TWO men who allegedly tried to hijack a plane in China were beaten to death by passengers and crew.
The Global Times newspaper reported that two of the suspects died in hospital from injuries they suffered during the ensuing fight with passengers and crew on board.
The men were part of a six-strong gang involved in the foiled hijack of a Tianjin Airlines flight bound for the regional capital of Urumqi last Friday.
Just minutes after the flight took off from Hetian, southwest Xinjiang, the men, all aged between 20 and 36, stood up and announced their plans to terrified passengers.
The gang reportedly broke a pair of aluminium crutches and used them to attack passengers while attempting to break into the cockpit, Hou Hanmin, a regional government spokeswoman said.
They were tackled by police and passengers who tied them up with belts before the plane, carrying 101 people, returned to the airport safely just 22 minutes later.
Hanmin added that police were still testing materials they had been carrying, thought to be explosives.
The men were reported to be Uighurs, the local Muslim ethnic minority. There have been clashes between authorities and Uighurs resentful of government controls over their religion and culture.
Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the German-based World Uyghur Congress which campaigns for Uighurs’ rights, said that it wasn’t a hijacking attempt, rather an in-flight brawl over a seat dispute.
“We warn China not to use this incident as another excuse for crackdown,” he said in an emailed statement.
Two more suspects are reportedly being treated in hospital after mutilating themselves.
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TWO men who allegedly tried to hijack a plane in China were beaten to death by passengers and crew.
Baroness Warsi said she did not tell House of Lords authorities that she was receiving income from a London property she had bought and rented out.
She apologised last night for the breach of parliamentary guidelines, blaming “an oversight, for which I take full responsibility”. However, she claimed she had paid tax on the rent.
The disclosure, the latest in a series of crises to hit Mr Cameron, comes as the future of Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, is called into question once again.
Senior sources told The Sunday Telegraph that Mr Hunt, who will be questioned under oath at Lord Leveson’s inquiry into media standards this week, could temporarily step down from front-line politics after the Olympics.
It follows intense pressure over his handling of the attempt by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to take full control of BSkyB.
The admission by Baroness Warsi is a serious blow to the Conservative Party’s pledge to be transparent in its dealings, and will increase pressure on Mr Cameron to replace her in a reshuffle.
The failure to make a declaration means that the public was unaware that she had another source of income, over and above her salary, which is paid by the Conservative Party, and the £300 a day allowance which she is eligible to claim when she attends the Lords.
The baroness updated the register of interests for members of the House of Lords last Monday. It now states under “land and property”: “Flat in London NW from which rental income is received.”
The Prime Minister and Baroness Warsi have spoken of the commitment to transparency by the Conservatives and the Coalition.
In November 2010 Mr Cameron said “it is our ambition to be one of the most transparent governments in the world”.
In July last year the peer said: “This Government is delivering unprecedented transparency.” The total amount that she failed to declare is not known because Baroness Warsi did not disclose it last night.
Peers are required to register any rental income worth more than £5,000 in a calendar year but do not have to say how much.
However, the amount is likely to run into five figures because it involves rental income from a home in London for at least 12 months.
As well as raising questions over her own financial affairs, it will further strain relations with grassroots members, among whom the 41-year-old baroness is not believed to enjoy widespread popularity.
The political career of her special adviser was also in question last night.
The failure to make a declaration emerged from a dispute between Baroness Warsi and a Conservative donor and fund-raiser, Dr Wafik Moustafa.
He was upset when the Conservative Arab Network, which he founded, was told earlier this year to sever its links with the party and was subsequently threatened with legal action by Baroness Warsi.
That prompted him to disclose that he had given her and her special adviser, Naweed Khan, accommodation in London.
In the course of inquiries made because of his public statement, the failure to make a disclosure about her rental income was discovered.
Baroness Warsi said last night that she bought a flat in Wembley, north-west London, in September 2007 to use after being ennobled.
However, she said that the property transaction was not “due for completion” until 2008 and so she had to find accommodation elsewhere, “predominantly” in two hotels.
