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The once wonder material reinforced aerated autoclaved concrete will cause chaotic start to academic year | Science & Tech News

During the post-war building boom of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, reinforced aerated autoclaved concrete (RAAC) was something of a wonder material.

Filled with bubbles of air, the material is about a quarter of the weight of normal reinforced concrete.

RAAC was seen as ideal for shaping into lighter, pre-formed concrete components used in the modern lego-like construction of many public buildings of the time.

Given its light weight, planks of RAAC were widely used to make the flat roofs – a key reason why the current situation is so dangerous.

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School buildings forced to close

In the 1990s, when the material was still being used, structural engineers discovered that the strength of RAAC wasn’t standing the test of time.

The porous, sponge-like concrete – especially when used on roofs – could easily absorb moisture, weakening the material and also corroding steel reinforcement within.

As it weakened, it sagged, leading to water pooling on roofs, exacerbating the problem.

RAAC made in the 1950s was at risk of failure by the 1980s, the report concluded.

About 30 years ago, it became known that the lifespan of RAAC in many of public buildings, including hospitals and schools was no greater than 30 years.

Yet it seems, not much happened.

Read more:
School buildings forced to close over concrete safety fears
School building collapse that causes death or injury ‘very likely’

A cross-section of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete
A cross-section of RAAC

Until 2018 when the roof of a primary school in Gravesend, Kent suddenly collapsed. Thankfully, it happened on a weekend and no one was injured.

The investigation into the collapse revealed the RAAC planks used in the roof had weakened with age. But also steel reinforcement inside it didn’t extend all the way to the ends where it was supported by the walls.

Not only was there a problem with the material, there were problems with construction too.

In government, work began to find out which schools (and separately, hospitals) were at structural risk due to RAAC.

Thankfully, the 104 schools we now know are at the greatest risk is only a small fraction of the 22,000 state-owned nurseries, primaries, secondaries and colleges in England.

It’s going to be a chaotic start to the academic year for teachers and pupils in those schools.

And it’s no surprise that many are wondering about chaos in the Department for Education.

This is a problem for which urgent action has been long overdue, yet the decision to take it has come at possibly the most disruptive time possible.

Ely crash: Police van driver who followed boys shortly before fatal collision in Cardiff faces criminal investigation | UK News

The driver of a police van which was seen on CCTV following two boys on an e-bike shortly before they died in a fatal collision is facing a criminal investigation.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the driver of the vehicle was now being “criminally investigated for dangerous driving”.

The driver, along, with the passenger in the van, had previously been served with a gross misconduct notice.

Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, died in the crash in the Ely area of Cardiff on 22 May.

The crash sparked riotous scenes in the community as properties were damaged and cars torched.

The IOPC said the notices and the criminal letter did not necessarily mean that disciplinary or criminal proceedings would follow.

The crash happened at 6.02pm on Snowden Road and CCTV footage showed the bike being followed by a police van at 6pm on nearby Frank Road.

Other footage showed the van turn off and it was not following the boys at the time of the collision.

Map of Ely in Cardiff where riots broke out after a fatal crash
Map of Ely in Cardiff where riots broke out after a fatal crash

The watchdog’s investigation is looking at the nature of the police’s interaction with the boys before the collision.

One key factor under consideration is whether there was any point at which the decision and actions of the officers in the van “constituted a pursuit”.

The IOPC has confirmed it has completed all its enquiries in the Ely area in recent weeks and has also reviewed footage from body-worn cameras.

South Wales Police is continuing to co-operate with the IOPC investigation.

People release balloons during a vigil for the victims of a road traffic collision on Snowden Road in Ely, Cardiff, on Monday. Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and his best friend Harvey Evans, 15, died in a road accident minutes after they had been involved in a pursuit with police, whilst riding an electric bike. Picture date: Friday May 26, 2023.
People release balloons in tribute to Harvey and Kyrees

‘Went everywhere together’

Following Harvey’s death, his family said their hearts were “truly broken”.

They described him as having lived “life to the full” and someone who had a “big heart”, adding that “deep down, he truly cared”.

His family also appealed for “peace within the community” and asked people to allow the police to investigate and “get the answers we so desperately need”.

Kyrees was a “handsome young man” and a “loving son and brother”, his family said.

They added that he and Harvey “went everywhere together” and were loved “not only by their families but by their community as well”.

IOPC Director David Ford said his thoughts and sympathies were with the family and friends of Kyrees and Harvey and everyone impacted by their deaths.

“Our independent investigation is progressing well and I want to again thank the local community for the support provided to our investigation, including through the sharing of CCTV evidence,” he said.

