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Gordon Brown has summoned a meeting of Cobra today after the yacht belonging to a British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates was found floating empty. The Whitehall emergency committee will decide what action to take to release the retired quantity surveyor Paul Chandler, 59, and his wife, Rachel Chandler, 55, who were seized by pirates while they were sailing from the Seychelles to Tanzania.
How often does Cobra meet?
It has met four times during Mr Blair's tenure. It was first called to combat the fuel strikes in November 2000, later the foot and mouth outbreak the following spring and then after the September 11 attacks. In March this year the prime minister convened it to deal with the street crime initiative.
The committee considers issues such as whether to invoke the powers contained in part two of the Civil Contingencies Act, which gives considerable extra powers in times of a serious emergency.
They were designed to cope with a far larger incidents than that which struck London on 7 July, particularly one involving chemical or radiological material, such as a nuclear "dirty bomb".
They would allow a minister to suspend sittings of Parliament if necessary and to declare a bank holiday to shut down businesses.
By executive decree, property could be destroyed or requisitioned, assemblies banned, freedom of movement limited, the Armed Forces mobilised and special courts set up to deal with suspects if it was felt another atrocity was planned.
Originally posted by badbadger
5000 Muslims will march in London on the 31st of October, for the introduction of Sharia law.
This is this Saturday. You can imagine whats going to happen.