Travel disruption as high winds and snow hit UK

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 18, 2018 in Warren Fyfe Site

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Sandy Elliott

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A tree came down in East Grinstead, West Sussex, damaging a car.

Severe gales have been causing disruption to much of the UK – with gusts of up to 83 mph (134 kph).

Police in several areas, including Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Gloucestershire, have reported fallen trees on or near roads.

Damage to overhead electric wires is causing problems for train services in the Midlands, and drivers are being warned to take extra care on the roads.

In East Anglia and south east England more than 59,000 homes have lost power.

In Scotland, police are urging motorists to drive with “extreme caution” in the wintry conditions.

Until 05:00 GMT, drivers in Scotland and northern England were being warned not to travel at all, the first such warning issued since high winds in January 2013.

Police Scotland has since downgraded that warning. Supt Calum Glenny said the weather had not been as severe as was first forecast and thanked the “significant number” of drivers who heeded the warning to stay off the roads.

But while wind speeds have already started to drop, forecasters said the wintry conditions would continue in north western parts.

A new yellow warning of snow and ice is in place for Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England from 11:00 GMT on Thursday until 23:55 GMT on Friday.

The Met Office warned of travel delays and power cuts, saying some rural communities may become cut off.

Train hits tree

Rail commuters are facing delays in London, Wales, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire. In Sydenham, south east London, a train has hit a tree.

National Rail said high winds had damaged overhead power lines between Stowmarket and Norwich, blocking the line between Norwich and London Liverpool Street.

Fallen trees have also affected services between Southampton and Fareham, Aylesbury and Harrow-on-the Hill and Aldershot and Alton.

Trees have also blocked roads and damaged cars.

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A workman tackles a fallen tree in Tufnell Park, north London

Image Copyright @prodnose

Image Copyright @prodnose

The QE2 Bridge at the Dartford Crossing was closed overnight but has now reopened.

In Suffolk, the Orwell Bridge on the A14 was shut until 09:00 GMT due to high winds.

In mid-Wales a trainline was closed after a freight train hit two sheds which had been blown onto the track by high winds overnight.

A brick gable was blown off a house in the Stoke Heath area of Coventry overnight but West Midlands Fire Service said no one was injured.

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A firefighter inspects a building damaged by wind in Coventry

Police in Lincolnshire appealed to the public to help remove more than 80 trees blown down overnight.

The force said: “If you have the equipment and relevant training to help with moving these trees, please call 101 if you are willing to assist us.”

A number of vehicles – including jacknifed lorries – got stuck on the A75 Euroroute in the Dumfries and Gatehouse of Fleet area of Scotland on Wednesday night but it was fully reopened by morning.

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The A75 became blocked by jacknifed lorries at a number of points including Gatehouse of Fleet

Scottish Borders Council said no schools would open on Thursday, affecting 15,000 pupils.

About 200 schools across Scotland closed on Wednesday.

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Image Copyright @metoffice

Have you been affected by high winds or snow? Share your pictures, video and experiences by emailing

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42729662

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Emily Maitlis fears stalker will never stop

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 18, 2018 in Warren Fyfe Site
Media captionEmily Maitlis tells Emma Barnett about the impact her stalker has had on her life

TV presenter Emily Maitlis says she fears her stalker will never stop harassing her.

Two days after a former friend was jailed for breaching a restraining order, the Newsnight presenter compared living with two decades of harassment to having a chronic illness.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live’s Emma Barnett Show, she said it had had a devastating impact on her family.

“You turn into this person who shouts at your kids for the wrong thing.”

She also described her frustrations with the legal system and called for a new approach to treating stalkers.

On Tuesday, Edward Vines was jailed for 45 months for breaching a restraining order, having first been convicted of harassing Maitlis in 2002.

‘Jumpy’ and ‘stressful’

Maitlis said in the radio interview, to be broadcast on the Emma Barnett Show from 10:00 GMT, that the thought of her stalker was ever-present.

