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Woman banned from every UK prison after smuggling ‘fruit pastille’ to her fiancé



A woman has been banned from every jail in Britain after she passed her fiancé what she claims was a fruit pastille.  Melissa Hopper, 26, went to visit her baby’s father David Scott, who is a convicted drug gang member. During her visit, CCTV caught her passing him an ‘unauthorised article’ – which she insists was a sweet. ‘They obviously think it was drugs but it was just a Fruit Pastille that was thrown down a top,’ she said. ‘We were just having a laugh but now our baby might not be able to see her dad. ‘The baby needs to know her dad and I’m suffering from depression, so this is just making it worse.’

Staff at HMP Holme House in Stockton-on-Tees, Teesside, have barred Melissa  from visiting David for six months. Melissa claims Scott picked the sweet up and ate it during a visit on November 10. ‘They won’t say exactly what it is but they have basically implied he’s taken drugs, yet offered no proof,’ she said.

‘If it was drugs, why didn’t they drug test or nick him? ‘It was just a sweet and of course it is going to get eaten – what do they expect me to do, bin it?’ In March, Scott, 32, of High Newham, Hardwick, was locked up for more than six years for his role in a multi-million pound trans-Pennine plot to flood Teesside’s streets with heroin.

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After Melissa is allowed back, she faces another six months of ‘closed visits’, which means the couple will be separated by a panel. ‘It means I can’t touch him, and neither can his daughter,’ she said. ‘It is his family who will suffer.’ Melissa claims to have contacted both a solicitor and her Stockton North MP, Labour’s Alex Cunningham, to try to get the ban quashed.

However the Ministry of Justice seem set to hold firm over the ban. An MoJ spokesperson said: ‘We do not tolerate anyone breaking prison rules, and those that do so will face appropriate disciplinary action.’ HMP Holme House is currently spending millions of pounds to stamp out drug use and increase security. Last year it was announced that £9m will fund new body scanners to crack down on the use of new psychoactive substances, most commonly spice. Earlier this year, the category B jail was put in lockdown after staff fell sick inhaling spice fumes.




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Ten and thousands of Hong Kong protesters flood city streets in largest rally in weeks



Source: AFP- A sea of democracy activists flooded the streets of Hong Kong Sunday in a defiant show to the city’s leaders that their movement still pulls wide public support, despite mounting violence and increasingly stark warnings from Beijing.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters carrying umbrellas poured across the heart of Hong Kong island defying torrential rain and a police order not to march from a park where they had gathered earlier for a rally.

Weeks of demonstrations have plunged the financial hub into crisis, with images of masked black-clad protesters engulfed by tear gas during street battles against riot police stunning a city once renowned for its stability.

Sunday’s action, which organisers the Civil Human Rights Front said drew more than 1.7 million in the largest rally in weeks, was billed as a return to the “peaceful” origins of the leaderless protest movement.

“It’s been a long day and we’re very tired, but to see so many people out in the rain marching for Hong Kong gives strength to everyone,” said Danny Tam, a 28-year-old graphic designer.

The unprecedented political crisis was sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

But protests have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.

Anger has been sharpened among protesters by the perceived heavy-handedness of the police who have used tear gas, baton charges and rubber bullets in incidents that have pinballed across social media.

“The police are doing things that are totally unacceptable,” said Yim, who like many of the protesters gave only one name.

“They are hurting citizens, they aren’t protecting us.”

AFP / Manan VATSYAYANATorrential rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of protesters in Hong Kong

Communist Party-ruled mainland China has taken an increasingly hardline tone towards the protesters, decrying the “terrorist-like” actions of a violent hardcore minority among the demonstrators.

Despite the near-nightly clashes with police, the movement has won few concessions from Beijing or the city’s unelected leadership.

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Hong Kong Activities face crucial weekend test after airport setback



Source: AFP- Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement faces a major test this weekend as it tries to muster another huge crowd following criticism over a recent violent airport protest and as concerns mount over Beijing’s next move.

Ten weeks of protests have plunged the international finance hub into crisis with the communist mainland taking an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions “terrorist-like”.

Chinese state media have put out images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen, while the United States has warned Beijing against sending in troops, a move many analysts say would be a reputational and economic disaster for China.

The nationalistic Global Times newspaper said there would not be a repeat of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, in which hundreds — or even thousands — are believed to have been killed, if Beijing moves to quash the protests.

“The incident in Hong Kong won’t be a repeat of the June 4th political incident in 1989,” it said, insisting the country now had more sophisticated approaches.

It was a rare reference to the bloody events, which are taboo in China.

Hong Kong’s protests were sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, but have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.

Millions of people have hit the streets while clashes have broken out between police and small groups of hardcore protesters for 10 consecutive weekends.

For most of that time, US President Donald Trump has taken a hands-off approach to the unrest but began speaking up this week, suggesting any potential trade deal with Beijing could be upended by a violent response from the mainland.

Speaking on Thursday, Trump urged his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to meet protesters and solve the crisis “humanely”.

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