Australia says it would come to US aid if North Korea attacks

Associated Press
Thu, 2017-08-10 03:00

WASHINGTON: Australia’s prime minister says his country would come to the aid of the United States if North Korea attacks Guam.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Melbourne Radio 3AW: “We would come to the aid of the United States. How that manifests itself will obviously depend on the circumstances and consultations with our allies.”
Turnbull added: “If North Korea decides to carry out some of its violent threats, then obviously terrible consequences will follow.”
The prime minister says he discussed the threat with US Vice President Mike Pence overnight.
Turnbull says: “The United States knows as we know and as Donald Trump reaffirmed … that America stands by its allies including Australia of course and we stand with the United States.”
He added: “It is absolutely rock solid and everyone understands that. In terms of defense, we are joined at the hip.”
The United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “troubled” by the escalating rhetoric from all sides in the North Korea nuclear dispute.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric says Guterres “welcomes all initiatives that will help de-escalate the tensions and a return to diplomacy.”
Asked Thursday whether the secretary-general could be a mediator, Dujarric says, “He is always willing to do so.”
The UN in the past has had an envoy for North Korea, but Dujarric says “every situation is different and it’s important not to make empty gestures.”
Dujarric says Guterres welcomed the UN Security Council’s adoption last Saturday of a resolution imposing new sanctions on North Korea, including banning any coal, iron lead and seafood exports, and is urging all UN member states to implement it.

Main category: 
Trump threatens North Korea with ‘trouble,’ escalating tensions
Trump administration delivers mixed messages on North Korea
North Korea details plan to fire missile salvo toward Guam

Strong 6.2 quake rocks Philippines

Fri, 2017-08-11 09:04

MANILA: A strong 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked the region south of the Philippine capital on Friday, causing buildings in Manila to sway, seismologists said.
The authorities said they were checking whether the quake had caused any damage.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology told AFP the quake struck just off the coast of Lian, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Manila at 1:28 p.m. (0528 GMT), at a relatively deep 173 kilometers.
The Philippine seismologists measured it at 6.1 magnitude while the US Geological Survey put it at 6.2.

Main category: 
Quake in China’s Sichuan kills 13, including tourists, injures 175

Daesh threat remains despite military blows: UN report

Fri, 2017-08-11 08:31

The Daesh group continues to “motivate and enable” global attacks and funnel funds to supporters despite military blows to its so-called Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, according to a UN report Thursday.
The 24-page text, prepared by a panel of experts for the Security Council, noted that remittances sent abroad — often in small sums, making them difficult to detect — comes as Daesh steps up its international efforts “as demonstrated by the higher pace of attacks in Europe.”
Funding sources are still based on oil profits and the imposition of taxes on local populations in the areas under its control.
Beyond Europe, Daesh is seeking to expand its footprint in Southeast Asia, the report said, citing the southern Philippines where a bloody urban siege has killed almost 700 people in more than two months fighting.
It noted that the number “of foreign terrorist fighters” traveling to Iraq and Syria “has continued to fall. In addition, the financial situation of the (Daesh) core continues to deteriorate,” mainly due to military pressure against the group.
Special care however should be given to radicalized minors returning home after undergoing advanced Daesh training. This group requires “specific attention and strategies that take into account the legal protections afforded to minors.”
The report added that stiff resistance in Mosul — Iraq’s second largest city which was declared “liberated” by the government in July — shows that the IDaeshS command and control structure “has not broken down completely,” and remains “a significant military threat.”
In addition, Daesh has learned to modify commercially available drones and even build its own drones for reconnaissance and bombing missions.
Fellow jihadist group Al-Qaeda meanwhile maintains powerful networks in West Africa, East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, particularly Yemen, with localized alliances allowing the movement of fighters between the two rival outfits.
The expert panel called on the Security Council to remind member states that paying ransom for hostages was illegal in view on UN sanctions on both groups.

