Two Men Jailed For Longer After Brutal Gravesend Attack

Violent attackers have their sentences increased by the Court of Appeal

Royal Courts of Justice

Royal Courts of Justice

Two violent attackers have had their sentences increased today after the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, referred them for being too low.

On July 16 2017 Aiden St Louis, 19, and Mohammed Gedi, 22, pursued their 18-year-old victim into a busy fast-food restaurant and carried out a sustained attack in front of horrified onlookers. St Louis was armed and repeatedly stabbed the victim with a kitchen knife.

The pair was originally sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court in March. St Louis received 6 years 6 months’ imprisonment in a young offenders’ institution with an extension period of 3 years, and Gedi received 7 years’ imprisonment. Today, after the Solicitor General’s reference, the Court of Appeal increased St Louis’ sentence to 9 years with an extension period of 3 years and Gedi’s to 9 years 6 months’.

Commenting on the sentence increase, the Solicitor General said:

This was a vicious and sustained attack which deserved a tougher punishment. I am pleased that the Court of Appeal has today agreed with my referral and increased Mr St Louis and Mr Gedi’s sentences to reflect this.

Secretary Pompeo To Release the 2017 International Religious Freedom Report

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will deliver remarks on the release of the 2017 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom (IRF) at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, in the Press Briefing Room at the U.S. Department of State.

Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback will take questions in the Briefing Room immediately following Secretary Pompeo’s remarks.

Religious freedom is both a core American value and a fundamental human right. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the International Religious Freedom Report details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and describes U.S. actions and policies in support of religious freedom worldwide.

Remarks will be open to the press. The event will be streamed live on

Journalists should be seated in the State Department’s press briefing room no later than 8:45 a.m. The press briefing room is accessible from the 23rd Street Entrance of the Department.

Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense, or Foreign Press Center); (2) a media-issued photo identification card; or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by a government-issued photo identification card (driver’s license, passport).

Instructions for embargoed access to the report will be sent to members of the press only, on Tuesday, May 29, at 7:30 a.m. The entire report is EMBARGOED until the press briefing begins. The report will be available to the public on at approximately 9:30 am.

For more information, please contact DRL Press at Learn more about U.S. government engagement on international religious freedom by following @State_IRF or @StateDRL on Twitter.

Chemical Weapons Demilitarisation Conference 2018

Defence minister calls for international community to hold to account those who use chemical weapons

Old chemical munitions

Old chemical munitions

Speaking at the 21st annual Chemical Weapons Demilitarisation Conference in London, Defence Minister Lord Howe commended the vital work of scientific and technical experts to make the world safe from chemical weapons, while acknowledging the shocking events of the past year, including the use of a chemical weapon in Salisbury, and the continuing use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Defence Minister Lord Howe said:

In an increasingly dangerous world, we cannot allow these abhorrent weapons to spread once more across the globe. We are working with international partners across the world to agree how best to deal with the use of chemical weapons, and to ensure that those who use chemical weapons are held to account, however long this takes.

The destruction of chemical weapons is a high priority under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Conference provided an opportunity for experts from all over the world to discuss their progress and co-operation in eliminating chemical weapons, and the technical challenges that remain.

Lord Howe highlighted the success of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), under the leadership of Director General Ahmet Üzümcü, in carrying out successful missions in Syria, in the most challenging operational circumstances in the history of the organisation. He noted also that over 96% of the world’s declared chemical weapon stocks had now been destroyed, as verified by inspectors of the Technical Secretariat.

Lord Howe said:

That’s a remarkable achievement in anyone’s book. No wonder that, under Ambassador Üzümcü’s exemplary leadership, the OPCW was rightly recognised by the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.

Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said:

We are now moving into the final phase of work to eliminate chemical weapon stockpiles, with over 96% of the world’s declared stockpiles now destroyed.

However, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons continues to face serious challenges in achieving its mission “for the sake of all mankind, to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons”.

I welcome the important role that the Chemical Weapons Demilitarisation Conference continues to play in supporting international efforts to destroy chemical weapons, and contributing to our shared goal of a world free of chemical weapon threats.

Government Confirms Responsibilities Of New Borderlands Champion

John Stevenson MP will be the champion for the English Borderlands, working with UK government and local partners to help progress the Deal towards agreement

John Stevenson MP

John Stevenson MP

Government has confirmed today (25 May 2018) the responsibilities of John Stevenson MP as the Borderlands Deal Champion.

Mr Stevenson, who represents the Carlisle constituency, was announced as the Champion for the pioneering Borderlands Growth Deal earlier this month by the Prime Minister. He will be the Champion for the English Borderlands councils, working with UK government and local partners to help progress the Deal towards agreement.

The Growth Deal represents a unique opportunity for 5 local councils in the Borderlands region to work with UK government, Scottish government and the private sector to spur investment and drive forward growth across the whole region.

Deal negotiations were started in January 2018 by the Secretary of State for Scotland, Rt Hon David Mundell MP, and the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry MP.

Northern Powerhouse Minister, Jake Berry, said:

John Stevenson will be a strong voice for a Growth Deal which will supercharge growth, boost tourism and create new economic opportunities for communities across the region.

I look forward to working with him and our local partners on agreeing a deal which delivers for the people of the region while further enhancing the burgeoning economy of the Northern Powerhouse.

John Stevenson MP said:

I am delighted to be appointed as the government Borderlands Champion. This is an exciting opportunity for the region and I look forward to working with all parties to help to improve the economic performance of our region.

As part of the role, Mr Stevenson will:

  • champion the Borderlands Growth Deal with stakeholders including local authorities, local councillors and MPs on a cross-party basis, local enterprise partnerships and local businesses
  • gather intelligence on local issues and update government to help deliver this deal in a way that is locally informed
  • attend events and meetings, along with local stakeholders and ministers as appropriate, to promote the Deal or projects

See a full copy of the letter sent from the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, and Secretary of State for Scotland, Rt Hon David Mundell MP, appointing John Stevenson MP as the Borderlands Champion.

Submit Your Personal Independent Payment Appeal Online

We are testing an online service for people to submit their personal independence payment appeal online

Submit your personal independent payment appeal online

Submit your personal independent payment appeal online

We are currently testing the service with people who:

  • want to appeal a decision about a Personal Independent Payment; and
  • live in one of the following areas: Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, East Sussex, Hertfordshire, Kent, the Midlands, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Suffolk.

You can check if you can use the service by entering the name of your benefit and your post code in the online appeal service before you start your appeal.

With your permission, another person can also help you to make the online appeal, as long as you type in your name on the online appeal form. You can also sign up to receive progress updates by email and text.

Submitting your appeal online means that you do not need to complete and post a paper form. You can access the online appeal service from your computer, mobile phone or tablet. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Once your appeal is submitted it is registered on our case management system by the next working day and transmitted electronically the same day to the Department for Work and Pensions, which is quicker than post.

We are currently testing the online service with a small group of people so that we can get their feedback and make improvements before it is made available more widely.

These changes are part of an over £1 billion programme to transform the court system – making it quicker, more accessible and easier to use for all.

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