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Boy slips through Heathrow security to board British Airways flight to Los Angeles

Boy slips through Heathrow security to board British Airways flight to Los AngelesPolice at Heathrow Airport are investigating how a 12-year-old boy slipped through security and managed to board a British Airways flight to Los Angeles without a ticket or boarding pass. The unaccompanied child, who had no travel documents, mingled with passengers getting on the flight and was only spotted when cabin crew asked to see his boarding pass in order to direct him to his seat. The mystery youngster, who is thought to be Dutch, was not travelling with his parents, and refused to cooperate with cabin crew when he was challenged. Fellow passengers said he refused to leave the aircraft and was eventually removed by police officers who boarded to assist aircrew. As a result of the security lapse, the aircraft had to be cleared and all the passengers were forced to undergo a second security check, delaying the flight by more than four hours. The mystery youngster, who is thought to be Dutch, was not travelling with his parents, and refused to cooperate with cabin crew when he was challenged Credit: AP Photo/Alastair Grant Detectives were working to establish where the boy was originally from and how he had managed to pass through strict security cordons, without being spotted. One theory is that he was a transit passenger who had arrived at Heathrow with a ticket to an onward destination, but had then attempted to see if he how far he could get with our being challenged as part of an elaborate dare. The lapse also raises concerns over the effectiveness of security checks at Britain’s busiest airport, although a spokesman for British Airways insisted the boy had been through the same controls as all other passengers. The spokesman said: “We have apologised to our customers for the delay to their flight after an issue during boarding.   “The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority and everyone who had boarded the aircraft had been subject to security checks.  “We conducted additional precautionary screening as soon as this issue came to light and we are assisting the police with their enquiries.” Rachel Richardson, who was heading to Los Angeles on a business trip, described chaotic scenes as airline staff tried to deal with the situation. She said: “The boy would not speak to the cabin crew and they were asking if anybody spoke Dutch. He would not help them understand where his bags were so the whole aircraft had to be cleared which meant we were almost more than four hours delayed taking off. It was very frustrating.” A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “A 12-year-old boy boarded a BA flight from Heathrow to Los Angeles at around 17:15hrs on 14 July.   “He was identified by cabin crew during pre-flight check. He did not have a ticket or any travel documents.   "The boy was an unaccompanied minor. He is not a UK national. As a security precaution, passenger de-planed following a discussion between police and the captain.   “The child is believed to have arrived at Heathrow as a transit passenger.” A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We are working with our police colleagues and British Airways to understand how an unauthorised passenger boarded the incorrect aircraft. The individual did not represent a security risk and, purely as a precaution, the aircraft in question was re-screened and has since departed. We apologise for the disruption and will continue working closely with the authorities and our airline partners to keep the airport safe.”



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Chinese tourists look on in amazement as Hong Kong street protesters march through city

Chinese tourists look on in amazement as Hong Kong street protesters march through cityProtesters in Hong Kong took their message to a new audience on Sunday – mainland Chinese tourists – as coverage of the anti-government movement have been heavily censored by Beijing authorities.   Thousands marched peacefully through popular tourist areas, snarling traffic in main thoroughfares, in the first major demonstration since Monday, when a small group of protesters seized the city’s legislature. A traveling band sang songs and hit drums, lifting spirits along the roughly two-mile route, and chanting slogans: “Hong Kong people, add oil!” . Organisers said about 230,000 turned out for the protests, though police said the turnout was 56,000 at its peak. Many chatted with mainland Chinese tourists, explaining freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong, a former colony whose freedoms are guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, an agreement that went into effect when the British handed the territory back to Beijing. Others detailed why controversy erupted over an extradition proposal that would send suspects to face trial in China, where the ruling Communist Party largely controls the courts. State media coverage of the protests that have roiled Hong Kong for a month – ending in police spraying tear gas and firing rubber bullets – has been heavily restricted in China, largely focused on condemning demonstrators for engaging in violent clashes with the police. Beijing authorities have also said little, scolding the UK and other countries that have urged the government to uphold its end of the Joint Declaration for meddling in Chinese affairs. Censors in China routinely heavily control everything from news to movies available inside the mainland. Waves of people out on the street confounded Chinese tourists, some of whom were visiting Hong Kong for the first time and had never seen a demonstration – ever. “I don’t really understand the issue,” said Miao Yiwen, 20, a university student, who arrived in Hong Kong two days ago and was reading a local newspaper on a street corner half a block from the protests. “When I arrived in Hong Kong, I learned that there would be an event here today, but I don’t get what’s going on. Why is everyone so easily excitable?” she said, as the sound of protesters chanting in unison rose into the air. Another visitor, Summer, 20, said it was “stupid” of Hong Kong people to organise such a demonstration. “If you do this – have a lot of people to come out to demonstrate – then for sure there will be some unforeseen impacts on the economy, on tourism,” he said, declining to give a surname. He thought it would the demonstrations would leave a bad impression on foreigners, and dissuade others from visiting. Others were upset their travel plans had been upended – trains going between Hong Kong and mainland China were cancelled Sunday and some tour groups rescheduled their outings.  Crowds swelled quickly as more joined along the way, quickly reaching the march’s end point – a high-speed rail station that connects mainland China to Hong Kong. The rail station itself was a flashpoint when it opened last September – a physical sign of China encroaching on Hong Kong – mainland law applies to the station and passengers must go through Chinese immigration and customs inside. It’s also part of the “Greater Bay Area” plan to better integrate Hong Kong with its neighbouring Chinese cities, feeding unease of those who fear greater mainland presence in the city. Other changes have been less visible, say residents, with many worried about how a broader crackdown in China against lawyers, activists, journalists and anyone who opposes the government might be felt in Hong Kong as Xi Jinping, the head of the Communist Party, has consolidated power in recent years. Ever since the pro-democracy protests in 2014 Umbrella Movement ended without any concessions by the government, the political environment has completely changed, said Jasmine Fung, 28.  “Even today, people are pretty upset, and pretty disappointed at the government,” said Ms Fung, an office worker. “People are asking now, ‘if I say this out loud, will I get in trouble?” I can see this loss of freedom of speech.” After much violence over the last month between police and demonstrators, those out on Sunday wanted to keep the peace. The most aggressive behaviour came from a handful of protesters cursing at the police, accusing them of being more committed to protecting the rail line – high barricades and rows of police surrounded the station – than the people.  While Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has said the extradition bill will be suspended for the time being, protesters have continued to take to the streets to demand the full withdrawal of the bill, Ms Lam’s resignation and for an independent investigation into police brutality. Protesters plan to keep coming out in force to show the government that they remain united in their demands. More demonstrations are planned for the coming week. “We must protect our freedom, our autonomy,” said Thomas, 25, who declined to give a surname over fears of government backlash. “Otherwise we could lose it overnight.”



