Today’s international news: March 8th

Luka Kenyon brings today’s international stories from across the globe.


BREAKING: ‘Strong but unconfirmed reports’ IS bride’s baby has died


The lawyer for IS bride Shamima Begum has said there is ‘strong but as yet unconfirmed reports’ that her baby son has died. 

The 19-year-old Islamic State bride and her newborn son Jarrah had been living in a Syrian refugee camp after she had her British citizenship revoked.

Begum – who has previously lost two children – revealed last month that her young son was unwell and she would not allow him to return to the UK alone.

Begum’s husband, Dutch IS fighter Yago Riedijk, told Sky News they both made a mistake when they joined the terror group. He married the British teenager just weeks after she arrived in IS territory as a 15-year-old in 2015.

Begum was 15 when she left London to join IS, along with two other schoolgirls from Bethnal Green.

She gained media attention whilst heavily pregnant last month, speaking of her desire to return to the UK.

Virgin Atlantic drops mandatory make-up requirement

Today (March 8th) is International Women’s Day, a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.

Travel giant Virgin Atlantic have removed their mandatory requirement that all female cabin crew must wear make-up whilst on duty. Female cabin crew will now be offered trousers automatically, as opposed to when requested – the uniform currently features a tight, red skirt. The move sees a significant change in the airline industry, which has not been progressive when it comes to uniform.

Newer airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet take a relaxed stance when it comes to uniform and make-up, whereas more established airlines have strict rules on what female members of staff must wear when at work.


(Credit: MercerMJ)

Virgin Atlantic have said cabin crew could now attend work without wearing make-up, but those who still wish to wear it could do so by following the companies guidelines.

Virgin Atlantic Executive Vice President of Customer Mark Anderson said:

“Our world famous red uniform is something all of us at Virgin Atlantic are incredibly proud of. As an airline, we have always stood out from the crowd and done things differently to the rest of the industry. We want our uniform to truly reflect who we are as individuals while maintaining that famous Virgin Atlantic style. We have been listening to the views of our people and as a result have announced some changes to our styling and grooming policy that support this. Not only do the new guidelines offer an increased level of comfort, they also provide our team with more choice on how they want to express themselves at work. Helping people to be themselves is core to our desire to be the most loved travel company.”

British Airways gave female staff the option to wear trousers in 2016, but still requires them to wear make-up.

The reaction on Twitter has been positive, with many praising Virgin Atlantic for bringing their guidelines into the 21st Century. Journalist Jess Brammar said: “Female cabin crew working for Virgin Atlantic are no longer required to wear make-up, the airline has announced. Which, you know, shouldn’t feel like an exciting step forward as it’s TWENTY NINETEEN, but it does.”

Indian Pilot released by Pakistan


A pilot from the Indian Air Force has been released by the Pakistani government after having been captured on Wednesday.

This is amid the ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India that have resulted in Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s plane being shot down in the Kashmir region. Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has commented that the move is a “peace gesture” to allow communication to be opened between the two countries.

On Friday Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the events of the past few days had “brought our nations closer”.

“The way the nation has supported our armed forces is extraordinary and I bow to every Indian for that”, he said.

On Thursday, Mr Khan reenforced his call for the de-escalation of the continued military presence along the border between India and Pakistan.

The pilot is now back on Indian soil and being hailed  as a national hero.

BREAKING: US offers $1 million reward for Bin Laden’s son


The USA government is offering $1 million for help locating Osama Bin Laden’s son, Hamza Bin Laden.

He is believed to be emerging as a key leader of the Islamist military group, Al-Quaeda, and the US state department are offering a reward for information on his whereabouts.

The reward will be paid for helping to locate him as part of the American Rewards For Justice programme.

He has released audio and video messages calling for attacks against the US and its allies.

His father, the former leader of Al-Quaeda, was killed in a US military raid in Pakistan in 2011.

A statement read: “Hamza married the daughter of Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker and a mastermind of Al Qaeda’s September 2001 airline terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

“Osama bin Laden’s letters seized from the Abbottabad, Pakistan compound where bin Laden was killed indicate that he was grooming Hamza to replace him as leader of Al Qaeda.”

Any information about Hamza Bin Laden and his whereabouts should be sent to the nearest US embassy or to

Today’s international news: March 1st

Rory Hill brings us today’s international stories.

EN4News in Numbers

In a world of constant news bombardment, some info can fall through the cracks. We’ve assembled a list of interesting factoids so you don’t have to worry about missing out!

Copy of 2.4-2

Infographic (Credit: Jade du Preez)


Thai Princess runs for Prime Minister: podcast with journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall


Andrew MacGregor Marshall is an investigative journalist who specialises in Thailand. Marshall was the former Bureau Chief for Reuters in Bankok and previously was Middle East Managing Editor for the news agency. He currently teaches journalism at Edinburgh Napier University.

EN4News News Editor Ailean Beaton spoke to Marshall about the announcement that a member of the Thai royal family, Princess Ubolratana, is running for Prime Minister in upcoming elections.

Marshall was the first journalist to break the news. In this podcast, Marshall outlines the significance of the news, calling it “the biggest news to come out of Thailand in ten years”, and discusses what this could mean for the future of Thai democracy.

Today’s International News

EN4 News journalist Bryce Arthur discusses all the biggest international news stories of the day.


In today’s international news:

  • Jeff Bezos accuses National Inquirer of blackmail
  • Thai princess announces bid for Prime Minister in upcoming elections
  • Ten die in Rio fire – check our EN4News report for more.