“It just makes you jumpy – and that’s stressful and it’s tiring and it’s time-consuming.

“Your head is somewhere else and you’re having to think about things that are just ludicrous, like ‘how do you get in and out of your front door’ and ‘how are they getting back from school?’

“It’s not that you think everyone is out to kill you. You recognise it as a paranoia. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

“This has literally been going on for 20 years. It feels like sort of a chronic illness.

“It’s not that I ever believe it will stop or he will stop, or the system will manage to prevent it properly.”

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Thames Valley Police

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Edward Vines was issued with an indefinite restraining order in 2009

The journalist first met Vines, from Oxford, when they were students at Cambridge University.

He was issued with an indefinite restraining order in 2009, which he was convicted of twice breaching last year.

Maitlis said: “Whatever treatment he’s had isn’t working as a cure and he is obviously also a victim in this.

“He is unwell and has wasted half his life. Stalking is a weirdo glamorised term for what is essentially mental ill-health and so somewhere along the lines we have to change the mechanism.”

She added: “It’s weird for the kids to have to see this stuff. They know as much as they want, they can read and they are online. My job is just to keep things really normal at home.

“I remember the first time the police came round and they pulled my husband aside and said ‘You’re the one we’re worried about here’.

“Apparently there is a very natural course of behaviour, that the husband just goes out and decks the guy.

“Then of course you’re in the worst possible position because your own husband is serving time instead of the perpetrator.”

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Vines met the Newsnight presenter when they were at Cambridge University

The government has apologised to Maitlis after her stalker was able to write to her from prison.

Vines wrote to her while in HMP Bullingdon and again while living in a bail hostel.

Maitlis described this as “bizarre beyond belief”, adding: “It was something that should never have got through, but it is extraordinary to think that a stalker behind bars for corresponding can then carry on corresponding.”

She said that on an individual basis, authorities and police had been “really caring and helpful” but there was a lack of co-ordination when dealing with victims.

“You give a statement and you give an impact statement; you’ve got a prosecution and you’ve got a custodial sentence, and it’s been meted out – and then 12 months later it happens all over again.

“By that time it’s a different policeman or a different investigator or people have changed jobs and somebody turns up at your house and says ‘Right so what’s all this about?’ or ‘Where did it all begin?’, and for somebody who’s been through this to have to relive that, it’s punishing and it’s humiliating.”

The full interview with Emily Maitlis will be on the Emma Barnett Show on BBC 5 live from 10:00 BST on Thursday 18th January.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42725776

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UK pledges extra £44m for Channel border security

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 18, 2018 in Warren Fyfe Site

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An extra £44.5m is to be spent beefing up Channel border security, the UK government is to say later.

It will be spent on fencing, CCTV and infrared detection technology in Calais and other border points.

It comes as French President Emmanuel Macron visits the UK for a summit with Theresa May.

Britain is also expected to commit to taking more migrants from Calais, especially unaccompanied children, the BBC’s James Robbins said.

He added that while Britain and France were heading in different directions as a result of Brexit, both governments are keen to show that they will continue to work closely together.

Other commitments being unveiled include the deployment of three RAF Chinook helicopters in Mali, where French forces are fighting Islamist militants, and France sending more troops to reinforce a British contingent in Estonia on Nato’s border with Russia.

On what will be his first visit to the UK as president, Mr Macron is also expected to announce the loan of the Bayeux Tapestry for display in the UK.

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The two leaders met for talks in Paris last year

Thursday’s summit has prompted fresh scrutiny of the border arrangements between France and the UK.

During last year’s French election campaign, Mr Macron said he wanted to renegotiate or scrap the 2003 Le Touquet agreement, which established French border controls in Britain and UK controls in Calais.

The agreement means undocumented migrants barred from entering the UK stay in France – many in makeshift camps.

Relationship a ‘permanent open door’

By BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner

Britain and France have an incredibly close partnership in confronting the shared threat of terrorist attacks inspired or directed by so-called Islamic State.

