In an article published to mark his 87th birthday, Fidel Castro said he didn't expect to survive the stomach ailment and live for so long. "I was far from imagining that my life would extend for another seven years." Mr Castro had been in power since the Cuban Revolution in 1959. The long article was only published by official newspaper Granma on Wednesday, a day after his birthday. Mr Castro left office for treatment in 2006 but only formally resigned as commander-in-chief and president of Cuba in February 2008. "As soon as I understood that it would be definitive, I did not hesitate to cease my charges as president," he said in the article. Mr Castro also revealed that Cuba had received weapons from North Korea in the early 1980s. The North Korean weapons shipment was provided after Soviet leader Yuri Andropov warned that his country was no longer prepared to step in to defend the communist-run island. "He told us that if we were attacked by the United States we would have to fight alone," wrote Mr Castro. The Soviet Union renewed its commitment, however, to continue providing weapons to the island. But Cuba decided to gather weapons from "other friends" to arm "one million Cuban fighters." "Comrade Kim Il Sung, a veteran and exemplary soldier, sent us 100,000 AK rifles and accompanying ammunition without charging a penny," writes Mr Castro. The North Korean leader, who was succeeded by his son, died in 1994. The revelations come as a team of United Nations experts investigate an incident in the Panama Canal involving a North Korean ship carrying an undeclared shipment of weapons from Cuba. The ship was seized last month on suspicion of carrying drugs, but Panamanian officials found weapons - including two Soviet-era combat jets - stashed under bags of sugar. Cuba came forward saying the "obsolete weapons" were being sent to North Korea to be repaired. Panama called in the UN to investigate if the shipment breached sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear programme.
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has said that he decided to step down and transfer power to his younger brother, Raul, because he was diagnosed with a fatal illness in 2006.
Among the 67 Britons killed was Gavin Cushny from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. His best friend for the previous 29 years was Joyce Lewis, whom he met at the University of St Andrews, where he was studying classics and philosophy. Joyce describes the 47-year-old Scot as "very intelligent, very funny, loved arguing, and loved getting out and doing things". She explains that he actually nearly survived the attack on the World Trade Center. "Six weeks after 9/11 his body was identified on the second floor of the building, along with some firefighters. He'd been killed by falling masonry. "So he almost did get out - I think he didn't make it all the way to his floor and sensed that he should turn around and get out the building. He had a fantastic sense of self-preservation." Eyewitness recalls 9/11 attacks Gavin's love for America had seen him move there in 1982, after his graduation. He later became an American citizen. "He had a lot of American friends at St Andrews and he was very drawn to American people," Joyce said. "He liked their sense of optimism." Gavin took a maths degree and began working for banks in their computer departments. In 2000, he began working for Cantor Fitzgerald, a capital markets investment bank based on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center's north tower. "He called me on 8 September to say he was getting married in October and inviting me to the wedding. "So he certainly would have been married and he probably would have started a family. He was great with kids, and my own children adored him. "Gavin would have had a happy family life and would have been a great father. "I think he would have moved out to the west coast of America. I think it would have given him a sense of freedom. He loved New York, but he was ready to do something new." Joyce said she could imagine Gavin setting up a business "somewhere like Los Angeles, maybe doing something with computers. "He'd probably have been a consultant for companies, creating great websites for them. He also took acting classes and he would probably have done more acting." Joyce says she did not attend his funeral on the Isle of Lewis because she was too upset. "On the anniversary this year I will feel total sadness and a huge sense of loss. No anger, more like a kind of horrible emptiness that Gavin - who was extraordinary to me but also just a person who wanted to have a great life - died in such an extraordinary global event. "It's always a day when it only makes sense to think of Gavin and remember him and be glad that I knew him for as long as I did." Joyce says she will continue her annual ritual this year of leaving flowers in Gavin's memory at the 9/11 memorial at the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square in London. Neil Cudmore died in the north tower of the World Trade Center, having arrived there for a conference which started at 0830 in the Windows on the World restaurant on the tower's top floors. The first aircraft hit at 0846. The 39-year old, born in Greenwich and raised in Essex, was killed along with his partner, Dinah Webster, 49, who was from Dorset. The couple both worked in publishing for Risk Waters Group. Neil's father Jim Cudmore, 74, lives in Little Houghton in Northamptonshire. He describes his eldest son as a "gregarious, popular, very social man who loved meeting people". "One of his lifelong passions was fishing," Jim said. "He fished from a young boy. Wherever he lived, he could escape the pressure of his life by spending time alone on a river. "He did love the finer things in life, but he also loved a couple of pints in a country pub and long walks in the countryside. He was ambitious and competitive, but he never let it get the better of him and never stopped being a gentleman." Neil had met Dinah while working for Risk Waters in Hong Kong, where he was posted in 1996. The two were later posted to New York in January 2000, where Neil was the company's marketing director and Dinah its advertising manager. The company's offices were in the SoHo district, a safe distance away from the twin towers, but the conference appointment on September 11 meant both Neil and Dinah were caught up in the terrorist attack. They had announced their engagement while working in Las Vegas the week before 9/11. Jim says that the anger he initially experienced has long since dispersed. "What anger I did have was not particularly aimed at the terrorists who carried out the attacks - they were merely puppets - but against those who financed them. After all, without funds from likely Middle East sources, the attacks in the USA would not have taken place. "My emotions are always heightened approaching each 9/11 anniversary and although this year's 10th anniversary is an important landmark it is, in reality, no different to any other. When thinking about their possible future lives, Jim is certain that Neil and Dinah would have started a family, and probably branched out into a business of their own together. "Time was against them for having children, as Dinah was in her late 40s - although she already had a daughter, Zoe - and they were talking about adopting a child. "Neil was desperate to have children, and he loved his nephews and nieces. Any child they had would not have been robbed of love and affection." Aside from a property in America's Long Island, Neil had already bought a cottage in Dorset, and Jim believes that it "wasn't his plan to work into old age - I think he would have retired back to the UK if an opportunity arose. "Dorset is where Dinah's mother and father live and Neil would have wanted to return there, with all the opportunities to go fishing in that area." Neil was not destined to transform his cottage into a family home - but his youngest brother Keith has done just that, moving in some years ago with his wife, who in January of this year gave birth to twins. "If Neil is able to see all that, he'll be pleased that the cottage is now a family home," Jim said. "He'll be delighted to see his dream fulfilled."
Ten years after the horrors of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the families and friends of those killed that day are still carrying the trauma and pain of their loss.
They voted four to one to refuse proposals at the 2 Sisters factory at Llangefni where 270 jobs are under threat, including 170 agency staff. Before the vote, Paddy McNaught from Unite union said it would have meant "staff making sacrifices" to save jobs. Union officials are due to hold further talks with bosses on Friday. If the company's proposal had been accepted, it was hoped there would be only a handful of compulsory redundancies, with 40 staff taking voluntary redundancy and agency workers being offered work elsewhere. The company wanted to cut an entire production shift from its operation.
Staff at an Anglesey poultry plant have voted to reject changes to their working conditions in a move which would have saved 50 jobs.
It calls for the Scottish government to act over delays and cancellations. ScotRail has said one of the largest programmes of modernisation since Victorian times is to blame for the disruption. But it argued the result of the programme will "transform" travel. The Scottish government can trigger a clause to remove the contract from a service provider if punctuality rates drop below 84%. Mr Yousaf said the petition was a "real wake-up call" for everyone involved in Scotland's railways. "We are putting in place a plan which in the years to come is going to make our railways one of the best in the UK, one of the best in Europe," he said. "I have got no doubt about that at all. "In fact, when I was meeting with the railways minister of the UK government yesterday, he said to us that they look towards Scotland for some of the improvements that we've made. "That doesn't mean everything's perfect. I certainly wouldn't make that claim at all - 19,000 people telling me that something is wrong with our railways is a real wake-up call for all of us involved in railways to say where can we improve it?" Earlier Stewart Kirkpatrick, from the campaign group 38 degrees, told BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme that the quality of service on ScotRail trains was "not good enough". "We've been bombarded with stories from members across Scotland of delays, frustrations, missed appointments, important life events being impacted by the poor service offered by ScotRail and they've had enough," he said. Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, admitted that he wanted the company to be in a "better place". He said earlier industrial action and the disruption caused by the current programme of modernisation had led to customer dissatisfaction. However, he added that 500 "tweaks" would be made to the current timetable to help alleviate some of the disruption. He told Good Morning Scotland: "In the next two years we are taking the fleet size from around 800 carriages to a thousand carriages. That is a massive addition of capacity and on some routes, such as Aberdeen to Inverness, capacity will increase by 75%." He insisted punctuality was improving, particularly over the past four weeks. "Ending on Saturday, we delivered a punctuality of 90.2%. So considering that our average is around 89.6%, we are consistently now improving our punctuality through a relentless focus on the things that make a difference." He added: "I am humbled by how patient our customers are. "When I look at how our customers have responded to the Winchburgh closure, the Queen Street blockade and how our customers have adapted and adjusted their travel patterns. We will continually improve how we run the railway and punctuality will continue to improve."
A petition calling for Abellio to be stripped of the ScotRail contract, backed by about 19,000 people, has been presented to Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.
Mr Orhan Koca, 32, who is originally from Turkey, denies murdering 22-year-old Mr Magee Jr, in west Belfast on 30 May. A detective said police were concerned about the defendant absconding. "Given the likelihood that a conviction would result in a significant sentence, this increases the chance of absconding," he said. "In recent months several thousand pounds has gone through the defendant's account. "This access to funds would give him the means to flee justice." The detective said he was also concerned about interference with witnesses. "The defendant is aware of several witnesses," he said. "The opportunity to interfere with evidence would be very real." A prosecuting lawyer told Lisburn Magistrates Court that on 30 May, at 2.38am, police were called to Summerhill Park in west Belfast. They found Mr Magee Jr lying in the road and bleeding heavily from stab wounds. "Mr Magee had been at the home of his girlfriend, Miss Courtney Ward, and at 2am they ordered a pizza," said the prosecution. "Shortly after 2.30am, Mr Magee Jr left the house by the rear exit and his girlfriend then heard screaming outside. "When she left the house she saw two men standing over Mr Magee Jr trying to help him." The lawyer outlined how Miss Ward was the estranged partner of the defendant and that she had started a relationship with the victim. The court also heard that jeans, covered in Mr Magee Jr's blood, had been recovered from Beckett's Bar, where the defendant both worked and stayed. The jeans were found close to items of clothing belonging to Mr Koca. A defence solicitor said that the defendant had no criminal record in the UK. Mr Koca was remanded in custody to reappear before Lisburn Magistrates Court on 6 July.
