Rassie to be England’s next head coach?

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: A photograph snapped in Murrayfield of World Cup-winning Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has set the England coaching job rumour mill alight.

Erasmus was snapped in the stands and it was posted to Twitter by Telegraph journalist Charlie Morgan.

South Africa play Scotland this July in a two-match series and the argument could be made that the Erasmus was in town on a run of the mill reconnaissance mission. The series kicks off in Cape Town and culminates a week later at Jonsson Kings Park in Durban.

However, Rapport in South Africa are reporting that the coach is in the UK to discuss a possible move to takeover from incumbent England head coach Eddie Jones next year.

Story continues below…

Erasmus has already taken a back seat with the Springboks, with Jacques Nienaber taking over with the Springboks.

Jones’ contract also expires in 2021 and he and the RFU have remained coy about whether or not he will sign beyond that date.

Speaking earlier this month, Jones said: “I heard Pep Guardiola talking about whether he’s going to re-sign at Man City. It’s a bit like that.

“The players tell you whether you should continue or not and that’s what I’m looking it. The players will let me know.

“If the players play well and the team is going well, then maybe you should continue. If the team’s indifferent then maybe they need a change.

“The only reason I’m continuing is because I think this team can improve. Over the next period of time I think we can become the best rugby team ever and that’s the exciting bit.

“The RFU only want me to continue if they think I can improve the team. The contract is important from a legal point of view but they want to win and I want to win.”

It is also reported that there are clauses in Erasmus’ contract which could see him exit South Africa if certain conditions were met.

By Ian Cameron, @RugbyPass

Additional source: Rapport

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Abdication, divorces and death: a century of UK royal crises

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The announcement Saturday that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are to give up their titles and stop receiving public funds is only the latest instalment in a royal soap opera that has gripped Britain and the world.

– Love over country –
The 1936 abdication of Edward VIII 326 days into his reign remains the biggest scandal in modern royal history and caused a worldwide sensation.

Britain’s brief king provoked a constitutional crisis when he stepped down in order to marry the twice-divorced US socialite Wallis Simpson.

The union was deemed impossible while Edward was monarch and head of the Church of England, which at the time refused to remarry divorcees while their former spouse was still alive.

Edward was the first monarch in the 1,000-year history of the British Crown to give up his throne of his own free will.

His brother King George VI replaced him on the throne, and Edward — who married Simpson in 1937 — was subsequently ostracised by the rest of the Windsor family until the late 1960s.

He died in 1972.

– Margaret’s heartbreak –
Queen Elizabeth II’s fun-loving younger sister, Princess Margaret, also sparked a firestorm with her choice for marriage.

In 1952, the then-22-year-old began a romance with her late father’s divorced equerry, former Royal Air Force officer Peter Townsend.

The couple’s wish to marry prompted a battle between the government and the public — which was seen to be sympathetic to the union — with the queen caught in the middle.

READ ALSO: Minister tasks Nigerians on patriotism, commitment to nation-building

Margaret was eventually persuaded to abandon the relationship, under the threat of losing her royal position, and instead married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960.

They divorced in 1978.

– A horrible year –
The queen memorably described 1992 as an “annus horribilis” after three of her children’s marriages crumbled.

Heir to the throne Prince Charles’ split from Princess Diana after 11 years of marriage caused a media sensation.

The princess then rocked the monarchy by leaking shocking details of palace life to author Andrew Morton for his 1992 book “Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words”.

Around the same time the queen’s second son Prince Andrew separated from wife Sarah Ferguson, whom he had married six years earlier.

Meanwhile, Princess Anne, the reigning monarch’s only daughter, finalised her divorce from first husband Mark Phillips following their separation in 1989.

– Diana’s death –
The popular princess died in a high-speed car crash in a Paris tunnel in August 1997.

For the next week leading up to her spectacular funeral, Britain was plunged into an unprecedented outpouring of grief which shook the monarchy.

Anger had soon mounted at the silence of senior royals holed up in Balmoral in Scotland, where the queen, Diana’s ex-husband Charles, and their two children, William, 15, and Harry, 12, were holidaying over the summer.

Newspapers, furious that the Union Jack flag was not flying at half-mast over Buckingham Palace, called on the queen to address her subjects.

Within days she had paid homage to her former daughter-in-law in a televised speech for only the second time in her reign. She also publicly bowed before Diana’s coffin.

– Prince Andrew scandal –
Prince Andrew has been dogged by allegations he had sex with one of the then-teenage victims of deceased US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The prince often referred to as the queen’s “favourite son”, attempted to clear his name in a BBC interview in November but it backfired spectacularly.

