Boris Johnson pays tribute to railway ticket office worker Belly Mujinga after ‘tragic’ death | London Evening Standard

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has paid tribute to a railway ticket office worker who died with coronavirus after being spat at while on duty.

Belly Mujinga, 47, was on the station concourse in March when a member of the public claiming to have Covid-19 spat and coughed at her and a colleague, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said.

Within days of the assault, both women fell ill with the virus and Ms Mujinga, who has an 11-year-old daughter, died in hospital in Barnet 11 days after the attack on April 5.

Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Mr Johnson described the death of Belly Mujinga as “tragic”.

He said: “The fact that she was abused for doing her job is utterly appalling.

“My thoughts, and I’m sure the thoughts of the whole House, are with her family.”

The Prime Minister described the death as ‘tragic’ (Sky News)

A police investigation is under way, launched more than a month after 47-year-old Ms Mujinga and a colleague were attacked by a man claiming to be infected with Covid-19 on the concourse at the London transport terminal on March 22.

Ms Mujinga, a mother to an 11-year-old daughter, was said to have told her bosses at Govia Thameslink Railway about the incident, but police were not called at the time. 

Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, Ms Mujinga’s cousin, Agnes Ntumbas said the mum-of-one was a “lovely woman, happy and caring”.

“It’s disgusting. How could a human being react in that way to another human? It’s insane – it’s not right,” said Ms Ntumba

Ms Mujinga moved to the UK in 2000 from The Democratic Republic of Congo (PA)

Piers Morgan condemned the attack saying: “I would say tragedy but it’s worse than that, this seems to be a murder. That’s murder to me.”

He added: “It’s one of the most sickening stories I can remember from this entire crisis.”

It has not been confirmed that the spitting incident is directly linked to Ms Mujinga contracting the virus.

However, TSSA has reported the incident to the Railways Inspectorate, the safety arm of the Office for Road and Rail (ORR), for investigation and is taking legal advice on the situation.

Belly Mujinga was a caring and lovely woman, says her cousin

As of Wednesday morning, a fundraising page set up for Ms Mujinga’s family has raised £11,075, surpassing its initial target of £1,000.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said around 50 transport workers have died during the crisis.

He told BBC Breakfast: “My heart goes out to Belly’s family. Nobody should be spat at. This is not a question of PPE, it’s just disgusting and I know that the British Transport Police are investigating.

“So very, very sad, her death and indeed the deaths of around 50 transport workers is something I take particularly seriously.”

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A BTP spokesman said: “British Transport Police have now launched an investigation into a report of two members of rail staff being spat at while working at London Victoria station on 22nd March.

“One of the victims, a 47-year-old woman, very sadly died in hospital on April 5th. Enquiries are ongoing, they added.

Anyone who has any information is asked to contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 359 of 11/05/20.

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UK’s coronavirus death toll rises by 684 to 3,605 in biggest jump yet – Mirror Online

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The UK’s coronavirus death toll has soared to 3,605 after 684 patients died in just 24 hours – the biggest single day increase yet.

The figure does not include people who have died at home. The previous total stood at 2,921 deaths.

The number of confirmed cases has increased to 38,168 after 4,450 more people tested positive.

Most of the deaths have been in England (3,244), followed by Scotland (172), Wales (141) and Northern Ireland (48).

Two NHS nurses, who were both mothers in their 30s with three young children, are among the latest patients to die after battling Covid-19 in hospital.

The grim news came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who is back at work after battling the virus, said the Government expects the virus to peak in Britain in the next few weeks and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is still infected with Covid-19 and isolating, urged people to stick with social distancing in a bid to flatten the curve.

Have you been affected by coronavirus? Email webnews@mirror.co.uk.

Aimee O'Rourke

The Department of Health said: “As of 9am on 3 April 2020, 173,784 people have been tested, of which 38,168 were confirmed positive.

“As of 5pm on 2 April 2020, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 3,605 have died.”

Public Health England said 11,764 tests were carried out on Thursday in England, while testing capacity for inpatient care in the country currently stands at 12,799 tests per day.

Two NHS nurses were among the latest patients to die.

BBC Radio 4

Mum-of-three Areema Nasreen, 36, was in intensive care on a ventilator after testing positive for the virus.

She worked at Walsall Manor Hospital in the West Midlands.

In Kent, Aimee O’Rourke, 38, died at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, where she worked.

The mum-of-three was hailed as a “brave angel” as her family said in a tribute: “Aimee was a beautiful woman and a valued NHS nurse.”

Boris Johnson

More than 10,000 tests carried out

Friday’s figures from the Department of Health show that for the second day running more than 10,000 new people were tested in the UK for coronavirus.

A total of 10,590 new people were reported as being tested in the 24 hours to 9am April 3.

The equivalent figure for April 2 was 10,215.

The total number of people in the UK tested since the outbreak began is now 173,784.

This is the equivalent of around 261 people in every 100,000, or 0.3% of the population.

The number of coronavirus-related hospital deaths reported by the Department of Health stood at 3,605 as of 5pm April 2.

It took 19 days for this number to pass 300. It has taken further 11 days to pass 3,000.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK has taken two weeks to go from just under 4,000 (3,983 as of 9am March 20) to just under 40,000 (38,168 as of 9am April 3).

Commenting on the death of Ms Nasreen, Mr Hancock said: “I pay tribute to the NHS staff who’ve died serving the NHS, serving the nation.

