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Japan Volcano: More Than 30 Hikers Feared Dead

Written By andika jamanta on Minggu, 28 September 2014 | 20.49

More than 30 hikers are believed to have died near the peak of an erupting volcano in Japan.

Police said they were found unconscious and in cardiac arrest near the summit of the 3,067 metre (10,121ft) Mount Ontake, which erupted on Saturday, spewing large white plumes of gas and ash high into the sky and blanketing the surrounding area in ash.

Video footage posted online of the aftermath of the eruption shows huge grey clouds boiling towards climbers at the peak and people scrambling to get down as blackness envelops them.

JAPAN-VOLCANO Hundreds of rescue workers are trying to reach those who are stranded

Footage on NHK national television shows windows in a mountain lodge darkening and people screaming as heavy objects pelt the roof.

"We have confirmed that more than 30 individuals in cardiac arrest have been found near the summit," a Nagano prefecture police spokesman told the AFP news agency, without elaborating further.

Nagano prefecture posted on its website that those found have heart and lung failure - the customary way for Japanese authorities to describe a body until police doctors can examine it.

JAPAN-VOLCANO The mountain is popular with tourists and hikers

Hundreds of soldiers, police officers and firefighters have been involved in a large-scale search and rescue operation in an effort to save dozens of hikers who were thought to have been stranded on the volcano since it erupted without warning.

At least 250 people were initially trapped, but most made their way down by Saturday night. More than 40 people have been injured, and several have broken bones.

A suffocating blanket of ash up to 20cm (eight inches) thick covered a large area of the volcano, which is some 200km (125 miles) west of the capital, Tokyo.

JAPAN-VOLCANO Climbers come down the mountain after the eruption

The volcano was still erupting on Sunday, pouring smoke and ash hundreds of metres into the sky.

Ash has been found on cars as far as 80km (50 miles) away.

Although details remain unclear, local officials believe 45 to 49 hikers sheltered overnight in cabins on the mountain, which is popular with tourists and hikers.

Military helicopters rescued seven people off the mountainside earlier on Sunday, and workers on foot are helping others to make their way down.

JAPAN-VOLCANO A restricted zone has been set up in the area

A worker in a mountain lodge just below the peak, Shuichi Mukai, said: "All of a sudden ash piled up so quickly that we couldn't even open the door.

"We were really packed in here, maybe 150 people. There were some children crying, but most people were calm. We waited there in hard hats until they told us it was safe to come down."

Mount Ontake sits on the border of Nagano and Gifu prefectures, on the main Japanese island of Honshu.

The volcano's last major eruption was in 1979.

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'Nothing Token' About Britain's Iraq Mission

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has rejected claims Britain's role in the fight against Islamic State (IS) is a "token" gesture, as he confirmed RAF Tornados are now flying daily over northern Iraq.

He told Sky's Murnaghan programme the United States welcomes the contribution of six aircraft to the mission.

Mr Fallon said: "There's nothing token about this. On the contrary, I spoke to the American Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel immediately after the vote and he welcomed the contribution that we're now able to make.

Watch full coverage on Sky News.

"They need our help, not simply with the Tornados, which are now flying daily from Cyprus, but also from the surveyance aircraft that we have overhead and very sophisticated surveyance and intelligence to add to the operations of Iraqi and Kurdish forces."

His comments come after Richard Williams, a former commanding officer of the SAS who served in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote in the Independent on Sunday the deployment of RAF bombers was a "military sugar rush" that "risks looking fearful and half-cocked".

Lieutenant Colonel Williams said the sending in of RAF bombers had "taken on a military and political significance out of all proportion to their real military value".

A map showing the location of RAF Akrotiri in relation to Iraq and Syria.

Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, a former head of the UK military who stepped down as chief of the defence staff last year, also told The Sunday Times that a campaign involving ground troops would be needed to crush IS.

The RAF carried out two sorties over Iraq on Saturday after Parliament cleared the way for airstrikes on IS militants in a vote on Friday.

In both missions the Tornado GR4 fighter bombers did not use their weapons, although the Ministry of Defence said "invaluable intelligence" had been gathered using the planes' surveillance equipment.

