Vice President Pence used private email as US governor: report

Emails obtained by that state’s daily Indianapolis Star newspaper showed that Pence used the private account – which the paper said was hacked last summer – to at times discuss “sensitive matters” and “homeland security issues.

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The Star, which obtained the emails in a public records request, said that in response to its investigation the vice president’s office confirmed that “Mike Pence maintained a state email account and a personal account.”

“As Governor, Mr Pence fully complied with Indiana law regarding email use and retention,” his office told the paper.

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“Government emails involving his state and personal accounts are being archived by the state consistent with Indiana law, and are being managed according to Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act.”

As US President Donald Trump’s running mate on the 2016 campaign trail, Pence criticised the Republican’s rival Hillary Clinton for using a private email server for official communications – a scandal that haunted her throughout the race.

The reporter who broke the story, Tony Cook, told CNN that Pence’s spokesman had “downplayed any comparisons to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and email account.”

Indiana law does not bar public officials from using personal email, but generally does require that messages connected to official business be kept for public information purposes.

Pence’s office told the paper that his campaign had taken steps to allow outside counsel to transfer personal emails dealing with public business to the state.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Clinton was dogged throughout her White House campaign by her use of a private email server while secretary of state. 

She has said FBI director James Comey played a part in her campaign loss, claiming that the agency’s re-opening of a probe into her email use broke the momentum towards victory. 

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Artificial embryo offers pregnancy hope

Scientists have created an artificial mouse embryo from stem cells for the first time.

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The breakthrough, which could shed light on why two-thirds of human pregnancies fail in the early stages of embryo development, was made by researchers at the University of Cambridge.

Using two types of stem cells – embryonic (ESCs) and trophoblast (TSCs) – with a 3D scaffold, the scientists grew a structure capable of assembling itself.

The artificial structure’s development and architecture closely resembled that of a natural embryo.

When a mammalian egg is fertilised by a sperm, it divides to create a ball of stem cells. The ESCs cluster together at one end of the embryo, while the TSCs form a placenta.

A third type of stem cell – primitive endoderm – form a yolk sac which provides essential nutrients for the foetus’s organs to develop properly.

Early embryo development requires the different cells to co-ordinate closely with each other, and previous attempts to create an artificial structure using only ESCs have been unsuccessful.

But the research, published in the journal Science on Thursday, found that the two types of cell communicate about where in the embryo to place themselves.

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, who led the research, said: “We knew that interactions between the different types of stem cell are important for development, but the striking thing that our new work illustrates is that this is a real partnership – these cells truly guide each other.

“Without this partnership, the correct development of shape and form and the timely activity of key biological mechanisms doesn’t take place properly.”

The artificial embryo, while akin to a natural one, is unlikely to grow to a healthy foetus because it would need the third stem cell to create the yolk sac.

However, the study could help scientists understand the developmental events that occur before a human embryo reaches 14 days.

“We are very optimistic that this will allow us to study key events of this critical stage of human development without actually having to work on embryos,” Prof Zernicka-Goetz said.

“Knowing how development normally occurs will allow us to understand why it so often goes wrong.”

Sweden brings back conscription amid Russia fears

“We are in a context where Russia has annexed Crimea,” Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told AFP, adding: “They are doing more exercises in our immediate vicinity.

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Sweden has had a professional army, staffed by volunteers, since 2010.

“We saw that our units could not be filled on a voluntary basis. A decision had to be taken to complement the (volunteer) system which is why we are reactivating conscription,” Hultqvist said.

A non-NATO member, Sweden has not seen armed conflict on its territory in two centuries. It put conscription on hold in 2010 after it was deemed an unsatisfactory way of meeting the needs of a modern army.

In the past two decades the military’s budget has been slashed as its mission was revamped to focus more on peacekeeping operations abroad and less on the country’s defence.

But in recent years, concerns have risen about Russia’s intentions in the region — with alarms bells ringing after Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, experts noted.

“The new security situation is also a reality, partly in the form of Russian power politics which has long been underestimated and downplayed,” Wilhelm Agrell, a security expert at Lund University, told AFP.

Since the winter of 2014, “we’ve seen Russia as expansive and prepared to use violence to benefit its own interests,” Agrell said.

