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A lockdown for anything with feathers – why bird flu epidemic is different this time | UK News

It’s the equivalent of lockdown for anything with feathers.

As of Monday 7 November, all kept birds – whether they are large free-range flocks or hobby racing pigeons – will have to be kept indoors or in covered outdoor cages.

Biosecurity measures like disinfecting vehicles, equipment and boots are required as well as bans on the movement of live birds.

Extreme measures for an extreme situation.

Europe is in the grips of a bird flu epidemic caused by the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of the virus.

It is highly infectious and causes rapid illness and death in commercial flocks of chickens ducks, turkeys and geese.

England has had occasional outbreaks of H5N1 since the virus first began spreading from China where it originated in 1996.

The virus also caused sporadic outbreaks in wild birds, particularly wildfowl like ducks geese and swans. Culling of infected flocks and curbs on the movement of birds kept outbreaks limited in scope.

But this year it has been different.

H5N1 spent the summer causing continued outbreaks in wild birds with mass die-offs in seabirds and migratory wildfowl across much of the northern hemisphere.

It is believed the hundreds of outbreaks on poultry farms this year have been linked to spread from wild birds into farms.

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What’s changed?

Researchers studying the genetics of the virus believe it has adapted in some way, allowing it to be as well-suited to infecting wild birds as it is farmed poultry.

If that situation continues, the concern is bird flu becomes endemic in Europe, if it isn’t already. As well as ongoing outbreaks on farms, migratory birds arriving in the UK this autumn are dying in unprecedented numbers infected with H5N1.

A current frustration for conservationists is the impression that wild birds are being “blamed” for the current situation.

However there is good evidence crowded, intensively farmed poultry flocks gave bird flu the opportunity to evolve into highly infectious strains that are now decimating wildlife.

Whichever is the case, something will have to be done to break the vicious cycle of infection between wild birds and domestic ones.

The best tool would be bird flu jabs for farmed poultry. Several have been trialled on birds, and more waiting to be tested.

However, current trade rules prohibit the use of bird flu vaccines. The concern being they could allow certain exporters to be more lax in biosecurity measures leading to the spread of other diseases.

The current epidemic may force a rethink.

All poultry and captive birds in England ordered to be kept indoors as bird flu measures stepped up | UK News

Orders to keep all captive birds and poultry indoors are being extended across the whole of England from next week.

The mandatory housing measures have been stepped up by the UK’s chief veterinary officer, making it a legal requirement to keep the animals inside and to follow stringent biosecurity measures to help protect flocks from disease.

The new rules come into force at one minute past midnight on Monday, 7 November – giving owners one week to prepare.

It comes after the national risk of bird flu in wild birds was raised to ‘very high’, and the whole of Great Britain was made a bird flu prevention zone two weeks ago.

Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “We are now facing this year the largest ever outbreak of bird flu and are seeing rapid escalation in the number of cases on commercial farms and in backyard birds across England.

“The risk of kept birds being exposed to disease has reached a point where it is now necessary for all birds to be housed until further notice.

“Scrupulous biosecurity and separating flocks in all ways from wild birds remain the best form of defence.”

She said the measures apply to all bird owners, whether they keep a few birds, or thousands.

“This decision has not been taken lightly, but is the best way to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease,” she added.

According to the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs, evidence shows that housing birds reduces the risk of them being infected.

Low risk to consumers

However, housing alone will not protect birds and all keepers must still follow the other enhanced biosecurity measures which were brought in earlier this month to help prevent the disease spreading to wild birds.

The added measures mean all bird keepers need to take extra precautions, such as restricting access for non-essential people on site, ensuring workers change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and cleaning and disinfecting vehicles regularly.

The UK Health Security Agency continues to advise that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency advice remains unchanged, that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Earlier in October, the National Farmers’ Union warned that there could be “holy carnage” this Christmas if the disease gets into turkeys.

Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale says situation at Manston migrant centre ‘a breach of humane conditions’ | Politics News

The situation at the Manston migration centre in Kent is a “breach of humane conditions”, according to the Tory MP for the area.

