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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Balloons, bands and tight security

The Macy’s Thanksgiving1 Day Parade featured balloons, bands, stars and heavy security – as thousands gathered for the annual tradition. With new faces and old favorites in the lineup, the Americana extravaganza made its way through two miles of Manhattan on a cold morning.

The crowds are still the same, but there’s a lot more police here . That’s the age we live in, Paul Seyforth said as he attended the parade he’d watched since the 1950s.

Not a lot’s changed the balloons, the bands, the floats and that’s the good thing, said Seyforth, 76, who’d flown in from Denver to spend his 50th wedding anniversary in New York and see this year’s parade. The televised parade was proceeding smoothly, though about midway through, a gust of wind on a largely calm day blew a candy-cane balloon into a tree branch, and it popped near the start of the route on Manhattan’s Upper West Side . No one was injured.

In 2005, one of the parade’s signature giant balloons caught a gust, hit a Times Square lamppost and injured two people . The candy cane was smaller than the giant balloons. Timothy McMillian and his wife, their 9-year-old daughter and his in-laws started staking out a spot along the route at 6:30 a.m . They’d come from Greensboro, North Carolina, to see in person the spectacle they’d watched on TV for years.

McMillian, a 45-year-old schoolteacher, booked a hotel months ago, but he started to have some concerns about security when a truck attack on a bike path near the World Trade Center killed eight people on Halloween.

With the event being out in the open like this, we were concerned, he said . But we knew security would be ramped up today, and we have full confidence in the NYPD. Authorities say there is no confirmation of a credible threat to the parade, but they were taking no chances after both the truck attack and the October shooting that killed 58 people at a Las Vegas country music festival. Four activists jumped over barriers and briefly sat down in the street at about 9:10 a.m .

to protest the end of a program that extended protections to immigrants brought illegally to the U.S . as children, according to a spokesman for activist group Cosecha . Police quickly escorted them back . No one was arrested and the parade was not delayed. New York Police Department officers with assault weapons and portable radiation detectors were circulating among the crowds, sharpshooters were on rooftops and sand-filled city sanitation trucks were poised as imposing barriers to traffic at every cross street . Officers also were escorting each of the giant balloons.

The mayor and police brass have repeatedly stressed that visitors shouldn’t be deterred . And Bekki Grinnell certainly wasn’t.

When your kid from Alaska is marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you come, said Grinnell, whose daughter was marching with the band from Colony High School in Palmer, Alaska . Grinnell said she wasn’t worried about security because of the police presence: I think we’re in a safe spot. Other paradegoers also showed their appreciation for police: The NYPD marching band and a group of mounted officers got some of the biggest cheers from spectators lined up as many as 15 deep along barricades . Among other crowd favorites: as did the SpongeBob SquarePants balloon.

The 91st annual parade featured new balloons including Olaf from the Disney movie Frozen and Chase from the TV cartoon Paw Patrol will be among the new balloons Thursday, along with a new version of the Grinch of Dr . Seuss fame. Smokey Robinson, The Roots, Flo Rida and Wyclef Jean were among the stars celebrating, along with performances from the casts of Broadway’s Anastasia, Dear Evan Hansen and SpongeBob SquarePants . The lineup included a dozen marching bands, as well as the high-kicking Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and, of course, Santa Claus.

This is my favorite thing ever, musician Questlove told The Associated Press as he got ready to ride the Gibson Guitars float with his bandmates in The Roots and late-night host Jimmy Fallon of The Tonight Show, where The Roots are the house band .

Questlove said being in the parade is probably my favorite perk of the job.

To go from being a spectator to being up here, it’s kinda cool, he said.

Added singer-songwriter Andy Grammer as he got on the Homewood Suites float: It’s kind of like being at the center of Thanksgiving.

Associated Press

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Balloons, Bands And Tight SecurityReuse content2

References

  1. ^ Thanksgiving (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)

Brexit could push UK off security ‘cliff-edge’ if Government does not …

Brexit1 could push Britain s access to vital intelligence systems off a cliff-edge if the Government does not act urgently to ensure continued security cooperation with the EU, a new report has warned.

European Arrest Warrants (EAW) have been used to arrest criminals including drug traffickers, murderers, rapists, terrorists, paedophiles and some of Britain s most wanted fugitives2. The UK also uses its membership of Europol and the European Criminal Records Information Exchange System (ECRIS), and it s access to the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the Pr m Convention on DNA data, to catch wanted people abroad and identify EU suspects inside Britain. The Government has repeatedly claimed security cooperation and intelligence sharing will continue after Brexit but its proposals have not yet been formally discussed.

