Having previously clashed, Trump and Pope Francis meet – Washington Post

By Jonathan Lemire and Julie Pace | AP,

VATICAN CITY — President Donald Trump met with Pope Francis, the famously humble pontiff with whom he has publicly clashed, concluding his tour of the ancestral homes of the world’s three largest monotheistic religions.

Trump, midway through his grueling nine-day maiden international journey, called upon the pontiff at the Vatican early Wednesday where the two had a private 30-minute meeting laden with religious symbolism and ancient protocol. The president, accompanied by his wife and several aides, arrived at the Vatican just after 8 a.m. local time. The president greeted Francis in Sala del Tronetto, the room of the little throne, on the second floor of Apostolic Palace Wednesday morning.

The men shook hands and Trump could be heard thanking the pope and saying it was “a great honor” to be there. They then posed for photographs and then sat down at the papal desk, the pope unsmiling, as their private meeting began.

It ended a half hour later when Francis rang the bell in his private study. The pontiff was then introduced to members of Trump’s delegation, including his wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as aides Hope Hicks and Dan Scavino. As is tradition, the pope and president then exchanged gifts.

The meeting could provide powerful imagery to Catholic voters back in the United States as well as the possibility for conflict between a president and a pope who have not often seen eye-to-eye.

The two men’s often opposite worldviews collided head-on early last year, when Francis was sharply critical of Trump’s campaign pledge to build an impenetrable wall on the Mexican border and his declaration that the United States should turn away Muslim immigrants and refugees.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis said then. The pontiff has been a vocal advocate for aiding refugees, particularly those fleeing the violence in Syria, deeming it both a “moral imperative” and “Christian duty” to help.

Trump has never been one to let an insult, perceived or real, go by without a response, and he made no exception for the world’s best-known religious leader. He called Francis “disgraceful” for doubting his faith.

And even the pontiff’s congratulatory message sent to mark Trump’s inauguration contained a sly reference to their disagreement, as the pope wrote that he hoped the United States’ international stature would “continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need.”

Trump arrived in Rome Tuesday evening, his motorcade closing a busy Italian highway just after rush hour and prompting hundreds of onlookers to briefly step out of their gridlocked cars to gawk at the fleet of armored vehicles. He spent the night at the U.S. ambassador to Italy’s residence.

Though both Trump and Francis are known for their unpredictability, papal visits with heads of state are carefully arranged bits of political and religious theater that follow a specific program, with little room for deviation or unwanted surprises. Trump was expected to be given a tour of the Vatican after he arrived and then meet with the pontiff in his library. The two men were to be left alone with a translator to hold a private discussion before emerging again to exchange gifts and farewells.

Trump is the 13th president to visit the Vatican and, as part of his tour, he will view the Sistine Chapel.

In recent days, Francis and Trump have been in agreement on a need for Muslim leaders to do more against extremists in their own communities. But there are few other areas where their views align.

The president’s prior anti-Muslim rhetoric — including his musing that Islam “hates” the West — is the antithesis of what the pope has been preaching about a need for dialogue with Muslims. Francis also differs sharply with Trump on the need to combat climate change and economic inequality. And he could react to events this week, including the release of Trump’s budget, which would dramatically cut funding to programs that help the poor, and the president’s agreement to sell military equipment to Saudi Arabia,.

Still, experts believe it unlikely the outspoken pope will do anything but be welcoming during his first meeting with Trump. The pontiff said last week he would “never make a judgment about a person without hearing him out” and some Vatican observers suspect he will hold his tongue, at least for now.

“I think that the climate (of the meeting) will be quite good. Because I think there is a mutual interest to close all the polemics of the past and to start working together,” said Massimo Franco, author and political analyst for leading daily Corriere della Sera. He also said the thought a successful staging of the visit could provide Trump with a good news storyline to briefly overshadow the tumult back home over the firing of his FBI director and the ongoing Russia probe.

Trump’s visit to the Eternal City comes after two stops in the Middle East where he visited the cradles of Islam and Judaism. In Saudi Arabia, he addressed dozens of Arab leaders and urged them to fight extremists at home and isolate Iran, which he depicted as menace to the region. And in Israel, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to strong ties with the nation’s longtime ally and urged both the Israelis and the Palestinians to begin the process of reaching a peace deal. No details or timetable have yet to be established for negotiations.

But while Trump received extravagantly warm welcomes in Riyadh and Jerusalem, the reception could grow much cooler now that he’s reached Europe, site of widespread protests after his election. Climate change activists projected the words “Planet Earth First” on the massive dome of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Tuesday night and protests are expected Wednesday in Rome and later in the week when Trump travels to Brussels for a NATO meeting and Sicily for a G7 gathering.

___

Associated Press writer Nicole Winfield contributed reporting.

___

Follow Lemire on Twitter at http:[email protected] and Pace at http:[email protected]

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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British prime minister raises nation's threat level, saying another attack 'may be imminent' – Washington Post

By and ,

MANCHESTER, England — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday night raised the nation’s threat level and deployed the military to guard concerts, sports matches and other public events, saying another attack “may be imminent” following a bombing Monday night that left 22 people dead. 

The announcement, which takes Britain’s alert level from “severe” to its highest rating, “critical,” clears the way for thousands of British troops to take to the streets and replace police officers in guarding key sites. 

May announced the move after chairing an emergency meeting of her security cabinet and concluding that the attacker who carried out Monday’s bombing may have been part of a wider network that is poised to strike again. The decision, she said, was “a proportionate and sensible response to the threat that our security experts judge we face.”

The worst terrorist attack on British soil in over a decade was carried out by a 22-year-old British citizen who lived a short drive from the concert hall that he transformed from a scene of youthful merriment into a tableau of horror. 

But whether Salman Abedi acted alone or with accomplices remained a question that British investigators were urgently trying to answer Tuesday night as they reckoned with an attack more sophisticated and worrisome than any seen here in years. 

The prospect of a wider plot, May said, was “a possibility we cannot ignore.”

The killing of 22 people — many of them teens — following a concert in this northern English city by American pop star Ariana Grande was claimed Tuesday by the Islamic State, which said one of its “soldiers” was responsible. 

Even as officials and experts cast doubt on the terrorist group’s assertion, however, authorities were scrambling to execute searches, arrest potential accomplices and reinforce security systems at a spectrum of public events that look newly vulnerable to attacks like Monday’s.

After years of successfully fending off more-sophisticated strikes even as countries across continental Europe have fallen victim to bombings, Monday night’s carnage underscored that Britain is not immune amid a rising tide of extremist violence. 

The highest priority for police, said Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, was to “establish whether [Abedi] was acting alone or as part of a network.”

Earlier he had said that Abedi executed the bombing alone and that he “was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity.”

But unlike in previous high-profile attacks — including one in March in which an assailant driving a speeding car ran down pedestrians on a London bridge, then stabbed to death a British police officer — experts said it was unlikely that Monday’s attack had been carried out without help. 

[Three seconds of silence, then a scream: How the attack unfolded]

“Getting a car or a knife is easy,” said Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert at the London-based Royal United Services Institute. “Making a bomb that works and goes off when you want it to go off takes preparation and practice. And it usually involves other people.”

Pantucci said British authorities “are going to try to figure out who [Abedi] knows, who he’s linked to. Did he build the bomb itself, or did someone build it and give it to him?”

Young victims

If police have an answer, they did not say so publicly Tuesday. But there was ample evidence of a widening security operation, with the arrest of a 23-year-old from south Manchester in connection with the bombing. Police also carried out searches at two homes, including the house in the leafy suburban neighborhood where Abedi was registered as having lived.

A senior European intelligence official said the attacker was a British citizen of Libyan descent. The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and thus spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the suspect’s brother has been taken into custody.

A family friend said Abedi traveled frequently between Libya and Britain. “We have an Daesh problem in Libya. We wonder whether he met people there who trained him,” said the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

Even before May’s announcement of a “critical” threat level for just the third time ever — the first two came in 2006 and 2007 — authorities from London to Scotland said that they would be reviewing security plans for upcoming public events. Even smaller gatherings that would not have been policed in the past may now get protection, they said.

[The targeting of women and girls in Manchester may have been intentional]

“Over the coming days as you go to a music venue, go shopping, travel to work or head off to the fantastic sporting events, you will see more officers, including armed officers,” said Commander Jane Connors of London’s Metropolitan Police Department.

May’s decision to deploy the military means the public may now see soldiers rather than police. May said the military would operate under police command.

The escalation came as the nation grieved for the young victims, with thousands of people converging on Manchester’s graceful Albert Square for a vigil that was part solemn remembrance and part rally against extremism.

To roaring applause, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham vowed that the city — which has seen hardship, having been bombed relentlessly during World War II — would not succumb to division or anger. A poet named Tony Walsh delivered an ode to the city titled “This Is the Place.” And in what has become a dark mainstay of life in Western Europe, passersby left candles, flowers and cards for the dead. 

The casualties included children as young as elementary school students. Police said that among the 59 people injured, a dozen were younger than 16. 

Among the dead was Saffie Rose Roussos, who was just 8 years old. The first victim to be publicly identified was Georgina Callander, an 18-year-old student. 

[An 8-year-old was separated from her family. She never made it out.]

Other names were expected to be released Wednesday, with authorities bracing the public for deaths among the teens and tweens who form the core of Grande’s enthusiastic fan base.

The Islamic State did not give any details about the attacker or how the blast was carried out, raising doubts about the truth of its claim. Its statement was posted on the online messaging service Telegram and later noted by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant websites.

The Islamic State often quickly proclaims links to attacks, but some previous boasts have not been proved.

In Washington, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Tuesday that despite the group’s statement, “we have not verified yet the connection.” He noted in a Senate hearing that “they claim responsibility for virtually every attack.” 

Wave of revulsion

In a speech outside 10 Downing Street, where flags were lowered to half-staff, May called the Manchester killings a “callous terrorist attack.” 

“This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives,” she said.

May later visited Manchester, meeting with local authorities and signing a condolence book honoring the victims.

Queen Elizabeth II, meanwhile, led guests of a garden party at Buckingham Palace in a moment of silence and issued a statement expressing her “deepest sympathies.”

“The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert,” she said.

Across the world, other leaders expressed revulsion and scorn toward the bomber.

[The Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared]

During a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, President Trump pledged “absolute solidarity” with Britain and called those responsible for the attack “evil losers in life.”

Organizers of the Cannes Film Festival denounced the bombing as an “attack on culture, youth and joyfulness” and observed a minute of silence Tuesday. Cannes is 15 miles from Nice, where an attacker driving a truck plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in July, killing 86 people.

