Archive | May 8th, 2015

Anti-Zionist Galloway loses seat in UK vote


MP who declared his town of Bradford ‘off limits’ to Israelis wins less than half the votes of his Labour rival

George Galloway

The most virulently anti-Israel member of Britain’s Parliament suffered a disaster in Britain’s election as he lost his seat on Friday.

The Respect politician nicknamed “Gorgeous George” Galloway is a firebrand campaigner known for his championing of pro-Palestinian issues — to the point of declaring his city of Bradford off limits to Israelis. He was for years an outspoken supporter of Syrian president Bashar Assad and a critic of Western military interventions in the Middle East.

Galloway lost his seat to a candidate of the center-left Labour Party.

Galloway glowered from under a trilby hat as Labour rival Naz Shah won by 19,977 votes to his 8,557 in the northern English constituency of Bradford West.

“There will be others who are already celebrating: the venal, the vile, the racists and the Zionists will all be celebrating,” Galloway said in his speech. “The hyena can bounce on the lion’s grave but it can never be a lion and in any case, I’m not in my grave. As a matter of fact I’m going off now to plan the next campaign.”

Since 2012 Galloway had represented the constituency as the leader and only MP of the Respect party, which grew out of opposition to the Iraq War that began in 2003.

On the same night, Galloway was reported to police because of a tweet that broke rules banning the publication of opinion polls while voting was ongoing.

The BBC reported that police had been given a screen-grab showing Galloway had re-Tweeted a message indicating he was ahead in the contest before the polls had closed — forbidden under British law.

“We have reported a tweet by George Galloway to the police who are dealing with the issue,” said Suzan Hemingway, acting returning officer at the count centre.

“It seems like a storm in a thimble,” said a Respect Party spokesman, saying he had not been told about any police complaint.

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Kerry: ‘We’re Focused on Teaching Americans to Find Yemen on a Map’


Map of Yemen

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that the United States is working “very hard” to help geographically challenged Americans locate the war-torn Republic of Yemen.

“I’ve pretty much tuned out of the Middle East. This State Department gig is about to end and I’ve been surfing LinkedIn for my next career challenge. I’ll manage. I mean have you ever received a call fromsome assclown trying to sell you office supplies who had this fantastically pretentiousness Boston Brahmin accent? Not bloody likely. But how about my fellow Americans? The future wellbeing of the United States will remain uncertain so long as half of our country’s citizens are unable to identify Mississippi, much less spell it,” Kerry told reporters in Sri Lanka.

RELATED: Israel Joins Saudi Coalition Against Yemen…Uninvited

“Geographic illiteracy is impacting our relationships with other nations. Just last week, I was horrified to hear from the South African Ambassador that a State Department spokesperson couldn’t find South Africa on a map of Africa. The sorry incident reminds me of the time in the early 1980s I went out windsurfing on Cape Cod and wound up crashing into a Kennedy family barbeque in Hyannis Port. Had I been better in geography, Ted Kennedy wouldn’t have replayed that shit to me on the Senate floor for the better part of a year.”

In a related story, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that her government would be embarking on a nationwide campaign to improve German citizens’ sense of humor.

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Zio-Nazi regime Tries Unsuccessfully To Justify Bombings Of UN Schools

“It is extremely disappointing that a former head of the Israeli army should repeat an allegation publicly retracted by his own spokesperson. It is unfortunate and creates a hostile environment for humanitarian agencies.”
A United Nations aid agency car lies destroyed by shrapnel from an Israeli strike in the Jebaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, July 29, 2014.A United Nations aid agency car lies destroyed by shrapnel from an Israeli strike in the Jebaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, July 29, 2014.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on Tuesday denied a false allegation made against it by former head of the Israeli army over an alleged incident which occurred during the 2014 summer Israeli aggression on Gaza.

According to WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency, the organization stressed that the allegation made by former head of the army – that a weapon was fired from an UNRWA school in Gaza and claimed the life of an Israeli child in a kibbutz in southern Israel – was later proven wrong.

