Putin visits annexed Crimea, triggering Kiev protest

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday visited Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula Moscow annexed in 2014, a trip quickly denounced by Kiev as a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty.
Putin made a stop at the legendary Artek holiday camp for young people, dating from Soviet times, on the shores of the Black Sea, the Kremlin said in a statement.
Founded in 1925 based on an idea from Lenin, the father of Russian communism, Artek went from a sanitorium for children with tuberculosis to a camp for "pioneers", the communist youth organisation for children aged 10 to 14.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Artek, like all of Crimea, was part of an independent Ukraine and the facility fell on hard times. But after the Russians took back the peninsula the youth camp was renovated.
"It wasn't that long ago that Artek went through rather difficult times. But now it is being reborn, and it is reborn as an international holiday camp," Putin said in a speech to the young people.
Putin has visited Crimea before since Russia's annexation, which was condemned by the international community, and Kiev considers it to still be part of Ukraine.
The country's foreign ministry issued a statement saying Kiev "considers this visit... to be a gross violation of the sovereignty of the State and the territorial integrity of Ukraine," according to the Russian TASS news agency.
Ukraine has been fighting a pro-Russian insurgency in the east of the country since 2014 which Kiev and its Western allies say is backed by Moscow. More than 10,000 people, civilians and fighters, have been killed since the start of the conflict.
© 2017 AFP
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50 firefighters tackle 'huge' blaze at a block of flats in London

Ten fire engines and 72 firefighters are battling a blaze at a block of flats on Turin Street in Bethal Green, east London, according to the London Fire Brigade.
A flat on the third floor and roof is alight, the fire service said in a statement. One man suffering from smoke inhalation has been hospitalized.
The London Fire Brigade received nearly 50 calls from members of the public about the fire at approximately 4:25pm local time. 
The cause of the fire is not yet known.
Over 600 households were evacuated from tower blocks in Camden on Friday night over safety fears concerning cladding on the buildings similar to that on the Grenfell Tower. Scores of residents are refusing to leave their homes despite emergency services warning they cannot guarantee the safety of residents.
Some 27 apartment blocks in 15 council areas across England have failed fire cladding safety tests since the Grenfell disaster claimed the lives of at least 79 residents on June 14.
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Fawning Glastonbury crowd laps up Corbyn's rabble-rousing speech - ‘Elite got it WRONG'

There have been chants of “oh Jeremy Corbyn” all morning at the Worthy Farm festival and he took to the Pyramid Stage to introduce Run The Jewels at 4:15pm.
Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis said: “We’re Corbyn fans, that’s the thing.
“He’s got something new and precious, and people are excited about it.”
He tweeted at 3:30pm: “At the Solstice Bar at Glastonbury. Looking forward to my 4pm speech at the Pyramid Stage.”
He started his Pyramid Stage speech by thanking festival founder, Michael Eavis, for bringing the the ‘spirit of love’ to the festival.
He said: “There is a message on that wall to President Donald Trump and it says build bridges and not walls.
“Politics is about everyday life and it is about all of us, what we want, what we dream.
“The elite got it wrong, politics is about the lives of all of us.”
Corbyn thanked the festival-goers for voting in the election. 
He said: “That politics that got out of the box is not going back in the box.
"Is it right so many people live in such poverty in a society surrounded by such riches.
“Festivals are about coming together and about environment and peace.
“Peace is possible and must be achieved.
Jeremy CorbynPA
Jeremy Corbyn gives a passionate speech at Glastonbury
“Refugees and human beings like all of us today, let’s support them in their hour of need.”
He added: “I want all of our children to write poetry, to paint and to achieve what they want and this festival is inspiring for so many young musicians.
‘I am proud to be here for the environmental causes that go with it, we can not go on destroying this planet.
“There is only one planet.
Corbyn at glastonburyPA
Corbyn enjoyed meeting fans at the festival
“Not even Donald Trump believes there is a planet somewhere else.”
He spoke about how racism is wrong and “divides society in any form”.
He said: “I want to see a world where there is real opportunity for everyone in our society, we need to share the wealth and not live in a society where the rich get richer.
“Surely we can do things differently and better.”
Mr Corbyn finished his appearance by quoting a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley:
“Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you –
Ye are many - they are few.”
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UK fire safety crisis expands; Hundreds evacuated in London