An RAF Tornado takes off from a base in Cyprus bound for Iraq. An RAF Tornado takes off from the Akrotiri base on Sunday

The jets, which fly in pairs, returned to their base at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus at the end of their hours-long missions with their weapons payload intact.

Sky's Tom Parmenter, who is at the base, says that two Tornados took off on another mission just after midday on Sunday.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he also wants to make the case for targeting Syria.

Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircrew prepare to depart RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. Pic: MoD. RAF crew at the base on Saturday morning. Pic: MoD

In an interview with the Sunday Times, the Prime Minister revealed he would argue that targeting Syria is both legal and appropriate.

"There are complications but there aren't legal difficulties," he said.

Mr Cameron said he would respond to the challenge thrown down by Ed Miliband to seek a UN resolution supporting attacks in Syria, if only to show that his request is impossible.

Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircrew prepare to depart RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. A member of the aircrew prepares to depart on the first mission. Pic: MoD

"We have to demonstrate to people that we'd like a UN security council resolution but it's very difficult to get one and to demonstrate that what we propose is legal. Attempts have been made but there's the existence of a Russian veto."

Ministers had cautioned not to expect a campaign of "shock and awe" and that after weeks of US airstrikes in the area it could take time to identify new targets.

Mr Cameron insisted the involvement of RAF combat aircraft showed Britain was there to "play our part" in the international coalition being assembled against IS.

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UKIP Defection Is Triple Nightmare For Cameron

By Faisal Islam, Political Editor

The Prime Minister rises at 5.15am on a working day.

At that moment on Saturday the banners were being hung in Birmingham, the lifts festooned, and individual staircase steps swathed with constituent economic achievements leading to an overall tagline: "Securing A Better Future".

The basic sell: a recovery is here, but the country needs the Conservatives to finish the job.

And then, David Cameron would have been forgiven for seeing a clear route to glory in May starting with his trip to Birmingham for the Conservative Party conference.

A thumping majority in a successful Parliamentary vote was the fruition of weeks of slow deliberative work on Islamic State (IS), to show a diplomatic, humanitarian, multilateral effort.

Even then, the vote seemed most difficult for Labour leader Ed Miliband, losing one rising frontbench star, and having to fire an aide to the shadow defence secretary.

The papers were beginning to question Mr Miliband's position of backing airstrikes against IS in Syria by the US and Arab allies, but requiring an effort to get a UN resolution for the RAF to join them.

Mark Reckless Mark Reckless has found a new ally in the leader of the UKIP party

And then there was his opponents' speech in Manchester.

He didn't watch it, but read it and felt confident enough to tell the Sunday Times it was 'guff'.

The weekend papers had carried the first of the Conservative grid announcements: a Mail story extending discounts to 100,000 first-time buyers, the Sunday Times on welfare caps to fund extra apprenticeships.

A strong performance in front of a united Conservative party learning a disciplined message on the economic recovery is exactly the sort of base from which to turn around the Labour Party's extraordinarily impervious poll lead, and confirm the traditional swing to an incumbent government.

And then came Reckless and Newmark. Two very different Conservative MPs.

A self-inflicted wound from a minister, obliged to resign by a salacious newspaper sting hours before the start of a vital pre-election conference.

But Mark Reckless' defection to UKIP is a triple nightmare.

The loss of an MP, to UKIP, and the attendant distraction of a by-election that will be far closer than Clacton.

The fact of it is compounded by the method. It was designed for maximum timing embarrassment. Again it was kept a secret.

The sheer pleasure the assembled crowd was extraordinary to behold. UKIP are showing clear competence in these theatrical defections.

But Mr Reckless joined Douglas Carswell in laying out not just policy differences, but personal problems with David Cameron's style.

Douglas Carswell defects Douglas Carswell is another Tory defector

In particular an 'away day' attempt to get precisely the same type of message discipline from MPs as exudes from the Birmingham ICC.

Both defectors mentioned the treatment of the independent-minded and far from Ukippy MP Sarah Wollaston. This establishes method and motive for yet more defections.