On the record UNRWA quote via Chris Gunness:

“The head of the Israeli army during the summer war in Gaza has reportedly made the allegation that a weapon fired from an UNRWA school in Gaza killed an Israeli child in a kibbutz in southern Israel.

This allegation was made by the Israeli Army in August 2014. However, it is false. Less than 2 hours after it was first made by the Israeli army, the Israeli army itself officially retracted theclaim and issued a correction through the Twitter account of its Spokesperson [see below].

It is extremely disappointing that a former head of the Israeli army should repeat an allegation publicly retracted by his own spokesperson. It is unfortunate and creates a hostile environment for humanitarian agencies. Officials should ensure accuracy of their public statements.”

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Over 30 Westerners Have Been Killed By Covert US Drone Stikes


Image result for Drone Strikes PHOTO

The CIA’s own data shown that it is only able to identify one out four victims of drone strikes, labeling the remaining three as unknown militants.

As the Bureau revealed recently, the accidental killing of American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giorgio Lo Porto by the CIA in January now means at least 38 Westerners have been killed by covert US drones in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

Yet, as a major analysis of the nationalities killed by such strikes shows, this figure is just 1.6% of the total dead who the Bureau has established their country or region of origin.

There have now been 515 US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia since 2002, killing at least 2,887 people. Of those, the Bureau has been able to determine where 2,353 came from. They include Moroccans, Kenyans and Syrians – drawn from 34 countries in all.

The majority however came from the country they died in. More than 60% of those killed in Pakistan were reportedly from Pakistan. More than 80% of those killed in Yemen were reportedly Yemenis. For Somalia, information about the dead is more limited, but where the Bureau has been able to find details, 45% of those killed were Somali.

This data is not in itself surprising – experts have told the Bureau the majority of armed groups in these countries are made up of local people.

But the how much the local populations have been in the drones’ firing line had hitherto not been quantified. The Bureau compiled this data in conjunction with Chris Woods for his new book Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone War.

This demonstrates the extent to which Pakistan the US has been hitting the insurgents who have used the country’s tribal areas as a safe-haven from which to launch attacks on US and allied troops in Afghanistan. In Yemen, the US has been fighting with the government on one side of a complicated civil war.

The civilian toll from all CIA strikes in Pakistan also falls on the local population. Of the minimum 423 civilians reported killed, three have been clearly identified as coming from outside the Central Asian region. Lo Porto and Weinstein were Westerners, and Umm al Shaymah was the Egyptian wife of al Qaeda terrorist Mustafa Abu Yazid. Al Shaymah’s three daughters were also killed in the attack though it is not clear if they were born in Egypt or Pakistan.

Details on many of the dead is difficult to come by. For example, the Bureau’s Naming the Dead project has over two years painstakingly pieced together information on the dead in Pakistan – but it has only named 721 of at least 2,449 people killed.

The gaps in the CIA’s data could stem from its use of tactics like signature strikes.

The CIA itself also has an incomplete understanding of who has been killed in its strikes. Leaked Agency records of its attacks in Pakistan show nearly one in four strikes killed “other militants” whom the CIA could not identify either by name or group affiliation. The data also shows the CIA records estimates of casualties in ranges, reflecting uncertainty in the total number of people killed, not just the identity.

The gaps in the CIA’s data could stem from its use of tactics like signature strikes.

Signature strikes kill people not based on their identity but on a pattern of life analysis – an intelligence assessment built up over prolonged surveillance. There is considerable scope for error in these kinds of attacks. The January 15 attack that killed Lo Porto and Weinstein was a signature strike. After days of surveillance of the house they were held in, the CIA determined four unidentified al Qaeda members were inside. The CIA knew it had made a mistake when six bodies were removed from the structure.

Controversial Tactics

The high proportion of Pakistanis among the drone dead could be a consequence of other controversial CIA tactics.

The CIA’s targeting policies have taken their toll on the Pakistani population of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), even when the drones were not aiming at a local targetOn October 30 2006 drones destroyed a madrassa in Kuram agency. The target was reportedly Ayman al Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden’s Egyptian deputy. The strike missed him but killed at least 79 Pakistani civilians, most of them children.

