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February 27, 2020 News Team

Ironbridge residents urged to leave homes as flood barriers overwhelmed

Ironbridge residents urged to leave homes as flood barriers overwhelmed

Ironbridge residents urged to leave homes as flood barriers overwhelmed
Residents in riverside properties in Ironbridge have been told to leave their homes and businesses immediately after temporary flood barriers were overwhelmed by water. The barriers holding back the floodwater from the River Severn moved overnight in Shropshire and police said they appeared to be buckling under the pressure.
Flooding along parts of the river, which remained close to its highest levels in some areas, is likely until at least Sunday, the Environment Agency said.

West Mercia Police Deputy Chief Constable Julian Moss said on Wednesday evening that officers were still in the process of evacuating properties along the Wharfage.

He said in a statement: “We are waiting to see what happens overnight and we are monitoring closely with colleagues at the Environment Agency, and an operational plan is in place with Shropshire Fire and Rescue should it be required.”

Mr Moss said “virtually all” residents who had previously chosen to stay in their properties in Ironbridge, where a severe flood warning remains in place, have now left.

He added that the multi-agency response is set to continue for the next 10 days while flood waters are “likely” to be topped up during additional rainfall expected over the weekend.

Earlier, police could be seen knocking on doors along the riverside to ensure that residents living on Wharfage had left their homes.

Barriers were also erected in side streets to ensure that people did not approach the river.

Temporary flood defences along Wharfage had been pushed back towards a pub and other businesses, sparking fears that the defences could be fully breached.

Some residents declined to leave their properties, including one occupant who also opted not to move a car parked within yards of the riverside.

Residents in the Worcestershire town of Bewdley were forced to evacuate earlier after the river spilled over barriers at Beales Corner.

The Environment Agency forecasts the river level in the town, which has risen more than two metres in the past 72 hours, from 3.36m to 5.45m, will peak at 5.48m on Wednesday and remain at a near-record high into Thursday.

It reached its highest level of 5.56m on November 2, 2000.

Marc Lidderth, environment manager for the Environment Agency, said: “Over the next 24 hours, we will see the river levels remain elevated at Ironbridge and further upstream at Shrewsbury.

“Further downstream into Bridgnorth and Bewdley, the peak is making its way down the system. We will be seeing the peak at Bewdley happening round about later this afternoon.

“Unfortunately we have already seen some of our barriers over-topped there in the early hours, where properties have flooded. Obviously our thoughts go out to everyone that's been affected by that.”

As the Environment Agency said that flooding is expected to continue into the weekend across parts of England, Boris Johnson was criticised by Jeremy Corbyn over his “silent” response to flooding across the country.

But the Prime Minister said he was “proud” of the response by ministers following the recent storms and defended the Government's investment in flood defences.

The most recent flooding happened after England received double the average amount of rainfall in February, with some areas receiving a month's worth of rain in 24 hours.

Some 92 flood warnings and 132 flood alerts issued by the Environment Agency remained in place at 8pm on Wednesday.

Operational teams have put up more than 6km of temporary flood barriers across the country and flood defences have protected more than 34,184 properties over the last week.

Flooding along parts of the River Severn is likely until at least Sunday and significant river flooding is also possible for parts of Yorkshire over the next five days and along parts of the River Trent in the East Midlands on Wednesday.

In East Yorkshire, flood warnings remain in place in the Snaith area, with the Environment Agency saying the washlands at Gowdall Ings are continuing to fill and are over-topping, as designed, into Snaith Ings, with flooding affecting properties nearby.

The Met Office said more wet weather is forecast, with the South West, the North West and southern parts of Wales expected to see the most rain on Friday and into the weekend.

And a yellow warning for snow and ice stretching the length of western Scotland down to Loughborough in the Midlands is due to come into force at 10pm on Wednesday.

Toby Willison, executive director of operations at the Environment Agency, said: “Our operational teams continue to work night and day to protect communities alongside the River Severn, which is experiencing record levels.

