Knife crime in England and Wales is up 16%, and the homicide rate is up 12%

Killings soar to highest level for TEN YEARS and knife crime surges to seven-year high while police get worse at charging suspects

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Knife crime in England and Wales is up 16%, and the homicide rate is up 12%  ©Crimson Tazvinzwa

By Crimson Tazvinzwa

Knife crime, gun crime and the homicide rate have all risen further in England and Wales.

Offences involving knives or sharp instruments went up as much as 16 per cent to 40,147 in the first three months of 2018, according to police-recorded crimes published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Meanwhile the total number of homicides – which includes both murder and manslaughter – rose 12 per cent to 701. This excludes large-scale incidents such as last year’s terror attacks in London and Manchester.

There was a smaller rise in gun crime – up two per cent to 6,492 offences.

Caroline Youell, crime statistics and analysis at the ONS, said: “Most people don’t experience crime. Today’s figures show a fairly stable picture in England and Wales for most crime types. It is too early to say if this is a change to the long-term declining trend.

“There have been increases in some lower-volume ‘high-harm’ offences such as homicide and knife crime, consistent with rises over the past three years. However, the latest rise in gun crime is much smaller than previously seen.

“We have also seen continued increases in some theft offences such as vehicle-related theft and burglary, while computer viruses have fallen.”

A police officer marks a corden near the scene where a man, aged 20, collapsed after being fatally stabbed in Hackney, London on 5 April
A police officer marks a corden near the scene where a man, aged 20, collapsed after being fatally stabbed in Hackney, London on 5 April (Photo: Getty)

Authorities feared a knife crime epidemic after a big rise in reported stabbings over the last few months – particularly gang-related incidents in London.

Six people were stabbed in London in less than 90 minutes on Thursday 5 April, with the youngest victim a 13-year-old boy who sustained serious injuries.

After the incidents, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I think one murder is one too many. Since 2014 we have seen an increase in violent crime in London and across the country.

“Already in the last seven years we have lost £700 million from the policing budget. Over the next three years the Government plans to cut another £300 million. That’s a billion pounds worth of cuts.

“So my message to the Government is please work with us to solve this national problem.”

More than 70 murder investigations have been launched in London alone in 2018 so far.

Sadiq Khan: "I think one murder is one too many"
Sadiq Khan: “I think one murder is one too many” (Photo: Getty)

In April, former Home Secretary Amber Rudd denied the rise in violent crime was a result of falling police numbers.

She said: “The head of the Metropolitan Police has said she does not believe the recent spike in attacks is due to cuts to police budgets.”

She laid some blame at the feet of social media companies, adding: “I am calling on them to review their terms and conditions and make it clear that they will not host any content linked to gangs or gang violence.

“Some might say that this is impossible. But when I called on social media companies to deal with terrorist content on their platforms they listened and they took action.

“I am asking them to do so again because it’s the right thing to do.”

Read more:

London murders: a list of the victims killed in the capital so far in 2018

Latest night of London violence sees six stabbings in space of 90 minutes

Four people stabbed at Garage Nation music festival in East London

Penniless and homesick Nigerian world cup ‘fans’ got stranded in Moscow

This is how penniless and homesick Nigerian world cup ‘fans’ got stranded in Moscow

The World Cup, ending this Sunday, brought to Moscow fans from all over the world. Among them were at least 300 Nigerian fans who had hoped to see their national team clinch the trophy.

However, among them were other ‘fans’ who went to Russia with the hope of gaining employment.

Upon arrival, they were surprised to discover it was part of an elaborate scam. Not only were the numbers of their ‘prospective employers’ fake, the money they had carried was not enough to cater for their accommodation and food in the Russian capital.

According to Alternativa, a movement against human trafficking and slavery, at least 60 Nigerians have been stranded in the streets of Moscow after they realised that their return tickets were cancelled by the agency in Nigeria. This meant that they had to pay their own way back to their homes.

According to the AFP, the Nigerians had purchased the tickets that included plastic-coated passes that enable foreign fans to enter Russia without a visa during the World Cup.

It is not indicated how the Nigerians were able to obtain these tickets and sell them to fans, although there were reports of plans by human traffickers to flood the World Cup with trafficked people including sex workers.

The football governing body, FIFA stated that it is making effort to identify and stop unauthorised sales of passes.

The Nigerians are currently at the Nigerian Embassy and at the Vnukovo airport in Moscow, seeking help to get home.