He looked stiff and unapologetic in a performance that one public relations consultant said was akin to “watching a man in quicksand”.

The prince promptly promised to “step back from public duties” a few days later but remains under pressure to cooperate with United States authorities still investigating the Epstein case.

VANGUARD

The post Abdication, divorces and death: a century of UK royal crises appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Seven Kings stabbings: Two men arrested on suspicion of murder after three knifed to death in north east London | London Evening Standard

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Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after three men were knifed to death in Seven Kings yesterday. 

The pair, aged 29 and 39, were detained following the incident in north-east London on Sunday evening, the Metropolitan Police said.

Officers were called to Emstead Road at 7.38pm, to reports of a disturbance, and three men were found with stab wounds. 

The London Ambulance Service sent paramedics to tend to the wounded but despite their efforts they were pronounced dead at the scene. 

Crime scene: A murder inquiry has been launched (Nigel Howard)

The victims, who have not yet been formally identified, are believed to be in their 20s and 30s.

Scotland Yard today said the arrested men and the deceased knew each other and are believed to be members of the Sikh community in the area. 

Investigations: Officers in the area following the stabbings (PA)

Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman said officers are still making efforts to contact the families of the victims and described the incident as “horrific”. 

“It was a horrific scene for anyone to come across and my heart goes out to the families and those affected by it because it is unprecedented to have something like this,” he added.

Cordon: Police remain at the crime scene this morning (PA)

On Monday morning, a police cordon was in place outside Seven Kings railway station.

The motive for the attack remains unclear, though police have ruled out terrorism. 

A tent has been set up by police within the cordon (PA)

Post-mortem examinations following the deaths are set to be arranged.

The leader of Redbridge Council, Jas Athwal, said he believes knives were used in the bloody killings and that it was an isolated incident.

Police dogs joined officers on the scene (Nigel Howard)

“An incident like this is unheard of within the Sikh community here in Redbridge,” he said.

“I think tragically there are at least three families who are going to be in mourning and this is going to last a lifetime for the people left behind.

“We’ve got to look at the causes of why this happened and address those.”

The incident has been described as ‘unprecedented’ (PA)

He was critical of bloody footage shared on social media – appearing to show the aftermath of the killings – and denounced those who put the footage online. 

“I think the first response should be ’What can we do to help?’. To put it on social media is not right.”

Detectives have urged anyone with information to call police on 101 quoting reference 6374/19jan or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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UK probes Nigerian church SPAC Nation, where members sell blood, take loan for church | P.M. News

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Lead Pastor of SPAC Nation, Pastor Tobi Adegboyega preaching

SPAC Nation, a church being led by a Nigerian Tobi Adegboyega is being investigated in Britain over allegations that pastors were pressuring young members to sell their blood and also take bank loans to donate to the church and fund the lavish lifestyle of the pastors.

The Charity Commission said it has opened an inquiry into the church.

The commission, which describes the London church as a charity set up to ‘advance Christianity’ that works particularly with young people, has ordered it to bank all its money while the investigation takes place.

The commission announced the enquiry after HuffPost UK reported allegations that some members of the church had been taking teenagers to donate blood for medical trials in a practice known as ‘bleeding for seed’.act

Mariam Mbula another pastor of the church called Bling Church

The Mail On Sunday reported that SPAC Nation’s leaders had been accused of threatening parishioners who fail to raise enough money and one pastor had even urged her followers to ‘beg, borrow or steal’ in order to gather money for the church.

The newspaper revealed that one senior leader, Mariam Mola, 30, whose real name is Mariam Mbula, 30, had been jailed in the UK, Belgium and Spain, and was also wanted for leading a crime gang in Italy.

The senior leader, who had previously appeared on shows including This Morning and been praised for turning her life around after she was jailed for fraud at the age of 18, had at least 13 convictions for 34 offences; 27 for fraud and dishonesty.

Adegboyega’s home in the UK with Range Rovers

The Lamborghini owned by one of the pastors

It was also reported that Mbula had once preyed on a woman with a Down’s syndrome daughter in order to gain £15,000 from her funds.

Labour MP Steve Reed, the Shadow Children’s Minister, previously told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The allegations I have received about Spac Nation from vulnerable young people are truly disturbing.

‘Victims are saying it is run like a cult. I want there to be a full investigation.’

Scotland Yard said it was reviewing the complaints against the church, which is run by the 39 year-old Adegboyega, who came to Britain in 2005.