The man charged with the murder of Eamonn Magee Jr has been refused bail over fears he would flee the country.
They say information is power and we've seen that demonstrated in the past year, with the protests about quality and access to affordable education right across the continent. Watch out for more developments in the #Feesmustfall campaign in South Africa, as students prepare to register for the new academic year. The internet was used to rally support for street protests in opposition to a proposed hike in fees in 2015. It seemed to catch the government of President Jacob Zuma off guard as senior university academics joined their students at rallies in several South African cities. The leadership of the governing African National Congress (ANC) voiced its opposition to the demonstrations, while upholding the right to protest. The president bought himself a little more time by freezing the fees increase. Now, the people in charge of the sums believe the fees issue will resurface again early in 2016 for one simple reason. There's been a doubling in the number of students entering higher education since 1994, many of them from disadvantaged backgrounds and government subsidies have failed to keep up. There's now talk of getting industry to chip in more but will they be able to make up the shortfall? Unlikely. Quality education and class sizes are also likely to dominate the education debate. Across sub-Saharan Africa, 1.8 billion people are expected to be added to the population in the next 30 years. Africa already has the youngest population in the world and by common consent, education needs to be given greater priority for economies to grow, hence its inclusion in the UN's sustainable development goals. 2016 is likely to see more pressure not only to get more kids behind desks but also to confront the issues of vast class sizes, teacher accountability and poor staff morale. Kenya's teachers downed tools near the end of last year over pay and conditions but their industrial action was halted after a court ordered them to return to work. Will this be the end of the matter or will other teaching unions feel emboldened by their East African comrades? Youth crime and youth radicalisation continue to be linked to educational opportunity (although not exclusively - there are clever car thieves and armed militants operating across the region). So expect the global education lobby to seize on this broader issue, to push for accelerated change to mitigate the effects of the ticking time bomb of youth unemployment. The Malawian parliament is poised to vote on the Termination of Pregnancy Bill in 2016 after some two years of consultation. At the moment a woman who tries to procure an abortion in Malawi faces up to 14 years in jail, unless doctors can prove that the woman's life would be at risk if she continued the pregnancy. If the legislation gets through, it will bring the southern African state into line with many other countries in Europe and North America who permit abortion when the mother or baby's life is in danger, in instances of rape or incest, or where going ahead with the pregnancy would present a mental health risk to the woman. The issue has split the Malawian human rights community and put senior politicians at odds with the Catholic Church. Already the stage has been set with Malawi's speaker of parliament, Richard Msowoya, beginning the year castigating the Catholic Church in a country where 17% of maternal deaths are attributed to botched backstreet abortions. In more than a third of all countries in sub-Saharan Africa abortions are prohibited altogether, so what happens in Malawi, still a socially conservative society, is likely to have reverberations right across the continent, including perhaps in Sierra Leone. Just weeks ago parliament unanimously approved new legislation on abortion for the West African state, but President Ernest Bai Koroma has refused to give it presidential assent. That could mean a watered-down bill being resubmitted to parliament later this year in order to satisfy opponents. Gay rights have become a byword for neo-imperialism in some sectors of society, where it is considered a Western import and like abortion, it's put the Church at loggerheads with human rights campaigners. The visit of US President Barack Obama to Tanzania and Kenya last year "outed" the issue of gay rights in Africa once again, and a schism in the Anglican Church globally is likely to see the issue resurface early on in 2016. Nigeria will continue to face pressure from the US to back down on "anti-gay" legislation - which includes jail terms for those involved in gay rights organisations and for those that attempt same-sex unions. But campaigners will need to be careful how they tread, for fear of adding fuel to those who argue that the West is imposing its own moral values on sovereign African states. It is a view gently encouraged by anti-gay US evangelists, for whom the continent has become an important ally. For leaders too, as we have seen in Uganda, whipping up anti-gay sentiment is a helpful diversionary tactic when there are other pressing domestic issues to confront, such as poverty, armed conflict and domestic violence. While Mozambique quietly decriminalised homosexuality in its revised penal code in 2015, along with the tiny kingdom of Lesotho, The Gambia is one of the countries to keep an eye on in 2016. President Yahya Jammeh has implemented tough anti-gay laws, prompting widespread international condemnation. We can expect to see more campaigns highlighting the plight of gay refugees and those being granted asylum in the US, where last year the first LGBT envoy was appointed to the State Department to elevate the issue. Watch out also for more threats of trade bans, aid freezes and other policy carrots and sticks by Western governments, as they seek to make gay issues a non-negotiable part of human rights culture. In July, when a major Aids conference returns to South Africa, gay rights campaigners are expected to seize upon the event to push for equal access to treatment and prevention for all communities in the fight against HIV and Aids. They will argue that remains one of the biggest challenges to tackling Aids and say that decriminalising homosexuality will help to achieve this. Social rights campaigners cite this as the single biggest issue (or set of issues) that will be talked about in 2016. The Democratic Republic of Congo is among a number of countries where the incumbent President, Joseph Kabila, is expected to seek to extend his term by delaying presidential elections slated for November 2016, which would send him into constitutionally choppy waters. One only has to look at the violent demonstrations and counter-demonstrations across the border in Burundi to see the potential ramifications if the actions of the president are challenged. President Paul Kagame in Rwanda has already secured a change in the constitution to permit him to compete for a third term. Could he inspire the Gambian leadership, with elections there due at the end of 2016? President Yahya Jammeh has erased term limits from the constitution, despite attempts by the regional bloc to reinstate them. Demands for leaders to be more accountable have seen people take to social media with the hashtag #WhatWouldMagufuliDo - an e-version of "doffing their caps" to the new Tanzanian leader John Magufuli, who has introduced a raft of measures to curb government excesses. President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has similarly been on an anti-corruption drive, securing the blessing of IMF chief Christine Lagarde for his efforts. President Zuma in South Africa can expect a continuation of the #Zumamustfall campaign with the ANC expecting to face one of its toughest challenges yet in local government elections in 2016. Mr Zuma himself faces a raft of court cases, among them a constitutional court challenge early in 2016 over whether he should pay back some of the costs of security upgrades to his Nkandla home.
The BBC's southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen looks at the areas in which Africa can expect big social change this year, some of which have seen campaign groups turn to the internet to state their case.
The alarm was raised after the 23-year-old, from Cornwall, went missing for about 15 minutes while swimming at about 02:30 BST, the RNLI said. He was discovered in a serious condition near Great Western beach and airlifted to a hospital in Truro by search helicopter where he later died, Devon and Cornwall Police said. The death was not being treated as suspicious, police said. The man's next of kin have been informed.
A man has died after being found in the sea off Newquay.
Charlotte Liddell was one of 200 applicants for the scheme which aims to encourage a new generation of female leaders. The 20-year-old, from Buckhaven in Fife, has been a young carer since she was 12 and does voluntary work with the Gingerbread single parent charity. She said she had been inspired by Ms Sturgeon and hoped to inspire other young people to believe in themselves. Ms Sturgeon announced the 12-month First Mentor scheme on International Women's Day in February, saying it was unacceptable that women were under-represented in leadership roles in society. She said she hoped to encourage other female leaders to act as role models. Announcing her first mentee, she said: "Charlotte immediately struck me as someone with the passion and determination to make a difference to her community and to young people - especially for those who face tough challenges in life. "Charlotte is a really impressive young woman who has already achieved so much and I hope the mentoring experience over the next year will be of real benefit to her and help her achieve her ambitions for the future. "I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with Charlotte - but I have no doubt that I will also learn a lot from her." Ms Liddell left school at 14 and has two children. She has been volunteering with Fife Gingerbread for three years where part of her work involves "buddying" young parents. She was named Young Parent of the Year in 2016 by Fife Gingerbread and won the Young Volunteer of the Year award in 2017. She said: "I want to inspire others just as the first minister inspired me. I want people to know that no matter what happens in your life, you can still succeed. "Too often, young people are told they will never amount to anything - especially young parents. By being chosen for this mentorship, I hope I will help other young people to believe in themselves - especially those whose voices are not heard." The competition was run in conjunction with the national youth information and citizenship charity Young Scot. Louise Macdonald, chief executive of Young Scot, said: "The First Mentor programme is a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on the power of mentoring for young women in Scotland. "Through the application process we were able to see just how many brilliant young women have the potential to become leaders themselves. We want to show young women that there are no limits, no matter who you are, and that everyone can benefit from having or being a mentor. "Charlotte is an amazing young woman; she wants to change the world. We've all been so inspired by her already and I am sure the mentoring experience will be great for both Charlotte and the first minister." Rhona Cunningham, chief executive of Fife Gingerbread, said Charlotte had been "an inspiration to us all". "We are delighted that she has been given this much-deserved opportunity. She does so much for so many; her determination and positive attitude are remarkable," she added. "It really is a privilege to have her volunteer for us, and we know Charlotte will go on to be whatever she wants to be in life. Massive well done from everyone at Fife Gingerbread!" The first mentorship meeting will take place next week.
A young mother has been chosen to be mentored by Nicola Sturgeon for a year.
A collection of her lingerie, handbags and luggage will be auctioned next week in central London. A scarlet chiffon nightdress from the 1940s to early 1950s is expected to fetch up to £1,000. Proceeds from the sale, at Kerry Taylor Auctions, will go to the Dodi International Charitable Foundation. It helps children in need of medical care and their families in Egypt, UK, France and US. Contents of the home occupied by the couple, who were later made the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, were bought by former Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed. He bought the contents of their home on the Bois de Bologne, in Paris, when the duchess died in 1986. He later sold much of it in 1998. Some items were held back and later donated to a charity which was set up in memory of his son, Dodi, who died with the princess of Wales in a 1997 Paris car crash. Nightwear collection One of the star lots is expected to be a Christian Dior black crocodile handbag from 1964, worth up to £8,000, which is engraved with a special date for the couple. Its clasps bear the initials of Wallis and Edward and the date "30 X 1934". In October 1934 the royal took his future wife to Italy on a holiday, accompanied by her aunt Bessie as a token chaperone. One of the duchess's vanity cases, made by Louis Vuitton in the 1960s and worth up to £10,000, will also go under the hammer. A spokeswoman for Kerry Taylor Auctions identified the duchess's nightwear as an attraction. "The sublime bias-cut confections that were her nightwear give an intimation of the sensuousness and secret allure of the duchess," she said. Commenting on her sense of style, the duchess once wrote: "My husband gave up everything for me... I'm not a beautiful woman. I'm nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else. "If everyone looks at me when I enter a room, my husband can feel proud of me. That's my chief responsibility." There was widespread shock when Edward abdicated in 1936 to marry Mrs Simpson, an American divorcee. They later went to live in France. Last year Madonna began shooting a film about Edward's wife. The singer co-wrote the movie, titled W.E, which she also directed.