Conservative backbencher Sir Roger Gale told Sky News that the facility is holding 4,000 people when it is only designed to hold 1,000, saying “that is wholly unacceptable”.

The MP for North Thanet said he visited the site on Thursday and things are “much worse” than the week before “when there were two and a half thousand people”.

Politics hub: Live updates

He said: “These circumstances, I believe now were a problem made in the Home Office.”

Sir Roger said that until around five weeks ago, the system was “working as it was intended”, but it was “now broken and it’s got to be mended fast”.

He called for an end to “dog-whistle” politics and said actionable solutions were needed instead.

Asked if Suella Braverman was the right person to be leading the Home Office, Sir Roger said he was not going to “point fingers”, but that “whoever is responsible, either the previous home secretary (Priti Patel) or this one, has to be held to account”.

“A bad decision has been taken and this has led to a breach of humane conditions.”

Sir Roger said he has put forward an urgent question to discuss the situation in the House of Commons.

Last week, a Home Affairs Select Committee heard conditions at Manston were “wretched”, with overcrowding, outbreaks of diseases and people being held for weeks longer than the 24 hours intended.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, leaves Downing Street, Westminster, London, after the first Cabinet meeting with Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister. Picture date: Wednesday October 26, 2022.
There are reports Suella Braverman blocked the transfer of migrants from Manston to hotels

Questions have been raised about the home secretary’s judgement, following a report in The Times which claimed she blocked the transfer of asylum seekers to new hotels and ignored legal advice that the government was illegally detaining people at Manston.

Asked about the reports, environment minister Mark Spencer told Sky News Ms Braverman blocked migrants from being moved in a bid to “speed up” their applications.

His interview has been somewhat overshadowed after he suggested “some little man in China” was listening to his phone calls, in response to a question about reports Liz Truss’s phone was hacked while she was foreign secretary This has lead to criticism from Labour MPs who accused him of “ignorance” and “casual racism”.

On Migration, Mr Spencer added that the way to cut down on channel crossings was to “break the model” of people traffickers.

However he did not rule out new processing centres.

Sir Roger said he believed this was the “immediate solution”, saying student accommodation or former MOD accommodation could also be used to free up capacity at Manston.

However he stressed any new sites “must be used properly”.

He said Manston was meant to be turning people around in 24 hours but “as a result of Home Office policy, that is now broken”.

Labour has also called for Ms Braverman to take action and “make decisions” on migration to solve the current crisis.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said a “failure to make decisions” within the government had left people waiting for lengthy periods in supposedly temporary accommodation.

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Labour has called for Home Secretary Suella Braverman to act and

Ms Cooper claimed the home secretary had not made a proper statement on the crisis as there were still questions over her “own security breaches” – after her initial resignation for sending government information via a private email.

‘Entirely fresh approach needed’

Pressure is piling on the Home Office as a record of number of people continue to cross the channel, with 1,000 migrants arriving on Sunday.

The Home Office is already grappling with a 100,000 backlog in processing asylum applications, with 96% of those from last year still outstanding.

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Why is Suella Braverman’s appointment to home secretary controversial?

Officials have noted a surge in illegal migration from Albania, which has been blamed on criminal gangs having a “foothold” in northern France.

On Sunday, refugee charities wrote to the home secretary demanding the government create more safe routes to the UK as a solution to stopping the dangerous small boat crossings.

Meanwhile Kevin Saunders, former chief immigration officer for the UK Border Force, said the system is “broken” and that he would put asylum seekers on a cruise liner.

And Conservative MP for Dover, Natalie Elphicke, said an “entirely fresh approach” is needed to tackle the “out of control” crossings in small boats.

She told TalkTV: “In the most immediate term that does mean stopping the boats leaving France. There are obviously a whole range of other measures, but at the moment a number of those are held up in the courts, a number of those are subject to more legal changes to go through Parliament, so all efforts have to go on stopping those boats and tackling the issue head on.”