“River levels will remain exceptionally high on the Severn for some time and communities, in particular Shrewsbury, Bewdley, Bridgnorth and Ironbridge, should prepare for potentially ongoing severe flooding.”

Mr Willison added: “We have already seen 200% of the average rainfall for February with more wet weather forecast.

“River levels have exceeded existing records across the country this winter with hundreds of the Environment Agency's river gauges surpassing all-time readings this decade.

“The Rivers Colne, Ribble, Calder, Aire, Trent, Severn, Wye, Lugg and Derwent are among the many rivers where records have been broken due to continuous wet weather.”

Published: 27/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 27, 2020 News Team

Schools close or send pupils home due to coronavirus fears

Schools close or send pupils home due to coronavirus fears

Schools close or send pupils home due to coronavirus fears
Schools across the UK have closed to protect against coronavirus, despite health officials recommending that they should stay open. At least eight have closed, while others have sent pupils home amid fears they may have been exposed to coronavirus during trips to northern Italy.
But Public Health England (PHE) said that its general advice is not to close schools.

The closures come after travellers returning to the UK from northern Italy were told they may need to self-isolate as part of measures to stop the spread of illness.

The ContinU Plus Academy in Kidderminster said it was closed for the day on Wednesday after a staff member had been in “close contact” with a family member who was self-isolating following a trip to northern Italy.

A statement on its website said: “We are now taking advice from the DFE (Department for Education) and the NHS and hopefully will be able to reopen tomorrow.

“If a deep clean is deemed necessary we may be forced to extend the period of closure.”

William Martin CofE Junior, Infant and Nursery School in Harlow, Essex, also said it had closed on Wednesday after a staff member had returned from Italy.

Headteacher Gina Bailey said: “The school is closed for one day and it is purely as a precaution.

“The staff member is not displaying any symptoms of the virus.”

St Peter's C of E middle school in Old Windsor, Berkshire, said on social media it had closed for the day as well.

Its headteacher Andy Snipp said on Facebook: “I received information late last night that one of our students had returned from a half term break to a location which is broadly part of an affected area.

“I must repeat that this is simply a precaution and were I to have been aware sooner then we would have completed the clean prior to the opening of the school.”

Cransley School in Northwich, Cheshire, and Trinity Catholic College in Middlesbrough announced on Tuesday they would be closed for the rest of the week to allow a deep clean.

Trinity Catholic College said that a “small number of staff and pupils” had started showing mild flu-like symptoms following a ski trip.

Lutton St Nicholas and Gedney Church End primary schools in Lincolnshire also said they had closed “because of a potential connection to the coronavirus by an individual within the school”.

St Christopher's C of E High School in Accrington told parents it would be shut on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Sandbach High School in Cheshire said students and staff who visited Aprica, in Italy's Lombardy region, were to stay indoors and self-isolate.

A third Cheshire school, Brine Leas School in Nantwich, said its sixth form was closed due to staff shortages following Government advice regarding travel to Italy.

Students from Penair School in Truro, Cornwall, Salendine Nook High School in Huddersfield, Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School in West Derby and Newquay Tretherras in Newquay, have also been advised to stay home after returning from ski trips.

And four pupils at Prince George and Princess Charlotte's primary school, Thomas's Battersea, were reportedly sent home as a precautionary measure following a trip to northern Italy.

A spokesman for Thomas's Battersea said: “Like all schools we are taking the potential risks connected with the spread of Covid-19 very seriously and to this end are following government guidance to the letter around both prevention against infection and in dealing with cases where any staff or pupils are suspected of being exposed to the virus or who display any symptoms.

“We currently have a very small number of pupils who have been tested and these individuals are currently, as per government advice, remaining at home pending the receipt of their test results.

“All parents have been informed and we have maintained regular communication with our school community to ensure that advice is shared and important information is circulated. We will of course preserve staff and pupil confidentiality and will not be commenting on specific cases.”

Authorities in Italy reported on Tuesday night that the number of people infected in the country grew to 322, or by 45% in 24 hours, and deaths of patients with the virus rose to 11.

