Tag Archives: britain

Just in: Nobel peace prize winner, John Hume, 83, rest on

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John Hume, the Northern Irish politician who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 for his role in the British province’s peace process, has died aged 83, his family announced Monday.

Hume, the former leader of the mainly Catholic Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), shared the Nobel with David Trimble of the pro-British Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) after the pair helped forge the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.

“We are deeply saddened to announce that John passed away peacefully in the early hours of the morning after a short illness,” his family said in a statement.

“John was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather and a brother. He was very much loved, and his loss will be deeply felt by all his extended family.”

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The statement noted that Hume had been suffering from dementia and in the care of a nursing home in Londonderry.

The ex-SDLP leader helped to end three decades of bloody strife in Northern Ireland between the largely Catholic nationalist community who want to unify with Ireland and Protestant unionists who want to remain part of Britain.

In this file photo taken on November 27, 2013 former Northern Ireland politician and Joint 1998 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, John Hume, attends the funeral service for Irish priest Father Alec Reid at Clonard Monastery in Belfast, Northern Ireland. PETER MUHLY / AFP

A moderate voice during a conflict that had killed almost 3,600 people, Hume helped lead the cross-community peace process that culminated in the landmark Good Friday deal reached by Belfast, Dublin, London.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said it was “impossible to properly express the scale and significance of John Hume’s life”.

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“He was one of the towering figures of Irish public life of the last century,” he said on Twitter. “His vision and tenacity saved this country.”

The SDLP said: “We all live in the Ireland he imagined — at peace and free to decide our own destiny.”

In this file photo taken on May 21, 1998 British Prime Minister Tony Blair (C) talks to the press after a meeting with and Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble (L) and SDLP leader John Hume to encourage a Yes vote for Friday’s peace referendum. GERRY PENNY / AFP

Hume’s family said his funeral would be arranged in accordance with current government regulations severely limiting the number of attendees due to the risk of spreading coronavirus.

“We realise this will mean that many will be unable to join us, and we will arrange a memorial service and a celebration of his life in due course,” they said.


#Newsworthy…

British Airways pilots back job loss deal

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British Airways pilots have overwhelmingly voted to accept a deal cutting wages by 20 percent with 270 jobs lost, according to aviation union BALPA.

The deal, announced Friday, comes as the airline struggles with the economic impact of the coronavirus which has seen it propose lay-offs of 12,000 staff, more than 1,200 of those pilots.

Salaries will initially be reduced by 20 percent, then by eight percent over two years, after which there will be no more wage cuts, said BALPA.

It also prevents, said the union, an unpopular “fire and rehire” scheme where staff would have been handed new contracts on different conditions and which had led to strike threats.

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“Our members have made a pragmatic decision in the circumstances but the fact that we were unable to persuade BA to avoid all compulsory redundancies is bitterly disappointing,” said BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton.

British Airways employs 4,300 pilots.

The deal was backed by 85 percent of pilots, said BALPA, and the turnout was 87 percent.

Earlier this week, BA criticised the British government for placing quarantine rules on all travellers returning from Spain, claiming it would have an “impact on an already troubled aviation industry”.


#Newsworthy…

Britain urges France to get tougher in move to stop migrants

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Britain on Saturday urged France to get tougher on stopping migrants using the Channel to reach the UK, with one minister saying the crossings were “unacceptably high”.

The call came after Border Force figures showed 96 migrants were intercepted by police on Friday.

Twenty four hours earlier, official figures showed at least 202 migrants managed to cross to Britain in 20 boats, a single-day record.

“The number of illegal small boat crossings we are seeing from France is unacceptably high,” said immigration compliance minister Chris Philp

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“And migrants continue to arrive in Calais to make the crossing. The French have to take tougher action.”

Earlier this month, the interior ministers of France and Britain signed an agreement to create a new joint police intelligence unit to combat migrant traffickers and reduce the number of illegal Channel crossings.

Reports claim that more than 3,400 people have made the crossing so far this year.

In 2019, 2,758 migrants were rescued by the French and British authorities while trying to make the crossing — four times more than in 2018, according to French officials.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Britain stops further reopening

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Britain on Friday “put the brakes on” easing lockdown measures and imposed new rules on millions of households in northern England, following concerns over a spike in coronavirus infections.