Britain’s fire-safety crisis expanded substantially Saturday as London officials scrambled to evacuate four massive public housing towers due to concerns about flammable external cladding, problematic fire doors and insulation around gas pipes.
Hundreds of residents hastily packed their bags and sought emergency shelter, with many angry and confused about the chaotic situation. Some refused to leave their high-rise apartments. Scores of evacuees slept on inflatable beds in a nearby gym while officials sought better accommodations for them.
Camden Council said it decided to evacuate buildings on the Chalcots Estate late Friday after fire inspectors reported that the blocks were “not safe for people to sleep in overnight.” Council leader Georgia Gould said fire inspectors uncovered problems with “gas insulation and door stops,” which, combined with the presence of flammable cladding encasing the high-rises, meant residents had to leave immediately.
The evacuation comes amid widening worries about the safety of high-rise apartment blocks across the entire country following the inferno that engulfed Grenfell Tower in west London on June 14, killing at least 79 people. Public attention has focused on the external cladding material blamed for the rapid spread of that blaze — but multiple other fire risks have now been identified in some housing blocks.
Britain said Saturday that cladding samples from 27 high-rise apartment blocks — from cities including London, Manchester, Plymouth and Portsmouth — have failed fire safety tests.
So far, Camden Council has been the only local authority to have asked residents to leave as a precaution. It said about 650 apartments were evacuated, though initial reports had said it affected as many as 800 apartments.
The council said residents would be out of their homes for three to four weeks while it completes fire-safety upgrades.
“I know some residents are angry and upset, but I want to be very clear that Camden Council acted to protect them,” Gould said in a statement. “Grenfell changed everything, and when told our blocks were unsafe to remain in, we acted.”
Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, who has been criticized for her slow response to the Grenfell tragedy, said Saturday that the government was supporting Camden officials to ensure residents have somewhere to stay while building work is done.
In response, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said May needed to “get a grip” and lead a stronger response to what is now a “national threat.”
Residents — including families with babies and elderly relatives — trooped out of the buildings late Friday night with suitcases and plastic bags stuffed with clothes. Council workers guided dozens to a nearby gym, where they spent the night on inflatable mattresses. Others were being put up in hotels and other housing projects.
Many residents complained of a lack of information and confusion. Officials first announced the evacuation of one building, then expanded it to five, then later reduced it to four. Some residents said they learned about the evacuation on television news hours before officials came knocking on doors.
Renee Williams, 90, who has lived in Taplow Tower since 1968, told Britain’s Press Association: “No official came and told us what’s going on. I saw it on the TV, so I packed an overnight bag.
“It’s unbelievable. I understand that it’s for our safety but they can’t just ask us to evacuate with such short notice. There’s no organization and it’s chaos,” she said.
Carl McDowell, 31, said he took one look at the inflatable beds on the gym floor and went back to his Taplow apartment to sleep there overnight. Other residents were distraught that they were ordered to evacuate but were told to leave their pets behind in the now-dangerous buildings.
Fire-safety experts say the Grenfell Tower blaze, which police said was touched off by a fire at a refrigerator, was probably due to a string of failures, not just the cladding, which is widely used to provide insulation and enhance the appearance of buildings.
Police said Friday they are considering filing manslaughter charges in the Grenfell disaster and they were conducting a wide-ranging investigation that will look at everything that contributed to it.
The Metropolitan Police said cladding attached to the 24-story Grenfell public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators.
“We are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards,” Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack told reporters. “We are looking at all health and safety and fire safety offenses, and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.”
The government has ordered an immediate examination of the refrigerator model that started the blaze. McCormack said the Hotpoint model FF175BP refrigerator-freezer had not been subject to any product recalls before the fire.
Hotpoint said it was working with authorities to examine the appliance, adding “words cannot express our sorrow at this terrible tragedy.”
The government has called on all building owners, public and private, to submit samples of their cladding material for testing.
Fears about cladding are not limited to apartment buildings. One hotel chain, Premier Inn, is calling in experts to make certain its properties meet safety regulations.
Police say 79 people are either confirmed or presumed dead in the Grenfell blaze, although that number may change. To encourage cooperation with authorities, May said the government won’t penalize any fire survivors who were in the country illegally.
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Parliament targeted in cyberattack, peer says

