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Westminster crash: Salih Khater named as suspect

Police at the scene in Westminster Image copyright AFP
Image caption Forensics officers at the scene of the crash on Tuesday

The man being held on suspicion of terrorism after the Westminster car crash has been named as Salih Khater by government sources.

The 29-year-old British citizen, originally from Sudan, is being questioned in south London.

Police have been searching three addresses in Birmingham and Nottingham as part of their investigation.

Three people were injured after the vehicle swerved into cyclists and pedestrians on Tuesday morning.

The silver Ford Fiesta then crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament.

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RMT angry at Chris Grayling’s rail fare index suggestion

Station
Image caption Rail fare rises are calculated using the Retail Price Index

A suggestion that rail fare and wage increases should be linked to a lower inflation measure has sparked an angry response from unions.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling wants future increases to be based on the Consumer Price Index, rather than the current, higher Retail Price Index.

The RMT union accused him of trying to impose a “pay cap” on its members.

It comes on the day that the government publishes the latest RPI figure, which will decide rail fares from January.

Under the current system, July’s RPI sets the maximum rise for regulated fares in January.

That figure, which will be announced at 09:30 BST, is expected to be about 3.5%.


How would Chris Grayling’s proposal have affected annual season ticket costs in January 2018?

A Brighton to London ticket would have been £39 cheaper (£4,293 instead of £4,332)

Gloucester to Birmingham: £37 cheaper (£4,071 instead of £4,108)

Woking to London: £30 cheaper (£3,218 instead of £3,248)

Liverpool to Manchester: £29 cheaper (£3,123 instead of £3,152)

Maidenhead to London: £26 cheaper (£3,066 instead of £3,092)


Mr Grayling said he wanted to see “lower levels of increases for passengers in future”.

He also said that, if a lower measure of inflation is used to calculate ticket price increases, then it should also be used for costs, including annual rises to workers’ salaries.

BBC reporter Caroline Davies said the transport secretary believed RPI was “generally regarded as not fit for practice anymore”.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney recently argued that the index had “no merit”.

In response to the transport secretary’s suggestion, RMT head Mick Cash said: “If Chris Grayling seriously thinks that front-line rail workers are going to pay the price for his gross incompetence and the greed of the private train companies he’s got another thing coming.

“This is a basket case government and a lame duck transport secretary continuing all-out war on staff and passengers alike.

“RMT will fight any attempt to impose a pay cap on our members in a drive to protect private train company profits.”

Meanwhile, the RMT is organising protests on Wednesday outside stations in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds and Edinburgh against fare rises.

The union claims passengers are paying “through the nose” for overcrowded services.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of train drivers’ union Aslef, argued that cutting staff pay would not reduce passenger fares but only increase the profits made by railway bosses.

Research found the cost of rail travel has increased more than twice as fast as wages since 2008.

The TUC said fares have risen by 42% over the past 10 years, while nominal weekly earnings have only grown by 18%.

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Kyle Edmund beaten by Denis Shapovalov in Cincinnati

Edmund reached the third round of Wimbledon for the first time earlier this year

British number one Kyle Edmund lost 6-4 7-5 to Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round in Cincinnati.

Edmund, 23, had his serve broken in the final game of a tight first set and, after seeing off five previous match points, finally succumbed to lose in an hour and 53 minutes.

World number 16 Edmund will continue his US Open preparation at the Winston-Salem Open, which begins on Saturday.

His best Flushing Meadows campaign was a run to the last 16 in 2016.

World number two Roger Federer, who turned 37 last week, overcame Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk 6-4 6-4 and said the victory helped consign his Wimbledon quarter-final defeat by Kevin Anderson to history.

Federer, who plays a limited schedule to prolong his career, has not played since a loss that marked his earliest exit at the All England Club since 2013.

“It’s nice to have played so that my last match was not the Anderson match. You’ve kind of turned the page. It’s a good thing,” he said.

“The goal is now to recover from this match, take the positives with me. Of course the big goal is the US Open.”

The Swiss will play Argentina’s world number 50 Leonardo Mayer in the next round.