We already have half of an ex-Tory "Gang of Four". Remember the pundits saying that May was UKIP's high watermark?

Conservatives might try to take comfort from the fact that UKIP will also do well in certain Labour seats, beginning with the Heywood and Middleton by-election.

But the threat is clearly asymmetrical.

At the Labour fringe, they were developing policies and messages to defeat UKIP as 'more Tory than the Tories'.

At the Conservative fringe, they'll be discussing how to adopt UKIP policy, or how to join them. Or one might argue that the Conservative fringe is UKIP.

So Mr Cameron started Saturday with a clear path.

A push into the centre ground, and a grab for the 6% of Labour voters who think George Osborne has run the economy well could mean, whisper it, a majority.

But the PM finds himself fighting on two fronts, and one of them a very old war. I expect some sort of extraction from the European Convention on Human Rights.

"The status quo cannot continue" was all one insider would say. Is that enough to sate the frustration of UKIP-tempted Tory activists, voters and MPs? Almost certainly not. An offer for England might help.

After a tough week, incredibly, Ed Miliband could be forgiven for having a half-smile.

David Cameron will be relieved that his opposite number did not claim that "PM-in-waiting" mantle last week. But that relief was rather short-lived.

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Sex Scandal And Defection Hit Tory Conference

The Conservatives have been dealt a devastating double blow after a minister quit over a sex scandal and another party MP announced he was defecting to UKIP.

Cabinet Office minister Brooks Newmark resigned after reportedly sending explicit pictures of himself online to an undercover tabloid newspaper reporter.

His announcement came just hours after Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless declared he was joining UKIP leader Nigel Farage's "people's army".

Watch William Hague's speech at the Conservative Party conference live on Sky News.

He is the second Conservative to defect to UKIP within a month, joining Clacton MP Douglas Carswell.

Speaking on the BBC's The Andrew Marr show on Sunday, Prime Minister David Cameron said it was "counterproductive and senseless".

Mark Reckless with Nigel Farage in a pub, the day after he announced he was defecting to UKIP. Mr Reckless and Mr Farage got further aquainted in a pub on Sunday

Mr Reckless was forced to cut short a visit to his constituency by his new party leader on Sunday after local Conservatives angry at his defection turned up and he received hostile questions from members of the public.

For the Tories arriving in Birmingham for their final party conference before the general election in May, there could hardly have been a worse start to the gathering.

Meanwhile, an opinion poll in the Sunday Mirror and Independent on Sunday suggests Mr Farage is more popular than the PM.

Day Two - UKIP Holds Its Annual Party Conference The UKIP leader could not contain his delight at the Tory MP's defection

The setbacks overshadowed the announcement of plans for a new squeeze on benefits to fund millions of new apprenticeships.

According to the Sunday Mirror, Mr Newmark allegedly exchanged explicit pictures over the internet with a female reporter posing as a Tory PR worker.

Conservative Party annual conference 2014 Samantha Cameron and the PM arrive in Birmingham for the conference

The 56-year-old married father of five tendered his resignation after learning that the newspaper was about to publish details of their exchanges.

He said on Sunday: "I have been a complete fool. I have no one to blame but myself. I have hurt those I care about most. I am so, so sorry. But I just need time with my family."

Fellow Conservative Nadine Dorries told Sky's Murnaghan programme she didn't think the claims are "that big a deal".

Downing Street said that Reading East MP Rob Wilson had been appointed the new Civil Society Minister.

Mr Reckless received an ecstatic reception from UKIP activists at their party conference in Doncaster after he declared he was leaving the Tories.

He accused the leadership of failing to keep its promises on Europe, the economy and immigration.

"People feel ignored, taken for granted, over-taxed, over-regulated, ripped off and lied to," he declared to rapturous applause.

He dismissed the PM's promise of an in/out EU referendum as a "device" designed to deliver the "pre-ordained" result in favour of Britain's continued membership.

MP Brooks Newmark resigns Brooks Newmark resigned over claims he sent explicit photos

There was deep anger in the Conservative ranks at Mr Reckless's move, with a party spokesman denouncing the defection as "completely illogical".

