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Commons outcry over Saudi executions

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FOREIGN OFFICE Minister Sir Alan Duncan joined the chorus of disapproval following the execution of 37 prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, April 24, Sir Vince Cable asked the Government to make a statement on the executions which took place the previous day. 

Amnesty International has condemned the executions, which included the killing of a man who was under 18 at the time of his arrest, in contravention of international law.

The Middle East research Director of Amnesty International, Lynn Maalouf called it “another gruesome indication of how the death penalty is being used as a political tool to crush dissent from within the country’s Shi’a minority”. 

The humanitarian organisation, which opposes capital punishment, say that the executions followed torture, unjust trials and forced confessions.

The Saudi authorities are thought to have executed 104 people so far in 2019. 

Those executed yesterday were charged with terrorism offences. One man was crucified. Another had his headless body displayed in public.

Responding to the urgent question, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, Sir Alan Duncan said: “We are very concerned by the executions of 37 men in Saudi Arabia and the Foreign Office is working to establish the full facts.

“The UK Government opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country, including Saudi Arabia. We regularly raise human rights concerns, including the use of the death penalty, at the highest levels with the Saudi Arabian authorities.”

In response, Sir Vince Cable said: “We are in urgent need of a reappraisal of our relationship with Saudi Arabia given the fact that the continued mediaeval barbarism of the regime does not constitute the basis for a friendly alliance and indeed makes it an enemy of our values and our human rights.”

The UK Government encourages arms sales to the Saudi kingdom and trains members of the country’s security services in this country. Saudi Arabia is engaged in a war of attrition with neighbouring Yemen, for which it has attracted widespread condemnation for targeting Yemeni civilians.

The MP for Leeds North East, Fabian Hamilton said: “Publicly pinning one of the headless bodies to a pole as a warning is not only disturbingly barbaric and medieval in nature, but an abhorrent violation of human rights. 

“According to the families of those executed, there was no prior notice that the executions would be carried out. That is a blatant flouting of international standards set out by even the most brutal of regimes that still use the death penalty. 

“We know that some, if not all, of those executed, were convicted in Saudi Arabia’s Specialised Criminal Court, which has been widely condemned by human rights groups as secretive, and which has in the past been used to try human rights activists, whom the state often wrongly regards as terrorists.

“We also know that at least three of those executed were juveniles—a clear violation of international law, which the Saudi regime appears to care very little about. 

“Abdulkarim al-Hawaj was charged with participating in demonstrations, incitement via social media and preparing banners with anti-state slogans. Reports from human rights watchdogs in the country claim that he was beaten and the so-called confessions extracted from him through various means of torture. 

“Mujtaba al-Sweikat was a student about to begin his studies at Western Michigan University when he was arrested at King Fahd airport, beaten and so-called confessions extracted through torture.

“Salman Qureish was just 18 when he was executed, but he was convicted of crimes that allegedly took place when he was still a child. The UN has condemned his sentencing and the use of the death penalty against him after he was denied basic legal rights, such as access to a lawyer.”

Carmarthen East & Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards said: “The vast majority of those executed yesterday were Shi’a Muslims. To what degree do the British Government consider that the Saudi regime is using the death penalty as a means of quashing dissent among a persecuted religious minority within its borders?”

Sir Alan Duncan replied: “I do not think that this is the moment for me to give an extended thesis on such matters, but I understand the hon. Gentleman’s suggestion. In many parts of the Middle East, the Sunni-Shi’a conflict is very intensive and creates enormous tension, difficulty and strife.”

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Farm shop helps disabled

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A retail outlet selling a range of products handcrafted by local disabled people has been officially opened.

The farm shop at Scolton Manor near Haverfordwest also provides employment for those with a disability.

It is the result of collaborative working between a number of organisations.

A leading role is played by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Norman Industries – a supported factory in Snowdrop Lane, Haverfordwest, which employs people with a disability.

The opening of the Scolton Manor farm shop has enabled Norman Industries to employ a further six people in the unit, giving them experience in a retail environment and customer service.

A further three disabled people have been taken on in its craft workshop bringing the total number of people on its supported
employment programme to over 50.    

The shop supports a wide range of Pembrokeshire producers – not just Norman Industries – and has opened up a range of work-based alternative day opportunities for people in craft industries.  

Funding has been accessed through a variety of sources including from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) through its Access to Work programme, through Workways+ from European Funds and through the Welsh Government’s Integrated Care Fund.

The official opening was performed by the Vice Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, Michael James.

He told guests: “This enterprise is an important step in improving the wellbeing of Pembrokeshire citizens. Along with the other initiatives run by Norman Industries, it shows how the County Council has improved its support and employment of people with disability over the last two years.”

Councillor James said the work had resulted in Pembrokeshire County Council being recognised as a DWP Disability Confident
Leader – the first local authority in Wales to achieve the distinction.

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Oil refinery exported to Pakistan from Pembroke Port

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THE FINAL parts of a decommissioned oil refinery have been successfully exported to Pakistan from Pembroke Port in a six-week operation.

The former Murco refinery in Pembrokeshire closed in 2014 and during the past three years over 13,000 tonnes of cargo has been transported over the quay in seven exports to southern Asia.

Over the past couple of months, 1,690 tonnes worth of components were exported on the heavy lift vessel Regine and 1,125 tonnes on the Maria. The largest lift weighed 315 tonnes and measured 21.3m x 8.8m x 8.3m.

In addition to these heavy lift vessels, the Terra Marique barge was positioned at Gelliswick Bay to load the parts that were too large to be transported by road and taken to Pembroke Port along the Milford Haven Waterway. This was a specialist operation as sand had to be dug out of the beach, a ramp built and parts were driven onto the barge when the tide allowed.

