CJN: Nigerians storm streets of New York, urge US, UN to back Buhari

CJN: Nigerians storm streets of New York, urge US, UN to back Buhari

Barely 24 hours after some concerned Nigerians trooped out en mass in the United Kingdom to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption fight, their counterparts in the United States (US) have followed suit.

These Nigerians, under the auspices of Restore Nigeria Coalition (RNC) were spotted in the streets of Washington, chanting ‘Sai Baba’ as they urged the Donald Trump-led government and the United Nations to support President Buhari in flushing out corruption.

Cosmas Collins, President of RNC, speaking on behalf of the group, believes Nigeria has made tremendous progress in the anti-corruption fight as witnessed in the case of embattled Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Breaking: I am Justice Walter Onnoghen, I have not resigned

“They are sufficing to note that since 2015, the present administration has initiated measures aimed at reducing corrupt practices in the conduct of government business at all tiers of governance. This effort has yielded positive results to the admiration of the bulk of Nigerians and the consternation of a select few that have benefited from the rot in the system,” he said.

“Undeterred, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has carried on with enthusiasm and a determination to see that structural defects are fixed to curb the rot in the system for the betterment of Nigeria as a country.

Breaking: CCT declines to stop Onnoghen’s trial

“You may also wish to note that the bane of underdevelopment in Nigeria is as a result of the lackadaisical attitude of previous governments in the fight against corruption that has resulted in the wanton disregard for accountability and transparency in the conduct of government businesses and by extension governance in Nigeria.

“Since 2015 when the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari took over the affairs of the state in Nigeria, Nigeria has recorded tremendous progress in governance evident in the dividends of democracy trickling down the ladder.

“However, the present administration has encountered numerous challenges from individuals and organisations that have subverted the system through nefarious ways and means all in the quest to portray the Muhammadu Buhari administration in poor light in an attempt to pitch the populace against the government to fulfil their personal agenda of causing unrest and disaffection in the country.

“The recent case of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, who violated the law in declaring his assets as stipulated by the law has further emphasized the level of rot in the system.

“A particular segment of the Nigerian society has cried wolf where none exist and painted a picture of political persecution, forgetting that Nigeria was on the brinks of imminent collapse due the activities of a few that have benefitted from the rot in the system.

“We are through this medium soliciting for assistance from the United States and United Nation in the war against corruption in Nigeria as initiated by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in recent times.

Onnoghen: It’s unfortunate FG has no regard for rule of law- Ohanaeze

“A vivid example can be seen in the instance where the Chief Judicial Official in Nigeria, either by omission or commission failed to declare a part of his assets running into millions of dollars.

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria as the number one judicial officer in the country for inexplicable reasons did not declare a part of his assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau in Nigeria. The CJN cited “forgetfulness and mistake” as the reasons for the non-declaration.

“The non-declared items are bank accounts with balances that runs into millions of pounds sterling and dollars. This is too much to be right in our considered opinion. As the number one judicial officer in the country, it is wholly untenable for such an excuse, unless for deliberate reasons.”

We’re sorry for joining APC, says defected Chieftains, supporters in A-Ibom

We’re sorry for joining APC, says defected Chieftains, supporters in A-Ibom

APC-PDP

The camp of the opposition, All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom State has suffered another setback following the defection of prominent chieftains of the party in Esit Eket local government area. Bassey Dan-Abia and Emem Edoho defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, along with their numerous supporters, saying they were sorry for joining APC.

We are capable of hosting Buhari rally’

Dan Abia jnr, a former House of Representatives Member for Eket Federal Constituency, is a brother to a former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Bassey Dan Abia (Snr).

APC-PDP

They dumped their former party, the APC, alongside hundreds of their supporters, when the PDP took its campaign rally to the area on Wednesday.

Dan- Abia, who apologised for making a mistake in joining the APC, added that he decided to return to the PDP after his political sojourn in the broom party, maintaining that the APC has nothing to offer Akwa Ibom people in particular and Nigerians as a whole.

Breaking: I am Justice Walter Onnoghen, I have not resigned

He said, “PDP is a religion, not only in Akwa Ibom, but here in Esit-Eket and we are back to the fold (PDP). I am happy to work for the victory of the PDP. APC is an atomistic society perpetually at war with itself. Example abounds in Rivers State.

“We are sorry we made a mistake, we faltered and we have returned home. We will work for the success of our party. In view of the fact that the APC is only pretending and is really not visible in most parts of the country, I believe I am not too big to say I am sorry, I am coming back home to work for the overall success of our great party, the PDP in all the elections.”

The PDP political leader of the area, elder Benji Udobia, spoke on their behalf assured Governor Udom Emmanuel of their total support towards his re-election bid.

Similarly, Dr Ini Adiakpan who spoke on behalf of the women, said Esit Eket women were not ready to be tricked into slavery through the “broom party” and assured  to give PDP 100 percent support.

Governor Emmanuel, who promised to do more in the area if re-elected into office, announced his intention to construct the Stadium road, adding that modalities were at advanced stage for the reactivation of the Akwa Palm project.

AtikuObi group applauds Appeal court for suspending Onnoghen’s CCT trial

According to him, “In three years, I have done 19.75km in Esit Eket.  Those who promised 20 kilometres in eight years did none.

“We have started making some moves with the support of the PDP and the incoming President Atiku Abubakar, to ensure that Esit Eket, Mbo and  Ibeno become the new Nigeria through the actualization of Ibom deep sea port project. All I need is the cooperation of all and sundry to actualize the vision.” he appealed.

He, however, warned the people not to allow opposition elements to trick them into parting with their PVCs, saying that their voter’s cards remain their only power to support PDP’s candidates in the forthcoming elections.

We are capable of hosting Buhari rally’

Buhari arrives Kano for re-election campaign‎

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived Kano in continuation of his re-election campaigns across the country.

Muhammadu Buhari

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buhari landed at exactly 12: 55 pm at the 303 Nigerian Air Force Flying Training School Base, Kano.‎

He was received by Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Gov. Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos state, Minister of Aviation and Director General, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Rotimi Amaechi‎.

Buhari: Petty traders, others make brisk business in Kano

Others are; Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau, Minister of State Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, and the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris.

Others include, Kano Business Mogul, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, Governors of Zinder and Maradi in Niger Republic and members of State and National Assembly.‎

We are capable of hosting Buhari rally’

‎The president is expected to address a gathering of party supporters at the Sani Abacha Stadium at Kofar-Mata in Kano, to seek support for his re-election in the Feb. 16, presidential election.