The church, which denies the claims, has previously been praised by politicians for its work in tackling gang violence and protecting young people at risk of knife crime.

The commission said a case had been opened on SPAC Nation in April last year, and in November this year information received from the trustees ‘raised further concerns about the charity’s financial controls, policy and procedures’.

In a statement, it added: ‘Of immediate concern to the commission is that substantial amounts of charity money are held in cash.

‘As a protective measure, the commission has issued an order under Section 84 of the Charities Act, requiring the charity to bank its money.

‘The commission is also concerned about the apparent lack of clarity between the personal, business and charity roles of leaders within the charity.’

SPAC Nation’s ‘Church of Bling’

The evangelical church claims to be a ‘faith based organisation that is committed in seeing the lives of young people being transformed’

The church, which featured in a BBC documentary last year, claims 55 per cent of its congregation are ex-gang members

A report with the commission’s findings is expected to be published once the investigation is concluded.

In a statement from its board of trustees, SPAC Nation said the inquiry was ‘needful to lay to rest some unverified allegations,’ adding: ‘Inquiry is what we have always asked for.

‘If anything is found wrong we will adjust it, and if not we will keep going strong.

‘If any pastor or leader is caught pressuring people to donate, such leader will be expelled without delay, not to talk of pressuring to donate blood for money.

‘We encourage people to donate blood and all they can for the community but we also say not for money ever, that just won’t happen here.’

Read More in Mail on Sunday

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Spread Joy to the World this Advent season | The Church of Scotland

Spread Joy to the World this Advent season

The countdown starts as this year’s Advent season begins on Sunday 1 December, running until Tuesday 24 December. This year, people from across the Church of Scotland are joining together to spread Joy to the World through our Advent calendar.

A graphic saying Joy To The World with three wise men

Meaning ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’, Advent is a time of prayer and preparation for the coming of God’s Son. It is also a time when many look outwards to the needs of others, spreading joy with friends, families, local communities and further afield.

Joy to the World

Joy to the World is the theme of the Church of Scotland’s 2019 Advent calendar. We invite you to sign up for a daily email or check our online Advent calendar for some daily inspiration.

Throughout the season, we’ll bring you stories that highlight how church members around the country are celebrating the birth of Jesus and sharing their faith, joy and love.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, invites everyone to share in this year’s Advent.

“The sense of expectation and anticipation immediately begins to grow, but Advent – far from speeding us up – encourages us to slow down,” Colin said.

“Whether it’s the lighting of an Advent candle, or the expectant opening of each window in an Advent calendar, we are being encouraged to reflect.

“The theme of Christmas is all about joy, and sometimes we think the joy of Christmas is limited to those who have family and food and the finances to afford it, but that’s not what the Bible tells us.

“Because, you see, at the heart of Christmas, we are told that God has come among us, that God is with us. Emmanuel.

“This year, on our Church of Scotland website, each day during Advent there’s an opportunity to read a prayer or a story, or watch a video.

“We invite you to join with us, and to savour every aspect in this busy schedule that will allow us to enjoy Christmas to the full.”

This year for our daily Advent offerings we have collected moving, thought-provoking and inspiring stories sourced from our Church of Scotland congregations. They will include:

Sign up for your daily reminder

You can sign up for a daily reminder email straight into your inbox with a link to that day’s Advent window. Sign up below:

Get involved

We’d be delighted for churches to share with us how they are spreading joy to the world this season. We will share as much as we can on the website and across social media.

Have you got a photo of your church being decorated, a carol service or a nativity, or any stories of your plans to share? Please email our Media Relations address at mediarelations@churchofscotland.org.uk

You can also tweet us @churchscotland, find us on Facebook or on Instagram.

We also have a range of Twitter and Facebook graphics, as well as poster templates you can use for your local church services this Advent. Go to our Advent 2019 page to download these.

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‘Play ’em tough’: Al Charron on how Canada were nearly a world power and what went wrong

The great back-rower is pained by his countrys current struggles but sees an opportunity to beat Italy and surprise the game again

Alternative history is about tantalising but impossible questions. What if Lincoln had skipped the theatre? What if David Cameron hadnt called his referendum?

Al Charron wonders what Canadian rugby might have become, had one game at the 1991 World Cup turned out just slightly different.

We had a really big belief in ourself that we could surprise the world, says the Hall of Fame back-rower, all 76 caps and four World Cups of him.

