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Seize passports off jihadists plan branded 'vague'

Westminster: Coalition plans to counter the threat from British jihadists have been criticised as "vague" and potentially unenforceable.

David Cameron told MPs police will be given powers to seize passports from UK nationals suspected of going to fight for Islamic State (IS) in Iraq or Syria.

The Prime Minister said officials were also "working up" proposals to bar British extremists from returning to this country, and signalled he wanted to beef up terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims).

Downing Street later admitted there was as yet no timetable for introducing legislation, and they were not certain excluding Britons from the country would be possible.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats insisted they had not "definitively" signed up to bolstering Tpims by allowing suspects to be relocated.

Senior coalition figures have been engaged in detailed negotiations about the package of measures after the UK's terrorist threat level was raised from substantial to severe.

Mr Cameron told the Commons that thousands of European citizens had gone to fight for IS and there were growing fears about the potential for them to return and wreak havoc.

"Passports are not an automatic right. The Home Secretary already has the discretion to issue, revoke and refuse passports under the royal prerogative if there is reason to believe people are planning to take part in terrorist-related activity.

"But when police suspect a traveller at the border, they are not currently able to apply for the royal prerogative and so only have limited stop-and-search powers.

"We will introduce specific and targeted legislation to fill this gap by providing the police with a temporary power to seize a passport at the border, during which time they will be able to investigate the individual concerned."

The premier said it was "abhorrent" that British citizens who pledged allegiance elsewhere were able to return to the UK and pose a threat to national security.

Airlines will also be hit by tougher rules, including providing information on passenger lists, or their flights will be blocked from landing in the UK.

Labour branded the suggestion of barring suspected jihadists from coming back to this country "vague" and "unclear".

UK’s first Ebola victim ‘on mend’

London: The first Briton to catch the deadly Ebola virus seems to be “pretty well”, his family have said.

William Pooley's parents said he was showing “good signs”, including ordering a bacon sandwich for breakfast.

The 29-year-old's parents Robin and Jackie said that their son is better than they thought he would be.

The volunteer nurse was flown back to the UK for treatment after contracting the virus in Sierra Leone.

Robin Pooley told the BBC: “He's a lot better than we thought he might have been, we've only got what the medics tell us, but he's got a little step in there which the physio gave him so he can rebuild his strength; that in itself is a good enough sign I think, but he seems to be pretty well actually.

“And his appetite is back, it came back with a bacon butty one morning for breakfast.”

Mr Pooley is being carefully monitored at the Royal Free Hospital in north London.

Mrs Pooley said: “We're very glad he's here because the care is second to none.”

Mr Pooley, who comes from Suffolk, was airlifted back to Britain by a specially equipped C17 RAF jet, and is being treated in a specialist isolation ward.

We’ll make Iraq a grave for militants, vows Maliki

Iraq: Outgoing prime minster Nouri Malikio has pledged to turn his country into “a big grave” for Sunni militants from the Islamic State (IS) group and commended security forces who achieved a rare victory over insurgents by ending the siege of a Shiite town.

Mr Maliki made the comments during an unannounced visit to the northern community of Amirli, where he was greeted with hugs.

A day earlier, Iraqi forces backed by Iran-allied Shiite militias and US airstrikes broke a two-month siege of the town where 5,000 Shiite Turkmens had been stranded.

 Mr Maliki was shown ordering promotions and awards for those who fought in the battle.

Couple duped in baby scam

London: A couple have been given permission to keep a two-year-old girl they brought into England from Nigeria after a High Court judge concluded they had been deceived into thinking that they were her parents.

Earlier this year Mrs Justice Hogg concluded that the couple, who come from Nigeria and settled in the UK eight years ago, had been “duped by fraudsters”.

In 2012, another family court judge, Mr Justice Coleridge, said there was evidence that childless women were going to Nigeria seeking fertility treatment then being sold unwanted babies after fraudsters tricked them into thinking they had become pregnant and given birth.

Mrs Justice Hogg said in the latest case the woman had thought she had become pregnant and given birth after undergoing “herbal treatment” at a “treatment centre” in Lagos which cost around £4,500.

But in England tests had revealed that the little girl's DNA did not match either parent.

The case was heard in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Japan urges rearguard action over toilet rolls

Japan: A public information campaign was launched yesterday to persuade people to stockpile toilet paper in case of emergency.

The government and paper companies kicked off ‘Let's stockpile toilet paper!’ to mark Disaster Prevention Day, warning of a possible crisis because nearly half of the supply comes from one of Japan's most earthquake-prone areas. Officials said there will be a shortage for a month if the area is hit by an imminent mega-quake, a lesson learned from the March 2011 disasters.

Japan urges rearguard action over toilet rolls

Japan: A public information campaign was launched yesterday to persuade people to stockpile toilet paper in case of emergency.

The government and paper companies kicked off ‘Let's stockpile toilet paper!’ to mark Disaster Prevention Day, warning of a possible crisis because nearly half of the supply comes from one of Japan's most earthquake-prone areas. Officials said there will be a shortage for a month if the area is hit by an imminent mega-quake, a lesson learned from the March 2011 disasters.

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