Sacked TETFUND secretary’s confession confirms corruption in Buhari’s Presidency..

Thousands of APC supporters singing solidarity songs and displaying various party insignia had thronged the streets of Kano since morning to welcome President Buhari to the ancient city.(NAN)

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Trump says US-China trade talks ‘going well’

Trump says US-China trade talks ‘going well’

President Donald Trump on Wednesday touted the chances of success as US-China trade negotiations entered a second day, saying Beijing was eager to make a deal.

President Donald Trump

President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018

Sarah Sanders’ also said it was “very hard” to take morality lessons from the Democratic 

In a morning series of tweets, he also said a final deal would leave “NOTHING” unresolved but such a bargain could only be struck after he met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping “in the near future.”

The meetings are “going well,” Trump said on Twitter.

“China does not want an increase in Tariffs and feels they will do much better if they make a deal. They are correct.”

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The two sides have just a month remaining in a 90-day truce declared in December. Should the talks fail, US import duties on $200 billion in Chinese imports are due to more than double on March 2 — something economists say could help knock the wind out of the global economy’s sails.

President Donald Trump 

But Washington’s aggressive prosecution of the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei — which federal prosecutors accused this week of industrial espionage, sanctions violations and fraud — threatened to upend the talks, drawing irate objections from Beijing.

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“No final deal will be made until my friend President Xi, and I, meet in the near future to discuss and agree on some of the long standing and more difficult points. Very comprehensive transaction,” Trump said.

“China’s representatives and I are trying to do a complete deal, leaving NOTHING unresolved on the table. All of the many problems are being discussed and will be hopefully resolved. Tariffs on China increase to 25% on March 1st, so all working hard to complete by that date!”

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Buhari: Petty traders, others make brisk business in Kano

Buhari: Petty traders, others make brisk business in Kano

Petty traders, such as food vendors and sachet water sellers, are making brisk business in Kano on Thursday as the people of the State await the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari for his re-election campaign, at the Sani Abacha stadium.

Mr President’s re-election is a Sure Bet

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the food vendors, including sellers of other local delicacies, are making huge sales at the venue of the rally.

Buhari

Other traders having a field day at the rally include sellers of APC branded stickers, small flags and other souvenirs.

A sachet water seller, Sada Abdullahi, told NAN that he had sold 20 bags containing 20 pieces of the commodity each, at the venue of the event as at 12 noon.

“I made a lot of sales today as I sold no fewer than 20 bags of commodity at N150 each because it is one of the best quality sachet water around,” he said.

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Similarly, a Kolanut and Cigarettes seller, Malam Ibrahim Sale, said he made no less than N3,000 from the sales of the commodities within three hours.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stadium is already filled to capacity with APC supporters waiting for the arrival of the president. (NAN)

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: Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democrtic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar acknowledging cheers from hin teeming supporters as he was warmly received from the trip to the United States of America at the General Aviation Terminal, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida

Breaking: Asaba shuts down as Atiku campaign team arrives Delta

ASABA, the Delta State capital has been shutdown as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar campaign team arrived the State for campaign rally.

: Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democrtic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar acknowledging cheers from hin teeming supporters as he was warmly received from the trip to the United States of America at the General Aviation Terminal, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida

There was serious traffic grid at Nnembisi road, which leads to the Stephen Keshi Stadium, venue of the rally, even as men of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the police and other security agents were seen trying to control vehicular movement.

Atiku to Buhari: World watching you

Meanwhile, the Stephen Keshi Stadium was full to capacity as thousands of Deltans thronged the venue to catch a glimpse of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Tsio Tsio musical band led by the Governor of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN, Mr Quincy Tebite, Davido,  Timaya, among other musicians and comedians,  were on ground to entertain the people.

When did the PDP start loving and respecting debates….?

Breaking: Asaba shuts down as Atiku campaign team arrives Delta

Also, PDP women and youths cladded in customized wrappers and T-shirts danced round the stadium in solidarity for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and the PDP. The State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, his Deputy, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori and some other top government functionaries led Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, his running mate, Mr Peter Obi among other top PDP chieftains from the Asaba international airport, where he landed to the campaign rally venue at exactly 1:10pm in an open roof luxurious bus. He waved at the crowd beaming smiles of satisfaction.

Drones help Galapagos tackle rat infestation

Drones help Galapagos tackle rat infestation

Drones are helping conservationists rid one Galapagos island of an infestation of rats threatening indigenous birds.

The drones have dropped poison on more than half of North Seymour Island in a bid to kill off the invasive species.

The island’s rare birds nest on the ground and their numbers are being depleted by the rodent invasion.

The drones work much faster and more cheaply than helicopters which have been used in similar rat eradication projects elsewhere.

Placed precisely

The infestation of brown and black rats was discovered in early 2018 and prompted action by NGO Island Conservation and the Galapagos’ Ministry of the Environment to rid the territory of the pest.

Drone on ship
Drones were launched from a ship offshore during the poisoning project

Rare species including frigate birds and the blue-footed booby raise their young in nests on the ground making them easy prey for the rats. The island has few trees so it is difficult for the indigenous birds to escape predation.

The rats are also known to eat native plants including the opuntia cactus and fragrant palo santo tree.

In addition, there are no species living on the island that prey on the rats. The birds mainly eat fish and North Seymour’s land iguanas eat cactus.

Island Conservation hopes that if the rats can be eliminated, this will herald the return of lava gulls that no longer nest on North Seymour.

Galapagos drone
The drones were fitted with special hoppers to dispense the poison

While other eradication projects have used helicopters to deliver poison, this was not feasible on North Seymour because of its remote position. Any helicopter, and its pilot, would first have to be delivered to the island on a boat before it could be used.

Drones can deliver poison much more precisely than is possible via helicopter, said Karl Campbell, South American regional director for Island Conservation. Each drone was flown for many 15-minute journeys, during which time they dispensed about 20kg (44lb) of poison.

The poison was cooked up by Bell Labs, which used a custom formula that can survive the island’s extreme weather.

While 52% of North Seymour was baited with the drones, the rest of the 1.9 sq km (0.7 sq miles) island required work by more than 30 park rangers to cover the rugged territory with poison.

Brown rat
Brown and black rats have infested the island

Island Conservation said it planned to put down the deadly bait once more before starting to look at the effect on the island’s rats.

Other projects in remote regions to remove rats had shown “dramatic” results, said Island Conservation. Five years after rats were extinguished on Palmyra Atoll, also in the Pacific, native tree cover had increased by 5,000%, it found.