But, “today Sweden has neither the possibility nor the political will to stay away from a conflict” in the Baltic Sea region, he added.

In June 2015, US think tank Cepa published a report claiming Russia had held exercises with 33,000 troops aimed at practising an invasion of Sweden’s Baltic Sea island of Gotland, among other sites.

Just three months earlier, the Swedish government had decided to remilitarise Gotland, where the last barracks had been decommissioned in 2005.

Around 150 men have been stationed there since September last year.

Russian fears also came to the fore in October 2014, when Sweden launched a massive but unsuccessful hunt for a foreign submarine — suspected to be Russian — in the Stockholm archipelago over an eight-day period.

Consensus

Sweden first introduced compulsory military service in 1901 but halted it in 2010 and replaced it with a volunteer army.

But a military career had little appeal to generations of Swedes who had never set foot inside barracks.

Thursday’s decision by the minority Social Democratic-led government means all Swedes — male and female — born in 1999 or later will be eligible for conscription as of July 1, 2017.

Mandatory military service, which will last for 11 months, will begin January 1, 2018.

As of July 1, all Swedes born after 1999 will be contacted and asked to answer a questionnaire.  Based on their answers, 13,000 people will be mobilised.

Of those, only 4,000 will be called up each year after January 1, 2018.

For the first time, conscription will apply to women.

“It’s very important to emphasise that military service is for girls and guys,” Hultqvist said.

“It is important for the military to have a gender equal profile,” he added.

The reactivation of conscription is supported by both the government and right-wing opposition.

In 2015, they had already agreed to increase military spending, granting the defence an additional 1.1 billion euros ($1.18 billion) over the period 2016-2020.

On defence issues, Sweden has a close dialogue with neighbouring Finland, which in turn shares a 1,340-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia.

Sweden and Finland — the Nordic and Baltic region’s only non-aligned countries — have recently stepped up their military cooperation with the US.

That followed an increase in Russian military activity in the region, including several airspace violations and war planes allegedly flying without their identifying transponders.

Russia has repeatedly warned Sweden and Finland against joining NATO, an issue regularly debated in both countries.

Australian boy missing after Barcelona attack

Barcelona terror attack: 16 dead, scores injured In pictures: Aftermath of Las Ramblas attack ‘There were bodies on the ground’: Witnesses describe Barcelona attack

A seven-year-old boy who became separated from his mother is missing after the Barcelona terror attack, his Australian family say.

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Sydney man Tony Cadman has posted on Facebook that his grandson Julian Cadman is missing and the boy’s mum Jom is in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Young Sydney bank worker Suria Intan is in a serious but stable condition at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona.

Ms Intan works for the Commonwealth Bank and is heavily involved in the Hillsong Church.

A picture of Suria Intan on her Facebook page.Facebook

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop earlier said of the eight Australians affected by the terrorist attack in Las Ramblas, four have been injured, three have required consular support and one is unaccounted for.

“Of the four injured, that includes one woman, who is from New South Wales in a stable condition, but was seriously injured,” Ms Bishop told reporters Friday afternoon.

“A second woman, also from NSW, is in a serious condition in hospital. She was travelling on a British passport.”

The path of the van in BarcelonaGoogle

She also said two young men from Victoria were injured, but have been discharged from hospital after treatment.

“I have spoken to the Spanish ambassador to Australia and conveyed to him the condolence of the Australian Government and the Australian people and reaffirmed our commitment to stand with Spain at this terrible time.”

She said travel advice has been updated, and that travellers should take caution.

“Again, I remind Australians that if you are worried about loved ones or families, please try and get in touch with them directly, but if you are unable to do so, and you are calling from Australia, the number is 1300 555 135.”

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People walk down a main street in Barcelona, Spain, after the terror attackAAP

16 dead, scores injured

Sixteen people were killed Thursday when a driver deliberately slammed a van into crowds on Barcelona’s most popular street in an attack claimed by the IS. 

Police and the Catalonian Interior Minister said they had arrested three suspects after the assault, the latest in a wave of vehicle rampages across Europe in recent years.