“Not having made advance bookings for these hotels, there was a period of about six weeks when I spent occasional nights at a flat in Acton, which was occupied by Naweed Khan, at the time a member of Conservative Campaign HQ staff,” she said. “For the nights that I stayed as a guest of Naweed Khan, I made an appropriate financial payment equivalent to what I was paying at the time in hotel costs.” However, Mr Naweed was actually staying rent-free at Dr Moustafa’s home in London, meaning that by extension Baroness Warsi was receiving his hospitality.
Baroness Warsi said she moved into the Wembley home in March 2008 and stayed there until June 2010, when “upon security advice, I moved to another address closer to the House of Lords”.
She said that some months later she began, “with the prior approval of the Cabinet Office and the Leader of the House of Lords, to let out the Wembley property”.
“Due to an oversight, for which I take full responsibility, the flat was not included on the Register of Lords’ Interests when its value and the rent received came to exceed the thresholds for disclosure,” she said.
“When the discrepancy became apparent this week, I immediately informed the Registrar of Lords’ Interests of its omission. I repeat: at all times my ownership of the flat and the fact that it was being let out was fully disclosed to Cabinet Office officials and HM Revenue and Customs, and was appropriately reported on the register of Ministers’ interests held by the Government.” The disclosure means that she failed to declare rental for at least 12 months, and up to 18 months. An average rent for a one-bedroom flat in Wembley is currently £1,000 a month, meaning the amount undeclared could be as high as £18,000.
Baroness Warsi has been criticised over her performance as Tory party chairman.
Some Conservative MPs want Mr Cameron to replace her with Grant Shapps, the housing minister. Earlier this month the Conservatives performed poorly in local elections, losing more than 400 council seats.
Baroness Warsi became the first Muslim woman to be selected as a parliamentary candidate by the Tories, contesting the Dewsbury seat in 2005, but failed to win.
She went on to be a special adviser to Lord Howard, the former Conservative leader, but saw her career take off under Mr Cameron, who made a special effort to promote ethnic minority candidates and party officials as part of his drive to modernise the Tories.
This month she said a small minority of Pakistani men saw white women as “third-class citizens” and “fair game” — following a case which saw nine Muslim men found guilty of grooming young white girls for sex.
A mother fainted in the dock when questioned about allegedly murdering her seven-year-old son and setting his body on fire to hide her crime.
Sara Ege, 32, of Pontcanna, Cardiff, who denies murder, passed out at Cardiff Crown Court when asked about beating her son Yaseen in July 2010.
She has previously told the jury her husband Yousuf, 38, killed their son.
She denies murder. Yousuf Ege denies causing his son’s death by failing to protect him. The case continues.
The court was cleared for half an hour while Mrs Ege was revived by doctors.
After recovering she said: “My husband is the killer. I did nothing wrong, I never hurt my son.
“Yousef was hitting me and Yaseen came in the middle and was saying: “Don’t hit mummy – don’t hit mummy.”
The court heard how Yaseen died of his injuries later the same day.
Mrs Ege claimed that after Yaseen’s death, Yousef Ege left the house and his brother Nasser came to dispose of the body.
As her brother-in-law set light to her son’s body, she screamed and tried to stop him being burned, the court heard.
“Nasser then left and I dragged Yaseen from the fire and ran downstairs to call 999,” she said.
Mrs Ege claimed she was forced to confess to murder after a beating and threats from her brother-in-law.
The court heard Mrs Ege, originally from India, had an arranged marriage originally conceived and carried out over five days.
As a maths graduate she claims she expected a well educated and successful husband but found he was a postman and part-time taxi driver.
The court has previously heard that Yaseen was originally thought to have died in an accidental house fire.
However a post mortem examination showed he was dead before the fire started.
The jury has previously been told Mrs Ege was arrested by police and told them she had beat him to death and burned his body because the devil told her to do it.
But Mrs Ege told the court: “I was too scared of Yousef to tell the truth so I went along with his version of events.
“Yaseen was my little boy and I loved him to bits I would never have done anything to hurt him.”