Britons who have been in lockdown regions of Italy – including Lombardy and Veneto – were told they should self-isolate at home for 14 days even if they have no symptoms.

PHE has confirmed it is not advising schools to shut in an attempt to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The organisation's medical director Paul Cosford told Radio 4's Today programme: “Schools have to take difficult decisions given the complexity of issues that they are facing.

“What I would say is that our general advice is not to close schools.”

Published: 27/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 27, 2020 News Team

Britons returning from sandstorm hit Tenerife diverted to Malaga without baggage

Britons returning from sandstorm hit Tenerife diverted to Malaga without baggage

Britons returning from sandstorm-hit Tenerife diverted to Malaga without baggage
Holidaymakers trying to return home from the sandstorm-hit Canary Islands have told of their frustration after being flown without their baggage to Spain instead of the UK. Passengers of airline Jet2 who were unable to travel on Sunday due to the storm were offered a new flight on Tuesday from Tenerife to East Midlands Airport – but this was diverted halfway through the journey to Malaga.
Jet2 paid for those on board to stay at a hotel in the city but, due to processing issues in the Canary Islands airport, passengers' luggage did not come with them.

“It's been extremely frustrating from a communication point of view,” passenger Lee Wain told the PA news agency.

Mr Wain said that after landing in Malaga on Tuesday they did not reach a hotel room until 3am. Their rescheduled flight is due to arrive in the UK at 11.10pm on Wednesday – 72 hours after they were originally set to land.

“We still have no idea where our luggage is or when we will get it back,” he added.

“The resort which we were shipped to was very good and couldn't do enough for us but when you're stuck in the clothes you're wearing from the previous day knowing you're travelling back later that day with hours to kill makes the whole episode a little uncomfortable.”

The 45-year-old from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, was on holiday with his son and wife Nicole, who filmed the moment their pilot informed those on board that they would be diverted to Malaga without their bags – which was met with both cheers and groans.

“Cannot praise the captain enough for his honesty and support in trying to resolve an appalling problem created by Jet2 operations,” another passenger, who chose to remain anonymous, told PA.

The holidaymaker was travelling with her son and partner and said they were left with “zero information” for seven hours on Tuesday before the flight.

“Children and elderly folk were given no priority which was the main issue for me,” she said.

Jet2 said in a statement: “To help deal with the backlog of flights, Tenerife Airport allowed for extra capacity yesterday, however the volume of flights resulted in delays and problems processing baggage at the airport.

“As a result, our crew did not have sufficient operating hours to fly from Tenerife to the UK due to CAA Flight Time Regulations.

“We therefore took the decision to fly customers to airports where we could provide hotel accommodation for the night.

“We do of course sincerely apologise to all affected customers for any inconvenience caused by this continued disruption, which comes on the back of extraordinary circumstances that were completely beyond our control.”

The airline said all baggage will be flown back to the UK “as a matter of priority”.

Published: 27/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 26, 2020 News Team

E cigarettes change mouth bacteria making users more prone to infection

E cigarettes change mouth bacteria making users more prone to infection

E-cigarettes change mouth bacteria making users more prone to infection
Researchers examined e-cigarette vapour and its influence on the oral microbiome and immune health
Vaping alters the bacteria in the mouth, making e-cigarettes users more prone to inflammation and infection than non-smokers, new research suggests.

Researchers say their study is the first to demonstrate vaping changes the oral microbiome – the community of bacteria and other micro-organisms, adding to the limited understanding of the safety of e-cigarettes.

While it is widely known that traditional tobacco cigarettes increase the risk of gum disease and infection, little is known about the impact of e-cigarettes.

Published: 26/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 26, 2020 News Team

Irelands Six Nations game against Italy has been postponed

Irelands Six Nations game against Italy has been postponed

Ireland's Six-Nations game against Italy has been postponed
It's over concerns over the Coronavirus outbreak
Ireland's Guinness Six Nations game against Italy in Dublin on March 7 has been postponed due to the risk posed by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Irish Rugby Football Union announced the decision following a meeting with Irish Health Minister Simon Harris and his advisers on Wednesday.