Items once owned by Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom Edward VIII renounced the throne, are set to be sold in an auction.
The 28-year-old Welshman saw the verdict of three judges go in Chicago-based Polish fighter Fonfara's favour. Cleverly suffered a broken nose in the WBC International light heavyweight title bout, which both men saw as a step towards bigger things. Promoter Eddie Hearn said: "On the way to hospital. Broken nose and needs blood drained from his ear, but is OK." Cleverly was hit after the bell in the second round but the former WBO world champion was on top at that stage. Yet by the seventh round Cleverly had blood splashed across his face, his nose taking the biggest toll as Fonfara found his range. Cleverly, who suffered a third career loss, all of which have come in his last six fights, could not change the complexion of the fight as Fonfara exercised control until the final bell. Fonfara was given the verdict by 115-113 from one judge and by 116-112 from two.
Nathan Cleverly's bid to earn a world title fight took a blow after a points defeat by Andrzej Fonfara in Chicago.
The 22-year-old Tonga international joined Saints from London Broncos in 2015, having previously played for St George Illawarra Dragons, Melbourne Storm and Cronulla Sharks. He joins Catalans hooker Eloi Pelissier in agreeing a move to Leigh this week. "Atelea has been playing really well for St Helens on the edge and in the middle," said head coach Neil Jukes. "After meeting with him it was evident that Atelea was excited to be part of a club that was growing and what he wanted out of it and what we wanted was the perfect fit."
Leigh Centurions have signed St Helens back-row forward Atelea Vea on a two-year contract from next season.
One woman has found a simple way to show solidarity against racism - wear a safety pin. @Cheeahs has started the hashtag #SafetyPin which has been shared nearly 30,000 times. Angered by the stories of racism, she used Twitter to find a way of showing her frustration. She decided that a safety pin was the simplest solution. @Cheeah's real name is Allison - she doesn't want her surname used for safety reasons. She lives in London. Speaking to the BBC she says, "This is meant to be more than just a symbolic gesture or a way for like-minded people to pat each other on the back. If people wear the pin and support the campaign they are saying they are prepared to be part of the solution. It could be by confronting racist behaviour, or if that is not possible at least documenting it. More generally it is about reaching out to people and letting them know they are safe and welcome," she says. @EmilyBaah asks, "Why do u need a #safetypin to show you're not racist? Surely u should just not be racist as a default setting, maybe?". Other Twitter users have taken sarcastic sideswipes at the campaign and the people throwing their weight behind it. Offensive graffiti has been scrawled at a Polish centre in London, cards reading "no more Polish vermin" have been posted through letterboxes in Cambridge and a US veteran has been called "an immigrant" and told to "get back to Africa" while on a tram in Manchester. Allison is not from the UK - she is from New England, USA - but she considers herself an "undercover immigrant" due to the fact she is white and English speaking. "I am not a British citizen, I cannot vote but I am a part of this society. I am married to an Englishman and have lived here for six years. It is important for me to stand with others who can't go undercover." Written by Zak Brophy, UGC & Social News Team
There have been reports of racist abuse in the UK since the referendum result.
-6% Overall use since 2006 -12% Bus passengers -7% Ferry passengers +29% ScotRail passengers The National Transport Strategy also said that in the same period, traffic on the country's roads went up by 2%. Transport Minister Derek Mackay said the Scottish government had "invested heavily" in transport since the first strategy was published in 2006. He added that progress in key areas had been made, "despite the recession". The updated strategy looked at trends and statistics over the last nine years and said; The report also detailed the "significant" fall in road deaths. It said the number of people killed was down from 314 in 2006 to 200 in 2014, a reduction of 36%. Director of lobby group Transform Scotland, Colin Howden, said it was "tragic" that there had been "absolutely no progress" in moving people from cars to public transport. He added: "As the new strategy sets out, the past decade has seen a 2% increase in traffic levels, while public transport use has declined by 6%. "Whether one wants to tackle congestion, improve connectivity, or cut emissions, the evidence in this new strategy highlights a wasted decade in improving Scotland's transport." However, Mr Mackay believed the review had produced "good news" on a range of issues including; He said: "Rail has performed particularly strongly with more passengers than ever before now choosing to travel on Scotland's railways, with the newly opened Borders Railway leading the line in this success. "The Scottish government has committed £5bn to transforming Scotland's rail network, including £475mn for the largest-ever train improvement programme seen in Scotland. "This will see 10% more trains for the ScotRail fleet, providing 23% extra seats for passengers, and mean that 90% of all Scotland's trains will either be new or fully refurbished by 2019." And Transport Scotland said that despite the economic squeeze investment in the infrastructure had continued since 2006. A spokesman pointed to the growth in rail passengers which had recorded a 30% increase in the last decade. He added: "Of course we recognise that there is more to be done, particularly in improving the patronage figures for buses, and the refresh has confirmed that a review is necessary in the next parliament to explore the issues in more depth."
The number of people using public transport in Scotland over the last nine years has fallen by 6%, a new report has revealed.
A blaze damaged buildings on Cathedral Green in Exeter before spreading to the Royal Clarence Hotel, which dates back to 1769. Architects say the new facade has been designed to stay as true as possible to the original. The rebuilding of the hotel is expected to take 18 months to complete and it is due to reopen in 2019. Owner Andrew Brownsword said some features like iron work and stained glass windows would be fully restored. He said: "This is such a wonderful moment, after the initial heartbreak and months of deconstruction, to start to look towards to the future and to restoring the Royal Clarence's historic frontage." Architect David Shatwell said: "Having taken every effort to stabilise the building, save as much as possible of what remains and prepare detailed research into the history of the building... we are delighted to now be taking the first steps toward rebuilding this beautiful building." The plans for the facade will be on display at St Martin's Church in Cathedral Close between 14:00 and 20:00 on Wednesday, 26 July. The plans for the interior of the hotel are still being worked on and they will need to be approved before work begins.
The front of England's oldest hotel, which was destroyed by fire last October, is set to be restored.
The upgrading - coinciding with the 100 year anniversary - offers greater protection and marks its significance. At least 108 men and boys were killed at the Explosives Loading Company near Faversham in Kent on 2 April 1916. A fire broke out in a wooden shed, igniting 15 tons of TNT and 150 tons of ammonium nitrate. The explosions that followed shattered windows 15 miles away and were heard in France, Historic England said. However, government censorship and a press blackout - for fear of alerting the enemy - meant the disaster was barely-reported at the time. The majority of the victims, many of whom could not be identified, were buried in a mass grave in Faversham's Love Lane cemetery, where the memorial stands. All the victims were male as no women worked in the plant at weekends - the oldest was 61 the youngest 17 - Historic England said. Grade I buildings - only 2.5% - are of "exceptional interest" Grade II* buildings - 5.5% - are "particularly important buildings of more than special interest" Grade II buildings are of special interest; 92% of all listed buildings are in this class Historic England said: "The memorial is an eloquent and poignant reminder of the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it made in World War One. " It has pledged to list a total of 2,500 war memorials by 2018, marking the centenary of the war. Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said: "Over a million Britons lost their lives in the First World War. It's important that their sacrifice is not forgotten."
A memorial to the victims of the "worst recorded accident" in Britain's explosives industry has been upgraded to Grade 2* listed.
But he says he would be prepared to release the New Zealander from his contract if he wanted to leave. Gatland is due to return to his Wales role after the British and Irish Lions tour and has been tipped as a potential future All Blacks coach. Phillips said: "I don't think he'd do it, a huge value for him is loyalty so I don't think it would happen. "But having said that, if he did, the people you need on your team have got to want to be there." Gatland leads the Lions into a winner-takes-all third Test against New Zealand in Auckland on 8 July. Following the tourists' 24-21 win over the All Blacks in Wellington, Sir Graham Henry tipped Gatland as a possible future All Blacks coach. Steve Hansen has signed a contract to take New Zealand to the 2019 World Cup, which is when Gatland' deal with Wales is due to end. "The job is so critical to Wales. I wouldn't want somebody doing it who doesn't want to be there," added Phillips. "So if he wanted to go, he could go." Gatland is Wales' longest-serving coach, having taken over following the 2007 World Cup. Wales have won two Six Nations and Grand Slams and another championship title during his tenure, and reached the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup. He has twice been released from his Wales duties to coach the Lions - for the victorious tour of Australia in 2013 and the current New Zealand tour. Phillips has praised Gatland's handling of this Lions on the current trip after intense criticism he has received. He was portrayed as a clown on the front of the New Zealand Herald following the first Test after accusing the All Blacks of targeting Lions scrum-half Conor Murray. He was also criticised for calling up Wales quartet Cory Hill, Gareth Davies, Tomas Francis and Kristian Dacey and Scottish pair Alan Dell and Finn Russell and only using them as injury cover. The Welsh four players were unused replacements in two matches. "It's his third tour so he knows what to expect, it's probably the toughest coaching job in rugby," Phillips added. "He's had the discipline to stay above the criticism, not be drawn into it. "He has the strong character and has retained his discipline to keep his eye on the prize of winning the Test series. "You have to stay focused, back yourself and stay true to your instincts." Phillips also defended the WRU's decision to allow Gatland and his Wales assistants Rob Howley and Neil Jenkins to tour with the Lions, leaving Robin McBryde to lead the national team in their two summer Test matches against Samoa and Tonga. Wales won both their games and handed out 12 new caps while the Lions have a chance of winning a first Test series in New Zealand since 1971. So did the WRU and Phillips get it right? "It's not about being personally vindicated," said Phillips. "Sometimes you get it right and sometimes get it wrong. "I'm just pleased for everyone. I am pleased for the Welsh youngsters who got the wins against Samoa and Tonga. "Jamie Roberts led them well on the pitch and they are good ambassadors for Welsh rugby." Phillips does not believe the future of the Lions is in danger, despite calls to shorten future tours. He believes the trips should have a special place in the calendar. "It's a little bit like the Olympics for rugby, it's the crown jewels," said Phillips. "We know the players put it almost above their country jersey sometimes and coaches want to coach the Lions. "I definitely don't think we should subscribe to one-off games or breaking something as powerful a brand as this is. "As a Lions board we have always said the brand is stronger if you can win a series." English clubs have indicated they want the 10-match tour to be reduced to eight games but Phillips has indicated the Lions might need more time to win a series. "The fixture congestion is an ongoing debate and we are having the conversation about the global season," he said. "When it comes to Lions tours, it's the Test series that counts. "It's a brilliant brand so you are probably looking at more preparation time, looking at what's a sensible run of games into a Test series."
Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips expects Warren Gatland to see out his contract as Wales coach.
The two sides have been in dispute since last April. The year-long row is over Southern giving drivers responsibility for operating the doors, and changing the role of guards to on-board supervisors. The rail firm, which is also in dispute with drivers' union Aslef, confirmed talks would be held Monday and Tuesday. A spokesman for Southern said: "We're pleased to be meeting the RMT in a bid to try and find a route forward to end their dispute." The RMT has taken 31 days of strike action over the proposed changes. General secretary Mick Cash said: "The union welcomes the opportunity to engage with Southern rail in further talks. "We expect there to be no efforts to undermine these important talks from other parties and that they will be allowed to take place free from external interference." Rail user groups urged all parties to reach agreement as soon as possible. Shelley Atlas, who runs Brighton Line Commuters, said: "It's about time this was sorted. The situation has been like this since last April and that's a very long time for passengers to put up with it. "There have been plenty of talks before but the end result hasn't happened. "We know of one lady who lost the possibility of a job in London because of the strikes and another lost a house sale. "But it doesn't just affect the passengers, it affects traders and businesses on the stations. People are very concerned."
Talks are due to begin later between Southern rail and the RMT union in an ongoing dispute over driver-only operated trains.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez opened fire on Philando Castile, 32, after stopping his car in Falcon Heights, St Paul. The aftermath was streamed live on Facebook by Mr Castile's girlfriend who was a passenger in the car. The death prompted widespread protests in St Paul. The killing is one of a series of deaths of black men and boys at the hands of police - which has fuelled claims of institutionalised racism in US society. Announcing the charge on Wednesday, district prosecutor John Choi said that evidence, including video from a police car, showed that when the officer had approached the car, Mr Castile had calmly told him he was carrying a gun. Mr Choi said the officer had told Mr Castile not to pull the gun out and Mr Castile and his girlfriend had both said that he was not doing so. He said the officer had then screamed, drawn his gun and fired seven shots. He said that as Mr Castile was dying, he had uttered his final words: "I wasn't reaching for it." Mr Choi said that "unreasonable fear" on the part of a police officer could not justify the use of deadly force. Mr Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, said the charge was the strongest the family could have hoped for under Minnesota law. Glenda Hatchett, a lawyer representing the family, described the move as "an important signal to this nation". Speaking after the shooting, Mr Castile's girlfriend said he had been shot while reaching for his ID after telling the police officer he had a gun and a permit for it. Lawyers for Mr Yanez, who is Latino, have said that he reacted to the presence of a gun in the car. They say he stopped Mr Castile because he appeared to be a possible match for an armed robbery suspect. But the district prosecutor said on Wednesday that Mr Castile had not been a suspect in that robbery. Mr Castile's family say he was racially profiled. Mr Yanez is due to make his first court appearance on Friday. If found guilty, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Mr Castile's death led to angry protests outside the governor's mansion and another demonstration that shut down a main highway in St Paul for hours.
A US police officer who fatally shot a black man in Minnesota in July has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, prosecutors say.
What he found in his local Waitrose appalled him: the cards were all pink ballerinas for girls, footballers and astronauts for boys. There was nothing that challenged those gendered stereotypes. So he sent a quick tweet. What followed was a vitriolic debate over the question of exactly what greetings cards should show. His initial tweet addressed publicly to the upmarket food store simply asked "Dear @waitrose, do you think your children's cards may be just a bit stereotypical?" Sir Peter wasn't prepared for the online response, which included insults and sneers from people who thought the matter trivial or too prescriptive. Several said they, or their daughters, liked pink and wanted to buy cards that reflected their femininity. Others agreed with him. He hastens to clarify: "I'm happy for there to be pink cards with ballerinas on display. It's choice I'm arguing for, not banning or limiting options. Lots of girls I know would not want to be sent those cards." "Some adults make assumptions about children that are patronising and wrong." Waitrose responded that while many of their cards are already suitable for both boys and girls they are "constantly updating to reflect what our customers want to buy". "We are currently working with our suppliers to explore how we can reflect a wider range of children's interests which aren't gender specific," said Waitrose press spokesperson, Gill Smith. In the meantime Sir Peter argues that the current preponderance of images of girls dancing, shopping and dressing up, while boys are shown having adventures and doing sport can have a subtle impact on children's future ambitions. "This crude stereotyping does do harm. It limits aspiration, it shapes careers. If girls are told they should be ballerinas and boys astronauts and scientists it's damaging." During his parliamentary career Sir Peter worked to encourage women to enter the engineering profession and persuaded magazines aimed at teenage girls to address their portrayal of women. "We have lowest participation of women in engineering in Europe, probably the world. Our engineering companies are missing out on talent," he said. The number and passion of responses - several hundred - indicates he may have hit a raw nerve. Already there have been outspoken campaigns against toy manufacturers that entrench stereotypes and some companies such as Lego have adapted their marketing as a result. But it isn't an matter that has been discussed much within the greetings card business, at least not yet, according to Sharon Little, chief executive of the Greeting Card Association (GCA), the industry trade body. Ms Little says retailers decide what cards they stock, based simply on what they think their customers will buy. So why don't retailers offer cards showing girls driving diggers and boys dancing? "Maybe they don't sell in enough quantities," she suggests. But if customers want something different all they need to do is ask. "They need to give feedback to the retailer, if they don't feel their needs are being met. "Card publishers are producing new ranges all the time and they would be able to react very quickly." And getting it right will pay off. The UK boasts a huge greeting cards industry, worth £1.7bn a year. According to the GCA Brits buy an average of of 31 cards per person per year, and the vast majority, it is thought, by women.
Earlier this week former Conservative MP Sir Peter Luff was sent by his wife to buy a birthday card for her niece.
The 72-year-old died on Tuesday morning. Mr McCullough grew up in Portstewart, County Londonderry. He recorded with a number of very well-known musicians including Sir Paul McCartney and Wings, featuring on the hit James Bond theme, Live and Let Die. He played with Joe Cocker at the legendary Woodstock concert in 1969, the only Irishman to perform there. Mr McCullough also toured with rock acts such as Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd. He had received critical acclaim in recent years for albums such as Belfast to Boston and Poor Man's Moon. Sir Paul McCartney said he was "very sad" to hear of Mr McCullough's death. "He was a pleasure to work with, a super talented musician with a lovely sense of humour," he told the BBC. "The solo he played on My Love was a classic that he made up on the spot in front of a live orchestra. Our deepest sympathies from my family to his." Singer and musician Sir Van Morrison said he was "very sorry" to hear about Mr McCullough's death. "I know he had some difficult times recently, but he will be remembered for his long and productive career in music," he said. "My thoughts are with his friends and family at this time." Mr McCullough spent 18 months touring and recording with Wings in the 1970s, after being invited to join the band following a number of jamming sessions with Sir Paul McCartney. He was hailed for his guitar work on the US number one hit, My Love. Mr McCullough later signed to the Dark Horse record label of another Beatle, George Harrison, for his solo album, Mind Your Own Business.
The Northern Ireland rock guitarist, Henry McCullough, has died.
It follows the publication of letters between the boss of Cluff Natural Resources and Scottish ministers. They show that the day after a ban on unconventional oil and gas was announced, Cluff warned that plans to invest more than £250m were at risk. WWF Scotland said plans to burn coal under the sea should be a non-starter. No-one at Cluff Natural Resources was available for comment on the letters. In the communications from January this year, Algy Cluff, the comany's founder, said he wanted assurances from ministers that the ban on unconventional oil and gas - often referred to as fracking - would not apply to underground coal gasification (UCG). The UCG process attempt to reach reserves of coal which are inaccessible to mine, in this case under the waters of the Forth estuary. It involves chemically converting the coal from a solid state into gas by pumping oxygen and steam through a small borehole into the coal seam. Environmental campaigners have said UCG should be included in the fracking moratorium. Mr Cluff's letter has been released following a freedom of information request from anti-fracking campaigners. It has been published by The Ferret, an investigative journalism website, along with the reply sent by Alex Neil MSP, the Cabinet secretary responsible for planning. In his response, Mr Neil gave Mr Cluff an assurance the moratorium was "specifically about the onshore exploration, appraisal, and production of coal bed methane and shale oil and gas." He added: "The moratorium does not apply to the offshore underground gasification of coal." Powers to licence onshore unconventional oil and gas developments are being devolved to the Scottish government. But UCG licences will continue to be issued by the Coal Authority. A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "The development of new energy technologies, such as underground coal gasification, must be consistent with our environmental objectives and we will continue to take a careful, evidence-based approach to such developments." Meanwhile, the SNP MP for Edinburgh East, Tommy Sheppard, has described UCG as "more problematic" than fracking because of the "threat of underground explosions and geological trauma". Mr Sheppard also suggested the Scottish government's moratorium could be applied to UCG. He told BBC Scotland: "If you are going to drill shafts onshore, before going offshore, you are going to need planning permission for that and, in my mind, that would most definitely be unconventional gas extraction and it would be covered by the moratorium. "There's a big debate going on within the SNP, as there is within wider Scottish society, about whether or not these new technologies have a role to play, whether the benefits outweigh the risks, and that debate is going on in great detail within my local community and within my party. "I have pretty much made up my mind on this and I am on one side of that debate and that's purely because of the evidence I have been shown over the last 18 months." Environmentalists insist the time has come for the Scottish government to rule out UCG. They argue it already has the power to do so under the existing planning laws governing related developments onshore. Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, said: "No company should ever be allowed to hold Scottish ministers or Scotland's environment to ransom like this. "This latest revelation again highlights why plans to burn coal under the sea should be a non-starter, and why the Scottish government must extend its moratorium on unconventional gas extraction to include underground coal gasification. "The science is clear, to protect our climate the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves must remain unburned. In a worst case scenario, proposals such as these could even extend our use of fossil fuels, locking us into a high-carbon world." No-one from Cluff Natural Resources was available for comment.
Environmentalists have accused the firm behind plans to use coal seams beneath the Forth to produce gas of "attempting to hold Scotland to ransom".
Bath's Conservative-led council has proposed the scheme for Bathampton Meadows but more than 5,500 people have signed a petition against the plans. The Bath Preservation Trust said the Unesco 2009 recommendation was to reinforce the protection of the site. The plans are due to be discussed at a meeting of the council on 12 November. "It would be difficult to see how building a park-and-ride on the site would protect the setting," said Caroline Kay, chief executive of the trust. Mrs Kay said the trust was "not anti-park-and-ride" but did not believe a new scheme to the east of the city would "provide sufficient benefit to justify the harm it would cause". Bath resident Amy Williams, who won gold in the skeleton at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, has joined the campaign. She said there was "no need to spoil these beautiful meadows" and urged the council to think about better advertising for the existing park-and-ride sites. Tim Warren, the leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, said the plans were "a key part of the council's wider strategy to improve transport and tackle congestion in and around Bath". "It is of course vital that it is delivered in a way which is sensitive to the local area," said Mr Warren. A final decision on the scheme will be made by the cabinet at a later date.
