Anglesey child kidnap case: Six charged over knifepoint abduction

Six people have been charged with kidnapping a child allegedly abducted at knifepoint and taken about 200 miles from home.

The child was reportedly abducted in Anglesey, north Wales, on Wednesday.

They were found unharmed later that day about 320km away in Northamptonshire.

Six adults accused of kidnap and are due to appear before Llandudno Magistrates on Monday, North Wales Police said. One has also been charged with possession of a bladed article.

Coronavirus: Four residents of Fermanagh care home die with Covid-19

A number of residents have died after a Covid-19 outbreak at a care home in County Fermanagh.

The outbreak at Millcroft Care Home, in Enniskillen, was confirmed in a statement from the company which runs the care home.

It said four of the residents have died and five are still being treated in hospital, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

It is believed the first deaths happened about two weeks ago.

It is not known how many staff have tested positive for the virus.

Earlier on Saturday, the Department of Health announced 15 deaths related to Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.

In a statement, a spokesperson said the home had been Covid free for the past six months but the virus had spread to 21 residents and a number of staff during an outbreak.

“There is immense sadness felt among the staff team as we have lost a number of residents to the virus,” the spokesperson said.

“We express our sincere condolences to the families of those deceased.”

They added: “The management and staff team will continue to deliver the best possible care to our residents at this very challenging time. 

“To those in recovery, both residents and staff, we look forward to welcoming them back to the home as soon as possible.”

Care homes across Northern Ireland have been badly affected by the virus with government figures showing that a total of 375 residents have died with the virus in care homes.

The latest figures from the Department of Health on Saturday indicated that of the 15 newly-reported deaths, 12 of them were people who died with coronavirus in the past 24 hours and three of them were deaths which happened before that period.

It brings the total number of Covid-related deaths recorded by the Department of Health in NI to 774.

An additional 528 confirmed cases have been reported.

There are 391 confirmed Covid-19 inpatients in hospital system, with 53 of them in intensive care.

There are 22 beds available in ICU, and 101 beds in the wider hospital system, officials said.

The total number of deaths is different to the figure recorded by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra).

In its bulletin, released on Friday, it registered 51 additional deaths, bringing the total figure for Northern Ireland to 1,023.

The Department of Health’s daily toll is based on a positive Covid-19 test result having been recorded, while the statistic agency’s figures include any death were coronavirus is mentioned on the death certificate.

In the Republic of Ireland, five deaths related to Covid-19 were announced on Saturday.

A further 335 confirmed cases of the virus were also announced.

Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi, dies aged 72

The former chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, has died aged 72 about a month after being diagnosed with cancer, a spokesman for his office has confirmed.

He died in the early hours of Saturday morning, the spokesman said.

Lord Sacks was a prolific writer and regularly contributed to radio and TV programmes such as BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Elaine Taylor, their three children and several grandchildren.

A statement from Lord Sacks’ office on 15 October announced he had been “recently diagnosed with cancer” and was undergoing treatment.

Lord Sacks, an Orthodox Jew, was born in London on 8 March 1948.

In 1991 he became Britain’s chief rabbi – the spiritual head of the largest grouping of Orthodox Jewish communities in the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “deeply saddened” by Lord Sacks’ death, adding: “His leadership had a profound impact on our whole country and across the world.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also paid tribute, saying: “He was a towering intellect whose eloquence, insights and kindness reached well beyond the Jewish community.”

Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, described Lord Sacks as a “giant of both the Jewish community and wider society”.

“His outstanding tenure as chief rabbi led to a revolution in Jewish life and learning which has ensured his legacy will pass not just through his own beloved family, but through generations of our community’s young people too,” she said.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis hailed his predecessor as “an extraordinary ambassador for Judaism”.

A statement from the chief rabbi’s office said on Saturday that Lord Sacks’ “remarkable legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of the countless people he inspired”.

Lord Sacks, who was made a crossbench life peer in 2009, often tried to find compromise between conservative and liberal factions of the British Jewish population.