[In the midst of Manchester’s terror, strangers reach out — through Twitter]

The Monday night attack was the worst terrorist strike on British soil since 2005, when Islamist extremists bombed the London subway and a bus, killing 54 people.

And as with that attack, Monday’s bombing prompted desperate searches for missing loved ones that continued through the night and into Tuesday.

Charlotte Campbell told the BBC that she was “phoning everybody,” including hospitals, trying to locate her 15-year-old daughter, Olivia. She last spoke to her daughter Monday night while she was at the concert.

“She’d just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time, and thanking me for letting her go,” Campbell said in an emotional interview.

The attack occurred near one of the exits of the arena, in a public space connected to a bustling train station. 

Jake Taylor, a former security guard at the arena, said its layout makes absolute safety impossible. 

“You can’t stop people from getting through the train station,” Taylor said.

Mark Harrison, who accompanied his 12-year-old daughter to the concert from Cumbria in northern England, said there were no metal detectors or body checks at the arena’s entrance, although bags were inspected and items such as water bottles had to be discarded. 

“There was definitely a security presence, but anyone can come through the train station,” said Harrison, 44. 

[Trump decries the ‘losers’ who wage terrorism]

In France, the scene of several terrorist attacks in recent years, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe called on people to be vigilant in the face of “a threat which is more present than ever before.”

Britain’s threat level had been classified as “severe” since the summer of 2014, meaning the chance of an attack at any given time was highly likely.

Pantucci, the security expert, said that authorities had disrupted several plots in recent months but that Monday’s attack somehow slipped through. Understanding why, he said, will be crucial.

“They’ve been dealing with a very high threat tempo,” he said. “But this is one they weren’t able to stop.” 

Adam reported from London. Isaac Stanley-Becker, James McAuley and Rick Noack in Manchester; Paul Schemm in Addis Ababa, Ethi­o­pia; and Devlin Barrett, Brian Murphy and Ellen Nakashima in Washington contributed to this report.

Read more

Three seconds of silence then a scream: How the Manchester suicide attack unfolded

The targeting of women and girls in Manchester may have been intentional

Who were the victims of the Manchester Arena attack?

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British prime minister raises nation's threat level, saying another attack 'may be imminent' – Washington Post

By and ,

MANCHESTER, England — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday night raised the nation’s threat level and deployed the military to guard concerts, sports matches and other public events, saying another attack “may be imminent” following a bombing Monday night that left 22 people dead. 

The announcement, which takes Britain’s alert level from “severe” to its highest rating, “critical,” clears the way for thousands of British troops to take to the streets and replace police officers in guarding key sites. 

May announced the move after chairing an emergency meeting of her security cabinet and concluding that the attacker who carried out Monday’s bombing may have been part of a wider network that is poised to strike again. The decision, she said, was “a proportionate and sensible response to the threat that our security experts judge we face.”

The worst terrorist attack on British soil in over a decade was carried out by a 22-year-old British citizen who lived a short drive from the concert hall that he transformed from a scene of youthful merriment into a tableau of horror. 

But whether Salman Abedi acted alone or with accomplices remained a question that British investigators were urgently trying to answer Tuesday night as they reckoned with an attack more sophisticated and worrisome than any seen here in years. 

The prospect of a wider plot, May said, was “a possibility we cannot ignore.”

The killing of 22 people — many of them teens — following a concert in this northern English city by American pop star Ariana Grande was claimed Tuesday by the Islamic State, which said one of its “soldiers” was responsible. 

Even as officials and experts cast doubt on the terrorist group’s assertion, however, authorities were scrambling to execute searches, arrest potential accomplices and reinforce security systems at a spectrum of public events that look newly vulnerable to attacks like Monday’s.

After years of successfully fending off more-sophisticated strikes even as countries across continental Europe have fallen victim to bombings, Monday night’s carnage underscored that Britain is not immune amid a rising tide of extremist violence. 

The highest priority for police, said Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, was to “establish whether [Abedi] was acting alone or as part of a network.”

Earlier he had said that Abedi executed the bombing alone and that he “was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity.”

But unlike in previous high-profile attacks — including one in March in which an assailant driving a speeding car ran down pedestrians on a London bridge, then stabbed to death a British police officer — experts said it was unlikely that Monday’s attack had been carried out without help. 

[Three seconds of silence, then a scream: How the attack unfolded]

“Getting a car or a knife is easy,” said Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert at the London-based Royal United Services Institute. “Making a bomb that works and goes off when you want it to go off takes preparation and practice. And it usually involves other people.”

Pantucci said British authorities “are going to try to figure out who [Abedi] knows, who he’s linked to. Did he build the bomb itself, or did someone build it and give it to him?”

Young victims

If police have an answer, they did not say so publicly Tuesday. But there was ample evidence of a widening security operation, with the arrest of a 23-year-old from south Manchester in connection with the bombing. Police also carried out searches at two homes, including the house in the leafy suburban neighborhood where Abedi was registered as having lived.

A senior European intelligence official said the attacker was a British citizen of Libyan descent. The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and thus spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the suspect’s brother has been taken into custody.

A family friend said Abedi traveled frequently between Libya and Britain. “We have an Daesh problem in Libya. We wonder whether he met people there who trained him,” said the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

Even before May’s announcement of a “critical” threat level for just the third time ever — the first two came in 2006 and 2007 — authorities from London to Scotland said that they would be reviewing security plans for upcoming public events. Even smaller gatherings that would not have been policed in the past may now get protection, they said.

[The targeting of women and girls in Manchester may have been intentional]

“Over the coming days as you go to a music venue, go shopping, travel to work or head off to the fantastic sporting events, you will see more officers, including armed officers,” said Commander Jane Connors of London’s Metropolitan Police Department.

May’s decision to deploy the military means the public may now see soldiers rather than police. May said the military would operate under police command.

The escalation came as the nation grieved for the young victims, with thousands of people converging on Manchester’s graceful Albert Square for a vigil that was part solemn remembrance and part rally against extremism.

To roaring applause, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham vowed that the city — which has seen hardship, having been bombed relentlessly during World War II — would not succumb to division or anger. A poet named Tony Walsh delivered an ode to the city titled “This Is the Place.” And in what has become a dark mainstay of life in Western Europe, passersby left candles, flowers and cards for the dead. 

The casualties included children as young as elementary school students. Police said that among the 59 people injured, a dozen were younger than 16. 

Among the dead was Saffie Rose Roussos, who was just 8 years old. The first victim to be publicly identified was Georgina Callander, an 18-year-old student. 

[An 8-year-old was separated from her family. She never made it out.]

Other names were expected to be released Wednesday, with authorities bracing the public for deaths among the teens and tweens who form the core of Grande’s enthusiastic fan base.

The Islamic State did not give any details about the attacker or how the blast was carried out, raising doubts about the truth of its claim. Its statement was posted on the online messaging service Telegram and later noted by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant websites.

The Islamic State often quickly proclaims links to attacks, but some previous boasts have not been proved.

In Washington, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Tuesday that despite the group’s statement, “we have not verified yet the connection.” He noted in a Senate hearing that “they claim responsibility for virtually every attack.” 

Wave of revulsion

In a speech outside 10 Downing Street, where flags were lowered to half-staff, May called the Manchester killings a “callous terrorist attack.” 

“This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives,” she said.

May later visited Manchester, meeting with local authorities and signing a condolence book honoring the victims.

Queen Elizabeth II, meanwhile, led guests of a garden party at Buckingham Palace in a moment of silence and issued a statement expressing her “deepest sympathies.”

“The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert,” she said.

Across the world, other leaders expressed revulsion and scorn toward the bomber.

[The Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared]

During a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, President Trump pledged “absolute solidarity” with Britain and called those responsible for the attack “evil losers in life.”

Organizers of the Cannes Film Festival denounced the bombing as an “attack on culture, youth and joyfulness” and observed a minute of silence Tuesday. Cannes is 15 miles from Nice, where an attacker driving a truck plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in July, killing 86 people.

[In the midst of Manchester’s terror, strangers reach out — through Twitter]

The Monday night attack was the worst terrorist strike on British soil since 2005, when Islamist extremists bombed the London subway and a bus, killing 54 people.

And as with that attack, Monday’s bombing prompted desperate searches for missing loved ones that continued through the night and into Tuesday.

Charlotte Campbell told the BBC that she was “phoning everybody,” including hospitals, trying to locate her 15-year-old daughter, Olivia. She last spoke to her daughter Monday night while she was at the concert.

“She’d just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time, and thanking me for letting her go,” Campbell said in an emotional interview.

The attack occurred near one of the exits of the arena, in a public space connected to a bustling train station. 

Jake Taylor, a former security guard at the arena, said its layout makes absolute safety impossible. 

“You can’t stop people from getting through the train station,” Taylor said.

Mark Harrison, who accompanied his 12-year-old daughter to the concert from Cumbria in northern England, said there were no metal detectors or body checks at the arena’s entrance, although bags were inspected and items such as water bottles had to be discarded. 

“There was definitely a security presence, but anyone can come through the train station,” said Harrison, 44. 

[Trump decries the ‘losers’ who wage terrorism]

In France, the scene of several terrorist attacks in recent years, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe called on people to be vigilant in the face of “a threat which is more present than ever before.”

Britain’s threat level had been classified as “severe” since the summer of 2014, meaning the chance of an attack at any given time was highly likely.

Pantucci, the security expert, said that authorities had disrupted several plots in recent months but that Monday’s attack somehow slipped through. Understanding why, he said, will be crucial.

“They’ve been dealing with a very high threat tempo,” he said. “But this is one they weren’t able to stop.” 

Adam reported from London. Isaac Stanley-Becker, James McAuley and Rick Noack in Manchester; Paul Schemm in Addis Ababa, Ethi­o­pia; and Devlin Barrett, Brian Murphy and Ellen Nakashima in Washington contributed to this report.

Read more

Three seconds of silence then a scream: How the Manchester suicide attack unfolded

The targeting of women and girls in Manchester may have been intentional

Who were the victims of the Manchester Arena attack?

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The Latest: Investigators hunt for accomplices of bomber – Washington Post

By Associated Press,

MANCHESTER, England — The Latest on the blast at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England (all times local):

2:10 a.m.

As officials hunted for accomplices of a suicide bomber and Britain’s prime minister warned another attack could be “imminent,” thousands of people poured into the streets of Manchester in a defiant vigil Tuesday for victims of a blast at a pop concert.

The attack left at least 22 dead, including an 8-year-old girl, the latest apparent victims of Islamic extremists seeking to rattle life in the West. British Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage.”

May said Britain’s terror threat level has been raised to critical. The status means armed soldiers could be deployed instead of police at public events including sports matches.