Plans to build a new park-and-ride scheme on meadows near Bath may damage the city's Unesco World Heritage City status, campaigners say.
The case concerned whether the publication of pixelated CCTV footage meant a criminal offence had been committed. But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ruled there was "nothing sufficiently distinctive" likely to identify her. Evans and his supporters are trying to get his conviction overturned. The disgraced Wales football international was jailed for five years in 2012 after being found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel near Rhyl, Denbighshire. The 26-year-old was released last year after serving half of his sentence. In January, the CPS was asked by the Attorney General to consider whether there was a case to answer. CPS Wales chief crown prosecutor Ed Beltrami said it was "deemed unlikely that a member of the public could identify the victim and for that reason it was decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge".
No action will be taken against a website supporting rapist Ched Evans following an inquiry into whether his victim was identified.
Ipswich Hospital will stop the free service for patients attending clinical appointments from the end of the month, unless they meet assessment criteria. A spokesperson said the hospital was following national guidelines. Kevin McGrath, who attends three appointments a week, said: "This really is a matter of life and death." He lives about a mile away from the hospital but is too weak to walk to his sessions, which last about four hours each. Mr McGrath will be one of about 30 of the 100 or so renal dialysis patients which the hospital says will no longer receive free transport. About 30 patients will continue to qualify through benefits and another 40 for medical reasons, such as being wheelchair bound, the hospital said. Mr McGrath said he was concerned about other patients who have further to travel. "We've got patients from Washbrook to Aldeburgh," he said. "If they're expected to fund their own taxis, people can't do it. They just can't afford it." He has signed a petition calling for the hospital to reconsider the withdrawal of funding. Catherine Morgan, associate director of nursing at Ipswich Hospital, said the hospital was following national Department of Health guidelines. She said the hospital had to treat all patients equally. "For renal patients, it's understandably a distressing and difficult situation," she said. "However, there are a number of other groups, for example patients in the oncology department, who haven't had this service before and have to adhere to the national guidance. "We're working really closely with patients, so if they feel they are unable to fund their own transport and they don't meet the clinical criteria for transport, we are helping them make appropriate claims. "Patient safety is our biggest concern and we wouldn't knowingly put anyone's life at risk." Michael Watson, director of information and advice at the Patients Association, said he was "deeply concerned" by the changes and called on the hospital to reconsider. "I think they reflect a widespread problem within the NHS," he said. "They're being asked to do more with less funding and less resources, and are struggling to even keep the services they offer at present."
Lives are being put at risk by the decision to end free transport to a Suffolk hospital for kidney dialysis patients, it has been claimed.
The 26-year-old has scored 30 goals for the German side this season and earlier this year he became the first Gabonese to be named the Confederation of African Football player of the year. "Becoming Africa's player of the year was extraordinary, a huge prize," Tuchel told BBC Sport. "It made him stronger, even more self-confident." Tuchel added: "Players like 'Auba' improve themselves with their spirit, their mentality and their will to give everything, every day. "He plays to become a league top scorer, to get a hand on a cup or championship trophy." Aubameyang's journey to the top has not been without difficulty. After coming through the youth system at Italian giants AC Milan, he was offloaded without playing a game. Similar rejection then followed in France, the country of his birth, during a sequence of unproductive Ligue 1 loan deals. Like so many Africans before him, it was at St Etienne where the then slightly-framed West African finally found his feet. The early setbacks were formative, though, equally so the highs and lows of an Africa Cup of Nations on home soil in 2012. Dortmund captain Mats Hummels, a World Cup winner with Germany, says his club-mate has "plenty of qualities", but singles out the forward's deadly acceleration. "He is the fastest player I have played with or against," he said. "He also works hard for the team, which is the most important thing." 'World class' However, Aubameyang's selection as football of the year was criticised by his four-time predecessor Yaya Toure. "What Toure did was quite outrageous," says England-based German journalist Michael Streck of the Manchester City midfielder. A Dortmund native, Streck tracks the Bundesliga and Premier League. "Aubameyang has been playing at a world-class level for several years now," Streck said. "This year Dortmund have been playing a more possession-based style than they had under Jurgen Klopp and I think Aubameyang has benefited from that, too." Tuchel refuses credit for the most prolific season of the forward's career, however. "I'm happy that we have a good connection, that I can help him, try to guide him on his way," he said. "But it is his way, it is his talent and it is his achievement." With the Bundesliga to fight for and another Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon next year, Germany and all of Africa are watching to see how far Aubameyang can go.
Gabon and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is always improving, says coach Thomas Tuchel.
The international metals firm, Liberty House, has confirmed to the BBC that it is interested in acquiring the Dalzell and Clydebridge works. In October, Tata announced 1,200 job losses across the UK. A possible deal with Greybull Capital emerged in December, but unions said this would not necessarily guarantee the future of the Scottish plants. The company was said to be in talks to buy the Scunthorpe plant and the Scottish plants but steelworkers' union Community, told BBC Scotland that Greybull's business plan did not include Dalzell, where 225 jobs are being lost, and the Clydebridge plant where 45 jobs are going. The union suggested that the Scottish plants should be sold off separately from Scunthorpe. Liberty has now told the BBC it has expressed interest in the Scottish businesses to both Tata and Scottish Enterprise. It said discussions were ongoing but nothing had been finalised. A global glut of steel, cheap Chinese imports and the strength of Sterling have all conspired against the UK steel industry. It's in crisis with heavy job losses including the 900 at Scunthorpe and 270 at Clydebridge and Dalzell announced by Tata in October. Since December, Tata's been in talks with Greybull Capital about selling all three sites as part of its long products division. Reports today suggest that a deal is close. At the same time, Liberty House has confirmed its interest in buying Clydebridge and Dalzell as the Scottish government's steel taskforce prepares to meet. A Liberty director told the BBC the company wants to retain skills, jobs and continue production at the two Scottish mills. But has their interest come too late? Not necessarily. I understand that Tata is prepared to consider selling the Scottish plants separately and that Greybull may be "willing for that to happen". The steelworkers' union Community has previously said that a Greybull takeover would not necessarily secure the future of Clydebridge and Dalzell. If they are sold to Liberty - and nothing has been finalised - the Lanarkshire mills would be supplied with steel bought on the international market rather than from Scunthorpe. According to some industry sources, breaking that link may be the only way to keep Scottish steel competitive. Public confirmation of its position comes ahead of a meeting of the Scottish government's steel taskforce later. Business Minister Fergus Ewing said: "Liberty House has a proven track record in the UK steel industry and this is a welcome development in the quest to secure a sustainable future for Scottish steel. "I met Liberty management last week to outline the full range of potential support that would be available from the Scottish government and Scottish Enterprise should it succeed in a buyout. "I also emphasised that the Scottish Steel Task Force continues to work constructively to ensure a viable future for the plants, with action being taken forward on energy costs, business rates, procurement and on environmental issues." He added: "To help a new operator restart operations, the Scottish government has also invested £195,000 in a plan to keep key workers on standby to minimise the time the plants are mothballed and to safeguard full manufacturing capability. "The Steel Task Force will meet this morning and reflect on this positive development." A spokesman for Community said "any interest from credible investors" was welcome. "This reinforces our strongly-held view that the skills of the workforce and the assets at the plants can be competitive and these businesses can have a successful future with the right long-term investment," the spokesman said. "Clearly, there is a long way to go from an expression of interest to rebuilding the workforce and restarting production. "This is why all stakeholders - particularly Tata Steel and the Scottish government - need to work together and remain focused on doing all they can to preserve the assets and retain skills, so that another investor can secure jobs and bring back production as soon as practically possible." Labour MSP James Kelly, who is on the steel taskforce, and is MSP for Clydebridge, said: "My main priority is preserving jobs at Dalzell and Clydebridge and if selling them as a separate entity would achieve that, then that's something I would support". Tata blamed the cuts on a flood of cheap imports from China, a strong pound and high electricity costs. The decision to close the two Tata plants in Scotland effectively ends production at the country's last two major steelworks. The Dalzell Steel and Iron Works opened in 1872, and Clydebridge in 1887.
A new potential buyer has emerged for Tata Steel's two mothballed plants in Lanarkshire, where 270 jobs are going.
The Foreign Office has confirmed 15 Britons have died following the attack on a beach resort in Sousse on Friday. Tony Callaghan, a police support worker from Norfolk, and his wife Chris, are being treated for gunshot wounds. He said the bullet went through her bag and hit her glasses case, before striking her in the leg. The couple, aged in their 60s and from North Walsham, were staying at the Imperial Hotel for the third time and were by the pool when loud bangs echoed around the beach. Mr Callaghan told BBC correspondent Mark Lowen his wife's handbag took the impact of the bullet, which shattered the lens of her glasses before striking her leg. Describing the attack, Mr Callaghan said: "A lot of people thought there were fireworks going off. I'm ex-military, so I knew that wasn't fireworks and that was gunshots. "So I told people and my wife to start running up towards the hotel." He said he then got shot in the leg, but managed to find cover in a hotel office. "Six of us took cover in there and I thought my wife was behind me, but she was still in the corridor," he said. "As soon as we were in the room they started barricading the door, but I looked around and my wife wasn't with me. I could hear her shouting, 'help me I've been shot'. And I was inside and I couldn't get out to help." Mr Callaghan said police then came and the barricade was pulled down and he left the office to see "carnage" in the corridor. He described seeing a woman next to his wife who had been shot four times in the back, and at least another two female bodies. Another woman had been shot dead in another office, he added. The pair are still being treated at the Sahloul University Hospital, along with about 18 others who received bullet wounds. In a statement, Norfolk Police said it was liaising with the Foreign Office regarding the Callaghan's situation and was providing assistance to their family back home. It said another of its officers was also on holiday in the resort at the time violence broke out, but he was "safe and well". The attack marks "the most significant terrorist attack on the British people" since the London 7/7 bombings in 2005, according to Foreign Minister Tobias Ellwood. Fifteen people have so far been confirmed dead, but the toll is likely to rise, he added.
A Briton who survived the Tunisian attack said his wife's life could have been saved when bullets struck her handbag.
