Monthly Archives: September 2017

Islamists lure youngsters in the Philippines with payments, promise of paradise

Marawi City, Philippines – When he saw his commander holding the severed head of one of his neighbours, teenage Islamist fighter Jalil knew it was time to escape from Marawi City.

Churches and homes had been ransacked, people had been shot or taken hostage, and now Philippines government troops, planes and helicopters were pounding the Islamic State loyalists who had taken over large parts of the town on May 23.

Six days into the occupation, 17-year-old Jalil said he came across a crowd of fellow fighters led by rebel chief Abdullah Maute, including a boy who looked about 10.

They were cheering the beheading of a Christian from Jalil’s neighbourhood who was accused of being a spy.

“Abdullah Maute was holding a man’s head, he was shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is Greatest),” said Jalil, who spoke on condition his identity was not revealed to protect him from reprisals.

“They chanted with him. At that point, I realised I had to get away. I wanted no part in this.”

Jalil’s story could not be independently verified. Authorities have placed him in protective custody and say he has helped identify militants fighting in Marawi.

Jalil is one of hundreds of Muslim youths lured by Islamic State followers in Mindanao, a poverty-plagued southern island of the Philippines, that governments in Southeast Asia fear could become a regional stronghold for the ultra-radical group as it loses territory in Syria and Iraq.

Rommel Banlaoi, executive director of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR), says foreign recruiters have been active in Mindanao for years but Islamic State’s powerful propaganda and the rise of the local Maute clan of militants have brought a surge in followers.

“The recruitment is now happening very, very rapidly,” said Banlaoi, who monitors mobilisation in Mindanao via informants and police interrogation reports of militants.

“They’re very sophisticated. They are serious community organisers and serious recruiters.”

Schools, madrassas (Islamic schools) and even day-care centres with extremist leanings have been identified as recruiting grounds.

Authorities are working with religious teachers to keep radical ideas out of mosques and off curriculum, according to army spokesman Colonel Romeo Brawner.

But provincial leaders and some military officers say the efforts are weak, partly because militants have plenty of money to reel youths into their ranks.

“BACK IN SERVICE”

Jalil said his involvement began when he was 11 at a mosque in Piagapo, a rustic municipality 20 km (12 miles) from Marawi, where an imam convinced him to join 40 youngsters at a training camp in return for meals and 15,000 pesos ($294) per month.

He underwent daily weapons and combat training, and teachings from the Quran.

He was expelled from the programme after only three months, he said, when he revealed details about his network during a mock interrogation.

Jalil heard nothing from his recruiters for six years, but the day before the Marawi siege began, there was a knock at his door.

Outside was a teenager, and behind him a pickup truck with 10 other youngsters on board.

“I knew them, they were my classmates in training,” he said. “They told me ‘you’re now back in service.'”

The ubiquitous villages with tattered mosques, wooden homes and dirt-track roads carved into the jungles and mountains of Mindanao are fertile ground for recruiting unschooled youngsters and turning them into militants in camps far off the radar.

The army discovered one such training ground in Piagapo, after a three-day battle that killed 36 Maute fighters, among them foreigners and an imam. That was one month before the Marawi siege.

Reuters spoke to two teenagers from that camp, who said they were lured by promises of money, marriage and paradise after death.

They spoke on condition their full identities be withheld because authorities were not aware of their involvement, which they said ceased when the imam was killed.

Their accounts could not be independently verified.

“We were trained how to evade checkpoints. We were trained how to ambush, to move silently,” said 18-year-old Abdul, who described how he and others learned to dismantle rifles, make bombs and engage in hand-to-hand combat.

Faisal, 19, said the imam held Quran classes in small jungle huts, while foreigners, whose nationalities he did not know, trained them to fight non-believers.

“The imam told us we would be rewarded with marriage to any beautiful girl we want,” he said.

The government says poor and uneducated males like Abdul and Faisal are easy prey in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which comprises five of Mindanao’s 27 provinces.