The high number of Pakistanis and people from Afghanistan and Uzbekistan reportedly killed by drones could also demonstrate how the US has expanded its range of drone targets in the country. The early strikes were intended for two groups: al Qaeda terrorists the CIA was gunning for, and Pakistani terrorists who Islamabad wanted dead.

According to the New York Times, Pakistan and the CIA came to an agreement before the drone campaign began. The US could take out its al Qaeda targets if it also killed Pakistan’s enemies.

Since 2004, the strikes appear to have taken their toll on the traditionally Arab membership of al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Bureau has recorded at least 107 people killed by drones in Pakistan who reportedly came from Middle Eastern, or north and east African countries such as Egypt, Libya and Sudan. A further 116 people were simply described as “Arabs”.

The first drone strike in June 2004 killed Nek Mohammed, a Pakistani militant who defied the Pakistani military and forced the army into a humiliating ceasefire two months before his death. The second strike, in May 2005, took out Haitham al Yemeni – an al Qaeda explosives expert from Yemen.

Documents reviewed by McClatchy news agency confirmed a secret deal between US and Pakistani officialsensured the CIA and its Pakistani counterpart the ISI worked together to kill both countries’ enemies.

The rate of strikes increased during the Obama administration as did the number of casualties and the number of Arabs among them. With the number of veteran al Qaeda fighters dwindling, a “deep bench” of terrorists from Pakistani and Central Asian terrorist groups stepped up to replace them, an unnamed US intelligence official told the Long War Journal in 2012.

Total killed, and their country or region of origin, from US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia
Pakistan 1,370 US 10 China 4 Morocco 2
Yemen 175 Libya 8 Jordan 4 Tunisia 1
Uzbekistan 138 UK 8 Syria 4 Sudan 1
“Pashtun” 136 Germany 7 “Africa” 3 Belgium or Swiss 1
“Arab” 119 Turkey 6 Tajikistan 3 Palestine 1
Afghanistan 90 Kuwait 6 Algeria 3 Lebanon 1
“Foreign” 86 Iraq 6 Australia 3 Russia (Chechen) 1
“Central Asia” 73 Somalia 6 Spain 2 Bahrain 1
Egypt 29 Kenya 5 Iran 2 Italy 1
Saudi Arabia 28 “Western” 4 Canada 2

The number of Arab fighters fell “dramatically” after around 2009 when US drone strikes and Pakistani military offensives took their toll on al Qaeda’s ranks, Rahimullah Yusufzai, a Pakistani journalist and expert on armed groups in the Fata, told the Bureau

There was a significant population of Arabs in the Fata, Yusufzai continued. “But numbers have gone down drastically… I don’t think that there would be more than 200.”

Fewer young Arab men are following the traditional path to Pakistan to fight in Afghanistan, he said. “It is not easy [to] come here and stay here. There is better security, better controls at the airport [and] on the borders.”

This leaves the veterans “who are living here for years, who can’t go back, who are most wanted. So they are here moving back and forth across the border between [Afghanistan and Pakistan].”

According to US administration officials from President Obama down, Washington uses its drones to hunt “al Qaeda and associated forces”.

This vague phrasing is believed to include the various factions. These include those Pakistan as a haven while fighting with the insurgency in Afghanistan, such as the Haqqani Network and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and groups set against the Pakistani state, including the Pakistan Taliban and Lashkar e Jangvi.

The CIA’s own data demonstrates it has targeted a wider array of armed groups than just al Qaeda.

Pakistanis make up nearly two-thirds of those people killed by drones in Pakistan, according to Bureau research.

In 2013, the McClatchy news agency published a leaked section of the CIA’s internal drone strike record of attacks and casualties in a 12-month period leading up to September 2011. It shows that nearly half the strikes in that period “hit groups other than al Qaeda, including the Haqqani network, several Pakistani Taliban factions.” It also shows “the CIA killed people who only were suspected, associated with, or who probably belonged to militant groups.”

These organisations comprise Pakistanis, Afghans and Uzbeks. They are the largest groupings of fighters by nationality, according to Yousufzai, and it is unsurprising there are so many of them listed in the Bureau’s data.

