Meanwhile, back in Manchester

Telegraph live blog on the concert: Ariana Grande One Love Manchester concert live: Pharrell and Miley Cyrus team up for surprise duet on Happy

I’d never heard of Ariana Grande, and she really doesn’t look like my cup of tea musically or stylistically, I haven’t heard of Pharrell, and I’ve never been a fan of Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber, but good on them for putting on this concert in support of Manchester and in defiance of terrorism.

The concert is playing live on TV1. Ariana is on right now, not my sort of thing but the crowd is loving it.

Suicide bomber may have manufactured

There are a number of reports that evidence of bomb making has been found in a flat used by the Manchester suicide bomber.

Stuff: Manchester suicide bomber might have made the bomb himself

A British suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded 116 might have made the bomb himself or with some assistance from an accomplice, a source with knowledge of the investigation told Reuters.

“The focus is still the search for accomplices and the network but he could have made this bomb himself,” the source told Reuters.

The source said that while the bomber may have had some assistance it was also possible that he made the bomb himself. Some investigators have feared that an experienced bomb-maker was at large.

Police said on Thursday (Friday NZ TIme) they had made significant arrests and uncovered important items as they investigate the Manchester suicide bombing.

Greater Manchester police are holding eight people in custody, having released a woman without charge on Thursday.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said the eight suspects detained so far were “significant” arrests and said the searches will take several more days to complete. Police have swooped in on multiple addresses in the northwestern city since Tuesday and those arrested include bomber Salman Abedi’s brother Ismail.

Hopkins did not elaborate on the material that has been found so far.

The Mirror: First pictures inside ‘bomb factory’ flat Salman Abedi used before Manchester massacre as neighbours describe “strong smell of explosives”

A security source said the bomb was made with hydrogen peroxide and could have been constructed “on a kitchen table”.

That doesn’t sound like a factory.

Sources told The Daily Telegraph there were two separate bomb factories, with the chemicals mixed in the rented flat in Granby Row before the bomb itself was assembled elsewhere.

It was not clear if the second flat had been discovered.

Authorities are also reported to have told ABC News they found a kind of bomb-making workshop in Abedi’s home and he had apparently stockpiled enough chemicals to make additional bombs.

 

 

 

Manchester: ‘This is the place’

Tony Walsh (Longfella’) reads out his poem ‘This is the place’ at the vigil on Albert Square for the victims of the Manchester attack.

This is the place

In the north-west of England. It’s ace, it’s the best

And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands

Set the whole planet shaking.

Our inventions are legends. There’s nowt we can’t make, and so we make brilliant music

We make brilliant bands

And we make things from steel

And we make things from cotton

And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten

And we make you at home

And we make you feel welcome and we make summat happen

And we can’t seem to help it

And if you’re looking from history, then yeah we’ve a wealth

We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands

But the Manchester way is to make it yourself.

And make us a record, a new number one

And make us a brew while you’re up, love, go on

And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league

And make us sing louder and make us believe that this is the place that has helped shape the world

And this is the place where a Manchester girl named Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side led a suffragette city with sisterhood pride

And this is the place with appliance of science, we’re on it, atomic, we struck with defiance, and in the face of a challenge, we always stand tall, Mancunians, in union, delivered it all

Such as housing and libraries and health, education and unions and co-ops and first railway stations

So we’re sorry, bear with us, we invented commuters. But we hope you forgive us, we invented computers.

And this is the place Henry Rice strolled with rolls, and we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own northern soul

And so this is the place to do business then dance, where go-getters and goal-setters know they’ve a chance

And this is the place where we first played as kids. And me mum, lived and died here, she loved it, she did.

And this is the place where our folks came to work, where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt and they built us a city, they built us these towns and they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound to the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves, they were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves.

And these hard times again, in these streets of our city, but we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity.

Because this is a place where we stand strong together, with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever.

And we’ve got this place where a team with a dream can get funding and something to help with a scheme.

Because this is a place that understands your grand plans. We don’t do “no can do” we just stress “yes we can”

Forever Manchester’s a charity for people round here, you can fundraise, donate, you can be a volunteer. You can live local, give local, we can honestly say, we do charity different, that Mancunian way.

And we fund local kids, and we fund local teams. We support local dreamers to work for their dreams. We support local groups and the great work they do. So can you help us. help local people like you?

Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes, because this is the place that’s a part of our bones.

Because Greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact that this is the place, we should give something back.

And they left us a spirit. They left us a vibe. That Mancunian way to survive and to thrive and to work and to build, to connect, and create and Greater Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great.

And so this is the place now with kids of our own. Some are born here, some drawn here, but they all call it home.

And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat, all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets.

Because this is a place that has been through some hard times: oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times.

But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, Northern wit, and Greater Manchester’s lyrics.

Always remember, never forget, forever Manchester.

 

Oh Standard…

The (apparently) terrorist bombing in Manchester was a terrible thing.

Nowhere near as bad but still eye-rollingly stupid was some of the suggestions of political blame at The Standard in comments on the post Oh Manchester …

Millsy:

Starting to wonder if this was a false flag bombing. Now May can looking all defiant and prime ministerial and Corbyn can be portrayed as soft and weak on security.

Draco T Bastard:

That is the scary thought about this.

The Fairy Godmother:

Is it just a coincidence that the media were misrepresenting Jeremy Corban as supporting the IRA yesterday and now this happens. Hopefully it was.

Anne:

The timing of this event – given that Labour and Corbyn appear to have suddenly started to surge in the polls – caused me to contemplate the same possibility as The Fairy Godmother. At this point in time it would seem implausible, but it’s not a crime to entertain such a scenario.