At a tribute dinner held in May 2013 for the departing chief rabbi, the Prince of Wales defined Lord Sacks as “a steadfast friend” and “a valued adviser” and praised his “spiritual awareness and [his] comprehensively informed philosophical and historical perceptiveness.”

Covid-19: More than 100 people attend funeral balloon release

A crowd of more than 100 mourners gathered to release balloons despite Covid restrictions, police have said.

The group – made up of 30 people believed to have attended a funeral at a nearby cemetery – was joined by 80 others at Swan Pool in Sandwell Valley Country Park, officers said.

West Midlands Police said the gathering continued for a short time – despite officers’ efforts – before dispersing.

Under current rules, funerals are restricted to 30 attendees.

“We understand that this is deeply distressing time for bereaved families and friends but there are restrictions on the number of people permitted to attend funerals to protect everyone from the spread of Covid-19,” force incident manager Steve Radford said.

Lockdown restrictions mean an individual can only meet up with one other person outside their household or support bubble outdoors, although children under five are not included.

West Midlands Police also revealed on Saturday it had issued a £10,000 fine to a Birmingham pub after discovering a lock-in.

Officers arrived at The Spotted Dog on Warwick Street, Digbeth, at 23:00 GMT on 30 October to find 40 to 50 people inside, music “blaring” and a “party atmosphere, with no social distancing in place”.

At the time, the city was under tier two measures, which prevented households mixing indoors.

The force said it was the ninth time it had issued the so-called super fine, reserved for the most serious breaches.

Boris Johnson congratulates Joe Biden on US election win

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is among politicians congratulating Joe Biden on his US presidential election win.

Mr Johnson said he looked forward to “working closely” with Mr Biden.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer praised Mr Biden’s campaign of “decency, integrity, compassion and strength”.

Vote counting continues after Tuesday’s election, but the BBC projected on Saturday that Mr Biden has surpassed 270 electoral college votes – the threshold required to win.

Donald Trump’s campaign has indicated the incumbent president does not plan to concede.

Mr Johnson said in a statement on Twitter on Saturday: “The US is our important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security.”

Mr Johnson also congratulated the president-elect’s running mate, Kamala Harris, on “her historic achievement”. She will be the country’s first female vice-president.

Sir Keir said on Twitter that Mr Biden’s campaign was based on “decency, integrity, compassion and strength”, which are “values that we in the United Kingdom share”.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Mr Trump had “fought hard” but that he was looking forward to working with the new administration.

“The UK-US friendship has always been a force for good in the world,” he added.

They won’t be seen as natural allies: Joe Biden, the seasoned Democrat, and Boris Johnson, the bombastic Brexiteer.

In looking at how their future relationship might work, it’s worth considering the past. Specifically that seminal year, 2016, when Donald Trump won the White House and the UK voted to leave the EU. Both Mr Biden and his boss at the time, Barack Obama, made no secret they preferred another outcome on Brexit.

The UK government’s recent manoeuvres in relation to Brexit have not gone down well with key Democrats and the Irish lobby, including the US president-elect. Mr Biden said he would not allow peace in Northern Ireland to become a “casualty of Brexit” if elected – stating that any future US-UK trade deal would be contingent upon respecting the Good Friday Agreement.

The “special relationship” could, feasibly, face a downgrade. However, the two men may yet find some common ground.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Ed Davey, said the result was “a great victory for social justice, climate action and democracy”.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon also shared her congratulations, while SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the win “gives great hope to progressives here in Scotland and around the world”.

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford tweeted that he was looking forward to working with Mr Biden “to build on the strong links between Wales and USA”.

The BBC’s projection of Mr Biden’s victory is based on the unofficial results from states that have already finished counting their votes, and the expected results from states like Wisconsin where the count is continuing.

The election has seen the highest turnout since 1900. Mr Biden has won more than 73 million votes so far, the most ever for a US presidential candidate. Mr Trump has drawn almost 70 million, the second-highest tally in history.

