fine for the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public spaces causing inconvenience to people who use public space and residents.

5. 500 fine for the consumption of alcoholic beverages seriously disrupting coexistence citizen in a way that deteriorates the tranquility of the environment or provokes unsanitary situations.

6. 500 fine  for the consumption of alcoholic beverages seriously disrupting coexistence in a demeaning manner for pedestrians or other users of public spaces.

7. 500 fine for the consumption of alcoholic beverages seriously disrupting coexistence in any place where children might be affected.

8. 500 fine for bottle parties on roads and public spaces of any nature.
9. 400 fine for lack of respect and consideration directed to a member of the Calvià police in the exercise of their role to protect the public.

10. 400 fine for the carrying out of activities and the provision of unauthorised services in a public space, such as tarot, clairvoyance, massage or tattoos.

11. 400 fine for going nude or naked or semi-nude on public roads outside the zones authorised by decree of the Mayor's Office.

12. 400 fine for walking or going on public transport or in a public space without a top, except in swimming pools, beaches or other places where this is normal or as allowed on pavements, streets and roads immediately adjoining the beaches or the rest of the coast.

13. 200 fine for throwing litter down in a public place, especially cigarette butts, chewing gum, peeling, papers, plastics, cans, containers, bottles or similar.

14. 200 fine for putting into operation, on beaches and public places, equipment for sound, amplifiers, speakers of any power, instruments of percussion or similar that can generate a significant acoustic impact on the immediate surroundings.

15. 200 fine for taking alcohol out on to the streets away from the original premises and consuming it on roads or public spaces, regardless of the container used.

16. 100 fine for grafitti on public transport, equipment, street furniture, trees, gardens and public roads in general or climbing over these.

 

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Halifax Discovery Centre celebrates 38th annual World Whale Day

Saturday marked the 38th annual World Whale Day, and the Discovery Centre in Halifax celebrated the day by featuring the mammals that live in the waters surrounding the province.

Whale Day was founded in Maui in 1980 and honours the humpback whales that live off their coast. The day focuses on educating people on why it’s important to protect the giants of the ocean.

Global News

“It’s about not only celebrating these amazing animals but also raising awareness on the things that are impacting them and how people can help,” said Tonya Wimmer, executive director of the Marine Animal Response Society

In Nova Scotia, there are about 150 bottlenose whales off the coast. The whales are endangered, so researchers track them through pictures.

“Every whale is an individual. That is the way I conduct my research: to identify individual whales so that we can count them and understand more about their family group, their social structure, how many there are in the population and how that’s changing over time,” said researcher Laura Feyrer.

At the Discovery Centre, kids learned interesting facts that help make education engaging.

“I like seeing the pictures of them,” said one youngster.

“I learned something today that the whale’s spine looks a little different than ours,” said another.

World Whale Day takes place on the third Saturday of February annually.

With files from Whitney Oickle 

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DAVID TOUBE: Let Shamima come back but don’t say she’s not a threat

Let Shamima Begum come back to Britain but don’t pretend she’s not a threat, writes DAVID TOUBE

Shamima Begum presents this country with a terrible dilemma.

Yes, she is a British citizen who made her decisions at an impressionable age.

But we cannot close our eyes to the evidence that she is unrepentant, or pretend that she, and others like her, do not present a serious threat to Britain.

Begum travelled to a war zone when she was 15, and stayed for four years.

She went in 2015 when the bloody reality of Islamic State (IS) was already well established.

It was after the Yazidi genocide and the enslavement of thousands of women.

Shamima Begum, 19, is pleading with the Government to allow her back into the country to have her baby but admits she’ll miss her jihadist husband 

She says the sight of decapitated heads didn’t shake her belief in the fundamental correctness of the ideal, if not the practice, of a theocratic Islamic state. Her only regret appears to be that her dream became a nightmare. Make no mistake, many women played a full part in the barbarity.

They played a leading role in the mistreatment of Yazidis, for example, convinced that it was religiously proper for their husbands to purchase and rape female captives. Some women were responsible for the violent enforcement of Islamic State’s vicious legal code on a terrified Syrian population. Others helped in the online recruitment of individuals, or provided support and comfort to fighters.