Mrs Ege was cross examined by Peter Birkitt, representing her husband, who said: “You never meant to kill Yaseen, but when you found that you had you panicked.
“You didn’t know what to do and that’s why you burnt the evidence of what you had been doing.”
A Bengali immigrant has appeared in court charged with serious sexual offences against young girls in Street.
Muhammod Kamal Uddin, 40, currently resident at Colnbrook Immigration Centre, near London, was brought before South Somerset Magistrates in custody.
He was charged with four allegations of sexual assault on victims aged 11 and 12 on various dates between September 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010.
He did not enter pleas to any of the charges and prosecutor Chris Ansell said the matters were so serious that they must be dealt with at the crown court. The magistrates ordered the defendant to be sent straight to Taunton Crown Court to appear at a preliminary hearing on May 21. They refused an application for bail by defending solicitor Chris Ivory and remanded Uddin in custody.
Last week a Newport taxi driver was jailed for 12 years after preying on two vulnerable female passengers.
NATALIE CROCKETT, MICHAEL YONG and AILSA CHALK talked to Gwent taxi firms and police about how to stay safe when using taxis alone.
Iqbal, 42, of Alice Street, wept in the dock as he was jailed for 12 years at Cardiff Crown Court by Judge David Wynn Morgan.
Judge Morgan said Iqbal, a licensed taxi driver in the city, abused the trust women place in taxi drivers “for the satisfaction of your sexual gratification”.
Following the sentencing, both of Iqbal’s victims said they were glad the case was over, but wanted to issue a warning to other women not to get into cabs on their own.
Newport Council’s outgoing community safety cabinet member William Routley said the council did background checks on all potential taxi drivers before issuing them licences.
He said: “We have a very good organisation in Newport taxi association and many good independent taxi operators. Look for the signs outside the cab for a licence. Use a regulated taxi firm, and use a licensed hackney cab.
Only use cabs which you can see clearly the Newport city logo on them, which they can understand and recognise.
“There are many ways to stay safe. If you can, travel in pairs.
Newport is not an unsafe place to be and taxis are still the safest way to travel here.
Andrew Barley, operations manager at Dragon Taxis in Newport, said the trade was united in its disbelief and anger at Iqbal’s actions, which had tainted a service the public rely on 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
He said the firm had been inundated with calls from regular customers who travel alone at night, worried that drivers were free to do as they please when they pick them up. Mr Barley said: “I would say that the vast majority of taxi drivers are good, honest people who want nothing more than to earn a living.
“The people of Newport and Gwent should not be afraid to get a taxi, but should choose one of the reputable companies and prebook to guarantee that they are getting a service they can rely on and trust.”
Lionel Morris, chairman of Newport Taxi Drivers Association, said the case had damaged the reputation of taxi drivers. He said: “This should not stop people taking taxis. It might plant in their minds the possibility of this happening again, and they have a right to think that way. Newport, in general, is very safe. It has been years since something like this happened. I certainly cannot remember this in my time here.”
Malik Haseeb Ahsan, association secretary of Newport Taxi Drivers Association, said: “I am so ashamed of his (Iqbal’s) actions. As a taxi driver you don’t feel comfortable about it. It could happen anywhere to anyone, and it has damaged our industry.
People still need to use taxis though, but it will affect our business.”
Darren Anderson, manager of ABC taxis, said: “We have two female drivers in fleet. We normally get about five to six requests a month for them, if they personally request for them.
We’ve had no trouble from our drivers. If we have any suspicions with them, they will not be here, they would be out the door. We’re also licensed by the council.”
Alan Lakey, 58, owner of Dial-acar taxis, said: “Every taxi driver is police checked, and if they are doing schools, they have to do an enhanced police check. I think they should all be enhanced checked.
“Usually the drivers we employ are people who we know or somebody else knows. The police are very thorough with their background checks.”
Rachel Kent, 42, proprietor of City Lion taxis, said: “Quite a few women are more cautious now to make sure they are with somebody or get a taxi from a proper operator.
“We do background checks on our drivers, and most of our drivers have been with the company for quite a few years.”