The Galapagos work comes in the wake of a similar programme on the island of South Georgia  in the South Atlantic.

UK prisons: Assaults and attacks on staff at record levels

UK prisons: Assaults and attacks on staff at record levels

The number of assaults in prisons in England and Wales has reached a record high.

There were 33,803 attacks by prisoners in the year to the end of September 2018 – 20% up on the previous year.

The figures include a record 10,085 assaults on prison staff – up 29%.

There were 92 self-inflicted deaths in 2018, up from 72 in 2017.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said violence and self-harm in prisons is “unacceptably high.”

The charity Prison Reform Trust (PRT) described the figures as “disturbing”.

Warwick students suspended over rape threats allowed to return early

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Of the total number of assaults 3,949 (12%) were serious, up 6% from the previous year.

The figures, published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), also revealed there were:

  • 325 deaths in prison custody in the 12 months to December 2018 – up 10%
  • 24,138 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults in the 12 months to September 2018 – up 18%
  • Four killings in jail last year

Many prisons in England and Wales have seen surging levels of violence, drug use and self-harm in recent years.

The government says it is spending an extra £70m, including recruiting 4,000 extra staff, to help boost security in prisons.

Ministers plan to roll out synthetic pepper spray, known as Pava, to staff in publicly run prisons for men this year, following trials.

The MoJ has also announced traditional prison window bars are to be replaced with toughened glass and air vents in new prisons to help prevent drugs being smuggled in.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said he was “optimistic” the new measures could reduce violence.

“Clearly there is huge amount yet to be done but I am determined to cut the violence so prisons can focus on rehabilitating the offenders who will be back out at some point.

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“And while these figures are disturbing, I am optimistic that the measures we have been putting in place will help us to reduce violence and ultimately better protect the public.”

‘Making a volatile situation even worse”

PRT’s head of policy, Mark Day, said government plans were not working and warned Pava sprays could make “a volatile situation even worse.”

“The measures the government have put in place to improve prison safety, including increasing staff numbers and the roll out of a new key worker model, have not yet succeeded in reversing this rising trend.”

Prison staff union the Prison Officers’ Association said the figures were shocking and showed no progress had yet been made.

Crouch 'really pleased' to get to 100-goal milestone

Peter Crouch: Stoke City striker poised for Premier League return with Burnley


Stoke City striker Peter Crouch, who turned 38 on Wednesday, is set to return to the Premier League at Burnley as part of a deal which will see Sam Vokes go the other way.

Championship club Stoke will pay a fee for Clarets striker Vokes, 29.

Crouch has made 462 Premier League appearances for six different clubs, scoring 108 goals.

Substitute Crouch volleys Stoke level against Shrews

Emiliano Sala’s family view search area off Guernsey

The former England forward was part of the Stoke side relegated from the Premier League last season.

Crouch has also played in the top flight for Tottenham, Aston Villa, Southampton, Liverpool and Portsmouth.

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Vokes, who played for Wales at Euro 2016, has been at Burnley since July 2012 and has this season started 10 league games for the Clarets, who are 17th in the Premier League.

Listen: Peter Crouch tells us what it’s like to be a player on the move on deadline day, arguments with chairmen and disagreements with managers.

Most headers & most sub appearances – Crouch’s Premier League record

Crouch was handed his Premier League debut at Aston Villa by Graham Taylor – at the age of 21. He started in a 3-2 defeat against Bolton in March 2002 and his team-mates included Peter Schmeichel, Steve Staunton and Gareth Barry.

Crouch’s club-by-club Premier League career
Team Games played Minutes played Goals Assists
Stoke City 202 12690 45 18
Liverpool 85 4575 22 12
Tottenham 73 4231 12 12
Portsmouth 38 3361 11 5
Aston Villa 37 1755 6 5
Southampton 27 1780 12 6

A veteran of 42 England caps, Crouch has scored the most headed goals in the Premier League and made 152 substitute appearances – the most in Premier League history.

Most headed goals in Premier League
Player Premier League goals Headed goals
Peter Crouch (Aston Villa, Southampton, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Tottenham, Stoke) 108 53
Alan Shearer (Blackburn, Newcastle) 260 46
Dion Dublin (Man Utd, Coventry, Aston Villa) 111 45

Of the 28 players to score 100 Premier League goals or more, Crouch is the oldest. He brought up his century playing for Stoke against Everton on 1 February 2017 – two days after turning 36.

Crouch 'really pleased' to get to 100-goal milestone
Crouch ‘really pleased’ to get to 100-goal milestone

He has also scored for each of the six clubs he has played for in the Premier League.

Only Craig Bellamy – for Coventry, Newcastle, Blackburn, Liverpool, West Ham, Manchester City and Cardiff – has scored for more.

Crouch has scored more Premier League goals (108) than Dennis Bergkamp (87), Fernando Torres (85), and Cristiano Ronaldo (84).

Equal pay: Asda loses appeal in court case

Equal pay: Asda loses appeal in court case

Supermarket giant Asda has lost an appeal in the latest development to a long-running legal dispute with staff over equal pay.

The decision means that lower paid shop staff, who are mostly women, can compare themselves with higher paid warehouse workers, who are mostly men.

Asda said it was “disappointed” with the decision and added it remained confident in its case.

Equal pay: Asda loses appeal in court case

A ruling over whether the work is of equal value is likely to be in May.

Leigh Day, which represented the staff, said the judgement was a “major step forward in the fair pay battle”.

Asda said: “We are obviously disappointed with the decision, which relates to a preliminary issue of whether jobs in different parts of the business can be compared.”

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It said it had brought the appeal “because it involved complex legal issues which have never been fully tested in the private sector and we will continue to ensure this case is given the legal scrutiny it deserves”.

The Employment Tribunal first ruled against Asda in October 2016. It said shop workers, who mainly work at check-outs or stacking shelves, could compare themselves with staff who work at warehouses.

Asda then appealed against this decision on 10 different grounds.

In August 2017, the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled all points of their appeal unsuccessful. Asda then took its case to the Court of Appeal.

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Following Thursday’s ruling, the Court of Appeal denied Asda the right to appeal. However, the BBC understands the supermarket chain intends to apply to the Supreme Court to appeal against the ruling there.

Asda shopping bag

There are three key stages in an equal pay case

  • Are the jobs comparable?
  • If the jobs are comparable, are they of equal value?
  • If they are of equal value, is there a reason why the roles should not be paid equally?

Leigh Day represents more 30,000 shop floor staff from the big four supermarkets – Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons – in similar cases.