The 36-year-old midfielder, who is leaving MLS side LA Galaxy, told BT Sport he held talks with the League One club after Karl Robinson's departure. "It's a very exciting job for someone else," said Gerrard, who made 710 appearances for Liverpool. He has been linked with moves to Celtic and Newcastle United, as well as a return to Anfield as a coach. England's fourth most-capped player left Liverpool in 2015 after 17 years in the first team, during which he won eight major trophies. Gerrard is working towards his Uefa A coaching licence - the second-highest qualification available. Take part in our new Premier League Predictor game, which allows you to create leagues with friends. Subscribe to the BBC Sport newsletter to get our pick of news, features and video sent to your inbox.
Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard says MK Dons' managerial vacancy came "a bit too soon" for him.
The Edinburgh band picked up the award and £20,000 at a ceremony in Glasgow's Barrowlands on Thursday. They beat Biffy Clyro's number one UK album Opposites and Edywn Collins' Understated to the prize. The Scottish album of the year, similar to the Mercury Music Prize, acknowledges "the most outstanding albums" released by Scottish artists in the past 12 months. Young Fathers said: "What started in the basement has become worldwide. Something that is personal to us, is for everyone." Other bands on the shortlist included Chvrches, Mogwai and Boards Of Canada. Stewart Henderson, chairman of the Scottish music industry association, said: "I'd just like to say how delighted we are for Young Fathers. "Tape Two is an extraordinary album and a deserving winner out of a phenomenally strong shortlist."
Young Fathers have won the Scottish album of the year award for Tape Two.
Broos, 63, takes over from Volker Finke who was sacked in October. Alexandre Belinga, the team's interim coach for the past three months, will remain as an assistant to the Belgian along with another former Belgian player, Sven Vandenbroeck. Broos, who has coached extensively across Europe, was a surprise choice. He was not on Fecafoot's shortlist of five, which included three Frenchmen, a Serbian and a Cameroonian. Broos has vast experience as a manager, having won the Belgian Championship twice with Club Brugge and then again with Anderlecht. He has also enjoyed spells in Greece, Turkey and Algeria in recent years. His first task with Cameroon will be to keep them top of their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying group M, when they face qualifiers - home and away - against South Africa next month. He will also take charge of the Indomitable Lions when they take on France in a friendly in May.
Cameroon's Football Federation (Fecafoot) have appointed former Belgium international, Hugo Broos, as the Indomitable Lions' new head coach.
Perth and Kinross Council is to consider an application to host the annual music event on the grounds of Strathallan Castle from this summer. Part-owners of the estate have said they will not allow wildlife or the natural environment to be harmed. But some residents say the site's road network and abundant wildlife make it unsuitable to host such a major event. The festival is looking for a new home after quitting Balado after 17 years due to concerns about an oil pipeline running under the site. Perth and Kinross Council is to consider a detailed planning application from organisers DF Concerts for the Strathallan site following a second round of public consultation. The initial 28-day consultation drew 523 public comments, with 274 opposing the plans, 240 supporting them and nine neutral. One objector, local resident Zazie Mackintosh, said she was worried by the ongoing dispute over the proposal, which has seen nature groups including RSPB Scotland and the Woodland Trust clash with DF Concerts and estate owners. "I am concerned that this is dividing the community," she said. "There are a lot of people who are opposing the proposal to have T in the Park here and there are people supporting it, and it has created real tension. I think it's a real shame that this has happened. "I think there are many reasons why Strathallan is not the right place for this - the road network is not suitable for traffic of that volume, and there is an abundance of wildlife at the site. There's a private water supply, health and safety issues, and I think the negative impact it could have on the established tourist industry." Jamie and Debs Roberts are part-owners of the Strathallan Estate, and insist protecting the local environment has always been their priority. "We're conservationists at heart," said Mrs Roberts. "We've been organic farmers for the last 20 years. Looking after wildlife is not something that's different to us or a conflict for us - it's core to what we do. "Where I have comfort is that all of the experts who have come in and looked and assessed the wildlife issues here at Strathallan, all of their recommended actions are being adhered to. Where we have specific species where there are actions to look after them, that's all being implemented so they are being protected. "I'd also look at the work DF Concerts did at Balado - they were working alongside a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the conditions for that environmental management is much higher than anything that we would have here." Attracting more than 80,000 music fans every year, the festival generates a significant economic boost for Scotland - and Perthshire. A study carried out by Glasgow-based consultancy Ekos estimated that the 2014 event generated £15m for the Scottish economy, and £2.7m locally in Perthshire, with one in five attendees travelling from outside Scotland. However, Mrs Mackintosh claimed the event might actually harm the local tourist trade. She said: "While I agree that T in the Park is fantastic for the Scottish economy, that would be the case wherever it was in Scotland, and I would question how beneficial it would be to the local economy. I would question that there's a significant net economic benefit. "I think this part of Perthshire is already on the map - Gleaneagles has done a great job of that with the Ryder Cup and the G8. "Certainly some businesses and people will benefit - and no-one more than the castle owners. But tourists come here for the landscape and the wildlife and the scenery, our local shops and art galleries, and that part of the economy would suffer." While the Roberts' are unapologetic that they would "generate revenue" from having the festival as a tenant, they insisted the move would represent "an opportunity" for Strathallan as a whole. Mrs Roberts said: "What it came down to for us was that there was going to be a massive change, but with it come a whole raft of benefits, not just for the estate but for the wider area. "I'm actually more convinced now than I was. "In the last months and years we've had so many chances to challenge DF Concerts and to get answers to questions, and at every stage they've been forthright and transparent. I'm happier now today than I've ever been with it." Mr Roberts added: "We are guardians and custodians of this area, and we make the decisions - we won't let it be spoiled. "It's the beauty that brought DF Concerts here. They're not interested in desecrating that or decimating it - it's in their best interest and ours to maintain the environment that's here." Meanwhile, traffic plans for the event have been defended by the firm which helped design them, Yorkshire-based traffic management firm SEP Ltd. A spokesman said there were forecast to be just under 69,000 vehicle movements across a four-week period including the festival build-up, break down and show days, including 13,000 vehicles which would be left on-site during the festival. He said: "There is a scientific calculation of network capacity and flow rates that can be applied to the road network being used by the event. "A desktop modelling exercise has been performed and it was successful. We are confident of our plans and are extremely experienced in managing traffic plans in rural areas." Perth and Kinross Council aims to reach a decision on the planning application in May.
The community of Strathallan has been "divided" over the proposal to host T in the Park there, residents say.
The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI) recorded its first slowdown in the services sector for four months. The index fell to 54.5 in January from the previous month's reading of 56.2. However, a reading above 50 still indicates the sector is expanding, and Markit said the economy was on track for a "buoyant" start to 2017. Similar surveys from Markit/CIPS released earlier in the week suggested a slight slowdown in activity in both the manufacturing and construction sectors. But Markit said the surveys together suggested the UK economy would grow by a "robust" 0.5% in the first quarter of the year, if current trends continued. On Thursday, the Bank of England revised up its forecast for the UK economy this year, and now expects it to grow by 2%. The health of the UK's service sector is monitored closely as it accounts for more than three-quarters of the economy. Markit said the main positive finding from its latest survey of the sector was an increase in optimism about future prospects, which was at its highest since May last year. However, once again firms reported inflationary pressures. Price inflation for goods bought by the companies hit the highest since March 2011, while inflation in prices charged rose at the same rate as December's 68-month high. Firms are facing much higher prices for imported goods since the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit referendum vote in June last year. "Service sector growth eased after a strong end to 2016, but the January surveys still point to a buoyant start to 2017 for the UK economy," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit. "Encouragingly, optimism about the coming year has risen to its highest in one-and-a-half years, improving across the board in all sectors to suggest that January's slowdown may only be temporary. "The main area of concern is the extent to which companies' costs are rising across the economy, with the rate of inflation accelerating to a pace not seen since before the global financial crisis," he added. "Higher costs are feeding through to increased selling prices, which will inevitably put upward pressure on consumer prices." Latest official figures showed the annual rate inflation rose to 1.6% last month, up from 1.2% in November. The Bank expects the weakness in the pound to push inflation to 2.7% next year, above its target rate of 2%. Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said the Bank is prepared to tolerate inflation running above its target, but in the minutes from their latest meeting, members of the Monetary Policy Committee said they had moved "a little closer" to the limit of that toleration.
Growth in the UK's dominant service sector slowed last month, according to a closely watched survey, while price pressures "remained intense".
The benchmark Shanghai Composite closed 3.4% higher at 3,789.17 - ending a three-day slide that included an 8% plunge on Monday. Authorities tried to calm markets with a probe into illegal share "dumping". They also pledged to buy stocks, while the central bank hinted at possible further easing. Investors' confidence was also boosted by a higher close overnight for Wall Street, with the Dow Jones breaking a five-day losing trend. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was also higher, ending up 0.5% to 24,619.45 points. In Japan, retail sales came in 0.9 % higher for June compared with the previous year, almost double forecasts. But the Nikkei 225 failed to pick up on the positive cues and closed flat at 20,302.91 points. Investor sentiment was pulled down by poor earnings reports, with both Fanuc and Tokyo Electron cutting their full-year forecasts. Shares in both companies fell 10% in early trade. In Australia, the ASX/200 was boosted by both Wall Street and the encouraging signs from China. The index finished up by 0.7% to 5,624.20 points. In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi index closed flat at 2,037.86. Investors across the region were also looking ahead to the US Federal Reserve, which finishes its regular two-day meeting later on Wednesday. There are hopes that the Fed might give some signals about the timing of an interest rate raise later in the year.
Shares in mainland China bounced back significantly on Wednesday as the government's moves to calm investors restored some stability to the market.
Katy Pancott, 19, was struck between the Eynsham and Wolvercote roundabouts after midnight on 9 October. The court heard that Ms Pancott, from Kidlington, had been due to go on holiday on the day of her death. Darren Salter at Oxford Coroner's Court recorded a verdict that she died as a result of a road traffic collision. Updates on this story and more from Oxfordshire Thames Valley Police officers said Ms Pancott was a passenger in a black C63 Mercedes, which was stationary at the time, and got out of her own accord. She was then struck by a silver Ford Focus travelling along the A40, and suffered multiple injuries. In a statement read out in court, the driver of the Focus said he was travelling home with his wife at the 50mph speed limit when he struck Ms Pancott, who appeared in front of his car. Andi Rama, Ms Pancott's boyfriend, told police he had picked her up from Oxford where she had been drinking with friends. But they argued on the way to Witney and she opened the car door, saying she was going to get out. He said he pulled into a side road where she got out and ended up in the carriageway. Mr Rama was breathalysed and provided a negative test, the court heard. Speaking after the verdict, David Griffin, Ms Pancott's father, called her a "lovely daughter" who "doted on her brothers and sister". He added: "It's been very difficult, I don't think it's going to get much easier... all I can ask is that people don't forget my daughter."