The IS propaganda agency Amaq claimed that “soldiers” from the jihadist group carried out the attack, according to the Site Intelligence Group which monitors Islamist websites.

Witnesses told of the panic unleashed in an area thronging with local residents and tourists in Spain’s second biggest city, as world leaders united in condemning the carnage.

“We can confirm there are 13 dead and more than 50 injured,” regional interior minister Joaquim Forn said on Twitter. Belgium said one of its nationals was among the dead.

Twenty-six French citizens have been injured, with at least 11 of them in serious condition, the French Foreign Affairs Ministry says.

The statement says French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will visit Barcelona on Friday to visit the victims, and that the French consulate in Barcelona is in contact with Spanish authorities.

0:00 Barcelona’s most famous street Las Ramblas was packed with tourists when a van drove into the crowds, leaving scenes of carnage and panic. Share Barcelona’s most famous street Las Ramblas was packed with tourists when a van drove into the crowds, leaving scenes of carnage and panic.

One of the suspects was named by the police union as Driss Oukabir, but there were no further details and police denied earlier reports a perpetrator was holed up in a bar.

The famous Las Ramblas is one of Barcelona’s busiest streets, lined with shops and restaurants and normally packed with with tourists and street performers until well into the night.

Police said there had been a “huge collision” between a van and pedestrians on the thoroughfare and a police source said officers were seeking a total of two suspects.

Injured people are treated in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district (AAP)AP

Spain’s royal family condemned the assault in unusually strong terms, vowing that their country would not be “terrorised” by extremists.

‘Bodies on the ground’

Witnesses told of scenes of horror, with bodies strewn along the boulevard as others fleeing for their lives.

“When it happened I ran out and saw the damage,” local shop worker Xavi Perez told AFP.

“There were bodies on the ground with people crowding round them. People were crying. There were lots of foreigners.”

Injured people are treated in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017AAP

Witness Aamer Anwar told Britain’s Sky News television that he was walking down Las Ramblas, which he described as “jam-packed” with tourists.

“All of a sudden, I just sort of heard a crashing noise and the whole street just started to run, screaming. I saw a woman right next to me screaming for her kids.”

Mossos d’Esquadra Police officers and emergency service workers near the site where a van crashes into pedestrians in Las Ramblas, downtown Barcelona,AAP

Just hours after, police stopped a second terrorist attack involving explosive devices in the Spanish coastal town of Cambril.

Police in the resort town of Cambrils, located about 100 kilometres south of Barcelona, say those behind a van attack which left six people injured were carrying explosive vests, according to the Associated Press.

The four attackers shot dead by police in Cambrils, 120 kilometres south of Barcelona, were wearing explosive belts.

A fifth attacker died after earlier being injured in the operation.

Police were preparing to complete controlled explosions and called for calm in Cambrils ahead of the operation.

Spain had so far been spared the kind of extremist violence that rocked nearby France, Belgium and Germany.

But it was hit by what is still Europe’s deadliest jihadist attack in March 2004, when bombs exploded on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people in an attack claimed by Al Qaeda-inspired extremists.

Ethan Spibey, a charity director on holiday in the city, said he and several others had locked themselves in a nearby church.

“All of a sudden it was real kind of chaos… people just started running screaming,” he told Sky. “There was kind of a mini stampede.”

Tom Gueller, who lives on a road next to Las Ramblas said he saw the van speeding along the boulevard.

“It wasn’t slowing down at all. It was just going straight through the middle of the crowds in the middle of the Ramblas,” he told BBC radio.

A Greek diplomat in the city said three nationals had been wounded — a woman and her two children.

Thursday’s attack, which followed similar incidents in Britain, Germany and France, drew widespread condemnation.

0:00 US Vice President Mike Pence condemns attack in Barcelona Share US Vice President Mike Pence condemns attack in Barcelona

‘Revolting attack’

“The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help,” US President Donald Trump tweeted.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron — whose country has witnessed a series of bloody jihadist atrocities including a truck rampage in Nice in July 2016 that killed 86 people — said his thoughts were with the victims of the “tragic attack”.

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the “revolting attack” and British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Twitter that London “stands with Spain against terror”.