So close, in fact, that this is the first ever meeting of “The Quint” – the heads of all five British and French spy agencies, both domestic and foreign.

They will be discussing, among other things, the lessons learnt from last year’s terror attacks in Manchester, Barcelona and London.

There is a permanent “open door” for French intelligence officers who need to visit MI5 headquarters at Thames House in London and a similar arrangement exists for British case officers visiting France’s equivalent, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (DGSI).

MI5 officers were rushed to Paris in the wake of the 2015 Bataclan attack to help follow up intelligence leads and glean any possible lessons.

Read more from Frank

Up to 700 migrants are in the area, despite the camp known as the “Jungle” having been dismantled in 2016.

The UK government is already thought to have spent over £100m on security in the area over the last three years, and officials said the number of illegal attempts to enter the UK fell from 80,000 in 2015 to just over 30,000 last year.

A government spokeswoman said the latest investment was “about investing in and enhancing the security of the UK border”.

“Just as we invest in our borders around the rest of the UK, it is only right that we constantly monitor whether there is more we can be doing at the UK border controls in France and Belgium to ensure they are as secure as possible.”

Other “juxtaposed” border controls are in operation at Eurostar stations in France and Belgium.

BBC Monitoring: What the French papers say

France’s centre-left Le Monde says President Macron will make “more modest demands” of Theresa May on the migrant issue, compared to his earlier proposal to have Britain deal with migrants on its own soil.

It also notes that Mrs May is in a “difficult position” over Brexit talks with Brussels, and France can always return to the “Calais issue as a bargaining chip”.

Centre-right Le Figaro sees the loan of the Bayeux Tapestry as a symbolic “two-pronged diplomatic gesture” that has both delighted Britain and shown that President Macron wants to “strengthen the Paris-London axis” despite Britain leaving the European Union.

The left-wing daily Liberation also sees the two leaders “sweeping their differences under the carpet… despite tensions over Brexit”, in the interests of defence cooperation and Britain indicating that “it will continue to play a key role in Europe”.

The Catholic paper La Croix sees defence and migrants as the key issues at the summit, over which “the shadow of Brexit hovers”.

Like the rest of the press, it is sure that both leaders will want to affirm the “continuing relevance of bilateral cooperation between France and the United Kingdom despite Brexit”.

The summit between Mrs May and Mr Macron, at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Berkshire, will also feature the first meeting of the heads of Britain and France’s five intelligence agencies, and will be attended by UK cabinet ministers and their French counterparts.

Downing Street said the RAF Chinooks would offer a “niche capability”, providing logistical support for the French operation in Mali, but that Britain would not be committing combat troops.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Mrs May said: “Today’s summit will underline that we remain committed to defending our people and upholding our values as liberal democracies in the face of any threat, whether at home or abroad.

“But our friendship has always gone far beyond defence and security and the scope of today’s discussions represents its broad and unique nature.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42723401

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Drivers stranded overnight on M74 as snow sweeps Scotland

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 17, 2018 in Warren Fyfe Site
Media captionVideo released by a Dumfries and Galloway rescue team shows difficult driving conditions

Hundreds of drivers have spent the night in their cars after becoming stranded due to heavy snow.

Mountain rescue teams were sent to help those stuck on the M74 in Dumfries and Galloway after severe weather led to closures at Millbank and Beattock.

Traffic Scotland said gritters were working to clear routes, but were hampered by jack-knifed lorries.

Public transport has been disrupted and schools will remain closed in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A series of weather warnings have been issued, with snow and ice forecast until Friday.

Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England are likely to be affected.

Disruption had been reported on the M62 trans-Pennine motorway, although by Wednesday morning traffic was able to move.

There have also been some school closures in Yorkshire. There are about 30 schools in Bradford which are to remain closed or have opened late.

Image copyright
Mark T

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Traffic was still queuing on the M74 just before first light

The worst problems overnight have been around junction 12 of the M74 in South Lanarkshire southbound and between junctions 14 and 15 northbound. At times the road has been closed altogether.