Sturgeon’s North America trip: round-up and reaction

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Sturgeon undertaking business engagements in New York. (Credit: Scottish Government)

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been touring the United States of America and Canada this week, giving speeches and meeting governors to “strengthen trade and cultural links between Scotland and the USA and Canada” and in the process, promoting Scotland’s place on the world stage. Here is everything you need to know about Sturgeon’s ongoing excursion across the pond.

Ahead of her trip, The First Minister said:

“Scotland has a longstanding relationship with North America across family, friendship, culture and business. The latest figures released just this week show how important our trade relationship with North America is for our economy.”

The figures she was referring to were those published by her government this week which stated that the USA was Scotland’s leading export destination in 2017 with £5.5 billion going there and a combined £6.1 billion going to North America. The exports to the United States from Scotland was up by 11.1% since the previous year, and it’ll be the first time a First Minister has visited Canada in more than 10 years.


Monday was Sturgeon’s first day of five in the States and she kicked off in Georgetown University in Washington DC to deliver a speech on the “real and growing risk” that the UK will leave the EU with no deal in less than two months’ time.

She also reaffirmed her calls for a second Brexit referendum and hinted to revealing the timing for a second Scottish Independence referendum.

The First Minister said: ”

“I as First Minister have said I will outline my thoughts on the timing of another independence referendum in the next few weeks – once the terms of Brexit have become clearer.

“But amid the confusion and the uncertainty of Brexit, one thing is clearer I think than ever, Scotland’s national interests are not being served by a Westminster system which too often treats Scotland as an afterthought, or too often sees our interests as not being material.

“In my view, those interests can only properly be served by becoming an independent country, but an independent country that then seeks to play its part in an interconnected world.

“And that is a vision that I think more and more people in Scotland, in the wake of the Brexit experience, find very attractive.”

Sturgeon also had an interview with PBS NewsHour about the effects of Brexit in Scotland, as well as conducting business meetings with US companies with connections to Scotland including Verdant Power and the sponsors of Glasgow Warriors rugby team, Leidos.


Nicola Sturgeon meets representatives of the American tech company, Leidos. (Credit: Scottish Government)


Sturgeon spent her second day in Washington DC and then travelled to New Jersey.

She met CEO of Marriott International Arne Sorenson in Washington DC to acknowledge Marriott’s continued investment in Scotland and to hear from Mr Sorenson about trends in global tourism.

She hopped to New Jersey to meet the Governor there, Phil Murphy and they signed a joint agreement to tackle climate change.

Following the meeting, the First Minister said:

“Climate change is a global problem and agreements like these, working in partnership with like-minded administrations, will help us tackle the harmful effects it has on the planet.”


On the third day, the Sottish leader travelled to New York for a number of business engagements. She met with Conway Inc, an American economic development company as well as announcing Scotland will host the 2022 World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment.

It is important to note that there are 550 US-owned enterprises in Scotland that employ over 106 thousand people and have a combined turnover of more than £30 billion.

Sturgeon said:

“Scotland’s performance on FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) is exceptionally strong, and an indicator of the talent, skills and ingenuity in our economy… Hosting the 2022 World Forum for FDI will allow us to build on that momentum, firmly positioning Scotland on the global stage.”

She then attended a Scotland Is Now investor lunch, hosted by IBM, where she addressed an audience of around 50 senior business people about Scotland’s strengths and assets as an investment location and trading partner.

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Sturgeon addresses 50 senior business people at Scotland Is Now investor lunch in New York. Credit: Scottish Government

Then it was on to Morgan Stanley’s Fusion Center where she discussed technology innovation and collaborative projects. The company employs 1,550 people in Scotland and is a key part of Scotland’s financial services industry.

Later, she was appointed the inaugural #HeForShe Global Advocate by UN Women:


Thursday was billed as the day of the official opening of the Scottish Government in Ottawa, Canada.

The announcement of the opening of a Scottish government office in Canada came in August of last year and was scheduled to be opening the following month.

The Scottish government stated that the Ottawa office will:

  • encourage investment between Canadian and Scottish businesses and organisations
  • promote Scotland as a place to work, study and visit
  • develop relationships in key policy areas like climate change, equalities and social enterprise
  • encourage collaboration between business, research, education and cultural institutions

Later, she was joined by Scotland’s national chef Gary Maclean and GlobalScot chef John Higgins who cooked a range of dishes to showcase Scottish cuisine. The menu featured Scottish food and drink available in Canada, including Scottish langoustines, smoked salmon, Scotch Beef, haggis and a selection of Scottish cheeses.


On the fifth and final day of her excursion, Nicola Sturgeon is on her way to Toronto, the capital of the Canadian province Ontario. There, she will open the Toronto Stock Exchange, visit West Neighbourhood House social enterprise and meet with the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

The first minister stated:

“Scotland and Canada have strong historical links spanning family, friendship and trade. And today, Canada is an important market for Scottish exports, including our growing quality food and drinks products.”


There has been a lot of noise on Twitter from Scottish voters and it has been a mixed bag for the leader of the Scottish National Party.

Some have voiced their support for the First Minister:

Pamela Nash writes for The Scotsman:

“The Scottish Government is right to promote Scotland around the world, and that means that ministers must also – from time to time – travel abroad to do so… but not [to promote] the cause of independence.”

And some give a more scathing review of Sturgeon’s overseas expedition:

Writing in The Spectator Stephen Daisley said:

“Mostly the tour has been about Sturgeon playing make-believe world leader. She has given a (flat, predictable) speech on Brexit at Georgetown university… She’s done the rounds at the UN and even been made the inaugural #HeForShe global advocate, which I think means she gets to star in the next Gillette advert.”


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