Greater Manchesters NHS hospitals suspend non-urgent care

Hospitals in Greater Manchester are treating “more Covid patients than at the peak of the first wave”, resulting in non-urgent care being suspended.

Non-urgent hospital surgery and appointments will not go ahead as planned as coronavirus admissions have increased by 64 patients in a week.

Urgent and emergency care, such as cancer treatment, will continue.

NHS England said it was “pausing” non-urgent work to ensure it can “expand critical care facilities”.

Those affected by the delay will be contacted by hospitals, an NHS spokeswoman said.

Hospital admissions of coronavirus patients in the region have risen to 132 in the week ending 3 November, compared to 68 during the week ending 27 October.

Before a nationwide lockdown came into force in England on Thursday, Greater Manchester had been in the highest level of the three-tier system of restrictions.

In a statement, NHS England said: “Staff have worked tirelessly to try to maintain services and deliver the highest quality of healthcare to local people.

“Despite these efforts it is now necessary to pause non-urgent work to ensure we are in a position to expand critical care facilities, whilst maintaining cancer and other urgent care, including cardiac services, vascular surgery and transplantation.”

It said that The Christie cancer hospital will continue to provide care, while Rochdale will also provide cancer surgery as a Covid-secure site for Greater Manchester.

Diagnostic services, including endoscopy, and the majority of out-patient services will not be affected.

An NHS spokeswoman said: “If you are not contacted then assume your treatment is continuing as planned.”

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, which includes all NHS hospitals in the region, said: “Our hospitals are now treating more Covid patients than at the peak of the first wave and as a result of this, a number of non-urgent operations will be temporarily delayed – we are contacting the affected patients.

“Urgent and emergency care, including cancer treatment and operations will continue as normal and it’s important that anyone with concerns continues to come forward for help and treatment.”

Man fined after 60 turn up to party at Manchester flat

A man has been fined £10,000 after about 60 people turned up at a party in a two-bedroom flat in Manchester.

Police said they found people were not distancing and music was being played from large speakers at the gathering in Withy Grove last Sunday.

The organiser, aged 38, was fined on Friday for holding an illegal gathering of more than 30 people.

Supt Chris Hill said “organising this flat party was a clear act of non-compliance”.

Covid: Liverpool testing trial sites doubled after queues on first day

The number of coronavirus testing sites in Liverpool has doubled after “really good interest” in the scheme, its public health director has said.

Matthew Ashton said a total of up to 12,000 people were tested at six centres on Friday as England’s first trial of city-wide testing began.

Mr Ashton said a further eight sites were brought in on Saturday.

The city council said it could extend the two-week pilot scheme as more opened.

All residents and workers in Liverpool – the first area to be placed under England’s tier three restrictions – have been offered regular tests, regardless of whether they display symptoms.

Officials say this is in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Healthcare, education and other key workers, along with students, have been particularly encouraged to take a test.

Mr Ashton told BBC Radio 4 Today: “We are still working on the numbers but we think (there were) about 1,500-2,000 people per testing centre.

“So really good numbers and lots of interest, so it was very encouraging.

“For the most part, it ran very smoothly. It was good, it wasn’t perfect but we’ll improve it”.

City mayor Joe Anderson said: “The people of Liverpool did not let us down on the first day and I am delighted that so many people turned out for a test.

“This is a huge logistical exercise the likes of which has not been tried before, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank people for their patience and understanding as I know many had to queue for a while for a test.”

Residents are urged to book tests online or by phone, and not to turn up without an appointment.

People with symptoms have been told to not attend the mass testing centres but instead arrange a test at one of the mobile testing units in the city.

Some health experts have criticised the trial, with Allyson Pollock, professor of public health at Newcastle University, warning that plans to test asymptomatic people went against advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) to prioritise tests for those displaying symptoms.

Mr Ashton said he thought the nationwide lockdown, which started in England on Thursday, was necessary because tier three rules had not been successful in limiting transmission.

He said the summer exit from the first national lockdown occurred when Liverpool “still had levels of the virus in our community”.