___

12:25 a.m.

At Yankee Stadium, “God Save the Queen” was played along with “The Star-Spangled Banner” before New York hosted the Kansas City Royals.

“OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS TO THE VICTIMS IN MANCHESTER” the video board read.

“I think you always think about it,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before the game. “I think our people have done a really good job doing everything they can to protect our fans and protect the players and everyone involved that’s here in this building, you me, but you’re always worried. I mean, that’s the world we live in. So you put your faith in the people that are taking care of us and you trust them.”

___

11:00 p.m.

Sports enthusiasts might see Britain’s Operation Temperer in action on Saturday, when two major athletic events are scheduled to take place in London.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced Tuesday that the country’s terror threat level had been raised to critical — the highest possible ranking.

She says that means soldiers could be “deployed at certain events such as concerts and sports matches.”

There are two major sports events in London on Saturday. Wembley Stadium is hosting soccer’s FA Cup final, which Prince William is due to attend, and Twickenham is hosting rugby’s Premiership final.

___

10:05 p.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says raising the country’s terror threat level and deploying soldiers to patrol key sites a “proportionate and sensible response” to the suicide bombing at a Manchester concert venue.

May said Tuesday that the “callous and the cowardly” Monday attack that killed 22 people and injured another 59, many critically, justified rolling out the security measures included in a plan the government calls Operation Temperer.”

May says the measures include replacing police officers who now guard “key sites” with members of the military operating under police command.

She says the move “will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations.

May said the public “might also see military personnel deployed at certain events such as concerts and sports matches.”

___

9:55 p.m.

Prime Minister Theresa May says Britain’s threat level from terrorism has been raised to critical — meaning an attack may be imminent.

May says Salman Abadi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people at a concert in Manchester, may have been part of a bigger network.

She said Abadi was born and raised in Britain.

The level previously stood at the second-highest rung of “severe” for several years.

May said critical status means armed soldiers may be deployed instead of police at public events such as sports matches.

__

7:30 p.m.

Survivors of the suicide bombing that killed 22 people at a Manchester concert hall say security screening ahead of the Ariana Grande show was haphazard.

Nikola Trochtova said she was leaving the venue when she heard the explosion. She told Czech radio that there was almost no security screening ahead of the concert.

It is still unclear how the bomber was able to enter the area undetected. The blast happened right after Grande left the stage and the arena lights went back up.

Most of the 130 people killed in the November 2015 attacks on multiple Paris venues were attending a show at the Bataclan concert hall.

Pre-event security protocols vary country by country and according to venues. Security experts say one protective measure that could have been taken was extending the security perimeter around the Manchester arena.

___

6:59 p.m.

Former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan says the world must stand together against “the extremists and terrorists” responsible for the attack in Manchester and similar senseless violence elsewhere.

Annan told The Associated Press on Tuesday that all countries need to work together and share information to deny extremists “their opportunities” and bring those who commit crimes to justice.

Annan now leads the group of former world leaders founded by Nelson Mandela called The Elders.

Speaking on behalf of the group, he said it’s “tragic that young people who have gone to listen to music and dance should be cut down so brutally and senselessly.”

Annan said: “Terrorists have been around, but they’ve always lost, and they will lose this time, too. It may take time, but they will lose.”

___

6:55 p.m.

European soccer’s ruling body says there will be a minute’s silence before Manchester United plays Ajax in the Europa League final on Wednesday as a mark of respect for victims of the bombing in Manchester.

UEFA says “the opening ceremony will also be considerably reduced” in Stockholm after Monday’s attack. At least 22 people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked an Ariana Grande concert as the performance ended.

Manchester United players observed a minute’s silence for the victims at a morning training session on Tuesday before flying to Sweden.

Ajax coach Peter Bosz says the final doesn’t have this glow that it should have” because of the attack.

Bosz said: “Tomorrow evening should be a feast. But because of the events in Manchester, we are all affected.”

___

6:40 p.m.

Thousands of people have turned out for a vigil in Manchester, with the crowd holding a minute of silence to honor the victims of the concert attack.

Lord Mayor Eddy Newman and the city’s police chief were among the speakers in front of city hall in Albert Square. Several people in the crowd held up signs with “I Love MCR,” an abbreviation for Manchester.

A banner with a website for a Muslim group said “Love for all, Hatred for None.”

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Monday night’s blast at the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena that killed 22 people and wounded 59 others. Police have named the suspected bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi.

___

6:15 p.m.

Rome will turn off the lights of the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and city hall to honor the victims of the Manchester bomb attack.

Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini tweeted that the ancient arena’s lights would be turned off at midnight Tuesday, just like the Eiffel Tower in Paris will do at that hour.

Lights will also go off for an hour at that same hour at two other popular Rome nighttime attractions — Trevi Fountain and the Senatorio Palace, which is home to city hall, on the Michelangelo-designed square atop the Capitoline Hill.

City Hall says the gesture is a sign of “condolence and closeness to the victims of the tragedy, their families and the city of Manchester.”

___

6 p.m.

Pop group Take That has postponed its planned three shows at the Manchester Arena Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The band had already canceled its Tuesday show in nearby Liverpool following the deadly bomb attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

The band said it was postponing the Sunday performance “out of respect to all of the people and their families that were affected by the horrific incident last night.”

The band Blondie also canceled its Tuesday night concert in London “as a mark of respect for the victims of the terrible attack.”

Lead singer Debbie Harry tweeted that the Round Chapel date will be rescheduled.

Police say the attack in Manchester killed 22 people and injured 59, including many teenagers.

___

5:50 p.m.

Manchester’s police chief has warned that while he understands that “feelings are very raw” after Monday’s concert attack, it is vital that the city’s diverse communities stand together and that hate will not be tolerated.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins also said that the priority for police Tuesday is to establish whether the suspected bomber, named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, was acting alone or as part of a network.

Police arrested an unidentified 23-year-old man in southern Manchester on Tuesday. They also raided the house where Abedi was registered as living, but witnesses say they did not see anyone arrested there.

Monday’s bombing at an Ariana Grande concert killed 22 people and injured dozens others.

___

5:30 p.m.

The chiefs of Italy’s police and intelligence forces, along with a British security official, have met to review anti-terrorism measures in light of the Manchester bomb blast, which occurred four days ahead of a G-7 summit in Sicily.

Interior Minister Marco Minniti led the huddle Tuesday at his ministry, with a Rome-based British security official among the participants.

The ministry says Italy’s level of threat for terrorism hasn’t changed after the concert bombing in England Monday night. But it said already-heightened security will be further strengthened to protect high-risk targets and places where crowds of people gather.

___

5:20 p.m.

Official records show that Salman Abedi was registered as living at the Manchester house raided by armed police investigating Monday night’s deadly concert blast.

The electoral register shows that 22-year-old Abedi — confirmed by British police as the suspect in the suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert — lived at the house in Fallowfield in southern Manchester where police carried out a controlled explosion Tuesday.

Alan Kinsey, 52, who lives across the street from the raided house, filmed at least 20 heavily armed police in helmets and armor march down the street, surround the house and blast down the door before entering.

He said he didn’t see anyone but police leave the house.

He said a man in his 20s, whose name he didn’t know, lived there. In the past there had been other residents but for the last six months or more he had just seen the man.

___

5 p.m.

Ariana Grande’s tour has not been canceled or postponed despite reports online, a person close to the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic, said.

The person said that Grande and her team are more focused on the victims at the moment, not the tour.

It was unclear if Grande’s next schedule show — Thursday in London — would take place.

—By Mesfin Fekadu

___

4:40 p.m.

Concert promoters at London’s O2 Arena, where Ariana Grande is scheduled to perform Thursday and Friday, say they are in contact with the singer’s team about her next steps.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy in Manchester. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected and their families,” the arena said in a statement. “We are in contact with the promoters of Ariana Grande’s tour and will update as soon as we have further information regarding the planned dates at The O2.”

Grande has yet to tell fans whether she will continue her European tour following the deadly blast at her concert in Manchester.

___

4:35 p.m.

Officials in the United States say British authorities have identified the suspect in the Manchester suicide bombing attack as Salman Abedi.

A U.S. official confirmed the identity Tuesday to The Associated Press. No additional details were immediately available.

The bombing Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester killed 22 people and sparked a stampede of young concertgoers.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility, but Dan Coats, the U.S. director of intelligence, says that connection has not yet been verified.

—By Eileen Putman

___

4:25 p.m.

The house where British police performed a controlled explosion as part of their investigation into the concert blast in Manchester is in an ethnically mixed suburb in the city.

Police raided a modest red brick semi-detached house in Fallowfield in south Manchester on Tuesday, and forensics officers were coming and going into the house. Neighbors said they had heard the bomber lived there, but most said they knew little about the inhabitants of the house, except that several people lived in it.

Neighbor Natalie Daley said she was frightened by a loud bang on Tuesday afternoon, then police yelling “get in your houses — get away from the windows!”

She said she was shaken by how close to home it was. She said: “When it’s like two seconds from your house, when you walk past it every day, you do live in fear.”

Police on Tuesday also raided another residential road, and arrested a 23-year-old man at a third location in Manchester.

___

4 p.m.

Britain’s queen has marked a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Manchester suicide bombing.

Accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the queen stood at the top of the steps leading down from Buckingham Palace into the grounds. The national anthem was then played.

The queen was attending a garden party in the grounds of her palace Tuesday afternoon.

___

3:55 p.m.

The U.N. Security Council has condemned “the atrocious terrorist attack” in Manchester “perpetrated against young innocent people.”

Uruguay’s U.N. Ambassador Elbio Rosselli, the current council president, delivered the condemnation at the start of a meeting Tuesday on chemical weapons in Syria and asked for a moment of silence.

The 15 council members and diplomats in the chamber of the U.N.’s most powerful body then stood in silent tribute to the victims.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also strongly condemned “the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester” and called for those responsible “for this unjustifiable violence” to be brought to justice, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

___

3:40 p.m.

Poland’s Foreign Ministry says Poles are missing in Manchester following the concert suicide attack, but does not say how many.

The ministry said on Twitter Tuesday that Polish consuls in Manchester are in “constant touch with the families of Polish citizens missing” in Manchester and have extended support to them.

Many Poles live, work and study in Britain.

___

3:35 p.m.

British police say they have raided two residential areas in Manchester and carried out a controlled explosion at one of them as part of an investigation into Monday’s suicide bombing attack at a concert in the city.

At one of the scenes, where armed police raided an apartment Tuesday, heavily armed and helmeted police were guarding what neighbor Asghar Ali said was a “very, very quiet” area. Ali said: “Even if people throw rubbish outside, people complain – never mind this.”