In 1991, Charron was a raw-boned 25-year-old Ottawa Irish flanker, a rare Ontarian in a team dominated by British Columbia.

I think we should have beaten France, he says. We played France in our last pool game after beating Romania and Fiji and I think we were down 10-0 before we figured out we could play with these guys. And we ended up outplaying them and outscoring them I think for the rest of the game.

Canada lost 19-13 so Charron, Stormin Norm Hadley, Gareth Rees and all qualified for a quarter-final in Lille. That brought heroic defeat, 29-13 to New Zealand, Charron scoring a try, underdogs cheered to the rafters. Canada seemed ready to join the top table.

Charron thinks wistfully back. If France had been beaten Canada would have played a quarter-final in Paris instead against Will Carlings England.

England were an unbelievable side, Charron says, and they were unlucky to lose the final. But I would have liked to match up against England, because we were kind of built in the same way: strong forward pack, heavily relying on the fly-half.

Being as modest as he is hugely engaging, he doesnt put it in stark black and white. So here it is: if Canada had beaten England at the Parc des Princes a battle perhaps even more brutal than Le Crunch they would have had a decent chance of beating Scotland at Murrayfield and reaching the final at Twickenham.

What might have been. Four words to sum up Canadian rugby.

After 1991, Canada kept on coming. They beat Wales in Cardiff, Charron scoring the winning try, they beat England, Scotland, France and Italy. At the 1995 World Cup they ran the world champion Australians close and fought the next No1, South Africa, at the Battle of Boet Erasmus. In 1999 they pushed France again.

Charron
Charron poses with the Webb Ellis Cup at the House of Commons in Ottawa. Photograph: Minas Panagiotakis – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Australia 2003 brought an end to Charrons career, at 37, borne away on his shield after a horrific high hit from a Tongan defender. Coincidentally or not, Canada have struggled ever since. England 2015 was the first time they lost all their World Cup games but this cycle brought a new low. Beaten by the USA and Uruguay, Kingsley Joness men had to qualify for the current World Cup via the repechage, past Germany, Hong Kong and Kenya.

Asked what went wrong, Charron, who works for Rugby Canada in fundraising and player liaison, offers a simple answer.

I dont think Canada has ever really got a full grasp of the professional set-up in rugby, he says. In such a vast country, the moneys spread out quite a bit the money that does come in.

There are steep challenges in funding mens and womens XVs as well as sevens squads set for the Tokyo Olympics. Charron speaks with sadness about the decline of a club scene that thrived in amateur days but is now beset by rising costs, insurance concerns, a struggle to keep young talent flowing and older players playing.

But he is also passionately committed to the hard work needed to help Canadas men play em tough an idiom he returns to when contemplating past battles on the grandest stage once more.

The national team is passionate too, of course. Its led by another big back-rower, Tyler Ardron, a standout with the Chiefs in Super Rugby. Out in the backs theres DTH van Der Merwe and Jeff Hassler, the former still with Glasgow, the latter once an Osprey.

Hassler is one of a strong contingent from Major League Rugby, which Charron picks out as a positive as it heads for season three. The double-champion Seattle Seawolves might be as American as a Starbucks Venti latte but they are led by the veteran Canada scrum-half Phil Mack and employ a hard core of his compatriots. Toronto Arrows fly the flag at home.

The true impact of MLR will be felt with time. In Japan, Canada must face Italy, Namibia, South Africa and New Zealand. In August, Canada lost to Tonga. In September, Tonga conceded 92 points to the All Blacks.

Charron played for Moseley, Bristol, Dax and Pau but kept coming back for Canada, even in his late 30s with a horrendously busted knee. A disparate squad, on relatively low pay, expected to front up to the best in the world? It seems awfully familiar.

Its a difficult thing for the players to get their heads around, he says. A lot of them are coming from professional set-ups and were not as professional as wed like to be in every sense of the word. So theres still, you know, some bean counting going on that sometimes takes away from proper preparation and development for big games.

Jones, Canadas Welsh coach, has hinted he might rest key players for New Zealand and South Africa. That might make those games uglier still but he would have good reason. Oddly, this World Cup presents an opportunity.

If Italy and Namibia can be beaten, third place in Pool B will ensure qualification for the 2023 World Cup in France. The irony is not lost on Canadas great rivals, the US Eagles, whose dominance in North America has been rewarded with an even harder draw.

