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)