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Newsline: US’s new $1 billion embassy in London unveiled ahead of Trump’s state visit

A new billion dollar US Embassy has been unveiled on the banks of the River Thames. A key part in the rejuvenation of Nine Elms, in Wandsworth, the US Embassy replaces its former offices in Grosvenor Square with a distinctive cube building, surrounded by a pond and topped with solar panels. The building, which will be a workplace for diplomats and home to a contingent of US Marines from January, cost around £750m ($1bn). Unusually, there is no perimeter fence around the new building. Instead, public benches give people access to the banks of the River Thames, while a pond, not a moat, stops unauthorised persons getting too close to the building. US Ambassador Robert “Woody” Johnson, who opened the building, said he hoped President Donald Trump would come to London for its official dedication.



Newsline: London emergency services carry out training exercise at Israeli embassy

A section of the Israeli embassy in London was cordoned off as emergency services carried out a training exercise to test their response to a hazardous substance incident – the first test of its kind at a foreign embassy in the capital. Police, firefighters and paramedics wearing biosuits took part in the “live-play” exercise near Kensington Palace in central London on Sunday, amid snowy and wet conditions. Around 50 members of the Royal Military Police Reserves posed as casualties and embassy staff, though actual staff members were not involved in the exercise. The test saw emergency service teams descend on the embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens, to rehearse their response to “casualties affected by a noxious substance”.


Newsline: Protests at Libyan embassy in London against slavery

Demonstrators protested outside the Libyan embassy in London, calling for the British government to pressure Libya to end the slavery and inhumane treatment of migrants. It follows the emergence of video footage last month that appeared to show men being sold at a slave market in Tripoli. Protesters gathered in London to march on the Libyan embassy because at the moment, there are up to one million migrants in Libya, many of whom are hoping to travel to Europe.


Newsline: Two Liberian Diplomats Expelled by UK Government

The United Kingdom government has declared two Liberian diplomats serving at the Liberian Embassy in London as persona non grata. Full details of the declaration have not been disclosed but the two Liberian diplomats have been expelled from the country. Mr. Jay Napoleon Toquie, II and Mr. Chester Dweh Barh, Sr. were notified of their “persona non grata” status through a written communication via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the U.K. Government. While it remains unclear what prompted the UK decision, diplomatic sources hinted FPA that the British Police have succeeded in compiling a dossier of evidence linking the two staffs of the Liberian Diplomatic Mission in London to alleged money laundering with some Europeans, fraud, and prostitution within the Liberian Embassy. Sources say the two have often embarrassed the country by violating local laws. Our source said, one of the expelled diplomats was once upon a time accused of slavery wherein he was allegedly involved in taking Liberians to the U.K., seized their passports, kept them in his home and molested them.


Newsline: Portugal investigates London Consulate’s online appointment booking system

Portugal’s Minister of Foreign of Affairs has revealed that an investigation is under way at the country’s Consulate in London due to allegations of fraud. According to Augusto Santos Silva, the online appointment booking system is being abused, blocking applications while expediting requests by applicants for a fee. The minister further said that the government and the London Consul General were working to end these fraudulent acts which are currently the Consulate’s biggest operational problem.


Newsline: British embassy cat in Jordan appointed chief mouser

At the British embassy to Jordan, a former rescue cat is settling into his new position as chief mouser – as a traditional well established in the ministries of London goes global. “Lawrence of Abdoun” is a fluffy black-and-white tom who, according to his Twitter feed, reports directly to the Foreign Office’s Palmerston, a cat that delights his 57,000 followers with regular updates from the ministry in Whitehall via @DiploMog. Lawrence, named after T.E. Lawrence, a British military officer who fought alongside Arabs against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, has already gained 2,500 followers since being adopted from an animal shelter last month. Abdoun is the neighbourhood of Amaan where the embassy is located. “Apart from his mousing duties, he reaches out to followers on Twitter. What’s quite interesting is the British public are seeing the U.K embassy in Jordan in a different light,” said Deputy Ambassador Laura Dauban. Tweeting under the name @LawrenceDipCat, Lawrence has discovered the perils of social media, and has even been fat-shamed by trolls.


Newsline: Russian embassy in UK slams ‘unfounded accusations’ of alleged Brexit interference

The Russian embassy in the UK has responded to London’s accusations of Moscow’s alleged meddling in other states’ affairs. In a foreign policy speech on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of aggressive policies “to sow discord in the West,” but a day later said that her accusations were not related to the UK. “We asked relevant universities… to send us the source materials,” the Russian embassy’s spokesperson said. “We absolutely do not accept unfounded accusations, which, by the way, lead to a loss of confidence in London also on the part of foreign partners.”