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February 28, 2020 News Team

Biggest explosion since Big Bang discovered by astronomers


Biggest explosion since Big Bang discovered by astronomers

Biggest explosion “since Big Bang” discovered by astronomers
It happened around 400 million years ago
The biggest explosion in the universe since the Big Bang has been discovered by astronomers.

The blast came from a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy hundreds of millions of light-years away.

Scientists say it released five times more energy than the previous record holder.

Professor Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, said the event was extraordinarily energetic.

Published: 28/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub

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February 27, 2020 News Team

Immigration levels to the UK from non EU countries hits record levels


Immigration levels to the UK from non EU countries hits record levels

Immigration levels to the UK from non-EU countries hits record levels
Figures have been released by the Office for National Statistics
The number of people moving to the UK long-term from non-EU countries is at its highest level on record, according to the latest estimates.

In the year to September, immigration from non-EU countries hit 379,000 – the highest it has ever been since records began in 1975 when it was 93,000.

Net migration from outside the EU – the balance between the number of people entering and leaving the country – is also at its highest level (250,000) since 2004 when it peaked at 265,000, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

Meanwhile, EU net migration stood at 64,000, slightly higher but broadly similar to the 57,000 recorded a year earlier.

Published: 27/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub

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February 27, 2020 News Team

Reckitt Benckiser say demand for Dettol being driven higher by Coronavirus


Reckitt Benckiser say demand for Dettol being driven higher by Coronavirus

Reckitt Benckiser say demand for Dettol being driven higher by Coronavirus
The firm is working along side health authorities around the world
Consumer healthcare giant Reckitt Benckiser said the coronavirus outbreak has helped to drive greater demand for its Dettol and Lysol hygiene products.

The company said it is also working alongside public health authorities across the world in a bid to provide people in areas affected by the virus with more information about the necessary hygiene measures.

It added that the outbreak has resulted in “increased online activity” for its consumers in China, but that the firm is “seeing some disruption to offline retailers, distribution channels and the supply chain connected to China”.

Nevertheless, RB said it is currently “too early” to assess the impact of coronavirus on the operational and financial performance of the group.

The London-listed firm provided the update as it slumped to a £1.9 billion operating loss for the year despite increasing sales.

The major loss was driven by a £5 billion impairment of goodwill which resulted from its acquisition of the Mead Johnson nutrition business.

Published: 27/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub

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February 27, 2020 News Team

Storm Jorge to bring strong winds and heavy rain to the UK


Storm Jorge to bring strong winds and heavy rain to the UK

Storm Jorge to bring strong winds and heavy rain to the UK
The storm has been named by the Spanish Met Office
Flood-hit communities will face further heavy rain and strong winds as Storm Jorge makes its way across the UK over the weekend.

Parts of Wales and northern England could see between 60 to 80mm of rain on Friday as the storm hits the UK, the Met Office warned.

Strong winds are then forecast for much of England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Saturday, reaching 70mph in coastal areas and up to 60mph inland.

The Met Office's chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said further flooding is also possible with rain forecast to fall on already saturated ground.

Flooding along parts of the River Severn, which has reached close to its highest levels in some areas, is likely until at least Sunday, the Environment Agency said.

A severe “danger to life” flood warning covering the river at the Wharfage in Ironbridge, Shropshire, remains in place on Thursday, while 82 flood warnings and 125 flood alerts had been issued.

Published: 27/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub

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February 27, 2020 News Team

UK could walk away from trade talks with the EU


UK could walk away from trade talks with the EU

UK could walk away from trade talks with the EU
It could happen if progress isn't made by an assessment in June
Boris Johnson could walk away from trade talks with the European Union in June unless there is the “broad outline” of a deal.

The UK's guidelines for the negotiations, which cover trade and other aspects of the future relationship with Brussels, sets the deadline for progress against a backdrop of deep divisions between the two sides over issues including fish, state subsidies and standards.

The Government has set out its plans for the talks ahead of the first round of negotiations on Monday, making clear that it “will not negotiate any arrangements in which the UK does not have control of its own laws and political life”.