Read more:
Mum of teen killed in Cardiff crash pays tribute
Cardiff crash – a timeline of events

He said the IOPC said it remained “committed to establishing the facts” and would “continue to provide regular updates”.

Anyone with information which could be of use to its investigation is asked to contact the IOPC.

Safe places for drug consumption should be piloted in UK, MPs recommend | Politics News

Safe spaces for drug users to take substances under medical supervision should be provided in the UK as part of an overhaul of drug laws, MPs have concluded.

Although the Scottish government has been pushing for a so-called safe consumption facility to be set up, efforts have been blocked by Westminster.

But the Home Affairs Committee has published a report recommending a pilot in Glasgow is supported by Westminster and jointly funded by both governments.

The committee said if the UK government remains unwilling to support the pilot then the power to establish it should be devolved to the Scottish government.

The MPs recommended pilots of such facilities – where drug users can take substances under medical supervision, with the aim of preventing drug-related overdoses and other drug-related harms – in areas across the UK where local government and others deem there is a need.

Figures published last week revealed Scotland’s largest-ever fall in drug deaths, with data from National Records of Scotland (NRS) showing a total of 1,051 deaths due to drug misuse in 2022, a drop of 279 on the previous year.

But while the number of deaths linked to drugs misuse is now the lowest it has been since 2017, the NRS report made clear the rate of deaths is still “much higher” than it was when recording the data began in 1996.

The committee report said: “We recommend the government support a pilot in Glasgow by creating a legislative pathway under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 that enables such a facility to operate legally.”

MPs said the pilot “must be evaluated in order to establish a reliable evidence base on the utility of a safe consumption facility in the UK”.

Responding to the recommendation, the government insisted “there is no safe way to take illegal drugs” and they have “no plans to consider” the safe consumption facility recommendation.

Read more:
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Funding cuts mean addicts left to fight disease alone
Decriminalise all drugs – Scottish government

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‘They had to take my leg off’

Report calls for establishment of national drug checking service in England

The report also recommended the Home Office and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) “jointly establish a national drug checking service in England to enable people to submit drug samples by post anonymously”.

Additionally, the MPs said on-site drug-checking services at temporary events like music festivals and within the night-time economy should be rolled out, recommending the Home Office “establish a dedicated licensing scheme for drug checking at such events before the start of the summer 2024 festival season”.

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Rehab: ‘People are dying to get into treatment’

MPs welcome reduction of barriers to researching psychedelics

The report stated the existing classifications of controlled substances should be reviewed by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to ensure they accurately reflect the risk of harm, with further reviews every 10 years.

MPs welcomed the UK government’s “commitment to reducing barriers to researching psychedelic drugs” and recommended they are “urgently” reclassified “in order to facilitate research on the medical or therapeutic value of these drugs”.

The committee also said both the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 require reform.

“We recommend that the UK government reform the 1971 Act and 2001 Regulations in a way that promotes a greater role for public health in our response to drugs, whilst maintaining our law enforcement to tackling the illicit production and supply of controlled drugs,” it said.

Metropolitan Police defends King’s Coronation policing after only five of 64 people arrested are charged | UK News

The Metropolitan Police has defended officers’ policing of the King’s coronation after it emerged only a fraction of the 64 people who were arrested have been charged.

The force has also said more than half of those arrested will not face charges or receive fines – with 18 told they would face no further action, and a further 18 informed there was insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction.

Those released without charge included six anti-monarchy protesters and three charity volunteers.

The Met previously said it would apologise to those wrongly arrested during the coronation if it is found officers made mistakes.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said among those facing no further action were people seen in “possession of glue, allen keys and other paraphernalia”.

The force also said 21 people had been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service – 20 who were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance and one on a racially aggravated public order offence.

Five people have already been charged with offences, one person has been issued a penalty notice for disorder and another suspect was sent to court having been arrested for being wanted on a warrant unrelated to the event, police added.

Despite a high number of suspects not facing any further action, Mr Twist defended officers’ decisions – saying their efforts were “consistent with the Met’s long history both of overseeing significant public events and also policing peaceful protest across London”.

He said: “Arrests do not always lead to charges and it is important to remember that the threshold for obtaining a charge is higher than that for making an arrest where an officer need only have suspicion of an offence.

“For example, three of those whose arrest did not lead to charge were found near the coronation route in the early hours of the day of the event in possession of glue, a banner from a known activist group, allen keys and other paraphernalia that could have been used to commit criminal damage or other disruption.”

Read more:
Coronation protesters arrest to be investigated by MPs
How have protest laws changed – and how were they used during the coronation?