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Tough trek for Central American migrant caravan heading through Mexico to U.S. border

Tough trek for Central American migrant caravan heading through Mexico to U.S. borderMany had already learned they would not be received in towns with the same hospitality that greeted previous caravans.



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Amazon employees listen to customers through Echo products, report finds

Amazon employees listen to customers through Echo products, report findsEmployees listen to Echo recordings, transcribe and annotate them and feed them back to the software so that Alexa can better grasp human speech.



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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Meet the Trump supporter trying to take her down through campaign finance complaints

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Meet the Trump supporter trying to take her down through campaign finance complaintsThe man trying to bring down Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her staff for allegedly breaking campaign finance laws during the 2018 midterm elections, is a devout partisan and proud Donald Trump supporter, known for his distaste for the very campaign finance regulations he is using to try and stir up controversy.Dan Backer, a Virginia attorney, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Wednesday, alleging that Ms Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff Seikat Chakrabarti engaged in a “scheme” to undercut normal “market value” for campaign services for her and several other progressive candidates.It is a complaint that Mr Backer says shows Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s “hypocrisy” as an advocate for campaign finance reform, even if he does not personally agree with the underlying law. And, it is Mr Backer’s own duality on these issues that campaign finance experts say illustrates how easy it is for partisan complaints to be filed with the FEC and make news with little in-depth scrutiny.“I think much of what they set out to do SHOULD be legal, and the provisions restricting people from engaging in robust political activity in this way are likely unconstitutional, but it’s still the law,” Mr Backer told The Independent in an email.He continued: “And it’s self-aggrandising ‘reformers’ like [Ms Ocasio-Cortez] who seek to make the laws even more burdensome. I would be thrilled if the adjudication here resulted in overturning some of these restrictions, but until then it’s still the law and a self-professed reformer ought to follow the laws.”A request sent to Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s office seeking comment on Mr Backer’s allegations received no reply. She has previously claimed the campaign finance allegations against her originated from a “conspiracy machine”.In the newest complaint, Mr Backer charges that Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Mr Chakrabarti controlled three overlapping entities — the Justice Democrats PAC, the Brand New Congress PAC and Brand New Congress LLC — with a goal to “subsidise cheap assistance for Ocasio-Cortez and other candidates at rates far below market value”.The complaint details a string of allegations, with multiple different ways that Mr Backer says Ms Ocasio-Cortez may have violated campaign finance laws.“Dan Backer is a longtime actor in this space who has scored some notable victories. He has won, but he also has a reputation for taking a kind of kitchen sink approach,” said Daniel Weiner, the senior counsel for the Brennan Centre for Justice.“He sues the FEC constantly and loses much more often than he wins, though he has won,” Mr Weiner continued. “He’s also, frankly, he’s a very, very committed partisan. Not unlike many people in this bar. He’s also a committed — one might even say ferocious — opponent of campaign finance regulation generally.”Mr Backer’s complaint was filed on Wednesday on behalf of the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, a conservative activist group that has challenged Ms Ocasio-Cortez for campaign finance violations on at least one other occasion.The foundation is run by Mr Backer and by Shaun McCutcheon, a Republican donor and delegate for Mr Trump who once challenged — and won with Mr Backer’s help — the FEC over limits on aggregate campaign donations to federal candidates during a two year period.In addition to his complaints against Ms Ocasio-Cortez, Mr Backer has been active in Republican politics organising against former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.Mr Backer helped to establish the Stop Hillary PAC, for instance, which was highly critical of her handling of the 2012 attacks on US government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, where a US ambassador was killed. The PAC was later renamed following Mr Trump’s election as the Committee to Defend the President.Mr Backer was also involved in a complaint accusing the Clinton campaign in 2016 of campaign violations related to payments to Fusion GPS – the company that helped produce the dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.With Mr Backer’s signature behind it, the Committee to Defend the President and a separate pro-Trump PAC called Great America PAC have already begun spending big to support the president’s re-election bid. By mid-February, for instance, those two groups had already spent $ 441,038 and $ 821,280, respectively, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics.