Academics at King s College London have now warned that the political will for continued partnership is not enough to surmount serious practical and legal barriers. A report by its independent UK in a Changing Europe research division said that unless the Government acts quickly to secure a deal with the EU, there could be serious disruption to security cooperation.

There is much at stake here, it continued . Thus far, however, neither side has engaged strongly with the detail in public, nor demonstrated much awareness of the trade-offs that might be required in order to achieve their aims.

Andrea Leadsom on whether Brexit committee stage will finish by Christmas: It s difficult to project forward with absolute certainty

David Davis and Michel Barnier have not yet started discussions on the issue, which are due to take place in the delayed second phase of the floundering talks. Anand Menon, director of the research unit, said good intentions were not enough when negotiations are likely to involve constitutional issues and disagreements over jurisdiction.

Brexit has been an immigration issue and there s actually far more to this, he told The Independent.

The question is whether control means being able to close your borders, or being in a position to know as much as possible about who is coming in through them . And the latter is based on collaboration.

Prof Menon said it could take more time than is left before the Brexit deadline in March 2019 to build a new legal framework allowing intelligence sharing to continue on current levels, leaving the prospect of a Brexit cliff-edge in security .

We re not saying it s impossible but we need to start taking this seriously, quickly, because otherwise membership will come to an end with no obvious way to stay in these systems, he added.

The Home Office has talked about a treaty but what we re interested in is not broad structures but detailed proposals. Prof Menon said he hoped the lack of detail was a deliberate move made necessary by security protocol or negotiation tactics, but that he had not yet heard from anyone that concrete proposals are there . Theresa May herself warned of the security threat posed by leaving the EU during the referendum campaign, but claimed any risk will be mitigated by new agreements since becoming Prime Minister.

Her predecessor, David Cameron, asked whether peace and stability in Europe was a risk worth taking while arguing for Britain to remain in the EU. But security faded from the official campaign s radar after failing to attract interest in focus groups, the report said, despite the rising terror threat and Isis s deadly attacks across Europe. A backlash against Mr Cameron s speech and criticism of Project Fear are believed to have prevented a detailed Home Office paper on the potential impact of Brexit before the referendum being released, despite it containing evidence that the UK would be less protected from terrorism and crime.

Researchers concluded that although the EU will not want to lose access to British intelligence, the European Commission would have to approve transfers and could demand adequacy on data protection. The European Court of Justice, which the Prime Minister has vowed to leave, has already ruled mass data collection under the Investigatory Powers Act illegal3 and the efforts could prove a stumbling block in negotiations. Researchers cautioned that although several non-EU countries have signed agreements with Europol, they do not guarantee access to operational projects.

The UK may be able to achieve an unprecedented future relationship, based on its strong role within the agency, but the Danish government may object to a deal that goes further than its own, the report concluded.

This would mean the UK cannot retain direct access to Europol databases, nor a participating place on the management board.

The towers of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg (Reuters)

There is also precedent for access by countries outside the EU to the EAW system, but Norway and Iceland s deals took years to negotiate and a similar agreement would probably mean that some EU countries won t be able to surrender their own nationals to the UK, the report said. Europol itself has warned that Brexit could worsen crime in the UK and damage security across Europe4. Brian Donald, its chief of staff, said last month that although the Government has drawn up proposals to remain a part of the organisation, an adverse impact should be expected.

Almost certainly the arrangements governing the UK s police cooperation with EU partners will not be as deep and effective as they are today, Mr Donald warned.

Reasonable assumptions point to a worse situation than now in the UK.

This week, the Commons Home Affairs Committee sounded a fresh warning over potential chaos at British borders if customs arrangements are not shored up. Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP who chairs the group, said: As things stand, the Government is running the risk of celebrating their first day of Brexit with the sight of queues of lorries stretching for miles in Kent and gridlock on the roads of Northern Ireland, which would be incredibly damaging to the UK economy and completely unacceptable to the country. The committee described Home Office plans to boost Border Force staff by 300 members as completely unconvincing .

A separate assessment published on Tuesday warned that failure to complete the introduction of a new customs system by the Brexit date would be catastrophic . The Government has proposed a new security treaty between the UK and EU to ensure a comprehensive new security, law enforcement and criminal justice partnership after Brexit. A policy paper published days after the attempted bombing of a London Underground train in September said the treaty would be underpinned by our shared principles and should make sure our partnership has the agility to respond to the ever-changing threats we face .

