Lake District National Park suspends trail hunting amid investigation

The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) has suspended all trail hunting on its land. 

The decision was in response to “recent allegations made to police” about an online hunting conference, it said.

The National Trust has also paused all trail hunting on its land.

The LDNPA said licences would remain suspended while “allegations are being examined by the police and Crown Prosecution Service to determine if any criminal offences have taken place”.

“This will include the suspension of the licence issued to the Blencathra Foxhounds,” it said.

“We will consider any action we need to take once the investigation is complete.”

Blencathra Foxhounds declined to comment.

Cumbria Police said it was aware of the investigation into a “webinar hosted by The Hunting Office, hunting’s governing body”.

The force said it could not comment further while allegations were being examined but said it was “fully committed to investigate and, where evidence exists, bring to justice any person who is found to be breaking the law”.

Trail hunting, where scents are laid for hounds to follow, is legal but chasing wild mammals with dogs was banned in 2004.

New apple variety discovered by runner

A new variety of apple has been discovered by a nature lover while he was out running.

Archie Thomas, from the Nadder Valley in Wiltshire, came across across a windfall apple on a wooded trackway near his home earlier this month.

Experts have confirmed the “highly unusual” fruit, which “tastes quite good”, is a new variety, which Mr Thomas hopes to propagate and name.

“It is unlike any apple I’d seen before,” he said.

Mr Thomas, who works for wild plant and fungi conservation charity Plantlife, said the fruit came from a lone old apple tree in a hedgerow.

“While I am certainly no fruit expert, it immediately struck me as highly unusual, unlike any apple I’d seen before,” he said.

“Excited by the pale and mottled oddity, I set about trying to get it identified with a view to perhaps one day being able to name it.

“That was the dream, but I did half suspect it would turn out to be something much less exciting than it is.”

Mr Thomas sent examples to the Royal Horticultural Society’s fruit identification service at RHS Wisley.

The RHS’s Jim Arbury said the fruit was not a planted cultivar, but a new variety which Mr Thomas could propagate and name.

“It is a very interesting apple. It is clearly not a planted tree, but a seedling that could be a cross between a cultivated apple and a wild Malus sylvestris, a European crab apple,” Mr Arbury said.

“It tastes quite good. It’s a cooking apple or dual purpose – you can eat it.”

Mr Arbury said the tree from which the apples came could be more than 100 years old and was not the result of a dropped modern supermarket apple.

Apple trees grown from seed are all different, so cultivated varieties, or cultivars, are propagated by taking cuttings from existing trees and grafting them on to rootstock to ensure the new tree and its apples are the same.

Channel crossings: More officers to patrol French beaches

The number of officers patrolling French beaches will double from next week to help stop migrants crossing the Channel, the UK’s home secretary has announced.

It is part of further measures Priti Patel agreed in a meeting with her French counterpart on Saturday.

Officers will be aided by “enhanced” surveillance, such as drones and radar, to find smugglers and migrants.

Thousands of migrants have reached the UK in small boats this year.

The Home Office said 59 people on four boats crossed the Channel on Friday.

Ms Patel said that due to increased French patrols and intelligence sharing “we are already seeing fewer migrants leaving French beaches”.

“The action we have agreed jointly today goes further, doubling the number of police officers on the ground in France, increasing surveillance and introducing new cutting edge technology, representing a further step forward in our shared mission to make Channel crossings completely unviable,” she said.

In announcing the French patrols, the Home Office did not say how many more officers would be deployed.

Ms Patel also said there would be “a new asylum system” that is “firm and fair” and promised there would be new legislation for that next year.

But Saturday’s announcement was criticised by Bella Sankey, director of humanitarian charity Detention Action.

“It is an extraordinary mark of failure that the home secretary is announcing with such fanfare that she is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic,” she said.

“No amount of massaging the numbers masks her refusal to take the sensible step of creating a safe and legal route to the UK from northern France, thereby preventing crossings and child deaths.

“Instead she throws taxpayers’ money away on more of the same measures that stand no chance of having a significant impact on this dangerous state of affairs.”

According to figures collated by the BBC about 8,000 migrants in small boats have been taken into the care of Border Force officials, having reached UK shores or been intercepted in the Channel.