In 2015 and 2016, the ARMM had the lowest secondary-school enrollment and the highest dropout rate, according to the education ministry, with just 32.4 per cent of ARMM youth in school compared to the national average of 68 per cent.

Nearly half of ARMM families live in poverty, under the government’s monthly income threshold of 9,064 pesos ($177), according to official data, compared to the national average of 16.5 per cent.

In Lanao del Sur, where Marawi is located, 66.3 per cent of families live in poverty.

ONLINE PROFILING

But not all targets are poor, rural and uneducated.

Urban youth and students are also on the radar of recruiters who have infiltrated schools and universities and mastered social media, both to spread propaganda and to spot candidates for radicalisation among Mindanao Muslims, known as Moros.

Prime targets, said Banlaoi, are those posting on social media about economic and social exclusion, or historical injustice.

A hot topic is the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) peace deal with the government, which promised to make ARMM a self-governing region called Bangsamoro (nation of Moros) but has been dogged by delays, breakdowns and mistrust.

Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF’s top negotiator, said extremists exploit disillusionment with the Bangsamoro plan and promote violence by teaching only selected verses of the Quran.

“We monitor them, but because the recruitment is so secretive, we cannot do everything,” he told Reuters.

Banlaoi said extremists had access to technology used in the Middle East by Islamic State to track chatter on platforms like Facebook and Telegram, find suitable candidates and probe their friend networks.

These recruiters included Indonesians and Malaysian militants who were “very persistent”.

The government’s fight is as much about winning hearts and minds among the Bangsamoro people as it is the battle for Marawi that has now ground on for nearly four months.

Militants try to sway public opinion with slick videos celebrating their triumph over “crusaders” they say are destroying Muslim homes and businesses in Marawi with artillery and air strikes.

The military says its focus groups have shown some displaced Marawi children “idolise” the militants.

It has sent female soldiers to counsel children in evacuation camps and identify those already radicalised.

Jalil, the teen fighter said he was at first inspired by the rousing speeches of Abdullah Maute and his brother, Omarkhayam.

But he was appalled by the bloodletting that ensued.

“I can’t forget what I saw. Every street corner there were dead bodies, Christians and Muslims,” he said.

On the night of the execution he witnesses, Jalil abandoned his post guarding a bridge and rode a motorcycle for 50 km (31 miles) to evade army checkpoints.

He turned himself in to police two weeks later.

A former military intelligence officer who has tracked the Maute clan said the military under-estimated them as a “ragtag group”.

But the Mautes have demonstrated a capacity to regroup and, thanks to deep pockets and the respect they command among local youth, would probably strengthen after Marawi is retaken by “filling vacancies” left by hundreds of dead fighters.

The worst-case scenario, the officer said, was if the Maute brothers survive. “Recruitment will be massive,” he said. “There are lots of students idolising them.”

N.Korea’s foreign minister calls Trump’s UN address “sound of dog barking”

Seoul – North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho called US President Donald Trump’s address to the United Nations “the sound of a dog barking”, brushing aside Trump’s remarks that the United States may be forced to “totally destroy” North Korea.

“There is a saying that goes: ‘Even when dogs bark, the parade goes on’,” said Ri in televised remarks to reporters in front of a hotel near the United Nations headquarters in New York.

“If (Trump) was thinking about surprising us with dog-barking sounds then he is clearly dreaming.”

When asked by reporters what he thought of Trump calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “rocket man”, Ri quipped, “I feel sorry for his aides.”

Ri is slated to make a UN speech on Friday.

His comments were the first official reaction from North Korea after Trump had issued his sternest warning yet to Pyongyang in his address to the United Nations, urging member states to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it halts its hostile behaviour.

If North Korea threatens the United States or its allies, Trump said: “We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime,” he added.

South Korea’s presidential office had later said Trump’s warning to North Korea had been “firm and specific”.