Mr Twist continued: “I am confident the public would recognise why officers chose to make arrests in those circumstances, even though it was ultimately determined that a conviction at court would have been unlikely.

“In the hours before the coronation, we had intelligence that indicated activists were plotting to target the procession.

“We had real concerns that such efforts would not only disrupt an event of enormous national significance, but that they could also compromise the security and safety of participants and the public, including posing a risk of serious injury.

“Officers were briefed on these concerns and were directed to act appropriately in light of the emerging intelligence picture, which they did.

“Their efforts were consistent with the Met’s long history both of overseeing significant public events and also policing peaceful protest across London. Every year there are thousands of planned and spontaneous protest events that take place without incident.”

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Coronation: Did police overreact?

Mr Twist said any suggestion protest was prohibited during the coronation was “not supported by the evidence”.

He said: “We have previously expressed our regret that a number of people who were arrested and released later the same day with no further action taken against them were unable to participate in their planned protest.

“However any suggestion that protest was prohibited at the coronation is not supported by the evidence. There was significant protest activity at points along the procession route, notably in Trafalgar Square.

“I am proud of the efforts of all those involved in policing this historic event. It is thanks to their hard work and dedication that it was able to take place safely and without disruption or disorder.”

Facial recognition technology labelled ‘Orwellian’ as government eyes wider use by police and security agencies | Politics News

The Home Office is eyeing an expansion of the use of facial recognition software – including potentially within police forces and the security agencies.

The department put out a call asking for companies to make suggestions of how they could improve the way in which facial recognition is used by the government.

And the market exploration states the government is after benefits that “could be deployed to benefit the Home Office and policing within the next 18 months”.

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All 43 police forces of England and Wales “are an example of potential customers” for such technologies, alongside “other security agencies”.

The government’s innovation department, Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), is also part of the process, which will run until 12 October 2023.

Live facial recognition – where cameras scan an area and analyse every person that passes through – is one of the areas in which the government is interested in expanding its position.

They also want to improve their use of retrospective facial recognition, which allows authorities to use the technology “after an event to establish who a person is or whether their image matches other media held on a database”.

A third area is operator-initiated facial recognition – which is where an “operator” can decide they need to use facial recognition on a particular image to help find out who they are.

The use of facial recognition by police forces has raised concerns about privacy, especially when cameras are deployed in public areas.

There are also concerns about how data is stored, and the companies which supply the technology.

A scientific adviser to the police has emphasised the authorities’ desire to “strike the right balance between public safety and individual privacy rights”.

Campaigners liken the technology to that used in Russia and China.

Read more:
Police insist facial recognition tech ‘a force for good
Technology ‘will turn our streets into police line-ups’

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‘Police must investigate every theft’

South Wales Police was found to have used the technology unlawfully in 2020, as it had breached privacy rights, data protection laws and equality legislation.

The force has since adopted a code of practice to outline its obligations when scanning the public’s faces.

The Metropolitan Police has also used the technology, including at events like the coronation.

‘Totally unnecessary, un-Conservative and un-British’

Speaking about the latest development, Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch said: “It’s disturbing and deeply undemocratic that the government is planning to expand facial recognition surveillance in the UK. This is an Orwellian mass surveillance tool rarely seen outside of Russia and China and has absolutely no place in Britain.

“The government has no mandate at all to do this, and the fact that the rest of the democratic world is legislating to ban live facial recognition surveillance shows just how backwards the Home Office’s approach to this is.

“Live facial recognition has the potential to invade the privacy of millions of Brits and turn us into walking ID cards living in a surveillance state.

“It is totally unnecessary, un-Conservative and un-British, and the policing minister would do best to focus on fixing our broken law enforcement rather than spending taxpayers’ money on dystopian, experimental software.”

Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge promo

Megan Goulding, a lawyer at Liberty, said: “We all have the right to go about our lives freely, without being scanned and monitored. It’s unacceptable that the government is now looking for new ways to invade our privacy and free expression using facial recognition technology.

“This dystopian technology subjects anyone existing in public to intrusive surveillance, and has a harsher impact on those communities who are already unfairly targeted by the police.

“A court has already ruled once that the use of facial recognition technology breached our fundamental rights. Instead of looking for ways to expand it, the government should be banning its use.”

‘Significantly enhance public safety’

Policing minister Chris Philp has endorsed the potential expansion of the use of technology.

Professor Paul Taylor, the national policing chief scientific adviser said: “Mr Philp and I strongly support the development and implementation of facial recognition technology within the law enforcement sector and are encouraged by its potential.