It clearly states the UK's intention to rely on World Trade Organisation terms under an arrangement with the EU similar to Australia's if progress on a comprehensive deal cannot be made.

Whatever the outcome of the talks, businesses have been warned to expect friction at the border from January 1 because the UK will not extend the transition period and will therefore be leaving the EU's single market and customs union.

A high-level meeting to take stock of progress is scheduled for June, by which time it should be clear whether the Canada-style comprehensive free trade agreement sought by Mr Johnson is possible by the end of the year.

Published: 27/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub

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February 27, 2020 News Team

Illegal drugs flowing into UK despite attempts to halt supply report finds


Illegal drugs flowing into UK despite attempts to halt supply report finds

Illegal drugs flowing into UK despite attempts to halt supply, report finds
The UK Government has had “limited success” in stopping a drugs market that costs society over £19 billion a year, according to a new report. Dame Carol Black's review, which released its findings on Thursday, said the main agencies responsible for halting the supply of illegal drugs have faced “budgetary constraints” in recent years.
She said it is unclear if sufficient financial backing of the National Crime Agency, the Border Force and police forces would make a difference due to the “flexibility and resilience of drug markets”.

According to the report, the illicit drugs market in the UK is worth £9.4 billion a year but costs society more than double that figure.

If health considerations, the cost of crime and societal impacts are combined, the total cost of illegal drugs is £19 billion annually.

An estimated three million people took some form of drug in England and Wales last year, with 300,000 people in England using opiates or crack cocaine.

Supply of the most serious drugs – heroin and crack cocaine – has been overtaken by the “county lines” model, in which gangs and distribution networks from cities move into smaller towns and use violence to overtake local dealers while using children or vulnerable people to sell their product.

The results come as the UK Government is holding a drugs summit in Glasgow to tackle the problem after a record level of drug-related deaths across the country.

Police and crime minister Kit Malthouse, who is chairing the conference at the SEC, said: “The findings, which we will discuss today, are troubling and paint a stark picture of how illegal drugs are devastating lives and communities, and fuelling serious violence.

“We are already taking tough action to combat county lines and violent crime and to disrupt and prosecute the organised gangs that bring so much misery.

“But clearly we all need to do more. Following this valuable review and summit we will take further action at pace, bringing together partners from across Government and beyond to address the challenges head on, based on the very best evidence and expertise.”

Health minister Jo Churchill said it was important a “holistic approach” is taken to drug addiction treatment, which also offers support for the mental health of people suffering with addiction.

“Dame Carol's review is an essential step towards tackling drug addiction and we will build on her work to ensure victims of the illegal drug industry can access the right services,” she said.

Illegal drugs are responsible for more than a third of prisoners in UK jails, according to the report, which found the majority to be in for theft or other acquisitive crimes.

While drug treatment is seen as being good in prisons, offenders are rarely inside for long enough to complete the treatments due to relatively short sentences.

Partnered with the limited sentences, “poor hand-offs back into the community” mean prisoners are “very likely to reoffend”.

Local authorities have also reduced spending on drug treatment by 40%, because “budgets have been squeezed”.

Investment in NHS boards and charities, which are often commissioned by councils to deliver treatment programmes, have also experienced a “loss of skills, expertise and capacity”, which the report cites a “prolonged shortage of funding”, which could continue even if more cash is forthcoming.

Rob Jones, the threat leadership director at the National Crime Agency, described illegal drugs as a “corrosive threat”.

He said: “Protecting the public is our priority and we work relentlessly to tackle the whole drug supply chain.

“Our international networks and UK capabilities are uniquely placed to identify, disrupt and dismantle the transnational crime networks trafficking drugs towards and within the UK.

“Recent operations have led to the conviction of corrupt port workers moving hundreds of kilos of Class A drugs through the border, dismantling crime groups importing cocaine worth millions of pounds concealed in yachts and the seizure of 1.3 tonnes of heroin, the largest ever UK seizure.”