Main category: 
Lebanese army hits Daesh targets
Daesh still a threat as Mosul residents return to city in ruins

Trump threatens North Korea with ‘trouble,’ escalating tensions

Thu, 2017-08-10 10:00

BEDMINSTER, USA: Not backing down, President Donald Trump warned Kim Jong Un’s government on Thursday to “get their act together” or face extraordinary trouble, and suggested his earlier threat to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea was too mild.
“Maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough,” Trump said, in the latest US salvo in an escalating exchange of threats between the nuclear-armed nations.
A day after North Korea laid out plans to strike near Guam with unsettlingly specificity, there was no observable march toward combat, despite the angry rhetoric from both sides. US officials said there was no major movement of US military assets to the region, nor were there signs Pyongyang was actively preparing for war.
Trump declined to say whether the US is considering a pre-emptive military strike as he spoke to reporters before a briefing with his top national security advisers at his New Jersey golf resort.
The president insisted the North had been “getting away with a tragedy that can’t be allowed.”
“North Korea better get their act together, or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble,” Trump said, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence. Accusing his predecessors of insufficient action, Trump said it was time somebody stood up to the pariah nation.
Though tensions have been building for months amid new missile tests by the North, the pace has intensified since the UN Security Council on Saturday passed sweeping new sanctions Trump had requested. The sanctions prompted the new heated volley of rhetoric.
In the latest move by North Korea, its military announced a detailed plan to fire four Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan and into waters around the tiny US territory of Guam, home to two US bases and 160,000 people.
North Korea said its military would finalize the plan by mid-August, then wait for Kim’s order. US allies Japan and South Korea quickly vowed a strong reaction if the North were to follow through.
Trump echoed that threat Thursday, insisting if North Korea took any steps to attack Guam, its leaders would have reason to be nervous.
“Things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK?” Trump said. He did not specify what they might be.
Military analysts said it was unusual for Pyongyang to give such a precise target for a military action. Still, there were no signs that North Korea was seriously mobilizing its population for war, such as by pulling workers from factories or putting the army on formal alert.
“There’s a lot of theater to this whole thing,” said Bob Carlin, former Northeast Asia chief for the State Department’s intelligence arm.
Similarly, the US military gave no indications it perceived a seriously escalating threat from Pyongyang, such as moving to evacuate American personnel or their families from Guam, where there are 7,000 US troops, or South Korea, where there are 28,000.
And US officials insisted no significant number of troops, ships, aircraft or other assets were being directed to the region, beyond any that had been previously scheduled. The officials weren’t authorized to discuss military planning publicly and requested anonymity.
Trump said he would soon announce a request for a budget increase of “billions of dollars” for anti-missile systems.
But as it is, the US has a robust military presence in the region, including six B-1 bombers in Guam and Air Force fighter jet units in South Korea, plus other assets across the Pacific Ocean and in the skies above. Washington’s vast military options range from nothing to a full-on conventional assault by air, sea and ground forces. Any order by the president could be executed quickly.
Current and former US officials said if war did come, the US and its allies would likely hit hard and fast, using air strikes, drone operations and cyberattacks aimed at military bases, air bases, missile sites, artillery, communications, command and control headquarters and intelligence gathering and surveillance capabilities.
Key threats would be North Korea’s small but capable navy, including its submarines that can move quietly and attack. And Pyongyang also has significant cyber abilities, although not as sophisticated as America’s. The North has also been preparing for ground war for decades, and would be a formidable force on the border.
“Do I have military options? Of course I do. That’s my responsibility,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday. But he said the Trump administration wants “to use diplomacy.”
To that end, Trump said he “of course” would always consider negotiations with North Korea, but added that talks have failed for the last 25 years. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in Asia this week, said North Korea could signal it was ready for such talks by halting any missile tests for an extended period.
North Korea’s specific threat affecting Guam said it would involve the Hwasong-12, an intermediate-range ballistic missile first revealed at a military parade in April and believed to have a radius of more than 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles). The North said four of the missiles would hit waters 30 to 40 kilometers (18 to 24 miles) from Guam.
“We keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the US,” read a military statement carried by official state-run media.
Guam lies about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers) from the Korean Peninsula, and it’s extremely unlikely Kim’s government would risk annihilation with a pre-emptive attack on US citizens. It’s also unclear how reliable North Korea’s missiles would be against such a distant target, given that its military has struggled to target effectively in the past.