China has reported 77,658 cases and 2,663 deaths following the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus that has spread to a variety of countries, including Italy, where authorities have swiftly put in restrictions.

Ireland were also due to play Italy in an Under-20 Six Nations game and women's international that weekend.

In a statement, the IRFU said: “The IRFU had a positive meeting with Minister Harris and his advisers today, where we requested a formal instruction as to the staging of the Ireland v Italy international matches over the weekend of March 6/8.

“At the outset we made it clear that the IRFU was supportive of the Governments' need to protect public health in relation to the coronavirus.”

Published: 26/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 26, 2020 News Team

Customers left angry by online shopping problems at Tesco

Customers left angry by online shopping problems at Tesco

Customers left angry by online shopping problems at Tesco
Those affected have been taking to social media
Tesco customers have been locked out of their grocery accounts and unable to complete orders amid widespread problems with the retail giant's online shopping site.

The chain's shopping website and app has been suffering problems since Tuesday evening, leaving many customers complaining about orders due for delivery on Wednesday that they could not complete.

Tesco insisted it has now fixed the problem, but some shoppers are still unable to log in to their grocery accounts.

Published: 26/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 26, 2020 News Team

Nespresso launches probe into allegations of child labour

Nespresso launches probe into allegations of child labour

Nespresso launches probe into allegations of child labour
The firm have said that child labour is unacceptable
Bosses at coffee giant Nespresso have launched an investigation and promised to increase random checks on its coffee farms after alleged child labour was uncovered.

The move comes as the company's brand ambassador George Clooney criticised the business, saying “clearly this board and company still have work to do”.

Nespresso say all their coffee is ethically sourced and work alongside NGOs including the Rainforest Alliance to ensure certain standards are upheld.

But an upcoming Dispatches documentary is set to feature video footage of children as young as 11-years-old working on at least one farm in Guatemala alleged to supply Nespresso.

Since the programme makers contacted Nespresso, the company has revealed it found 15 of its farms across the world raised reports of child labour in the past four years, with none in Guatemala.

It added: “Nespresso has zero tolerance of child labour. It is unacceptable. Where there are claims that our high standards are not met, we act immediately.”

Published: 26/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 26, 2020 News Team

Sterling has improved thanks to Guardiola Villa

Sterling has improved thanks to Guardiola Villa

Sterling has improved thanks to Guardiola – Villa
David Villa has no doubt Raheem Sterling's stunning improvement as a player is down to his work with Pep Guardiola. Sterling is now rated as one of England and Europe's top players after two outstanding seasons in Manchester City's back-to-back Premier League title successes of 2018 and 2019.
The 25-year-old's form may have dipped this term but his stock remains high and only last week he was linked with Real Madrid.

Sterling is likely to be one of England's key performers at Euro 2020 this summer and former Spain striker Villa, golden boot winner in the 2008 tournament, can see how his former boss has influenced him.

Villa, who won the Champions League under Guardiola at Barcelona, said: “He is an amazing player, a very good player. He is young but he is playing in a top league in the top level.

“He has improved a lot from being close to Guardiola at Manchester City. I know perfectly Guardiola and this sort of initiation with a club. I think he will be one of the best players in Europe.

“I think Guardiola is great, not just because he takes trophies and victories, but because he always improves his players.

“I had the opportunity to be with him for a few years and I saw how special he is and, for sure, Sterling has improved being close to him. It is always great to have the opportunity to have a coach like Guardiola. They are very lucky to have been with him for a few years.”

Villa was speaking in his role as an ambassador of Booking.com – official accommodation and attractions booking partner of UEFA EURO 2020.

Villa, 38, won Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup with Spain but failed to recover from a broken leg in time to feature at Euro 2012.

Because of that he is well aware of the anguish two of England's leading forwards, Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford, as they battle to be fit for this summer's event.

Both players have been out of action since January with Tottenham striker Kane, the England captain, sidelined with a hamstring injury and Manchester United star Rashford nursing a stress fracture of the back.