That is despite Ms Patel’s vow in 2019 to make such journeys an “infrequent phenomenon”.

In October a Kurdish-Iranian family of five died attempting to cross the Channel. The small boat they were heading to the UK in capsized in rough conditions just a few kilometres into its journey.

There have been nearly 300 border-related deaths in and around the Channel since 1999, according to a recent report by Mael Galisson, from Gisti, a legal service for asylum seekers in France.

At Saturday’s meeting, Ms Patel and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin also agreed on steps to better support migrants arriving in France to find appropriate accommodation “in order to take them out of the hands of criminal gangs”.

They agreed on measures to increase border security at ports in northern and western France to target smugglers and avoid migrant crossings threatening freight traffic.

Co-operation between French and UK law enforcement had already stopped about 1,100 migrants from making the dangerous crossing and led to 140 arrests since July, the Home Office said.

Zappos ex-boss and Las Vegas entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, 46, dies after house fire

Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos.com, has died after a house fire in the US state of Connecticut.

Mr Hsieh, 46, who had been on a family visit at the time, only recently retired after 20 years leading Zappos, acquired by Amazon for more than $1bn.

He also played a key part in the restoration of central Las Vegas.

Tributes poured in on social media. Zappos said that the world had “lost a tremendous visionary”.

Tony Hsieh also wrote the book Delivering Happiness, which set out his philosophy of focusing on both customer and employee care.

A statement from, DTP Companies, the company Mr Hsieh invested in to transform downtown Las Vegas, said he was with his family when he died on Friday. Details of his injuries and the cause of death have not been released.

“Tony’s kindness and generosity touched the lives of everyone around him, and forever brightened the world,” the statement said.

Zappos.com paid tribute on its Twitter feed:

Amazon acquired Zappos in 2009 but Tony Hsieh stayed on as boss, saying: “We think of Amazon as a giant consulting company that we can hire if we want.”

Current Zappos chief executive officer, Kedar Deshpande, said Tony Hsieh’s “spirit will forever be a part of Zappos”.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal said Mr Hsieh had pumped a fortune into the once-neglected central Las Vegas and became the face of its revitalisation.

His “Downtown Project” helped fund start-ups, restaurants and other ventures.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman told the Review-Journal Mr Hsieh’s death was “a tragic loss”.

Ivanka Trump also tweeted about the loss of a “dear friend”.

Nottingham East Labour CLP chair suspended after Corbyn motion row

The chair of a Labour group has been suspended after a motion at an online meeting described as “clearly out of order” by the area’s MP was passed.

The Nottingham East CLP broke party rules with a motion calling for the restoration of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn, the BBC understands.

MP Nadia Whittome said she objected and the “atmosphere and tone” led to a Jewish member leaving Friday’s meeting.

The Labour Party said it took “all complaints seriously”.

The BBC has contacted Louise Regan, the suspended chair, for comment.

The party is also believed to be looking into an allegation a man who took part in the meeting had verbally abused a Jewish party member.

Former Labour leader Mr Corbyn was readmitted as a party member last week, after a short suspension for his reaction to a report into anti-Semitism in Labour.

But his successor Sir Keir Starmer has refused to let him sit as a Labour MP.

He said his predecessor’s remarks had “undermined trust” in the party within the Jewish community.

In a statement posted after the Friday evening meeting Ms Whittome said: “I am disappointed that a motion that was clearly out of order made its way on to the agenda.

“I take the EHRC report into Labour anti-Semitism very seriously, as should all our members, given the pain caused to Jewish communities and that the report found the Labour Party to have broken the law.”

She added she objected to the motion, but was overruled by the chair.

She also said the “atmosphere and tone”, which led to a Jewish party member feeling “they had no choice but to leave”, was “wholly unacceptable”.

The motion, seen by the BBC, called for, among other things, the “immediate restoration of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn” and said rules banning debate of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report were “out of order”.

Mr Corbyn was briefly suspended after the EHRC report, which found Labour responsible for “unlawful” harassment and discrimination during his leadership.

He has still not had the whip restored to him, leading to divisions within the party.

Labour rules say CLPs are not “competent” to discuss ongoing individual disciplinary matters.