Mr Reckless's constituency party chairman, Andrew Mackness, said that he was "astonished and disgusted" at the decision, and said he had been given assurances by Mr Reckless that he would not defect.

Like Mr Carswell, Mr Reckless said that he would be standing down as an MP in order to fight the seat as a UKIP candidate in a by-election.

Although he took the Kent constituency with a majority of almost 10,000 at the last general election, he may face a tough battle to return to Westminster.

In his last act as a Tory MP, Mr Reckless rebelled against the Government in the Commons vote on airstrikes against Islamic State.

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Back In Conflict, But This Time It's Different

Written By andika jamanta on Sabtu, 27 September 2014 | 20.48

By Sophy Ridge, Political Correspondent

It has begun. Eleven years after the invasion that marked the beginning of the Iraq War, Britain is again involved in a conflict in the region.

The Government is (rightly) quick to point out why this time, it is different.

The Iraqi government has made a formal request for British help in defending itself against IS and the US-led coalition is broad based, with support from some countries in the Middle East.

Watch full coverage on Sky News.

Most significantly, British involvement is limited to airstrikes and ground troops have been explicitly ruled out.

The first British jets took off for northern Iraq on Saturday morning. Precise details of their mission is not known.

There are just six Tornado GR4 fighter bombers stationed in Cyprus. To put this in context, Denmark is deploying more war planes than Britain.

RAF Tornado GR4 Denmark has more war planes than Britain in the current conflict

Ken Clarke has previously described the UK involvement as merely "symbolic", and others have argued that if it is so limited, what is the point of getting dragged into a potentially prolonged and complex conflict at all?

At the moment, UK military action is a halfway house.

Britain is not ignoring the crisis over IS and allowing other countries to get on with the campaign alone.

However, the involvement is incredibly limited.

Syria - where IS has its strongholds - is currently off limits. Ground troops are ruled out. MPs may have voted overwhelmingly in favour of airstrikes in Iraq, but many are extremely nervous about committing further.

The halfway house solution may work for the time being, but at some point the Government will have to decide whether the UK is fully in, or if it is out.

:: Watch full coverage on Sky News Sky 501, Virgin Media 602, Freesat 202 and Freeview 132.

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Iraq: Islamic State Threat Is World's Problem

Iraq's deputy prime minister has told Sky News that it is the "duty of the world" to stand up against Islamic State extremists.

Saleh al Mutlaq also said he welcomed the UK parliament's decision to back airstrikes against the militants in his country.

He said IS was "not just the problem of Iraq. It is the problem of all countries".

Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al Mutlaq Iraq's deputy prime minister Saleh al Mutlaq speaks to Sky News

"Outsiders" from nations including Britain, Australia and the emirate countries were fighting for IS and the coalition aerial raids should target militias as well as the jihadist group, he said.

Mr al Mutlaq said: "It is an invitation for every country which can participate in this coalition to do what they can in order to get rid of IS forever.

"Iraq is now fighting on behalf of the world."

He added: "It's the duty of the world to stand against this danger which is coming, maybe now to Iraq, but it will separate everywhere if it is not going to be fixed in this country and ended."

And he said without also targeting militias who "facilitated the presence of IS" there would not be stability in Iraq.

The Sunni IS extremists have taken over large parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months and David Cameron said the group posed a direct threat to the UK.

RAF Tornado aircraft earlier left Cyprus for their first combat mission over Iraq.

RAF Tornado GR4 fighter-bomber A RAF Tornado GR4

They are poised to launch airstrikes against jihadists after Parliament on Friday gave the green light for military action in Iraq.

MPs voted by 524 to 43 - a majority of 481 - to endorse attacks on the insurgents in support of the US-led coalition, with Labour backing the Government motion.

Mr Cameron said the motion had been limited to Iraq in order to secure cross-party consensus.

And also to avoid a repeat of last year's damaging Commons defeat when Labour combined with Tory and Liberal Democrat rebels to block airstrikes against President Bashar Assad's regime in Syria.