“We firmly believe that embracing this advanced technology can significantly enhance public safety while respecting individual rights and privacy. Industry is pivotal to realisation of that mission.

“It is essential to acknowledge the concerns surrounding facial recognition technology, particularly those relating to privacy and potential biases.

“However, responsible development and implementation of facial recognition systems can address these concerns effectively.

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“By establishing robust governance frameworks, implementing strict data protection protocols, and ensuring transparency and accountability, we can strike the right balance between public safety and individual privacy rights.

“To maximise the technological benefits and minimise the risks associated with facial recognition, it is crucial that we support and encourage industry to continue developing capabilities which can be deployed effectively and ethically.”

Swansea: Car ‘goes into water’ at marina | UK News

A car has gone “into the water” at a marina in Swansea.

South Wales Police confirmed its officers had attended along with colleagues from other emergency services.

They were called to reports of the incident shortly after 10am on Wednesday.

Pictures from the scene show multiple police vehicles and ambulances in attendance.

The air ambulance was also at the scene and a police cordon was put in place.

A spokesperson for the Wales Ambulance Service said the service was called at around 10.01am.

“We sent four hazardous area response teams, one air ambulance, two Cymru high acuity response units, one duty operational manager and one emergency ambulance to the scene where we were assisted by colleagues from the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service who travelled by air,” they added in a statement.

It is not yet known if anyone was in the vehicle at the time.

The incident is currently ongoing and no further details are available at this time.

Ministers told to ‘sit up and take notice’ over concerns about AI being trained on artists’ work | Science & Tech News

Copyrighted music, literature and art must be protected by law that prevents them from being freely used to train artificial intelligence, MPs have warned.

The creative industries have been among the most vocal in their opposition to how powerful AI models like ChatGPT are being developed to generate new work.

By training them on huge amounts of existing media, including text and images, they can produce fresh content on demand that imitates what already exists.

Concerns around their use by film and TV studios to write scripts or even replace actors are a key driver of ongoing Hollywood strikes, while music labels are seeking to prevent pop stars’ vocals from being freely cloned and photographers have spoken out against online art generators.

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Music industry calls for AI protection

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee said the UK government must take into account such issues when determining how to regulate the technology.

It said an original plan to exempt data mining by AI from copyright protection law risked undermining the value of Britain’s artistic and cultural industries.

Committee chair Dame Caroline Dinenage, a Conservative, said ministers must “sit up and take notice”.

“The government must now start to rebuild trust by showing it really understands where the creative industries are coming from and develop a copyright and regulatory regime that properly protects them as AI continues to disrupt traditional cultural production,” she added.

Read more:
How AI could transform future of crime
The author embracing AI to help write novels

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Hollywood stars rally in London

Ministers have indicated they will reconsider the initial proposals, and any exemption for AI data mining could be restricted to non-commercial research purposes and works that creators have licenced for a further purpose.

It comes ahead of the UK hosting a global summit on AI regulation, the first of its kind, in the autumn.

It will be hosted at Bletchley Park, where codebreakers like Alan Turing worked during the Second World War. The site was crucial in the development of technology, as Turing and others used the Colossus computers to help break Nazi codes.

UK ‘hampered by skills shortage’

Despite the concerns around AI, the committee has said the government must also do more to help the creative industries “push the boundaries” of technology.

In a new report, it cites West End stage show ABBA Voyage – which utilises avatars of the Swedish pop group – and digital exhibitions at the Victoria & Albert Museum – as examples of how the creative and tech industries can be effectively brought together.

Ms Dinenage said the UK’s adoption of creative technology was being “hampered by a shortage in technical skills”.

She said the government should address the gap in its upcoming cultural education plan, encouraging more people into industries like visual effects.

Air traffic control: NATS ‘not ruling out anything’ after glitch causes widespread disruption | UK News

The chief executive of National Air Traffic Services (NATS) has said he cannot reveal the cause of the glitch which has affected thousands of passengers but is “not ruling out anything at this stage”.

Martin Rolfe said on Tuesday evening that an initial investigation had found that the air traffic control failure was caused by flight data received.

However, he later told Sky News: “You will understand we have very complex systems, handling something in the region of two million flights a year and the safety of those passengers is incredibly important to us.

“We are not going to rush into saying what the cause is until we absolutely fully understand.”

Night flights given go ahead to ease disruption – air traffic chaos latest

Reports have suggested the chaos may have been caused after a French airline misfiled its flight plan.

Without confirming the reports, Mr Rolfe said: “It could be a single flight plan… if it is a flight plan that has caused this, we know it is something in the flight data and we will get to the bottom of it and understand why.”