Operation underway: The Maria at Pembroke Port

Previously in June this year, 2,227 tonnes were exported on the Grietje and last year 4,865 tonnes were exported on the Annemieke, Regine and Frauke. In 2017, 3,240 tonnes of parts were loaded onto the largest vessel to visit to Pembroke Port, the Combi Dock III.

Chris Oliver, Operations Manager at Pembroke Port, commented “The export of the refinery components from Pembroke Port ran smoothly and efficiently. We deal with a wide range of cargoes on a daily basis but this was definitely one of the larger operations in recent years. Our site is flexible in accommodating numerous sectors including breakbulk, renewables, heavy lift operations and storage with a highly experienced team on hand to deliver a safe and professional service.”

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Caldey Classic Motorcycle Run huge success

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OVER 50 bikes set off from Tenby Harbour on the weekend (Jun 7) for The Caldey Classic Motorcycle weekend.

With the permission of the Harbourmaster Chris Salisbury and Sarah Edwards of Pembrokeshire Country Council, the bikes left Tenby pier and followed a 90-mile route through the beautiful countryside of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, taking in the South Pembrokeshire Coast and heading north from Whitland through to the tea stop Caffi’r Sqwar in Maenchochog.

The quaint little village also supplied petrol for participants, who then drank in the wonderful vistas of the Preseli Hills along past Waldo’s Stone to Eglwyswrw, finally heading to Nevern’s Trewern Arms for lunch.

The afternoon route visited the wonderful Gwaun Valley, past Gellifawr and then headed to Tufton, Clarbeston Road, Llawhaden, Carew back to Tenby via Gumfreston.

There were many spectators on the harbour on Saturday and Sunday morning and a fantastic crowd witnessed the prize giving Ceremony at the harbour on Saturday afternoon.

Prizes were awarded by Chairman Dai Garland and Clerk of the Course Huw Adams, which were as follows:

– Best Bike: John Mackay from Llandewi Velfrey
– Most meritorious: Kathleen Evans – Bristol
– Most interesting: Morgan Thomas – Nantgaredig
– Chairman’s Choice: John Hobden Plymouth
– Biggest combined age of rider and bike: Phil Hallett

Friday saw participants taken around the Tudor Merchants House and the RNLI Tenby Lifeboat Station. The bikers were delighted to be shown the inside of the boat by the Chief Mechanic.

Sunday was a short route from Tenby through Wisemans Bridge, Amroth, Pendine and Laugharne heading back to Caffle Brewery in Llawhaden for participants to purchase the Caldey Classic brew from Club member Chris Salisbury.

Clerk of the Course, Huw Adams, said: “Participants were delighted with our new location at Tenby Harbour and it provided a fantastic Backdrop for the event.

“The sun was shining and everyone enjoyed the relaxed format this year. I am sure the event will grow in popularity every year. We are particularly grateful to Alun Williams from Celtic Motorcycles and Scooters for sponsoring the event and major motorcycle media outlets for sponsoring the goody bags.

“Our thanks to all participants mainly from the Pembrokeshire Vintage and Classic Motorcycle Club but also some guests from Bristol, Plymouth and Brighton but the furthest travelled participant was Neil Collins from New Zealand. The event is the second rally that Neil has taken part in here in his homeland of Pembrokeshire.”

 

Mary Adams organiser Harbourmaster Chris Bannister with Mike Simon Chief Marshall and clerk of the Course Huw Adams

 

Glyn Garland first away with Clerk of the Course Huw Adams and Chief Marshall Mike Simon

 

Phil Hallett from Simpsons Cross on his 1954 BSA Goldflash – winner combined age of rider and bike

 

Malcolm and Hazel Graham from Brighton on a AJS.

 

Nigel and Jane Hodson from Llandowror with his 2008 Triumph Bonneville Outfit.

 

Participants from the Caldey Classic Weekend

 

Leader of the Pack – Alun Williams Sponsor from Celtic Scooters and Motorcycles in Milford Haven leader of the pack filled by Russell Leahy from Saundersfoot and Andy and Maz Davies from Haverfordwest on the Presell mountains

 

Adam Guinness from Bristol on the Bimota. This bike is older than it looks and is in amazing condition.

 

James Adams from Tavernspite on his Norton Dominator.

 

Best Bike out at the Weekend was John Mackay from Llandewi Velfrey.

 

The Square in Maenchochog taken over by bikes for the tea stop.

 

The Best bike of the weekend and the most interesting lined up side by side. The Matchless Model X owned by John Mackay who won the Concours Prize and the OK Supreme riden by Morgan Thomas winning the most interesting Prize
in its unrestored but rideable condition. A KTM riden by john Hobden in the rain on Friday from Plymouth and Richard Stubbs from Pembroke fixing his rider onto the BMW R26.

 

Passenger Kath Harries with her goody bag from Bonhams, Mortons media, Bmf, Royal Enfield goodies in that all riders received. Thanks to Alun from Celtic Scooters and motorcycles who sponsored
the impressive Rider Caldey Classic plaques.

 

Wonderful view for these bikes overlooking the harbour at the weekend.

 

Neil Collins from New Zealand with his brother and sister in law Phil Collings and Sue.

 

Chris Thomas from Nantgaredig in his 1934 BSA TW34 on three wheels. The oldest vehicle on view.

 

Alan Houghton from Fishguard on his Moto Guzzi enjoyed the North Pembrokeshire Vistas of the Presell Mountains.

 

Mary Adams, organiser, Chris Bannister Harbourmaster, Mike Simon Marshall and Huw Adams Clerk of the Course with the wonderful Backdrop of Tenby Harbour at the Caldey Classic Event in Pembrokeshire.
The event is run under the auspices of the Pembrokeshire Vintage and Classic Motorcycle Club.

 

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