The reopening of high-risk activities such as casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks, which was meant to begin on Saturday, will be delayed until at least August 15, as will the reintroduction of indoor performances and pilot schemes of larger crowds at sporting events, Boris Johnson announced.

“I have said our plan to reopen society and the economy is conditional.. that we would not hesitate to put the brakes on if required. Our assessment is that we should now squeeze that brake pedal,” the Prime Minister said in a Downing Street briefing.

Johnson, who earlier this week warned of a “second wave” of cases in Europe, added that Britain “cannot be complacent” about increasing infection numbers.

Increase in new infections
His announcement came hours after the government increased regional lockdown measures — under which people from different households are banned from meeting indoors — for some four million people across Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the restrictions were being brought in because people were “meeting and not abiding to social distancing”.

Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock/ AFP

“We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of COVID across Europe and are determined to do whatever is necessary to keep people safe,” Hancock said on Twitter.

Government data released Friday showed there was “some evidence that the incidence of new infections has increased in recent weeks” in England.

However, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said “I don’t think it is helpful” to talk yet of a second wave sweeping across Europe.

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The local measures came into effect at midnight (2300 GMT Thursday), just hours after being announced.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, backed the measures due to an increase in infections.

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament’s Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain’s main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer speaking during Prime Minister’s Question time (PMQs) in the House of Commons in London on July 22, 2020.
JESSICA TAYLOR / PRU / AFP

“The picture in Greater Manchester has changed over the last seven days,” he told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

“We have a rise in nine out of the 10 boroughs, the reality on the ground is changing.”

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Scots should avoid Manchester
But the new measures have come under criticism from the opposition Labour party for being announced late at night.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said on Twitter: “Announcing measures affecting potentially millions of people late at night on Twitter is a new low for the government’s communications during this crisis.”

They also come into force just as celebrations of the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha begin. Areas affected by the latest lockdown have significant Muslim populations.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned her citizens against travelling to the affected areas.

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“To… minimise risks of onward transmission here, @scotgov is STRONGLY advising against non-essential travel between Scotland and these parts of the north of England,” she wrote on Twitter.

A handout image released by 10 Downing Street, shows Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson attending a remote press conference to update the nation on the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic inside 10 Downing Street in central London on July 31, 2020. Andrew PARSONS / POOL / 10 Downing Street / AFP

It is not the first local lockdown to be put in place — England has lifted most of its restrictions nationally but imposed store closures around the central city of Leicester at the end of June.

Hancock said Leicester would now follow the same ban on meetings between different households being applied to Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire and East Lancashire.

Britain’s official virus death toll stands at 45,999 but is believed to be as high as 65,000 if excess deaths are used as a guide.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Boris Johnson pronounces ‘Boris Bikes’ all over Britain.

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The British government promised Monday to build thousands of miles of new bike lanes to get people moving and healthy after months of coronavirus lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge comes on the heels of a plan to force restaurants to display calories on menus as part of a broader effort to win the battle of the bulge.

Government data show two-thirds of UK adults are above a healthy weight. Some studies suggests that the virus is especially deadly to people who are obese.

“To build a healthier, more active nation, we need the right infrastructure, training and support in place to give people the confidence to travel on two wheels,” Johnson said.

Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s plan envisions more Briton’s biking and walking to work in the long term. (Photo by Rui Vieira / POOL / AFP)

“That’s why now is the time to shift gears and press ahead with our biggest and boldest plans yet to boost active travel — so that everyone can feel the transformative benefits of cycling.”

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Johnson introduced a bike sharing programme in London during his spell as the British capital’s mayor from 2008 to 2016.

But the so-called “Boris bikes” stood largely untouched during a months-long lockdown that still sees swathes of central London stand empty during working hours.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, talks to the owner of the Cycle Lounge, Rodney Rouse, a bicycle repair shop in Beeston, central England, on July 28, 2020, during an event to launch the government’s new cycling intuitive to help get people, fitter. – (Photo by Rui Vieira / POOL / AFP)

The government’s efforts to tease people out of lockdown and into their old spending habits that can give shops and restaurants a boost are complicated by Britain’s inability to safely reopen its schools.

Polls show people are also worried about using public transport. Many trains and buses are running half-empty during morning and evening commutes.

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Johnson’s plan envisions more Briton’s biking and walking to work in the long term.

It promises to build “thousands of miles of protected cycle routes in towns and cities” as part of a £2 billion ($2.6 billion, 2.2 billion euro) “cycling and walking revolution”.