The Nice carnage and other assaults including the 2015 Paris attacks on nightspots in the city were claimed by the Islamic State.

Deeply saddened by the attack on our city. All our thoughts are with the victims, their families and with the people of Barcelona.

— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 17, 2017

In another deadly vehicle attack in December, 12 people were killed when a man driving a truck ploughed into a crowd at a Berlin Christmas market.

Spain has emerged as a potential target for jihadists, with extremist websites mentioning it for historical reasons, since much of its territory was once under Muslim rule.

The authorities in Spain — the world’s third biggest tourism destination — generally remain discreet on the terror threat.

But they publicise every arrest of alleged jihadists, most of them detained for propaganda, recruitment for extremist groups or “glorifying terrorism.”

According to the interior ministry, more than 180 “jihadist terrorists” have been arrested since 2015.

Australian boy missing after Spain attack

A seven-year-old Australian boy who became separated from his seriously injured mother in the Barcelona terrorist attack remains missing.

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Sydney woman Jom Cadman is in hospital but family members do not know what has happened to her son Julian.

Another Sydney woman, Suria Intan, on the last few days of a European holiday with friends is also in a serious condition in hospital.

Ms Cadman and her son were in Spain for a wedding this weekend.

Her father-in-law Tony Cadman said Ms Cadman is in a serious but stable condition in hospital, but his grandson is missing.

“Julian is seven-years-old and was out with Jom when they were separated, due to the recent terrorist activity,” he said in a Facebook post.

A friend said Ms Cadman’s husband Andrew heard about the terror attack when he turned on the radio at work in Sydney on Friday morning, but was unable to reach her on the phone.

Mr Cadman then discovered his wife was in hospital and his son was missing, the friend identified only as Scott told Sydney radio 2GB.

Scott said Mr Cadman was flying to Spain on Friday night, not knowing his son’s fate.

“He’s flying to Spain at the moment not knowing whether his son is dead or alive,” Scott said.

“They were over there for a wedding for this weekend. My mate stayed here and he’s just beside himself.”

Ms Intan, a Commonwealth Bank worker was named by Fairfax as also being seriously injured in the attack.

She was due to come home this weekend after a three-week holiday with three girlfriends, Fairfax reported.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said four Australians were injured in the attack targeting tourists in the Spanish city’s Las Ramblas district.

Two Victorian men were hit by the van driven into crowds on a busy promenade, but had been released from hospital.

At least 100 people were injured in the attack claimed by Islamic State, while Ms Bishop said Catalonian authorities put the death toll at 16.

Australian cyber safety expert Susan McLean was about 100m away as the van zigzagged down the busy avenue, mowing down pedestrians and leaving bodies strewn across the ground.

“All of a sudden there was this tidal wave of people running from both Placa de Catalunya and Las Ramblas towards us screaming, crying and with absolute terror etched on their faces,” she said.

Ms McLean, who was separated from her husband in the panic as people were pushed into shops, said the scene reminded her of Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall rampage in January that killed six and injured three dozen people.

“My first reaction was the Bourke Street massacre, because that is what it reminded me of – the vision of people fleeing in just such terror,” she said.

One of the first Bourke Street responders, fire brigade Commander Graeme O’Sullivan, and his wife saw the carnage as they enjoyed poolside drinks on a rooftop terrace of their Barcelona hotel.

“We could clearly hear thuds as the vehicle was running into people, and then a short time after that, obviously, several very loud sickening screams from the people involved down at street level,” he said.

There are no reports any Australians were involved in two connected attacks in the Spanish towns of Cambrils and Alcanar, both south of Barcelona.

Sombre crowds return to Las Ramblas

Tourists and Barcelona residents have tentatively returned to Las Ramblas for a subdued stroll down the leafy boulevard, a day after a van attack filled it with fear and bloodshed.

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Dozens of armed police officers in blue and neon-yellow uniforms were stationed near Placa de Catalunya and the street was still closed to vehicles, but all other signs of the previous day’s terror had been cleared away.

Newsstands were open selling papers and souvenirs, and by midmorning, some ice cream shops were starting to lift their gates. Notable exceptions were the iconic flower stalls near where the van came to a halt after killing at least 13 and injuring 100. And metal gates were closed at the entrance of La Boqueria, the expansive market that is one of the city’s most famous tourist attractions.

