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Isil bride Shamima Begum has a legal right to return to the UK, head of MI6 says

Isil bride Shamima Begum has a legal right to return to the UK, head of MI6 saysThe British Islamic State (Isil) bride Shamima Begum has a legal right to return to the UK the Head of MI6 has said. The Director General of MI6 has said that British citizens have a right to return home from Syria, even though they may still present a threat to national security. Alex Younger, the head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service – better known as MI6 – said he was "very concerned" about returning British nationals that had fought for or supported the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). Speaking ahead of the Munich Security Conference which started on Friday, Mr Younger said: "All experience tells us that once someone's put themselves in that sort of position they are likely to have acquired both the skills and connections that make them potentially very dangerous. "Anyone who has put themselves in this situation can expect to be questioned and investigated and potentially prosecuted if they return to our jurisdiction." When asked about the case of Ms Begum, the heavily pregnant 19-year-old Londoner who travelled to Syria four years ago to become an Isil bride and who now wants to return to the UK to have her baby, Mr Younger said: "British nationals have a right to come to the UK." Kadiza Sultana, left, Shamima Begum, center, and Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport Credit: Metropolitan Police Britain’s intelligence chief cautioned about showing triumphalism at the demise of Isil, saying such an approach led to hubris. "The military defeat of the caliphate does not represent the end of the terrorist threat that we face," he said. "You can’t use military force to kill and idea." Mr Younger warned that Isil was already in the process of trying to grow elsewhere around the world, even as its fighters are defeated in Syria, and that the threat from al-Qaeda had not been completely extinguished. He said: "Daesh [Isil] is a resilient organisation and it is reorganising, returning to its natural state as an asymmetric transnational terrorist organisation. We see it morphing, spreading out. "Al-Qaeda…has undergone a certain resurgence as a result of the degradation of Daesh and it is a force that should also be taken seriously. It is definitely not done out, and is something we should remain focused on." Mr Younger was keen to stress the "strength and unconditional nature of the UK security offer" and said Brexit would not harm enduring partnerships. "Britain’s commitment to the security of the European continent is unconditional," he said. "Our aim is to strengthen our security partnerships in Europe, alongside our other intelligence partnerships across the globe, because that is the inescapable logic of a world of increasingly international hybrid threats." The ability to "operationalise" partnerships with other intelligence organisations was critical in preserving our way of life, he said, and was used to great effect after the nerve-agent attack in Salisbury last year. Referring to the intelligence sharing relationships with France and Germany he said: "There are people alive in our three countries today because of terrorist attack plans that we have successfully disrupted, showing the value and importance of cooperation to all sides. This is not a one-way street." "Even in the past year…people’s lives have been saved in all of our countries as a result of this cooperation. The counter terrorist machine is working as it should. Bombs haven’t gone off as a result of our capacity to exchange data with each other. "Brexit doesn’t fundamentally alter those relationships."



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Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker goes head to head with Democratic lawmakers on

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker goes head to head with Democratic lawmakers onDemocrats go after acting Attorney General Whitaker over his treatment of the Mueller probe.



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Ex-Trump campaign head Manafort's sentencing in Virginia delayed: court

Ex-Trump campaign head Manafort's sentencing in Virginia delayed: courtJudge T.S. Ellis in the Eastern District of Virginia said in a court order he wanted to delay the sentencing until the other judge ruled on whether Manafort had knowingly lied to investigators in breach of his plea deal, noting that such a decision “may have some effect on the sentencing decision in this case.” Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating U.S. allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and whether Trump campaign members coordinated with Moscow officials. Judge Amy Berman Jackson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last week ordered Manafort’s lawyers and lawyers from Mueller’s office to appear on Feb. 4 for a sealed hearing to hash out whether Manafort violated his plea deal.



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Merkel's Bavarian allies elect new head, ushering in new era

Merkel's Bavarian allies elect new head, ushering in new eraBERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian allies elected a new leader Saturday, a change that offers Germany's center-right a chance to move past their persistent bickering over recent years.