A woman who was run over and killed on a main road in Oxfordshire had just got out of a car following a row with her boyfriend, an inquest has heard.
Media playback is not supported on this device The Americans had been trailing 8-1. Their challengers were on match point. The turnaround was dramatic. It was unexpected. And it happened once Britain's greatest sailor, Sir Ben Ainslie, came onboard. But what role did the four-time Olympic gold medallist play in Oracle's gripping 9-8 triumph in San Francisco and how influential was the Briton? John Derbyshire, racing manager and performance director of the Royal Yachting Association, and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe, explain how the 36-year-old helped Oracle to a remarkable victory. The America's Cup is said to be like a game of chess and Ainslie was the Garry Kasparov of the Oracle team, the grandmaster charged with planning the crowning moves. "The tactician is one of the three key roles on these bigger boats," Derbyshire tells BBC Sport. "Ainslie determines how to respond to another team's move. For example, if one boat turns away from the wind, he will have to decide when to do the same. "The tactician is responsible for the boat-on-boat manoeuvres and it's quite a leadership role. "He has to think about what the opposition might do and will need the strategist to inform him where the wind is coming from and ensure the helmsman is able to steer as fast as possible, and the rest of the crew need to know what is going on, too." Oracle had lost eight of their first 11 races. Larry Ellison's men were under attack on home waters and, in Ainslie's words, had a "mountain to climb". But, then, the team gambled. In a last throw of the dice, Oracle drafted in Ainslie to replace John Kostecki, a San Francisco native, and although the Briton's impact was not immediate - Oracle lost their first two races with the greatest Olympic sailor calling the shots - he soon helped reduce the deficit and, 10 victories later, it was checkmate to Ainslie. "The Americans were beaten until Ben joined the boat," says Sir Knox-Johnston. "Ben may be risking his life if he visits New Zealand, but there's no question it was Ben's arrival which changed the chemistry completely." It certainly seems Ainslie has an alchemist's touch, combining superbly with skipper James Spithill and strategist Tom Slingsby. "He clearly has something that makes a difference and it's that intangible chemistry which seemed to improve the performance of the boat," says Derbyshire. "Ben seemed to make every call correctly and it all added up to a fantastic team performance." If the competition's tactics can resemble a game of chess, then the sheer volume of personnel required to ensure the team's sailors are well-equipped on the water draws comparisons with Formula 1. Oracle had a 203-strong team, each member with a specific task, each with a part to play in the hi-tech multi-million pound programme. Media playback is not supported on this device "There will be the specialists like the meteorologists, the sail makers," reveals Derbyshire. "There are designers and engineers who are from the sailing world but with perhaps aeronautical background, because they're using solid wing masts rather than soft sails which we've previously seen. "There's also a large shore team that rigs the boat because getting these masts in and out of the boat requires a crane. Everything is duplicated, pretty much like Formula 1. "On the boat each team is slightly different, but a boat is usually split into two halves. There's the afterguard which includes the helmsman who steers, a strategist and the tactician. "On the other side, people will have a variety of roles, from hoisting and lowering the sails to generating hydraulic power to power the movement of the sails on the wings." Ainslie is the first Briton in 110 years to be on board a winning America's Cup boat and the decorated sailor has now set his sights on winning a competition which was first staged off the Isle of Wight in 1851 with a British team. Wealthy businessman Sir Keith Mills was the last Briton to attempt to bring the Auld Mug back to these islands, establishing Team Origin in 2010 but he pulled the plug a year later once he learnt of Oracle's plans to use catamarans for the 34th Cup. Ainslie says Britain has the talent, while both Derbyshire and Knox-Johnston believe the Olympian has the charisma to help fulfil his ambition. "We could probably produce three or four teams because we're so strong in sailing," says Knox-Johnston. "It's just a question of getting behind Ben because if anyone can, he can." Anyone hoping to form an America's Cup team needs cash, oodles of it - about $100m (£62.5m) if Oracle are to be the guide. A large crew, the world's best sailors and high-performance catamarans do not come cheaply, just ask the man bankrolling Oracle, the software billionaire Ellison. So desperate were New Zealand to take the prestigious trophy to the Antipodes, the country's government splashed out about $30m (£19m) in subsidies in the hope the next contest would be held on their shores. But is it realistic to think a British team could raise such funds? "If you can show people that it's good for them and the country, it would be possible," says Knox-Johnston. "It won't be easy but with someone like Ben leading it, we've got a chance." Derbyshire is equally as optimistic. "It's more realistic now given that the economic climate is slowly improving," he says. "One of the appeals of the America's Cup is that it's big boys with boy toys. It's rich men putting a lot of their finances behind it. "Their finances, combined with the potential economic benefits to a local area or country, will generate funding. Perhaps we're getting closer to that than we've been for some time."
It has been described as the greatest comeback, a moment in sailing history when Oracle Team USA fought back from the brink to beat Team New Zealand by 44 seconds in a winner-takes-all finale.
Deputy presidential spokesman Manolo Quezon said the Philippines "has to do its part to enforce the sanctions". The Jin Teng is one of 31 ships operated by North Korean firm Ocean Maritime Management, which is subject to an asset freeze and sanctions. It is currently docked in Subic Bay and is unloading palm kernels. New UN sanctions were imposed after North Korea's recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests. They include mandatory inspections of all cargo going to or from the DPRK. What impact will sanctions have? Will carrots or sticks change North Korea? The Philippines government says it will impound the Jin Teng and eventually deport the crew. Safety issues were reportedly found during an inspection of the vessel by the Philippine coast guard on Friday. A second inspection took place on Saturday, coastguard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo told AFP news agency. He said the crew of 21 had been "very cooperative". Ocean Maritime Management was blacklisted by the UN Security Council in 2014 after one of its ships was seized in July 2013 near the Panama Canal with Cuban weapons hidden under sugar sacks. It was accused last year of renaming and reflagging its vessels to evade asset freezes. The Jin Teng was sailing under a Sierra Leone flag. Pyongyang reacted to Wednesday's sanctions by firing six short-range missiles into the sea. Leader Kim Jong-Un later ordered that the country's nuclear weapons should be "ready for use" at any time.
The Philippines says it has seized a North Korean ship in line with tightened UN sanctions targeting the country's nuclear programme.
The North East MSP, who had served at the Scottish Parliament since 1999, passed away last week aged 55 shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. Ms Davidson said he had instructed his funeral be held on a Friday. This was because parliament was not sitting, "so the SNP wouldn't win any votes while Tories were here". Ms Davidson told the service at Glenbervie Parish Church in Aberdeenshire: "He was a proper true blue Tory who would go into bat for the team but never fell out with anyone while doing so. "A Labour blogger said you could disagree with him without ever finding him disagreeable. "The first minister said he was never afraid to stand up robustly for the causes he believed in - but always did so with good humour and respect for his political opponents." She went on to recall Kincardineshire-born former dairy farmer and grandfather-of-six Mr Johnstone's "humanity, his decency and his sense of fun". Ms Davidson said: "Alex wasn't just reliable - he was good. He wasn't just solid, he was able. She also paid tribute to Mr Johnstone's wife of 36 years, Linda, saying: "He couldn't have been the politician he was, he couldn't have been the man he was, without Linda being there. "I know many, many happy, supportive couples. But I don't know any that are the indivisible unit they were." The Scottish Conservatives announced earlier this week that Bill Bowman would take over as regional list MSP for the North East. Mr Bowman stood for the Conservatives in Dundee City East earlier this year.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson described late colleague Alex Johnstone as a "proper true blue Tory" at his funeral.
The Welshman is five over par after a third round 76 saw him slip down the leaderboard. Donaldson's best performance at The Open came in 2013 at Muirfield when he finished joint 32nd. "If I beat that then it's an improvement," the 40-year-old told BBC Wales Sport. "You never know, if I have a nice draw with no wind in the morning I could shoot five under and post a score for my own personal satisfaction and nothing else." Four bogies on the back nine on Saturday left the world number 79 ruing missed putts. "Overall the course today was playable and I played okay, but didn't putt great," he said. "I kept three-putting and the holes are tough enough as it is, "You don't need to knock it on the green in two and keep three-putting. "I just couldn't get the speed of the greens." Despite slipping out of contention, Donaldson, who had missed the cut in his previous four competitions, is overall happy with his performance so far at Troon. "I've not played great of late, struggling with coming back and forth from America. Not playing my best golf," he added. "To start showing signs of good golf again is a good thing so hopefully I can shoot a good score tomorrow and take it into the PGA."
Jamie Donaldson says he is targeting his highest placed finish at The Open Championship ahead of his final round at Royal Troon on Sunday.
The SNP MP for Edinburgh East said the party had to prepare for a second referendum on Scottish independence and still had "arguments to win". The current deputy leader, Stewart Hosie, has said he will step down in the autumn. Mr Sheppard wrote in a blog: "We need to prepare for the challenges ahead, including IndyRef2 when it comes. "That will be a far tougher test, and we need to be ready." Others to announce they are running are the party's Westminster leader Angus Robertson and MEP Alyn Smith.
Tommy Sheppard has announced he will stand for the role of deputy leader of the party.
His move to City, who play at Aggborough, home of Kidderminster Harriers, brings him back to the ground where his career began 20 years ago. Smethwick-born Hughes began his career with the Harriers in 1995 before making his name at West Bromwich Albion. It led to his biggest career move, when he joined Coventry for £5m in 2001, but he was only with City for a year. He returned to The Hawthorns to help Albion win promotion to the Premier League in 2002, but was then sent to prison in August 2004 for causing death by dangerous driving. After three years out of action, he returned to play in the lower reaches of the Football League, still proving a prolific scorer with Oldham, Notts County and Port Vale before dropping down to the Conference with Forest Green in January 2014. Hughes then returned to Kidderminster in February, more than 17 years after he left the club, but managed just three goals in 13 games. He began this season with Northern Premier League side Ilkeston Town, but has now answered the call from a struggling Worcster side who are second bottom of National League North, having picked up just four points from their first seven games.
Former £5m striker Lee Hughes has joined National League North club Worcester City, at the age of 39.