The strikes, under Operation Shader, are expected to be carried out by six Tornado GR4s which have been based at RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus since last month where they have been deployed in a reconnaissance role.

Up to now, America and France have been conducting aerial strikes in Iraq in support of Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, while the US and Arab allies have attacked IS targets from the air in Syria.

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UK Military Planners Call Iraq Mission 'Dynamic'

By Tom Parmenter, RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus

The send off for the RAF Tornado jets finished with a simple thumbs up from the ground crew waving them off.

The planning and preparation for British airstrikes is now at full pace at RAF Akrotiri and everyone on the base on Cyprus knows their mission has now escalated.

On Saturday morning the Tornado crews strode out across the tarmac, two teams of two, helmets on.

They knew the cameras were there to capture the moment that debate and politics gave way to military action. The deployment of British bombs in Iraq is now in their hands.

Watch full coverage on Sky News.

Now that this is a combat mission their identities are protected, all we know is that they are some of the RAF's most skilled and experienced individuals.

Their families will know that their loved ones are now going to war rather than simply flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq.

The intelligence gathering will continue apace on these sorties and there may be flights in the coming days and weeks where they don't need to deploy missiles.

Military planners call the mission "dynamic" - it means that the plans will change according to what's happening on the ground.

The professionalism of everyone who works to support these missions means they want to respond to the orders efficiently and carry out their job as precisely as possible.

Every time they leave this base the ground crews will wave them off, every time they return they'll be relieved to welcome them back.

:: Watch full coverage on Sky News Sky 501, Virgin Media 602, Freesat 202 and Freeview 132.

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Iraq: British Jets On First Combat Mission

By Alistair Bunkall, Defence Correspondent

British jets armed with missiles are over northern Iraq on their maiden combat mission after taking off from a base in Cyprus.

Two Tornado GR4 fighter jets - armed with missiles for the first time - took off from RAF Akrotiri at 8.30am this morning.

They are being supported by a Voyager refuelling aircraft also based on the island.

Watch full coverage on Sky News.

The Tornados are carrying Brimstone and Paveway missiles on board and are authorised to fire them if they encounter Islamic State (IS) militants.

Precise details of the mission are still unknown, but they will be flying over Iraq according to the tasking given to them by US Central Command.

It is thought to be a dynamic close air support mission, hitting targets if and when they reveal themselves.

Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircrew prepare to depart RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. A member of the aircrew prepares to depart on the first mission. Pic: MOD

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We can confirm that following Parliamentary approval given yesterday, Royal Air Force Tornados continue to fly over Iraq and are now ready to be used in an attack role as and when appropriate targets are identified.

"For operational security reasons we will not be providing a running commentary on movements; we will provide an update on activity when it is appropriate to do so."

It comes after MPs overwhelmingly backed action in a vote in the House of Commons on Friday.

A Voyager Tanker taxis for take off at RAF Akrotiri. The Tornados are being supported by a Voyager refuelling aircraft

Parliament gave approval by 524 votes to 43 (a majority of 481) for Britain to join the US-led coalition in the Middle East.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said Britain is ready to play its part in dealing with IS.

He said: "We are one part of a large international coalition. But the crucial part of that coalition is that it is led by the Iraqi government, the legitimate government of Iraq, and its security forces.

A map showing the location of RAF Akrotiri in relation to Iraq and Syria.

"We are there to play our part and help deal with this appalling terrorist organisation."

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told Sky News Britain would select targets "in accordance with the American and international effort that's going on in Iraq.

"There's fighting around these towns - we have to fit in to the day-to-day fighting and see where we can help best," he said.

The planes have been at RAF Akrotiri for the past six weeks carrying out surveillance missions over the Middle East.

Tornado crewman An RAF pilot at the base on Saturday morning

The US has been carrying out airstrikes in northern Iraq since August and France joined the mission last week.

Overnight, the US continued to hit suspected IS positions in Syria for a fifth consecutive day of attacks.

The Pentagon said the raids had disrupted lucrative oil-pumping operations that have helped fund IS militants, but that a final victory would need an on-the-ground campaign.