Parliament has been hit by a cyberattack, according to Liberal Democrat peer Baron Rennard.
He told Sky News that parliamentarians got a message from Parliament's digital authorities yesterday saying it would be impossible for them to access emails remotely as they were experiencing a cyberattack.
Attackers were trying to access "soft passwords", he said.
Senior MPs have said they still cannot access their emails today.
A House of Commons spokeswoman said: "The Houses of Parliament have discovered unauthorised attempts to access parliamentary user accounts.
"We are continuing to investigate this incident and take further measures to secure the computer network, liaising with the National Cyber Security Centre.
"We have systems in place to protect member and staff accounts and are taking the necessary steps to protect our systems."
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Thieves steal 11 cars in one go from Stockholm dealership

In a well-planned heist in the early hours of Midsummer's Day, a gang of thieves stole a total of eleven cars from a car dealership in a Stockholm suburb.
The police were sent to a car trader in the north-west Stockholm suburb of Barkarby after a witness saw several cars being driven through the fence of the dealership in the early hours of Saturday morning, Aftonbladet reports.
One the police arrived on the scene, they found that eleven cars, including BMWs, Audis and Mercedes, had been stolen.
"It takes a certain degree of organisation and planning with eleven drivers. No-one has been arrested," police spokesperson Sven-Erik Olsson told Aftonbladet.
The eye witness captured the last of the cars on film as they were driven away from the scene.
"I was on my way home from a midsummer party when a car mowed down a fence by the Barkarby pizza restaurant. They waited for each other and then drove off at high speed," the witness told Aftonbladet.
The owner of the dealership told Aftonbladet he believed the thieves must have taken a key cabinet from inside the premises.
"They probably took the key cabinet with them. I still have nine cars left in the yard, which they probably have the keys for. This feels dreadful," the owner said.
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Istanbul bans gay and transgender pride march for second year

Istanbul's governor has banned a gay and transgender pride march which was due to take place in the city on Sunday, citing security concerns after threats from an ultra-nationalist group.
It will be the second year running that Istanbul's LGBT march, described in the past as the biggest in the Muslim world, has been blocked by city authorities.
The ultra-nationalist Alperen Hearths group threatened last week to prevent the march if authorities did not act, and the governor's office said on Saturday that it took its decision out of concern for the security of marchers, tourists and residents.
March organisers said the ban was effectively legitimising what they called the hate crimes of groups like Alperen Hearths, and urged the governor to reverse the decision.
The governor's emphasis on public order and safety was an effort to distort the image of a planned peaceful march, they said in an online statement headlined: "We are Marching, Get Used to It. We are Here, Not Going Away".
The gay pride parade in Istanbul -- a city seen as a relative safe haven by members of the gay community from elsewhere in the Middle East, including refugees from Syria and Iraq -- has usually been a peaceful event.
While homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey unlike many other Muslim countries, homophobia remains widespread. Critics say President Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party have shown little interest in expanding rights for minorities, gays and women, and are intolerant of dissent.But two years ago police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse participants, after organisers said they had been refused permission because it coincided with the holy month of Ramadan.
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