The mayor of Prague has confirmed he is under police protection, days after a news report suggested he was the target of an assassination plot.
Czech newspaper Respekt alleges a Russian agent carrying the poison ricin arrived in the country three weeks ago.
Mayor Zdenek Hrib refused to say why he was under protection but said he had told police he was being followed.
The Russian embassy said the report had “absolutely no basis” and that it “categorically rejects” the allegation. And Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, dismissed the news report as fake.
Czech law enforcement and politicians have not confirmed there was a plot. The article cites unnamed intelligence sources and has not been verified.
At least 40 people have been killed in a bomb attack in the north-western Syrian city of Afrin, Turkey says.
The governor of the neighbouring Turkish border province of Hatay said a fuel tanker rigged with a hand grenade exploded at a crowded market place. He and Turkey’s defence ministry blamed a Kurdish militia group, the YPG, which they see as linked to Kurdish militant groups inside Turkey.
Afrin is controlled by Turkish forces and allied Syrian opposition factions.
In 2018, they launched a joint operation to drive the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia out of the city and its surrounding region.
The Turkish government accuses the YPG of being an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU.
A man who planted a fake bomb outside the town hall in Blackburn, Lancashire, has been jailed for three years.
Craig Slee, 50, of Logwood Street, Blackburn, left an open laptop with a mobile phone taped to its screen and a record box with “ISIS” written on its front outside the building in May 2019.
A detonation team were called and the area was evacuated for three hours.
On Friday at Preston Crown Court he was convicted of placing an article with intent. He was given a restraining order banning him from entering a designated area of Blackburn town centre for five years.
Lancashire Police said members of the public who found the items left by Slee on King William Street had raised the alarm. Police said the the devices were seized but were found to be not “viable”. Det Con Fiona Hall, of Lancashire Police, said: “This incident had a significant impact and I welcome the sentence which reflects the gravity of the offending. “His actions and complete lack of regard for other people caused widespread and unnecessary worry over an already sensitive and concerning subject.”
UK spies will need to use artificial intelligence (AI) to counter a range of threats, an intelligence report says.
Adversaries are likely to use the technology for attacks in cyberspace and on the political system, and AI will be needed to detect and stop them. But AI is unlikely to predict who might be about to be involved in serious crimes, such as terrorism – and will not replace human judgement, it says.
The report is based on unprecedented access to British intelligence.
The Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) think tank also argues that the use of AI could give rise to new privacy and human-rights considerations, which will require new guidance.
The UK’s adversaries “will undoubtedly seek to use AI to attack the UK”, Rusi says in the report – and this may include not just states, but also criminals.
Knife crime in England and Wales increased last year to a new record high, figures released by the Office for National Statistics have shown.
The ONS said police recorded 45,627 offences in the year to December 2019. That is 7% more than in 2018, and the highest since knife crime statistics were first collected in 2010-11.
The figures – which do not include Greater Manchester Police because of IT issues – showed a 13% rise in the West Midlands.
Downing Street acknowledged there was “more to be done to crack down on thugs carrying knives and ensuring they are properly punished”.
And Diana Fawcett, chief executive of the charity Victim Support, stressed that while the UK’s streets were currently “quieter” due to coronavirus, victims of historic knife crime were still coming to terms with their experience. “Many victims will still be dealing with the emotional consequences of threats or attacks which took place long ago,” she said.