Pakistanis make up nearly two-thirds of those people killed by drones in Pakistan, according to Bureau research. This figure rises to 72% when people from the wider region – those described as Uzbeks, Central Asian or Pashtun – are included.

The lower frequency of strikes in the early years of the drone war demonstrates some constraint on the campaign. However in 2008 President Bush gave the CIA greater freedom in its strikes in Pakistan – including giving them permission to specifically target westerners, as revealed by Woods.

A surge in CIA strikes

This leeway from the White House precipitated a surge in CIA strikes in the second half of 2008. This continued in 2009 before the CIA stepped up the intensity again in 2010.

In December 2009 the Pakistan Taliban and al Qaeda sent a suicide bomber to Camp Chapman, a CIA base in Khost province, Afghanistan. The attack left seven CIA personnel dead. After the bombing, the CIA’s “shackles were unleashed” according to an unnamed intelligence official. “The CIA went to war,” another official said, adding: “The White House stood back.”

The US carried out 128 drone strikes in Pakistan that year, 23 in September alone, the peak of the drone war. At least 755 people were killed, 89 of them reportedly civilians. At least 510 of the dead were said to be from Pakistan or elsewhere in Central Asia – at least 72 of them civilians.

In Yemen the US has hit proportionally more local people than in Pakistan. The Bureau however has only managed to determine place of origin for 179 of the minimum 436 people killed by drones there. This partial picture shows more than four fifths of them were Yemeni which fits with the established understanding of the make-up of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

It was formed in 2007 from an amalgamation of veterans from al Qaeda groups based in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It has largely retained this composition, Yemen expert and Buzzfeed’s writer-at-large Gregory Johnsen told the Bureau. “They have an international aspect but certainly the vast majority of the organisation continues to be Yemeni and then Saudi.”

Who exactly is a member of AQAP has always been hard to determine in Yemen, not least because AQAP has formed alliances of convenience with various Yemeni tribes. In the past, the tribes would side with al Qaeda in their fight against the central government in Sanaa. Now, the tribes have united with fellow Sunnis in AQAP against the Shia Houthi rebels who have swept through Yemen in the past six months, ousting the president into exile.

“Membership in this group, and particularly now given the fluid situation on the ground in Yemen, is really really hard to determine,” says Johnsen.

“It is hard to determine who are fighters who are local fighters in Yemen who are joining and affiliating with al Qaeda only as a way to, say, combat the Houthis, and who are members who are joining with the organisation in a way that accepts wholeheartedly their ideology both the national and what al Qaeda would call the transnational Jihad.”

Throughout all, the US has supported the government in Sanaa which has strongly supported Washington’s counter-terrorism efforts in Yemen. As one US official said in April 2012, this has led the US into a complicated conflict: “I think there is the potential that we would be perceived as taking sides in a civil war.”

This was echoed by a former senior US Department of Defence official who told Woods: “I am not convinced that what we are doing in Yemen makes sense either politically or even that we’re striking the right people… You get more of a sense that we may be involved in a local conflict more than a global conflict.”

The US took sides in a civil war in Somalia when it backed an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, ostensibly aimed at crushing al Shabaab. The group had become the dominant force in the country. Since 2007 the US has provided air strikes and intelligence support to various African countries that have sent troops to the Horn of Africa to support the government in Mogadishu.

The Bureau’s data on drone strikes in Somalia is limited because of the difficulties in obtaining information in a country racked by decades of conflict. The Bureau has the nationality of 12 of at least 23 people killed with drones in Somalia.

Eight are from Somalia or Kenya which is generally consistent with the structure of the group, according to Dr Stig Jarle Hansen, associate professor of international relations at the Norwegian University of Life Science.

It is now 13 years since the US started its covert drone wars and it is clear its targets have expanded beyond al Qaeda. It is also clear that the local men who make up these other targeted entities have been hit more than anyone. The US still fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and AQAP looks set to exploit the calamitous situation in Yemen. With CIA director John Brennan warning an audience in Washington the war on terror could continue indefinitely it is inevitable the death toll among local communities will rise.