The government has also promised to start releasing the first batch of £50 “bike repair vouchers” to help people get old cycles fixed.

The British government promised Monday to build thousands of miles of new bike lanes to get people moving and healthy after months of coronavirus lockdown. (Photo by Rui Vieira / POOL / AFP)

Britain’s official virus death toll of 45,759 is the highest in Europe.


#Newsworthy…

Deadly Stabbing Spree named ‘Terrorism’ in Britain

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British police said Sunday they were treating a stabbing spree in which a lone assailant killed three people in a park filled with families and friends in Reading as “terrorism”.

The police said three people were also seriously injured and a 25-year-old resident of the historic town 60 kilometres (35 miles) west of London was detained.

Local and counter-terror police made no reference to reports that the man was a Libyan refugee who has been granted asylum in Britain.

Footage showed what appeared to be a large number of counter-terror police performing a controlled explosion at the suspect’s presumed residence shortly after the Saturday evening attack.

“This morning, I can formally confirm that this has been declared a terrorist incident,” counter-terror police chief Neil Basu said.

“Although the motivation for this heinous act is far from certain, Counter Terrorism Policing South East has taken on responsibility for leading this investigation.”

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “appalled and sickened” by the bloodshed at Forbury Gardens — a popular park situated next to the ruins of the 12th-century Reading Abbey.

“If there are lessons that we need to learn about how we handle such cases, about how we handle events leading up to such cases, then we will learn those lessons, and we will not hesitate to take action when necessary,” Johnson said in televised comments.

A Black Lives Matter protest took place at the park earlier but police said there was no indication the two were linked.

“We had all left by the time this happened,” the Reading BLM event organiser Nieema Hassan said.

Britain’s terror alert level was kept at “substantial” — the third highest on a five-point scale.

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“There is no specific intelligence to suggest anyone else attending crowded places is at risk,” the counter-terror police chief said.

‘Shouted unintelligible words’
Witnesses reported seeing two air ambulances and several police cars rush to the park on Saturday evening.

One witness described a lone assailant walking through a park filled with people relaxing on the grass and stabbing them at random.

“The park was pretty full. A lot of people sat around drinking with friends,” Lawrence Wort told the Press Association.

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“One lone person walked though, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around a large group of around 10, trying to stab them.”

Wort said he saw three people being stabbed “in the neck and under the arms”.

A local school cancelled Monday’s classes after its history teacher was identified as one of the dead.

Another witness told The Sunday Mirror that one group of people who were attacked were “just in a circle chatting”.

A third person who witnessed the arrest said the bloodied suspect looked dazed.

“He was just staring,” witness Amir Hadyoon told reporters.

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“He was just completely silent. He wasn’t even blinking. He looked really weird.”

Paramedic teams were seen trying to resuscitate the injured as they lay unresponsive on the ground.

“An horrific, dreadful incident,” policing minister Kit Malthouse tweeted.

The main opposition Labour party’s leader Keir Starmer said Britons were “united in their grief”.

“This is not a time for party politics,” the opposition leader said.

Britain has witnessed two terror-related attacks in the past year.

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A convicted jihadist out on parole after serving a sentence for terror offences was shot dead by police after stabbing five people — two fatally — by London Bridge in the heart of the British capital in November.

Police killed another assailant who injured three people in a London stabbing attack in February.

An overwhelming majority of Britain’s serious crimes are committed with knives and other stabbing weapons because of very strict gun-ownership laws.

Johnson’s Conservative government promised to toughen up penalties for terror-related crimes after winning a sweeping mandate in a December general election.


#Newsworthy…

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British motor racing legend dies at age 90.


British motor racing legend Sir Stirling Moss has died at the age of 90 after a long illness.

He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time, even though he did not win the World Championship.


Moss retired from public life in January 2018 because of ongoing health problems.

“It was one lap too many, he just closed his eyes,” said his wife Lady Moss.


Moss previously spent 134 days in hospital after suffering a chest infection while on holiday in Singapore in December 2016.

He won 16 of the 66 F1 races he competed in from 1951 to 1961.


He became the first British driver to win a home grand prix in 1955 at Aintree.

Moss famously lost out on the F1 title in 1958 to compatriot Mike Hawthorn after vouching for his rival and preventing him being disqualified when he was accused of reversing on track in the late-season Portuguese Grand Prix.