Enrique Camprubi, a city resident for 40 years who walks down Las Ramblas nearly every day, said besides the police, the scene didn’t appear very changed.

“We don’t have to be afraid,” said Camprubi, who volunteers at a nearby center named after Mother Theresa. “And we aren’t afraid because that’s what they want, the Islamic State, they want to scare us so that we stay at home. That is last thing we’re going to do.”

The number of pedestrians was about the same as a regular summer morning, but the crowd was much quieter than usual. Many somberly walked in silence, staring down at the distinctive curved paving stones.

A family from New York said outside La Boqueria that they were undeterred when they boarded a plane last night after hearing about the attack.

“We all feel fine, right?” Tara Lanza said as the whole family exchanged reassuring looks.

“It’s sad,” said her husband, John Lanza. “You can tell it’s obviously quieter than it usually is, but I think people are trying to get on with their lives.”

Their tour guide, Gaston Magrinat, an American who came to Barcelona in 1999, said he couldn’t help thinking that he or his kids could have been among the victims.

“Thinking how often I come down this avenue? Not just for work but also with family,” he said. “It’s a recreational area as well. You come with the kids and get ice cream and stuff like that. It could have easily been me.”

Webcams improve bond with babies

Webcams can help improve early bonding between parents and premature babies, a study has found.

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Researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) analysed the views of parents and professionals using webcams to assist the process.

The majority of parents quizzed in the study, published in BMC Pediatrics, benefited from seeing their baby 24 hours a day, seven days a week in neonatal units.

The team interviewed 30 mothers and fathers and 18 professionals, including nurses, midwives, nursery nurses and doctors, in a Scottish hospital over a six-month period.

Parents said webcams gave them an increased feeling of closeness, enhanced emotional well-being and improved post-birth recovery. The technology also increased the involvement of family and friends through shared images from the post-natal area.

Those interviewed said webcams allowed them to “feel that they were with their baby” even during periods of separation.

They also said they became more responsive to their babies’ needs, and seeing their child helped mothers produce breast milk.

A small minority in the study, however, said the ability to see their baby round-the-clock heightened their anxiety rather than decreasing it, as the majority of parents reported.

Dr Susan Kerr, of GCU’s school of health and life sciences, said: “Our study appears to encourage the early bonding process between parents and their babies.

“The study is one of a few worldwide to have evaluated the use of webcam technology in neonatal units.

“Further work is required to assess the cost-effectiveness of webcam technology and also to evaluate its use in the family home following the mother’s discharge from hospital”.

‘Don’t call me a pioneer!’ Australia’s first hijab-wearing officer changing perceptions

Refusing to call herself a pioneer, the Senior Constable Maha Sukkar is inspiring other women of the Islamic faith to follow in her footsteps and set an example for police forces around the world.

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Walking the beat in Dandenong, in Melbourne’s south-east, Leading Senior Constable Maha Sukkar is a familiar face.

Migrating to Australia from Lebanon in 2000, it was an act of global terrorism a year later that sparked her desire to join the force.

Leading Senior Constable Sukkar said after the September 11 terror attacks, the attitudes of society towards her changed, so she embarked on a mission to change them back.

0:00 Maha Sukkar on becoming a police officer Share Maha Sukkar on becoming a police officer

“After September 11 those same people started saying bad things to me, to my face. I thought: what has changed? I am the same person I was the day before. So I wanted to change people’s perspectives.”

And in 2004 she did, making history as the first hijab-wearing officer.

In November that year, Maha Sukkar held the Qu’ran high above her head as she swore an oath to Victoria Police and received her badge from then police commissioner Christine Nixon.

“It was the best day of my life, even better than my wedding day. I still smile when I think about it. It was really hard work physically and mentally to convince Victoria Police that I can be part of [them] even if I have a headscarf on. The only difference is I might look a bit different but I’ll do the same job.”

Melbourne, November 26, 2004. Islamic police recruit Maha Sukkar receives her badge from Police Commissioner Christine Nixon at the Victoria Police AcademyAAP

Over her 13-year career in blue, she’s seen a lot of changes, mostly – she says – for the better.