Plain-clothes officers wearing gloves removed bags from an apartment.

The leafy residential road in south Manchester, populated by a group of tidy-looking buildings, is less than a mile from the supermarket where police reportedly arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack.

Neighbors said the complex of three buildings was a mixed area of students, singles and families, with a large south Asian population.

___

3:15 p.m.

The rapper BIA, who opened for Ariana Grande at Monday’s concert in Manchester, says her heart is “broken.”

“My heart is heavy today as I extend my prayers to the children and families affected by last night’s horrible tragedy in Manchester,” the artist says in a statement.

“We are sending our love to all of Manchester during this incredibly difficult time. We ask each one of you to join us in keeping all who are suffering in your thoughts and prayers.”

BIA, whose real name is Bianca Landrau, was, along with Victoria Monet, part of Grande’s support act for her “Dangerous Woman Tour.”

On Twitter, Monet wrote: “I wish I could say that I am OK, but I am not. Safe? Yes, but heartbroken that loved ones who came to have the night of their lives ended up losing them.”

___

3:05 p.m.

The United States’ top intelligence official says the U.S. government has not yet verified that the Islamic State group is responsible for the Manchester attack.

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, told Congress that the extremist group frequently claims responsibility for terror attacks.

The Islamic State group says one of its members planted bomb in crowds in the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande show Monday night that left 22 people dead. The group warned in a statement on social media that more attacks are to come.

Testifying Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Coats says though he was aware of the IS claim of responsibility, U.S. authorities hadn’t yet verified that.

He says the Manchester attack is a reminder the terrorist threat is real. He says, “It’s not going away and it needs significant attention.”

___

2:50 p.m.

Pop group Take That says it is canceling its show in Liverpool, northern England a day after the deadly bomb attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

The band says it is postponing the performance “out of respect to all of the people and their families that were affected by the horrific incident last night.”

The band was scheduled to play at Manchester Arena, the site of Monday’s attack, from Thursday to Saturday. Their representatives say there is no official word yet on whether those shows will go ahead.

Police say the attack killed 22 people and injured 59, including many teenagers.

___

1:55 p.m.

British authorities say an 8-year-old girl, Saffie Roussos, was among the 22 people killed in the Manchester bombing. And an ambulance official says 12 children under the age of 16 were among 59 injured in the attack as people left a pop concert.

___

1:30 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative ally in Bavaria have called off a pre-election event at a beer tent in Munich following the Manchester attack.

Merkel and Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer had planned to make a joint appearance on Tuesday evening. But Seehofer’s Christian Social Union party said the event was postponed out of “respect for the victims” of the attack on an Ariana Grande concert in England.

The event was scheduled as the pair display rediscovered unity after they fell out over Merkel’s welcoming approach to refugees in 2015. Germany holds a general election in September.

Police in Manchester say a lone bomber with an improvised device died in the attack. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility and that several bombs were involved.

___

1:25 p.m.

Pope Francis has expressed profound dismay over the “barbaric” attack at a concert in Manchester, England.

A condolence telegram sent in his name says he was “mindful in a particular way” of the many children and young people who perished, as well as their grieving families. He prayed for “God’s blessings of peace, healing and strength” upon Britain.

The telegram said Francis expressed “heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this senseless act of violence” and commended the “generous efforts” of emergency and security personnel.

Authorities in Manchester say the bomber was killed in blast. The Islamic State group has claimed one of its “soldiers” was responsible.

___

12:55 p.m.

The Islamic State group says one of its members planted bombs in the middle of crowds in Manchester, England, where 22 people died in an explosion.

Police, however, have spoken only of “an improvised device” used in the attack.

IS says “a soldier of the caliphate planted bombs in the middle of Crusaders gatherings” then detonated them. It did not say whether the attacker was killed.

The group claimed that “30 Crusaders were killed and 70 others were wounded,” higher than the totals confirmed by authorities in Manchester.

___

12:45 p.m.

A school in northern England has identified one of the victims in the Manchester concert bombing as Georgina Callander, a former pupil.

Peter Rawlinson, deputy of the Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy in Croston, northwest of Manchester, told The Associated Press that the school confirmed Callander’s death with members of her family.

Rawlinson says “she was academically a very gifted student, very hard-working. Just lovely to speak to.”

The school posted a photo of Georgina on its website, smiling and look smart in her school uniform. It said she died of injuries from the attack and described her as “a lovely young student who was very popular with her peers and the staff.”

___

12:35 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. is working closely with the British government as it investigates the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Tillerson released a statement Tuesday saying that “our hearts go out to the families of those who have lost loved ones and to those injured in the attack.”

He says: “While it is too early to determine those responsible for this atrocity, we are working closely with the British government and supporting their efforts to investigate and respond to this attack.”

___

12:25 p.m.

Queen Elizabeth II has expressed her “deepest sympathy” to all those affected by Monday’s bomb attack at a Manchester pop concert, where 22 people were killed.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the monarch said “the whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury”.

She thanked police and the emergency services, and expressed admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded to the attack: “With humanity and compassion to this act of barbarity.”

Police say they have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack. Police say they have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack.

___

12 p.m.

Greater Manchester Police say they have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the apparent suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in the city.

Police say the man was arrested in south Manchester Tuesday, a day after the explosion killed 22 people and injured 59, many of them teenagers.

They did not provide details.

Police also said officials arrested a man at the Arndale shopping center in central Manchester — but that the arrest is not believed to be connected to Monday night’s attack.

___

11:50 a.m.

Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni says efforts are underway so that this week’s G-7 summit in Sicily will yield a stronger, common anti-terrorism commitment.

Condemning the bombing that killed 22 people in Manchester, England, Gentiloni told reporters Tuesday in Rome that the summit on Friday and Saturday provides the opportunity to insist that “the cowardliness that snuffs out the lives of young people won’t get the better of our freedom.”

He said Italians can count on the “dedication and professionalism” of their nation’s security forces to ensure international events are carried out safely.

He says he planned to call British Prime Minister Theresa May to express “closeness, solidarity” to Britons.

___

11:45 a.m.

Police have evacuated a large shopping center in Manchester, England. Police declined to comment on media reports that they have arrested a man there.

July McKenzie, who was shopping when the Arndale shopping center, said: “We were just in the shop and could hear people screaming and security guards telling everybody to get out.”

Some people left the scene in tears, while others waited outside the mall.

The Arndale center was rebuilt after an IRA bombing in 1996.

___

11:35 a.m.

Turkish officials say they “strongly condemn” the attack in Manchester and promised to work together with the United Kingdom against terror. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that Turkey “shares the pain of the state of England and the English people” in the attack that killed 22 people.

Turkey has been hit by a string of attacks blamed on the Islamic State group and Kurdish militants since 2015, killing at least 550 people.

___

11:15 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says that it is “beyond doubt” that Britain and the city of Manchester have fallen victim to “a callous terrorist attack.”

Speaking outside her offices in London, she says “Although it is not the first time Manchester has suffered in this way, it is the worst attack the city has experienced, and the worst ever to hit the north of England.”

May says police believe they know the attacker’s name but are not disclosing it immediately.

___

11:10 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says police and security staff in Manchester believe they know identity of the apparent suicide bomber who attacked people leaving an Ariana Grande concert Monday night, but they are not revealing the name for the time being.

Speaking in London, May said: “This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice.”

She says the attack, in which 22 people died, was one of the worst the nation had suffered.

___

11:00 a.m.

Harun Khan, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, has joined the condemnations of the Manchester attack.

In a statement, Khan says: “This is horrific, this is criminal. May the perpetrators face the full weight of justice both in this life and the next.”

He adds: “I urge all those in the region and around the country to pool together to support those affected.”

___

10:55 a.m.

Finance ministers from the 28 European Union countries, including Britain’s Philip Hammond, observed a minute’s silence in memory of those killed and injured in the attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Ahead of the regular EU meeting of finance ministers, Hammond expressed his condolences to the victims and their families of “this barbaric attack” in Manchester.

“It is, as far as we know, a terrorist incident,” he said. “We are treating it as such.”

Hammond, who was due to speak at a panel in Brussels, is to return to London at the meeting’s conclusion instead.

Flags are also flying at half-staff outside the European Commission in the heart of the Belgian capital.

___

10:40 a.m.

France’s interior minister says the government will be issuing instructions Tuesday to regional administrators on working with event organizers on how to secure public spaces.

After a high-level security meeting in Paris Tuesday, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said organizers of sports events, concerts and other performances already had a series of instructions on how to secure their venues. Collomb said France’s airports have also been secured.

France has been on heightened alert since the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks that struck a concert, the national stadium and cafes and bars.

Early Tuesday, the Paris mayor’s office said all shows and concerts scheduled in coming days are going ahead as planned. Ariana Grande is scheduled to perform in Paris on June 7.

___

10:30 a.m.

President Vladimir Putin says Russia is ready to boost anti-terror cooperation with Britain in the wake of a deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

In Tuesday’s telegram to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Putin offered condolences over what he called a “cynical, inhuman crime” and wishes for a quick recovery of all those hurt.

Putin reaffirmed Russia’s readiness to “expand anti-terror cooperation with British partners, both on bilateral level and within the framework of broad international efforts.”

Britain and other NATO allies have cut cooperation with Moscow on fighting terrorism over Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and support for a pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Manchester police say an apparent suicide bomber set off an explosive device at the end of the concert, killing 22 people.

___

10:15 a.m.

Former Manchester United soccer star David Beckham posted on Facebook: “As a father & a human what has happened truly saddens me. My thoughts are with all of those that have been affected by this tragedy.”

In targeting Manchester, the attacker struck at one of Britain’s cultural hearts. The once gritty industrial city, with London and Liverpool, has been one of the main cultural influences on modern Britain, with its iconic Manchester United football team, its cross-city rival City and chart-toppers Oasis, The Smiths and other globally famous bands. Oasis singer Liam Gallagher tweeted that he is “in total shock and absolutely devastated.”

Peter Hook of Manchester bands New Order and Joy Division tweeted that his daughter “made it home safe” from the Ariana Grande concert and added: My heart goes out to all parents & those involved. Manchester stay strong.”

___

10:05 a.m.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has denounced the “ugly terrorist attack” in Manchester, speaking after a West Bank meeting with President Donald Trump. Abbas says he is sending his condolences to the British prime minister, the British people and the families of the victims.

Both Trump and the Palestinian leader opened their remarks with a condemnation of the attack in which 22 people were killed by a bomb blast during a concert in the city in northern England.

___

9:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is expressing solidarity with the United Kingdom in the wake of a deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, condemning the “evil losers” behind the blast.