Bran Stark just started university in the UK — and Twitter is going crazy

Isaac Hempstead Wright's Instagram suggests he has been travelling in the lead up to heading to uni. He posted this photo while in Japan in July.

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Isaac Hempstead Wright’s Instagram suggests he has been travelling in the lead up to heading to uni. He posted this photo while in Japan in July.
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Instagram/isaachwright

Isaac Hempstead Wright, aka Bran Stark from “Game of Thrones,” has been spotted on campus at the University of Birmingham during Freshers’ Week.

Reports that he had enrolled at UoB initially surfaced on Twitter.

Birmingham’s edition of The Tab has since confirmed sightings of Hempstead Wright with current students at the university who say they spotted the actor at various locations on campus.

He is reportedly studying Maths and staying at the university’s newest halls, Chamberlain.

So far the actor’s been spotted both on nights out and at various locations on campus, including the sports fair.

Bran Stark surprised Game of Thrones

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HBO

Harry Mackenzie told The Tab he saw Hempstead Wright while he was working at the Student’s Union bar – Joe’s Bar.

He said: “I saw him walk past a couple of times and I served two customers that sat near him. It was a society and they were sat with him.”

The lunchtime sighting at Joe’s Bar was corroborated by Matt Cleary, a UoB graduate, who told the Tab: “I saw him across the bar, I wasn’t sure it was him at first but then the bartender confirmed it for me. Holy shit winter is here.”

That afternoon Hasan Ayub, a second-year student, reported seeing the star getting mobbed at the sports fair.

“He was walking out of the sports centre about 2pm,” he told The Tab.

Early reports that the actor had enrolled at the university initially surfaced on Twitter on Tuesday, September 19.

Having confirmed sightings of Hempstead Wright with fellow students, The Tab searched Birmingham’s university email, which revealed an option to send him a message. The actor is reportedly staying at the university’s newest halls, Chamberlain accommodation.

And people are getting pretty excited on Twitter…

TGI Fridays will start delivering booze — and it could help defeat a curse sweeping the restaurant industry

TGI Fridays has found a way to deliver margaritas.

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TGI Fridays has found a way to deliver margaritas.
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TGI Fridays

TGI Fridays wants to give customers the chance to chug the chain’s margaritas from the comfort of their own couches.

On Thursday, Fridays announced it had partnered with the delivery startup Lash to begin delivering alcoholic beverages with food orders placed via the chain’s mobile app. The Texas-based company plans to test the service in Houston and Dallas in the coming months before rolling it out across the US next year.

“We’re a bar-centric business,” Caroline Masullo, Fridays’ vice president of digital strategy, told Business Insider. “Right now, no one – from within their own technology – is delivering both food and alcohol.”

To-go and delivery sales are a rare bright spot in the casual-dining industry right now, with Fridays growing take-out sales by 30% since launching online ordering last summer.

Booze is also crucial to TGI Fridays’ strategy. The chain has recently emphasized its history as a bar as millennial interest in sit-down casual-dining chains has withered.

But delivering alcohol is a legally tricky proposition. TGI Fridays and Lash will tweak the service on a state-by-state basis (what Masullo calls a “block by block” strategy) to follow local ordinances.

TGI Fridays Apps

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TGI Fridays

While food and alcohol will be delivered together when ordered on TGI Fridays’ app, the delivery person is actually making two stops, first at a liquor store and then at Fridays.

For cocktails, the company says, customers will be able to order an “everything but the booze” kit, which is sold by Fridays, alongside a suggested bottle of liquor from a local liquor store. Customers can then mix the drink themselves at home. Fridays is also considering making bartenders available for hire via the app.

Here’s a video showing how the process is supposed to work:

While TGI Fridays’ booze-delivery plan is a bit complicated behind the scenes, the chain hopes it can help drive incremental sales and stand out from what the company calls a “sea of sameness” among sit-down restaurants.