Villa said: “As a soccer fan I hope both arrive to the Euros in the best condition possible because they are top players, amazing players. They are players that the people want to watch. Fans of football want to watch them.

“I know perfectly injuries. I know how hard it is. I only wish both players, Kane and Rashford, can arrive fit to join the roster, so every lover of soccer can enjoy them in the Euros.”

:: Book and complete a stay with Booking.com before 31 March 2020 for the chance to win a night for two in the Booking.com Stadium Suite for the UEFA EURO 2020(TM) Final, as well as other amazing UEFA EURO 2020(TM) prizes. For more information, visit www.booking.com/stadiumsuite

Published: 26/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 26, 2020 News Team

William Hill profits beat forecasts despite 700 store closures in 2019

William Hill profits beat forecasts despite 700 store closures in 2019

William Hill profits beat forecasts despite 700 store closures in 2019
Betting giant William Hill has posted 2019 profits ahead of expectations, despite closing more than 700 betting shops. The company reported a 52% decline in adjusted pre-tax profits to £96.5 million for the year to December 31.
It said the decline was driven by the Government's crackdown on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), with the maximum stake decreased from £100 to £2.

William Hill said it shut 713 retail stores in the UK during 2019 on the back of the stake increase, but profits were not as heavily impacted as previously forecast.

Its total revenues across the group dipped 2% to £1.58 billion as it was buoyed by growing markets, such as the US.

US revenue increased by 38% during the year after it launched a new digital platform in the region.

Growth in the region helped to offset UK decline, where net revenue fell 13% on a like-for-like basis, although this was at the higher end of the firm's expectations.

William Hill said the closure of shops following the FOBT changes resulted in a £67 million hit to profits during the year.

The firm said profits for the current year could be impacted by the Gambling Commission's latest crackdown, which will see online credit card bets banned from April.

It said the move is expected to impact its 2020 profits by between £5 million and £10 million.

Ulrik Bengtsson, chief executive officer, commented: “2019 was a year of transition during which we executed on our ambition to diversify internationally with the acquisition of Mr Green and the continued strong growth of our US business.

“The Group delivered a strong operating performance, ahead of our expectations and against a challenging regulatory backdrop.

“Our industry is evolving and this brings great opportunities, underlining the importance of our efforts to reposition the business.

“We look forward to building on these foundations with a renewed focus on customer, team and execution.”

Shares in the company have slipped 4.7% lower to 168.3p.

Published: 26/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub


February 26, 2020 News Team

Environmental protesters dress as canaries to block entrance to mine

Environmental protesters dress as canaries to block entrance to mine

Environmental protesters dress as canaries to block entrance to mine
Extinction Rebellion activists caged like canaries have blocked the entrance to an open cast mine in opposition to plans to expand it. There were heated scenes as a protester tried to get under a barrier at the entrance to the Bradley site near Dipton, County Durham, but was stopped by security guards patrolling with dogs.
Extinction Rebellion campaigners chanted “We are non-violent”, while the man was prevented from getting under the fence.

Four campaigners were dressed as miners' canaries and sat in large wire cages, blocking the entrance to the site.

One, who declined to give his name, said: “If things got unsustainable for life underground the canaries down the mine used to peg it before the miners did.

“Here we are, trying to stop the coal mine because there's no need for coal.”

Extinction Rebellion has promised three days of action at the site, heralding 40 days of protest during the Christian period of Lent which begins today.

Around 50 protesters were at the site, with Extinction Rebellion predicting more will come throughout the day.

They are calling on Durham County Council and the Government to reject the Banks Group's application to expand the mine, ahead of a planning committee meeting next month.

The campaigners said that extending the mining operation went against the commitment to phase out coal in 2025 and to become carbon neutral by 2050.”

Jackie Scollen, a local resident and member of Extinction Rebellion Durham, said: “Durham County Council have declared a climate emergency.

“Now they need to show us that they mean it.”

Durham Police was monitoring the protest and warned drivers that the A692 could be affected.

Published: 26/02/2020 by Radio NewsHub