One driver stuck on the northbound carriageway of the M74, Fergus McCann, said the impatience of other drivers was making things worse.

He told the BBC: “There’s been a fair bit of impatient driving going on.

“People are in one queue, then people are cutting out and trying to go down lanes that clearly are not for driving on.

“It’s not a surprise that you’re getting a few hundred yards down the road and you’re seeing them facing the wrong way.”

Steve Harris became stranded on the M74 at 17:30 GMT and was still stuck between junctions 11 and 12 more than eight hours later.

“I’ve not moved really in the last four hours,” he told BBC Radio 5 live at about 03:00 GMT.

“I’ve managed to get out of my car a couple of times to stretch my legs. The snow is probably between four and six inches deep around the cars.”

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Heavy snow in the Borders means all schools will remain closed

A number of schools will remain closed because of the weather conditions.

Scottish Borders Council has said no schools will open in its area.

There were individual closures in South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, Stirling, Falkirk, Perth and Kinross, and the Highlands.

Snow was still a hazard on urban roads at the start of the rush hour.

Traffic Scotland warned the M8 in Glasgow was restricted eastbound between junction 14 and 15 because of a collision.

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Traffic Scotland

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City roads, including the M8 motorway in Glasgow, are affected by snow

Earlier, police in Dumfries and Galloway warned against “all but essential travel”.

Dumfries Galloway Virtual Operations Support Team – which was set-up to respond to the weather issues in the region – said: “We are working to clear the stuck vehicles and clear the crashes.

“Please remain in your vehicle and signal the mountain rescue team or police if you need any help or contact us via 999.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue’s station manager in Dumfries and Galloway said motorists had been driving “too close behind me” on his way to a crash, despite “blizzard conditions”.

Image copyright
Cheryl McIntyre

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A lorry jack-knifed on the A87 in Skye

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Nigel Cliff

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The M74 was closed between Millbank and Abington due to the wintry conditions

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Eddie Reid

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Conditions were also poor on the M74 northbound at Abington

Have you been affected by snow in your area? If it’s safe to do so, you can share your experience by emailing

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-42712588

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Why are so many nurses quitting the NHS?

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 17, 2018 in Warren Fyfe Site

Mary quit as a nurse after two years after experiencing stress and depression.

She says she’s sad she can’t be a nurse in the NHS “without sacrificing my mental health”.

Last year, 33,000 nurses in England left the NHS – more than 10% of the workforce.

NHS bosses say they are working to improve staff retention.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42705857

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NHS ‘haemorrhaging’ nurses as 33,000 leave each year

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 17, 2018 in Warren Fyfe Site

Image copyright
Science Photo Library

The NHS is “haemorrhaging” nurses with one in 10 now leaving the NHS in England each year, figures show.

More than 33,000 walked away last year, piling pressure on understaffed hospitals and community services.

The figures – provided to the BBC by NHS Digital – represent a rise of 20% since 2012-13, and mean there are now more leavers than joiners.

Nurse leaders said it was a “dangerous and downward spiral”, but NHS bosses said the problem was being tackled.

The figures have been compiled as part of an in-depth look at nursing by the BBC.

We can reveal:

  • More than 10% of the nursing workforce have left NHS employment in each of the past three years
  • The number of leavers would be enough to staff more than 20 average-sized hospital trusts
  • More than half of those who walked away in the last year were under the age of 40
  • Leavers outnumbered joiners by 3,000 last year, the biggest gap over the five-year period examined by the BBC
  • Brexit may have had an impact. Since the referendum the NHS has gone from EU joiners outnumbering leavers to the reverse – more leavers than joiners
  • Nurses are being pulled off research work, special projects and admin roles to plug the gaps

Other parts of the UK are also experiencing problems retaining nurses.

