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Africa festival for Black History Month

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has confirmed the African festival in Trafalgar Square today is part of the capital's Black History Month. The festival will feature inspirations from many African traditions and cultures, supported by Lebara, Air France and The Voice newspaper.

One of the weekend's highlights will be the the Square Celebrates Talent (ACT) which is a show for performers under 25 in front of a live audience. There will also be a fashion show featuring designers from the African UK fashion scene. The festival will take place today from 12pm to 6pm in Trafalgar Square

'London is home to a large and diverse number of African communities, who contribute to the cultural and economic life of the capital and reinforce the historic ties we have to that great continent. As we mark Black History Month I am delighted to be welcoming this celebration of African culture to Trafalgar Square. It will be an opportunity for all Londoners to explore Africa's rich heritage and traditions.'

– Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

New campaign launches in Kenya and the South Bank today

An international campaign to support the end of FGM opens on the South Bank and Nairobi, Kenya today. The Girl Generation: Together to End FGM is an African led movement to support the social and behavioral changes needed to stop violence against women and girls.

The campaign in the South Bank Center will gather together experts from human rights charities, the media, ambassador programmes and Government programmes to support the end of FGM

"My niece is the first girl in our family to be free from FGM. When you break the cycle of abuse once, you break it forever: Save a girl, save a generation. The solution to ending FGM is in empowering girls to be themselves. We are at a point where this is happening but we need to speed things up and get the financial resources to where they are needed."

– Nimco Ali, Girl Ambassador, The Girl Generation


Ticket barriers blocked by demonstrators

Credit: Richard Main

Kurdish protesters descended on Oxford Circus Station earlier, protesting in support of those under siege from Islamic State militants in the Syrian city of Kobane.

The protesters blocked the ticket barriers for a time at the station.

It's thought Kobane has been under attack by gangs from ISIS since the middle of September.

Credit: Richard Main

Swedish national charged with terrorism offences

A 36-year-old man has been charged with terrorism offences by the Metropolitan Police.

Bherlin Gildo, who is a Swedish national, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court accused of three offences.

They include collecting or recording information at Heathrow Airport that was likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

It is alleged he made electronic copies of magazines called "Ultimate Guide to USA Army Combat", "39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad" and "44 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad".

Mr Gildo is also accused of attending a place used for terrorism training and believing instruction would be provided, and receiving training in the use of firearms connection with the preparation of acts of terrorism.

He has been remanded in custody and is due to appear at the Old Bailey later this month.

MP: Information about convicted killer should have been shared sooner

Alice Gross has been missing for nearly four weeks.

As police continue to search for missing teenager Alice Gross, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee said information about suspect and convicted killer Arnis Zalkalns should have been shared sooner.

Keith Vaz said improvements needed to be made to the way police in the UK and overseas communicated.

He said he would have liked to have seen calls made to Interpol earlier and faster communication between the Metropolitan Police and the Latvian authorities.

"The issue of foreign nationals coming into our country who have got previous convictions that the authorities here don't know about is extremely serious.

"We need a modern approach to this so our colleagues in the EU tell us if someone has been convicted of a crime as serious as murder."

– Keith Vaz MP, Chairman, Home Affairs Select Committee.


  1. National

British hostage named as journalist John Cantlie

Journalist John Cantlie. Credit: Matthew VanDyke

A British hostage who appears in a new IS video has been identified as journalist John Cantlie.

Mr Cantlie, who is a former war photographer and correspondent for The Sunday Times, The Sun and The Sunday Telegraph, was captured by militants in Syria in 2012.

  1. National

Foreign Secretary: IS videos distressing for families

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says he has not seen a new IS video which appears to show a British hostage who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012.

Mr Hammond says such videos "can be very distressing for the families of the individuals involved" and the British government is doing everything it can to help British hostages and their relatives.

  1. National

British hostage appears in orange in new IS video

The British hostage who appears in a new Islamic State (IS) video is wearing an orange jumpsuit and reads from a script which criticises the UK and US governments as well as western media.

The captive says he is a prisoner but ITV News is unable to determine the circumstances or threats he may have been under during the filming.

The Briton reads a transcript saying he has been "abandoned by the UK government" and says his fate lies with IS.

He is seen saying "maybe I will live or maybe I will die" but adds that he wants to "take the opportunity to convey some facts."

He claims he will use subsequent videos to highlight "the truth" about the systems and motivations of IS and why the UK and US are "so keen to get involved in another unwinnable conflict".

ITV News cannot verify when or where the video was made.

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