Two men killed after shooting in south London | UK News

Two men have been killed after a shooting in south London.

Police were called to reports of gunshots in Railton Road, Brixton, at about 7.50pm on Sunday.

Armed officers attended the scene, along with ambulance crews, and found two men injured.

They were both pronounced dead at the scene. The Metropolitan Police have said no arrests have been made.

A badly-damaged car was pictured at the scene of the incident, while an eyewitness told Sky News they saw emergency services giving CPR to a person on the ground.

A cordon is in place at the junction of Railton Road and Barnwell Road
A badly-damaged car was pictured at the scene

A Met Police spokesman said the nature of the victims’ injuries has not been confirmed at this time.

However a police officer close to the scene confirmed to Sky News that someone had been shot.

Sebastian Morrison, who lives nearby, told local news site MyLondon that residents had reported hearing 12 shots and “fire exchanged between a pair on a moped and people in a car”.

The victims have not been formally identified and their next of kin are yet to be informed, the Met Police said.

Post-mortem examinations will be held in due course, the force added.

A number of roads in the area are closed and crime scenes are in place.

A cordon is in place at the junction of Railton Road and Barnwell Road

Residents have been told they will see an enhanced police presence in the area and have been urged to speak to officers if they have information about the incident.

The shooting comes just days after two men were shot dead in east London, with a third man left critically injured.

Saydi Abu Sheikh, 23, and 32-year-old Zakariya Jeilani Mohamed died of gunshot wounds at the scene in Ilford in the early hours of Tuesday.

A third man, aged 30, was taken to hospital in a life-threatening condition, the Met Police said.

There is no suggestion the two shooting incidents are connected.

Pablo Mari: Arsenal stars honour stabbed teammate – as his on-loan club say he faces months out of action | World News

Arsenal players have honoured teammate Pablo Mari after he was stabbed in Italy, as his on-loan club revealed he has been released from hospital but faces months out of action.

The 29-year-old defender, who is on loan at Italian side Monza, was among five people stabbed by a knife-wielding man at a shopping centre in Assago, on the outskirts of Milan, on Thursday evening.

One man died in the incident and Mari has told how he was “lucky” to survive.

Arsenal players held up a shirt featuring Mari’s name and shirt number 22 after taking the lead in their 5-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

The Spanish footballer avoided life-threatening injuries after being stabbed but needed surgery on his back.

A 46-year-old man was arrested over the incident.

In a statement on Sunday, Monza said Mari has now been released from hospital but would need “a period of absolute rest” and is expected to be out for two to three months.

The club said their players will warm up for their home match against Bologna on Monday wearing special shirts dedicated to Mari, with his name on the back and a message on the front saying “come back soon Pablo”.

There will also be a minute’s silence before kick-off in memory of Luis Fernando Ruggieri, the supermarket employee who was killed in the attack.

View of the supermarket at a shopping centre where several people were injured, including Monza's football player Pablo Mari, after a stabbing incident in Assago, near Milan, Italy
Five people were stabbed at a shopping centre in Assago

The Italian league rejected Monza’s request for the match to be postponed.

Monza coach Raffaele Palladino said it had been a “very emotional” week.

“It was a horrible week but also beautiful because what happened to Pablo is a miracle, that it wasn’t more serious,” he added.

“We realised it could have been a lot worse and we understood that it was our duty to play, to go out on the field and give everything, especially for Pablo.”

Mari thanked well-wishers on social media on Friday, posting a picture of himself in a hospital bed alongside his wife.

He wrote: “After the hard moment we experienced yesterday, both my family and I want to communicate that fortunately we are all fine despite the circumstances, and we want to say thanks for all the messages of support and affection that we are receiving.”

King Charles to host reception ahead of COP27 – despite not going himself | UK News

King Charles will host a reception for key COP27 figures at Buckingham Palace on Friday, despite not attending the conference himself.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference begins in Egypt on 6 November, but the King – who has been a passionate campaigner on environmental issues – will not be going.