In Northern Ireland and Scotland, the leaver rates are rising. In the most recent years, 7.5% of nurses left NHS employment in Northern Ireland and 7.2% did so in Scotland. But in both nations, the number of joiners outnumbered leavers.

In Wales there were more leavers than joiners, according to Freedom of Information reports.

‘I can’t work in the NHS any more’

Media captionMary Trevelyan quit the NHS two-and-a-half years after graduating

One of the nurses who has left the NHS is Mary Trevelyan.

She was working as a staff nurse in a London hospital, but quit last year after the pressures of the job left her stressed and depressed.

She had only worked in the NHS for two-and-a-half years.

“I want to be a great nurse and I want to give my patients my best, but I feel that I can’t do that at the moment because we’re just too short-staffed, too busy, there are far too many things for us to be doing.

“I want to work for the NHS, it’s such a brilliant thing, [but] I don’t think I can.”

She is now living with her family in Cornwall. She says she has not decided what to do next, but is considering moving abroad.

“A few of my friends have gone. I think they’ve just got a better quality of life nursing overseas, which is very sad.”

Where are the nurses going?

The figures do not show where these nurses went, although the BBC has been told the private sector, including agencies, drug firms and hospitals, is particularly popular.

But the figures will also include those moving abroad or leaving nursing altogether to pursue other careers.

A fifth of leavers in the past year were over 55 – the age at which nurses can start retiring on a full pension.

Royal College of Nursing head Janet Davies said: “The government must lift the NHS out of this dangerous and downward spiral.

“We are haemorrhaging nurses at precisely the time when demand has never been higher.

“The next generation of British nurses aren’t coming through just as the most experienced nurses are becoming demoralised and leaving.”

She said nurses needed a pay rise and more support if the vacancy rate – currently running at one in nine posts – was not to increase further.

“Most patient care is given by NHS nurses and each time the strain ratchets up again they are the ones who bear the brunt of it,” she added.

It also says more must be done to support younger nurses at the start of their careers.

The chief nursing officer for England, professor Jane Cummings, admitted there was a problem – but said changes were being made to highlight the value of the NHS to new talent and retain current staff.

“We do lose people that need to be encouraged. We’re in the process of bringing in lots of nurse ambassadors that are going to be able to talk about what a great role it is, to be able to tell their story, so we can really encourage people to enter the profession and for those in the profession, to stay in it,” she said.

How the NHS is trying to stop the exodus

The regulator, NHS Improvement, is rolling out a retention programme to help the health service reduce the number of leavers.

More than half of hospitals and all mental health trusts are getting direct support.

Master classes are also being organised for all directors of nursing and HR leads.

Image copyright
Science Photo Library

The support is prompting hospitals to adopt a range of initiatives.

Some have introduced internal “transfer” systems, allowing nurses to move jobs more easily, and mentoring schemes have been started for newly qualified nurses, while in some places, staff can ask for “itchy feet” interviews where they get the opportunity to talk to bosses about why they might leave.

Others have introduced staff awards and worked with local businesses to offer workers discounts and benefits at shops and gyms.

England’s chief nurse Prof Jane Cummings acknowledged there was a “workforce problem” and it was becoming more of a challenge retaining nurses.

But she said the NHS was learning by making nursing more attractive.

“We are beginning to see some fantastic good practice giving people flexible, rewarding careers. The key is getting it everywhere.”

She also said in the future the number of joiners should rise.

The government is increasing the number of nurse training places by 5,000 this year – a rise of 25%.

But it will be three years before these nurses graduate.

Does the leaver rate matter?

The Department of Health and Social Care in England has been quick to point out that the number of nurses employed by the NHS has risen.

They have picked May 2010 – the point when the coalition government was formed – as the starting point, claiming there are “11,700 more nurses on our wards”.

That relates to the rise in hospital nurses – up from 162,500 full-time equivalents.

But if you look at the entire nursing workforce, the numbers have only risen by just under 3,000 to 283,853 on the latest count – a rise of 1%.

The population will have grown by 5% during this period, according to the Office for National Statistics.