Trump spoke Tuesday after a meeting in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (mahk-MOOD’ ah-BAHS’).

Manchester police say an apparent suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device at the end of the concert, killing 22 people.

Trump says the attack preyed on “innocent children.” He says this “wicked ideology must be obliterated. And I mean completely obliterated.”

Manchester police so far have said nothing about the attacker’s identity or possible motivation.

___

9 a.m.

Social media users are helping the desperate hunt for people missing in the Manchester concert bombing by circulating names and photos with the MissingInManchester hashtag.

The city’s regional government and its mayor, Andy Burnham, were among scores of Twitter users that circulated the hashtag to help people seeking missing family members and friends.

Those named as missing included Olivia Campbell. Her mother, Charlotte Campbell, said the 15-year-old attended the Ariana Grande concert with a friend from school who has since been found and is being treated in a hospital. But Olivia is missing, having last called home just before the concert, the mother told ITV television’s Good Morning Britain breakfast show.

She says: “I’ve called the hospitals. I’ve called all the places, the hotels where people said that children have been taken and I’ve called the police. If anyone sees Olivia, lend her your phone, she knows my number.”

___

8:45 a.m.

A Czech woman who was at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester says that “there was almost no security check, rather zero. They let us get in without any check if we have anything with us.”

Nikola Trochtova told the Czech public radio that “the only thing they were interested in was if we had any bottles of water with us. They almost didn’t check our bags, they didn’t take a look.”

She says she was leaving the venue when she heard an explosion at the entrance, but learned the details only after returning to her hotel.

___

8:35 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it’s “incomprehensible” that someone would target a pop concert to kill and wound people.

Merkel said in a statement Tuesday that the attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester “will only strengthen our determination to keep acting together with our British friends against those who plan and carry out such inhuman deeds.”

She added: “I assure people in Britain that Germany stands beside you.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Republicans, Pushing Aside Trump's Budget, Find Few Alternatives – New York Times

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans greeted President Trump’s first full budget on Tuesday with open hesitation or outright hostility. But it was not clear that they could come up with an alternative that could win over conservatives and moderates while clearing a path for the tax cuts and policies they have promised for years.

The budget battle ahead mirrors the continuing health care fight, in which concessions to Republican moderates alienate conservatives, while overtures to conservatives lose moderate votes. But with Republicans in full charge of the government, the onus is on their leaders to reach a budget agreement in a matter of weeks that would ease passage of the president’s promised tax cuts as well as a new spending plan that would reshape the government in a Republican mold.

“It is now up to the Congress to act,” Mr. Trump said in his Budget Message. “I pledge my full cooperation in ending the economic malaise that has, for too long, crippled the dreams of our people. The time for small thinking is over.”

The Run-Up

The podcast that makes sense of the most delirious stretch of the 2016 campaign.

Mr. Trump’s $4.1 trillion budget, with its deep cuts to poverty programs, biomedical research, student loans and foreign aid, will not pass, as Republicans on Capitol Hill have freely acknowledged and even the White House is aware. Republicans on Capitol Hill parted ways with the president not only on many of his deepest cuts but also on some of his smaller proposals, like resurrecting a national nuclear waste repository in Nevada and ending the Great Lakes cleanup program.

Representative Harold Rogers, Republican of Kentucky and a former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, called the cuts “very harmful.” Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, perhaps the most endangered Senate Republican up for re-election next year, labeled the budget “anti-Nevada.”

But the drastic reordering of government that Mr. Trump has embraced includes many measures long sought by conservatives on Capitol Hill, including adding work requirements for food-stamp eligibility and opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. It would also eliminate whole programs, including AmeriCorps, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The budget would increase military spending by 10 percent and calls for spending $2.6 billion on border security, including $1.6 billion to begin funding a wall on the border with Mexico.

Some of the president’s proposals are likely to survive.

For Republicans, the stakes of the coming budget season go beyond the intricacies of budgetary minutiae: Republicans want to use their budget to pave the way for an overhaul of the tax code that could skirt a Senate filibuster. If they cannot agree on a budget, Mr. Trump’s promised “biggest tax cut” in history would be doomed. A protracted fight over the budget would also further delay the orderly appropriations process that Republicans have promised to follow after years of neglect.

If congressional Republicans fail to pass spending bills this summer, they again run the risk of funding the government through stopgap resolutions that keep programs on autopilot — and in the shape that President Barack Obama left them in.

“It’ll be very difficult in both bodies to pass a budget proposal,” Mr. Rogers said.

The next step for Republicans in Congress is to agree on a budget blueprint, which sets spending levels and provides a road map for spending and revenue in the coming years. But first, they must find a way to overcome their diverse views on fiscal policy.

Mr. Trump’s budget, drafted by a budget director, Mick Mulvaney, who came from the most conservative corners of the House, starts the conversation on friendly House Republican turf.

Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina and the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said that was the right starting point. The budget negotiation “goes from conservative to moderate, and that’s the way that it should go,” Mr. Meadows said. “If you start in the middle, you make everybody mad when you move one way or another.”

Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who was the lead Democrat on the House Budget Committee for years, was not so sanguine.

“There’s always been a divide between the House and Senate Republicans on a lot of these issues, but this looks like it was written by House Republicans on steroids, and I think it will be difficult for them to get it through the Senate,” he said.

Republican lawmakers already face a time crunch, given that Mr. Trump offered his budget three months past the statutory deadline in February.

While new presidents routinely take more time to submit their inaugural budgets, Mr. Trump unveiled his unusually late, and in an uncommonly low-key fashion, dispatching his budget director to unveil the plan while he was overseas. That raised questions about whether he would take a leadership role in the coming spending debates.

The House and Senate budget committees both expect to introduce their proposals in June, according to congressional aides. The House plan is expected to incorporate the significant changes that Speaker Paul D. Ryan, a former budget committee chairman, has long championed for Medicare, a major break with Mr. Trump, who has promised to leave Medicare alone.

For years, Mr. Ryan has tried to shift Medicare away from its open-ended commitment to pay for medical services and toward a fixed government contribution for each beneficiary — a change he has said would inject market forces and competition into the program.

Mr. Ryan told reporters on Tuesday that Congress would take the president’s budget “and then work on our own budget, which is the case every single year.”

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was equally noncommittal.

“Every president since I’ve been here, and that covers a good period of time, has made a recommendation, and then we decide what we’re going to do with those recommendations,” Mr. McConnell said.

Mr. Mulvaney conceded that the plan would not be embraced in its entirety, but said it was a signal from the president to Congress about his priorities and goals.

“If Congress has a different way to get to that endpoint, God bless them — that’s great,” Mr. Mulvaney said on Monday as he previewed the plan. “Do I expect them to adopt this 100 percent, wholeheartedly, without any change? Absolutely not. Do I expect them to work with the administration on trying to figure out places where we’re on the same page? Absolutely.”

Democrats came out strongly against the budget, saying it would hurt the poor and the working class. They are hoping that Republicans will brush off the White House’s requests, much as they did when Mr. Trump sought funding for his border wall as well as billions of dollars in cuts to domestic programs as lawmakers hammered out an agreement to fund the government through September.

The Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, said Republicans “dislike this budget almost as much as we do.”

“And so the likelihood is what happened with the 2017 budget will happen here,” Mr. Schumer said. “Democrats and Republicans will tell President Trump and his minions to stay at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Let us work out a budget together that will make America a better place.”

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Trump's Budget Scam – Politico

I have a plan to dunk a basketball. First, I’ll grow a foot taller. Next, I’ll recapture the athleticism of my youth, so I can jump a lot higher. I didn’t say I had a serious plan—just a plan.

Today, the Trump administration released a plan to balance the federal budget over the next decade, and it’s no more plausible than my plan to become LeBron James. It does reveal the administration’s fiscal priorities, like deep cuts in spending on the less fortunate and the environment, no cuts to Medicare or Social Security retirement benefits, steady increases in spending on the military and the border, and an abiding faith in the restorative miracles of tax cuts for corporations and well-off families. But its claim to a balanced bottom line is based on a variety of heroic assumptions and hide-the-ball evasions, obscuring trillions of dollars’ worth of debt that it could pile onto America’s credit card.

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Budget proposals always involve some guesswork into the unknowable, and administrations routinely massage numbers to their political advantage. But this proposal is unusually brazen in its defiance of basic math, and in its accounting discrepancies amounting to trillions-with-a-t rather than mere millions or billions. One maneuver in President Trump’s budget arguably waves away an estimated $5.5 trillion in additions to the national debt from tax cuts, nearly $20,000 for every American alive today, enough to fund the EPA at current spending levels for nearly 700 years. Trump critics in the budget-wonk world are pointing to another $2 trillion of red ink as a blatant math error—or, less charitably, as an Enron-style accounting fraud.

Numbers that huge tend to melt into abstraction. And the media will help downplay them by declaring the Trump budget dead on arrival in Congress, as if the fact that it won’t be rubber-stamped into law means that nothing in it matters. But a presidential budget is a detailed blueprint for governing—and in this case, the blueprint has a fair amount in common with blueprints offered by the Republicans who still control Congress. It matters for policy and it matters for politics.

It also matters that Trump’s numbers don’t add up. Whether or not you agree with the Tea Party philosophy behind the numbers, Trump and his hard-driving budget director, Mick Mulvaney, deserve credit for backing up their limited-government rhetoric by proposing $3.6 trillion in spending cuts, including politically courageous cuts in farm subsidies, rural development programs and other benefits geared toward Trump’s base. But they do not deserve credit for their aspirations to balance the budget, any more than I deserve credit for my aspirations to dunk. Budgets hinge on assumptions about taxes, spending and economic growth, and the Trump budget plays fast and loose with all three to try to achieve the illusion of balance, relying heavily on spectacular growth assumptions as well as vague and unrealistic promises to eliminate tax breaks and additional spending programs that go conveniently unnamed in the text. It proclaims that “we have borrowed from our children and their future for far too long,” but it is a blueprint for far more borrowing and far more debt.

Ultimately, the Trump budget reads like a corporate prospectus for a shady widget manufacturer who claims that cutting widget prices will spark a massive surge in widget sales, while also promising major cutbacks in ineffective widget salesmen and unnecessary widget costs. It doesn’t pencil out. And it’s worth understanding the main reasons it doesn’t pencil out, because soon Republicans in Congress will get to use their own pencils.

***

The Growth Spurt: Economic growth is as vital to balancing budgets as physical growth is to dunking basketballs. A booming economy means more tax revenue flowing into Washington, because workers have more income and corporations have more profits; and less federal spending flowing out of Washington, because fewer unemployed workers and poor families need the government safety net. “Economic growth,” Mulvaney recently said, “solves all our problems.”