“It shows the incredible bravery of every member of the NHS who goes into work knowing that these dangers are there.

“I think it is a testament to every doctor and nurse and paramedic and other health professional who is working in the NHS in these difficult times.

“And I think the whole nation is grateful.”

About 35,000 front-line NHS staff are not currently in work due to coronavirus, said Mr Hancock.

He said testing figures for health staff “should” rise to thousands a day in the next few weeks.

The Government has set a goal of testing 100,000 people a day across the whole of the UK by the end of April following widespread criticism of its testing strategy.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the 5,000-plus NHS staff who had been tested had mainly been tested at new testing sites.

Health Secretary

A total of 172 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by 46 from 126 on Thursday.

3,001 people have now tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up from 2,602 the day before.

Officials said 176 people are in intensive care with coronavirus or coronavirus symptoms, and increase of 14 on Thursday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned: “I want to be very clear that nothing I have seen gives me any basis whatsoever for predicting the virus will peak as early as a week’s time here in Scotland.”

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A total of 24 patients have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 141, health officials said.

Public Health Wales said 345 new cases had tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Wales to 2,466.

Dr Robin Howe, from Public Health Wales, said “345 new cases have tested positive for Covid-19 in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,466, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher”.

Dr Howe added: “Twenty-four further deaths have been reported to us of people who had tested positive for Covid-19, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 141.

Louisa Jordan

“We offer our condolences to families and friends affected, and we ask those reporting on the situation to respect patient confidentiality.”

The Welsh Government will introduce a law compelling all employers to make sure their workers keep two metres apart, Wales’ First Minister has said.

Mark Drakeford said the social distancing legislation, the first in the UK, would require bosses to “put the needs of their workforce first” when it comes into force on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

The number of people who have died in Northern Ireland after contracting coronavirus has risen by 12 to 48, health officials said.

Testing has resulted in 130 new positive cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the region to 904.

Manchester's Central Complex

In England, two siblings of Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, the 13-year-old London boy who died after testing positive for coronavirus, have also developed symptoms, according to a family friend who launched an online appeal.

The development means Ismail’s mother and six siblings are forced to self-isolate and cannot attend his funeral in Brixton on Friday, Mark Stephenson said.

Meanwhile, Prince Charles, who tested positive for coronavirus last month, officially opened the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCeL centre in east London.

The Prince of Wales, 71, appeared via video-link from his Scottish home of Birkhall and spoke to those gathered at the entrance of the new temporary hospital.

He said: “It is without doubt a spectacular and almost unbelievable feat of work in every sense, from its speed of construction – in just nine days as we’ve heard – to its size and the skills of those who have created it.

Mark Stephenson

NHS Nightingale Hospital – the facts

The NHS Nightingale Hospital has been built in east London in the ExCel convention centre.

The facility will be used to treat Covid-19 patients transferred from intensive care units across London

Just one ward will need 200 members of staff

“An example, if ever one was needed, of how the impossible could be made possible and how we can achieve the unthinkable through human will and ingenuity.”

Charles added: “The creation of this hospital is above all the result of an extraordinary collaboration and partnership between NHS managers, the military and all those involved to create a centre on a scale that has never been seen before in the United Kingdom.

“To convert one of the largest national conference centres into a field hospital, starting with 500 beds with a potential of 4,000, is quite frankly incredible.”

The prince and Mr Hancock both recently ended self-isolation after contracting the virus and Charles commented on the fact they had recovered.

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He said: “Now I was one of the lucky ones to have Covid-19 relatively mildly and if I may say so I’m so glad to see the Secretary of State has also recovered, but for some it will be a much harder journey.”

Shortly after he spoke, Buckingham Palace confirmed the Queen has recorded a special broadcast on the coronavirus outbreak to be broadcast on Sunday night.

Previously, it was said that the 93-year-old monarch, who is isolating with Prince Philip, 98, at Windsor Castle, was preparing to make a televised address to calm the nation’s nerves, but was waiting for the “right moment” to address the country.

Mr Hancock, meanwhile, praised all those involved in the setting up of the hospital, adding the “extraordinary project”, the core of which was completed in just nine days, was a “testament to the work and the brilliance of the many people involved”.

Matt Hancock

Show your support for our NHS heroes

We are building a map of appreciation for the NHS heroes looking after us through the coronavirus crisis. Place your heart on our live updating map at www.thanksamillionnhs.co.uk.

Add your partial postcode (eg: CF5 1) to put a heart on the map and you can add a thank you message too.

If you’re an NHS worker, you’ll also find a handy list of all the places and brands currently offering you well-deserved discounts.

Share the page to encourage others to show their support!

He also praised the NHS and the way its staff are dealing with the virus crisis.

The Health Secretary said: “In these troubled times with this invisible killer stalking the whole world, the fact that in this country we have the NHS is even more valuable than before.”

Asked about the number of ventilators currently in use and how many are expected to arrive next week, Mr Hancock said: “We’ve obviously got a big programme to ramp up the number of ventilators and we now have more ventilators than we had before.

“And we’re going to need them for this hospital and I’m just going to go and have a look at that now.”

Pressed for exact numbers, Mr Hancock did not respond.

Northern Ireland

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier, Mr Hancock said it is unclear whether he is now immune to Covid-19.

He described having coronavirus as a “pretty unpleasant experience” with an “incredibly” sore throat and a feeling of “having glass in my throat”.

