Londonderry: Man shot in paramilitary-style assault

A man has been shot in the leg in the Southway area of Londonderry.

Police said they are treating the shooting, which happened shortly begfore 19:30 GMT on Wednesday, as “a paramilitary-style assault”.

The man, in his 30s, was taken to hospital for treatment.

Describing the attack as “barbaric”, PSNI Det Sgt Burns said those responsible for it do not contribute to the community or represent its interests.

Boris Johnson condemns disgraceful scenes in US

Boris Johnson has condemned the “disgraceful scenes” in the US where protesters have stormed Congress.

Supporters of President Donald Trump breached the Capitol building where lawmakers met to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

The PM said the US “stands for democracy around the world”, adding it was “vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was a “direct attack on democracy”.

And Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, called the events “utterly horrifying”.

Friend of President Trump and leader of Reform UK – formerly the Brexit Party – Nigel Farage tweeted: “Storming Capitol Hill is wrong. The protesters must leave.”

Earlier, a joint session of Congress had been counting and confirming electoral college votes from the US election in November.

But after a rally held by President Trump in Washington D.C, a large crowd of his supporters made their way to the Capitol and some managed to storm the building.

The Congress meeting was suspended and forced into recess.

UK MPs from across the political spectrum have been criticising the events in the US.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said there was “no justification for these violent attempts to frustrate the lawful and proper transition of power”, while Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said “those who seek to undermine” the election result “must never prevail”.

His Conservative colleague, and former Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt directly addressed President Trump for telling the crowd to march on Congress, tweeting: “He shames American democracy tonight and causes its friends anguish – but he is not America.”

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner said: “The violence that Donald Trump has unleashed is terrifying, and the Republicans who stood by him have blood on their hands.”

And shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said the events were “the legacy of a politics of hate that pits people against each other and threatens the foundations of democracy”.

The SNP’s leader in Westminster, Ian Blackford, said the end of Mr Trump’s presidency “cannot come quick enough”.

He tweeted: “What a legacy the events of today are to his time in office. Shameful, shocking an affront to democracy.”

And the foreign affairs spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrats, Layla Moran, said: “The scenes coming out of Washington tonight are an attack on democracy.”

Covid-19: Liverpool City Region cases rise extremely worrying

A sharp rise in coronavirus cases in Liverpool City Region is “extremely worrying”, a director for public health has said.

Knowsley and Halton are the top two areas in England where the rate of coronavirus cases are rising the sharpest.

Eileen O’Meara said she believed an increase in social mixing at Christmas and the new variant were to blame.

The region had seen cases reduce after Liverpool’s mass testing programme.

The latest data shows a 322% increase of cases in a week in Knowsley – up from 188 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending 26 December to 794 in the week ending 2 January.

In Halton, which includes Runcorn and Widnes, there has been a 315% increase of cases to 870 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending 2 January.

Liverpool City Region’s four other boroughs, including Liverpool, are also in England’s top 20 of highest rising cases.

The city had been hailed a success and Health Secretary Matt Hancock said cases had been brought down “quite remarkably” after the rollout of mass testing.

The region was placed in tier two following England’s second lockdown in November, then moved to tier three on 30 December before joining the rest of England under a national lockdown this week.

Ms O’Meara, director for public health for Halton, said she was “very concerned” about the rise in cases which she said was happening across Liverpool City Region and Cheshire.

“We are now seeing the impact of the new variant in the north west. We know it spreads up to 70% more quickly than the previous variant,” she said.

“I think there were more social gatherings over Christmas. I think a lot of people had made their Christmas plans [before any changes] and there was possibly more social gathering than we would have wanted.”

Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram tweeted that cases were “continuing to increase dramatically” across the city region.

He asked people to “please be careful and keep doing everything you can to help keep yourself and your loved ones safe, and to stop the NHS from being overwhelmed”.

Ms O’Meara said she was “extremely worried” about the sharp increase in cases and the impact this would have on the region’s hospitals.

But she said if people “do what they need to do to protect each other and care about each other” the rates could come down again.

Knowsley Council pleaded with residents to follow the rules, saying it was sending a “strong message” that “lockdown must mean lockdown”.

“Help us save lives and protect the NHS by staying at home,” the authority tweeted.