The initial figure released in July was boosted by a sharp rise in oil and gas production. As expected, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Friday made no change to the reading for the three months to June. It was higher than the 0.4% growth recorded for the first quarter of the year. Net trade boosted GDP by one percentage point in the second quarter - the biggest contribution from trade in four years - as exports jumped. Economists have said the boost to trade might be temporary, because the persistent strength of sterling is making British goods more expensive abroad, while turmoil in Chinese financial markets has increased uncertainty about the global outlook. Business investment rose 2.9% compared with the first three months of 2015 - the highest figure in a year. Samuel Tombs, senior UK economist at Capital Economics, said the figure "put paid to the idea that uncertainty about the general election would weigh on capital expenditure". Household spending increased by 0.7%, but was lower than the 0.9% rise in the first quarter. Weak inflation, low interest rates and a strong pound have helped to keep consumer sentiment buoyant. The UK economy expanded by 3% last year in its best result since 2006. The Bank of England expects the same momentum to be maintained this year, forecasting 2.8% growth. "With growth in households' real incomes set to remain supported by low inflation, building wage growth and strong job creation, we continue to think that the economic recovery will sustain its current pace in the second half of 2015," Mr Tombs said. On Thursday, US GDP for the second quarter was revised sharply higher at an annualised rate of 3.7%, up from the first estimate of 2.3%. Growth of 0.6% in the first three months of the year was not revised.
UK economic growth for the second quarter of the year was unrevised at 0.7%, official figures have shown.
MEPs, including European Parliament chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt say the proposal is a "damp squib". It offers Europeans in the UK fewer rights than Britons in the EU, they say in a joint letter to newspapers. Cabinet Office minister Damian Green said the "basic rights" of EU citizens living in the UK would be "preserved". He urged Mr Verhofstadt to "read our proposal", which the UK government insists would allow about three million EU citizens to stay on the same basis as now. EU migrants who had lived in the UK for five years would be granted access to health, education and other benefits. But the prime minister's proposals would be dependent on EU states guaranteeing Britons the same rights. The leaders of the four political groups who have signed the joint letter account for two-thirds of the votes in the European Parliament. Their letter points out that that they have the power to reject any Brexit deal before it can go ahead because the parliament must approve the withdrawal agreement. The leaders said they would not endorse anything that removed rights already acquired by citizens. They said the UK proposal "falls short" because it would take away rights citizens currently have, and create new red tape and uncertainty for millions of people. The letter said this contradicted promises made by the Leave campaign that EU citizens would be treated no less favourably after Brexit. By contrast, the letter said the EU's offer - already on the table - was simple, clear and fair because it promised that all citizens, including UK nationals living in Europe, would be treated equally and lose no current rights. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Verhofstadt said EU citizens in the UK - and Britons living on the continent - should keep their current rights, rather than the government "inventing a new status". What the UK is offering EU citizens? In full: Safeguarding the position of EU citizens What is the EU offering UK citizens? In full: EU's essential principles on citizens' rights "It creates a type of second class citizenship for European Citizens in the UK," he added. "We don't see why their rights should be diminished and that would be the case in the proposal. "In the end, it is the European Parliament that will say yes or no, and I can tell you it not will be a yes if the rights of European citizens - and also the rights of UK citizens living on the continent - will be diminished [and] cut off, like it is at the moment." The letter stated: "The European Parliament will reserve its right to reject any agreement that treats EU citizens, regardless of their nationality, less favourably than they are at present. "This is a question of the basic fundamental rights and values that are at the heart of the European project." It added: "In early 2019, MEPs will have a final say on the Brexit deal. We will work closely with the EU negotiator and the 27 member states to help steer negotiations." A spokesperson for the UK government said the letter contained a "number of inaccuracies" which could cause unnecessary and needless concern to UK and EU citizens. Mr Green, who as first secretary of state is a close ally of Theresa May's, told BBC Radio 4's Today that it was clear that EU citizens would have to comply with "basic" immigration rules after the UK leaves the EU to establish their identity and nationality. But he insisted: "That is not an insuperable barrier. We all fill in forms when we go on holiday and have to get visas and all that." He suggested the UK was doing "precisely" what the EU was calling for. "Somebody who is here now will keep the rights they already have and we hope that British citizens living in other EU countries will keep the rights they already have...the basic rights will be preserved so that should not be an obstacle to a final deal." Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning
Theresa May's offer to give EU citizens in the UK "settled status" after Brexit has been described as being "far short of what citizens are entitled to".
Lincoln Red Imps will bring a 1-0 lead to Glasgow next week. "We're a bit surprised," defender Sviatchenko told BBC Scotland following Brendan Rodgers' first competitive match as manager. "We will do our job when we come to Celtic Park, we know that we're the better team." The Scottish champions were humbled by semi-professional opponents, with many completing a day's work just in time for kick-off. Comparisons will be drawn with Gordon Strachan's competitive debut as Celtic manager, a 5-0 loss in Bratislava 11 years ago, when sifting through the wreckage of this humiliating outcome. Rodgers insisted in the immediate aftermath of the defeat that there was no embarrassment in losing to a club with five full-time players that has only been playing European ties for three years and competes in an amateur league. Celtic, who warmed up with four friendly matches in Austria and Slovenia, dominated possession but were hindered by a low quality artificial surface and were knocked off their stride by well-organised and energetic hosts. "It's obvious that people are disappointed, we wanted to create a much better result and we did everything we could preparation-wise, added Sviatchenko. "It's not about not being ready, it's about small details. "We are 100% together with everything. You do everything in your power to win games and sometimes it doesn't go your way. "But that doesn't conclude that it is embarrassing, it's about going through and being professional about everything. "We knew it would be a tough game, we never go into it thinking it is going to be easy. "The second leg is at Celtic Park, it is our ground, it is our grass and we'll do our job and go through." Sviatchenko captained FC Midtjylland as they swept past Lincoln 3-0 on aggregate a year ago at the same stage of the same competition and says he knew of the potential pitfalls. "They play here every day and know how to play these games, we also know that and were unlucky today," the Danish international added. "(Last year) It was the same (kind of game). We won 1-0 at home and 2-0 away, so it was still a close game. "We know that Lincoln are a team that can play football and would give everything. We knew it would be a tough game but I'm 100% sure we will go through." Lee Casciaro stunned the visitors with the only goal, the 34-year-old Ministry of Defence policeman having scored Gibraltar's first competitive goal against Scotland at Hampden last year. "This is something people dream about," he told BBC Radio Five Live. "This result is a remarkable thing for football." Asked if Celtic should be embarrassed by the defeat, he replied: "No not really. They have only been training for the past two or three weeks, pre-season, we've been training close to two months already. We train every day. "The weather benefited us and the pitch benefited us because they are not used to playing on an artificial pitch. "We have got another 90 minutes to go and we will see if we can inflict more wounds on Celtic. We have just got to enjoy ourselves and we will see what happens. "I have been lucky enough to score at Hampden Park so if I could score at Celtic it would be unimaginable."
Erik Sviatchenko is adamant that Celtic will progress to the next round of Champions League qualifying despite a shock defeat in Gibraltar.
Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson expands on his TV analysis of how the Reds' improvement at the back is behind their rise up the Premier League table after they beat Southampton on Sunday to continue their push for a top-four place. The 3-4-2-1 formation that manager Brendan Rodgers has adopted since the end of last year suits their fast attacking players but has given them solidity at the back too. Liverpool have not become a defensive-minded team but that has given them a different way of winning games, compared to last season when their tactic was 'attack or bust' and they would concede goals but just look to outscore the opposition. They showed it against Southampton on Sunday in a game where they were not free-flowing going forward - they only had one shot at goal in the first 70 minutes - and came under a lot of pressure. They rode their luck a bit at St Mary's, especially with some of the decisions that went in their favour because Saints could have had at least one penalty. But their 2-0 win was their sixth clean sheet in a 10-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, and it is clear Rodgers can rely on his defence to win him points now too. Sometimes in football you stumble on to something that is successful. After paying £20m for centre-back Dejan Lovren in the summer, Liverpool clearly wanted and expected him to come in and be a ready-made rock. That did not happen. Rodgers was looking to play four at the back when he signed Lovren but it did not work - he would not have tried a three-man defence if it had. He probably did not plan to play Emre Can at the back either, although he had played in that position before. But he has been brilliant as part of that back three, and is able to play either side of Martin Skrtel - he has been on the right in the last few matches but operated on the left against Southampton. The thing about Can is that he can use the ball and his passing ability from that position has made a big difference to the team. Something else that has helped goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in particular is having a settled line-up at the back too. It was the same during my career - when you play alongside people regularly in defence you start to appreciate what each of them can do. Lovren came back in for Mamadou Sakho against Saints but that was their first change at the back for seven matches. They were a bit shaky at the back at first, but got better and better as the game went on. The real bonus has been the emergence of Jordon Ibe - not just in terms of what he offers going forward but defensively too. He really understands what the wing-back role is all about and he has got such fantastic pace that, even if he does make a mistake, he has got a chance of recovering. Slowly but surely, Rodgers is finding players he can rely on in every position and even better he has got competition for places too. At left wing-back he has alternated between a winger Lazar Markovic and a left-back Alberto Moreno, who is so attacking that it really suits his game. Rodgers has shoehorned his attack-minded and quick players into his team to try to recreate the pace he had going forward last season. It has taken him a while but he has managed it and found a system that allows them all to fit. Even without playing well on Sunday, Liverpool have beaten one of their major rivals for a top-four finish. It was a huge win anyway, but with Manchester United losing and Tottenham also dropping points it was a very good week for the Reds. Who will make it into the Champions League spots? Well I don't think Southampton can and I don't think Tottenham will. With Chelsea and Manchester City contesting the title, that leaves two places between three sides - Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool. Three months ago, when they lost to Crystal Palace and dropped to 12th in the table it did not look like Liverpool would be in the mix but all of a sudden they have taken off. Mark Lawrenson was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.
People have spent a large part of this season waiting for Liverpool's new-look attack to click but it is their defence that has played a big part in the Reds' return to form.
The incident occurred at the headquarters of the Siam Commercial Bank in Bangkok on Sunday night. Contract workers were upgrading the fire extinguisher system when a chemical retardant was released, apparently suffocating them. Police are investigating how the system was set off. The executives, Adisorn Pokha and Napong Suksanguan, are from a firm called Mega Planet, which had contracted out the work. They face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of negligence. Police Lt Gen Sanit Mahathaworn said they had expressed regret and were willing to pay compensation for damages, according to the Bangkok Post. The bank had said that an aerosol system called pyrogen was "inadvertently activated and exhausted all the oxygen in the area" as contractors were working on it. Pyrogen involves a mixture of gases including potassium carbonates, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and ammonia. The system works by removing all oxygen from the air to stifle a fire. Seven of those killed were contractors and one person was a bank security guard. Seven others were injured.
Police in Thailand have charged two executives from a fire safety firm with negligence after a chemical accident killed eight people.