The legal firm said the claims against the big four supermarkets, if they lose their cases and are ordered to pay all eligible staff, could total more than £8bn.

The GMB union, which represents some Asda workers, welcomed what it described as Thursday’s “landmark” judgment.

General secretary Tim Roache, said: “We know we’re not all the way there, there are more hurdles to jump in this process and as always we remain ready to negotiate should Asda want to get round the table.”

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Asda said: “Our hourly rates of pay in stores are the same for female and male colleagues and this is equally true in our depots.

“Pay rates in stores differ from pay rates in distribution centres because the demands of the jobs in stores and the jobs in distribution centres are very different; they operate in different market sectors and we pay the market rate in those sectors regardless of gender.”

Liam and Victoria Rosney were cleared of attempting to pervert the course of justice

Carol Boardman: Man jailed for killing Olympian’s mother


A driver who admitted killing Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman’s mother by running over her has been sentenced to 30 weeks in prison.

Liam Rosney, 33, of Connah’s Quay, had previously admitted causing death by careless driving at Mold Crown Court.

Carol Boardman: Man jailed for killing Olympian's mother
Chris Boardman: ‘I have nothing to say to mum’s killer’

Carol Boardman, 75, died in July 2016 after she fell off her bike in Deeside, Flintshire.

The court heard Rosney was distracted as he made or received three phone calls before the incident.

He faced a charge of causing death by dangerous driving but later admitted the lesser charge.

As well as the prison sentence, Rosney was banned from driving for 18 and a half months.

“This was an accident which could have easily been prevented and your contribution to that accident is significant in as much as you were distracted,” said Judge Rhys Rowlands.

“The distraction being as a result of you using your mobile phone before the actual collision.”

Boardman
The incident happened after Carol Boardman fell off her bike

Mrs Boardman, 75, whose cyclist son Chris won gold at the 1992 Olympics, suffered multiple injuries when she was hit by Mr Rosney’s Mitsubishi pick-up truck after falling from her bike on a mini-roundabout in Connah’s Quay on 16 July 2016.

Judge Rowlands said: “Any accident which results in someone losing their life is the most appalling tragedy, the more so when the deceased, as here, was well-loved and, as I have indicated already, a pretty remarkable woman.”

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The court heard that in the minutes before Rosney hit Mrs Boardman, who had fallen from her bike on the junction of Mold Road and Ffordd Llanarth, he made or received three phone calls while driving his vehicle, which did not have a hands-free facility.

Matthew Curtis, prosecuting, said: “It’s clear he was speaking to his wife on the telephone four seconds before the fatal collision and he was, we submit, still distracted by the telephone call and mobile telephone handset.”

Oliver Jarvis, defending, said Rosney did not “want to make any excuses for his behaviour” and realised he had “destroyed the lives” of Mrs Boardman’s family.

Chris Boardman said: “My dad has lost his partner of 50 years which has just been absolutely gutting.”

Looking at the devastating impact the incident has had on his family, he questioned the nature of the charge.

“We don’t treat crime committed in cars as serious crime, so somebody can be careless and crush somebody else to death and it’s classed as careless,” he said.

While he said he did not want to see lots of people go to prison, he wanted to see the ability to do harm taken away.

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Boardman called for a review of the law, saying people do “the easiest thing” when driving [such as using their phones] and “react to the consequences”, adding: “If the consequence is minimal then where is the reason to change behaviour?”

Liam Rosney and Victoria Rosney
Liam and Victoria Rosney were cleared of attempting to pervert the course of justice

Rosney and his wife Victoria were cleared of attempting to pervert the course of justice in July.

Mrs Boardman had been a competitive cyclist in her youth and had remained active in cycling until her death.

Gwyneth Paltrow sued over skiing accident

Gwyneth Paltrow sued over skiing accident

Gwyneth Paltrow is being sued over a skiing accident that happened in a Utah ski resort in 2016.

The actress is accused of knocking down 72-year-old Terry Sanderson leaving him with a brain injury, short term memory loss and four broken ribs.

Sanderson’s lawyers say he has also experienced a personality change.

The Goop founder has denied the allegations. Her publicist Heather Wilson said the “lawsuit is without merit and we expect to be vindicated.”

The case seeks $3.1m [£2.36m] in damages. It claims she was skiing “out of control” when she hit the retired optometrist on a beginner’s slope on 26 February 2016.

In a press conference he said he remembers being thrown forward after hearing a woman scream but suffers memory issues over exactly what happened because he said he was knocked unconscious.

Craig Ramon, who was skiing with Mr Sanderson, said he witnessed Paltrow hitting him in the back, knocking him over and falling on top of him.

Mr Sanderson said it was “unkind” of Paltrow to immediately ski off and not check he was ok.


Continue reading “Gwyneth Paltrow sued over skiing accident”

Student newspapers obtained the screenshots after complaints were made to the university

Warwick students suspended over rape threats allowed to return early


A woman discussed in a group chat by Warwick university students says she's terrified two of them will be back
A woman discussed in a group chat by Warwick university students says she’s terrified two of them will be back

Two students banned from the University of Warwick for 10 years for their involvement in a group chat that threatened rape will be allowed to return later this year, it has emerged.

One woman who was targeted said she felt “terrified at the prospect of having these boys in my seminars”.

Several of those in the chat encouraged others to rape specific students.

The university said it had reduced the length of their bans to one year after they appealed.

In a letter, seen by the BBC, a university official apologised to the women for not informing them of the appeal’s outcome sooner – citing “my delayed summer break”.

One of the two women who received the letter, in October last year, said she was talking about it now because she wanted to highlight what she describes as “horrendous” treatment by the university.

The International Digital Laboratory, University of Warwick, Coventry, England

The Facebook group chat was first reported last summer by Warwick student newspaper The Boar .

One of the messages said: “Sometimes it’s fun to just go wild and rape 100 girls.”

While another said: “Rape the whole flat to teach them all [a] lesson.”

Another post included a racially offensive term and anti-Semitic language.

At one point, a user wrote: “Rape her in the street while everybody watches,” with another responding it “wouldn’t even be unfair”.

Screenshot of messages
Student newspapers obtained the screenshots after complaints were made to the university

After a disciplinary investigation by the university, five students were suspended.

Two were banned for 10 years – and have now had that reduced to one year, two were excluded for one year, and one was given a lifetime campus ban.

This means four out of the five of the men initially suspended will rejoin classes in September 2019.

‘Humiliated, as if for sport’

In an open letter to the university, one of the female students targeted in the chat said: “We were discussed so violently.

“We were humiliated, as if for sport. These boys were my friends – like my brothers. And they destroyed me.