By Claire Hamilton, Political Reporter, BBC Radio Merseyside

Liverpool was of course the poster child for mass testing – so is this rise proof it didn’t work? It’s not as clear cut as that.

Mass testing has now been scaled back. Initially there were sites on every street, now there are a handful and they’re not all as easily accessible as the temporary sites.

This testing really raised awareness and focused minds, possibly now it has become less visible people are less careful.

“Tier tourists” are also being blamed for the rise. Anecdotally, early December saw an influx of people coming to the (then tier two) Liverpool City Region from neighbouring higher tier places for mini breaks and nights out.

Add to that socialising in the run up to Christmas – people meeting up indoors with people they didn’t live with, despite this being against the rules.

Covid: Llandudno vaccination centre delay prompts apology

“Significant delays” at a Covid vaccination centre has prompted a health board to apologise.

Betsi Cadwaladr health board said the training of “new vaccinators” led to the delay on Wednesday.

Queues of up to three hours were reported at the vaccination centre at Ysbyty Enfys in Llandudno, Conwy.

Bethan Jones, the health board’s central area director, said it was part of the “scaling up of our programme” for vaccination.

She added: “We are aware there has been significant delays at our mass vaccination centre at Ysbyty Enfys Llandudno today. We apologise to everyone who has experienced a long wait for their vaccine.

“New vaccinators arrived at the site today to support the scaling up of our programme, and these individuals needed to be trained before they were able to begin vaccinating.”

Ms Jones also said that a number of people had arrived for their appointments early, which resulted in people having to wait longer.

“We would like to remind everyone who has received an invite for the vaccination to arrive at the time that has been allocated to them, not any earlier,” she said.

“We are doing all we can to ensure everyone is seen in a timely manner.”

One person tweeted on Wednesday that the queue was two hours long, but later updated it to say it was three.

One of those who had been queueing for three hours told BBC Wales there were a “good few hundred” in the queue and said they were not told how long the delay would be.

“The information they gave you told you not to arrive early and not to arrive late and to wear appropriate clothing so you can lift your sleeve up and be jabbed. I went in t-shirt, jeans and a hoody and I was frozen.

“We walked round the building and there’s a big car park at the back and it was just a big snake of people, a good few hundred.

“There were elderly people there, there were clearly vulnerable people, a couple of people had to have wheelchairs brought out to them because it was so cold. They weren’t dressed for it, it was 2 degrees.

“There were people turning away, leaving the queue.”

Monday was described as a “momentous day” in the fight against Covid-19 as the rollout of the second Covid vaccine – Oxford-AstraZeneca – began in Wales.

More than 35,000 people in Wales have had a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine – the first to be approved in the UK.

Both vaccines will be available in Wales and the Welsh Government said 40,000 doses of the Oxford jab would be available within the first two weeks – with 22,000 jabs this week.

Scots political leaders condemn Capitol storming

Scotland’s political leaders have united in condemnation of scenes in Washington where pro-Trump protesters have breached the Capitol Building.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said they were “utterly horrifying” and an “attack on democracy”.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said it was “appalling” while Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said no democracy could tolerate it.

Lawmakers were meeting to confirm Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.

The joint session of Congress had to be suspended as demonstrators pushed past security staff and entered the building.

Senators and representatives were issued with gas masks as they were ushered to a place of safety.

There are reports of guns drawn in the building and a woman was said to be in a critical condition after being shot in the chest.

Mr Biden said the action should “end now” and urged Mr Trump to demand on national TV an end to the “siege”.

Mr Trump called on people to remain peaceful and respect law enforcement officials.

He told his supporters: “I know your pain, I know your hurt.

“We had an election that was stolen from us – everyone knows that, especially the other side.

“But you have to go home now. We have to have peace, we have to have law and order.”

Mr Biden said the scenes of “chaos” at the Capitol “do not represent who we are”.

He added: “What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent, it’s disorder. It borders on sedition, and it must end. Now.

First Minister Ms Sturgeon tweeted her solidarity “with those on the side of democracy and the peaceful and constitutional transfer of power”.

She added: “Shame on those who have incited this attack on democracy.”

Earlier, a joint session of Congress had been counting and confirming electoral college votes from the US election in November.

But after a rally held by President Trump in Washington D.C, a large crowd of his supporters made their way to the Capitol and some managed to storm the building.