He said he has lost half a stone in weight.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained in isolation in Downing Street after testing positive for the virus.

He was “feeling better” but still had a fever on Friday.

nurse and paramedic

In a video on social media, the Prime Minister urged the public to stick with social distancing and not be tempted to “hang out” in the warmer weather predicted for this weekend.

“In my own case, although I’m feeling better and I’ve done my seven days of isolation, alas I still have one of the symptoms, a minor symptom, I still still have a temperature,” he said.

“So, in accordance with government advice I must continue my self-isolation until that symptom itself goes.”

Mr Johnson said people must not be tempted to break social distancing rules as the weather warms up even if they were going “a bit stir crazy”

In England, more than 26.7 million units of personal protection equipment (PPE) were delivered to 281 NHS “trusts and providers” on Thursday, Downing Street confirmed.

Prime Minister

Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “That included 7.8 million aprons, 1.7 million masks and 12.4 million gloves.”

It follows the new guidance issued by Public Health England about the level of protection health staff should wear depending on the patient situation.

There would be no new guidance published on the public wearing masks or face coverings when out of the house, said the spokesman.

The spokesman said “surveillance” of the population to determine the spread of coronavirus was ongoing, with 3,500 antibody tests carried out per week.

“This is a population surveillance programme which we have been carrying out since February,” said the spokesman.

“It is being done by Public Health England at their campus which is at Porton Down.

“We currently have capacity for 3,500 of these surveillance tests to be carried out this week which is enough for small-scale population sampling.”

Two newly-planned temporary hospital sites have been agreed at the University of the West of England and the Harrogate Convention Centre.

They will join other sites due to open at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre and Manchester’s Central Complex.

Construction of a temporary hospital called the NHS Louisa Jordan is underway in Glasgow.

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Christchurch mosque attacks: Gunman pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder and terrorism | Stuff.co.nz

The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks has entered shock guilty pleas, bringing relief to survivors and victims’ families.

Amid extraordinary coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Brenton Tarrant, 29, appeared via video-link in the High Court at Christchurch on Thursday morning and admitted 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and a charge of engaging in a terrorist act.

He’d previously pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was scheduled to stand trial on June 2.

GEORGE HEARD/STUFF
Fifty-one people died as a result of the March 15, 2019 attack.

Tarrant, who wore a grey prisoner sweater, was largely silent and emotionless throughout the hearing. He sat alone in a white room with a grey door at Auckland Prison, Paremoremo, where he’s held in maximum security.

The terrorist’s lawyers, Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson, appeared via video-link from another court room.

Brenton Tarrant pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder and terrorism via AVL in the Christchurch High Court.

The names of all 51 people killed were read to Tarrant, before he was asked how he pleaded to the murder charges.

He replied: “Yes, guilty.”

The same process was followed for the attempted murder charges.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/STUFF
Terrorist Brenton Tarrant pictured at his first court appearance, the day after the mosque shootings.

Justice Cameron Mander remanded Tarrant in custody, but has not yet set a date for sentencing, when the summary of facts would be made public.

Few people knew of the special hearing, which was only scheduled late Wednesday, on the eve of an unprecedented nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Six New Zealand journalists attended. Also in court were the imams from both targeted mosques. An-nur (Al Noor) imam Gamal Fouda was visibly upset as the guilty pleas were entered.

JOSEPH JOHNSON/STUFF
Mustafa Boztas still has a fragment of a bullet inside him.

The hearing concluded at 10.30am, but the judge suppressed the outcome for an hour to allow victims, who were unaware of the hearing, to be notified.

The decision to hold the hearing amid the national state of emergency was not made lightly.

Earlier in the week Tarrant indicated to counsel that he might change his pleas. A formal request was made on Wednesday that the matter be brought before the court.

DAVID WALKER/STUFF
Omar Abdel-Ghany, whose father Ahmed Gamal Eldin Abdel-Ghany was killed at Masjid An-Nur.

Mander said both the Crown and defence asked to have the hearing expedited, despite the severe health restrictions.

The courts were considered an essential public service that was able to deal with “priority proceedings without compromising people’s health”.

The judge said he felt the court had the capacity to safely hear the matter by limiting the number of people in court. In total, 17 people were present.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reflects on the last year following the Christchurch mosque shootings.

It was regrettable the Covid-19 restrictions prevented victims from attending, he said, but the imams had been asked to be present to bear witness to the proceedings.

“It was my assessment that taking the defendant’s pleas at this time was the appropriate course in the circumstances,” Mander said.

“The entry of guilty pleas represents a very significant step towards bringing finality to this criminal proceeding, and I considered the need to take the opportunity to progress the matter was particularly acute coming as it has at a time when the risk of further delay as a result of Covid-19 was looming as realistic possibility.”

Mander said the defendant would not be sentenced before the court returned to normal operations.

The defendant had been remanded to a nominal date of May 1. It was hoped a sentencing date would be confirmed in the interim.

“It is fully anticipated that all who wish to attend court for the sentencing hearing will be able to do so in person.”  

On March 15 last year, Tarrant drove from his Dunedin home to Christchurch with an arsenal of guns and ammunition he’d amassed since moving from Australia to New Zealand in 2017.

The white supremacist entered Masjid An-nur (also known as the Al Noor Mosque) on Deans Ave as Friday prayers were beginning, about 1.40pm, and opened fire – killing and wounding dozens of people.

He then drove across town to the Linwood Mosque where he continued his shooting spree.