The reception will bring together over 200 international business leaders, decision makers and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to mark the end of the United Kingdom’s presidency of COP26 and look ahead to the COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh.

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The prime minister has defended his decision to miss COP27

Read more:
King faces tough test if he wants to keep his personal climate fight alive

The reception has been organised to facilitate discussion of sustainable growth, progress made since COP26 in Glasgow and collective and continued efforts to tackle climate change.

The King has attended the UN climate conference for a number of years and delivered one of the keynote speeches at the opening ceremony for COP26 in Glasgow.

Guests will include Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who pulled out of the summit last week, so he could focus on “domestic challenges” here in the UK. He is expected to speak briefly at the event.

COP26 President Alok Sharma, who lost his cabinet seat in the latest reshuffle, will also be there, along with America’s special envoy on climate change, John Kerry.

Mr Sunak has faced criticism for his decision not to attend the event, with Labour leader Keir Starmer saying the prime minister was missing an opportunity to “pull world leaders together”.

Earlier this week, former energy secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said Mr Sunak was right not to go to the summit, saying: “The cost of living won’t be solved in Sharm el-Sheikh where each hotel room for the conference is £2,000 a night.”

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 3.30pm Monday to Friday, and The Climate Show with Tom Heap on Saturday and Sunday at 3.30pm and 7.30pm.

All on Sky News, on the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.

Michael Gove insists Suella Braverman is ‘first-rate politician’ as pressure mounts over reappointment | Politics News

Michael Gove has defended cabinet colleague Suella Braverman’s controversial reappointment, describing her as a “first-rate, front rank politician”.

Ms Braverman was forced to resign under Liz Truss’s government after she sent an official document from her personal email to a fellow MP and copied in another MP by mistake.

New Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is under growing pressure over reinstating her as home secretary just six days later, after a former party chair claimed she had committed “multiple breaches” of the ministerial code.

Mr Gove told Sophy Ridge on Sunday that Ms Braverman was a “valued member of the cabinet” who “acknowledged a mistake had been made”.

“Suella is a first-rate, front-rank politician,” he said.

“She acknowledged that a mistake had been made. She is working hard in order to ensure that our borders can be made more secure, and that policing is more effective.

“She’s a valued member of the cabinet and someone whom I admire and like.”

Mr Gove, the levelling up secretary, also dismissed a report that Ms Braverman ignored legal advice over the situation at Manston, the migrant processing centre in Kent where conditions have been described as “wretched”.

According to the Sunday Times, the home secretary has been warned that detaining asylum seekers there for long periods of time was breaking the law.

Mr Gove said Ms Braverman “did not ignore or dismiss” legal advice.

But he acknowledged the situation at Manston “is not perfect”, adding: “It’s absolutely vital that we process people as quickly as possible and keep them in humane conditions”.

Princess of Wales tells addicts ‘recovery is possible’ in message of hope and support | UK News

The Princess of Wales has warned the shame of addiction is stopping many people getting help – and told sufferers “recovery is possible”.

Kate, patron of addiction recovery charity The Forward Trust, said addiction is “a serious health condition” and “not a choice”.

Her message of support for the Taking Action on Addiction campaign comes on the first day of Addiction Awareness Week.

She said: “Addiction is a serious mental health condition that can happen to anyone, no matter what age, gender, race or nationality.

“Attitudes to addiction are changing. But we are not there yet, and we need to be. Still the shame of addiction is stopping people and families asking for help and people are still tragically losing their lives.

“And so today, during Addiction Awareness Week, I want to share a message of support to those who are continuing to suffer.

“Please know that addiction is not a choice. No one chooses to become an addict.

“The charities leading the Taking Action on Addiction Campaign, along with others, are working across the country delivering life changing work to help people recover and move forward.

“They are here for you. So please ask for help. I know this was not a choice. Recovery is possible.”

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Led by The Forward Trust alongside a number of charity partners, the Taking Action on Addiction campaign aims to reframe existing perceptions of addiction, build awareness of the causes and nature of addiction, improve understanding, reduce prejudice and enable more people to get help.

