South London

    Raise funds for famine relief

    By PARVEEN AHMED

    Islamic Relief is hosting a series of fundraising events, open to all faiths, in aid of the East Africa famine.  16 million people in South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are on the brink of starvation and children are dying from malnutrition and preventable diseases.

    ‘The 21st-Century Muslim: A Balance between Hope and Fear’ events in Manchester, Bradford, Birmingham and Croydon, will each feature a talk by esteemed American scholar and cleric Sheikh Yasir Qadhi. His lecture will address the challenges of being a Muslim in the second decade of the 21st century. Dr. Qadhi, described by The New York Times Magazine as being “one of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam”, teaches at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

    Imran Madden, UK Director of Islamic Relief, said:
    “As we prepare for the holy month of Ramadan we invite everyone – Muslims and non-Muslim friends alike – to attend a fascinating talk by one of the most esteemed Muslim scholars of our time.  We hope as many as possible will join us for what will be a very enjoyable and thought-provoking evening that will also raise funds for our life-saving aid work in East Africa.”

    The fundraising will take place in Manchester on 28 April, Bradford on 29 April, Birmingham on 30 April and Croydon on 1 May 2017.

    Tickets for each event can be booked by visiting:
    http://www.islamic-relief.org.uk/events/21st-century-muslim-a-balance-between-hope-and-fear

    To donate to Islamic Relief’s East Africa Crisis Appeal:
    http://www.islamic-relief.org.uk/current-appeals/east-africa-appeal

    Islamic Relief is one of the 13 UK charities that form the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee).

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    Appeal to identify man following sexual assault on bus

    By PARVEEN AHMED

    Detectives have released an image of a man they wish to speak to in connection with a sexual assault on a bus in Southwark. The assault occurred on the 453 bus as it drove from Haymarket towards Deptford Bridge, in South East London on Saturday 17 September 2016, at approximately 16:40pm.

    The female victim boarded the bus at Haymarket and sat on the upper deck. The suspect came and sat next to her and during the journey he sexually assaulted her, whilst she attempted to push him away. He then got off the bus at the next stop, believed to be on London Road in Elephant and Castle.

    The suspect is described as an Asian, or a light skinned black man, aged in his 40s, and of medium build. He was wearing a blue and white jacket.

    Detectives from the Met’s Roads and Transport Command (RTPC) are investigating.

    Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact PC Gurmit Nothay on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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    Police appeal to identify Asian looking man after elderly woman conned out of life savings

    By PARVEEN AHMED

    Detectives in Southwark are appealing for help to identify a man they wish to speak to after an elderly woman was conned out of her life-savings. He is described as Asian, in his 20’s and as around 5ft 8ins tall.

    A man, posing as a police officer, called the 73-year-old woman from Dulwich woman on her mobile phone. He claimed he needed her help with a sting operation to catch a group of offenders targeting elderly and vulnerable people in the area. The following day, he persuaded her into withdrawing 5,000 Euros from a bureau de change at Liverpool Street Rail Station and hand the money to his assistant on 28th March. He then told the victim told to go to a watch shop in Knightsbridge to purchase a watch costing £25,050. After buying the watch, the victim was instructed to meet the same assistant as before at Knightsbridge Tube Station. The woman handed the assistant the watch. The ‘police officer’ then called her, claiming her evidence had been accepted. After this, the victim became suspicious and when she was unable to get in contact with the man, she phoned the police.

    Police are keen to speak to anyone who recognises this man.
    Police are keen to speak to anyone who recognises this man.

    Police in Southwark are keen to speak to the man in the CCTV in connection with the case.

    DC Michael Esangbedo from Southwark CID said:

    "I am pleading with anyone that recognises the man in the CCTV to get in touch with police.

    "The offenders have deliberately deceived the victim out of her life-savings. We are determined to bring those responsible to justice to prevent anyone else falling for the scam.

    "It is also worth noting that the police will never call members of the public and ask them to be part of a 'sting' operation."

    Anyone who recognises the man in the photo or anyone with information should contact police on 101.  Information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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    Sadiq Khan to launch inquiry into foreign property ownership

    The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged to launch the UK’s most comprehensive inquiry into the impact of foreign investment on London’s housing market.

    Khan says he will commission the most thorough research on this matter ever undertaken in Britain – the biggest look of its kind at this issue, “so we can figure out exactly what can be done.”

    He insisted there are “real concerns” about the surge in the number of homes being bought by overseas investors, adding that the inquiry would map the scale of the problem for the first time.

    “It’s clear we need to better understand the different roles that overseas money plays in London’s housing market, the scale of what’s going on, and what action we can take to support development and help Londoners find a home,” Khan told the Guardian.