Tarrant was arrested a short time later after his car, a gold Subaru Outback, was rammed off the road by two police officers on Brougham St as he tried to make his way to a third target, though to be a mosque in Ashburton, where he planned to carry out another attack.

When police searched the vehicle they found several guns and petrol bombs.

NZ’S WORST MASS SHOOTING

In total, 51 people were killed in the terrorist attack, the worst mass shooting by an individual in New Zealand history.

Tarrant was the first person to be charged under NZ’s Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

Omar Abdel-Ghany, whose father Ahmed Gamal Eldin Abdel-Ghany was killed at Masjid An-Nur, said he could not understand what caused Tarrant to change his plea.

“I’m both shocked and relieved. Shocked at the sudden change in plea, relieved that my family and I, along with other victims won’t have to relive it all through the courts.”

Muslim Association of Canterbury spokesman Tony Green said his immediate reaction was one of enormous relief and great gratitude.

“I think the victims will feel a huge weight has been lifted from their shoulders. Our position has always been to let justice take its course, but a trial would have put a lot of pressure on our families. If you look at the anguish caused by the trial of Grace Millane’s killer you can see how bad it would be for 51 families.”

Mustafa Boztas, who lay on the ground inside the Masjid An-nur with a bullet in his leg, pretending to be dead, said from Turkey he always knew Tarrant would be found guilty. 

“I feel he basically played with our minds and emotionally upset us more for no reason.”

Boztas said he would have stayed in the country instead of going overseas if he’d known Tarrant was going to plead guilty. 

“While it can’t undo the damage it has brought upon our community and country, it gives me hope that this help bring not only justice but some closure to those touched by this event.

“To the families, I hope this brings you peace, and a sense that love can conquer hate. While this closes the criminal proceedings for the shootings, please know there is still a long way to go in recovery for some of us, so thank you for your continued support.”

Yasir Amin, whose father 67-year-old Muhammad Amin Nasir was shot in the back by the gunman shooting from his car, said the guilty pleas were good news.

“It’s good to avoid a trial because we would be reminded of everything, every day of the six week trial. We’ve avoided that mental torture and we’re not in a situation where the outcome is not 100 per cent sure.”

Nasir was to undergo another operation on Monday but the operation was postponed due to Covid-19 measures. He had spent two months in hospital after the shootings and had another 20-day stay in December.

“He is now doing well. He goes for walks and eats well.”

Just about every organ in his father’s body except his heart had been damaged by the shotgun pellets, Amin said.

Nasir was shot about 200 metres from the mosque on Deans Ave. The gunman drove past Amin and his father, who were walking to the mosque along the footpath, when he aimed a shotgun at them from his car. Both ran for their lives but Nasir was shot. Their plight was captured by a motel CCTV camera. 

‘HE’S GOT TO PAY THE TIME’

Tarrant’s grandmother, Marie Fitzgerald, had no idea about the plea until called by Stuff.

“I feel sorry he did the crime, but he’s got to pay the time now.”

She declined to comment further.

Victim Support chief executive Kevin Tso said support was ongoing for hundreds of victims who still need help coping with the trauma of the event and rebuilding their lives.

“We’re pleased victims no longer have to face the trauma of the trial.”

The victims had shown remarkable courage and resilience in the face of a heart-breaking, shocking and senseless tragedy, Tso said.

“They have our utmost respect and promise that we will be here for them for as long as they need us.”

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the pleas were a “significant milestone in respect of one of our darkest days”.

“I want to acknowledge the victims, their families and the community of Christchurch – the many lives that were changed forever. They have inspired all of us to be a kind and more tolerant community.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it would provide some relief to the many people whose lives were “shattered” on March 15.

“These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, and other witnesses, the ordeal of a trial,” she said.

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Scottish international makes long-awaited return to action for Derby County – Derbyshire Live

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Ikechi Anya made his long-awaited comeback from injury for Derby County’s Under-23’s today.

Anya played 80 minutes of the 2-0 defeat by Blackburn Rovers in a Premier League 2 Division One fixture at Brockhall.

The Scottish international suffered a calf injury in pre-season and he has had a number of setbacks in his bid to regain fitness.

Rams new loan signing from Aston Villa, forward Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, started while another of the deadline-day loan arrivals, left back Ethan Sephton, came off the bench for Lee Buchanan during the second half.

The Rovers’ side included former Rams midfielder Bradley Johnson.

Derby had a golden opportunity to take the lead when awarded a penalty early in the second half after Jahmal Hector-Ingram was brought down, but Hector-Ingram saw his spot kick saved.

Derby County latest

This is your round up of all things Derby; the one-stop shop that will keep you updated on the latest goings on at Pride Park and beyond.

Transfers, injuries, match-days and managers, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll be bringing the very latest on the Rams throughout the week and around the clock.

Make sure you keep yourself updated with our handy daily catch up…

You can follow our Rams reporter Steve Nicholson on Twitter, and his email address is Stephen.Nicholson@reachplc.com

Rovers then struck twice through Derrick Williams and Ben Brereton to win the game.

It was the Rams first league defeat in six matches and leaves them third in the table and five points behind leaders Chelsea.

Blackburn Rovers U23s: Hilton; Carter, Thompson, Davenport, Williams, Magloire, Samuel, Johnson, Brereton, Buckley, Vale (Mols, 74).

Unused substitutes: Eastham, Paton, Whitehall, Wright-Phillips.