Australian world number 18 Nick Kyrgios had to send a tournament official to retrieve his shoes from the locker room after he forgot to bring them to the court for his first-round meeting with American qualifier Denis Kudla.

The 15th seed endured some nervy moments, producing a second-serve ace when match point down before eventually prevailing 6-7 (2-7) 7-5 7-6 (9-7).

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Serena Williams loses to Petra Kvitova at Cincinnati’s Western & Southern Open

Serena Williams was looking to win her third title in Cincinnati

Former world number one Serena Williams says she is at the start of a “long comeback” after losing 6-3 2-6 6-3 to Czech Petra Kvitova in Cincinnati.

The second-round loss comes on the back of her heaviest career defeat, a 6-1 6-0 loss to Britain’s Johanna Konta in the Silicon Valley Classic first round.

“I’m still at the very beginning,” said the 23-time Grand Slam champion.

“I’m just going to continue to work hard, and hopefully I’ll start winning more matches.”

Following the thumping by Konta, the 36-year-old American, runner-up at this year’s Wimbledon, withdrew from last week’s Rogers Cup in Canada for “personal reasons”. She later clarified that she had been struggling with post-natal emotions.

The two-time Cincinnati champion, who only returned to the women’s tour earlier this year after giving birth, looked impressive in her opening match at the Western & Southern Open as she fired down eight aces en route to a 6-1 6-2 win over Australian world number 23 Daria Gavrilova.

And after losing the first set to two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, Williams showed similar form as she levelled the match. Both players broke serve at the start of the third set, before the eighth seed broke again at 4-2 and then held serve to progress to the third round.

“It was a pleasure to share the court with Serena, she’s such a champion,” said Kvitova. “We are both coming back – from injury, from motherhood – so it’s something really special to play her.”

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Italy bridge: Rescuers search for survivors in Genoa

Rescuers search for survivors of the Genoa road bridge collapse August 2018 Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Floodlights guided the search overnight

Rescuers in the north-western Italian city of Genoa continue to search for possible survivors after the dramatic collapse of a motorway bridge.

The interior minister said at least 35 people were killed when dozens of vehicles fell 45m (148ft).

About 16 people were injured in the collapse and the number missing ranges from four to 12.

About 250 firefighters from across Italy are taking part in the search, using sniffer dogs and climbing gear.

“We’re not giving up hope,” fire official Emanuele Giffi told AFP news agency, vowing teams would work “round the clock until the last victim is secured”.

More than 400 people have been evacuated amid fears other parts of the bridge might fall.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionParts of the bridge can be seen collapsing

The cause of the disaster, which occurred during torrential rain, was not immediately clear but questions had been raised about the safety of the structure.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has vowed to bring anyone responsible for the collapse to book.

The Morandi Bridge, built in the 1960s, stands on the A10 toll motorway, an important conduit for goods traffic from local ports, which also serves the Italian Riviera and southern coast of France.

What are the challenges facing rescuers?

The BBC’s James Reynolds at the scene says firefighters have been working their way into small cracks in an effort to find anyone who might still be trapped in a vehicle.

Genoa police spokesperson Alessandra Bucci told Reuters it was thought that people were still alive.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A section measuring 200 metres fell in

Mr Salvini said three children, aged eight, 12 and 13 were among the dead.

The Italian fire service tweeted a video of one person being extracted and carefully lowered on cables from a shattered vehicle, which was suspended in the wreckage of the bridge, high above the ground.

Between 30 and 35 cars and three heavy vehicles were on the bridge at the time of the collapse.

A huge tower and sections of the bridge collapsed on to railway lines, a river and a warehouse.

The car of Davide Capello, 33, a former goalkeeper for Serie A side Cagliari, came down in the collapse but he survived.

“I was able to get out… I don’t know how my car wasn’t crushed. It seemed like a scene from a film, it was the apocalypse,” he said.

Marcello de Angelis, who is co-ordinating the Italian Red Cross rescue effort, told the BBC that rescuers were treating the disaster like an earthquake.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Rescuers from all over northern Italy came to help
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Injured people were winched to safety

“There might be the possibility of some niches being created by the rubble itself, with people being protected by the rubble,” he said.