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Turkey is set to send ground forces to Syria

Turkey is set to send ground forces to Syria
Turkey is set to send ground forces to Syria
Turkey’s main opposition party said Ankara is set to send ground forces to Syria in the upcoming days to militarily intervene in its neighboring country.

According to Gursel Tekin, the deputy chairman of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Turkish ground forces are scheduled to be dispatched to Syria within two days, Turkish Today’s Zaman newspaper reported on Thursday.

He further elaborated that the forces will be sent to the north of Syria on Thursday or Friday night, adding that he has received the information on Turkey’s plan for intervention in Syria from a reliable source.

He further warned against the repercussions of such an intervention, stressing that the ruling party aims to extend its rule in the country by dragging Turkey into a quagmire.

US-based news outlet Huffington Post reported in April that Turkey and Zio-Wahhabi regime  are in high-level talks aimed at establishing a military alliance with the purpose of intervening in Syria and attempting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.


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US resumes training Terrorists

A 26-year old foreign fighter from the US in the outskirts of the north-western Syrian town of Tal Tamr
A 26-year old foreign fighter from the US in the outskirts of the north-western Syrian town of Tal Tamr
The American military has started training “moderate” militants in Jordan to fight Zio-Wahhabi ISIL terrorists in Syria, US officials say.

The training is underway at a site set up by the US and allies in the “coalition” against Zio-Wahhabi ISIL.

The US plans to train and arm a force that is set to total more than 15,000 militants by 2018. The program aims to train 5,000 militants annually for the next three years.

On Wednesday, it was announced by US military officials that hundreds of US troops will begin to train thousands of militants fighting against Zio-Wahhabi ISIL terrorist group in Syria as soon as this week.

At least 400 US soldiers were already in Jordan and Turkey in anticipation of the training program.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011. The United States and its regional allies — especially American puppet regimes of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside the country.

The United Nations said more than 3.8 million Syrians have left their country since the beginning of the crisis and over 7.2 million Syrians have also become internally displaced.


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Andy Burnham favourite to become Labour leader if Ed Miliband goes


Bookmakers place former health secretary ahead of Yvette Cooper, Chuka Umunna and others to take over if Miliband resigns

Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, Chuka Ummuna - Composite
Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, Chuka Ummuna – Composite

Andy Burnham has emerged as the favourite to replace Ed Miliband, should the Labour leader be forced out after a disastrous general election result.

Bookmakers placed the former health secretary ahead of Yvette Cooper, Chuka Umunna and others to take over from Miliband. According to one bookmaker,David Miliband was also in the running. But others agreed that Dan Jarvis and Tristram Hunt had a better chance.

The contenders

Andy Burnham

Reasons for: Burnham didn’t get much support the last time he stood for the leadership, when he made it to the second of four rounds of voting without ever really challenging. That he is the only one of the five candidates from that election seriously in the running this time, however, says a great deal about his performance ever since.

Perhaps predictably, he claimed to have no interest in the job as the exit polls were released on Thursday evening. “The only job I want tomorrow is to be health secretary in Ed Miliband’s government,” he said.

Reasons against: It would have been difficult for such a high-ranking member of the shadow cabinet to do anything else, but Burnham was a key member of the phalanx of senior Labour members who rallied around Ed Miliband when the party’s electoral prospects looked their most dire.

As a result, he may seem too close to a tarnished regime for some to believe he could make the Labour party electable again.

Shadow Home Secretary, Labour’s, Yvette Cooper speaks during the Labour party’s Crime and Justice manifesto launch

 Shadow Home Secretary, Labour’s, Yvette Cooper speaks during the Labour party’s Crime and Justice manifesto launch Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Yvette Cooper

Reasons for: “Whoever wins Labour’s leadership election, I’ll still be there… campaigning for progressive help for women. And as for future leadership contests, who knows …” Those were the words of Yvette Cooper on why she was not going to run for the Labour leadership. But that was in 2010.