“They weren’t high but they were still very present and it was higher than other parts of the country, and I think that’s what drove the big increases in the north west […] so we were first to have the second wave,” he said.

By cutting social contact, he said, the new lockdown measures would “absolutely help” to bring transmission down.

“The big question is will they cut them enough, will it take the levels of the virus low enough?”

As of Friday, 58 deaths were reported in the city during the past week, according to data.

Overall, Liverpool recorded 1,501 coronavirus cases in the seven days to 3 November, compared with 2,074 cases in the previous week.

This means the rate had dropped from 416 per 100,000 people to 301 per 100,000. Across England overall, the rate was 240 per 100,000.

Milind Soman: Actor and model charged over nude photo

Indian actor and model Milind Soman has been charged by police after he shared a naked picture of himself on Instagram.

Soman posted the image on Wednesday, showing him sprinting nude down a Goa beach, with the caption “Happy Birthday to me!”. 

It attracted over 147,000 likes and thousands of comments.

But police were called to action following a complaint by political party Goa Suraksha Manch.

The party said Soman had indulged in public obscenity, and tainted Goa’s image.

Police charged him on Friday with public obscenity and sharing lewd images online.

In an interview with the Bombay Times, his wife Ankita Konwar, who took the photo, said it “sends out a very positive message on body positivity and being free and happy with who you are.

“I think anyone who accepts themselves for who they are has this incredible light and energy around them, and people start liking their presence,” she added. “Milind’s always been like that. Always himself.”

Sameer Khutwalker, president of Goa Suraksha Manch, told the Indian Express newspaper he was happy Soman had been charged.

“He has used Goa for cheap publicity and acted foolishly on a public beach,” said Mr Khutwalker.

“When these things become public, people will imagine that ‘anything is possible in Goa,” he added. “When will all this stop?”

It is the second time Soman has been booked for charges of obscenity. In 1995, he and model Madhu Sapre were charged for appearing nude in an advertising campaign, wearing only a pair of shoes and a python wrapped around them.

Earlier this year, Soman posted the picture on his social media, with the caption “What the reaction would have been if it had been released today…”.

The latest charge also comes days after actor and model Poonam Pandey, and her husband, were arrested for allegedly trespassing on government property and shooting an “objectionable” video at a dam in Goa. The pair have since been released on bail.

Afghanistan violence: Former TV presenter Yama Siawash killed

A well-known former television presenter has been killed in a blast in Afghanistan that officials have blamed on militants linked to the Taliban.

Yama Siawash was an anchor on the private TV channel Tolo News and had recently started work at the country’s central bank.

He and two others were killed when a bomb attached to his car exploded near his home in the capital Kabul.

No group has officially claimed the attack.

But the interior ministry has reportedly blamed the Haqqani militant group, which is linked to the Taliban and is classed as a terrorist organisation by the US.

President Ashraf Ghani has reportedly ordered an investigation into the killings.

Siawash had a bachelor’s degree in law and political science. He spent almost a decade working as a journalist in Afghanistan and was one of Tolo TV’s most prominent presenters before starting work as a public relations adviser for the Central Bank of Afghanistan.

Another bank employee, Ahmadullah Anas, died in the attack along with their driver Mohammad Amin. Pictures on social media show the car engulfed in flames after the attack.

Violence in Afghanistan has worsened in recent months including targeted killings of journalists, politicians and rights activists.

Last week the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reported that in the last three months there had been a 50% rise in “enemy-initiated attacks” compared with the previous three.

It comes as the Taliban conducts peace talks with the Afghan government in Doha, Qatar. The talks – which follow an earlier peace agreement between the Taliban and the US in February – have stalled over preliminary issues.

Abdullah Abdullah, who heads Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation process, condemned the attack as an “unforgiveable” crime.

And Ross Wilson, US chargé d’affaires in Kabul, tweeted that he was “shocked” by the attack and expressed his sympathies for the families of those killed.

“This attack is an assault on freedom of the press, one of Afghanistan’s core democratic principles,” he posted.

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