Mike Trace, chief executive of The Forward Trust, said: “At a time when addiction is growing across the UK it is crucial, we build awareness of its causes and act quickly to stop this tide, to get in early to reduce the impact on families and children, and make sure that people are able to access the support and treatment that we know makes recovery from addiction possible.”

Teenager arrested on suspicion of murdering university student Luke O’Connor | UK News

A 19-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a student who was fatally stabbed in Manchester.

Luke O’Connor, 19, died in hospital after he was attacked in Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield, at about 2am on Wednesday.

A 19-year-old man was detained in the area on Friday evening and is being questioned.

Superintendent Helen Critchley, of City of Manchester South district, said: “The arrest of a 19-year-old suspect on Friday night is an important step in our investigation which is moving at pace.

“Since the tragic killing of Luke our investigation team has made significant progress as we do all we can to get justice for Luke’s family who we are continuing to support at this devastating time.

“There are still a number of inquiries being conducted to establish what happened in the early hours of Wednesday, but what is clear is that this was a senseless and needless loss of a promising young life that has shocked our student community and we are doing all we can to support them too.”

Mr O’Connor was a second year business management student at Manchester Metropolitan University and his family described him as “truly one of a kind, whose presence would light up any room”.

Read more:
Luke O’Connor was a “gentle giant with big hopes and dreams”, family say

In a statement on Thursday, they said: “Our hearts yearn for the loss of Luke; we are truly devastated by this tragedy.

“Luke was loved by so many people, and he knew how much he was loved in return.

“He loved the freedom of student living and studying and was loving life in Manchester.

“Luke was the youngest of three boys in our family and was a gentle giant with big hopes and dreams for the future.

“His biggest dream was to travel the world, but now Luke will never be able to fulfil that dream.”

UK accuses Russia of ‘peddling false claims’ after Moscow blames Royal Navy for Nord Stream pipeline blasts | World News

Britain has denied Russian claims that Royal Navy personnel blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month, saying the story is “invented”.

A Ministry of Defence tweet said: “To detract from their disastrous handling of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defence is resorting to peddling false claims of an epic scale.

“This invented story says more about arguments going on inside the Russian government than it does about the West.”

The 760-mile pipelines run from Russia to Germany, via the Baltic Sea, at a depth as low as 110 metres.

They were the most important supply route for Russian gas supplies to Europe, with a joint annual capacity of 110 billion cubic metres – more than half of Russia’s normal gas export volume.

Russia suspends grain export deal – live updates

But Russia cut off supply via Nord Stream 1 at the end of August, and Nord Stream 2 never entered service, as Germany paused its certification process shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

On 26 September, the pipelines registered a sharp drop in pressure and seismologists detected explosions before four leaks were recorded.

Russia said on Saturday: “According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on 26 September this year – blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines.”

It did not share any evidence to back up its claims.

Map showing North Sea gas network

Russia was initially blamed for sabotaging the pipelines as part of its efforts to deprive Europe of energy, but it dismissed these claims as “stupid”, instead blaming the US.

The US destroyed the pipelines, so it could sell more liquefied natural gas to Europe, Russia said – a claim denied by the US.

Sweden and Denmark concluded the leaks were caused by explosions, but did not say who might be responsible.

Swedish prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist called on Friday for a “supplementary crime scene investigation” at the site, adding: “It is important both for the preliminary investigation and for the various collaborations we have that we now get to work in peace and quiet.”

Read more:
What we know about the Nord Stream gas leaks and who was behind them
Fourth leak revealed on Nord Stream pipelines as Russia denies sabotage

Meanwhile, Russia has also claimed “British specialists” directed Ukrainian drone strikes on ships in the Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean city of Sevastopol early on Saturday.

Russia’s defence ministry said: “Nine unmanned aerial vehicles and seven autonomous marine drones were involved in the attack.

“The preparation of this terrorist act and the training of servicemen of the Ukrainian 73rd Special Center for Naval Operations were carried out under the guidance of British specialists located in the town of Ochakiv.”