Cooper made it clear when she laid out her reasons for not running then that she placed better representation of women at or near the top of her list of motivations for one day seeking to become prime minister. But to suggest that she could simply be the candidate to capitalise on David Cameron’s “women problem” would be to do her record a disservice.

Like Burnham, she has held high office in the past and has campaigned robustly – and successfully – on issues ranging from domestic violence to accepting moreSyrian refugees.

Reasons against: She shares experience with Burnham, she also shares the risks that come with her close association with tarnished regimes. In many people’s minds, Cooper represents the surviving New Labour influence on today’s party. She is, according to this newspaper’s Rachel Cooke – who interviewed Cooper last year, robotic. There are concerns that Cooper’s effectiveness as a politician will not transfer to voters.

Chuka Umunna, labour politician in his Streatham constituency

 Chuka Umunna, labour politician in his Streatham constituency Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian

Chuka Umunna

Reasons for: Despite being one of the most regular public faces of Ed Miliband’s Labour party, Umunna is still seen by some as the young, fresh candidate who can get his message across. He is an able and effective politician, who has been widely tipped as being a future leader of the party.

Reasons against: A future leader, perhaps. But not necessarily the next leader. He is 36 years old; by the next election, he will be 41; significantly younger than any of the main players this time round. Yvette Cooper said the last leadership contest did not come at a good time for her. And Umunna may decide this one comes to early for him.

Don’t discount

The odds are also relatively short on Dan Jarvis, Tristram Hunt and even David Miliband, while Rachel Reeves could be a dark horse.

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Miliband’s dream dies as Labour loses out on top target


General Election 2015

Tories hold North Warwickshire as results flood in across the Midlands

Conservative Craig Tracey, centre, celebrates winning North Warwickshire seat with wife Karen and outgoing MP Dan Byles.
Conservative Craig Tracey, centre, celebrates winning North Warwickshire seat with wife Karen and outgoing MP Dan Byles.

Tories held North Warwickshire – Labour’s top target – as Ed Miliband’s dream of becoming Prime Minister died in the early hours of this morning.

Craig Tracey kept the seat blue as he replaced the outgoing Dan Byles, who stood down to pursue what the former soldier described as “new challenges”.

Mr Tracey won with a majority of 2,973 from Labour’s Mike O’Brien, who was MP for the constituency from 1992 to 2010.

UKIP’s William Cash – the son of veteran Tory MP Bill Cash – was third.

The Tories also held Worcester with an increased majority.

Robin Walker took the seat with 22,534 votes, well ahead of Labour’s Joy Squires’ 16,888 tally.

In keeping with the national trend, UKIP came in third as James Goad polled 6,378 votes.

In the Black Country, John Spellar provided some cheer for Labour when he was re-electedin Warley.

The Greens finished fourth, behind the Tories and UKIP, but pushed the Lib Dems into fifth.

The picture was much the same in West Bromwich West.

West Bromwich Labour MP Adrian Bailey held on to his seat with a comfortable majority.

He polled 16,578 votes – almost double the 8,836 of UKIP runner-up Graham Eardley.

Perhaps most significant was UKIP’s success at forcing the Tories into third place, Paul Ratner polling 8,365 votes.

It represented a 9.26 per cent swing from Labout to UKIP.

The Greens came fourth and, yet again, the Lib Dems propped up the poll.

In neighbouring West Bromwich East, fellow Labour candidate Tom Watson also retained his seat.

He polled 18,817 votes, more than twice the figure of second-placed Conservative Olivia Seccombe.

Another Labour politician, David Winnick, was returned to Westminster in Walsall Northwith 14,392 votes.

The party also held Walsall South through Valerie Vaz.

The third Walsall seat, Aldridge-Brownhills, was also held by the sitting party, with Tory Wendy Morton replacing veteran Conservative Sir Richard Shepherd, who is retiring.

The Conservatives held Dudley South through Mike Wood.

He also replaced a party colleague Chris Kelly, who chose to stand down.

Mr Wood polled 16,723 votes, with Labour’s Natasha Millward second with 12,453 votes.

In nearby Dudley North, Labour’s Ian Austin saw off the challenge of UKIP and the Tories with an increased majority of 15,885.