Tyler
Tyler Ardron in action against Hong Kong, last November. Photograph: Ian Muir/ProSports/Shutterstock

Asked if Canada can do it, Charron reacts with typical generosity. The Italians dont get the respect they deserve. Though Namibia are ranked 23rd and were 22nd, he doesnt understand how World Rugby comes up with the rankings.

Its going to be tough, he insists.

But then, Canadian rugby players, from Charron to Ghislaine Landry to the minis of Meraloma and Burlington Centaurs, always play em tough.

Canadas always showed up at World Cups and raised their game, Charron says. So Im hopeful we can play in a manner that is going to be exciting and hopefully get people out of their seats.

If we should beat Italy and Namibia, that would certainly be a big boost and set us up for money coming from World Rugby a lot earlier. It sets our schedule out and tells us what we need to do, building towards France in 2023. It makes life easier on everyone, from administrative staff up to the CEO, coaching staff, players. We would know where we stand.

Its still a tall ask, but maybe they already consider us a win. Maybe thats the one thing we might have going for us.

He laughs. Hopefully theyre looking past us.

Back when Charron was in his prime, playing em tough with Gord Mackinnon, Glenn Ennis, Eddie Evans and Rod Snow, some very good teams made the same costly mistake.

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Scottish Labour leader calls for clarity on Brexit

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Image caption Richard Leonard was speaking to the Sunday Politics Scotland programme

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has said his party should have a clear policy to remain in the EU.

Speaking on the Sunday Politics Scotland programme, he said “clarity” was need before Labour put its case to voters.

The Scottish government has, meanwhile, asked for further funding to cope with a possible no-deal Brexit.

The UK government said money would be available where Scotland faces disproportionate costs.

In his television interview, Mr Leonard called for Labour to say its preference was to remain in the European Union.

“We recognise there are parts of the UK – and the overall result was to leave,” he said.

“But I do think that we need clarity in our position.

“So you would expect me to be arguing, as I am, that means we need to be clearer in our position going into any public vote.”

Mr Leonard added: “The Scottish Labour party took a decision frankly in the wake of the European party election results that we needed to be much clearer, that we needed much greater clarity about the position that we were taking.

“For that reason the Scottish executive of the Labour party backed my proposal that we call for an affirmative vote that any deal should go back to the public; secondly, that on that vote there should be a remain option; and thirdly, that we would campaign unambiguously for remain.”

Contingency fund

His comments came as the Scottish government said more money would be needed if the UK crashed out of the EU without a deal.

It has requested £52m from a contingency fund to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Money from the EU Exit Operational Contingency Fund has been made available ahead of Britain’s departure from the European Union on 31 October.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay reiterated the Scottish government’s opposition to any form of Brexit.

He also asked that additional costs associated with it are met including those beyond the end of next month.

Mr Mackay said: “The UK government now seems to be actively pursuing a ‘no-deal’ outcome which is utterly unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs.

“We have requested £52m from the UK government’s fund to help us prepare for a ‘no-deal’ outcome.

“This is the minimum requirement for operational activity but the real costs of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit will massively outweigh these and further funding will be required.”

‘Disproportionate costs’

He also said leaving the EU was not Scotland’s choice and called for any related costs to be covered by the UK government.

Mr Mackay added: “The Scottish government should not have to cut spending on public services to fund Brexit preparations.

“As a responsible government, we are already taking steps to protect jobs and our economy from a ‘no-deal’ Brexit and we will set out those plans to parliament shortly but we are facing additional and disproportionate costs to mitigate the impact of such an outcome.

“We will continue make the case for staying in the EU and will stand firm against efforts to take us out against our will.”

The request includes funding to support the effect of no-deal on rural communities, increased demand on Marine Scotland and Police Scotland activities, additional communication to EU citizens in the country, and poverty mitigation measures.

‘Supporting a deal’

A Scottish Conservatives spokesman said: “In 2016, the UK electorate voted to leave the EU.

“Only the Scottish Conservatives have worked to prevent no-deal by supporting a deal.

“The SNP were given £92m for our councils to prepare for Brexit.

“Yet there is no evidence Scottish local authorities have received anything at all.”

It comes after Scotland’s chief economist on Friday predicted a potential £2bn loss of investment because of Brexit.

Forecasts up to April 2020 in the Scottish government’s quarterly State of the Economy Report show £500m of investment could be wiped out if uncertainty continues with the figure rising by the end of the year.

A spokeswoman for the UK government said: “We have allocated the Scottish government nearly £140m in funding for EU exit preparation.

“We will consider the Scottish government’s further bid under the £1bn Operational Contingency Fund in the usual way.”

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