“The units that we have sent we use during earthquakes. So it is the same sort of situation – and also the risk of other collapses, obviously, is the same.”

How did the bridge collapse?

A section measuring about 200 metres fell at around 11:30 local time (09:30 GMT). Police say there was a violent cloudburst at the time.

An unnamed witness quoted by Italy’s Ansa news agency said: “We heard an incredible roar and first we thought it was thunder very close by.

“We live about 5km [three miles] from the bridge but we heard a crazy bang… We were very scared… Traffic went completely haywire and the city was paralysed.”

The collapse of the bridge was an “incident of vast proportions on a vital arterial road, not just for Genoa, but for the whole country”, said the governor of Liguria region, Giovanni Toti.

“The Morandi bridge connects three major ports in our country, used by tens, even hundreds of thousands of people. They depart from these ports on holiday. These docks receive most of our country’s imported goods. It damages the very structure of the Italian logistics system. We are expecting a very fast response from the government.”

Mr Borrelli said the authorities were trying to arrange help for those affected by the disaster, as well as setting up diversions for traffic.

Is Italian infrastructure underfunded?

This was the fifth bridge collapse in Italy in five years, according to Corriere Della Serra.

The new government has pledged to increase public investment.

The country spent more than €14bn (£12.5bn; $16bn) on its roads in 2006 but that had dropped to less than €4bn after the 2008 financial crisis, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The figures cover spending on new transport construction and the improvement of the existing networks.

Spending started to increase in 2013, when total spend was less than Spain, Germany, France and the UK.

Did you witness the collapse of the bridge? Are you in the area? If safe to do so, please email [email protected].

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News Daily: Race to find Italy bridge collapse survivors and rail fares increase row

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Race to find Italy bridge collapse survivors

Image copyright EPA

Emergency services in Genoa are racing to find survivors after the catastrophic collapse of a motorway bridge in the Italian city.

People have been pulled alive from the rubble and police say they hope to find others – there are reports cries can be heard from trapped people.

Footage captured the moment one of the huge supporting towers crashed down during torrential rain and these dramatic images show the devastation.

At least 35 people have died, but authorities fear that number may rise.

It’s still unclear why the bridge, which was built in 1967, collapsed, but several theories have been mooted.

Grayling’s rail fares idea ‘a bad joke’

The transport secretary has angered rail unions by suggesting the industry should change how it calculates ticket rises and staff wages.

Chris Grayling wants rises in regulated fares to be calculated using a lower measure of inflation – the Retail Prices Index (RPI) rather than the current Consumer Prices Index (CPI). He said it would protect the public from large hikes in ticket costs.

The unions dismissed the idea as a “bad joke” and say rail workers shouldn’t have to pay the price for Mr Grayling’s “gross incompetence”.

Any increase in rail fares is a thorny issue for the government after recent widespread problems on the rail network, as the BBC’s transport correspondent Tom Burridge points out.

The row has broken out ahead of the RPI’s publication later, meaning we’ll find out how much train companies can raise fares by in January. It’s expected to be 3.5%.

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Westminster terror suspect questioned

A terror suspect is believed to have travelled through the night from Birmingham to drive around Westminster for more than an hour and a half before swerving into cyclists and pedestrians outside Parliament.

Anti-terrorism police questioning the 29-year-old have revealed his suspected movements as they searched three addresses in the Midlands. Sources have told the BBC the man was known to police, but not to security services.

Three people were injured during Tuesday’s morning rush hour before the driver crashed into security barriers as this video shows. Here’s what we know so far about the suspected terror attack.

How housing has divided the young

By Jonathan Cribb, Institute for Fiscal Studies

Over the past 25 years an increasingly small group of young adults have been able to get on to the property ladder. A result of rapidly rising house prices, this trend has led to concerns that younger generations will never be as wealthy as their parents.

But housing inequality doesn’t just exist between the young and the old. It has also led to a divide between richer and poorer young adults.