Conservative Margot James held Stourbridge with 21,195 votes, beating Labour’s Pete Lowe into second place.

While in Halesowen, James Morris will be returning to Parliament with a majority of 3,082.

Staying in the Black Country, Labour’s Rob Marris took Wolverhampton South West from the Conservatives – beating sitting Conservative MP Paul Uppal.

Labour’s Pat McFadden (Lab) held Wolverhampton South East and her party colleague Emma Reynolds retained Wolverhampton North East.

There was no surprise in Sutton Coldfield as Conservative Andrew Mitchell retained his seat with a majority of 16,417.

He saw off the challenge of Labour’s Rob Pocock, who received 11,365 votes, with UKIP’s Marcus John Brown third with 7,489 and Liberal Democrat Richard Brighton Knight fourth with 2,627.

Mr Mitchell’s majority was slightly down from the 17,000 figure of 2010 but voters stood by him following the plebgate saga, when he was accused of swearing at a Downing Street police officer.

A fortnight ago he admitted he still hoped to return to the Cabinet, despite losing a high-profile libel action over claims he called police officers “plebs”.

And he admitted he regretted taking the legal action, which experts said could have costhim as much as £2 million in legal fees and damages.

Asked how much it cost, he refused to give a figure but admitted: “The impact is appalling.”

And the Tories also held Tamworth with Christopher Pincher polling 23,606 votes.

Still in Staffordshire, Conservative Michael Fabricant was sent back to Westminster in Lichfield and Tory Amanda Milling kept Cannock Chase blue as she replaced the outgoing Aidan Burley.

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John Hemming calls on Nick Clegg to quit after losing his seat

Colourful Liberal Democrat also insists he will return to politics
John Hemming at the general election count in Birmingham
John Hemming at the general election count in Birmingham

LARGER-than-life politician John Hemming has lost his Yardley seat of ten years.

But this morning he remained defiant, promising: “I will rise from the political grave.”

The MP of ten years claimed his loss to Labour rival Jess Phillips was a result of the ‘air war’ which saw the Liberal Democrats routed throughout the country.

And he called for Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg to stand down following the disastrous night and added he has heard rumours that the leader has already resigned.

Yardley was Labour’s top target in the city – and a rare success for them on an otherwise difficult night.

Mr Hemming, who had been a city councillor before being elected MP in 2005, said: “We fought really well in the circumstances but lost.

“It was a result of voters who wanted to stop either David Cameron or Ed Miliband being Prime Minister.”

Asked about his future Mr Hemming, an accomplished jazz musician, joked: “This will give me more time to practice the saxophone.

“It seemed to work for Bill Clinton.”

He added: “One day I will rise from the political grave.”

The result in Yardley was expected to be tight, but in the end Ms Phillips won comfortably by 6,595 votes.

She polled 17,129 votes to Mr Hemming’s 10,534 securing a rare boost for Ed Miliband’s party.

Tory Arun Photay secured 5,760 votes, while the Greens polled 698, UKIP 6,637, Trade Unionists and Socialist 135, Social Democratic 71 and Respect 187.

Ms Phillips said: “I am so thankful to the people of Yardley for putting their trust in me. I will never take it for granted.

She paid tribute to her late mother who urged her to ‘always give voice to the voiceless and strive to help every child as you would your own children’ and vowed to keep that.

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Zio-Wahhabi Apache Helicopter Was Shot Down

Saudi Apache Helicopter Was Shot Down
Saudi Apache Helicopter Was Shot Down
Citing Yemeni sources, Al-Alam TV correspondent reports: Zio-Wahhabi Apache helicopter was shot down in Sa’dah Governorate, north-western Yemen.

According to Yemeni sources, Al-Baqa’ residents in Sa’dah Province toppled down Zio-Wahhabi Apache helicopter.

Zio-Wahhabi Army augmented the severity of its attacks in Sana’a and Sa’dah in Northern Yemen. With over a hundred missiles and rockets, the border areas of Hajjah and Sa’dah Governorates were targeted.

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