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Newsline: UK Foreign Office advises tourists to stay inside after Barcelona terror attack

The Foreign Office has warned Britons in Barcelona to stay away from the Las Ramblas area of the city after this afternoon’s terror attack. Witnesses heard a “loud crash” followed by people screaming after a van ploughed into crowds of people on the wide tree-lined boulevard which is popular with tourists. The incident is being treated as a terrorist attack by police – local media says at least two people are dead and several more are injured. Updated travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London has warned tourists in the city to stay inside and to stay away from the Las Ramblas area. People who are already in the area have been asked to follow the the advice of police and security services. A spokesman said representatives of the FCO are in contact with Spanish authorities. The travel advice page for Spain on the FCO website now reads: “The British Embassy in Madrid and Consulate General in Barcelona are in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of an incident in central Barcelona.


Newsline: UK Embassy jokes about ‘being British in America’

The British Embassy in Washington on Tuesday wished the U.S. a happy Fourth of July while doing its best to note the awkwardness inherent in doing so. Of course, Britain is the country from which the U.S. celebrates its independence. To be sure, there aren’t hard feelings between the U.S. and the U.K. The two countries have developed a strong alliance, most notably since World War II — often called the “special relationship.”


Newsline: British Embassy in Kathmandu reinforced after quake

UK contractor Gilbert-Ash has finished a £1m fit out project on the British Embassy compound in earthquake-hit Kathmandu, Nepal. In the wake of the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, which killed 9,000 people, the 22-week project included design, fit-out and seismic reinforcement. Nepal has been rebuilding since the devastating earthquake, which caused widespread structural damage. Belfast-headquartered Gilbert-Ash worked with local structural engineers for whom earthquakes are a common occurrence.


Newsline: Trump nominates sports lovers as UK, Belgium ambassadors

President Donald Trump has nominated the chief executive of an asset management firm to be the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. and a former owner of a baseball team to be ambassador to Belgium. Richard Wood Johnson IV, a longtime supporter of the Republican Party, had been touted by Trump as his likely nomination for the position of U.S. ambassador to the U.K. He has run the New York-based asset management firm The Johnson Company for 30 years and is the owner of the New York Jets, an American football team. In 2006, he was asked to testify before the U.S. Senate over a tax-avoidance scheme he participated in that cost the U.S. Treasury an estimated $300 million. He subsequently repaid the figure. Trump’s pick for ambassador to Belgium, Jamie McCourt, is also a sports fan, having been the president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a baseball team. McCourt, “a prominent entrepreneur and attorney,” backed Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and, according to the White House press release announcing her nomination, “speaks French.”


Newsline: Irish embassy in London hit by record demand for citizenship

The Irish Independent has today reported that the rush for Irish citizenship and passports in the UK reached a record high on the day British Prime Minister Theresa May signed the document paving the way for Britain’s exit from the European Union. Demand for Irish passports from people with Irish heritage in the UK soared by 94%. The surge in Irish passports from those living here has prompted the Irish Government to look to hire consultants to forecast the likely demand as the country’s exit from the EU nears. It has been estimated that there are 6.7 million people in the UK who are eligible to apply for an Irish passport.


Newsline: US Embassy in London on lockdown amid bomb threat

Two controlled explosions have been carried out at the US Embassy in London amid a major security alert. Police and fire crews have sealed off the building in Nine Elms, according to witnesses. Officers were seen setting up cordons around the building in Nine Elms, Battersea, and warning people to clear the area. Residents living nearby were told the stay indoors while bomb disposal teams made the area safe. It is understood two controlled explosions were carried out near the embassy after two unattended vehicles were deemed “suspicious”. Police said they were called to a street outside the new embassy, which is still currently under construction. An embassy spokeswoman said no US diplomats were in the building which is still under construction.


Newsline: US embassy in London directly contradicts Trump’s Twitter attack on London’s mayor

The acting US ambassador to the United Kingdom sent out a series of tweets on Sunday in response to Saturday’s terrorist attacks, one of which appeared to challenge President Donald Trump’s criticism of London mayor Sadiq Khan. “It is with a heavy heart I offer my condolences and support to the people of the United Kingdom. America grieves with you,” tweeted acting ambassador Lewis Lukens. “The response from emergency services, law enforcement & officials in Ldn–as well as ordinary Londoners–has been extraordinary,” Lukens continued. Trump, who initially used the terrorist attacks to tout his travel ban and push the courts to reinstate it, slammed Khan earlier on Sunday. “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!'” Trump tweeted. Several critics pointed out that Trump had taken Khan’s words out of context — the mayor said on Sunday that Londoners have “no reason to be alarmed” about the increased police presence in the city in the days following the attack. Saturday’s attack at London Bridge and Borough Market killed seven people and left dozens injured. All three attackers were fatally shot shortly after carrying out the attacks. Police conducted a series of raids following the incidents and arrested 12 people from the East London neighborhood, which is home to many Muslims. The identities of the attackers have not yet been released.