Four times a runner-up in the F1 drivers’ championship, he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1961 and was knighted in 2000.


#Newsworthy…

British PM Out Of Intensive Care After COVID-19 Treatment.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday left intensive care after three days of treatment for COVID-19, his office said.

“The Prime Minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery,” a statement said.

“He is in extremely good spirits,” it added.

The 55-year-old Conservative leader had received “standard oxygen treatment” after he was transferred to the intensive care unit at London’s St Thomas’s hospital on Monday, his spokesman said earlier.

While much of the focus in Britain has been on Johnson’s health, there is also concern over the numbers of people infected with the virus, with the government set to extend a lockdown implemented on March 23.

The government announced another 881 deaths on Thursday, taking the UK total to 7,978.


– ‘We’re not done yet’ –


Senior ministers discussed the strict social distancing measures, initially planned for three weeks, during a daily coronavirus response meeting.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is standing in for Johnson, warned that the lockdown, which was to end on Monday, was not likely to be lifted imminently, saying “we’re not done yet, we must keep going.

“Deaths are still rising and we haven’t yet reached the peak of the virus, so it’s too early to lift the measures,” he said.

“We don’t expect to be able to say more on this until the end of next week,” he added.

Greater Manchester Police said Thursday it had to break up 660 parties last weekend.

Asked if the British government might give police extra powers during the lockdown, the Downing Street spokesman said: “For now our focus is on ensuring that the steps that we already have in place are properly enforced”.


– ‘Protect the NHS’ –


Meanwhile, ministers warned the public to follow social distancing rules ahead of the Easter weekend when high temperatures are forecast.

“We’ll have to stay at home and the reason why we’re having to stay at home is in order to protect the NHS and save lives,” added Dowden.

Johnson was hospitalised Sunday over concerns he still had a cough and high temperature 10 days after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

He had spent the previous nine days in self-isolation in a flat above his Downing Street office.

He has received messages of support from around the world, with US President Donald Trump sending best wishes to his “very good friend”.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin said Johnson’s “energy, optimism, and sense of humour” would see him through.

The British government has been criticised for a slow response to the pandemic, initially refusing to follow other European countries in requiring people to stay home as the virus spread rapidly across the globe.

Johnson himself said in early March that he was still shaking hands with people — only for COVID-19 to sweep through the British establishment weeks later.

The government has insisted its coronavirus response has been led by medical and scientific evidence throughout.

Elsewhere in the UK, Southampton became the first top-level club to defer players’ wages amid a growing row about whether Premier League footballers — with an average salary of three million pounds ($3.7 million) — should give up some of their pay to help the nation.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: 66-year-old Briton dies in Lagos, Nigeria.


The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, on Wednesday, confirmed the death of 66-year-old Briton from Coronavirus.

Abayomi made this known via his verified Twitter handle.


He also confirmed that cases of coronavirus had increased to 130 in Lagos state.

He wrote, “Lagos recorded another #COVID-19 related death: a 66-year-old Briton, who travelled from India via Dubai to Lagos on 17th of March, 2020.

“As of 7th of April, 2020, there are 10 new cases of #COVID-19 confirmed. The total of #COVID-19 cases in Lagos rises to 130.

“Another #COVID-19 patient was discharged after full recovery. This brings the number of discharged patients to 32.”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: British PM, Boris Johnson test positive.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that he is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.

“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” he said on Twitter, posting a video message.


“I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus,” he wrote.

“Be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus,” he added in the video message.


A Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement that Johnson, whose partner Carrie Symonds is pregnant, experienced mild symptoms on Thursday and was tested for COVID-19 on the personal advice of England’s chief medical officer.

The test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff, the spokesperson added.


In his video message, Johnson thanked workers in Britain’s state-run National Health Service (NHS) for their efforts in battling the spread of the virus.

A total of 11,658 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Britain, and 578 deaths.

Earlier this week Prince Charles, the eldest son and heir to Queen Elizabeth II, also tested positive for the virus.

The government confirmed this week that if Johnson was incapacitated, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would temporarily assume the role of prime minister.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: British govt. ask public to respect lockdown.


Britain’s leaders on Tuesday urged people to respect an unprecedented countrywide lockdown, saying that following advice to stay at home would stop people dying of coronavirus.