A spokesperson confirmed Ms Regan had been suspended.

They added: “The Labour Party takes all complaints seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate action is taken.”

Ms Regan has not yet responded to a request from the BBC for comment.

Enfield stabbing: Murder arrest after man fatally stabbed

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a fatal stabbing in north London.

Paramedics and Met Police officers were called to a property in Macleod Road in Enfield, at about 17:00 GMT on Friday.

They found a man aged in his 30s with stab injuries and although he received first aid at the property, he was later pronounced dead.

A man was arrested at the scene and remains in police custody. Inquiries continue into what happened.

Ashton-under-Lyne crash: Woman hit by car dies

A woman has died and a man is fighting for his life after they were hit by a car in Greater Manchester.

A red Volkswagen Golf hit the two pedestrians on Manchester Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, at 03:35 GMT, police said.

The 27-year-old woman died at the scene and the 28-year-old man suffered life-threatening injuries and is being treated in hospital.

A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death while driving without due care and attention.

Insp Danny Byrne, from Greater Manchester Police, urged anyone with information to come forward.

BA sorry for tweet supporting England over Wales

British Airways has apologised after tweeting its support for the England rugby team who are due to play Wales.

‘English Airways’ began trending after the airline tweeted: “Good luck to the England rugby team against Wales today.” The tweet has now been deleted.

Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething commented: “Good way to annoy 3m+ potential customers”.

BA said it had “unintentionally strayed offside” and was sorry.

Member of the Senedd (MS) Alun Davies tweeted: “And you expect me to fly with you?”

BBC News at Ten presenter Huw Edwards, who grew up in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, tweeted: “I love @easyJet”.

Rhondda MP Chris Bryant tweeted: “What utter divots.”

Journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer responded with: “Spare a thought today for the @British_Airways social media team’s notifications.”

In a statement, the airline said: “We are proud sponsors of England Rugby but on this occasion we unintentionally strayed offside, for which we are sorry.”

While BA does not fly from Wales, it employs about 900 maintenance and engineering staff at three sites in south Wales.

Wales are due to host England in the Autumn Nations Cup at Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli at 16:00 GMT on Saturday.

New apple variety discovered by Wiltshire jogger

A new variety of apple has been discovered by a nature lover while he was out running.

Archie Thomas, from the Nadder Valley in Wiltshire, came across across a windfall apple on a wooded trackway near his home earlier this month.

Experts have confirmed the “highly unusual” fruit, which “tastes quite good”, is a new variety, which Mr Thomas hopes to propagate and name.

“It is unlike any apple I’d seen before,” he said.

Mr Thomas, who works for wild plant and fungi conservation charity Plantlife, said the fruit came from a lone old apple tree in a hedgerow.

“While I am certainly no fruit expert, it immediately struck me as highly unusual, unlike any apple I’d seen before,” he said.

“Excited by the pale and mottled oddity, I set about trying to get it identified with a view to perhaps one day being able to name it.

“That was the dream, but I did half suspect it would turn out to be something much less exciting than it is.”

Mr Thomas sent examples to the Royal Horticultural Society’s fruit identification service at RHS Wisley.

The RHS’s Jim Arbury said the fruit was not a planted cultivar, but a new variety which Mr Thomas could propagate and name.

“It is a very interesting apple. It is clearly not a planted tree, but a seedling that could be a cross between a cultivated apple and a wild Malus sylvestris, a European crab apple,” Mr Arbury said.

“It tastes quite good. It’s a cooking apple or dual purpose – you can eat it.”

Mr Arbury said the tree from which the apples came could be more than 100 years old and was not the result of a dropped modern supermarket apple.

Apple trees grown from seed are all different, so cultivated varieties, or cultivars, are propagated by taking cuttings from existing trees and grafting them on to rootstock to ensure the new tree and its apples are the same.

Nick Robinson: Lets give politicians a chance to speak human

I’ve slammed. I’ve raged. I’ve snapped, scolded, exploded, erupted and lost it.

That, at least, is how one national newspaper has described the clips of my interviews that it has chopped up, parcelled and packaged as tasty morsels for readers of its website, who they appear to believe have an insatiable appetite for punch-ups between politicians and interviewers. If they’re right and that’s what people want, I despair.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world as political editor for both ITV and BBC News, posing questions to presidents and prime ministers.

