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At least 34 people were injured, including two critically, after a massive gas explosion flattened several buildings, in Merseyside area of north-west England last night. A Chinese restaurant, which had about 15 people inside, and a dance studio for children, which was unoccupied at the time of explosion, were among the buildings destroyed in the blast at Bebbington town. Merseyside fire and rescue service said the explosion was a major incident. "It's what we would describe as a total collapse, or the explosion has blown the walls out, which has caused the roof to collapse. It's a very significant debris field and (there is) lots of structural damage to the surrounding buildings," said Dan Stephens, chief officer at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. There was a huge police and ambulance response with at least 10 ambulances seen at the scene.

Britain's Conservative government has placed a limit on the number of lone child refugees it will accept into the country, citing fears that people traffickers were exploiting the system. Some 350 children will be allowed, far less than the 3,000 originally expected under the law that had been aimed at helping some of the tens of thousands of migrant children across Europe. Some 200 children have been brought in thus far. Home secretary Amber Rudd said on Thursday the decision was made after France raised concerns that UK government actions were acting as a draw to encourage children to make the perilous journey to the continent. "We are not saying we are closing the door, we are putting up the drawbridge," she said. "We are not saying that."

British Prime Minister Theresa May has won the race to be the first foreign leader to meet President Donald Trump in Washington. But her trip to the US capital is anything but a victory lap. May's staff worked feverishly to secure the two-day trip, which includes a meeting with the president Friday at the White House. British officials hope it will help cement the UK's place as a pre-eminent American ally and provide proof of what Britons more often than Americans call the trans-Atlantic "special relationship." But May faces the challenge of persuading a president who has vowed to put "America first'' of the benefits of free trade with Britain and the vital role of the 28-nation NATO military alliance. And she must build a working relationship with a populist president whose protectionist outlook and loose way with facts have alarmed many European politicians, including some of May's own allies.

T he Punjabi Society of the British Isles hosted a splendid dinner for Mr Vijay Jolly, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Mr Vijay Mehta at the Bombay Palace Restaurant, London W2 on Friday 30th September 2016 during their private visit. In attendance were special guests from the British Indian Community which included The Lord Loomba CBE; Mr C.B. Patel, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar; Mr Lalubhai Parekh, President of the Overseas Friends of BJP U.K; Mr Mahendrasinh Jadeja, Secretary General of the National Congress of Gujarati Organisations UK; Mr V H Patel and Mr Vinu Bhattessa, Trustees of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple, London and Professor Nat Puri CBE, President of the Indian Gymkhana Club London. The President of the Punjabi Society of the British Isles, Mr Atul Pathak OBE welcomed the guests and paid tribute to the BJP government in India led by Shri Narendra Modi Ji. In his passionate speech, he reaffirmed his commitment and support for the unity and integrity of India. Prof. Nat Puri, who led the team which organised the biggest welcomed reception of 60,000 people for Modi ji in Wembley also praised the work being done by the BJP government under the leadership of Modi Ji. Mr CB Patel, also praised the BJP led government in India and the progress it has made since coming to office. He recalled his various meetings with Modi Ji and how he always came back inspired. Dr Rami Ranger CBE, Patron of the Punjabi Society praised Mr Jolly and Mr Mehta for their visit and commended their commitment to India and the BJP. He praised Mr Modi for galvanising the scattered Indian diaspora in 95 countries with his worldwide tours after coming to power. Lord Loomba also praised Mr Modi for the work his government was doing for rebuilding India and the “Make in India” campaign. Mr Vijay Jolly spoke about the British Indian diaspora being noble ambassadors of India who uphold Indian values and have gained much respect for India in the UK through community service and business. He spoke about the work of the Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and the BJP in making India a superpower on the World stage. Mr Mehta spoke about the need of having ever growing closer ties with people of Indian origin living abroad to ensure that exports out of India flourish and the “Make in India” project becomes a success. Mr Jolly and Mr Mehta were then presented with the Pride of India Award by Mr Atul Pathak OBE, President of the Punjabi Society of the British Isles for their commitment to India and the BJP. The vote of thanks was given by Dr Ravi Gidar, Patron of the Punjabi Society of the British isles. Speeches were followed by scrumptious dinner and light background entertainment.

Germany recorded a steep decline in asylum seeker arrivals in April, official data showed Monday, after the closure of the popular route used by migrants through the Balkans. Some 16,000 migrants arrived in April, down almost a quarter from 20,000 in March, and nearly a 90-percent plunge from December when 120,000 arrivals were recorded. Syrians made up the biggest group of newcomers, with 2,724 applicants in the month. Afghans were the second largest group with 2,063 migrants, followed by Iraqis with 1,853 arrivals.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday announced the creation of powerful new National Guard security force, a move analysts said could be aimed at warding off unrest over the country's economic crisis. Putin said in a televised meeting with interior minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev and other security officials that the force would merge the country's interior ministry troops with riot police and swat teams.