Main category: 

China lung cancer on rise, smog suspected — China Daily

Fri, 2017-08-11 10:41

SHANGHAI, China: Health officials have seen a sharp rise in the incidence of lung cancer in the past 10-15 years, with long-term exposure to air pollution a possible culprit, the official China Daily reported on Friday.
Experts with the China Academy of Medical Sciences said lung cancer was rising rapidly in groups not normally susceptible to the disease, including women and non-smokers, suggesting that smoking was not responsible for the increase, China Daily said.
An estimated 300 million Chinese people are smokers, but the paper said there had been a rapid increase in a form of lung cancer that develops deep in the lung and is not associated with tobacco use.
China has been waging a battle against hazardous air pollution, with concentrations of small, breathable particles known as PM2.5 frequently exceeding 300 micrograms per cubic meter in industrialized northern regions.
Last year’s national average stood at 47 micrograms, with only a quarter of cities meeting the country’s official air quality guideline of 35 micrograms. The World Health Organization recommends levels of no more than 10 micrograms.
A study published earlier this year by the British Medical Journal said China could prevent three million premature deaths a year if it raised air quality to meet WHO guidelines.
The Chinese government acknowledged in a three-year campaign to tackle cancer launched in 2015 that environmental pollution had contributed to a surge of cancer cases in the country.
According to the latest figures, there were nearly 4.3 million new cancer patients in China in 2015, including 730,000 cases of lung cancer, accounting for 36 percent of the world’s total. Cancer is responsible for around a quarter of Chinese deaths, and has become a massive burden on the country’s medical system.
Several local studies have also established links between cancer and air pollution. Research published last year by the Hebei Medical University showed that lung cancer mortality rates in the province — known as China’s most polluted — nearly trebled from 1973-75 to 2010-2011.
Water pollution and the excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has also been blamed for an increase in rural cancer rates. (Reporting by David Stanway)

Main category: 

2016 weather report: Extreme and anything but normal

Fri, 2017-08-11 07:00

WASHINGTON: Last year’s global weather was far more extreme or record breaking than anything approaching normal, according to a new report.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday released its annual checkup of the Earth, highlighting numerous records including hottest year, highest sea level, and lowest sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica.
The 299-page report, written by scientists around the world and published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, shows that 2016 was “very extreme and it is a cause for concern,” said co-editor Jessica Blunden, a NOAA climate scientist.
Researchers called it a clear signal of human-caused climate change. A record large El Nino, the warming of the central Pacific that changes weather worldwide, was also a big factor in last year’s wild weather.
“2016 will be forever etched in my brain as the year we crossed a new threshold of climate change — one that gave us a grim glimpse into our future,” said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb, who had no role in the report.
Scientists examined dozens of key climate measures and found:
— At any given time, nearly one-eighth of the world’s land mass was in severe drought. That’s far higher than normal and “one of the worst years for drought,” said report co-author Robert Dunn of the United Kingdom Met Office.
— Extreme weather was everywhere. Giant downpours were up. Heat waves struck all over the globe, including a nasty one in India. Extreme weather contributed to a gigantic wildfire in Canada.
— Global sea level rose another quarter of an inch (3.4 millimeters) for the sixth straight year of record high sea levels.
— There were 93 tropical cyclones across the globe, 13 percent more than normal. That included Hurricane Matthew that killed about 1,000 people in Haiti.
— The world’s glaciers shrank — for the 37th year in a row — by an average of about 3 feet (1 meter).
— Greenland’s ice sheet in 2016 lost 341 billion tons of ice (310 billion metric tons). It has lost 4400 billion tons (4000 billion metric tons of ice since 2002.
“2016 was a year in the Arctic like we’ve never seen before,” said NOAA Arctic research chief Jeremy Mathis, who called “a clear and more pronounced signal of warming than in any other year on record.”
Many of the findings have been previously released, including that 2016 was the hottest year on record for the third consecutive year. A separate study based on modeling and weather patterns shows three hot years in a row is close to impossible to be a natural coincidence.
The odds of three years in a row setting heat records without man-made global warming is only 0.7 percent, compared to 30 to 50 percent with greenhouse gases according to a separate study published Thursday in the Geophysical Research Letters.
NOAA report co-editor Deke Arndt said the only notable normal global measure in 2016 was snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere.