    Earlier this year, it was revealed how a 50-storey block of 214 luxury apartments by the river Thames in Vauxhall was more than 60% owned by foreign buyers. In one of the starkest examples of the impact of foreign investment, it found that a quarter of the flats were held by companies in secretive offshore tax havens, and many were unoccupied.

    In China, experts predict the current scale of global investment in UK property could rise significantly over the next decade, with a “new wave” of middle-class investors from mainland China quadrupling the amount of money flowing annually into foreign real estate – including the UK – to $200bn (£150bn) in the next 10 years.

    Sohaib Hamid of Reeds and Rains, said he expected a major jump in investors looking for a return in Britain, adding: “The UK market, particularly post-Brexit, is really picking up.

    “The interesting thing is that that in many ways the international investment journey is probably just starting … The exciting thing about China and India is that there are many cities with more than a million people. So London is a huge market for them.”

    Critics say the influx of foreign investors is contributing to a housing crisis in the capital. Earlier this week, it emerged that the number of thirtysomethings leaving London has leapt in recent years, as high housing costs have forced people to move out.

    Overseas buyers are also increasingly focusing on towns and cities outside the UK capital – with Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham all identified as “hotspots” as buyers try to get more for their money while avoiding new stamp duty rules.

    Foreign investment has helped drive a fresh property building boom around the UK. Liverpool has received millions of pounds of overseas investment in housing and property in the past five years, including a £200m New Chinatown development that is under construction and is being heavily marketed in China. Earlier this year, Sheffield announced a multibillion pound deal that would generate four or five city-centre projects over the next three years and create “hundreds if not thousands” of jobs in south Yorkshire.

    The Chinese are the biggest buyers of new-build residential accommodation globally, with the Singaporeans second and the British fourth, according to international property agents Knight Frank.

    sadiqkhanwikiKhan said: “We welcome investment from around the world in building new homes, including those for first-time buyers. At the same time, as more and more Londoners struggle to get on the property ladder, there are real concerns about the prospect of a surge in the number of homes being bought by overseas investors.”

    One key aim of the research will be shining a light on who is investing and where the money originates from.

    Khan said: “We urgently need money invested in London property. Londoners need reassuring that dirty money isn’t flooding into our property market, and ministers must now make all property ownership in London transparent so we can see exactly who owns what.”

    Quote box:

    Khan said: “We welcome investment from around the world in building new homes, including those for first-time buyers. At the same time, as more and more Londoners struggle to get on the property ladder, there are real concerns about the prospect of a surge in the number of homes being bought by overseas investors.”

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    Mayor Sadiq Khan appoints deputy mayor for business to safeguard jobs through Brexit fallout

    The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today (29 June) appointed Rajesh Agrawal as his deputy mayor for business.

    Sadiq Khan has tasked Rajesh Agrawal with championing London’s interests following the EU referendum, and protecting jobs and growth while the negotiation process takes place.

    The Mayor is calling for Britain and London to remain part of the European single market, and for the capital to be granted more autonomy in order to safeguard its business interests. This includes greater powers over skills, infrastructure, housing and planning.

    Rajesh Agrawal, a fintech entrepreneur and innovator, is the founder and CEO of Xendpay, an international money transfer service, and RationalFX, an online foreign exchange service - both of which have grown into globally successful businesses.

    Born and brought up in Indore, India, Rajesh arrived in London in 2001, and grew a two-person enterprise working from one small office into a multi-million pound business based in London, with offices in Birmingham, France and Spain.

    Sadiq Khan said: “I’ve pledged to be the most business-friendly Mayor that London has ever had, and it is now more vital than ever that we act robustly from City Hall to protect our economy from the current uncertainty.

    "London must stay in the single market and be given more powers to ensure we can remain competitive, in order to attract the global enterprise that London’s prosperity relies on. Having arrived in London equipped with the ambition to succeed, Rajesh has created a multi-million pound business from scratch and knows first-hand the challenges that our business leaders face, and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. I know that Rajesh is the best person for the job of protecting jobs and growth in London as we deal with the fallout of the referendum.”

    Rajesh Agrawal said: “Having run my own global businesses, I know how important it is that London remains welcoming to European and international trade. I stepped on a plane for the first time 15 years ago to make the journey to London, and found a city that welcomed me with open arms and didn’t make me feel like a stranger. This openness to talent and enterprise must not change as a result of the referendum.

    “I share Sadiq’s belief that a thriving economy is critical to ensure that all Londoners can share in our great city’s future success. The Mayor and I are determined to build a coalition that ensures the needs of business and financial services are at the fore over the coming months of negotiations with the EU. My first priority will be to listen and engage with businesses, to hear their concerns and deliver reassurance.

    “These are extraordinary times and with this comes clear opportunities to reshape our city’s business landscape. We must champion London’s business at home and abroad, whilst equipping our young people for success, tackling rising business and housing costs and securing critical future infrastructure investment.”

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