“Unless you stay at home, then the people you love most may die,” senior minister Michael Gove said in a round of broadcast interviews.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson late on Monday bowed to pressure to follow other European countries in shutting most shops and services, as the death toll reached 335.

Many streets were deserted on Tuesday morning, although reduced traffic still circulated in London and construction workers were being allowed to stay on site.


Pictures on social media showed packed rush-hour trains on the London Underground “Tube” network, but this is partly as a result of a dramatic reduction in services.

Johnson said people must stay inside except to buy essentials and take daily exercise, but there were questions about how the new rules will be enforced.


“For those people who are determined to flout the rules, the police will have the tools in order to ensure that those people are penalised and punished”, Gove said, citing the risk of a fine.

– Police ‘very stretched’ –

But Britain’s police forces were thinly spread even before the outbreak, which has caused further shortages due to officers self-isolating.


Peter Fahy, the former head of police in Manchester, said clarification was needed, particularly on how to enforce a new rule banning gatherings of more than two people.

“Our police officers are already very stretched,” he said.


“It will require a huge amount of public support, public acceptance and public compliance.”

Britain has been slower than some of its neighbours to impose a shutdown to tackle the outbreak of COVID-19 sweeping the globe.


Johnson insists he has been following the scientific advice, but many commentators suggest his instinctive dislike of telling people what to do has played a part.

Last week, the government told people to maintain ‘social distancing’ and on Friday shut pubs, restaurants and cafes — only to see crowds of people packing parks and beaches over the sunny weekend.


“You must stay at home,” Johnson told the country in a televised address, which broadcast industry analysts said was watched by 27 million people, calling the situation a “national emergency”.

– ‘Eerily quiet’ –

Reporters on Tuesday morning reported quiet streets with shops shuttered and pavements emptied except for joggers.


On Hampstead Heath, one of London’s most popular open spaces, many people were out for an early morning walk with their dog or for a run.

Most followed park signs to keep two metres away from each other.


One south London supermarket was doing brisk trade from the minute it opened at 6:00 am (0600 GMT), although most shoppers were keeping apart.

One shop assistant said she had been worried about being stopped going into work.


“I got in at 4:30 am and the roads were eerily quiet. My manager told me to bring proof of where I work in case the police stopped me,” she said but added she was not checked.

In Edinburgh, which relies on tourism, tour guides, buses, bagpipers on street corners were nowhere to be seen, as the Scottish capital turned into a ghost town.


The popular statue of Greyfriars Bobby — a Skye terrier who won hearts for guarding his master’s grave in the late 1800s — was covered by a medical face mask.

Johnson’s government has already announced unprecedented measures to help businesses and workers hit by the economic fallout, as latest statistics showed a record slump in industrial output.

New help is expected for the self-employed.

Lawmakers are also debating proposed emergency legislation to tackle the outbreak


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Actor Idris Elba test positive – says No panic.


Idris Elba has revealed that he has tested positive for the Coronavirus on Twitter.

The 47-year-old British actor said that he ‘feels okay’ and has no symptoms but has decided to self-isolate.


Posting a video on social media, the star poses next to his wife, Sabrina Dhowre, to give fans an update on his condition, N.Rs

He said, “This morning I tested positive for Covid 19.


“I feel okay, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus.

“Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing. No panic.”


#Newsworthy..

COVID-19: Britons returning from Italy to self-isolate


Britons returning from coronavirus-hit parts of Italy are to be told to self-isolate to prevent the spread of the virus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people travelling from north of Pisa were being asked to stay at home for 14 days if they had flu-like symptoms.

The advice also applies to anyone coming back from Italy’s quarantined towns, he said.


#Newsworthy…

Madonna has an offer for Prince Harry, Meghan Markle {Video}


Madonna has offered to sublet her New York apartment to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle so they don’t have to stay in “boring” Canada.

In a video shared online, the 61-year-old singer is seen addressing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex while sitting in front of her dressing room mirror.


She said: “Harry, don’t run off to Canada. It’s so boring there.”

She added: “I’ll let them sub-let my apartment in Central Park West. It’s [got] two bedrooms, it’s got the best view of Manhattan, an incredible balcony. I think that’s gonna be a winner, that’s gonna be the deal-breaker. Buckingham Palace has got nothing on CPW.

“The view is better, that’s for sure.”

As a man giggled in the background, Madonna added: “Yeah, a bunch of guys in woolly hats.”