Main category: 

Deliver or step aside, Trump tells Senate Republican leader

Thu, 2017-08-10 07:30

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump escalated a stunning feud against his top Senate partner Thursday, suggesting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might have to think about stepping aside if he doesn’t deliver on the president’s agenda of health care, taxes and infrastructure.
Trump called McConnell’s failure to pass an “Obamacare” repeal last month “a disgrace.” Asked if McConnell should consider stepping aside or retiring, an outcome some conservatives are openly clamoring for, the president’s response was far from a vote of confidence.
“Well I tell you what, if he doesn’t get repeal and replace done and if he doesn’t get taxes done, meaning cuts and reform, and if he doesn’t get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure, if he doesn’t get them done, then you can ask me that question,” the president told reporters in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is in the midst of a 17-day golf vacation.
There was no immediate response from McConnell’s office.
A sitting president openly turning on a Senate majority leader of his own party in such a fashion is practically unheard of — yet another norm destroyed since Trump’s rise on the political scene. And while the fighting words might elate Trump’s core supporters, they can only hurt broader Republican efforts to move major legislation this fall on taxes and spending while preparing for congressional elections next year where energized Democrats are rallying to retake the House. Republicans control both chambers, but the Trump factor in many races remains a mystery.
Trump’s comments came after he spent two days slamming McConnell over Twitter, writing Thursday morning that after “screaming” about repealing and replacing “Obamacare” for seven years, McConnell “couldn’t get it done.” Several hours later, the president’s tone took a motivational turn as he exhorted, “Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!“
The presidential megaphone amplified the McConnell-bashing that’s been snaking through conservative media: Breitbart News, Fox News’ Sean Hannity and radio host Rush Limbaugh are among those who have vilified the leader after the Senate’s failure on health care late last month. They represent a segment of the Republican electorate, including some major donors, who are out to punish what they see as a “do-nothing Congress” that has hampered the president’s goals.
McConnell is “a coward who leads from behind,” “spineless,” and a lifelong “political animal” of the sort Trump wants to eject from Washington, said Doug Deason, a major donor based in Texas who said he decided months ago not to give money to any Republicans up for re-election next year, unless they can pass Trump’s priorities.
Trump and his supporters love such political brawls, and the McConnell flare-up potentially shores up the president’s base at a time when it is showing signs of weakening support. But McConnell’s supporters saw Trump’s moves as counterproductive.
“Virtually any substantial goals that the president intends to achieve, whether it is tax reform or more infrastructure, requires the active assistance of the Senate majority leader,” said Michael Steel, who was spokesman to former House Speaker John Boehner.
Even Newt Gingrich, a Trump backer and informal adviser who formerly served as speaker of the House, criticized the dispute.
“You saw Mitch McConnell say something, you saw Trump say something, when it’s obviously better for them to learn not to do that,” Gingrich said. “They have to work together. Governing is a team sport.”
After the failure on health care, McConnell and other Republican leaders, including top White House economic officials, are determined to pivot to overhauling the tax code with the hope of passing cuts by the end of the year. There are numerous daunting challenges to that, but McConnell has made clear he has little interest in revisiting a health care fight he is numerically doomed to lose.
“The leader has spoken repeatedly about the path forward regarding Obamacare repeal and replace on the Senate floor, at media availabilities and in Kentucky,” spokesman David Popp said Thursday before Trump’s comments suggesting McConnell’s eventual exit might become necessary.
Trump, 71, and McConnell, 75, have never been easy allies, even though the senator’s wife, Elaine Chao, is the president’s transportation secretary. McConnell only met Trump for the first time in 2013, when he made a pilgrimage to Trump Tower in New York to ask the businessman for campaign money.
But McConnell quickly boarded the Trump train once the mogul secured the GOP nomination, and unlike House Speaker Paul Ryan and others, he never wavered. He’s paid numerous visits to the White House this year and traveled with Trump in March to Louisville. That Trump rally predated all of Congress’ attempts to redo health care, and the president urged the crowd to “be nice” to McConnell.
Fast forward to August, with the Senate on recess after the collapse of the GOP health care bill.
McConnell touched a nerve by telling an audience in his home state that Trump had “not been in this line of work before” and had “excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process.”
Brent Bozell, a longtime McConnell detractor and president of the conservative social media group For America, said the Senate leader had made a ridiculous argument that will haunt him.
“By calling President Trump a political neophyte, McConnell is saying that Trump doesn’t understand that Congress doesn’t keep its promises,” Bozell said. “This is exactly why Trump won — to shake up Washington, and that includes Republicans.”
And yet, in opening a door he might want to try to shove McConnell out of, Trump once against demonstrated his naivete in Washington’s ways. A Senate majority leader is elected by members of his own conference, and McConnell has plenty of support within his, regardless of anything Trump may say about it.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a senior lawmaker and vocal Trump backer, said over Twitter that McConnell “has been the best leader we’ve had in my time in the Senate, through very tough challenges. I fully support him.”
AP reporter Jonathan Lemire in Bedminster, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