The Congress meeting was suspended and forced into recess.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross tweeted: “No country founded on democratic values and the rule of law can tolerate behaviour like this.”

Womans Hour: Emma Barnett defends herself after guest drops out

Woman’s Hour host Emma Barnett has defended herself after a guest who was booked to appear on the BBC Radio 4 programme dropped out due to remarks the presenter made about her off-air.

Kelechi Okafor said she was treated in a “degrading” and “vile” manner.

Barnett said she and her producers were discussing alleged anti-Semitic remarks Okafor had made in the past.

The host said she then raised these directly, adding: “I stand by my questions to my team and to Kelechi.”

Barnett said Okafor “denied the allegations and hung up”.

Okafor, who is an actress, dance instructor and podcaster, had been booked for an item about the #MeToo movement.

Wednesday’s programme marked a year since the trial of disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, who was jailed for 23 years for rape and sexual assault.

The 15-minute discussion was intended to explore what the #MeToo movement has achieved.

After Okafor pulled out of the programme, the item went ahead with the other guests, Rosanna Arquette and Caitlin Dulany – two of the actresses who accused Weinstein of sexual assault.

Writing on Twitter, she said Barnett spoke about her in a disrespectful way, without realising she could be heard.

“The host didn’t realise her mic was on as she was talking about me before the interview started,” Okafor posted.

“You can have a genuine concern about something you’ve been told about me and address it in a manner that is kind. That wasn’t what took place.

“The need for me on today’s show was to offer balance to these wayward women thinking that the MeToo movement is no longer needed. The fact is that if you feel it’s no longer needed for your white middle class sensibilities, marginalised voices still need it.

“We haven’t heard from everybody regarding the violations they’ve faced. The originators of the MeToo movement were black women. From enslaved black women who were raped by slave owners to Tarana Burke yet their voices are yet to be honoured.”

Writing on Twitter, Barnett said: “Just before I went on air this morning to present a special programme about Me Too… it came to my attention that one of our guests, Kelechi Okafor, had made alleged anti-Semitic remarks.

“I was also sent a press report of the transcript of what she had said on her podcast supporting Reggie Yates’s comments about Jewish male managers and profits.”

Yates apologised in 2017 after saying in a podcast interview: “The thing that makes it great about this new generation of [music] artists is that they ain’t signing to majors. They’re independent, they’re not managed by some random fat Jewish guy from north west London, they’re managed by their brethren.”

Later that year, Okafor said Yates had been speaking “the truth” and said his comments were “not problematic”.

Barnett continued: “As Weinstein is also Jewish and was referenced as part of this same podcast, I was discussing with my producers the role of this guest in light of her allegedly anti-Semitic comments. Kelechi overheard that chat on our open Zoom link – with two minutes to airtime.

“I then directly talked to Kelechi about the allegations, standing by my queries, and said she could put her response across in the programme. She denied the allegations and hung up, choosing to no longer be part of the programme.

“I stand by my questions to my team and to Kelechi. I would have happily hosted her on the programme with a question on this issue.”

She added: “I believe people can always answer for themselves – but equally it is my duty to ask people what qualifies them as a leading voice in a space.”

A BBC spokesman said: “During an off-air conversation ahead of the programme, Emma Barnett and the production team talked about a guest’s role in the discussion, and how to reflect some of the guest’s alleged previous comments and the issue of anti-Semitism as part of the Woman’s Hour discussion on the role of minority voices in the MeToo movement.

“This was also raised directly with the guest before going on air.”

The BBC said the off-air conversation did not make reference to Okafor’s race.

The alleged incident occurred on Barnett’s third day as the new presenter of Woman’s Hour. Dame Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey both left the programme last year.

Barnett has previously spoken out against anti-Semitism on her BBC Radio 5 Live programme after controversial comments from the rapper Wiley.

Little action at Trump auction for Arctic oil rights

The Trump administration has held the first sale for rights to drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – but it drew no interest from major companies.

An Alaskan state agency emerged as the primary bidder at the auction, which has been slammed by environmental groups.

The sale raised less than $15m (£11m) – far less than the government had hoped.

The tepid interest comes amid big changes in the energy industry.