Sharing the video to Instagram, she wrote: “Do Megan and Prince Harry want to sublet my apartment on Central Park West??”

https://www.instagram.com/madonna/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_mid=76D112E5-17D0-4DD8-9F94-895C4D1409A6


#Newsworthy…

U.S vs Iran: Britain warn citizens against travel plans to Iran.


Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has warned British citizens against travel to Iraq or Iran amid heightened tension following the U.S. airstrike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

“Given heightened tensions in the region, the (foreign office) now advise people not to travel to Iraq, with the exception of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and to consider carefully whether it’s essential to travel to Iran,” Raab says.

Raab earlier urged all sides to “de-escalate” tension following Soleimani’s death, saying “further conflict is in none of our interests.”


#Newsworthy…

British woman found guilty after lying of being raped. (Photos)


A British woman has been found guilty of lying that she was gang raped by a group of Israeli teenagers while on a working holiday in Ayia Napa, a Mediterranean resort town on the southeast coast of Cyprus.

A court in Cyprus today, December 30, found the woman, 19, from Derbyshire, lied about being sexually abused by up to 12 tourists at a hotel in the holiday resort in mid-July.


She was arrested after police said she withdrew her accusation 10 days after the alleged attack.

In a case closely followed by rights groups, a district court in the town of Paralimni today delivered the ruling and the 19-year-old now faces a prison sentence after being found guilty of “causing public mischief”.


Lawyers for the British woman said she withdrew her accusation under duress after nine hours of police questioning with no lawyer present. They argued that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the time she withdrew the accusation. But prosecutors and the court dismissed that claim.

Throughout the trial which lasted four months, the British teenager vehemently denied that the ordeal was made up and argued she was forced to sign a false confession following pressure from the Cypriot and Israeli authorities.
The Israeli teenagers she accused of assaulting her denied any accusation of rape. They were released 10 days after their arrest without charge on the day the woman gave her retracting statement.

British woman found guilty of lying that she was gang raped while on a working holiday in Ayia Napa

The individuals she had accused of assaulting her were not summoned to court because prosecutors considered it a case of public mischief and not rape.

In testimony in open court, the defendant said she was in a hotel room with one of the Israeli teenagers with whom she had a relationship, before others appeared and she was pinned down.

Defence witness, Marios Matsakis, a forensic pathologist who formerly worked for the state, said the British woman’s injuries were consistent with rape.

British woman found guilty of lying that she was gang raped while on a working holiday in Ayia Napa

However, prosecutors said she fabricated the allegation and was angry at being filmed during sex.

In his verdict at Famagusta District Court, the presiding judge described the woman’s claims as “inconsistent”.

He added: “My conclusion is that the guilt of the accused has been proven beyond reasonable doubt.”

British woman found guilty of lying that she was gang raped while on a working holiday in Ayia Napa

The teenager spent more than a month in prison before she was granted bail at the end of August, but has not been allowed to leave the island. She could face up to a year in jail and a 1,700 euro (£1,500) fine when she is sentenced but her lawyers have asked for a suspended sentence.

Judge Michalis Papathanasiou adjourned sentencing to January 7.

British woman found guilty of lying that she was gang raped while on a working holiday in Ayia Napa

In a message published by the family’s lawyers just before today’s ruling, the woman’s parents wrote that they were “hopeful” she would be allowed home.


#Newsworthy…

Xmas’19: Late George Michael’s sister found dead 3 years after his death.


George Michael’s sister Melanie Panayiotou was found dead on Christmas Day, exactly three years after the British pop star died.

“We can confirm that very tragically Melanie has passed away suddenly. We would simply ask that the family’s privacy be respected at this very sad time” the family’s lawyer, John Reid, said in a statement on Friday, December 27th.


London’s Metropolitan Police said emergency services were called to a home in north London on Wednesday evening due to “reports of the sudden death of a woman, aged in her 50s. The death is not being treated as suspicious by police” the statement said, adding that the coroner will compile a report into the circumstances surrounding her death.

Panayiotou’s death came three years after Michael, 53, died suddenly in 2016 on Christmas Day. He left behind a catalogue of hits, including “Careless Whisper” and “Faith,” and the Wham! tracks”Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Last Christmas.”


#Newsworthy…

Christ embassy accused of N827m fraud.