“We’ve been sleeping on the floor like fools. We’ve got no place to go. We really do want to go back to our country. We’ve cried, we’ve wept, but still, no solution,” Alonge Ademola, 35, a cement dealer from Lagos told AFP.

According to Crime Russia, some Nigerians ended up at the Sheremetyevo in a bid to get on a Turkish Airline flight that was rumoured to take them home but in vain.

“[On Thursday] in Sheremetyevo about 40 citizens of Nigeria, when attempting to fly to their homeland, encountered problems on registration, their return tickets were invalid,” the Interfax source at the airport said

Alternativa has already helped 50 Nigerians so far, but it believes the number of stranded football fans is still high.

The Nigerian embassy, according to Ambassador Steve Davis Ugbah, is unable to pay for the tickets of all the fans and has since turned to the Russian authorities for help.

He has also counted out the deportation of his country people, insisting that a solution will be found soon.

It is against FIFA rules and values to practice human trafficking.

“Practices of human trafficking are in opposition to FIFA’s own values. The competence to address issues related to human trafficking, like any other criminal activity, is with the relevant national and international authorities (policy, judicial and governmental), and FIFA welcomes the steps that are taken in that respect,” FIFA said on Friday.

Portrait of Michael Jackson by Kehinde Wiley commissioned in the UK

By Crimson Tazvinzwa
The Michael Jackson: On the Wall exhibition opened on June 28 at the National Portrait Gallery in London.  It features the Equestrian Portrait of King Philip II (Michael Jackson).
Kehinde Wiley standing in front of the portrait of Michael Jackson…The Value

The likeness of the pop great was created by Kehinde Wiley; a New York City-based painter synonymous with creating realistic illustrations of African-Americans.

Wiley started the project before the demise of Jackson in 2009; he completed it after the death of the famous singer.

The Equestrian Portrait was commissioned in 2010 and shows Jackson presented in the guise of a monarch of yore, atop a steed, in deluxe armor.

The exhibition will run until October 21.  Afterwards, it will tour Paris from November 2018 to July 2019 then Finland from August 2019 to January 2020.

Wiley is also well-known for formulating a portrait of President Barack Obama which is housed at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in February.

Portrayals of Jackson are also featured in Faith Ringgold’s story quilt Who’s Bad? And Thriller (Black and White) by Graham Dolphin; both will be visible at the National Portrait Gallery.

Contemporary African books you should read before President Barack Obama says you should

Former American president Barrack Obama will be in Kenya and South Africa in the coming week ahead of the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.hair dresser harare

Ahead of the visit, he recommended a few books about Africa that everyone should read this summer.

Over the years since, I’ve often drawn inspiration from Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition. As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading, including some from a number of Africa’s best writers and thinkers – each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways.

Among the books he shared are Ngugi wa Thiongo’s A Grain of Wheat; Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart; Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah; and Hisham Matar’s The Return.

The Hairdresser of Harare

Tendai Huchu tackles the issue of LGBTQ in Zimbabwe by placing a gay man to work in a salon full of women. The rest is an interconnected commentary about the covert and overt treatment of homosexuality in African societies.hair dresser harare

A US-based Kenyan research scientist presented ‘Pioneer Award’ from ‘Face2Face’ Africa for his discoveries of drugs used to treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases

A US-based Kenyan research scientist has been honoured at a banquet in New York for his discoveries of drugs used to treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Dr George Njoroge was presented with a “pioneer award” from Face2Face Africa, a pan-Africa media company, for his sustained impact on science and medicine.

The 64-year-old Kiambu native holds more than 100 patents for his work on cancer and immunology.

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Renowned US-Based Kenyan Researcher Dr George Njoroge Honored at FACE List Awards

Currently a senior research fellow at the global pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, Dr Njoroge plans to move next year to Naivasha, where he is establishing a biotechnology institute.

He said he hopes to attract 100 doctoral degree-holders from around the world to take part in the institute’s work on malaria, Aids, diabetes and cancer.

“Africa has to step up the plate and get involved by participating in the global scientific platform,” Mr Njoroge said in accepting the Face2Face Africa award on Saturday.

“We cannot afford to be left behind. In Africa, we have great brains and abundance of resources — we just need to embrace the power of biotechnology.”

He added in an interview that the latest of his numerous awards is particularly meaningful because it specifically honours persons of African origin.

Dr Njoroge credits his now-deceased mother, Alice Nyaucha, for having inspired his interest in science through her work as a practitioner of herbal medicine.