Main category: 

China should stay neutral if North Korea attacks first, says state-run paper

Fri, 2017-08-11 06:50

BEIJING: If North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States then China should stay neutral, but if the United States attacks first and tries to overthrow North Korea’s government China will stop then, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday.
President Donald Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric toward North Korea and its leader on Thursday, warning Pyongyang against attacking Guam or US allies after it disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the US Pacific territory.
China, North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis. It has expressed frustration with both Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear and missile tests and with behavior from South Korea and the United States that it sees as escalating tensions.
The widely-read state-run Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, wrote in an editorial that Beijing is not able to persuade either Washington or Pyongyang to back down.
“It needs to make clear its stance to all sides and make them understand that when their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand,” said the paper, which does not represent government policy.
“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral,” it added.
“If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”
China has long worried that any conflict on the Korean peninsula, or a repeat of the 1950-53 Korean war, could unleash a wave of destabilizing refugees into its northeast, and could end up with a reunified county allied with the United States.
North Korea is a useful buffer state for China between it and US forces based in South Korea, and also across the sea in Japan.
The Global Times said China will “firmly resist any side which wants to change the status quo of the areas where China’s interests are concerned.”
“The Korean Peninsula is where the strategic interests of all sides converge, and no side should try to be the absolute dominator of the region.”

Main category: 

Trump thanks Russia’s Putin for slashing US diplomatic staff

Fri, 2017-08-11 06:24

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Thursday thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for ordering the United States to slash its diplomatic staff in Russia, remarks likely to rekindle criticism of Trump’s kid-gloves handling of Putin.
Breaking nearly two weeks of silence on Putin’s July 30 order cutting US embassy and consulate staff by nearly two thirds, Trump said: “I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll.”
Trump said “there’s no real reason for them to go back” and “we’re going to save a lot of money,” in response to Putin’s Cold War-style move, differing from the reactions of other presidents in similar circumstances in the past.
It also clashes with a State Department official having called Moscow’s order “a regrettable and uncalled-for act.”
On Thursday, the State Department had no immediate reaction to the comments Trump made to reporters while on vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Congressional committees and a special counsel are investigating the conclusions of US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election campaign by hacking and other methods to help Trump, a Republican. They are also looking into possible collusion between the campaign and Russian officials. Moscow has repeatedly denied meddling in the election and Trump denies any campaign collusion.
Putin, reacting to new sanctions imposed by the US Congress and reluctantly signed into law by Trump, ordered Washington to cut 755 of its 1,200 embassy and consulate staff by September. Many of those affected likely will be local Russian staffers.
It was also a tit-for-tat reaction to former President Barack Obama expelling 35 Russian diplomats from the United States last December over the intelligence agency reports.
During his campaign and since becoming president, Trump has consistently called for better ties with Russia, declined to criticize Putin and refused to unequivocally embrace the conclusions of the intelligence agencies.
Intended to be flippant or not, Trump’s remarks on Thursday were immediately denounced by current and former US officials who have served both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Nicholas Burns, the State Department’s third-ranking official under Republican President George W. Bush, called Trump’s comments “grotesque.”
“If he was joking, he should know better,” said Burns, now a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “If he wasn’t, it’s unprecedented. A president has never defended the expulsion of our diplomats.”
The State Department has “horrified and rattled” by Trump’s remarks, said a veteran US diplomat who has served in Russia, speaking on condition of anonymity.
And Heather Conley, formerly a top State Department official dealing with European affairs, said the expulsions of hundreds of people from an important US embassy is extraordinary and “it is very difficult to see how the president could view these expulsions as a ‘positive’ development in any form.”
In additional remarks on Thursday, Trump said he was surprised by the FBI raid last month on the home of his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, adding that it sent a “strong signal.”
Trump said he has not given any thought to the possibility of firing special counsel Robert Mueller. In May, Trump dismissed James Comey, who was Director of the FBI when Trump went into office seven months ago.
As presidential candidate, Trump invited Russia to dig up thousands of “missing” e-mails from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, vexing intelligence experts and prompting Democrats to accuse him of urging a foreign country to spy on Americans.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing,” Trump said on the campaign.
Clinton kept a private server from 2009 to 2013. She handed over thousands of e-mails in 2015 to investigators, but did not release about 30,000 she said were personal and not work-related.