And if you look at nearly any measure of NHS demand – from GP referrals and diagnostic tests to emergency admissions and AE visits – the increase is somewhere between 10% and 20%.

What is more, if you take the last 12 months, the number of nurses has started falling and the number of vacant posts is rising.

Even taking into account the rising number of nurses in training, the health service will only be able to ensure it has enough nurses by tackling retention.

Read more from Nick

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Are you an NHS nurse in England? Are you considering leaving, or have you left? Please share your experience by emailing

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42653542

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Top US gymnast Biles reveals abuse

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 16, 2018 in Warren Fyfe Site
Biles won four gold medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016

Four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles says she was sexually abused by former Team USA gymnastics sports doctor Larry Nassar.

In an emotional statement, Biles, a star of the Rio Games, said she would not let Nassar “steal my love and joy”.

Nassar was jailed for 60 years for possessing child sex abuse images and has also admitted assaulting gymnasts.

“I know this horrific experience does not define me, I am much more than this,” said Biles, 20.

Three former US Olympians have accused Nassar of sexual abuse under the guise of medical treatment, including Gabby Douglas, who won gold with Biles in the team event at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Nassar will be sentenced this month over two cases in which he admits assaulting female gymnasts.

The 54-year-old was jailed in December for three counts relating to child sex abuse images on his computer.

Nassar’s lawyers told BBC Sport they would not comment on Biles’ statement.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement it was “absolutely heartbroken, sorry and angry that Simone Biles or any of our athletes have been harmed by the horrific acts of Larry Nassar”.

‘My story will be much greater than this’

Biles, who won four golds and a bronze in Rio, accused Nassar in a post on Twitter headed ‘Feelings #MeToo’.

“I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” the Texan wrote.

“Most of you know me as a happy, giggly and energetic girl. But lately I’ve felt broken and the more I try to shut off the voice in my head the louder it screams. I am not afraid to tell my story any more.”

She added: “It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused.

“I am unique, smart, talented, motivated and passionate. I have promised myself that my story will be much greater than this and I promise all of you that I will never give up.

“I love this sport too much and I have never been a quitter. I won’t let one man, and the others that enabled him, to steal my love and joy.”

Who else has come forward?

Media playback is not supported on this device

Gymnast Aly Raisman speaks up against former team doctor

Nassar was involved with the US gymnastics programme from the 1980s until July 2015, when the sport’s national governing body sacked him.

More than 130 women have filed civil lawsuits against him alleging abuse.

Olympic gold medallists Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney are among others to have come forward.

Nassar’s case was part of a scandal which saw USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny resign in 2016. Penny was accused by victims of failing to quickly notify authorities about abuse allegations.


Nassar worked for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/gymnastics/42697952

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Carillion: Support for small firms ends in 48 hours

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 16, 2018 in Warren Fyfe Site
Media captionThe Carillion collapse: What does it mean?

Firms working for failed construction giant Carillion on purely private sector deals will only have two days of government support, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington has warned.

Carillion spent £952m with local suppliers in 2016 and used an extensive network of small firms, who are now waiting to learn if they will be paid.

One industry group estimates that up to 30,000 firms are owed money by Carillion.

Critics want a review into the crisis.

Britain’s second largest construction firm, which employs 20,000 people in the UK, went bust on Monday with debts of about £1.5bn.

Carillion’s work stretched from the HS2 rail project and military contracts to maintaining hospitals, schools, and prisons.

On Monday, Mr Lidington said there would be government support for public sector contracts.

Carillion had previously said it used a wide range of small companies because it was “committed to generating regional economic growth and development”.

Are you a Carillion contractor? Are you going to work today? Contact us at

But the head of the Federation of Small Businesses said thousands of jobs and livelihoods were now at risk because those firms would be at the back of the queue for payment.

Mike Cherry said it was a situation made worse because Carillion extended its payment schedule to suppliers last year.