:: Watch full coverage on Sky News Sky 501, Virgin Media 602, Freesat 202 and Freeview 132.

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DLT Sentenced For Groping TV Personality

Written By andika jamanta on Jumat, 26 September 2014 | 20.48

Disgraced DJ Dave Lee Travis has left court after being given a three-month suspended sentence for indecently assaulting a TV personality.

Speaking to reporters outside, the former Radio 1 star said he was "mortified" and "really disappointed" over his conviction this week and criticised his prosecution.

He said the judge accepted that prosecutors had failed to prove their case that he was a "sexual predator".

Travis said: "I was worried if the prosecution threw enough mud at me, some of it might stick", adding it was "of little comfort that I was acquitted of so many others (alleged offences)".

He said of those people closest to him: "We all know the truth and I'm grateful for that."

Travis, who became a household name in the 1970s, was found guilty on Tuesday of indecently assaulting a woman in 1995.

He was sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for two years.

Dave Lee Travis Travis pictured with his wife Marianne

The incident took place behind the scenes at The Mrs Merton Show, a programme which the victim had been working on as a researcher.

The DJ had squeezed her breasts for 10-15 seconds after cornering her in a corridor of a BBC studio.

The victim had been smoking in the corridor when he commented on her "poor little lungs" before groping her.

Sentencing the 69-year-old man at London's Southwark Crown Court, Judge Leonard said: "It was an intentional and unpleasant sexual assault.

"You took advantage of a young woman in a vulnerable position whose job it was to look after you that day."

In the dock, Travis briefly looked down and then said: "Thank you, your honour".

Marianne, his wife of more than 40 years, hugged a friend in the public gallery after the judge delivered his sentence.

In a statement read out ahead of his sentencing, the victim said: "I was subjected to an unprovoked and terrifying physical assault at my place of work.

Dave Lee Travis The DJ became a household name in the 1970s

"I was too paralysed with fear to confront my assailant."

Before sentencing, another woman, journalist Camilla Long, said Travis had "bashed" on the dock glass and "screamed" at her to move from the public gallery to the press seats as she was making him "uncomfortable".

Ms Long, who in 2012 wrote an article in which she claimed he groped her during an interview, told Sky News the incident in court on Friday was "incredibly intimidating".

This week, Travis was found not guilty on a second indecent assault charge and the jury was discharged after it was unable to agree a verdict on a count of sexual assault.

He faced a retrial after jurors failed to reach verdicts on those two charges earlier this year.

He was cleared of 12 counts of indecent assault at his original trial in February.

The broadcaster, of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was first arrested in October 2012 under Operation Yewtree, Scotland Yard's investigation into historic sexual abuse in the wake of allegations against the late DJ Jimmy Savile.

Judge Leonard said Travis' offence was of a "different order of magnitude" to other more serious convictions under Operation Yewtree.

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Missing Alice: 150 Calls After Reconstruction

A reconstruction of Alice Gross' last-known steps before her disappearance has led to 150 calls with information, police say.

The fresh leads come after an "area of interest" in a west London park brought no clues to the whereabouts of the missing 14-year-old.

Parts of Elthorne Park near her home in Hanwell had been cordoned off overnight by investigators who were scouring through disturbed earth which runs beside the canal towpath where Alice was last seen.

Alice Gross search Part of Elthorne Park in west London was searched

"A full assessment has now been carried out, which has determined this area is not of relevance to the investigation into Alice's disappearance," a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

A white tent had been erected at the scene, and officers in diving gear had been searching a boggy area next to the river.

On Thursday, police staged a reconstruction which showed the high school student "power walking" on a towpath alongside the Grand Union Canal.

CCTV cameras overlooking the path captured her movements at 4.26pm on 28 August. She has not been seen since.

Alice Gross missing in Hanwell A reconstruction on Thursday brought scores of responses

Arnis Zalkalns, a convicted murder who is being treated as the prime suspect, cycled along the same towpath 15 minutes later.

Alice's mother, Rosalind Hodgkiss, has said: "Every morning, as Alice's disappearance grows longer and longer, brings new agony, new anguish."

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