Apology demanded after airport terror stop for reading Syrian book

Faizah ShaheenImage copyright Faizah Shaheen Image caption Faizah Shaheen was reported to authorities on her honeymoon flight to Turkey

A British woman says she is being forced to go to court to get an apology after she was questioned by counter-terrorism police for reading a Syrian art book on a plane.

Faizah Shaheen was reported to authorities by Thomson cabin crew on a honeymoon flight to Turkey in 2016.

Her lawyers told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme[1] she believes she was singled out because of her race.

Thomson said its crew were "trained to report any concerns" as a precaution.

'Singled out'

Ms Shaheen - a Muslim, whose work in mental health care in part involves looking for the signs of radicalisation in young people - was reading Syria Speaks:Art and Culture from the Frontline on the outbound flight.

The book is a collection of literature, photos, songs and cartoons from Syrian artists and writers.

She was stopped by police when she returned to the UK two weeks later.

Ms Shaheen and her husband were taken to a room at Doncaster Airport for questioning under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.

She said the interrogation lasted around 30 minutes, during which she was asked about the book, her work and the number of languages she spoke.

"I felt upset and distressed, followed by anger.I struggled to accept that I was being singled out for reading a book on art and culture," she explained.

"One year on, Thomson Airways has failed to provide an explanation or apology despite legal involvement.

"This attitude has left me with no option but to seek a declaration from the court under the Equality Act."

Image caption Ms Shaheen had been reading this book on Syrian culture

Ms Shaheen's legal team said it had written to Thomson telling the company it believed she had been a victim of discrimination.

It argued she believes she was singled out because of her race.

Ravi Naik, of ITN solicitors, said that while Thomson had acknowledged its initial communication, it had not responded to its correspondence since January.

"The Equality Act contains strong protections against discriminatory treatment on the basis of someone's race and religion and for good reason," he said.

"We have asked the airline to apologise, to which we have never received a meaningful reply."

Image copyright PA Image caption Ms Shaheen was stopped and examined under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000

Ms Shaheen said she does not desire compensation, but "an apology and explanation from Thomson Airways to ensure that it never happens again".

Jo Glanville, director of English PEN - a British free speech organisation who helped fund the book Ms Shaheen was reading - said Thomson's actions amounted to "a fundamental violation of our liberty, undermining our freedom to read any text we like in a public place".

She added:"Thomson should review its staff training procedures so that such an error never happens again.Reading a book should never be viewed as grounds for suspicious behaviour."

Thomson said in a statement:"We're really sorry if Ms Shaheen remains unhappy with how she feels she was treated.

"We wrote to her to explain that our crew undergo general safety and security awareness training on a regular basis.

"As part of this they are encouraged to be vigilant and share any information or questions with the relevant authorities, who would then act as appropriate."

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel.[2]...

References

  1. ^ BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme (www.bbc.co.uk)
  2. ^ Victoria Derbyshire programme (www.bbc.co.uk)

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Salvador Dali's body exhumed for DNA tests

Composite picture of Salvador Dalí and Maria Pilar Abel MartínezImage copyright AFP/EPA Image caption Ms Martínez says she was born in 1956 as a result of an affair between Dalí and her mother

Forensic experts in Spain have exhumed the body of the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí to extract DNA to settle a paternity case.

Samples were taken from the artist's teeth, bones and nails in a four-hour operation, officials said.

The exhumation followed a court order on behalf of a woman who says her mother had an affair with the painter.

If she is proved right, she could assume part of the Dalí's estate, currently owned by the Spanish state.

It may take weeks before the results of the tests are known.

The surrealist painter, who died in 1989 at the age of 85, was buried in a crypt in a museum dedicated to his life and work in Figueres, in north-eastern Spain.

A crowd gathered outside the museum to watch as police escorted the experts into the building on Thursday evening.

The exhumation went ahead despite the objections of the local authorities and the foundation carrying Dalí's name, both of which claimed that not enough notice had been given ahead of the exhumation.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption A crowd gathered in front of Dalí's museum

María Pilar Abel Martínez, a tarot card reader who was born in 1956, says her mother had an affair with Dalí during the year before her birth.Her mother, Antonia, had worked for a family that spent time in Cadaqués, near the painter's home.

Last month a Madrid judge ordered the exhumation to settle the claim.It is contested by the Dalí foundation, which manages the estate of the artist, who was not believed to have had any children.

Her action is against the Spanish state, to which Dalí left his estate.

image

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionWill Gompertz explained how Dali's body would be removed

Ms Martínez says her mother and paternal grandmother both told her at an early age that Dalí was her real father.

But the claim has surprised many, including Ian Gibson, an Irish-born biographer of Dalí, who said that the notion of the artist having an affair that produced a child was "absolutely impossible".

"Dalí always boasted:'I'm impotent, you've got to be impotent to be a great painter'," the biographer said.


Salvador Dalí:Life of a surrealist

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Dalí's wife, Gala, died in 1982 - after which he is said to have lost much of his zest for life
  • Born on 11 May 1904 in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain
  • Produced more than 1,500 paintings throughout his career
  • Married Elena Ivanovna Diakonova - or Gala - in 1934;they had no children
  • The couple had an open marriage and regularly held orgies at their house - though Dalí is said to have watched rather than participated
  • Died on 23 January 1989 in Figueres

Photo gallery of Dalí's work[1]...

References

  1. ^ Photo gallery of Dalí's work (www.bbc.co.uk)

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'Mind-blowing' cows hold clue to beating HIV

Cow close upImage copyright Getty Images

Cows have shown an "insane" and "mind-blowing" ability to tackle HIV which will help develop a vaccine, say US researchers.

In a first for immunisation, the animals rapidly produced special types of antibody that can neutralise HIV.