Main category: 

Human trafficking worse than thought in UK, says new report

Greg Wilcox
Fri, 2017-08-11 03:00

LONDON: Modern slavery and human trafficking is a much bigger problem in Britain than previously thought, the National Crime Agency warned.
The revelation comes amid a public outcry over another major sex abuse ring in the country.
The conviction of a gang of 18 men in the northern city of Newcastle for sexually abusing vulnerable teenage girls has focused attention on the communities where such attacks have taken place.
The gang, consisting mostly of South Asian men, raped or assaulted the victims — 13 white girls and women, aged from 15 to their early 20s — after drugging them or threatening them with violence at especially-convened parties — often referred to as “sessions” — where they were supplied with drugs and alcohol. Some girls were abused while asleep.
The offenders were found guilty following four trials, the last of which concluded on Tuesday.
It was the latest shocking grooming case to hit the country following similar high-profile scandal in the northern town of Rotherham that took place between 1997 and 2013.
Labour MP Sarah Champion said people had become more afraid to be called a racist than being wrong about child sexual abuse
Champion, the Labour MP for Rotherham, who is the shadow minister for women and equalities, called for a government commission into the crimes.
But some experts also warned that the shocking scandal could lead to a rise in hate crime against Muslim and south Asian communities.
Speaking to Arab News, Fiyaz Mughal OBE, founder of Tell MAMA, a body that records anti-Muslim hate crime said that one of the direct consequences of such a horrific story is a spike in anti-Muslim attacks.
“We know from Rotherham and the grooming scandals that affected so many young girls, that the wider impacts of such activities are long term,” Mughal told Arab News.
“The serious psychological and physical damage they cause to the girls who are abused, the impacts on the families of the girls and abuse against innocent people of Pakistani heritage who are then targeted for hatred and on occasion, violence, shows that the impacts are wide and deep.
“Grooming affects whole communities and fractures race and cultural relations across our country and has also been a driver for extreme groups who use such poisonous events to radicalize young minds against others.”
That view was echoed by Neil Chakraborti, professor of Criminology and director of the Center for Hate Studies at the University of Leicester. Chakraborti said that tension and emotion were understandable following such a scandal but that communities had to fight against the backlash and come together.
“We know from previous that there is a rise in hate crime,” he told Arab News.
“Many feel a backlash from awful incidents like this and that was the case with similar shocking grooming cases and scandals.
“I understand emotions are high and tempers fray, it was similar after the Manchester bombing.
“But while that was clearly a different set of circumstances to the grooming scandal, we can learn from its aftermath, when the community came together and had a dialogue and honest debate about the failings. People and communities need to talk to one another and focused on community cohesion.”
Sexual exploitation is the most common form of modern slavery reported in the UK according to the NCA.
The NCA’s vulnerabilities Director Will Kerr said that trafficking into modern slavery was now so widespread that ordinary people would be coming into contact with victims every day without knowing it.

Main category: 
Slavery victims in UK ‘worse off’ after Brexit, says lawmaker
Banks can help fight against trafficking and slavery