Derby County U23s: Ravas; Brown, Anya (Rogers, 80), Thompson, Wassall, Buchanan (Sephton, 68), Shonibare, Cresswell, Hector-Ingram, Hepburn-Murphy (Cashin, 88), Babos.

Unused substitutes: Yates.

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UK officially leaves EU after 47 years of European membership – World – TASS

LONDON, February 1. /TASS/. After 47 years of European membership, the United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union at 23:00 GMT (2:00 Moscow time on Saturday).

The withdrawal, known as Brexit, was initiated after Britons voted to quit the European Union during the 2016 referendum. The margin was 1.3 million votes (52% versus 48%).

Thousands of Brexit supporters celebrated the withdrawal by gathering in downtown London. Brexiteers have gathered in Parliament Square to celebrate the historic moment, chanting and waving flags. Governmental buildings were illuminated with national flag colors – blue, red and white.

An hour before this turning point in the UK’s political history, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, an ardent Brexit supporter, delivered his address to the nation.

Flag removed

Earlier in the day, the flag of the United Kingdom has been removed from the building of the EU Council. The video of the flag being removed was released via the Council’s official Twitter shortly before midnight.

“The UK flag is removed from the EU Council building in Brussels as the country leaves the EU at midnight,” the EU Council said in a Twitter post.

Premier’s speech

After quitting the European Union, the United Kingdom will finally “rediscover muscles that we have not used for decades,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a televised address to the nation shortly before Brexit.

“For all its strengths and for all its admirable qualities, the EU has evolved over 50 years in a direction that no longer suits this country. And that is a judgment that you, the people, have now confirmed at the polls,” Johnson said.

“I believe that with every month that goes by we will grow in confidence not just at home but abroad,” he continued. “And in our diplomacy, in our fight against climate change, in our campaigns for human rights or female education or free trade we will rediscover muscles that we have not used for decades.”

According to the premier, in order to achieve those ambitious tasks, the country needs to overcome the differences, generated by the Brexit issue.

“Tonight we are leaving the European Union. For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come. And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss. And then of course there is a third group – perhaps the biggest – who had started to worry that the whole political wrangle would never come to an end,” he said.

The premier went on to say that finding a common ground for all political and social groups was his cabinet’s task.

“I understand all those feelings, and our job as the government – my job – is to bring this country together now and take us forward,” he said. “And the most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning. This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act in our great national drama.”

Johnson expressed hope that constructive dialogue with the European Union would continue.

“We want this to be the beginning of a new era of friendly cooperation between the EU and an energetic Britain,” he said.

After January 31, the UK and the EU enter a transition period meant to maintain the existing state of affairs, particularly on trade and tariffs, while the two sides are negotiating a deal on future trading relations. The transition period is scheduled to end on December 31, 2020. London is also obliged to continue paying membership fees to the EU budget until the end of 2020.

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Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson breaks silence on father Rocky’s death

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson paid tribute to his late father, Rocky Johnson, on Friday with an emotional letter to the WWE Hall of Famer on Instagram.

The “Jumanji” star, who is of Samoan and Black Nova Scotian heritage, shared a video from one of Rocky’s wrestling matches and credited his father for helping him embrace his diverse background.

ALSO READ: I am dying to meet Rihanna – Brownie

“You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world,” he said. “I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am.”

Dwayne, 47, shared that as he grew older, he realized Rocky had “other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood,” but said, “That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude.”

“Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side,” he added. “But you have ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back.”

The WWE superstar then admitted, “Im in pain. But we both know it’s just pain and it’ll pass.”

ALSO READ: Comedian I Go Save honours three philanthropists at ‘I Go Save Unusual’ concert

Celebrities, including Dwayne’s “Jumanji” co-star Kevin Hart, showed their support in the comments section. “Love you bro,” Hart, 40, wrote with several prayer hand emojis.

Rocky whose real name was Wayde Douglas Bowles died at age 75 on Wednesday. The cause of death has not been revealed.

The Cauliflower Alley Club a pro-wrestling non-profit was the first to confirm the news of his passing on Twitter, writing, “His accolades in this business, all the people he influenced, all his accomplishments, and we are so deeply sorry and wish his family nothing but the most love at this time.”

Source: New York Post

The post Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson breaks silence on father Rocky’s death appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Dave Weckl @ All About Jazz

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1979 saw a move to the East coast and the University of Bridgeport. While playing the New York club scene with a band called Nite Sprite, Weckl started receiving accolades from established studio musicians such as Steve Kahn, Michael Brecker, and Peter Erskine. It was Erskine who recommended Weckl for his first ‘big gig’ with a group called French Toast, forerunner to the Michel Camilo band. That band featured iconic electric bass player Anthony Jackson.

From this group, Jackson recommended Weckl for the prestigious 1983 Simon and Garfunkel reunion tour. This got Weckl noticed by a much larger industry audience and lead to many session opportunities, including radio and TV jingles, sound track sessions, and top recording dates with George Benson, Peabo Bryson, Diana Ross, Robert Plant, and many more.

In 1985, Michael Brecker recommended Weckl to Chick Corea for his new Elektric Band. That was the beginning of a seven-year relationship with both the Elektric and Akoustic bands where nine recordings and three videos were produced. The Akoustic Band release earned Weckl a Grammy.