“These unpaid bills may well go back several months,” he continued. “I wrote to Carillion back in July last year to express concern after hearing from FSB members that the company was making small suppliers wait 120 days to be paid.”

A partner at one accountancy firm, who asked not to be named, said small firms were looking at total losses stretching into hundreds of millions of pounds.

“Asset sales won’t even raise enough to cover the debts of senior bank creditors, so many small firms won’t see a bean,” he said.

Trade body Build UK estimates that between 25,000 and 30,000 businesses are owed money by Carillion.

It said that in the past, when other big contractors have failed, around 18% of businesses who were creditors did not survive the next five years.

Rudi Klein, head of Specialist Engineering Contractor, an umbrella group representing suppliers to the construction industry, said Carillion outsourced virtually all its work.

He said the government knew of Carillion’s reliance on sub-contractors, but continued to award the company lucrative work despite growing concerns about its finances.

“It’s that supply chain who is going to bear the massive loss,” he said. “There could be a large number of firms that will experience substantial financial distress.”

The boss of a Carillion sub-contractor, describing himself as Mike, in southern England, contacted the BBC with his own story.

“We’ve invoiced them for £240,000, going back to September last year. I don’t think we’ll get this money back.

“For us, it’s a bad day, it’ll impact us for the year. There are smaller contractors who will be impacted worse.”

He added: “We’ve always been struggling with the Carillion culture… Their procurement people weren’t good and we didn’t like working for them.”

Case study: “I had to make 10 people redundant yesterday”

Andy Bradley is the managing director of Flora-tec, which is owed £800,000 by Carillion for landscaping services.

“The government actively encouraged businesses like mine… to get involved in public sector contracts, to make sure the little guy got a slice of the pie.

“When Carillion started to get into trouble last year we were considering that we would scale back our involvement with them.

“However… the government continued to give them billion-pound contract after billion-pound contract and that said to me, as a small supplier, that the government had done their due diligence.

“We were following the government lead… only to be given a sucker punch.

“I had to make 10 people redundant yesterday. That’s 10 people with mortgages, car loans, all that stuff. It’s an absolute disgrace.”

On Monday, Mr Lidington said the government was stepping in to pay employees and small businesses working on Carillion’s public contracts and assess the distribution of work among other companies.

However, companies working on private projects will get no such support.

Accountancy firm PwC, which is overseeing Carillion’s liquidation, said in a statement: “Unless told otherwise, all employees, agents and sub-contractors are being asked to continue to work as normal and they will be paid for the work they do during the liquidations.”

But there were anecdotal reports that work had stopped on many projects.

A bricklayer on the new £350m Midland Metropolitan Hospital building, Philip Ellis, told the BBC that when workers turned up on Monday they were told to go home.

He said: “About 20 of us working for our sub-contractor were told we could go on-site to collect equipment, but that was it…. I spent the day phoning recruitment agencies looking for work – but was told everyone’s doing that.”

Executive pay

There is also mounting criticism of the pay packages enjoyed by directors in the run-up to Carillion’s crisis.

Former chief executive Richard Howson, in charge until last year when Carillion issued the first of three shock profit warnings, will continue to be paid until October.

Mr Lidington told the Commons on Monday that the official receiver had the power to impose penalties if it uncovered any misconduct.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42695661

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Turpin: Shackled siblings found in Perris, California home

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 16, 2018 in Warren Fyfe Site
Media captionA neighbour said the children were always accompanied by the parents

Two parents have been arrested in California after police found they allegedly kept their 13 children captive at home, some “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks”.

David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were held on charges of torture and child endangerment.

The couple’s children – aged two to 29 – lived in Perris, 59 miles (95km) south-east of Los Angeles.

Officers were alerted by one of the victims, a 17-year-old girl.

The girl – who appeared to be “only 10 years old and slightly emaciated” – on Sunday managed to escape and call the emergency number using a mobile phone found inside the house, the Riverside Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

What did police find in the house?

Police officers later found “several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings”.