So the Trump budget simply stipulates terrific economic growth. Specifically, it assumes the U.S. economy will expand an average of 3 percent per year over the next decade, more than 1 percentage point higher than the Congressional Budget Office assumes. And it uses that assumption to chop about $3 trillion off the 10-year deficit. “Everything is keyed to getting us back to 3 percent,” Mulvaney said yesterday.

Terrific economic growth would be a terrific thing, and we should all hope for a recession-free decade of non-stop boom. But in the budgeting world, diverging that dramatically from the official forecasts is essentially cheating. President Barack Obama’s growth forecasts sometimes slightly overshot the CBO’s, but Trump’s gap with the CBO is nearly three times as large as Obama ever had in eight years. The U.S. economy hasn’t grown at a 3 percent rate for two consecutive years since 2000, which, not coincidentally, was when President Bill Clinton’s last budget balanced.

Trump aides say it makes sense to assume 3 percent growth, since it’s at the heart of the president’s promises to make America great again. Mulvaney calls it the guiding principle of Trumponomics, a rejection of the pessimistic notion that 2 percent is as good as it gets; he suggested yesterday that he probably should have assumed a more aggressive baseline of 3.5 percent or 4 percent growth, because 3 percent should merely be seen as normal. “Honestly, we have aspirations to do better,” one senior OMB official told me.

But 3 percent isn’t just something that will happen automatically, especially at a time when the population is aging, immigration is slowing, and productivity is lagging. The Trump budget does not go into great detail justifying its growth assumptions, other than to suggest that rolling back onerous regulations and promoting domestic energy development will help the good times roll. It also suggests that one of the keys to the Trump boom will be tax reform, which happens to be the next area where its math gets fuzzy.

The Tax Dodge: So far, Trump has only unveiled a one-page summary of his tax reform principles, not tax reform legislation. Nevertheless, his budget “assumes deficit-neutral tax reform,” which is a bit like the old joke about the economist on a desert island who assumes a can opener. Trump’s tax reform principles, which he repeats on page 13 of his budget, do not look deficit-neutral at all. Groups like the Tax Foundation, the Tax Policy Center and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget have estimated that they would add between $4 trillion and $6 trillion to the debt.

That’s because Trump’s principles look like they’re more about tax cuts than real tax reform. His budget proposes lower individual tax rates, lower corporate tax rates, lower investment tax rates, an end to the alternative minimum tax, an end to the estate tax and other tax relief. Its only proposal to offset the cost of those tax cuts is a vague pledge to “eliminate most special interest tax breaks,” but it specifies that tax breaks for mortgage interest, charitable gifts and retirement savings wouldn’t be included, while failing to specify the tax breaks that would be included.

The implication is that the tax cuts would stimulate so much additional economic growth that they would pay for themselves, a supply-side economic theory that has not worked out in practice. President George W. Bush’s tax cuts helped turn Clinton’s surpluses into gaping deficits; the state of Kansas recently had a similar experience of sizable tax cuts creating sizable budget shortfalls. Even the conservative Tax Foundation calculated that the growth effects from Trump’s proposed tax cuts would recoup less than one third of the lost revenues.

The senior OMB official told me those nonpartisan analysts are all jumping the gun, because the administration really does intend to propose tax increases large enough to offset the tax cuts it has already proposed. It just hasn’t decided which loopholes and deductions it wants to close, so it didn’t mention them in its budget. “What the budget is saying is that tax reform will be paid for,” the official said. “There’s a large conversation to be had about how we’re going to do it.”

But the Trump budget doesn’t just assume that tax reform will pay for itself; it also predicts that the economic growth produced by tax reform will help pay for the rest of his budget, an additional $2.1 trillion windfall.

Budget wonks have seized on this as a classic case of double-counting, presuming that the administration was already relying on that growth to make tax reform deficit-neutral in the first place. That would be like proposing to deposit a $20 bill that you’re not even sure is yours in two separate bank accounts, except with 11 extra zeroes at the end of the bill. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers called it “the most egregious accounting error in a presidential budget in the nearly 40 years I have been tracking them.”

Mulvaney ducked the issue yesterday, suggesting that the administration doesn’t yet have enough details in its tax plans to provide more accurate accounting.But the other senior OMB official told me the double-counting accusations are wrong, because the budget assumes tax reform will be deficit-neutral without taking growth into account.

In that case, though, a Republican administration is counting on unspecified tax increases to convert a plan that independent analysts believe will cost about $5.5 trillion in its current form into a plan that will cost nothing at all, and would somehow end up producing $2 trillion worth of deficit reduction through growth. It’s conceivable, but it would be more plausible if the budget had disclosed even one of those potential tax increases. It would back up Mulvaney’s rhetoric about “how important it was and is to this president to try and bring some fiscal discipline.”

The Two-Penny Opera: The Trump budget isn’t really about fiscal discipline, but it does have real elements of spending discipline. It includes more than $600 billion worth of Medicaid cuts on top of the more than $800 billion of cuts in the Republican health-care bill that just passed the House. It would eliminate rural housing loans, home heating aid for the poor, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and dozens of other line items. It would slash funding for climate science, foreign aid, medical research, Social Security disability and food stamps. It would boost spending for the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Veterans Affairs for 2018, but it would cut the budget of every other Cabinet department.

Congress probably won’t embrace most of those cuts, but they’re specific proposals for cuts that would move the federal budget towards balance. That said, the largest chunk of Trump’s proposed spending reductions come from a non-specific and even less realistic “two-penny plan,” which would reduce non-defense discretionary spending by an additional 2 percent every year. That’s hard to fathom, because non-defense discretionary spending—which includes the FBI, the EPA, NASA, and almost every other federal dollar that doesn’t go to the Pentagon or entitlements—is already at its lowest level as a share of the economy since the Eisenhower years. Trump is proposing to cut it by about one third over a decade, a total of $182 billion by 2027, while continuing to boost the parts of it (like border security) that he likes. He wants to start in 2018 by eliminating agencies like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as programs like 21st Century Community Learning Centers, but he wouldn’t be able to re-eliminate them in the out years; he’d have to find new targets for cuts.

The OMB official told me that his agency has already begun of review of the entire federal bureaucracy with an eye to eliminating inefficiencies, and that it expects to have a streamlining strategy in place by next year to follow through with the two-penny plan. But even many Republicans who hold the purse strings in Congress are unenthusiastic about slicing billions of dollars out of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control or the State Department.

“Give me a break,” one congressional Republican appropriator told me. “A lot of the discretionary spending is already squeezed. You can’t get blood from a stone.”

***

It is tempting to dismiss the Trump budget because so much of it seems unlikely to become law, but it’s still a revealing window into the administration’s priorities. And just because a budget is declared “dead on arrival” does not mean it won’t influence the budget that eventually emerges on Capitol Hill; Trump’s budget may envision larger cuts than Republican leaders want, but it reflects many of the priorities that House Speaker Paul Ryan has included in his budgets in the past. It ought to be taken seriously if not quite literally, to borrow the cliché about Trump.

It just shouldn’t be taken as evidence of fiscal rectitude or a deep aversion to debt, which isn’t really what Trump is about. It looks more like a plan to cut taxes for the rich and spending on the poor, while covering up the effect on the debt by flagrantly violating Washington norms. And that’s exactly what Trump is about.

Michael Grunwald is a senior staff writer for Politico Magazine.

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British prime minister raises nation's threat level, saying another attack 'may be imminent' – Washington Post

By , and Souad Mekhennet,

MANCHESTER, England — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday night raised the nation’s threat level and deployed the military to guard concerts, sports matches and other public events, saying another attack “may be imminent” following a bombing Monday night that left 22 people dead. 

The announcement, which takes Britain’s alert level from “severe” to its highest rating, “critical,” clears the way for thousands of British troops to take to the streets and replace police officers in guarding key sites. 

May announced the move after chairing an emergency meeting of her security cabinet and concluding that the attacker who carried out Monday’s bombing may have been part of a wider network that is poised to strike again. The decision, she said, was “a proportionate and sensible response to the threat that our security experts judge we face.”

The worst terrorist attack on British soil in over a decade was carried out by a 22-year-old British citizen who lived a short drive from the concert hall that he transformed from a scene of youthful merriment into a tableau of horror. 

But whether Salman Abedi acted alone or with accomplices remained a question that British investigators were urgently trying to answer Tuesday night as they reckoned with an attack more sophisticated and worrisome than any seen here in years. 

The prospect of a wider plot, May said, was “a possibility we cannot ignore.”

The killing of 22 people — many of them teens — following a concert in this northern English city by American pop star Ariana Grande was claimed Tuesday by the Islamic State, which said one of its “soldiers” was responsible. 

Even as officials and experts cast doubt on the terrorist group’s assertion, however, authorities were scrambling to execute searches, arrest potential accomplices and reinforce security systems at a spectrum of public events that look newly vulnerable to attacks like Monday’s.

After years of successfully fending off more-sophisticated strikes even as countries across continental Europe have fallen victim to bombings, Monday night’s carnage underscored that Britain is not immune amid a rising tide of extremist violence. 

The highest priority for police, said Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, was to “establish whether [Abedi] was acting alone or as part of a network.”

Earlier he had said that Abedi executed the bombing alone and that he “was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity.”

But unlike in previous high-profile attacks — including one in March in which an assailant driving a speeding car ran down pedestrians on a London bridge, then stabbed to death a British police officer — experts said it was unlikely that Monday’s attack had been carried out without help. 

[Three seconds of silence, then a scream: How the attack unfolded]

“Getting a car or a knife is easy,” said Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert at the London-based Royal United Services Institute. “Making a bomb that works and goes off when you want it to go off takes preparation and practice. And it usually involves other people.”

Pantucci said British authorities “are going to try to figure out who [Abedi] knows, who he’s linked to. Did he build the bomb itself, or did someone build it and give it to him?”

Young victims

If police have an answer, they did not say so publicly Tuesday. But there was ample evidence of a widening security operation, with the arrest of a 23-year-old from south Manchester in connection with the bombing. Police also carried out searches at two homes, including the house in the leafy suburban neighborhood where Abedi’s was registered as having lived.

A senior European intelligence official said the attacker was a British citizen of Libyan descent. The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and thus spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the suspect’s brother has been taken into custody.

A family friend said Abedi traveled frequently between Libya and Britain. “We have an ISIS problem in Libya. We wonder whether he met people there who trained him,” said the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ISIS is another name for the Islamic State.

Even before May’s announcement of a critical threat level for just the third time ever — the first two came in 2006 and 2007 — authorities from London to Scotland said that they would be reviewing security plans for upcoming public events. Even smaller gatherings that would not have been policed in the past may now get protection, they said.