Casual-dining chains including Applebee’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Ruby Tuesdays are facing slumping sales and store closings. Factors including millennials’ indifference to casual-dining classics and the rise of fast-casual chains have played a role in their downfall.

As a result, many chains have doubled down on aspects of their business that they hope will differentiate them from the competition. Applebee’s wants to win back baby boomers, while Chili’s has revamped its menu to refocus on burgers and ribs.

Now, TGI Fridays is betting on delivery and booze – together and apart – to win over customers.

The 2 key reasons behind the $1.1 billion Google-HTC smartphone deal

    Google is buying part of HTC’s smartphone division for $1.1 billion and acquiring 2,000 new employees. It’s a lifeline for HTC, which has struggled in recent years. And it demonstrates that Google is serious about its smartphone ambitions as its Pixel phones go head-to-head with Apple and Samsung, analysts say.

A person trying a new Google Pixel phone at the Google pop-up shop in the SoHo neighborhood on October 20 in New York City.

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A person trying a new Google Pixel phone at the Google pop-up shop in the SoHo neighborhood on October 20 in New York City.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

After weeks of rumours, it’s finally official: Google is buying part of HTC’s smartphone business.

The California-based technology giant is spending $1.1 billion, or £820 million, to acquire a significant portion of the struggling Taiwanese firm’s engineers, as it doubles down on its hardware plans.

There are two key reasons for the deal, analysts say.

First, it offers a lifeline to HTC – helping the company keep going and ensuring that a key partner for Google doesn’t drop out of the hardware game.

And second, it means Google can further refine its flagship Pixel smartphone offering, making the Pixel more competitive against the likes of Apple and Samsung while acting as a shining example to other smartphone makers of what can be possible on Android.

The deal itself

So what exactly has Google paid for? It hasn’t bought HTC entirely or even its entire smartphone unit in the way it acquired Motorola.

Instead, it has effectively acquired HTC’s Pixel unit – the employees at the Taiwanese company who were already working on the Pixel. It is getting 2,000 new employees. Separately, Google also signed a nonexclusive deal to license HTC’s intellectual property.

The deal was jointly announced early Thursday, with Google’s senior vice president of hardware, Rick Osterloh, writing in a blog post that “these future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team.”

But the twin announcements are also fairly light on details, the CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood said in a telephone interview, including on whether Google will get any factories or manufacturing capabilities as part of the deal.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts guessed that it wouldn’t, writing in a note to clients that “product details related to the transaction are somewhat opaque … no mention of manufacturing assets … Google likely to continue to outsource hardware manufacturing.”

1. HTC’s in trouble – and this deal is a lifeline

The HTC U11.

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The HTC U11.
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Jeff Dunn/Business Insider

HTC, once a major player in the smartphone game, has struggled in recent years against the likes of Samsung and Apple, and it is increasingly looking at its virtual reality division as a key part of its future.

But it has also been a key partner of Google for years, most recently with the Pixel devices. Google will have been worried about the future of HTC’s phone business and the resources it provides, Wood said.

“Arguably it could be seen as a defensive move insofar as Google feel as though they want to keep developing the Pixel platform, and they were probably concerned that one of their key suppliers was not in particularly good shape … They probably thought in order to have those resources available on tap to push the envelope on Pixel, they needed to make sure they shored it up.”

But that’s not the complete picture.

2. Google is doubling down on the Pixel

The Pixel, announced in 2016, was a major shift in direction for Google. While it had launched its own phones before with the Nexus line, those phones were largely symbolic standard bearers. They demonstrated the possibilities of Android to other manufacturers but never sold in large numbers.

In contrast, the Pixel is marketed as a premium consumer phone, and it goes head-to-head with Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy devices.

So with the HTC acquisition, Google isn’t just trying to maintain the status quo. It is demonstrating that it remains committed to that Pixel vision and wants to accelerate it by bringing all the relevant engineers under its direct control.