“You expect us to return from semesters abroad and study alongside these men?

“It is a source of shame for past, present and future Warwick alumni that you lack the courage to stand by us.”

A spokesman from Warwick University said they were unable to comment on individual disciplinary cases.

But he added that the university’s focus had been “to ensure that anyone involved in this matter who remains a student at Warwick is able to complete their studies while minimising any further contact between the original complainants and anyone who received a sanction from the discipline committee.”

Liam Jackson, the president of Warwick Students’ Union, said the union would continue to push for a review of the university disciplinary procedure.

Students from the university have taken to Twitter to voice their anger at the university’s decision using the hashtag #ShameOnYouWarwick.

The government isn't ready for the prospect of the UK leaving the EU with no deal in two months' time, according to a report from the Institute for Government.

Brexit: How ready is the UK government for no deal?

The government isn’t ready for the prospect of the UK leaving the EU with no deal in two months’ time, according to a report from the Institute for Government.

There is a very significant risk laws needed to replace those governing key aspects of the UK’s relationship with the EU will not get passed within the next two months, the IFG said.

And it would be unable to avoid serious disruption in most policy areas.

The government has pointed out that, by the end of the 2019-20 tax year, it will have spent more than £4bn preparing for Brexit (although not all of that is on preparations for a no-deal scenario).

It has also said it has about 10,000 civil servants working on Brexit, with another 5,000 to come.

EP

“We will ensure our statute books are ready for exit day and are making good progress on passing primary legislation,” a spokesperson from the Department for Exiting the European Union said.

But IFG director Bronwen Maddox said: “The UK is not ready for no deal.

“The disruption from no deal – simply from the lack of preparation – would be extremely damaging.

“It cannot be dismissed as a mere blip.”

Brexit: Defence staff could be redeployed in no-deal scenario

Brexit: Theresa May faces ‘meaningful vote’ on her deal

Timetable

Leaving the EU with no deal is the default position on 29 March unless a withdrawal agreement can be approved in Parliament in the next few weeks.

The only other options are to extend the Article 50 negotiating process to buy more time, or to withdraw the Article 50 notification altogether, which would mean Brexit wouldn’t happen.

So – with two months to go – what does the government still need to do to prepare for a no-deal scenario?

Legislation

Well, first of all, it needs to replace laws that will disappear overnight if there is no withdrawal agreement with the EU and no transition period after Brexit.

But the IFG says five big bills in Parliament – on trade, agriculture, fisheries, immigration and financial services – face major challenges.

Some of them have yet to start their passage through the House of Lords, where the government does not control parliamentary time.

And the government’s fragile majority in the House of Commons makes things worse.

Theresa May

The prospects for passing another law that will be needed in the event of no deal – on international health care arrangements – are described as uncertain.

The government is also behind schedule on passing secondary legislation – important technical changes known as statutory instruments (SIs).

Only about 100 of 600 SIs required for a no-deal Brexit have been approved and nearly half of that total haven’t yet been tabled in Parliament.

Implementation

An even bigger risk, the IFG says, is that new processes, systems and staff would have to be in place by the end of March to avoid disruption – and, in many cases, they won’t be. Time is running out.

In eight out of 11 broad policy areas – including borders, health, and law and justice, the IFG report says the government would be unable to avoid some “major negative impacts”.

Part of the problem is that businesses and citizens also need to be ready.

They would normally be given years to prepare for these kind of sweeping changes but the government only started releasing technical notices about a no-deal scenario in August 2018.

Businesses also haven’t been told yet what kind of tariff regime (the taxes on goods coming into the country) will operate after Brexit, while surveys suggest small businesses simply haven’t had the time or the resources to prepare properly for a no-deal scenario.

Dover
There could be long delays at Dover

Many of the problems, the IFG says, are down to the “sheer scale and complexity” of the task.

But the government is also criticised in this report for excessive secrecy in the way it has made preparations.

It has been “unwilling to talk publicly about its plans”, the IFG says, and has developed an “adversarial relationship with Parliament”.

The Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) says, “The government has conducted extensive planning and preparation for the past two years to ensure the country is ready for a range of scenarios.

“In addition to extensive guidance online and a publicity campaign, this includes the publication of 106 technical notices, which help businesses and citizens prepare for the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.”

Transition

Prime Minister Theresa May still hopes, of course, that a deal can be done in the next few weeks and that Brexit on 29 March will be followed by a transition period of at least 21 months, when all the rules and regulations would stay the same.

And if a withdrawal agreement is ratified, and a transition period begins, the only legislation that would need to be passed before Brexit day would be a bill turning that agreement into UK law.

Even time to do that, though, is running short.

Brexit: How ready is the UK government for no deal?

Spiny dogfish shark landed in Indonesia

Shark on UK plates highlights trade in endangered species…

Meat from endangered sharks is finding its way on to the British menu, according to a study.

DNA tests show that shark products destined for restaurants include two species vulnerable to extinction.

Consumers may be unaware what shark they are eating – and whether it is from a sustainable population, British scientists say.

The UK is playing a continuing role in the “damaging trade in endangered shark species”, they say.

One of the two threatened sharks identified – the scalloped hammerhead – is subject to international restrictions.

University of Exeter researchers say, despite the small number of samples studied, they have demonstrated the sale of threatened sharks, highlighting the global nature of the damaging trade in endangered species.

“The discovery of scalloped hammerheads in shark fins that were destined to be sold in the UK highlights how widespread the sale of these endangered species really is,” Dr Andrew Griffiths told BBC News.

Shark fins
Shark fins: The species is indistinguishable

The research, reported in the journal Scientific Reports , examined both shark fins destined for restaurants and shark steaks sold in fishmongers and chip shops.

It found that Squalus acanthias (spiny dogfish) , a small shark classed vulnerable to extinction, globally – and, for one population in the north-east Atlantic, endangered, was the main shark being sold at chip shops, under the generic name huss, rock, rock salmon or rock eel.

The shark was probably imported from areas where stocks are sustainable, and generic names are permitted – but the scientists say it is difficult for customers to tell exactly what type of shark they are eating and where it comes from.

“It’s almost impossible for consumers to know what they are buying,” said Catherine Hobbs, also of the University of Exeter.

“People might think they’re getting a sustainably sourced product when they’re actually buying a threatened species.”

The scalloped hammerhead shark was identified among 10 shark fins imported for the UK restaurant trade. The fins are often used to make soup, a celebratory dish in some Asian cuisines.

How do we know that sharks are ending up on the British dinner plate?