[The targeting of women and girls in Manchester may have been intentional]

“Over the coming days as you go to a music venue, go shopping, travel to work or head off to the fantastic sporting events, you will see more officers, including armed officers,” said Commander Jane Connors of London’s Metropolitan Police Department.

May’s decision to deploy the military means the public may now see soldiers rather than police. May said the military would operate under police command.

The escalation came as the nation grieved for the young victims, with thousands of people converging on Manchester’s graceful Albert Square for a vigil that was part solemn remembrance and part rally against extremism.

To roaring applause, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham vowed the city — which has seen hardship, having been bombed relentlessly during World War II — would not succumb to division or anger. A poet named Tony Walsh delivered an ode to the city titled “This Is the Place.” And in what has become a dark mainstay of life in Western Europe, passersby left candles, flowers and cards for the dead. 

The casualties included children as young as elementary school students. Police said that among the 59 people injured, a dozen were younger than 16. 

Among the dead was Saffie Rose Roussos, who was just 8 years old. The first victim to be publicly identified was Georgina Callander, an 18-year-old student. 

[An 8-year-old was separated from her family. She never made it out.]

Other names were expected to be released Wednesday, with authorities bracing the public for deaths among the teens and tweens who form the core of Grande’s enthusiastic fan base.

The Islamic State did not give any details about the attacker or how the blast was carried out, raising doubts about the truth of its claim. Its statement was posted on the online messaging service Telegram and later noted by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant websites.

The Islamic State often quickly proclaims links to attacks, but some previous boasts have not been proven.

In Washington, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Tuesday that despite the group’s statement, “We have not verified yet the connection.” He noted in a Senate hearing that “they claim responsibility for virtually every attack.” 

Wave of revulsion

In a speech outside 10 Downing Street, where flags were lowered to half-staff, May called the Manchester killings a “callous terrorist attack.” 

“This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives,” she said.

May later visited Manchester, meeting with local authorities and signing a condolence book honoring the victims.

Queen Elizabeth II, meanwhile, led guests of a garden party at Buckingham Palace in a moment of silence and issued a statement expressing her “deepest sympathies.”

“The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert,” she said.

Across the world, other leaders expressed revulsion and scorn toward the bomber.

[The Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared]

During a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, President Trump pledged “absolute solidarity” with Britain and called those responsible for the attack “evil losers in life.”

Organizers of the Cannes Film Festival denounced the bombing as an “attack on culture, youth and joyfulness” and observed a minute of silence Tuesday. Cannes is 15 miles from Nice, where an attacker driving a truck plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in July, killing 86 people.

[In the midst of Manchester’s terror, strangers reach out — through Twitter]

The Monday night attack was the worst terrorist strike on British soil since 2005, when Islamist extremists bombed the London subway and a bus, killing 54 people.

And as with that attack, Monday’s bombing prompted desperate searches for missing loved ones that continued through the night and into Tuesday.

Charlotte Campbell told the BBC that she was “phoning everybody,” including hospitals, trying to locate her 15-year-old daughter, Olivia. She last spoke to her daughter Monday night while she was at the concert.

“She’d just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time, and thanking me for letting her go,” Campbell said in an emotional interview.

The attack occurred near one of the exits of the arena, in a public space connected to a bustling train station. 

Jake Taylor, a former security guard at the arena, said its layout makes absolute safety impossible. 

“You can’t stop people from getting through the train station,” Taylor said.

Mark Harrison, who accompanied his 12-year-old daughter to the concert from Cumbria in northern England, said there were no metal detectors or body checks at the arena’s entrance, although bags were inspected and items such as water bottles had to be discarded. 

“There was definitely a security presence, but anyone can come through the train station,” said Harrison, 44. 

[Trump decries the ‘losers’ who wage terrorism]

In France, the scene of several terrorist attacks in recent years, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe called on people to be vigilant in the face of “a threat which is more present than ever before.”

Britain’s threat level had been classified as “severe” since the summer of 2014, meaning the chance of an attack at any given time was highly likely.

Pantucci, the security expert, said that authorities had disrupted several plots in recent months but that Monday’s attack somehow slipped through. Understanding why, he said, will be crucial.

“They’ve been dealing with a very high threat tempo,” he said. “But this is one they weren’t able to stop.” 

Adam reported from London. Isaac Stanley-Becker, James McAuley and Rick Noack in Manchester; Paul Schemm in Addis Ababa, Ethi­o­pia; and Devlin Barrett, Brian Murphy and Ellen Nakashima in Washington contributed to this report.

 Read more         

 Four killed, 40 injured in vehicle and knife assault near Parliament  

 After privileged childhood, London attacker became a troubled loner  

 What we know about the victims of the London attack  

 Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world            

 Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news  

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British prime minister raises nation's threat level, saying another attack 'may be imminent' – Washington Post

By , and Souad Mekhennet,

MANCHESTER, England — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday night raised the nation’s threat level and deployed the military to guard concerts, sports matches and other public events, saying another attack “may be imminent” following a bombing Monday night that left 22 people dead. 

The announcement, which takes Britain’s alert level from “severe” to its highest rating, “critical,” clears the way for thousands of British troops to take to the streets and replace police officers in guarding key sites. 

May announced the move after chairing an emergency meeting of her security cabinet and concluding that the attacker who carried out Monday’s bombing may have been part of a wider network that is poised to strike again. The decision, she said, was “a proportionate and sensible response to the threat that our security experts judge we face.”

The worst terrorist attack on British soil in over a decade was carried out by a 22-year-old British citizen who lived a short drive from the concert hall that he transformed from a scene of youthful merriment into a tableau of horror. 

But whether Salman Abedi acted alone or with accomplices remained a question that British investigators were urgently trying to answer Tuesday night as they reckoned with an attack more sophisticated and worrisome than any seen here in years. 

The prospect of a wider plot, May said, was “a possibility we cannot ignore.”

The killing of 22 people — many of them teens — following a concert in this northern English city by American pop star Ariana Grande was claimed Tuesday by the Islamic State, which said one of its “soldiers” was responsible. 

Even as officials and experts cast doubt on the terrorist group’s assertion, however, authorities were scrambling to execute searches, arrest potential accomplices and reinforce security systems at a spectrum of public events that look newly vulnerable to attacks like Monday’s.

After years of successfully fending off more-sophisticated strikes even as countries across continental Europe have fallen victim to bombings, Monday night’s carnage underscored that Britain is not immune amid a rising tide of extremist violence. 

The highest priority for police, said Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, was to “establish whether [Abedi] was acting alone or as part of a network.”

Earlier he had said that Abedi executed the bombing alone and that he “was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity.”

But unlike in previous high-profile attacks — including one in March in which an assailant driving a speeding car ran down pedestrians on a London bridge, then stabbed to death a British police officer — experts said it was unlikely that Monday’s attack had been carried out without help. 

[Three seconds of silence, then a scream: How the attack unfolded]

“Getting a car or a knife is easy,” said Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert at the London-based Royal United Services Institute. “Making a bomb that works and goes off when you want it to go off takes preparation and practice. And it usually involves other people.”

Pantucci said British authorities “are going to try to figure out who [Abedi] knows, who he’s linked to. Did he build the bomb itself, or did someone build it and give it to him?”

Young victims

If police have an answer, they did not say so publicly Tuesday. But there was ample evidence of a widening security operation, with the arrest of a 23-year-old from south Manchester in connection with the bombing. Police also carried out searches at two homes, including the house in the leafy suburban neighborhood where Abedi’s was registered as having lived.

A senior European intelligence official said the attacker was a British citizen of Libyan descent. The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and thus spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the suspect’s brother has been taken into custody.

A family friend said Abedi traveled frequently between Libya and Britain. “We have an ISIS problem in Libya. We wonder whether he met people there who trained him,” said the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ISIS is another name for the Islamic State.

Even before May’s announcement of a critical threat level for just the third time ever — the first two came in 2006 and 2007 — authorities from London to Scotland said that they would be reviewing security plans for upcoming public events. Even smaller gatherings that would not have been policed in the past may now get protection, they said.

[The targeting of women and girls in Manchester may have been intentional]

“Over the coming days as you go to a music venue, go shopping, travel to work or head off to the fantastic sporting events, you will see more officers, including armed officers,” said Commander Jane Connors of London’s Metropolitan Police Department.

May’s decision to deploy the military means the public may now see soldiers rather than police. May said the military would operate under police command.

The escalation came as the nation grieved for the young victims, with thousands of people converging on Manchester’s graceful Albert Square for a vigil that was part solemn remembrance and part rally against extremism.

To roaring applause, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham vowed the city — which has seen hardship, having been bombed relentlessly during World War II — would not succumb to division or anger. A poet named Tony Walsh delivered an ode to the city titled “This Is the Place.” And in what has become a dark mainstay of life in Western Europe, passersby left candles, flowers and cards for the dead. 

The casualties included children as young as elementary school students. Police said that among the 59 people injured, a dozen were younger than 16. 

Among the dead was Saffie Rose Roussos, who was just 8 years old. The first victim to be publicly identified was Georgina Callander, an 18-year-old student. 

[An 8-year-old was separated from her family. She never made it out.]

Other names were expected to be released Wednesday, with authorities bracing the public for deaths among the teens and tweens who form the core of Grande’s enthusiastic fan base.

The Islamic State did not give any details about the attacker or how the blast was carried out, raising doubts about the truth of its claim. Its statement was posted on the online messaging service Telegram and later noted by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant websites.

The Islamic State often quickly proclaims links to attacks, but some previous boasts have not been proven.

In Washington, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Tuesday that despite the group’s statement, “We have not verified yet the connection.” He noted in a Senate hearing that “they claim responsibility for virtually every attack.” 

Wave of revulsion

In a speech outside 10 Downing Street, where flags were lowered to half-staff, May called the Manchester killings a “callous terrorist attack.” 

“This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives,” she said.

May later visited Manchester, meeting with local authorities and signing a condolence book honoring the victims.

Queen Elizabeth II, meanwhile, led guests of a garden party at Buckingham Palace in a moment of silence and issued a statement expressing her “deepest sympathies.”

“The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert,” she said.

Across the world, other leaders expressed revulsion and scorn toward the bomber.

[The Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared]

During a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, President Trump pledged “absolute solidarity” with Britain and called those responsible for the attack “evil losers in life.”

Organizers of the Cannes Film Festival denounced the bombing as an “attack on culture, youth and joyfulness” and observed a minute of silence Tuesday. Cannes is 15 miles from Nice, where an attacker driving a truck plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in July, killing 86 people.