Leading Senior Constable Sukkar said she still gets the occasional question about her headwear, but she delights in every opportunity to disprove the stereotype of a subservient hijab-wearing Muslim wife.

“I’m happily divorced. I’m a police officer who works night shifts and afternoon shifts. If I’m oppressed, how could I do that? I chose to wear it. My parents actually didn’t want me to wear it, but I chose to wear it.”

Her diversity is an asset on the Multicultural Liaison Unit at the Dandenong Police Complex.

Acting Inspector Chris Edwards said Leading Senior Constable Sukkar has not just helped change the way the region’s newly-arrived community members see the police, but also how the police think about the communities.

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“When I first came into this role, I wanted to get my head around the literature, tolerance of religions, tolerance of cultures. Maha said it’s not about tolerance. It’s about acceptance.”

Figures from the Victoria Police Muslim Association suggest, over the last decade, the number of officers in the state who identify as Muslim has risen to about 130.

But in a force of over 14,000, officers like Leading Senior Constable Sukkar are still a minority.

It’s something she said she’s working to change.

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“As I always tell people, we are part of the community, and in order to be part of the community, we need to help the community we are a part of. At the same time, [we] help the police understand more about our community, the multicultural community in general but the Muslim community in particular, and that way it’s a win-win for both.”

She has assisted more than 10 women of diverse backgrounds to join Victoria Police, but some believe her influence reaches much further than state and even national borders.

0:00 How to wear a hijab: Tutorial Share How to wear a hijab: Tutorial

The Islamic Council of Victoria’s Nail Aykan said he believes Leading Senior Constable Sukkar is not just the first hijab-wearing officer in Victoria, but in Australia and in many English-speaking countries.

He said she’s an example globally of how well diversity in law enforcement can work, “in profiling and modelling the diversification of the police force, to say ‘look, if it works for Victoria, if it works for Australia, it can work for us’.”

But, despite her achievements, Leading Senior Constable Sukkar refuses to be called a pioneer.

“I’m just a normal human being doing a job.”

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Man arrested for samurai sword attack outside Taiwan presidential office

The Taiwanese man who was arrested at the scene said he was expressing his political views and had stolen the sword from a nearby history museum, police told AFP.

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The presidential office in the centre of the capital Taipei is the headquarters of Taiwan’s Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen.

Relations with Chinese authorities have deteriorated since she took office last year as she has refused to agree to Beijing’s stance that Taiwan is part of “one China”.

The island is a self-ruling democracy, but Beijing still sees it as part of its territory to be reunited.

Political stance

The attacker “took a hammer and smashed a display case in a history museum to steal a samurai sword”, a police official working on the incident, who did not want to be named, told AFP.

“A Chinese national flag was found in his backpack. He said he wanted to express his political stance by going to the presidential office,” the official said.

The man, identified by police only by his family name Lu, attacked the officer as he tried to stop him entering the complex from a side gate, said presidential spokesman Alex Huang.

Lu, 51, is currently being questioned by police. He is unemployed and has no prior criminal record.

The injured guard is in a stable condition after being rushed to hospital for treatment to a wound to his neck, Huang said.

‘Open house event’

Defence minister Feng Shih-kuan condemned the violence and praised the 24-year-old guard for bravely stopping the attacker.

The incident came as the presidential office hosted a family event for its staff, including their children.

“This was an open house event and I can’t imagine what the outcome would have been if he were to get in with the sword,” Feng told reporters.

TV footage showed Lu being carried away by four officers and put inside a police car at a side entrance to the presidential office, which has been cordoned off since the attack.

Target of attacks

Local media reported that he had repeatedly left pro-China messages in comment sections online, including praise for the Liaoning, China’s only aircraft carrier.

The sword he used is carved with the words “Nanjing battle, 107 people killed”, according to a photo released by police.

An employee at the Armed Forces Museum, from which Lu stole the sword, said it had been used by the Japanese military in the massacre of residents of the Chinese city of Nanjing in 1937.

The presidential office complex and its surroundings have been the target of attacks before.