Britain’s Charity Commission has indicted the Board of Trustees of Christ Embassy in the United Kingdom over fraudulent practices including illegally paying more than N827 million (£1,767,250) to organisations it shares close relationships with.

The indictment came after a five-year investigation of the UK branch of the church which was founded in 1996 by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome and has over 90 worship centres across the UK.

In 2014, the Charity Commission, which regulates charities in England and Wales, announced it was opening a statutory inquiry to investigate Christ Embassy over “a number of serious concerns relating to the use of charitable funds, in particular, large connected party payments and the potential misapplication of grant funding.”

The outcome of the inquiry was published in details by the Commission on its website last month and it showed how the church’s board of trustees grossly mismanaged the church’s account and failed to comply with its grant-making policy.

Media contacted Pastor Arinze Emmanuels, the head of the legal department through a text message to respond to the report but at press time, there was no response.

During the inquiry, the Charity Commission discovered that the church illegally registered three properties in the names of two members of its board of trustees, failed to pay taxes worth over £250,000 on expenditures by employees, failed to secure adequate insurance, and violated Britain’s town planning and building regulations.

The investigation identified nine active bank accounts, which the church’s board of trustees claimed was holding funds belonging to Christ Embassy Nigeria, a separate entity from Christ Embassy UK. However, there was no evidence that the banks holding the funds were aware they were holding funds belonging to Christ Embassy Nigeria.

The report stated that the accounts were not named in a sure way to indicate that the funds were controlled from Nigeria. In fact, two of the nine active accounts were named “Christ Embassy East London”. Thus, the inquiry placed a freezing order on the funds (£615,420.00) in the account.

“The inquiry, not being satisfied that the funds held in these accounts were owned by Christ Embassy Nigeria, exercised legal powers and issued orders dated 8 august 2014, under section 76(3)(d) of the Act, freezing six of these nine bank accounts, protecting funds to a value of £615,420.

“In the absence of clear evidence to support the trustees’ position, the Inquiry concluded that funds held in the accounts belonged to the charity and these accounts remained frozen until the order was revoked on 24 August 2016. The Inquiry being satisfied that the new board of trustees had assumed control of the charity’s property discharged the freezing order on 24 August 2016.”

After going through the records and books of the church for a year and interviewing members of the church’s board of trustees, the commission sidelined the board and appointed Rod Weston of the international audit and accounting firm, Mazar, as interim manager (IM) to take over the management of the church in what it described as “temporary and protective measure.”

The interim manager stated in the report that the scope of the inquiry was to examine the church’s transactions with “partner organisations” including “grants made to a number of unidentified entities and Loveworld Television Ministry, Healing School, International School of Ministry, Christ Embassy France, Christ Embassy Canada, IPCC Conference and Rhapsody of Realities.

“The Inquiry concluded that there was serious misconduct and/or mismanagement in the charity’s administration. The former trustees, at the relevant times had not complied with or fulfilled their duties as trustees under charity law. They failed to: exercise reasonable care and skill in the execution of their roles and as a result exposed the charity to risk and financial loss; ensure sufficient financial controls and procedures to protect the charity’s property file their annual accounting information, in accordance with their statutory obligations, on time.

#Newsworthy…

Prince Charles preparing to become the prince regent as it is time for 95 year old queen Elizabeth to retire..

Prince Charles is reportedly preparing to take over leadership of the British Royals when his mother, The Queen turns 95.

The Queen’s oldest son met with his father at Sandringham yesterday, November 26, to discuss the continuing fallout from his brother’s disastrous TV interview about his links to Jeffry Epstein.

Prince Charles’ key role in “retiring” Prince Andrew from public life has fed speculation he is preparing to become “shadow King”, which would see him control day-to-day royal affairs while his mother remains monarch.

Queen Elizabeth will turn 95 in 18 months. 95 was also the age at which her husband Prince Philip withdrew from his public duties.

There is talk among courtiers that she may use the milestone to allow her son to become Prince Regent, the Sun reports.

A royal source told the paper: “The scandal surrounding Andrew and Epstein gave Charles an opportunity to step in to show that he can run The Firm. No one is bigger than the institution of the Royal Family. Not even Andrew, the Queen’s favourite son.

“Charles recognised that and acted decisively — like the king he may well soon be. This was the moment when Charles stepped up as Prince Regent, the Shadow King”

#Newsworthy..