The Elektric Band showcased Weckl’s cutting-edge drumming and innovative use of electronic and acoustic drums, bringing him worldwide recognition. Though the Elektric Band went on a 10-year hiatus in the early ’90s, the band still tours from time-to-time. They released a 17-part conceptual album entitled To The Stars in mid-2004, and have reunited for tours in 2011 and 2016/17.

Weckl’s solo career began in 1990 with the release of Master Plan. Co-written/produced with longtime St. Louis friend/colleague Jay Oliver, the album was a watershed moment in Weckl’s career. Some would say it ushered in a new generation of contemporary drumming.

Master Plan featured a dynamic and diverse collection of tracks featuring top jazz artists of the time. The album created a palette for Weckl’s wide-ranging abilities in jazz, fusion, and Latin-inspired music, solidifying him as an emerging leader in the drumming world.

The album’s title track, written and performed by Chick Corea, featured Weckl and Steve Gadd on drums. Weckl had been seen as a protege to Gadd and their styles meshed perfectly on the track. But in many ways, the tune marked a “passing of the torch” in terms of next-generation artistry on the drums.

Weckl has recorded and produced nine other solo/leader recordings to date. In addition to Master Plan, Heads Up and Hard-Wired earned him great notoriety in the early ’90s.

In 1998, Weckl realized his long-time goal of forming a world-touring band. The Dave Weckl Band released five studio records, including: Rhythm Of The Soul, Synergy, Transition, Perpetual Motion, and Multiplicity. The band also released a hot live album, LIVE (And Very Plugged In) plus a compilation of DWB and instructional videos entitled The Zone.

Instructional videos have always played a big role in Weckl’s career. His original product, entitled Contemporary Drummer + 1, was one of the first play-along products ever published for drums. His Back To Basics and The Next Step releases were best-sellers in the ’90s and also continue to sell today.

Weckl updated his technical approach in the ’90s after studying with Freddie Gruber. He then released a three-part series of videos called A Natural Evolution, which included an appearance by Gruber. These products redefined earlier concepts to help drummers understand how to play in a relaxed, efficient, and musical way. They also helped solidified Weckl’s stature as an articulate and respected teacher. His clinics and master classes continue to attract capacity crowds worldwide.

After many years of sideman work with guitar legend Mike Stern, Chris Minh Doky’s Nomads, Oz Noy, and more, Weckl spent 2013 reuniting with Jay Oliver. They launched a crowd funding campaign that attracted more than 2,000 pre-orders of a project that would eventually be called Convergence.

The album featured 10 tunes, including piano and drum solo pieces and a remake of Stevie Wonder’s legendary tune “Higher Ground.” The video of “Higher Ground” has been viewed millions of times on YouTube and Facebook. Drummer Chris Coleman, bassist Jimmie Johnson, guitarist Dean Brown, singer Chrissi Poland, and several amazing horn players and vocalists took part.

The project also saw collaborations with Canadian singer Emilie-Claire Barlow and Riverdance creator Bill Whelan. Oliver recorded several native Irish instruments at Whelan’s personal studio in Ireland.

Convergence was released with three companion products: a play-along package for drums, a play-along package for all other instruments on the album, and a full-length documentary entitled Flies On The Studio Wall.

In 2015, Weckl formed an acoustic jazz group with longtime friend/collaborator Tom Kennedy (bass), Gary Meek (sax), and Makoto Ozone (piano/B3). The group was called The Dave Weckl Acoustic Band. To date, the band has released a CD entitled Of The Same Mind and a live DVD filmed at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood.

More recently, Weckl has returned to touring with the Elektric Band, Mike Stern, and Oz Noy, while completing sessions in his Los Angeles-area home studio. He has also formed an online school with comprehensive lessons, new play along products, and live footage from current tours.

He says “it is my goal to inspire as many young (and not-so-young) people as possible to want to play music, whether it be on drums or another instrument. With all the negatives in the world today, I feel this is my way of contributing a positive action toward spiritual happiness, which music can be a big part of, if you let it. So parents, if your child has a talent for music, please allow them the opportunity to develop that talent!”

Outside of music, Weckl has a passion for automobiles and racing. He and his Corvette ZO6 regularly post competitive times at race tracks around Southern California. Check out his YouTube racing channel!

Beyond music and four-wheel indulgences, Dave’s biggest passions and sources of inspiration come from his daughter, Claire, and his wife, Clivia.

A future college graduate (psychology), Claire definitely has the music gene. She sang an amazing version of “Cups (You’re Gonna Miss Me)” for the Convergence album. Her talent, passion, and work ethic make her father proud every day.

Dave’s wife, Clivia (also formerly a singer) has a love and passion for music – and an amazing energy for everything life has to offer. She and Dave share time both in Italy and Los Angeles. Show less

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MISSING BOY: Church deserted, family reveals how General Overseer lives in prison

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AdeyanjuBy Dayo Johnson, Akure

ALL the branches of Sotitobire Miracle Centre across Ondo State have been deserted after the razing of its headquarters and the General Overseer, Prophet Babatunde Alfa, remanded at the Olokuta Correctional Centre, Akure after one-year-old Gold Kolawole went missing at the headquarters branch over a month ago.

Why plan to recompose NDDC board is against equity, justice — IGBINI

Uncertainty reigned over the church.

Reports said members may have been ‘defecting’ to other churches as the General Overseer spent Christmas and the New Year day in prison.

Many of the members with church stickers on their vehicles and bands on their wrists, it was learnt, have been removing them.