In November 2014 a driver tried to smash his vehicle into the front door of the nearby presidential residence, saying he was protesting the health policies of Tsai’s predecessor Ma Ying-jeou, who was in power at the time.

In January 2014 a man drove his truck through a bullet-proof screen and into the main gate of the presidential office, saying he was protesting over a judicial hearing involving his ex-wife.

There were no injuries from either incident, apart from one of the drivers who was hurt.

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Spain terror attacks: what we know so far

THE EVENTS SO FAR AS SPAIN CONDUCTS SWEEPTING ANTI-TERROR OPERATION

LAS RAMBLAS

– A rented white van zigzags at speed and slams into pedestrians in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district about 5pm Thursday local time; the driver flees and remains at large.

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– At least 13 people are killed and 130 injured.

– Four Australians – two women from NSW who are in hospital with serious injuries and two men from Victoria have been treated and released.

– A seven-year-old boy, Julian Cadman, whose mother Jom is one of the Australians in hospital, is missing.

– Citizens from 34 countries were among those killed and injured.

– Islamic State has claimed responsibility

– Four men have been arrested in connection with the attack, including Driss Oukabir, a 28-year-old Moroccan who is believed to have rented the van.

– The driver has been named as Moussa Oukabir, the teenage brother of Driss Oukabir.

ALCANAR

– In the hours before the Barcelona rampage, one person is killed in a large explosion at a house at Alcana, southwest of the city; sources tell police explosives were being made there.

CAMBRILS

– Eight hours after the Las Ramblas attack terrorists strike again in the seaside resort town of Cambrils, 120 kilometres south of Barcelona.

– In the second attack a gang wearing fake explosive belts ram civilians with a car before being shot dead by police.

– Seven people including one police officer are injured and four of the attackers are short dead at the scene. A fifth suspect dies of his injuries.

– A woman injured in the attack later dies of her injuries.

TERROR CELL

– Police have linked all three events – the Barcelona van rampage, the Cambrils shootings and the large house explosion.

– Spanish authorities believe the attacks are the work of a cell of around eight people.

– A total of 14 people killed in the Bacelona and Cambrils attacks.

Swans pip Crows in AFL thriller

Megastar Lance Franklin kicked three goals as Sydney pipped ladder-leaders Adelaide by three points to confirm their status as the hottest team in the AFL.

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Franklin was an influential force as the Swans prevailed 13.5 (83) to 11.14 (80) in a Friday night thriller at Adelaide Oval.

Franklin and teammate Josh Kennedy (31 disposals, one goal) inspired Sydney’s 11th win in 12 games – they’re now fourth, though Richmond are favoured to steal that spot back by beating Fremantle on Sunday.

The Swans also have a worry with Zak Jones reported for a late bump on Adelaide’s Brad Crouch in the final quarter.

Adelaide remain top and assured of an initial home final but were jumped at the start: Sydney kicked the first four goals – two from Franklin, matched against Adelaide ‘s fifth-gamer Alex Keath.

The Crows’ plight became severe when slipping 29 points down early in the second term but they climbed from the canvas to reduce their halftime deficit to only eight points.

And when Crow Mitch McGovern’s third goal was followed by an accurate Tom Lynch snap some four minutes into the third term, Adelaide held the lead.

Sydney linchpin Franklin then replied with a goal of the year contender – he took the ball on a wing some 100 metres from goal, bounced ahead of a flagging Daniel Talia, and threaded from 30m on a tight angle.

The Swans were just 11 points up at three quarter-time and the Crows then booted three consecutive goals to steal a nine-point lead.

But late goals to Sydney’s Sam Reid and Tom Papley lifted the visitors to what coach John Longmire said was a confidence-boosting victory.

“It was an absolute arm wrestle – two good teams in pretty good form going at it pretty hard,” Longmire said.

“And we were able to get it right in that last five minutes.”

Adelaide coach Don Pyke lamented his side’s inability to convert from some gilt-edged scoring chances.

“We had fair control of the game without being able to hit the (score) board … we didn’t take our opportunities,” Pyke said.

Star Swan Franklin’s haul was supported by two goals from Reid while Kennedy’s midfield colleagues Luke Parker (30 touches) and Dan Hannebery (28 possessions) were prominent.