Anne is right in a way about one thing. Stupidity isn’t a crime. And suggesting that an ISIS attack was a deliberate plot by a political party in an election campaign is very stupid.

In Vino:

Well said, Anne.
Some people are over-eagerly picking upon what they want to see as over-reactions. Their hidden agenda becomes overt.

Anne:

Thanks In Vino. I don’t think anyone here is seriously contemplating a Tory plot in order to gain more votes. But the possibility of some wrong headed right wing individuals – or an individual – trying to use the imminent election as a focal point for causing major upheavals in the name of some lunatic agenda is not an uncommon eventuality these days.

But that’s a long way from carrying out a terrorist bombing that murders many innocent people.

And it’s pathetic to target “some wrong headed right wing individuals”, considering the attempts by people and organisations like Hager, Dotcom and Wikileaks to try to cause (non-violent) major political  upheavals.

There was more, but there were also challenges to these assertions. The discussions even go Godwin:

Psycho Milt: How good at would do you have to be to notice how unlikely a false flag attack is in this case? Some people never met a conspiracy theory they didn’t like.

In Vino: I bet that is what they said straight after Hitler’s team burnt the Reichstag.

Psycho Milt: Hilarious you should call on the Reichstag fire as evidence.

In Vino: No – the false flag accusation would have been catered for in advance and laughed to scorn. You always seem ill-disposed to false flag suggestions…

Fortunately we haven’t seen terrorism in New Zealand like that impacting on various parts of Europe over the last few years.

But we do have political hate, and one of the symptoms of that are the ridiculous suggestions at The Standard.

A far more appropriate final comment (to date) at The Standard from Adam:

“Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.”

Martin Luther King 1958.

And just as importantly,

“If we do not learn to live together as friends, we will die apart as fools.”

Martin Luther King 1963.

 

Manchester bomber identified

The Manchester bomber has been identified, and ISIS have claimed responsibility.

The bomber has been named as a 22 year old British born Libyan Salman Abedi, who comes from South Manchester (thanks Missy).

The Telegraph: Salman Abedi named as the Manchester suicide bomber – what we know about him

The suicide bomber who killed 22 people and injured dozens more at the Manchester Arena has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi.

Born in Manchester in 1994, the second youngest of four children his parents were Libyan refugees who came to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime.

His parents were both born in Libya but appear to have emigrated to London before moving to the Fallowfield area of south Manchester where they have lived for at least ten years.

Abedi grew up in the Whalley Range area, just yards from the local girl’s high school, which hit the headlines in 2015 when twins and grade A pupils, Zahra and Salma Halane, who were both aspiring medical students, left their homes and moved to Isil controlled Syria.

There were unconfirmed reports in Manchester that the whole family apart from the two elder sons recently returned to Libya.

PDB says:

If true it shows the difficulty one faces in stopping terrorism when the terrorists are home grown 2nd or third generation immigrants.

It shows that terrorism is not just a Middle East problem, nor just a recent immigration problem.

Abedi was named by Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins on Tuesday.

“As you would expect the police response to this across Greater Manchester has been significant as we support people to go about their daily business.

“Part of this response has seen us arrest a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack and we have also carried out two warrants, one in Whalley Range and one in Fallowfield that included a controlled explosion to enable safe entry.

“We understand that feelings are very raw right now and people are bound to be looking for answers. However, now, more than ever, it is vital that our diverse communities in Greater Manchester stand together and do not tolerate hate.”

I doubt that generating more hate has ever been a successful response to hateful crimes.

“I can confirm that the man suspected of carrying out last night’s atrocity has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. However, he has not yet been formally identified and I wouldn’t wish, therefore, to comment further.

“The priority remains to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.”

On Tuesday, it was reported that the Islamic State group had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Difficult times for Manchester and for Britain. Just like they couldn’t remove all people of Irish descent from England during the Troubles, they can’t wave a wand to erase everything Muslim from the country.

If led well the majority of people will rise together against terrorism and against hate, and stand against the divisive aims of the terrorists.

Explosions, deaths at Manchester concert

There was at least one explosion at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. There have been multiple deaths and injuries reported.

Current summary (BBC):

  • Greater Manchester Police say there have been number of fatalities
  • People are urged to stay away from the area around Manchester Arena
  • Rail lines blocked at nearby Manchester Victoria station
  • Ariana Grande concert was evacuated
  • A spokesman for the singer confirms she is unharmed

Guardian: Manchester Arena: police confirm fatalities after explosion at Ariana Grande concert

Police in Manchester have responded to a “serious incident” at the city’s arena, amid unconfirmed reports online of an explosion.

Greater Manchester police warned people to stay away from Manchester Arena while they dealt with the issue. Officers did not release any further details on what has happened. A concert by Ariana Grande was being staged at the time.

UPDATE:

Here is the full update from Greater Manchester chief constable Ian Hopkins:

I can confirm the details of events tonight that we currently know. At around 10.33pm last night we received reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena in the city centre. It was at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert.

Currently we have 19 people confirmed to have died and around 50 people injured.

The injured are being treated at six hospitals across Greater Manchester. My thoughts are with all those who have been affected and we are doing all we can to support them.

Officers from GMP and emergency services are working at the scene and are supporting those affected. We are coordinating the response from GMP headquarters.

An emergency number is available for those who are concerned about loved ones or anyone who may have been in the area. It is 0161 856 9400.

We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise. We are working closely with the national counter-terrorism policing network and UK intelligence partners.

This is clearly a concerning time for people but we are doing all we can, working with local and national agencies to support those affected and gather information about what has happened tonight. As you will understand, we are still receiving information and updates, so will provide more details when we have a clearer picture.