[In the midst of Manchester’s terror, strangers reach out — through Twitter]

The Monday night attack was the worst terrorist strike on British soil since 2005, when Islamist extremists bombed the London subway and a bus, killing 54 people.

And as with that attack, Monday’s bombing prompted desperate searches for missing loved ones that continued through the night and into Tuesday.

Charlotte Campbell told the BBC that she was “phoning everybody,” including hospitals, trying to locate her 15-year-old daughter, Olivia. She last spoke to her daughter Monday night while she was at the concert.

“She’d just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time, and thanking me for letting her go,” Campbell said in an emotional interview.

The attack occurred near one of the exits of the arena, in a public space connected to a bustling train station. 

Jake Taylor, a former security guard at the arena, said its layout makes absolute safety impossible. 

“You can’t stop people from getting through the train station,” Taylor said.

Mark Harrison, who accompanied his 12-year-old daughter to the concert from Cumbria in northern England, said there were no metal detectors or body checks at the arena’s entrance, although bags were inspected and items such as water bottles had to be discarded. 

“There was definitely a security presence, but anyone can come through the train station,” said Harrison, 44. 

[Trump decries the ‘losers’ who wage terrorism]

In France, the scene of several terrorist attacks in recent years, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe called on people to be vigilant in the face of “a threat which is more present than ever before.”

Britain’s threat level had been classified as “severe” since the summer of 2014, meaning the chance of an attack at any given time was highly likely.

Pantucci, the security expert, said that authorities had disrupted several plots in recent months but that Monday’s attack somehow slipped through. Understanding why, he said, will be crucial.

“They’ve been dealing with a very high threat tempo,” he said. “But this is one they weren’t able to stop.” 

Adam reported from London. Isaac Stanley-Becker, James McAuley and Rick Noack in Manchester; Paul Schemm in Addis Ababa, Ethi­o­pia; and Devlin Barrett, Brian Murphy and Ellen Nakashima in Washington contributed to this report.

 Read more         

 Four killed, 40 injured in vehicle and knife assault near Parliament  

 After privileged childhood, London attacker became a troubled loner  

 What we know about the victims of the London attack  

 Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world            

 Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news  

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Britain Raises Terrorism Threat Level, Meaning New Attack May Be Imminent – New York Times

MANCHESTER, England — Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain said on Tuesday night that the government had raised its terrorism threat level to critical — the highest level — meaning that another attack may be imminent even as the country mourned the victims of the Manchester bombing.

It was only the third time that Britain had raised the threat level to critical.

After a meeting of her top security officials to consider intelligence after the attack in Manchester on Monday night that killed 22 people and wounded dozens more at a pop concert, Mrs. May said that “it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.”

She added that that soldiers would be deployed to assist armed police, and free some of them up to pursue the possibility that the bomber in Manchester, Salman Abedi, 22, did not act alone and was part of a larger cell that could be planning further attacks.

“This morning, I said that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center – the independent organization responsible for setting the threat level on the basis of the intelligence available – was keeping the threat level under constant review,” Ms. May said in a statement.

It has now concluded, on the basis of today’s investigations, that the threat level should be increased, for the time being, from SEVERE to CRITICAL. This means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely, but that a further attack may be imminent,” the statement said.

The first time that the terror level was raised to critical occurred on Aug. 10, 2006, after the government foiled a plot to blow up transatlantic airliners with liquid bombs.

The second time was on June 30, 2007, after two men slammed an S.U.V. into entrance doors at Glasgow Airport and turned the vehicle into a potentially lethal fireball.

The government’s actions on Tuesday night came hours after Mr. Abedi was identified by the police as the bomber who carried out Monday night’s assault, Britain’s deadliest terrorist attack since 2005, an explosion that killed 22 people and injured 59 others at Manchester Arena.

Mr. Abedi, whose parents had emigrated from Libya and who lived in a house just 3.5 miles from the arena, where he detonated a homemade bomb in a public concourse around 10:30 p.m. on Monday. The bomb exploded as a concert by the American pop star Ariana Grande was ending and as crowds of teenagers had begun to leave, many for an adjacent train station.

Mr. Abedi died in the attack.

At a late afternoon news conference, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of the Greater Manchester Police identified the bomber as Mr. Abedi after several news publications reported his name, but he declined to provide any further details, noting that a coroner had not yet officially identified him.

“The priority remains to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network,” Chief Constable Hopkins said.

In her statement on Tuesday night, Ms, May said the investigation into whether anyone else was involved would continue. “But the work undertaken throughout the day has revealed that it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.”

Mr. Abedi’s ID was found at the scene of the bombing, according to a law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was still underway. Mr. Abedi was born in Britain in 1994, the son of immigrants from Libya, the official said.

According to neighbors, Mr. Abedi lived with his family in a house in Elsmore Road, in the Fallowfield district. The police raided the house Tuesday afternoon, after setting off a controlled explosion to gain entry.

A neighbor, Lina Ahmed, said she knew little about the family. “They didn’t really speak to anyone,” she said. “They were nice people if you walked past.” She said the family occasionally displayed a Libyan flag outside the home.

Another neighbor, Farzana Kosur, said that the mother, who taught the Quran, had been abroad for around two months.

Residents were stunned by the police operations. “We’ve been watching this kind of attack happen in Paris,” said a neighbor, Thomas Coull, 17. “We didn’t expect it to happen on our doorstep, literally.”

He was with a friend, Bilal Butt, also 17, who said: “It’s a shock. You see it in other places and then suddenly it hits you in your own neighborhood.”

Also on Tuesday, the police arrested a 23-year-old man outside a nearby supermarket. It was not immediately clear whether or how that man was connected to the attack.

The British government did not make any immediate comment on the claim by the Islamic State, which said on the social messaging app Telegram that, “One of the soldiers of the caliphate was able to place an explosive device within a gathering of the crusaders in the city of Manchester.” The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militants’ communications, also provided a translation of the claim.

As condolences poured in around the world on Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II observed a minute of silence for the victims at Buckingham Palace. The queen, her son Prince Charles and her grandson Prince William all issued statements expressing support for the victims, their families and Manchester.

At 6 p.m., a large crowd turned up for a vigil at Albert Square in the heart of Manchester, a city of half a million and a birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, to express grief and solidarity. Offers of support poured in; so many people volunteered to donate blood that a local blood bank had to turn people away.

The authorities reacted with horror and anger at an attack that appeared to have targeted adolescents and their families.

The terrorist attack was the worst in the history of Manchester and northern England, and the worst in Britain since July 7, 2005, when 52 people died, along with four assailants, in coordinated attacks on London’s transit system.

“After our darkest of nights, Manchester is today waking up to the most difficult of dawns,” Mayor Andy Burnham told reporters. “These were children, young people, and their families. Those responsible chose to terrorize and kill. This was an evil act.”

Security experts suggested that the use of a suicide bomb in Manchester, if true, would display a level of sophistication that implied collaborators — and the possibility that other bombs had been fabricated at the same time.

“This type of target was absolutely foreseeable, as Islamic State has increasingly been highlighting in its propaganda that scores of children have been killed in coalition and Russian strikes targeting Islamic State positions in Iraq and Syria,” said Michael S. Smith II, a terrorism analyst who specializes in the Islamic State’s influence efforts and who is writing a book on its external operations.

All of that content is “intended to stimulate thinking about executing retributive attacks among Islamic State supporters here in the West,” Mr. Smith said.

Chris Phillips, a former leader of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office in Britain, told the BBC: “It has involved a lot of planning — it’s a bit of a step up. This is a much more professional-style attack.”

Another former member of that office, Lee Doddridge, said that “alarm bells for me are ringing at the moment because this would have appeared to have taken quite a considerable amount of planning.”

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the March 22 attack in which a British man fatally struck four pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before killing a police officer outside Parliament. Two British men, converts to Islam, were behind a May 2013 attack on a soldier, Lee Rigby, who was hacked to death outside an army barracks in southeast London.

Richard Barrett, former director of global counterterrorism operations at MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence agency, said that the security and police forces were stretched, having to monitor more than 400 people returning from jihad in the Middle East, and 600 or so others who had tried to go but had been stopped. “So that’s already 1,000 people,” without taking into account other sympathizers in Britain, he said.

“It’s not that complicated to build a bomb,” Mr. Barrett told the BBC. “I’m not sure it requires someone to go to Syria to get that expertise.”

Mr. Barrett urged the authorities to engage more with the Muslim communities of Britain “to understand why people do this,” saying that information from local communities was more important in stopping terrorism than putting up barriers or bombing in the Middle East. “It’s about engaging the community and letting the community inform us about how to avoid attacks,” he said.

“The external stuff,” he added, “is easier to do but is not protecting us.”

President Trump phoned Mrs. May from Jerusalem on Tuesday morning. Later, speaking at a news conference in the West Bank city of Bethlehem with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Trump castigated what he called the “evil losers” responsible.

The attack came in the final stretch of campaigning before a general election in Britain on June 8, and the country’s political parties agreed to suspend campaigning on Tuesday. Opposition politicians — Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party, Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats and Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party — joined Mrs. May in expressing their grief and condolences.

It was unclear what effect the attack might have on the election. Some political experts suggested it would help Mrs. May, who, in her previous role as home secretary, was in charge of Britain’s domestic security and is generally perceived as a tough leader. But difficult questions are already being asked about what security gaps might have abetted the assault, and what could have been done to prevent it.

Britain is no stranger to terrorism. It suffered the attack in London in March, and the authorities say they have broken up terrorist cells lately. Britain’s threat level for international terrorism has for some time been at its second-highest level, indicating that an attack had been considered highly likely.

Manchester was the site of an Irish Republican Army bombing in 1996 that devastated the city center but caused no fatalities, and Europe as a whole has become all too familiar with the human toll of terrorism in recent years. But the Manchester attack on Monday caused particular anger and pain: It targeted a concert spilling over with girls in their teens or younger, with their lives ahead of them, out for a fun night.

Flags were at half-staff on Downing Street in London, where the prime minister works and lives, and at Manchester Town Hall.

Ms. Grande, who started her career as a star on a Nickelodeon TV series, expressed her sorrow on Twitter. “Broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words,” she wrote.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said that the city was bolstering security measures. Leaders across the world sent their condolences and support to Britain, including President Emmanuel Macron of France, who expressed his horror at the attack, as well as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia.

“I don’t think it has hit us,” said Jane McCluskey, of Hartlepool, England, who had attended the concert with her daughter, Charlotte. With her daughter still wearing a sweatshirt with the logo of Ms. Grande’s “Dangerous Woman Tour,” Ms. McCluskey sounded plaintive.

“We just want to go home,” she said.

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