“To me this is about Google getting more serious into the hardware business,” Gartner’s vice president of research Annette Zimmermann wrote in an email. “This is different than when Google bought Motorola – they were after the patents then. HTC doesn’t have any important patents. Hence there is not much value to get apart from building up its own hardware business to get the hardware, software, experience and AI all optimized for Google.”

Wood also said the purchase would also help to ensure that Pixel remained a clear example to other Android manufacturers of what Google sees as Android at its best: “At the moment, when all the smartphones are starting to look the same, and there’s a growing wave of apathy towards this sea of sameness in smartphones you need someone pushing from the front, saying: ‘No no no, smartphones aren’t boring, look at this cool stuff you can do!'”

There are still questions surrounding the future of HTC’s phone business

HTC has said that this isn’t the end of its phone business and that it will produce another flagship in 2018. But analysts are uncertain about its future.

“Let’s say Google wouldn’t have announced this deal today – HTC would continue to burn money the next quarters and eventually have a very small business with remaining vendors they work with and possibly exit the phone business,” Zimmermann wrote. By agreeing to the deal, she continued, “they are sending their smartphone know-how to Silicon Valley, which is a short-term fix money-wise but certainly not a long-term strategy for their smartphone business.”

Wood added: “HTC has stated that it will stay in the phone business but I still think it is hard to see how it continues long term given the tough market conditions for all smartphone makers.”

‘The sound of a dog barking’: North Korean foreign minister mocks Trump’s fiery threats

North Korea’s foreign minister has cited a local proverb in likening US President Donald Trump’s fiery rhetoric against his country to “a dog barking.”

“If he was thinking he could scare us with the sound of a dog barking, that’s really a dog dream,” Ri Yong Ho told reporters on Wednesday, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

This was a reference to a North Korean proverb that says a parade will go on even if dogs bark.

In Korean, a dog dream refers to an absurd fantasy that makes little sense, Yonhap said.

US President Donald Trump addressing the UN General Assembly.

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US President Donald Trump addressing the UN General Assembly.
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Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Ri issued the remarks in Korean outside his hotel in New York, where he’s attending the United Nations General Assembly this week.

This was also the nation’s first response to Trump’s speech to the UN on Tuesday, in which he threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if Pyongyang didn’t back down on its nuclear threats.

Here’s the relevant passage from Trump:

“No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.

“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

When asked about the US president’s “Rocket Man” remark, Ri said, “I feel sorry for his aides.”

Photographs of Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, looking down and covering his eyes during Trump’s speech went viral after the event. (Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Kelly was “tired.”)

Other Trump aides have applauded Trump’s fiery UN speech.

“Every other international community is referring to him as Rocket Man,” Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said on the “Good Morning America” programme on Wednesday.

“Look, that’s a President Trump original. As you know, he’s a master in branding,” Huckabee Sanders told the TV show “Fox and Friends.”

North Korea is also no stranger to issuing inflammatory rhetoric against the US.

Following the latest round of US-drafted UN sanctions, which capped the nation’s crude-oil imports, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, Han Tae Song, threatened to “make the US suffer the greatest pain it has ever experienced in its history.”

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones seen during a concert of the band’s

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Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones seen during a concert of the band’s “No Filter” European tour at the Letzigrund stadium in Zurich.
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Reuters/ArndWiegmann

Here is what you need to know. Sign up here to get “10 Things” delivered directly to your inbox.

The Fed will start to unwind its financial-crisis measures in October. The Federal Reserve will begin unwinding its $4.5 trillion balance sheet in October by starting to not reinvest some of its bonds as they mature – that way, they’ll roll off its balance sheet.

Rate-hike odds are surging. The market sees a 60.5% chance the Fed hikes interest rates this year, according to Bloomberg data. That’s up from about 20% just two weeks ago.

China gets downgraded at S&P. The credit-rating agency lowered China’s rating one notch to A+, citing its rising debt load, South China Morning Post reports.