Tampons are the latest battleground in Britain's difficult relationship with the European Union. The British government has declared victory in its bid to remove an EU-imposed sales tax on women's sanitary products. Campaigners argue that tampons are an essential item and should be tax-exempt. Treasury chief George Osborne says EU leaders have agreed to let Britain cut the tax rate to zero, boasting: "We've achieved what no British government has even tried to achieve.'' EU opponents say the tax is a prime example of Brussels meddling. Vote Leave spokesman Robert Oxley said Friday that the bloc had only conceded because Britain will vote in June on its EU membership. He said: "Do we need to have a referendum every time we need to change a tax rate?''

The Dr Rami Ranger CBE Centre for Graduate Entrepreneurship at the London South Bank University (LSBU) held its First Annual Enterprise Lecture on 4th February 2016 at the institute’s Keyworth Centre to showcase the work done by the centre since it was inaugurated in 2014. Key speakers at the lecture were the Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP, Member of Parliament for Leicester East and Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee; Professor Patrick Bailey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of LSBU; Mr Gurpreet Jagpal, Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation at LSBU and Dr Rami Ranger CBE, Chairman of Sun Mark Ltd. and Sea Air and Land Forwarding Ltd. The distinguished guests included prominent members of the business community, budding entrepreneurs and lecturers and students from the University who came together to hear the story of one man’s journey from a truly humble start in life in a refugee camp in newly partitioned India to an international business icon. Professor Patrick Bailey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of LSBU welcomed guests and speakers to the lecture and spoke of enterprise engagement being at the heart of the institute’s mission adding that the university has the largest number of employer sponsored students outside the Open University. Mr Gurpreet Jagpal, Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation at LSBU, chaired the lecture and showcased the work done at the Centre for Graduate Entrepreneurship and the ways in which the money from the Dr. Rami Ranger CBE Enterprise Excellence Fund was being put to use such as the hiring of Entrepreneurs in Residence who coach and mentor graduate entrepreneurs at the centre. He then spoke about the projects the centre is working on such as an investment fund that will aid graduate entrepreneurs with capital they need when they launch their business. Mr Jagpal then gave an insight in the life of Dr Rami Ranger CBE and shared parts of his autobiography, “From Nothing to Everything”. with guests. Dr Rami Ranger CBE, Chairman of Sun Mark Ltd. and Sea Air and Land Forwarding Ltd, took guests through his entrepreneurial journey where he has demonstrated that one does not need an elite education or family wealth to be successful but rather needs five simple qualities: self-respect, work ethics, commitment, vision and empathy. He spoke of his passion to help entrepreneurialism flourish and added that he never could have imagined a day when he would witness a lecture after his own name being delivered by a great icon of the Asian and British community, Mr Vaz and that too in a London University in front of an august gathering. The Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP, Member of Parliament for Leicester East and Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, spoke about the rising number of new start-ups over the past few years, many people are opting for enterprise to create their own wealth and using their ideas do something different. He then spoke about the qualities that are central to being a successful entrepreneur: being committed, trusting and trustworthy; having the ability to lead, delegate and communicate effectively and having the ability to marry together skills and experience to be successful. He closed by saying “it is within you” to be a successful entrepreneur. The main part of the lecture was followed by a question and answer session when the attendees were given an opportunity to put questions directly to Dr Ranger. The afternoon concluded with an appetizing lunch for all of the guests.

Russian forces could reach the outskirts of the Baltic capitals in less than 60 hours because Nato lacks the forces to defend its eastern-most members, new analysis has shown. According to several war games scenarios conducted by a US think-tank, it would take between 36 and 60 hours for Russian battalions to occupy the Estonian and Latvian capitals of Tallinn and Riga. It highlights, the report says, how ineffective Nato's forces have become, as they would be entirely under-prepared for any potential attack launched by Moscow. The report comes amid rapidly declining relations between Putin and the West. This week, it emerged Sweden has re-militarised an old Cold War frontier base on the island of Gotland, in response to what it believes to be a rising threat from Russia, the BBC reports. Sweden's Supreme Commander, General Micael Byden, said: "This is one of the great challenges right now: What are they up to, and why do they do it?" The analysis by the army research division of the Rand Corporation predicted Russia would most likely launch a two-pronged assault across the Latvian border, sending heavily-armed battalions in a pincer movement towards Riga, fighting Latvian and Nato battalions along the way.

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