I took pride in asking the tough questions I thought people watching and listening at home would ask if only they had the chance. Questions that journalists in other countries seemed afraid to ask.

In the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, I asked the Chinese premier when the people would get the chance to vote for their own leaders.

In the White House, I asked George W Bush whether he was in denial about the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. It led news bulletins in the United States and would later lead the President to tell me, memorably, to “cover your bald head” when I was mopping sweat off my brow on the lawn of Camp David.

Now, I make my living asking questions on Radio 4 on Political Thinking – which starts a new series this week – and on Today, the country’s oldest breakfast programme.

I see a danger that we interviewers all too often see the “Gotcha” moment as the test of whether we’ve done our jobs properly.

Never mind the interview, have you seen how many shares and likes I got on Twitter or Facebook?

The macho operatives who once ruled over Downing Street responded by boycotting interviewers and shows that, they claimed, didn’t give them a fair hearing. They concluded that a video clip on social media, which they recorded and controlled, played better than those in which their guy was shown to be on the back foot.

We’ve seen where all this can end.

Interviews that never took place are remembered more than those that actually did.

Ministers trusted to say nothing beyond the brief are sent by party HQ to zoom from one studio to the next facing questions about issues they often have no responsibility for – and precious little knowledge of save for the crib sheets I can occasionally hear rustling.

One cabinet minister, who’d forgotten they could be seen as well as heard, read word-for-word from multiple sheets of carefully-typed notes marked with a pink highlighter.

Surely we can all – interviewers, politicians and, yes, you who watch or listen to our exchanges – can do better than this?

Despite the explosion of social media, political interviews remain for millions the way they understand the decisions that are being made in their name and the place they can see and hear arguments made and tested. What’s more, they should be an opportunity to open a window on what is shaping the thinking of those in power.

What newspapers like to call “a grilling” – or what we at the Today programme call an “accountability interview” – continues to play a vital role in our democracy.

This week I interviewed the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and was praised by some for my “polite persistence”, while criticised by others for my “dismal interviewing”. ‘Twas ever thus.

This, though, is far from the only way we should conduct our national conversation.

During the pandemic we’ve heard virologists, epidemiologists and scientific modellers asked to explain the thinking that is shaping their response to the spread of the virus.

Why can’t we speak to those who are developing policy on unemployment or climate change or racial inequality in the same way?

Would today’s politicians dare think out loud about their thinking, about what they don’t know or haven’t yet decided?

Or will they always seek refuge in soundbites that have been pre-tested on focus groups?

Will we in the media allow them to think aloud without seizing on every hesitation or apparent contradiction with what someone else in their party said months earlier?

Can we, in short, reduce the fear politicians feel about saying what they really think?

While we’re at it, why don’t we spend more time focusing on what really makes those we see and hear spouting the party line tick – their upbringing, their experiences, their values.

That’s what I try to do on Political Thinking. It’s a half hour conversation not an interrogation.

I interviewed Rishi Sunak long before he moved into No 11.

We talked about his experience working in his mum’s pharmacy as well as a hedge fund in the City: about his experience of racism and what it felt like to suffer racial slurs; and about his love of Star Wars.

I learned more about him than I have in any interview since.

Long before he became Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer told me about nursing his sick mother, the donkeys in his garden and the time he was so focused on his work that he didn’t notice his TV being nicked from under his nose.

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster recalled seeing her father moments after he’d been shot by the IRA and how she avoided serious injury when a bomb exploded under school bus only because she had swapped seats with another girl.

I’ve heard stories of hardship, loss and pain as well as privilege and entitlement.

I’ve heard passion and belief rather than rehearsed soundbites. What really pleases me about the series, though, is the number of times people say to me: “I really hated Mr X or Ms Y but now I can see where they’re coming from. I understand them”.

Contrary to popular belief, politicians are only human like the rest of us, though many have forgotten how to speak to the rest of us like humans.

It’s too easy to blame them for speaking like political robots.

We need to give them the chance to show who they really are and what they really think but they – and the people who advise them – need to give us the chance to ask tough questions and to hear them at least try to answer them.