The Bank of Japan keeps policy on hold. With an 8-to-1 vote, the central bank kept interest rates, asset purchases, and its assessment on the Japanese economy unchanged from July.

Warren Buffett says the Dow could hit 1 million in 100 years. Speaking at an event celebrating Forbes’ 100th anniversary, the legendary investor said it was not unreasonable considering the Dow was trading at 81 a hundred years back, Reuters reports.

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Google signs a cooperation agreement with HTC. “With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organization,” the Google hardware exec Rick Osterloh said in a statement.

Tesla and AMD are reportedly teaming up. The two sides are joining forces to make chips for self-driving cars, CNBC said, citing a source familiar with the matter.

Equifax mistakenly sent consumers worried about its data breach to a spoof site. Equifax mistakenly sent consumers to a fake phishing site that was designed to show how easy it was to spoof the webpage the credit-reporting agency created to inform consumers about its recent massive security breach, The Verge reports.

Stock markets around the world trade mixed. China’s Shanghai Composite (+0.27%) led the gains in Asia, and France’s CAC (-0.22%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open little changed near 2,506.

US economic data flows. Initial claims and the Philly Fed will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, and FHFA home prices will cross the wires at 9 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is unchanged at 2.26%.

EU Parliament chief Brexit negotiator calls Boris Johnson ‘old-fashioned and reductionist’

Guy Verhofstadt.

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Guy Verhofstadt.
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REUTERS/Yves Herman

    EU parliament chief negotiator launches scathing attack on Boris Johnson after the foreign secretary accuses young British people of having “split allegiances” between EU and UK. Guy Verhofstadt accuses Johnson of an “old fashioned and reductionist” views. Comments come during visit to Northern Ireland to discuss future of the border with UK. Theresa May due to set out Britain’s negotiating plans in major speech on Friday.

LONDON – The EU Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator today launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson, accusing the UK foreign secretary of having an “old-fashioned and reductionist” views.

Guy Verhofstadt criticised Johnson for suggesting in an article for the Telegraph that young Brits who wear EU have “genuinely split allegiances.”

“I am troubled with the thought that people are beginning to have genuinely split allegiance,” Johnson wrote about pro-EU young people in an article he penned last week.

Speaking to Irish parliamentarians in the Oireachtas on Thursday morning, Verhofstadt accused the foreign minister of having an outdated understanding of identity, suggesting British people can feel a sense of both national and European pride.

“I know some British politicians, not to name Boris Johnson, criticise their countrymen and women for wanting to keep their European identity. He accused them even of split allegiance. I think this is a binary, old-fashioned and reductionist definition of identity,” the former Belgian prime minister told Irish politicians.

“So I think it’s nonsense to talk about split allegiance. It’s perfectly possible to feel English, British and European at the same time,” he added.

Verhofstadt is in the Republic of Ireland to speak to politicians there about how the issue of the Irish border can be resolved in Brexit negotiations between the EU and Britain.

The EU Parliament’s chief Brexit spokesperson said that full responsibility for providing a solution to the border issues lies solely with Theresa May’s government.

“The solution for this problem [Irish border] is entirely a responsibility for the UK government,” he said.

Explainer: Why does the Irish border matter so much?

The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is currently more or less invisible. There are no border controls meaning goods and people move freely to and from the neighbouring countries.

However, Brexit creates complications. When the UK officially leaves the EU in March 2019, Northern Ireland will be removed from the 28-nation bloc alongside England, Wales and Scotland. The Republic of Ireland, on the other hand, will remain an EU member state.

Why does this matter? Well, if May sticks to her current plans to leave the customs union, then there will need to be some form of new border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, in order to avoid smuggling between the UK and EU.

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has previously warned that “frictionless trade” is “not possible” following Brexit.