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Bored and stressed, US workers hit by shutdown head back to school

Bored and stressed, US workers hit by shutdown head back to schoolThe one-day event was organized by the School of Public Affairs at American University and billed as a chance to engage in free learning and networking opportunities. “My wife was very happy to get me out of the house,” quipped Adam Santo, a senior official in the US Department of Commerce.



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Smartphones are paving way for the Antichrist, says head of Russian church

Smartphones are paving way for the Antichrist, says head of Russian churchThe Russian Orthodox patriarch has warned that the popularity of smartphones is paving the way for the coming of the Antichrist. In an interview on state television for Russian Orthodox Christmas on Monday, Patriarch Kirill warned that the widespread use of gadgets connected to the Internet has opened the possibility for “universal control over humanity”. The “devil acts very wisely” in offering people such a “toy”, he said. "Such control from one place forebodes the coming of the Antichrist,” Patriarch Kirill said. “The Antichrist is the person that will be at the head of the world wide web controlling all of humanity. That means that the structure itself poses a danger. There shouldn't be a single centre, at least not in the foreseeable future, if we don't want to bring on the apocalypse." The patriarch maintained he wasn't categorically against gadgets, but warned that people should be careful not to “fall into slavery to what's in your hands”. “You should remain free inside and not fall under any addiction, not to alcohol, not to narcotics, not to gadgets,” he said. The Russian Orthodox church has been trying to attract young believers, in part through the web. At a press conference featuring B-movie action star Steven Seagal in October, church officials announced they would create a council for youth affairs with a strong digital presence. Patriarch Kirill serves the Christmas Mass in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, Russia Credit: AP But its leader, an outspoken opponent of feminism and gay rights, has remained suspicious of the Internet, which he previously criticised as the “enslavement of consciousness and volition” and a “marketplace of human vanity”. Twitter users mostly laughed off Patriarch Kirill's latest warning. “Well, they'll ban international Internet in Russia so the 'Antichrist doesn't come through it,' but where's the guarantee that he won't come through Gundyayev's Breguet watch?” wrote one, referring to the patriarch by his surname. The Russian Orthodox church website photoshopped a Breguet watch worth at least £24,000 off of the patriarch's wrist in a 2012 picture, but it remained clearly visible in the reflection of his arm on a well-polished table. Last month, the church again came under fire over a priest who repeatedly posted photographs of himself with Gucci and Louis Vutton luxury bags and shoes on Instagram. The patriarch would seem to have bigger problems to worry about than iPhones, most notably a schism in the church. The top Orthodox leader in Istanbul signed a decree this weekend recognising a new independent Orthodox church in Ukraine, which will challenge the Russian Orthodox church's sway over the tens of millions of believers in that country. The Moscow church has broken off ties with the Constantinople patriarchate over the “blasphemous” decision. The decree on independence was displayed to the faithful at a Kiev cathedral on Monday.



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US officials head to Mideast amid tension over Syria pullout

US officials head to Mideast amid tension over Syria pulloutWASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton are hoping their trips to the Middle East can help shore up support from America's partners amid increasing tensions in the region.



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Sen. Elizabeth Warren gets a head start on 2020 by launching exploratory committee

Sen. Elizabeth Warren gets a head start on 2020 by launching exploratory committeeSen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., became the first major Democrat to take an official step towards running for president in 2020, by launching an exploratory committee on Monday.



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Trump to replace defense head Mattis Jan 1 with deputy Shanahan

Trump to replace defense head Mattis Jan 1 with deputy ShanahanDonald Trump on Sunday announced he would replace Defense Secretary Jim Mattis with his deputy Patrick Shanahan, days after the outgoing Pentagon chief quit while citing key policy differences with the US president, notably on Syria. “I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019,” the Republican leader tweeted, accelerating Mattis’ planned departure by two months. “Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing.



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Border Enforcement Head Should Resign Over Migrant Child Death, Rep. Castro Says

Border Enforcement Head Should Resign Over Migrant Child Death, Rep. Castro SaysThe head of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, should lose his



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