Published: 27/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub

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February 27, 2020 News Team

Statues celebrating a century of cinema unveiled in Leicester Square


Statues celebrating a century of cinema unveiled in Leicester Square

Statues celebrating a century of cinema unveiled in Leicester Square
Wonder Woman, Batman and Gene Kelly in Singin' In The Rain are among the statues
Statues of significant moments and characters from cinema have been unveiled in Leicester Square as a celebration of London's film industry.

Bronze depictions of Paddington Bear, Mr Bean, Mary Poppins, Laurel and Hardy and Bugs Bunny have all gone on display.

The statues “add to the texture of the square”, according to Hugh Bonneville, who has played Mr Brown in the Paddington films.

After unveiling the Paddington statue, he told the PA news agency: “I think this is going to bring a lot of pleasure to a lot of people who can sit and have their lunch alongside [Paddington].

“It is gorgeous. All these statues all around the square are really remarkable and beautiful evocations of our great industry.”

He added that Paddington is a fitting character to have represented in the square because he “really does represent London and strangers coming to town and the welcome that London can give them”.

Published: 27/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub

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February 27, 2020 News Team

National Express buses to become emission free in ten years


National Express buses to become emission free in ten years

National Express buses to become emission free in ten years
National Express has committed to buy no more diesel buses for its British fleet from Thursday and set a target to have a fully zero emission bus fleet by 2030 and coach operation five years later. The West Midlands-based firm said it would also launch its first electric coach service between London and Stansted Airport in a trial.
Bosses at the bus and coach business added they have agreed to have their bonuses linked to environmental targets.

But coaches will take longer to turn electric due to the long distances travelled on National Express routes.

Chief executive Dean Finch said without improvements and investment in major infrastructure achieving zero emission targets, especially for coaches, will not be possible.

He accused authorities of failing to “grasp the nettle” and told the PA news agency: “We do need Government and the energy providers to recognise this is an issue.

“The focus is on residential use, but what will happen is people like us will become their biggest users… That's something they're only vaguely aware of despite our best efforts.”

Mr Finch also explained the London to Stansted electric coach trial is possible because current batteries provide enough range for the 45-mile journey, and that he is confident advances in battery storage can be achieved.

The announcement was welcomed by Andy Street, the Mayor of West Midlands where National Express operates its biggest UK bus fleet, who has been pushing for greener transport options.

He said: “Air pollution is a major contributor to climate change in the West Midlands, and we need to make sure people across the region are being presented with clean, viable alternatives to the car.

“The West Midlands Combined Authority and I will do all I can to support them to reach their zero-carbon pledge by 2030.”

National Express, which also operate bus services in Dundee and Coventry, admit the cost to buy of electric and hybrid buses are higher than diesel ones – on sale for £450,000 versus £300,000.

But Mr Finch said savings would be made elsewhere.

He said: “Our business case is set around the fact the maintenance cost is half of a diesel and because they're more reliable we will be able to buy fewer of them.”

The company currently has between 1,600 and 1,700 vehicles operating, with a ten to 15-year lifespan.

Just one in ten is electric or hybrid but by purchasing 160 new buses each year, National Express believe it can reach the target.

Mr Finch added that the UK's push towards a greener economy was more advanced than most other countries National Express operates in, but hoped to set targets for its other markets, including the US, Spain and Switzerland.

He said the one exception is Morocco which “has a remarkably green agenda and is in some respects more proactive than the UK”.

Published: 27/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub

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February 27, 2020 News Team

George Mackay reveals how Conor McGregor inspire latest film role


George Mackay reveals how Conor McGregor inspire latest film role

George Mackay reveals how Conor McGregor inspire latest film role
George MacKay has revealed he was inspired by Conor McGregor for his portrayal of Ned Kelly in his new film. The 1917 actor stars as the Australian outlaw in The True History Of The Kelly Gang and joked he had to seek out other sources of stimulation for the role after he failed to grow the full beard Kelly was famous for, finding it in the Irish mixed martial artist.
Discussing his first appearance in the film, in which he is performing a deep back bend, MacKay said “Ned is like an animal, he's everything, he's like a mixture of this wild colonial boy but also by the same token, if I'm going to be every element of Australia, there was a bit of a kangaroo dance in there as well.