Dr Njoroge received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nairobi and earned a PhD in organic chemistry at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

He is married to Esther Nyambura, who works at Eli Lilly as an accountant. The couple have two adult children, both of whom are studying for medical degrees.

The Three Lions are just one game away from their first final since 1966, with Croatia standing between them

The Three Lions are just one game away from their first final since 1966, with Croatia standing between them and a showpiece against England’s players and their manager have an opportunity to achieve sporting immortality on Wednesday as they aim to reach the 2018 World Cup final to play France, who beat Belgium on Tuesday.

The names of Sir Alf Ramsey and his players – still the only 11 Englishmen to play in a World Cup final – will be recalled forever and their stories told whenever the nation’s landmark moments in sport are revisited.

This is the level of prize and prestige on offer in Moscow for a team given little hope of progressing past the quarter-finals before the tournament began.

READ:Reality Check: Do England do better in red or white?england-squad-world-cup-2018full

It is England’s most significant World Cup game since the semi-final loss to West Germany on penalties at Italia ’90 – with the prospect of matching that famous occasion from 52 years ago if they win.

And it is even more remarkable when placed in the context of the shambles of Euro 2016, when England were deservedly humbled in the last 16 by underdogs Iceland.

When Gareth Southgate took charge of England amid the chaos and confusion of Roy Hodgson’s resignation after the embarrassment in France and Sam Allardyce’s one-game reign, the notion of him potentially putting his name alongside the great Ramsey would have been regarded as plucked from the realms of fantasy.

Ramsey, reserved but tactically brilliant, took the job after winning the title at Ipswich Town. Southgate’s only venture into club management ended in the sack at Middlesbrough.

But he has rebuilt his reputation within the Football Association’s framework with such success he now has the chance to make history.

And there are certain things about Southgate that the legendary Ramsey might just have admired, namely his fierce loyalty to his players – Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli are prime examples – and the loyalty he is given in return.

READ: Prince Harry predicts football is coming home ahead of England VS Croatia

It has all come together brilliantly in a campaign that has gathered momentum as it moved around Russia.

How Spice and Black Mamba were created by accident

The synthetic drug, which is also linked to Black Mamba, was stumbled upon when the scientist was researching the impact of cannabis.

In the mid-1990s, John Huffman made Spice possible.

The synthetic drug, which is devastating British cities, was stumbled upon when the scientist was researching the impact of cannabis on the human brain. In Birmingham, it is better known as Black Mamba.

Part of his work involved creating synthetic compounds which acted in a similar way to the drug on receptors inside our bodies, as Mirror Online reports.

Huffman synthesized one compound called JWH-018 in 1993 and published the formula in a series of papers, journals and a book called “The Cannabinoid Receptors.”

Now his initials JWH are famous among the synthetic drug community as the jumping off point for the trade in super-strength synthetic cannabis.

Like ecstasy or LSD, synthetic cannabinoids mark the latest example of a substance hatched in medical research that metamorphosed into a rampant street drug.

John Huffman never intended for his research to be abused

 He told the Sunday Times : ” I was experimenting for good.

“Could I have known?

“No.

“Marijuana has been around for hundreds of years, its effects are well known and you cannot kill yourself with it.

“You can kill yourself with the synthetics.”

Huffman recalled to the Washington Post the first time he heard about the drugs.

A German blogger, had sent him a news article describing a new drug one man had smoked – it was called Spice.

He said: “I thought it was sort of hilarious at the time.

“Then I started hearing about some of the bad results, and I thought, ‘Hmm, I guess someone opened Pandora’s box.’ ”

Huffman’s compounds laid some of the first groundwork for a scourge of cheaply made, mass-produced synthetic drugs although the most recent examples are not copies of his work but a development of it.

Now 84, father-of-four Huffman lives in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, in America.

New 'frozen spice' drug hits streets of Birmingham
New ‘frozen spice’ drug hits streets of Birmingham (Image: Birmingham Mail)

He leads a quiet life and does not welcome the notoriety his discoveries led to.

His phone numbers are listed under his wife’s name and strangers who call his laboratories at Clemson University are told he doesn’t return messages.

“I don’t want pest calls,” he said.

“I get a number of them that are nut calls.

“You know, ‘Why did you make the compound that murdered my son?’ and this sort of stuff.

“I’ve had e-mails like that.

“There’s a reason I’m so difficult to reach.”

Asked what the solution to the crisis could be he said: “What they should do now is the synthetic compounds should be made vigorously illegal and marijuana should be legalised.”

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