Major companies, including oil giant Exxon, Shell and BP, have said they are focusing their spending on renewable energy, amid a huge slump in oil prices, in part triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, said the sale was an “epic failure” for the Trump administration and the Alaska Republicans, who had backed the move as a way to create jobs and reduce American dependence on foreign oil.

“After years of promising a revenue and jobs bonanza they ended up throwing a party for themselves, with the state being one of the only bidders,” he said in a statement.

“We have long known that the American people don’t want drilling in the Arctic Refuge, the [Alaska native] Gwich’in people don’t want it, and now we know the oil industry doesn’t want it either.”

Mr Kolton said his organisation would continue to fight in court to reverse the sale of the land, which is home to caribou, polar bears and millions of migratory birds.

The wildlife refuge is estimated to hold some 11 billion barrels of oil.

Opening the wilderness for drilling and development has been a long-term priority for Alaska Republicans, but development was expected to be costly since the area has minimal roads and infrastructure.

After decades of controversy, the sale was finally authorised by the US Congress in 2017 as part of a major package of tax cuts. The auction comes just weeks before Donald Trump is due to leave office on 20 January.

President-elect Joe Biden had vowed to protect the refuge and environmental groups have also challenged the sale, which they say threatens land that provides a vital home to wildlife.

A federal court rejected arguments by environmental groups seeking to block the auction on Tuesday.

At Wednesday’s auction, the Bureau of Land Management said it had received bids for 12 of the 22 tracts of land offered, covering more than 600,000 acres.

The Alaska Industrial Development and Industrial Authority, a state agency, was the sole bidder on at least eight of the 12 tracts.

Some bids submitted were “incomplete”, the bureau said.

The state agency has said it plans to work with private companies on development of the refuge, which encompasses more than 19,000 million acres overall.

On social media platform Twitter, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy called the sale “historic for Alaska and tremendous for America”.

“Opening [Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] for responsible resource development could put more oil in our pipeline, put Alaskans to work, bring billions of dollars of investment to our state, support American energy independence, and provide critical revenues to our state and local communities,” he wrote.

“Alaskans have waited two generations for this moment; I stand with them in support of this day.”

Cark Christmas lights will take until June to untangle

With the arrival of Twelfth Night, Christmas decorations are coming down, but for one man the job will take a little longer.

Jeremy Voakes, who decorates his Cumbrian house for charity, aims to have his light show boxed by Easter but says the mammoth task usually ends “sometime in June”.

His display at Cark-in-Cartmel has raised more than £30,000 for the NSPCC.

Mr Voakes admitted: “Someone jokingly said we’d created a monster.”

Twenty years ago, Mr Voakes and his wife Mandy began a small Christmas display by putting some lights on scaffolding during building works.

Known locally as the “Cark Illuminations”, it is now estimated to include about 150,000 light bulbs.

“The location of the house really lends itself to a display as we’re about halfway up a hill,” Mr Voakes said. “Thousands of people drive up the lane to take a look.

“It’s always a fun thing to do, but even more so after the year everyone has had.

“It’s too much work for one person so Mandy helps untangling everything and with the ladders.”

Their children, Jessica and David, also get “roped in”.

“It’s sad to see them go when I finally start putting them away,” Mr Voakes said.

“We get them down as quick as we can to protect them from the weather. That takes about a month, then we’ll start packing them away.

“I always aim to get that done by Easter, but it usually ends up sometime in June.

“We’ve got a double-storey garage that’s never seen a car so the bottom is a workshop where I keep some of the bigger decorations and the rest are in boxes on the upper part.

“I normally start putting them back up in October so it’s an almost year-round job.”

Covid: Sussex and Surrey in major incident response to virus

Sussex and Surrey have rolled out ‘major incident’ plans, as fears increase that Covid-19 cases could overwhelm local health services.

Sussex Resilience Forum said growing demand had put services under unprecedented pressures.

Both counties went into tier four before the national lockdown came in.

Restrictions across the South East were progressively tightened as the region faced an outbreak of the new Covid variant, which spreads more rapidly.

In a statement, the Sussex forum said a major incident was declared at 14:00 GMT, while the Surrey forum said it had been operating in major incident mode since March 2020 but would now reprioritise operations.

Measures in Sussex could include making more use of volunteer help and preparing in detail for extra capacity needed across services, the forum said.