Read the full article

What the papers say

Image copyright Daily Telegraph/Daily Star

The bravery of police officers responding to the suspected terror attack at Westminster is hailed on the front pages. The i describes the officers “running towards danger”, while the Daily Express says they should be honoured for their actions. The Daily Telegraph reports the suspect staked out the scene before carrying out a “copycat attack”. Almost 700 ongoing terrorism investigations are under way in the UK, reports the Daily Mail. Ben Stokes’ acquittal features on many of the front pages. The Guardian has a close-up picture of the cricketer looking relieved after he was cleared of affray. It was a sensational finding, according to the Daily Star, and to the Sun he’s “our hero”. Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that Homebase will “slash jobs” in its efforts to stay afloat.

Daily digest

Decades of abuse Catholic priests abused thousands of children in Pennsylvania, official report finds

Trump action President’s election campaign starts legal action against sacked White House aide

Postman suspended He’s accused of hoarding thousands of letters over a decade

Flight drama Plane had to be diverted after a couple started arguing in mid-air, court heard

If you see one thing today

The hands that convicted a paedophile

If you listen to one thing today

The Deep State

If you read one thing today

Where have all the public toilets gone?

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Lookahead

09:30 The Office for National Statistics publishes the Consumer Prices Index and Retail Prices Index measures of inflation for July. As mentioned above, the RPI will determine how much train fares can rise by in January.

14:55 A public vigil will mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb where a bell will ring 32 times in memory of the victims.

On this day

1971 Show jumper Harvey Smith is stripped of a major title and £2,000 winnings for an alleged two-fingered “V-sign” at the judges. The gesture was later recorded as “a Harvey Smith” in a dictionary.

From elsewhere

Why does the millennial gender pay gap exist? (Vice)

Astonishing pictures of new mother’s heart-shaped womb (Daily Mail)

Does rudeness have a legitimate place in politics? (Huffington Post)

10 surprising uses for leftover bananas (Mental Floss)

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Omagh bombing: Bell to toll for victims 20 years on

Archive photo showing aftermath of Omagh bombing in 1998 Image copyright PA
Image caption The Omagh bombing was carried out by dissident republicans several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement

A bell will ring in Omagh later to mark the moment a car bomb exploded 20 years ago killing 29 people, the greatest single loss of life in the Troubles.

A woman pregnant with twins was among those killed by the dissident republican attack in the County Tyrone town on 15 August 1998.

The bell will be rung 32 times in memory of the victims.

The additional, single peal will be rung for all who have lost their lives in atrocities around the world.

The Omagh bombing was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

Omagh bomb timeline

  • 15 August 1998 – A large car bomb explodes on a Saturday afternoon in the centre of Omagh, County Tyrone, fatally wounding 29 people
  • 18 August 1998 – The Real IRA claims responsibility for the bomb
  • 6 August 2003 – Alleged founder and leader of the Real IRA Michael McKevitt is found guilty of directing terrorism

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The bomb, which was packed with 225kg of explosives, detonated in a vehicle parked in the middle of the main street just after 15:10 BST on 15 August 1998.

A warning had been called in 40 minutes earlier but had given the wrong location of the car containing the bomb.

The dead included three generations of one family.

No-one has been convicted over the bombing.

Image caption People attending the event can sprinkle petals in the pond at the memorial garden

The bell-ringing event is part of a public vigil to be held at the bottom of Market Street, beginning at 14:55.

The bell will stop ringing 15 minutes later, at the time of the explosion, and will be followed by a two-minute silence.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionOmagh bomb: Community Youth Choir 20 years on

Flower petals will be distributed, which people can scatter in the river, or place in the pond of a memorial garden created to remember the victims.

These event is being co-ordinated by a group of organisations, including Omagh Support & Self Help Group, Families Moving On and the Omagh Churches’ Forum.

Victims organisation Omagh Families Moving On is chaired by Kevin Skelton, whose wife, Mena, was killed in the attack.

Mr Skelton said the event was about remembrance, hope and moving forward, recognising the forgotten people of the Omagh bomb including those involved in the aftermath of the bomb such as shopkeepers and undertakers.