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In the final stages of the war, some women were trained to fight. It would be foolish to close our eyes to the potential dangers that returnees, male or female, pose.

Some will return determined to bring the horror they wrought on the streets of Raqqa to Britain.

Two of the terrorists who perpetrated the Bataclan massacre in 2015 had previously fought in Syria, as had Mehdi Nemmouche, who murdered four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

The fall of IS has not resulted in the final collapse of the networks that first induced British citizens to join it. Banned jihadist group Al-Muhajiroun is reportedly once again preaching on our streets. Meanwhile, hate preachers, who spent years proclaiming the virtues of creating a theocratic totalitarian Islamic state, remain in pulpits. It is also certain that organisations such as Cage, who advocate for those convicted of terrorist offences and once called Jihadi John a ‘beautiful man’, will use the return of those who joined the Islamic State to peddle unjustified tales of grievance towards our country. Although those who have made it back to Britain are currently silent and are not presently being feted by their supporters, tours of universities and community centres could well take place in future.

She went in 2015 when the bloody reality of Islamic State (IS) was already well established 

Worryingly, they will be used to promote the ideology that underpinned the so-called Caliphate. It is vital the intelligence services are alert to this. For all the dangers, I believe it is right that Begum be returned to Britain. Quilliam was founded by former Islamists who now work to fight extremism, so I know that rehabilitation is possible.

The organisation’s President, Noman Benotman, was once a senior member of the Al Qaeda-aligned Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. He was friendly with Osama Bin Laden, and fought alongside him in Afghanistan. Now, he devotes his life to disrupting terrorist groups. No one is beyond redemption.

Quilliam has found certain individuals are open to being persuaded that they have a personal obligation to repair the damage that they have helped create.

Investigating conduct and prosecuting crimes will require resources and expenditure, of course. I accept we will need to keep returnees under surveillance for many years, and that too will cost money.

Many understandably feel we shouldn’t have to foot the bill.

But there is also the question of justice. We must demonstrate, clearly, that Britain does not allow its citizens to commit terrible crimes and get away with it.

So, however unpopular it might be, Begum should be readmitted to Britain if she presents herself at our borders.

Facebook picture of Dutch ISIS fighter Yago Riedijk (now aged 26 and detained in Syria) and husband of Shamima Begum from 2011

WHEN a smirking IS recruit shreds their British passport, it is a declaration that Britain has no authority over them. We must expose that for the lie it is.

I believe we should view Begum and others like her as potential war criminals. Building a case against them will not be easy and some will be assessed as having committed no crime.

However, social and personal media will provide a wealth of evidence against others.

There are many things that Britain should be exporting, but terrorists are not one of them. We cannot treat the rest of the world as a dumping ground for the very worst our country has to offer.

But we are a nation that justly prides itself in respect for the rule of law. That is one of the things that makes Britain a greater, and stronger country than the Islamic State. Let us demonstrate that this is so.

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Sunday’s London weather forecast — a bright, sunny day that will turn breezy and more cloudy in the afternoon

Monday brings showers that could become more persistent rain later. Tuesday starts frosty, then dry and bright before clouds appear later. Wednesday stays dry, with variable cloud and sunny spells. Mild.

London weather forecast for 6am on Sunday February 17

London weather forecast for 12pm on Sunday February 17

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UK outlook for Sunday February 17 to Saturday March 2

A MIXED bag this Sunday with sunshine mainly in the east, rain across the west and getting patchier as it tracks slowly eastwards, and strong winds in the northwest.

Blustery showers arriving from the west Monday, and it will be less mild. Tuesday will be mostly dry, with rain and strong winds in north, this lingering into Wednesday.

Dry with sunny spells on Thursday and Friday. The far west and northwest could get cloudier and breezier, with some rain and drizzle. Temperatures above the seasonal average, but the wind in the north and west could make it feel colder than elsewhere.

The end of February and beginning of March looks likely to bring dry and bright weather across the south and east, but morning fog too. More changeable in the northwest, with the risk of gales, although some drier patches are possible.

Temperatures to be mild overall, but overnight frosts possible, with a small chance of a colder spell developing in the east later.

Sunday’s temperatures for London

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