It could also lead to requests for extra support from the government if necessary.

Sussex assistant chief constable Dave Miller said: “The pressures on the whole system of health and social care… this winter are unprecedented and while our services are managing, we know that challenges are only likely to increase in the short term.

“By declaring a major incident, we can put ourselves on the strongest possible footing to combine our efforts and resources to keep people and public services in the best possible health.”

In Surrey, resilience forum chairman Steve Owen-Hughes said partners including hospitals, GPs, social care, emergency services and councils were already working together but would now reprioritise their approach to focus on public safety and redeploying staff and expertise.

He said: “We believe that the next few weeks and months are going to be some of the most difficult we have had to face, as infection rates rise still further.

“I know how frustrating it is to be faced with another lockdown and I would like to thank the vast majority of Surrey residents for playing their part over the last few months. However, now is not the time to ease up if we are to save lives and protect the NHS and we need everyone to continue with their efforts.”

On Tuesday, it emerged that births at home and midwife-led units had been suspended by East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The move was because of the “significant pressure” the ambulance service was facing.

In a letter to NHS trusts in the region, South East Coast Ambulance Service spoke of the “current operational pressures” it was facing.

“We need to reduce the amount of planned activity that may require emergency ambulance transfer,” it said.

Gordon Ramsay leads tributes to culinary legend Albert Roux

Chef and restaurateur Albert Roux, who brought great French cooking to the UK with his brother Michel, has died at the age of 85.

The pair made gastronomic history in 1982 when their London restaurant, Le Gavroche, became the first in Britain to earn three Michelin stars.

Albert’s death comes almost a year after Michel died at the age of 78.

Gordon Ramsay, one of many leading chefs who earned their stripes in Le Gavroche’s kitchen, led the tributes.

“So so sad the hear about the passing of this legend, the man who installed Gastronomy in Britain,” Ramsay wrote on Instagram.

Marco Pierre White, Marcus Wareing, Pierre Koffman and Monica Galetti are among the other chefs who rose through the ranks at Le Gavroche.

In his tribute, TV chef James Martin described Albert Roux as “a true titan of the food scene in this country [who] inspired and trained some of the best and biggest names in the business”.

A family statement said: “The Roux family has announced the sad passing of Albert Roux, OBE, KFO, who had been unwell for a while, at the age 85 on 4th January 2021.

“Albert is credited, along with his late brother Michel Roux, with starting London’s culinary revolution with the opening of Le Gavroche in 1967.”

His son Michel Roux Jr, who now runs Le Gavroche and is a former judge on MasterChef: The Professionals, said: “He was a mentor for so many people in the hospitality industry, and a real inspiration to budding chefs, including me.”

Food critic Jay Rayner described Albert Roux as “an extraordinary man who left a massive mark on the food story of his adopted country”.

He added: “The roll call of chefs who went through the kitchens of Le Gavroche alone, is a significant slab of a part of modern UK restaurant culture.”

Chef Tom Kitchin wrote that “one of the true culinary greats has left us”, and baker and food writer Dan Lepard said it was the “end of an era”.

Albert and Michel Roux came from a family of butchers in eastern France, and trained to be patissiers before moving to the UK.

Albert arrived in the mid-1950s, and in 1967 put his £3,000 savings with money borrowed from friends to open the first Gavroche off Sloane Square in Chelsea.

With uncompromising standards, elaborate presentation and first-rate service, it raised the standards of haute cuisine in a then-limited English restaurant scene.

It moved to Mayfair in 1981, and soon became the first British-based establishment to carry the maximum three Michelin stars.

“An Olympic gold medal,” Albert said at the time. “I have had no other ambition.”

Its kitchen would also become the training ground for a new, enlightened generation of British chefs.

“If cooking is an art form, Le Gavroche was the Royal College of Music, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, Rada and the Courtauld and Warburg institutes all rolled up into one, poached, wrapped in a puff pastry shell with foie gras and served with truffle sauce,” The Guardian wrote in 2010.

The brothers also launched the Roux Scholarship, an annual chef competition, in 1983, with many scholars having gone on to win Michelin stars themselves.

Albert and Michel opened a string of other restaurants, fronted a 13-part TV series on BBC Two in 1990, and published a series of best-selling books about French cookery.

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