On Sunday, a cross-community service was held at the town’s memorial gardens.

Victims and their families were remembered with prayers, music and speeches.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption A child leaving a tribute during Sunday’s memorial service

Wreaths were laid and the names of all those killed in the attack were read out.

Each year over the past 20 years, people have come together to mark the anniversary, but this year’s event in the memorial garden will be the last to take place on this scale.

Last year, relatives of the victims announced they would sue the PSNI’s Chief Constable George Hamilton for failings they believed allowed the killers to escape justice.

Mr Hamilton said on Sunday he understood why the families would feel “angry and let down”, adding that even the huge amount of investigative effort – with 99 arrests and 11,000 investigative actions by the PSNI and An Garda Síochána (Irish police) – “is not good enough”.

“People have not been brought to justice… but the families have an assurance from me that if new evidence emerges, we will actively pursue that. But it is also fair to say, and realistic, that as time goes by, the chances of a criminal justice outcome reduces,” he said.

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The Papers: Praise for terror police and cleared Stokes

Daily Mirror Image copyright Daily Mirror
Image caption “They will never win” declares the Daily Mirror on its front page as it responds to Tuesday’s Westminster attack. The paper says Theresa May has praised police for their response to a vehicle being driven into pedestrians and cyclists in central London at about 07:30 BST. A man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences.
Daily Telegraph Image copyright Daily Telegraph
Image caption According to the Daily Telegraph, the suspect drove down from Birmingham and staked out the scene for an hour and a half before launching the attack. Three cyclists were injured, two requiring hospital treatment.
Daily Express Image copyright Daily Express
Image caption The Daily Express is leading the calls for police who responded to the attack to be honoured. The paper said they risked their lives apprehending the suspect.
The i Image copyright The i
Image caption The front page of the i is dominated by a picture of armed police arresting the suspect. “Running towards danger” is the paper’s headline to sum up their actions.
The Sun Image copyright The Sun
Image caption The “terrorist in a Fiesta” hit 15 cyclists before crashing into a wall at 50mph (80km/h) according to the Sun. The paper said there was “mayhem” and reports a witness saying there was a “loud bang and bikes were strewn everywhere”.
The Times Image copyright The Times
Image caption The Times’ front page lead story focuses on the police raids of homes in the Midlands hours after the Westminster attack. The page’s main image, however, is of Tuesday’s big international story – the collapsed bridge in Italy which left at least 26 people dead.
Daily Mail Image copyright Daily Mail
Image caption There are almost 700 ongoing terrorism investigations in the UK, reports the Daily Mail. The paper says Britain is on a “heightened sense of alert” after the latest attack in Westminster.
The Daily Star Image copyright Daily Star
Image caption “Wowzat” declares the Daily Star as it leads with cricketer Ben Stokes being found not guilty of affray. The paper said the England and Durham all-rounder was “close to tears” after being cleared over the altercation outside a nightclub in Bristol.
Metro Image copyright Metro
Image caption Stokes has been hailed a hero by a gay couple he was defending from homophobic abuse outside the club in Bristol, Metro says. The couple apologised to “Our hero Ben” – as the paper’s front page headline described him – for the “drama” they caused him and praised him for “sticking up for someone weaker”.
Guardian Image copyright Guardian
Image caption Ben Stokes’ face is the main picture on the front of the Guardian. The paper is also leading with news that the pay for chief executives at Britain’s biggest listed companies rose more than six times faster than wider wages. The Guardian says while average workers earnings failed to keep up with inflation, bosses saw pay rise by 11%.
Financial Times Image copyright Financial Times
Image caption According to the Financial Times, Homebase will “slash jobs” in its efforts to stay afloat. The firm has announced plans to shut 42 stores as it enters a company voluntary arrangement – a decision that has “not been taken lightly”, the paper reports.

The latest terror attack in London gets prominent coverage in most of the papers.

The Daily Telegraph shows the suspect in a padded jacket being held by police after a car was rammed into cyclists and a security barrier. It reports that he was from Birmingham and lived near the Westminster Bridge attacker, Khalid Masood. The paper suggests this latest attempt was a “botched copycat”.