It is thought cows evolved a supreme immune defence due to their complex and bacteria-packed digestive system.

The US National Institutes of Health said the findings were of "great interest".

HIV is a slippery and nefarious opponent.It mutates so readily that every time a patient's immune system finds a way of attacking the virus, HIV shifts its appearance.

However, a small proportion of patients eventually develop "broadly neutralising antibodies" after years of infection.These attack parts the virus cannot change.

A vaccine that could train the immune system to make broadly neutralising antibodies should help prevent people being infected in the first place.

But no jab can do the job.

Bullseye

Then researchers at the International Aids Vaccine Initiative and the Scripps Research Institute tried immunising cows.

"The response blew our minds," Dr Devin Sok, one of the researchers, told the BBC News website.

The required antibodies were being produced by the cow's immune system in a matter of weeks.

Dr Sok added:"It was just insane how good it looked, in humans it takes three-to-five years to develop the antibodies we're talking about.

"This is really important because we hadn't been able to do it period.

"Who would have thought cow biology was making a significant contribution to HIV."

'Remarkable'

The results, published in the journal Nature[1], showed the cow's antibodies could neutralise 20% of HIV strains within 42 days.

By 381 days, they could neutralise 96% of strains tested in the lab.

Dr Dennis Burton, a fellow researcher, said:"The potent responses in this study are remarkable.

"Unlike human antibodies, cattle antibodies are more likely to bear unique features and gain an edge over HIV."

Unusually for human antibodies, the broadly neutralising ones have a long and loopy structure.Cow antibodies are inherently more long and loopy.

So the cow immune system finds making the antibodies easily.

It is thought the cow's "ruminant" digestive system which ferments grass in order to digest it is a Wild West of hostile bacteria.So the animals have developed the antibodies needed to keep them in check.

It means cattle could eventually become a source of drugs to make more effective vaginal microbicides to prevent HIV infection.

However, the real goal is to develop a vaccine that encourages the human immune system to make the antibodies it currently finds a struggle.

That remains a significant challenge, but the cattle study could help point the way.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said:"From the early days of the epidemic, we have recognized that HIV is very good at evading immunity, so exceptional immune systems that naturally produce broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV are of great interest - whether they belong to humans or cattle."

Follow James on Twitter[2]....

References

  1. ^ published in the journal Nature (nature.com)
  2. ^ on Twitter (twitter.com)

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Newspaper headlines: 'Borders will remain open after Brexit'

Image caption The Times focuses on the Brexit talks with citizens' rights at the centre of events.The paper says Theresa May is ready to offer EU citizens free movement to the UK for up to two years after Brexit under plans devised by Philip Hammond.The chancellor, continues the Times, is understood to believe that he has the support of every cabinet minister for a transitional deal. Image caption Similarly, the Guardian says that, according to a senior source, the cabinet has accepted that the free movement of people for up to four years after the UK leaves the EU will be part of a Brexit transition deal.The source tells the Guardian:"If you ask business when they want to see it agreed, they'd say tomorrow." Image caption The i says the talks ended in deadlock with no agreement on basic issues of citizens' rights and payments, and the UK was warned that Britons living in Europe may be barred from settling in other members states. Image caption The Daily Telegraph says it has emerged that foreign criminals will be allowed to remain in the UK as a fresh row broke out over Britain's right to deport EU convicts.The paper says the EU has demanded that the government drops plans to vet all three million European citizens who are expected to apply for the right to remain in the UK after Brexit. Image caption On to the BBC pay row, and the Metro says Gary Lineker's agent Jon Holmes has hit back at criticism of the former England footballer and Match of the Day presenter's £1.8m wages, saying:"The market has set the rate." Image caption The Daily Star splashes with the same story."Here's Gary Lineker trying to keep his cool by a swanky rooftop pool as the Beeb pay row boiled over," says the Star. Image caption The Daily Mail says the row deepened after the corporation admitted that some of its richest stars use a potential tax dodge.The high-profile presenters have their salaries routed through personal service companies so they can avoid income tax, claims the Mail. Image caption The Daily Mirror runs an investigation that found children as young as four have been held over knife crimes "as the shocking number of kids carrying blades soars".The paper quotes Police Federation chairman Steve White as saying:"It's truly shocking.We have to intervene before it is too late." Image caption The Daily Express says researchers have discovered that snoring can put people at greater risk of developing dementia.A study showed a link between Sleep Disordered Breathing - involving loud snoring, noisy and laboured breathing or repeated short periods where breathing is interrupted by gasping or snorting - and cognitive decline, explains the Express. Image caption Finally, the Sun is on top form with its front page which shows children making two-fingered gestures on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's tour of Germany.Under the headline "heir flick", the Sun says:"Two grinning German lads flick V-signs in front of Prince William and Kate - but royal relations were none the wurst."

Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning[1]...

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Moon dust bag sold for $1.8m at New York auction

The bag used to collect samples of the Moon is displayed at Sotheby'sImage copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption The white bag still carries traces of Moon dust and small rock

A bag used by US astronaut Neil Armstrong to collect the first ever samples of the Moon has sold at auction in New York for $1.8m (£1.4m).

The outer decontamination bag from the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 was bought at Sotheby's by an anonymous bidder.

The white bag still carries traces of Moon dust and small rocks.

The auction comes after a legal battle over the ownership of the only artefact from the Apollo 11 mission which was in private hands.

After the spacecraft returned to Earth, nearly all the equipment was sent to the Smithsonian museums.

However, the bag was left in a box at the Johnson Space Center because of an inventory error.

It was then misidentified during a government auction, selling for just $995 to a lawyer form Illinois in 2015.

Nasa later tried to get the bag back, but earlier this year a federal judge ruled that it legally belonged to the buyer, who then offered it for sale at Sotheby's....

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