Irate youths had set the headquarters branch ablaze and went further to burn down the Ajipowo branch same day to show their displeasure over the missing boy’s case.

The development forced the police to deploy to the razed churches and the private residence of the clergyman after it was equally attacked and several vehicles damaged.

While the Department of State Service, DSS, which arrested Alfa, took the glory for doing something over the missing boy’s case, the police, which was accused of foot-dragging, arraigned 13 suspected arsonists in court in connection with the razed churches.

Prison walk

Then the DSS, in a surprise move, arraigned the clergyman in the Magistrate Court.

The court was jam-packed on arraignment day as members of the church trooped out to give their prophet moral support.

Police arraigns two FRSC personnel over alleged murder

Their hope that Alfa would be granted bail was, however, dashed.

Even the prophet, who was expecting that he would be released on bail, burst into tears as Magistrate Charity Adeyanju ordered that he be remanded in prison custody.

His church members also could not hold their tears as they wept profusely seeing their prophet being pushed into the Black Maria by prison wardens.

It was a pitiable sight as the church members and the clergyman wept like a baby.

While arraigning the General Overseer and six children teachers of Sotitobire Miracle Centre in court, the DSS accused them of conspiracy to kidnap and aiding kidnapping of Gold during a Sunday service at the headquarters of the church in Oshinle area of the state capital on November 10.

The six children teachers are Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Egunjobi Motunrayo, Esther Kayode and Peter Anjorin.

Peter Anjorin was separately accused by the prosecutor of destroying evidence by secretly taking away evidence that would have aided speedy investigation of the missing child.

The charge against anjorin read, “That on the 10th day of December 2019 at about 2:00 pm at the premises of the Department of State Service, Alagbaka, Akure, Ondo State in the Akure Magisterial District, you did destroy evidence by secretly taking away vital evidence that would have aided speedy investigation in respect of the missing child (Gold Eninlaloluwa Kolawole) and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 123 of Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. I Laws of Ondo State 2006.”

The accused persons were brought to the court by operatives of the DSS around 9am in a white bus marked AKR – 54-AM.

The prosecutor, Joseph Dada, said the offence was contrary to and punishable under Section 5(i) of the Ondo State Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Abduction Law, 2010 as well as under Section 516 of Criminal Code, Cap 37, Volume I Laws of Ondo State 2006.

The charge sheet for all the suspects read, “That you Prophet Alfa Babatunde ’m’, Omodara Olayinka ’f’, Margaret Oyebola ‘f’, Grace Ogunjobi ‘f’, Egunjobi Motunrayo ’f’, Esther Kayode ’f’, Peter Anjorin ‘m’ and others now at large, on the 10th day of November 2019 at about 11:45 am at Sotitobire Praising Chapel, No. 48, Solagbade Street, Oshinle Quarters, Akure, Ondo State in the Akure Magisterial District, did conspire together to commit felony to wit: Kidnapping, and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 516 of Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. I Laws of Ondo State 2006″.

Trial Magistrate Adeyanju, after listening to the arguments of the prosecutor and counsel to the defendants, Olusola Oke, ruled that she did not have the jurisdiction to try the alleged offences.

She then said that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody pending the conclusion of investigation and arraignment at the High Court and adjourned the case till January 17, 2020.

Recall that the mother of the missing boy, Modupe Kolawole, had taken him to the church while looking for miracle but ended up losing him to suspected kidnappers.

Modupe said she dropped the son at the church children section only to come back to discover that he had disappeared without trace since November 10.

Speaking after the court session, Oke said, “The prosecution presented two contradictory positions. There was an application filed where they alleged that the General Overseer confessed to the allegation of kidnapping.

“We challenged them to present the evidence of his confession but they did not bring something like that to court.

“Also, contrary to what we heard in the public domain about kidnapping, they were charged with conspiracy and aiding kidnapping. These are two different situations because if he actually kidnapped, it would be brought to the public that he kidnapped but apparently they have nothing against him.

“We believe that if the man indeed is culpable, he should be punished. But at the same time, there is no need to crucify somebody who has done no wrong.”

Also, 13 suspected persons were ordered to be remanded at the Olokuta Correctional Center by an Akure Magistrate’s Court for their alleged involvement in the killing of a policeman and the razing of Sotitobire Miracle Centre.

They were arraigned on six count charges of murder, arson, theft and vandalism.

The prosecutor, ASP Moses Adeosun, prayed that the defendants be remanded in prison pending investigation into the matter.

Ooni intervention

In a related development, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, and his Olori, Naomi, are reported to have waded into the case of the missing boy.

The mother of the boy confirmed this to Sunday Vanguard.

“It is true that the Kabiyesi, the Ooni of Ife, and the wife invited us to the palace in lfe”, Modupe Kolawole said.

“We briefed the Kabiyesi and the Olori on how the incident happened over a month ago. “They sympathized with us and promised to get back to us”.

Hunger strike

Meanwhile, family sources said the embattled clergyman has turned the Olokuta Correctional Centre to a crusade ground and reportedly winning souls for Christ in the prison.

The sources said Alfa organised programmes for the prison inmates during Christmas and New Year day, thereby leading many of them to Christ.

Police promote 19 Officers in Ondo

They denied a report that the prophet took ill following alleged hunger strike.

