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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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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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D-Day rescue boat will be in Milford Haven for 75th anniversary commemoration

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MILFORD HAVEN will be commemorating 75 years since the D Day landings in Normandy on Thursday, with the Royal British Legion’s local branch organising a service at 11am on The Rath.

But this years’ service will be extra special because out in The Haven an original WW2 RAF air sea rescue launch, which was in Normandy during the invasion, will be motoring past for all to see.

Call sign 441, the RAF high speed launch and her crew rescued the entire crew of a downed B17 aircraft during the Operation Overlord.

Owned by Mr Alistair and Mrs Marion Walker, it is the only working example of its type and during WW2 served at RAF Pembroke Dock

These craft were constructed by the British Power Boat Co, Hythe Nr Southampton. and were designed by George Salman as seaplane tenders. Power was supplied by 2 x 130 hp Perkins diesel engines giving a speed of 23 knots and were constructed between 1941 –1944.

The main work was running the crews out to moored aircraft and acting as tugs and service craft. As the war progressed and more use was made of land bases, they became surplus to requirements. However, a new role was found for them to provide a comprehensive A.S.R cover of the waters around the coast and to this end it was necessary to use some of the smaller tidal harbours. It was almost impossible to use any of the larger High Speed craft for this purpose, and the Seaplane tenders were ideal fitted the role admirably.

Some of the notable rescues by these small craft such as no 1515 operating out of Lyme Regis picked up 26 paratroops from Lyme Bay on D Day and 441 is known to have res¬cued a complete crew of a Fortress bomber and 444 the crew of a Lancaster who were located by light signals.

The RAF Search and Rescue Force

The Marine Craft Section (MCS) was created just days after the formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1918, but would achieve fame for its role in air-sea rescue operations during the Second World War.

As the UK entered the Second World War, the MCS found itself ill-prepared for war. During the Battle of Britain, the MCS could only keep 10 of 13 High Speed Launch (HSL) boats available for air-sea rescue operations at any one time. The high performance of the craft was at the expense of the service life of the engines, at only 360 hours. Even with the help of civilian vessels and the Royal Navy, aircrew who baled out or ditched in the North Sea and English Channel had only a 20% chance of being returned to their squadrons. Between mid-July and October 1940, the UK lost 215 pilots and aircrew to the seas.

In light of this, in 1941, an emergency meeting was convened by Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris. The Royal Navy offered to take over sea rescue operations in their entirety. The RAF declined and subsequently created the Directorate of Air Sea Rescue in February 1941.

Operationally it was to be known as Air Sea Rescue Services (ASRS), later becoming the RAF Search and Rescue Force. Together with the expansion of the ASRS component of the MCS, the ASRS worked to improve the survival of aircrews through the development and issue of better individual survival equipment. By the end of the Second World War, more than 8,000 aircrew and 5,000 civilians had been rescued, and the MCS had some 300 HSLs and over 1,000 other vessels, located not just in the waters around the UK, but around the world.

After the war, the MCS was granted full branch status in 1947, however the role of the new branch would be greatly reduced post-war. This was due to a variety of factors, including the end of the British Empire, the withdrawal of flying boats from service and the increasing use of helicopters in air-sea rescue. The branch was disbanded in 1986.

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Willy make the council fix the road?

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DRIVERS in and around the Maenclochog area are still recovering today after a hardened vandal spray-painted yellow penises along a stretch of road near Morvil.
The road, just off the B4313, was targeted with graffiti because of the number of potholes scattered along it’s length.
Locals have dubbed the cock-sure artist as ‘Wanksy’ and have discovered that whoever drew the penises also wrote ‘Follow the yellow d### road’.
Some of the penises have been drawn around more sizeable potholes, but simply pointing disapprovingly at the smaller ones.
If you want to report a pothole, the chosen method is still via the Pembrokeshire County Council website.
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