Once shark meat is processed, it is difficult to tell which species it comes from. Therefore, the scientists carried out DNA tests to see what was entering the human food chain.

They gathered more than 100 samples from chip shops and supermarkets in southern England. They also looked at dried shark fins imported into the UK.

A type of DNA analysis, known as DNA bar-coding, gave an insight into the shark species on sale.

A fragment of DNA can be matched with an online database known as the bar-code of life to identify the animal.

What did the study find?

Of the 78 samples on sale at chips shops in 2016 and 2017, about 90% came from the spiny dogfish.

Landing this shark is generally not permitted under EU rules, although that on sale was probably sourced from more sustainable stocks elsewhere, then imported and frozen, the scientists say.

The spiny dogfish
The spiny dogfish is at threat due to overfishing

Of the 39 fresh and frozen samples obtained from fishmongers, about half were assigned toMustelus asterias (starry smooth hound) , a type of hound-shark. This shark is judged of least concern in terms of extinction risk.

The Sphyrna lewini (scalloped hammerhead)was found in three of 10 dried shark fins on sale in the UK. These may have been imported and stored before international restrictions came into force in 2014.

This shark, which is not found in UK waters, is targeted for its fins and is in decline.

Where is shark meat eaten?

Shark meat is eaten across the world and has been part of the human diet for centuries.

But between 2000 and 2011, global imports of sharks, skates, rays and other cartilaginous fishes rose by 42%, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The international trade in 12 species is regulated because of concern over extinction risks.

But there is debate among scientists over which – if any – sharks can be regarded as sustainable and harvested for food.

“Sharks are inherently more vulnerable to overfishing because they don’t produce many eggs and they take a long time to reach maturity – to be able to produce offspring,” said Dr Griffiths.

How cold is it really? Compare the temperature where you are with more than 50 cities around the world, including some of the hottest and coldest inhabited places. Enter your location or postcode in the search box to see your result.

UK weather: Warnings upgraded as heavy snow forecast

Heavy snow is expected to fall across Wales and southern England later, bringing travel disruption for the evening rush hour.

The Met Office has upgraded weather warnings from yellow to amber for heavy snow between 14:00 to 21:00 GMT.

Meanwhile, temperatures have fallen to the lowest level this winter, with Braemar, Aberdeenshire, dropping to -14.4 °C (6F) this morning.

It is the lowest in the UK since -15.6 °C in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, in 2012.

The Met Office warns the heavy snow could cause:

  • Travel delays on roads which could strand some vehicles and passengers
  • Some delays and cancellations to rail travel
  • Rural communities could be cut off
  • Power cuts are likely and other services, such as mobile phone coverage, could be affected

Further snow is forecast overnight into Friday, with up to 15cm (6in) possible in some parts of Wales.

In southern England, there could be 3-7cm (1-3in) of snow.

Southeastern Trains said 21 trains were cancelled or altered on Thursday morning to minimise the impact of ice forming on the rails.

It will run its “winter weather timetable” on Friday – with passengers warned of peak services being busier than normal because of changes to some train times.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland also recorded their lowest temperatures of the winter so far, with:

  • Redesdale, Northumberland, falling to -10.4C (13.3F)
  • Sennybridge, Powys, dropping to -9.3C (15.3F)
  • Magilligan, County Londonderry, falling to -8.5C (16.7F).

What’s the forecast?

Snow is expected across southern England and Wales from Thursday evening.
Video captionSnow is expected across southern England and Wales from Thursday evening.

BBC Weather presenter Simon King said rain, sleet and snow would cause some disruption for Thursday evening’s rush hour across the south west of England.

Mid and south Wales will also have snow, and it will move into central and southern parts of England, and into south east England.

The north east of England and north Scotland will also see snow showers and cold temperatures on Thursday night.

The city with no homeless on its streets..

Can the UK learn from Finland’s approach to tackling homelessness?

Five handy winter driving tips
Five handy winter driving tips

Presentational white space

A jogger running by the River Avon in Bristol, pic 31 Jan
A morning jog by the River Avon in Bristol

Luke, a five-year-old Labrador, plays in the snow. Pic 30 Jan
Luke, a five-year-old Labrador, plays in the snow

A light dusting of snow covers hillsides near Biggin Hill Airport on January 30, 2019 near Biggin Hill, United Kingdom.
A dusting of snow near Biggin Hill Airport, to the south of London

On Wednesday, snow and ice caused travel delays and closed hundreds of schools in much of the UK.

In Wales, a climber with a broken leg was airlifted off Snowdon after an avalanche.

Airport runways were closed in Manchester and Liverpool and Devon and Cornwall Police dealt with more than 20 road incidents in one hour on Wednesday morning.

In Scotland, the driver of a gritting lorry was taken to hospital

Brexit: MPs preparing to vote on amendments to PM’s deal…!

Queen makes plea for Britons to find ‘common ground’

UK weather: Warnings upgraded as heavy snow forecast
How cold is it really?
Compare the temperature where you are with more than 50 cities around the world, including some of the hottest and coldest inhabited places. Enter your location or postcode in the search box to see your result.

Theresa May will not be flying to Brussels in Spitfire, BBC clarifies

Theresa May will not be flying to Brussels in Spitfire, BBC clarifies

Corporation blames human error for suggestion caused by misplaced footage on News at Six

The BBC has blamed “human error” for a suggestion on its News at Six that Theresa May would be flying back to Brussels for more ​BREXI talks in a second world war Spitfire.

But the explanation has been greeted with scepticism by some who saw the incident as an example of pro-Brexit bias at the corporation.

At the end of Wednesday’s evening programme viewers were shown black and white footage of the iconic planes as newsreader Sophie Raworth summarised the prime minister’s plan to reopen Brexit talks with EU leaders.

As the footage of the planes was played, Raworth read: “Theresa May says she intends to go back to Brussels to negotiate her Brexit deal but EU leaders say the deal is done and they will not reopen talks.”

The editor of the programme, Paul Royall, said the Spitfire clip had been intended to be a foretaste of an item about a new Battle of Britain museum at Biggin Hill in London.

In a tweet he blamed the mix up on human error and joked he was “pretty sure” that May would not be travelling to Europe in a Spitfire.

Tim Montgomerie, the pro-Brexit columnist and founder of the ConservativeHome website, said he believed Royall’s explanation, but many would not.

Some pro-EU Twitter users suggested it was a deliberate attempt to send a subliminal message about about May battling the European Union

A spokeswoman for BBC ​Newslight said the gaffe was a genuine error and there was nothing more to add to Royall’s explanation.