The Sun injects a note of scorn about the vehicle which was used with its headline “Terrorist in a Fiesta”. The Daily Express pictures armed officers surrounding the car and highlights their bravery in running towards the threat. The paper urges that the officers are honoured for their actions.

Image copyright Geoffrey Woodman/PA Wire
Image caption The Westminster attack dominates the newspapers

The Guardian has a close-up of the cricketer Ben Stokes looking relieved after he was cleared of affray. The Daily Star calls the not guilty verdict “sensational” pointing out he threw 15 punches and knocked two people out. The cricketer is “our Hero Ben” in Metro which leads on an interview with two gay clubbers who thanked Stokes for defending them from homophobic abuse.

A large picture of a motorway bridge with a huge gap in the middle dominates the Times front page. A lorry can be seen just feet from the edge of a substantial drop in the Italian city of Genoa. The section which collapsed killed at least 26 people. Several lorries and large amounts of rubble are clearly visible.

The Telegraph describes the desperate search for survivors by firefighters with sniffer dogs. The Financial Times adds that the structure was built in the 1960s and undergoing repairs. The Daily Mirror simply calls it “The Bridge of Death”.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The bridge in Genoa had been built in the 1960s

The Daily Mail is keeping up its pressure on Jeremy Corbyn for going to a Palestinian cemetery in Tunisia where wreaths were laid on the graves of men linked to the 1972 Munich Olympics terror attack.

It has photos of Mr Corbyn which it claims are “definitive proof” he took part in the service. The Guardian reports Labour’s view on the story that the claims are “false and misleading”. The political blogger Guido Fawkes reports that Mr Corbyn has been reported to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards for not declaring the trip to Tunis. It has published the letter of complaint written by the Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen.

The Times’ diary section tells how a woman in Guernsey used an ancient legal intervention in a bid to halt local roadworks. Rosie Henderson dropped to her knees crying “Haro! Haro! Haro!” followed by a plea to the Duke of Normandy, and a version of the Lord’s prayer in Guernsey-French patois. The Telegraph explains that the ancient Norman rite called the Clameur de Haro compels the local courts to make a decision. However, it was all to no avail. Her appeal was rejected on the grounds that she didn’t own the land concerned.

And the Sun reports on the romantic lengths some people will go to when proposing to their beloved. It has photos of a giant crop circle which reads: “Anisha, Marry Me?” Varun Bhanot took months finding a farmer in Cheshire who would let him do it. As the couple flew over the site, he produced an engagement ring. The Sun said it was a “corny proposal” – but it worked.

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New Mexico compound judge receives death threats

The remote compound in New Mexico August 2018 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Officers found 11 starving children at the remote compound, and the remains of a toddler

A New Mexico judge has received death threats after granting bail to five adults arrested at a desert compound.

Judge Sarah Backus said the prosecution had not convinced her the defendants were a threat to the community.

Police had arrested the two adults and three women at a remote compound raided in the search for a missing three-year-old boy, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.

Officers found 11 starving children and the buried remains of a toddler in a case that has shocked the country.

  • US compound boy ‘died during ritual’
  • US children ‘trained to attack schools’

Judge Backus granted the five bail after a hearing on Monday, ordering that all five must wear ankle monitors and have weekly contact with their lawyers.

The boy’s father, Siraj Wahhaj, was one of the five arrested.

But her decision has caused a storm of protest.

A spokesperson for the New Mexico courts said a caller told the judge “he wished her throat were slit”, with another saying he “hoped someone would come and smash her head in”.

An email to Ms Backus called her an “Islamic terror sympathiser”.

The Taos County court building was evacuated briefly on Tuesday after the threats.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Suspects Siraj Wahhaj (L) and Lucas Morton

Judge Backus said at the hearing that while what she had heard was “troubling”, prosecutors did not prove that the defendants posed a threat to the wider community.

“The state alleges that there was a big plan afoot, but the state hasn’t shown to my satisfaction, in clear and convincing evidence, what that plan was,” she said.