A Home Office spokesperson said: As we prepare to leave the EU it is vital that we agree a new way to ensure continued security, law enforcement and criminal justice cooperation.

We recently outlined our proposal to seek a new treaty with the EU which will underpin our future partnership, building on the already deep level of collaboration we have on security, policing and criminal justice.

Both the UK and EU have made clear our shared commitment to continued cooperation to keep Europe safe and this Government will do everything it can to keep the country secure.”

Brexit Could Push UK Off Security 'cliff-edge' If Government Does Not ...Reuse content5

References

  1. ^ Brexit (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ Britain s most wanted fugitives (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ ruled mass data collection under the Investigatory Powers Act illegal (www.independent.co.uk)
  4. ^ Brexit could worsen crime in the UK and damage security across Europe (www.independent.co.uk)
  5. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)

Brexit could worsen UK crime and damage security across Europe, Europol warns

Brexit 1could worsen crime in the UK and damage security across Europe, a leader of the EU s law enforcement agency has warned.

Brian Donald, Europol2 s chief of staff, said that although the Government has drawn up proposals to remain a part of the organisation an adverse impact should be expected. Theresa May herself warned of the security threat posed by leaving the EU 3during the referendum campaign, when she was the serving Home Secretary. Since becoming Prime Minister she has supported the current Government s position that any risk will be mitigated by new agreements, despite concerns raised by opposition parties and experts including security commissioner Sir Julian King4.

Speaking at a summit in London, Mr Donald said Brexit s effect on both UK and EU security depends on the outcome of negotiations and the final exit deal. But David Davis and Michel Barnier have not yet started discussions on the issue, which are due to take place in the delayed second phase of floundering talks.

Almost certainly the arrangements governing the UK s police cooperation with EU partners will not be as deep and effective as they are today, Mr Donald warned . So this process is about minimising adverse impact.

Senior Brussels official: The EU is planning for a no-deal Brexit

The former Serious Organised Crime Agency officer said Brexit would also have an impact on crime in the UK, especially if it loses access to resources including the Schengen Information System (SIS), European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and European Criminal Records Information Exchange System. No country that is not a member of the EU or Schengen zone currently has access to the SIS or is party to the EAW, which generates more than 2,000 arrests every year in Britain. Mr Donald told the National Security Summit that serious criminals could exploit resulting intelligence gaps that would make them harder to trace, adding that any curbs on freedom of movement will generate business for people smugglers and economic de-regulation would create a honeypot for fraudsters .

Reasonable assumptions point to a worse situation than now in the UK, he added.

I am sure the British authorities are studying these scenarios closely but of course any change in crime trends will very much depend on which Brexit we end up with.

Mr Donald said Europol had repeated calls for security cooperation to be among the highest priorities in the Brexit negotiations in the interest of both sides amid heightened security threats and terror attacks. The Government has proposed a new security treaty between the UK and EU5 to ensure a comprehensive new security, law enforcement and criminal justice partnership after Brexit. A policy paper published last month, days after the attempted bombing of a London Underground train, said the treaty would would be underpinned by our shared principles and should make sure our partnership has the agility to respond to the ever-changing threats we face .

Mr Davis, the Brexit Secretary, said at the time: We already have a deep level of collaboration with the EU on security matters and it is in both our interests to find ways to maintain it. The Home Office said the UK had been a leading contributor to information sharing and in the EU level. Europol already has a model for cooperation with non-EU states, including the US, Australia and Norway, but any negotiations over continued British membership will be handled by the European Commission.

It is expected to impose conditions on any agreement, such as on the UK s data protection enforcement, or remaining under the European Court of Justice s jurisdiction. Britain will retain its current security arrangements with other international bodies linked to the G7, Interpol and the United Nations. A Home Office spokesperson said: As we prepare to leave the EU it is vital that we agree a new way to ensure continued security, law enforcement and criminal justice cooperation.

This is why last month the Government outlined its proposal to seek a new treaty with the EU which will underpin our future partnership, building on the already deep level of collaboration we have.

Both the UK and Member States have made clear how crucial this cooperation is in keeping our citizens safe and we look forward to discussing this as part of the negotiations.

Brexit Could Worsen UK Crime And Damage Security Across Europe, Europol WarnsReuse content6

References

  1. ^ Brexit (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ Europol (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ warned of the security threat posed by leaving the EU (www.independent.co.uk)
  4. ^ security commissioner Sir Julian King (www.independent.co.uk)
  5. ^ proposed a new security treaty between the UK and EU (www.independent.co.uk)
  6. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)