But the parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner, the police said.

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David-Louise Turpin/Facebook

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Pictures show the Turpins in uniform and happy

The officers were “shocked” to discover that seven of those held in the house were actually adults aged between 18 and 29.

“The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty,” the police said.

All the victims are now being treated in local hospitals.

The head of one of the hospitals, Mark Uffer, told Reuters news agency: “It’s actually heartbreaking for the staff and it’s unbelievable what you see.”

How did they hide their secret?

James Cook, BBC News, Perris

On Muir Woods Road there is no hint of the horror inside number 160.

This is a smart suburban home with three cars and a people carrier gleaming in the driveway. The curtains are drawn but a decorative Christmas star can be seen hanging in one window.

The estate is neat and the houses on the road are spacious but they are close together. It is difficult to imagine how a family could hide such an enormous dark secret here.

And yet that is exactly what seems to have happened.

Neighbours are now engaged in soul-searching about whether they should have spotted that something was awry.

No-one seems to know how long the siblings may have been held captive and, of course, no-one can answer the hardest question of all – why?

What do we know about the family?

According to public records, the couple lived in Texas for many years before moving to California in 2010.

Mr Turpin has twice been declared bankrupt. At the time of his second bankruptcy he is said to have had a relatively well-paid job as an engineer at aeronautics and defence technology company Northrop Grumman.

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David-Louise Turpin/Facebook

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The couple’s Facebook page contains numerous family photos

However, with so many children and his wife not working, records suggest his expenses exceeded his income.

On the California Department of Education website, Mr Turpin is listed as the principal of Sandcastle Day School - a private school operated out of his home.

The school was opened in March 2011, the website says. Six pupils are enrolled there, all in different grades.

Mr Turpin’s parents said that their grandchildren were home-schooled but that they had not seen the family for four or five years.

The couple’s Facebook page shows numerous photos of the whole family, apparently happy and smiling, some from events where they renewed their vows.

Many posts have comments from family or friends.

What do the neighbours say?

One neighbour told Reuters that the Turpin family “were the type that you didn’t really get to know anything about them”.

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Neighbours said the Turpins rarely emerged from their home

“You would never see them on visit, you would never see anyone come outside. All you would really see is that they go out and maybe do a grocery round. And that was about it,” the neighbour added.

A neighbour from across the street, Kimberly Milligan, 50, told the Los Angeles Times they seemed strange and wondered why the children never came out to play.

“I thought the kids were home-schooled,” she said. “You know something is off, but you don’t want to think bad of people.”

She recalls on one occasion saying hello to the children but said they looked at her “like a child who wants to make themselves invisible”.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-42698562

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Jakarta stock exchange ceiling collapses

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 15, 2018 in Warren Fyfe Site

Image copyright

Image caption

The area has been evacuated and cordoned off by police.

A mezzanine ceiling has collapsed at the Jakarta stock exchange building (IDX), with reports that dozens of people have been injured.

Images on social media show pieces of ceiling and broken furniture in the lobby of the building in the Indonesian capital, amid clouds of dust.

The area has been evacuated and cordoned off by police, say witnesses.

Police say 72 people were hurt and are being treated in three different hospitals in Jakarta.

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Injured people were seen outside the building

An employee of the World Bank in Jakarta, based in the same building, told the BBC a mezzanine walkway above the lobby had come down.

He said he and members of his team were among those evacuated.

Police spokesman Argo Yuwono told local media that some of the victims, who had injuries to their hands and feet, had been taken to nearby hospitals.

Mr Argo told Metro TV: “We are still investigating the cause, but for now our priorities are the casualties.”

The incident happened shortly after 12pm local time (05:00 GMT), according to a journalist from Metro TV who was in the building.

Marlia Zein added that there was a “loud banging”, leading people inside to “immediately” run out of the building.

The stock exchange has re-opened for the afternoon session, with exchange chief Tito Sulistio saying the system was “not affected”.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-42686019

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