The prosecution argued that all five adults were dangerous and should not be granted bail, because they had trained the children to use weapons and carry out school shootings.

They also said that the remains found at the site were those of Abdul-Ghani and that the other children said the boy had died during a “religious ritual… intended to cast out demonic spirits”, where Siraj Wahhaj had put his hand to his son’s forehead, and recited verses from the Koran.

But defence lawyers accused the prosecution of treating the five suspects unfairly because they are Muslim – something prosecutors deny.

Defence lawyer Thomas Clark said after the hearing that if the accused were Christian and white then “nobody would bat an eye over the idea of faith healing”.

“But when black Muslims do it, there seems to be something nefarious, something evil,” he said.

Image copyright Taos County Sheriff’s Office
Image caption The three female suspects, from left to right Jany Leveille, Hujhrah Wahhaj, Subhannah Wahhaj

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Animal poaching: British soldiers’ Malawi mission to stop poachers

Chad Spalding
Image caption The soldiers and rangers try to be as invisible as possible, on patrols that often last for days

The Majete Wildlife Reserve sits in a large basin in the south of Malawi, and the roads that lead there are busy at 6am.

Not with vehicles, but with endless cyclists as Malawians make the most of the low light and cooler air to start their days.

The appearance of two British Army 4x4s turns heads as they leave the sights and smells of the villages, and head into the bush.

Lance Corporal Chad Spalding is one of those on board.

The 23-year-old is about to spend the next few days with some local rangers to train them in the skills of being a soldier, as they show him how to find endangered animals.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionIn the latest Newsbeat documentary, we meet the British soldiers helping rangers in Malawi

This is something Chad does most weeks with different people.

“You don’t really have time to think,” explains Chad. “Most of the time you’re concentrating on the environment itself.

“You’re constantly looking, watching dangerous game, anything that might sneak up on you.”

Chad, who’s originally from Zimbabwe, is one of 14 British soldiers in Malawi trying to help stop poaching. Ministers announced the British Army’s involvement after a successful pilot last year.

Image caption The Liwonde National Park in southern Malawi. Much of the country’s landscape is burnt as people illegally make charcoal to sell and use themselves

Chad says the wildlife and the environment are important to him and he feels a sense of responsibility to make sure that others get to experience them.

“If we start chopping down trees and killing animals what will be left for future generations? Just a bunch of pictures in a book,” he reflects.

Chad remembers working with lions when he was growing up on a project in Gonarezhou, Zimbabwe.

“After I’d seen the wildlife and what it’s actually like out in the bush, I just really really bit into it. As soon as this came across the table, I took it straight away.

Image caption Malawi’s elephant population has halved from 4,000 in the 1980s to 2,000 in 2015, according to African Parks, which runs the Majete Reserve

The illegal wildlife trade is a big business, thought to be worth £17bn a year worldwide. A rhino horn is more expensive than cocaine, heroin or gold.

In the last 50 years global black rhino numbers have dropped from 70,000 to 5,500, African Parks says. The organisation runs the Majete Reserve and two others in Malawi.

“Most jobs out here don’t pay well, whereas if they get a rhino horn it’s a pretty big pay day,” Chad says.

Image caption Liwonde National Park

“I know in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania there’s quite a lot of heavy poaching.

“Most of the poaching that goes on is organised by higher syndicates which are funding these operations and equipping the poachers with better weapons to be able to defeat the rangers.

“Which is making it a lot hard for the rangers to keep up with the funding they’ve got. For now the rangers seem to be winning, let’s hope it stays that way.”

The military-style approach, along with tougher sentences, seems to be working for now though.

No elephants or rhinos have been poached in Majete for 15 years.

Image caption Lance Corporal Chad Spalding says he doesn’t want animals ending up as “just a bunch of pictures in a book”

Chad knows what he would say to a poacher if he met one though.

“I would ask his reasons for doing it, and what he thinks the consequences will be if he does get caught.

“It’s not a matter of if he gets caught it’s a matter of when he gets caught. If he does carry on he is going to get caught, and he will go to jail.”

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