This is deeply important to the UK economy. A House of Lords report published in December said that €60 billion is traded between the UK and Ireland each year, and an estimated 30,000 people cross the Irish border every day. A hard border would put this at risk.

This map shows how the Parsons Green terror investigation goes far beyond a few guys in London

Map of the Parsons Green arrests.

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Map of the Parsons Green arrests.
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Google Maps/Business Insider

Detectives pursuing those responsible for the Parsons Green bomb attack on the London Underground last week arrested another man in the early hours of Thursday morning, taking the total number of arrests to six.

All suspects – five men and a 17-year-old boy – remain in custody and are being questioned by counter-terror officers after a makeshift explosive went off on a District Line train in west London last Friday, injuring 30 people.

Yahyah Farroukh, a 21-year-old Syrian refugee who worked in a chicken shop, is the only person to have been identified.

Here are the details of the six arrests, which began the day after the attack on September 15.

September 16, 7:50 a.m., Port of Dover: Kent Police arrest an 18-year-old man. September 16, 11:50 p.m., Hounslow, west London: Met Police arrest 21-year-old Yahyah Farroukh. September 19, 7:00 p.m., Newport, South Wales: Met Police and Gwent Police arrest a 25-year-old man. September 20, 5:10 a.m., Newport, South Wales: Met Police and Gwent Police arrest a 48-year-old man. September 20, 5:10 a.m., Newport, South Wales: Met Police and Gwent Police arrest a 30-year-old man at the same address. September 21, 12:05 a.m., Thornton Heath, south London: Metropolitan Police arrest a 17-year-old boy.

All of the suspects have been taken to the same location, an unspecified police station in south London, where they are being questioned.

Police have repeatedly declined to give a “blow by blow” commentary on their investigation. But after the first two arrests, the UK’s terror threat level was reduced from “critical” to “severe,” suggesting that the possibility of an immediate follow-up attack from the same group had diminished.

Officers’ focus has so far been on the south of the country, stretching from Dover in the east to Newport, 186 miles away in Wales. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, though there is little evidence to suggest their direct involvement.

The most activity has been around London, where officers have searched the chicken shops where Farroukh worked, a residential property just outside Heathrow Airport, and a foster home just across the border between Greater London and Surrey. Media reports have suggested the bomb was made in the latter location.

None of those detained has been charged with any crime, meaning police have given little away about what exactly they believe each suspect’s role could have been.

Under British counter-terror laws, police are allowed to detain terror suspects without charge for up to 14 days, meaning it could be the end of the month before any allegations against the men are spelled out.

BANK OF AMERICA: One area of the stock market could double in the next 2 years

Perhaps this investor in China is smiling because he knows his country's stock market has great upside potential?

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Perhaps this investor in China is smiling because he knows his country’s stock market has great upside potential?
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REUTERS/China Daily

Bank of America Merrill Lynch thinks the hottest area of the global stock market has much higher to climb.

Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not the S&P 500, even though the benchmark US index has shown some serious strength, climbing 12% this year.

The bank’s analysts are talking about Asian emerging-market equities, which have put the US to shame, surging a whopping 33% over the same period. Based on comparisons to past bull-market stretches, the group has historically risen roughly 230% during expansion periods that last 42 months on average, according to BAML data.

The firm says that Asian EM stocks – which have exploded by 60% since the start of 2016, outperforming global equities by 27% – could continue to thrive until they’re faced with a recession or with valuations that extend to a price-to-book ratio of three times.

“We think a substantial overweight in Asia/EM equities is warranted,” Ajay Kapur, BAML’s Asia Pacific equity and global emerging-markets strategist wrote in a recent client note. “We recommend investors to raise exposure if they haven’t already. Let the bull market do its job.”

So what countries is Kapur referring to specifically? He says investors should be overweight Korea, China, Taiwan, and Turkey, in decreasing order of confidence.

For full context around BAML’s call, here’s its analysis of past Asian EM bull markets:

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Bank of America Merrill Lynch