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10.05.2018, 08:26 AM
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Police patrol on a street in London , Britain on Sept. 17, 2017. British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said on Sunday that the United Kingdom's terrorism threat level has been lowered from "critical" to "severe" after being raised to the highest possible in the wake of the Friday explosion at a subway station in west London. (XinhuaStephen Chung)
LONDON, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said on Sunday that the United Kingdom's terrorism threat level has been lowered from "critical" to "severe" after being raised to the highest possible in the wake of the Friday explosion at a subway station in west London.


Rudd made the statement after British police arrested two suspects in connection of the explosion in a packed rush-hour carriage on Friday at Parsons Green subway station.


The level of "critical", the highest of the five levels used to describe the threat, means a further terrorist attack may be imminent. The level of "severe" is the second highest level.


The threat level system, introduced on Aug. 1 , 2000, is based on available intelligence, terrorist capability, terrorist intention and timescale.


The two suspects -- one is 18 and the other is 21 -- were arrested by British police on Saturday.


Thirty people were injured in the explosion, none of them seriously, in the wake of the subway blast , prompting the police to stage a massive hunt for those who are responsible for the fifth terrorist attack in the country over the past six months.


Previous attacks in London this year at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and Finsbury Park as well as a blast at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester killed dozens of people and injured more than 150.


The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Friday subway explosion.



Filmmaker Huang Hui-chen holds up a poster for her new film Small Talk. Photo: AFP

Filmmaker Huang Hui-chen felt bound by labels while growing up in Taiwan - impoverished, a school dropout and daughter of a lesbian Taoist priestess who she yearned to understand.


Her award-winning directorial debut Small Talk is the culmination of two decades of filming their fraught relationship and was named best documentary last month at the Berlin International Film Festival, winning the LGBT-focused Teddy Award.


Set to hit the big screen in Taiwan in April, it comes as the island's "parliament" prepares to vote on a final bill to legalize same-sex marriage.


A landmark case currently in the local court could also lead to a change in the law, making Taiwan the first place in Asia to allow gay couples to legally tie the knot.


But three decades ago , when Huang was a child, homosexuality was much less accepted.


She recalls vividly how, as an 11-year-old, she overheard two elderly acquaintances calling her mother abnormal, a tongzhi - the Chinese term for someone who is gay.


Until then, Huang had not thought twice about her mother's relationships with women.


"My impression when I was little was that she was always surrounded by girlfriends. That she liked girls and was friendly with them ," she told AFP.


"That one sentence sowed a seed of doubt in me. Why is that called abnormal?"


On the outside


Huang, 39, says she also felt like an outsider due to her family's unconventional lifestyle.


From the age of 6, she and her younger sister worked in Taipei with her mother as part of her duties as a priestess for Taoism - Taiwan's dominant religion.


The family specialized in a ritual called "leading the dead," a song and dance performance believed to guide the soul to salvation and staged at funeral parlors and gravesides.


Huang says the occupation is considered a lowly blue-collar job and she felt her peers looked down upon her.


By the time she was 10, she had stopped attending school. Her mother left Huang's abusive father and did not enroll her in classes in their new neighborhood.


Her film is an attempt to encourage younger generations who feel isolated or undervalued , she says.


"Kids who don't go to school, people who 'lead the dead,' a child with a tongzhi mother - all of them are worth more than the label society gives them," Huang told AFP.


Violent undercurrents


Huang's mother - Hung Yue-nu, known as Anu - never tried to hide her sexual orientation after splitting from her husband and only had relationships with women after that.


But equally she never discussed it with her daughter, who says her mother was always distant.


While the pair did not fight , Huang felt ignored as her mother lavished attention on her girlfriends. She was also resentful about not being able to attend school like other children.


"Our relationship seemed peaceful on the surface, but violent undercurrents raged beneath," Huang said.


In her film, she tries to broach the divide.


Huang narrates the movie and her mother, ex-girlfriends and family members are all interviewed.


Taiwan director Hou Hsiao-hsien, who made award-winning film The Assassin , is executive producer.


Anu first watched herself at the film's world premiere in Taipei, ahead of Taiwan's 2016 Golden Horse Awards, where it was nominated for best documentary.


"She sat next to me and I could tell she was holding back tears," Huang said.


Gay marriage debate


Huang became interested in filmmaking at the age of 20, when a director came to shoot her as part of a piece about young funeral performers.


She then took film courses at a community college and began to explore her emotions about her mother.


"I learned another way to observe the world," she told AFP.


Huang , who is now mother to a 5-year-old daughter, says communication with Anu is still not perfect, but is better than in the past.


"The film was not only about me understanding my mother, it was about.
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