Adelaide’s Sloane finished with 29 disposals and 14 tackles, onballer Matt Crouch collected 34 possessions, Lynch was influential with 24 disposals and a goal while McGovern kicked four goals and Eddie Betts scored two.

MPs with UK folks may add to federal chaos

More politicians may soon be facing an identity crisis, with the British Home office confirming children born overseas to British-born parents are automatically citizens by descent.

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The Home Office told AAP on Friday that since 1983 children born overseas to British-born mothers or fathers are British by descent.

Prior to 1983 citizenship by descent was passed only through the father. Children born in the UK prior to 1983 are also British, regardless of whether their parents were British-born or not.

British citizenship must be formally renounced, the Home Office said.

Under the Australian constitution dual citizens are not allowed to stand for parliament, but automatic foreign citizenship has caught several federal politicians unawares.

Seven MPs and senators, including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, have already been referred to the High Court to determine whether they are disqualified under section 44 of the constitution, which bans dual nationals.

A September 2015 Home Office document which details citizenship for children born outside the UK reads: “A child born outside the United Kingdom will be a British citizen by descent if either parent is a British citizen otherwise than by descent at the time of the birth”.

Mr Joyce announced his Kiwi status, passed down from his father, on Monday.

Later in the week deputy Nationals leader and cabinet minister Fiona Nash referred herself to the courts, because of dual citizenship through her Scottish-born father.

The citizenship crisis in parliament began in July when Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters resigned from parliament after revealing they held New Zealand and Canadian dual citizenship respectively.

Resources minister Matt Canavan resigned a week later after his mother alerted him to his Italian nationality.

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts was also referred to the courts over the timing of him being elected and formally renouncing his British citizenship.

Senator Nick Xenophon is also in touch with the British Home Office concerning his citizenship, because Cyprus, where his father was from, was under British occupation.

Before he was first elected in 2007, he wrote to the Greek embassy and Cypriot high commission to renounce any possible citizenship.

Lions desperate to avoid AFL wooden spoon

Brisbane have their destiny in their own hands as they seek to dodge what would be the AFL club’s first wooden spoon in nearly 20 years.

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The Lions head into the final fortnight of the season knowing that two wins will be enough to lift them from the bottom of the ladder.

Even if they lose to Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday, as expected, they still stand a reasonable chance of doing so with 16th-placed North Melbourne equal on points and due to visit the Gabba in the final round.

As bad as they have been over the last few years, it is easy to forget the Lions haven’t finished last since 1998 – their second season as a merged entity.

And after the huge strides forward made in coach Chris Fagan’s first year at the helm, it won’t sit well with his playing group.

“The players definitely don’t want the wooden spoon, so that’s a motivation for them,” Fagan said.

“It would be nice to go that way … (but) I don’t think it’s about ladder position.

“It’s about so many other things – the culture of your footy club, how many quarters you can win, points for, points against, the development of your players individually.”

The Kangaroos, Carlton and Brisbane have all won five games this season but are separated by percentage in the AFL’s bottom three.

The Blues play Hawthorn (home) and Sydney (away) and could easily slip to the bottom if the Lions find more winning form after last week’s big win over rivals Gold Coast.

A victory over the Demons would be just fourth time the Lions would have notched back-to-back wins in the last four seasons.

They haven’t won three in a row since 2013.

“We want to finish off the season strongly, we’ve been talking about that for a while,” Fagan said.

“I think so far we’ve done that. We know we’ve improved so the next two weeks hopefully just confirm that a little bit more.”

THE RACE TO AVOID THE AFL WOODEN SPOON:

* 15th – Gold Coast (6 wins, 14 losses, 24 points, 80.49%)

Next up: Essendon (home), Port Adelaide (away)

* 16th – North Melbourne (5 wins, 15 losses, 20 points, 86.25%)

Next up: St Kilda (away), Brisbane (away)

* 17th – Carlton (5 wins, 15 losses, 20 points 79.78%)

Next up: Hawthorn (home), Sydney (away)

* 18th – Brisbane (5 wins, 15 losses, 20 points, 74.48%)

Next up: Melbourne (away), North Melbourne (home)