The post MISSING BOY: Church deserted, family reveals how General Overseer lives in prison appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Derek Acorah dead: TV psychic and Celebrity Big Brother contestant dies aged 69 after ‘very brief illness’ | London Evening Standard

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TV mystic Derek Acorah has died aged 69, his wife has said.

The self-styled spiritual medium, whose real name is Derek Johnson, appeared on Celebrity Big Brother  in 2017 and launched the paranormal reality TV series Most Haunted in 2001.

His wife Gwen Acorah shared the news in a statement on his official Facebook page, adding that the psychic had been in intensive care after falling into a coma.

“Farewell my love! I will miss you forever! I’m devastated to announce that my beloved husband Derek has passed away after a very brief illness,” she wrote.

Derek Acorah took part in Celebrity Big Brother three years ago (PA Archive/PA Images)

“Thank you so much to everybody who has supported me – I can never thank you enough.”

She suggested that her husband had been targeted by trolls before his death in the second part of her statement.

Born in Bootle, Merseyside, in 1950, Acorah featured in regular segments on 1996 TV show The Psychic Zone before becoming a contributor on spin-off show Psychic Livetime.

Acorah got his big break on TV thanks to Psychic Livetime on satellite channel Granada Breeze, and then followed it up with his own series Predictions With Derek Acorah.

He then went to Living to feature in Most Haunted, where he was the guest medium for several series until he departed after six series in 2005 following claims of fakery.

The show’s resident parapsychologist Dr Ciaran O’Keeffe told The Mirror in late 2005 that he had set up Acorah by having other crew members feed him false information about spirits in various locations.

Dr O’Keeffe invented a long-dead South African jailer called Kreed Kafer, an anagram of Derek Faker, and said he was stunned when the TV medium “got possessed by my fictional character” at Bodmin Jail.

In 2006, Acorah’s former co-host Yvette Fielding told the Metro: “We tell people everything is real, then it turns out he was a fake, so he had to go.”

After Most Haunted, the presenter had another series called Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns, which ran for three series in 2005 and 2006.

In 2009 Acorah attempted to contact the late King of Pop in a broadcast called Derek Acorah’s Michael Jackson: The Live Seance, but the show was widely panned by viewers and critics.

Acorah was forced to apologise to the McCann family after he was quoted as saying that that their lost daughter Madeleine was dead.

He reportedly told The Sun that she had joined the “spirit world”, greatly upsetting the McCanns, although Acorah later claimed he had been misquoted by the paper.

Acorah was banned from driving for more than two years in 2014 after admitting to driving without due care and attention and for failing to provide a breath test following a crash the previous year.

His wife said he died from a short illness (PA)

He appeared in series 20 of Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5, where he came fourth.

Acorah was born in Bootle, Merseyside, in 1950.

He originally had aspirations to be a footballer, and was on the books of Liverpool FC but did not play a game.

He went on to play football in Australia but his career in the sport ended while he was in his late twenties due to a leg injury.

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20-year-old 400 level student declared missing in Ondo church

13 suspected arsonists remanded in prison custody

Dayo Johnson Akure

A 400 level student of Mountain Top University, Faith Aluko has again been declared missing at another church, Mountain of Fire Miracle Church in Akure, the Ondo state capital.

This is coming as the police in the state arraigned 13 persons alleged to have set ablaze Sotitobire Miracle Centre where the one-year-old boy went missing over a month ago.

Police image-maker in a statement in Akure said “13 Suspects among others still at large, who participated in the wanton destruction of lives and properties including the burning of Sotitobire Church and the  Killing of one of our officers recently, were arraigned this morning.

READ ALSO: Missing boy in Ondo church: Prophet weeps as court remands him, six others in prison

” The court consequently remanded them at the correctional centre Olokuta while the case was adjourned till 3rd January 2020.

“We will ensure that other accomplices at large are arrested and also made to bear the full weight of the law

Meanwhile, Vanguard gathered that the missing 20-year undergraduate went to the Oba ile branch of the church only to disappear hours later.

Sources said that she left their residence with the father for the church and on getting to the church excused herself to buy some things close to the church.

The church security at the gate said Faith told him she wanted to buy a sanitary pad in a retail Shop beside the church when she left the church premises.

He told the patents that Faith did not return until her parents raised alarm.

Faith’s father, Mr. Aluko who confirmed that her daughter had been missing since Sunday said that the incident had since been reported at the Oba-Ile police station.

Aluko said they both left home for church along Airport road until she went missing.

Police image maker Femi Joseph has reassured the People of the State of adequate security during this yuletide and beyond.

“We also want to State that the kidnap incident that happened a few days ago along Owo/Ikare road after a long period of peace and normalcy in that axis of the State, is being tackled head-on by our officers who have been Charged to not only rescue the victims unhurt but also arrest the perpetrators of this wicked act.

READ ALSO: Missing boy: Akure monarch absolves palace of complicity

“People coming home for Christmas and New year celebrations should not entertain any anxiety as we have increased our Manpower deployment across the State and have also directed our intelligence department to up the ante in order to ensure blissful  Christmas and New Year celebrations.

“We also promise to continue to work towards ridding the State of all vestiges of Crimes and criminality.

“We shall also ensure that criminals are not only arrested but are also brought to Justice.

“We urge all law-abiding citizens to go about celebrating peacefully and also be security conscious.

Joseph said “We also enjoin you to always alert the police should there be any suspicion of security threat in any part of the State.

The post 20-year-old 400 level student declared missing in Ondo church appeared first on Vanguard News.

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