“Conor McGregor was a big reference, for a modern Irish aggressive (persona). There were so many things.”

He added: “It's a beautiful maelstrom of a film and I think that is a good way to begin, by putting something on its head.”

The role of the bushranger and gangleader, who was executed in 1880 has been played by a string of actors, including Heath Ledger and Sir Mick Jagger, but MacKay said he wanted to make the part his own.

He said: “I think we just treated it as our own thing.

“There is one thing that Justin (Kurzel) said is because he's so revered as a symbol in Australia, people are kind of nervous to touch or to play with the truth that we've agreed upon, as to what that symbol is.

“And that wasn't the case with this one so in a way it felt completely different.

“There was a thing where I tried to grow a beard and I couldn't grow a beard and I think in a way that was part of the release.

“The real Ned has got this beard down to here, people just know the last image of him, and once we got rid of that it was like 'Well let's just get rid of all of it, let's free ourselves of all of that, let's make it in the spirit of things rather than the actual history as to as and when exactly things happened because it's open to interpretation'.”

The True History Of The Kelly Gang is released in UK cinemas on February 28.

Published: 27/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub

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February 27, 2020 News Team

Manchester City fight back to beat Real Madrid at Bernabeu


Manchester City fight back to beat Real Madrid at Bernabeu

Manchester City fight back to beat Real Madrid at Bernabeu
Manchester City produced a stunning late comeback at the Bernabeu to claim a 2-1 win over Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League tie. Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne, the latter from the penalty spot, both struck in the final 12 minutes to give Pep Guardiola's side a brilliant victory after falling behind to an Isco strike.
To make matters worse for Real, captain Sergio Ramos was sent off in the closing stages for denying Jesus another goalscoring opportunity.

City had gone into the last-16 encounter under a cloud after recently being banned from the competition for the next two years.

That issue will continue to overshadow their immediate future but their fine display under pressure in Madrid at least breathed new life into their current campaign.

It was also great night for Guardiola, whose past with Barcelona has always added an edge to his clashes with Real, while City became the first English side to win in the current round.

Most of the game was cagey and played at a slow pace but City were clearly superior as Real tired in the latter stages.

Guardiola's initial selection had been met with surprise, with top scorer Sergio Aguero and fit-again Raheem Sterling on the bench.

Jesus was played in a wide left role with the most advanced players being De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, who operated as twin false nines.

A similar plan worked to stunning effect in the Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United and the scheme again was to catch Real out.

It did not trouble the hosts too much early on but City also experienced little alarm and it seemed the pace of Sterling or Gareth Bale, who was on the Real bench, could make a difference.

It was 16 minutes before either side created a meaningful chance with Raphael Varane's shot flying well over.

Jesus threatened for City when he latched onto a De Bruyne pass and cut inside from the left but Thibaut Courtois saved. At the other end Ederson kept out a Karim Benzema header and Vinicius Junior fluffed a chance on the rebound.

City's Benjamin Mendy got himself suspended for the second leg when he was booked for a high challenge on Luka Modric and a bigger blow for the visitors followed as Aymeric Laporte was forced off.

The Frenchman has been sorely missed by Guardiola throughout an injury-ravaged season and City will hope the latest setback is not serious as they continue to chase silverware on three fronts.

City went close just before the break when Courtois pushed a corner into Jesus' path and the Brazilian's volley was scrambled off the line at the second attempt – with Ramos almost slicing the ball into his own net.

City upped the tempo after the break and Riyad Mahrez twice forced Courtois to save before the visitors were suddenly punished on the break on the hour.

Vinicius led the charge down the right and beat Kyle Walker to square for Isco, who slid home clinically.

Sterling and Bale entered the fray for the final quarter of the game but it was City who took charge.

De Bruyne did brilliantly on the left to beat two players and then cross for Jesus to head home the equaliser.

Jesus then headed over soon after before Sterling was brought down in the area.

After missing five of their previous seven spot-kicks, City gave responsibilities to De Bruyne and he made no mistake.

There was still more drama as Ramos hauled down Jesus as City chased more goals, adding a 26th red card to the Spain defender's collection.

Published: 27/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub

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