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McConnell is trying to leave a lifetime conservative legacy through judicial appointments: Today's talker

McConnell is trying to leave a lifetime conservative legacy through judicial appointments: Today's talkerSenate majority leader, who blocked Merrick Garland's Supreme Court nomination, accuses Democrats of obstructionism.



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American Airlines to cancel 90 flights every day through most of April

American Airlines to cancel 90 flights every day through most of AprilThe decision comes as a result of the FAA's decision to ground all Boeing 737 Max aircraft.



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Deadly tornadoes smash through Alabama, Southeast: What we know now

Deadly tornadoes smash through Alabama, Southeast: What we know nowFirst responders in Alabama were picking through the rubble Monday of a devastating tornado that killed at least 23 people. Here's what we know.



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SpaceX's Crew Dragon test flight gets through the toughest bit without issue

SpaceX's Crew Dragon test flight gets through the toughest bit without issueSpaceX sent its Crew Dragon capsule skyward on Saturday for a crucial test of its ability to carry human passengers. Now, slightly more than 24 hours later, the next phase of the test has played out. It went well. The Crew Dragon capsule, designated Demo-1, was able to successfully dock with the International Space Station at roughly 3:00 a.m. ET. Although there was no crew aboard this time, SpaceX's reusable capsule is designed to carry up to seven astronauts to and from Earth's orbit. SEE ALSO: SpaceX kicks off a 'new era in spaceflight' with the Crew Dragon launch The company has been sending an earlier version of its capsule to the ISS for a number of years, but in those instances the space station's robotic arm has helped the smaller vehicle successfully dock. For this test, the Crew Dragon's own navigational system handled the docking procedure — and it happened without issue. Capture confirmed! After making 18 orbits of Earth since its launch, @SpaceX’s #CrewDragon spacecraft successfully attached to the @Space_Station via “soft capture” at 5:51am ET while the station was traveling just north of New Zealand. Watch: t.co/oJKHgK8eV7 pic.twitter.com/xO1rU5cAMM — NASA (@NASA) March 3, 2019 Listen to those cheers. Once the capsule docked, the three-person crew aboard the ISS — all of whom were prepared to evacuate during the docking procedure if something went wrong — opened it up to greet Ripley, the sensor-laden dummy that flew in alongside 400 pounds of supplies and a plush Earth doll. The capsule will remain at the ISS for another five days. The hatch is open! At 8:07am ET, crew members aboard our orbiting laboratory opened the hatch between @SpaceX’s #CrewDragon spacecraft and the @Space_Station. Watch: t.co/oJKHgK8eV7 pic.twitter.com/NKFisziToV — NASA (@NASA) March 3, 2019 .@AstroAnnimal welcomes humans aboard the first @SpaceX #CrewDragon to visit the station and introduces two special guests, Ripley and Little Earth, ushering in the era of @Commercial_Crew. #LaunchAmerica pic.twitter.com/QqzEEgDWzt — Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) March 3, 2019 As NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine pointed out on Saturday, the SpaceX test represents a "new era" for American space travel. Astronauts in the U.S. have been relying on Russian Soyuz rockets since NASA's fleet was retired in 2011, but those seats are costly. SpaceX's Crew Dragon (and Boeing's similar Starliner capsule) present an alternative, having been developed under NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Space travel is still a costly endeavor, but these capsules were developed in partnership with NASA and the price of a seat is about $ 30 million cheaper. With the successful launch and docking procedure now behind it, only one important test remains for SpaceX's test flight: the return trip. Demo-1 will detach from the ISS on Friday, March 8, and begin the quick journey back to Earth.  It's expected to touch down in the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere off the coast of Florida near Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. If that final phase of the test goes well, NASA astronauts could be heading into space aboard non-NASA rockets as soon as summer 2019. WATCH: Elon Musk says Mars round trip could cost only $ 100,000 one day



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Ivanka Trump endorses working your way up through life

Ivanka Trump endorses working your way up through lifeIvanka Trump, elder daughter of a billionaire president, married to the son of a real estate mogul, thinks Americans want to make their own way up life’s ladder.



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