The number of rough sleepers in England has multiplied since 2010

The city with no homeless on its streets..


The number of people sleeping rough in the UK has multiplied since 2010. But in Finland’s capital Helsinki rough sleeping has been almost eradicated thanks to a groundbreaking scheme. What can cities in the UK learn from the Finns?

Emerging from Helsinki’s grandiose central railway station on a bitterly cold evening, it does not take long before you notice something unusual.

The city with no homeless on its streets..
Can the UK learn from Finland’s approach to tackling homelessness?

There are no rough sleepers and no-one is begging.

The contrast with the UK’s major towns and cities – where rough sleepers curled up in sleeping bags, blankets or tents are a common sight – is striking.

“In my childhood I remember there were hundreds, or even thousands of people sleeping in the parks and forests,” says Helsinki’s deputy mayor Sanna Vesikansa.

“It was visible, but we don’t have it any more. Street homelessness doesn’t exist in Helsinki.”

For the past 30 years, tackling homelessness has been a focus for successive governments in Finland.

In 1987, there were more than 18,000 homeless people there. The latest figures from the end of 2017 show there were about 6,600 people classified as without a home.

The vast majority are living with friends or family, or are housed in temporary accommodation. Only a very small number are actually sleeping on the streets.

Helsinki in the snow
The average minimum winter temperature in Helsinki is -7C (19F)

So how have the Finns managed it?

Since 2007, their government has built homeless policies on the foundations of the “Housing First” principle.

Put simply, it gives rough sleepers or people who become homeless a stable and permanent home of their own as soon as possible.

It then provides them with the help and support they need. That may be supporting someone trying to tackle an addiction, assisting them to learn new skills, or helping them get into training, education or work.

This is very different to the traditional approach in the UK, where a permanent home is only offered after a homeless person has sought help in a homeless hostel or temporary accommodation.

One person who has benefited is Thomas Salmi, who became homeless when he turned 18 and had to leave his orphanage.

He spent three years on the streets of Helsinki, where the average minimum temperature in February is -7C (19F).

“When you lose everything, it really doesn’t matter,” he says. “You’re thinking about suicide, am I going to die? Is it safe?

“It is cold, especially in the middle of winter. If you’re sleeping outside you might die.”

Thomas Salmi
Thomas Salmi braved three bitterly cold winters on the streets of the Finnish capital

For the past two years, Thomas has had an apartment of his own at a large complex run by the Helsinki Deaconess Institute (HDI), one of several organisations providing accommodation for otherwise homeless Finns.

Now 24, he says living at the HDI has helped him turn his life around. He used to drink heavily while living on the streets but now only touches alcohol at the weekend.

Presentational grey line

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Under Housing First, the offer of a home is unconditional. Even if someone is still taking drugs or abusing alcohol they still get to stay in the house or flat, so long as they are interacting with support workers.

They can pay rent through state housing benefit and people can even opt to stay for the rest of their lives.

Helsinki Deaconess Institute
The Helsinki Deaconess Institute has more than 400 apartments for ex-homeless people

“They told me that it’s my house,” says Thomas. “And I asked them – is someone going to tell me, ‘we need this house and you have to go’? But they told me ‘No, it’s your house, you can do whatever you want.’

“When I have a stable home, I can try to build everything else around it like work, studying, family, friends. But when you’re on the streets, you don’t have any of that.”

HDI has a total of 403 apartments in Helsinki and the neighbouring city of Espoo.

Tenants get together in the communal kitchen to make lunch and socialise in the lounge areas. Support workers are always on hand.

Pia Rosenberg
Pia Rosenberg has been off the streets for more the four years

Pia Rosenberg, 64, has lived in the same Housing First project since 2014 after being homeless for two years.

“It suits me good because I’m an alcoholic and I’m allowed to drink in my room,” she says. “And if I need help, then I get it.

“You don’t feel good if you don’t have a home.”

According to official figures, the number of rough sleepers in England has risen from 1,768 in 2010 to 4,677 in 2018.

Charities such as Shelter say the real number of people sleeping rough is much higher. Official figures are based on the number of homeless people counted on the streets on a single autumn evening each year.

Housing First’s success has caught the attention of the UK government, which last year agreed to pay for pilot schemes in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands.

There are already several small scale trials being carried out in Wales, some run by The Salvation Army, others by local authorities. Those behind the schemes say the results so far have been positive.

Trials in England are due to start shortly and will be aimed at helping the most entrenched rough sleepers.

But is it a good idea to essentially hand over the keys to accommodation, without any obligation to give up alcohol or drugs?

“We can see that it works in Finland, so why can’t it work here,” says Neil Cornthwaite, head of operations at the homeless charity Barnabus Manchester.

Homeless people
Several thousand people are sleeping rough in the UK, according to housing charity Shelter

“There are a lot of barriers to people getting into accommodation and certain groups of people are excluded from projects because of their addictions and/or their mental health.

“So if we’ve got another option where we can put people into a home and not just a bed, despite their issues, then I think that’s a really positive step forward.”

Will it work in the UK? While the scheme is regarded as successful in Finland, it does have drawbacks. Homes are not always available immediately and figures show roughly one in five people return to homelessness at some stage.

Housing people in this way does not come cheap. Finland has spent about £262m (300m euros) over the past decade, providing 3,500 new homes for the homeless and more than 300 new support workers.

The UK government is spending £28m on the three Housing First schemes and hopes about 1,000 homes will be provided.

One of the key architects of Housing First in Finland, Juha Kaakinen, believes it will only work if the UK authorities are fully committed.

“In many places, Housing First are small projects with a small number of flats available. You need to make it much bigger to end homelessness and for that reason it should be a national policy otherwise it won’t work.”

Mr Kaakinen suggests the UK’s priority should be tackling the housing crisis.

Rough sleepers in Manchester, 2017
The number of rough sleepers in England has multiplied since 2010

“The main issue seems to be the lack of affordable social housing. To solve homelessness, that’s something that you need otherwise it’s going to be a very difficult task.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is convinced the scheme is the right answer though.

“You cannot have good health or a good life without good housing,” he says.

“I’m confident we will show that Housing First can work. I will be asking the government to make this permanent.”

The Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Heather Wheeler, insists the government is listening and taking action.

“No-one is meant to spend their lives on the streets, or without a home to call their own.

“And evidence shows that Housing First has an incredible rate of success in helping people rebuild their lives.”

Sanna Vesikansa, deputy mayor of Helsinki
Sanna Vesikansa, deputy mayor of Helsinki

Back in Helsinki, deputy mayor Ms Vesikana believes tackling homelessness and ending rough sleeping is not only a moral obligation but may also save money in the long-run.

“We know already that it pays back because we have expenses elsewhere if people are homeless. They have more severe health problems which are then taken to emergency care and hospital.

“Homelessness and rough sleeping is something we just can’t have in our cities, people dying on the streets. It’s not the type of society or city we want to live in.”

The US says its staff in Cuba have also been affected by the mystery illness

A 14th person has now been affected by the symptoms at Canada’s embassy in Havana

Mystery illness sees Canada halve its Cuba embassy staff

A 14th person has now been affected by the symptoms at Canada’s embassy in Havana

Canada will cut its embassy staff in Cuba by up to half after a mystery illness affected another person there, authorities in Ottawa have said.

Medical testing after the reappearance of unusual symptoms in November saw a 14th Canadian affected.

Canada’s foreign office said the number of staff will now be cut by up to half as a result.

US staff have also been affected by the illness, which causes dizziness, nausea and difficulty concentrating.

Canada has discounted the idea of a “sonic attack” being the cause – a theory previously put forward by the US state department last year.

A statement released by Global Affairs Canadasaid “employees, spouses and dependents” at the embassy were among the affected, and all were receiving ongoing medical treatment.

While the embassy would remain open some services could be affected in the future, the statement read.

Staff numbers will now drop from about 16 to up to eight, the Associated Press reports.

US embassy in Cuba
The US says its staff in Cuba have also been affected by the mystery illness

Canada recalled diplomatic families from Havana, in April after some minors started showing the symptoms.

More than a million Canadians visit Cuba each year, but there is no evidence they are at risk.

Cuba has repeatedly denied its involvement. Canada says it has worked in “close cooperation” with Havana since the health problems first came to light in 2017.

Unlike the US, Canada never cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba after its revolution in 1959.

A State Department release last year said people should watch for “any unusual, unexplained physical symptoms or events, auditory or sensory phenomena”.

A US and a British scientist however have put forward another theory – insect noise.

Their study suggests the sound recorded by US staff in Cuba was in fact the song of the Indies short-tailed cricket.

Recent Topics

Chicago is using fire to melt snow on the railway and keep the trains running

Chicago is using fire to melt snow on the railway and keep the trains running

Polar vortex brings deadly cold snap to US states

Cities are all but shutting down across the US Midwest as the region shivers in a deadly cold snap known as a polar vortex.

At least seven people have been killed in several states as a result of the arctic weather.

Temperatures fell to -30C (-22F) in Chicago – colder than parts of Antarctica – and -37C in North Dakota.

Freezing weather will chill 250 million Americans, and 90 million will experience -17C (0F) or below.

A view of Lake Michigan on January 30, 2019 in Kenosha, Wisconsin
A view of Lake Michigan on January 30, 2019 in Kenosha, Wisconsin

What’s the forecast?

Snow is expected to fall throughout Wednesday, from the Great Lakes region into New England. As much as 24in (60cm) is forecast in the state of Wisconsin, and 6in in Illinois.

States of emergency have been declared in Midwestern Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois, and even in the normally warmer Deep South states of Alabama and Mississippi.

“This could possibly be history-making,” said Ricky Castro, a National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist in Illinois.

Chicago skyline frozen
Temperatures have already reached brutal lows in Chicago thanks to wind chill

The NWS is warning frostbite is possible within just 10 minutes of being outside in such extreme temperatures.

Grand Forks, North Dakota, has seen the lowest wind chill so far at -54C on Wednesday morning.

Twenty million people in the continental US are expected to experience temperatures of -28C or lower by the week’s end.

Media captionMuch of Chicago River has frozen over

How did the fatalities occur?

On Wednesday, two Michigan residents were found dead in their neighbourhoods, the Associated Press reported.

Officials say one may have become disoriented and wandered into the cold without proper attire.

On Tuesday, a 55-year-old man froze to death in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, garage, with the medical examiner’s office ruling he “apparently collapsed after shoveling snow”, local media reported.

In Pekin, Illinois, NBC News reported an 82-year-old man died from hypothermia outside his home.

A 75-year-old man was killed by a snow plough near Chicago on Monday.

The driver of the plough has been placed on paid leave while the incident is investigated, according to WGN9 News.

In northern Indiana, a young couple died after a collision on icy roads.

How is the cold snap affecting daily life?

The US Postal Service has called a halt to mail deliveries in parts of 10 states in the Great Plains and Midwest.

Hundreds of schools, as well as colleges and universities, have been closed in the affected states.

Beer deliveries in Wisconsin have been hit, too, as brewers delay shipments for fear their beverages will freeze in the trucks.

Weather officials in the state of Iowa have warned people to “avoid taking deep breaths, and to minimise talking” if they go outside.

Polar vortex brings extreme cold for US

Farmers across the Midwest have been taking measures to protect their livestock, including building igloos for chickens.

In North Dakota, cattle ranchers Joey Myers and Scott Bailey told Reuters news agency they planned on staying up with their animals during the cold snap to prevent fatalities.

Frigid weather could cause pregnant cows to deliver prematurely, the farmers said, and newborn calves cannot survive such conditions.

Animal rights organisation Peta has warned people to bring pets indoors.

Meanwhile, police in the Illinois county of McLean had some fun, announcing that Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen had been arrested.

What about Chicago?

Residents of America’s third largest city are no strangers to perishing cold, but they have been warned to expect an unusually dangerous freeze.

Chicago has seen more than 1,500 flights cancelled from its two main airports, and rail operator Amtrak has scrapped train services from its hub there.

With the icy breeze whipping off Lake Michigan, the Windy City will feel more like -45C.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel urged people not to go outside if possible.

A man walks on North Avenue Beach as the sun rises over Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois
A man walks on North Avenue Beach as the sun rises over Lake Michigan in Chicago

Dozens of “warming centres” have been opened for the estimated 80,000 rough sleepers there.

But at least one homeless Chicago man said he preferred to take his chances outdoors.

Tony Neeley told the New York Times: “A lot of us don’t go to the shelters because of bedbugs. We don’t go because people steal from you.

“We don’t go because you can’t even really sleep in the shelter.”

Niagara Falls becomes a winter wonderland

The Illinois city’s landmarks, including the Lincoln Park Zoo, Field Museum and Art Institute, are all shut.

A number of coffee shops and other local businesses have closed, including even some of its famous deep-dish pizza parlours.

Chicago police say people are being robbed at gunpoint of their coats, especially Canada Goose jackets, which can cost $1,100 (£900).

graphic


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