A woman points at a flight board at Heathrow Airport, as Britain's National Air Traffic Service (NATS) restricts UK air traffic due to a technical issue causing delays

However, he added: “I’m not ruling out anything at this stage.

“We are conducting an investigation, we will conduct it incredibly thoroughly.”

Despite Mr Rolfe saying he is not ruling anything out, NATS said earlier there is “no indication” it was targeted in a cyber attack.

Hundreds of flights around the UK have been cancelled after yesterday’s air traffic control disruption. The incident on Bank Holiday Monday meant flight plans had to be uploaded to systems manually, slowing or cancelling air traffic across the country.

Thousands of passengers were affected by yesterday’s disruption – and many are still waiting for their flights today.

NATS suffered what it described as a “technical issue”, preventing it from automatically processing flight plans.

This resulted in flights to and from UK airports being restricted while the plans were checked manually.

NATS said at 3.15pm on Monday the problem was resolved, but disruption continued into Tuesday as many aircraft and crews were out of position.

Read more:
‘I’ve been awake for 22 hours stranded in a foreign airport’
Airline boss blasts flight delays as thousands stranded
Am I entitled to compensation after air traffic control chaos?

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Hundreds ‘stranded in shocking conditions’

Analysis of flight data websites shows at least 281 flights – including departures and arrivals – were cancelled on Tuesday at the UK’s six busiest airports.

This consisted of 75 at Gatwick, 74 at Heathrow, 63 at Manchester, 28 at Stansted, 23 at Luton and 18 at Edinburgh.

EasyJet announced it will run five repatriation flights to Gatwick following the air traffic control fault as well as operating larger aircraft on key routes.

Aviation analytics company Cirium said 790 departures and 785 arrivals were cancelled across all UK airports on Monday.

That was equivalent to around 27% of planned flights and means around a quarter of a million people were affected.

British athletes were stranded in Budapest after the World Championships.

Passengers at Heathrow Airport as disruption from air traffic control issues continues across the UK and Ireland. Travel disruption could last for days after flights were cancelled, leaving thousands of passengers stranded during a technical fault in the UK's air traffic control (ATC) system. Picture date: Tuesday August 29, 2023.
Passengers at Heathrow Airport

A group of around 40 athletes and staff from UK Athletics returned to their hotel in the Hungarian capital on Monday night because of the flight chaos.

Some of the affected athletes chose to travel directly to Zurich for Thursday’s Diamond League event.

Holidaymakers stuck in the UK and abroad described their frustration, as some had no idea when or how they would get to their destination.

Vicki Ostrowski has emailed Sky News to say she was stranded in Oslo with a “disabled, wheelchair-bound passenger with a neurological disease, an 83-year-old frail relative, plus three other family members”.

She added: “I myself will run out of essential heart medication two days before the flight they have reassigned us on 2 September at 5pm!”

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Traveller stranded without medication

Kayleigh, another reader, got in touch to say she was stuck at Las Palmas airport in Gran Canaria.

“It’s been 13 hours, it’s freezing, and we are trying to get some sleep on the cold floor,” she said.

“There are children lying on the cold floor, people making public speeches about the airline and it is sheer pandemonium.

“I have never felt so helpless. Been awake for 22 hours. We’ve now spent 14 hours in the airport. We were told if we waited 2-3 hours they would sort out a hotel.

“We have still heard nothing with ground staff saying they don’t know anything and no one has been around to check if people are okay!”

Lyra McKee mural in Florida vandalised with ‘absolutely disgusting’ anti-LGBTQ graffiti | UK News

A mural dedicated to murdered journalist Lyra McKee has been vandalised in the US state of Florida.

A swastika, a target and anti-LGBTQ+ graffiti have been spray-painted on the mural of the Zebra Youth Organisation, which supports LGBTQ+ youth.

Ms McKee died after being hit by a bullet during rioting in the Creggan area of Londonderry on 18 April 2019, with dissident republican group the New IRA linked to the killing.

Read more:
How ‘brave’ Lyra McKee covered her struggle of growing up gay in Belfast

The incident sparked revulsion and condemnation across the world.

A mural was unveiled to Ms McKee in Orlando, a city she spoke about visiting in 2017, a year after a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in the city, killing 49 people.

Orlando’s council also passed a resolution offering sympathy of the people of the city to Ms McKee’s loved ones.

Member of the Florida House of Representatives Anna Vishkaee Eskamani described the graffiti in a social media post as “absolutely disgusting”.

“Will do what we can to identify who did this and hold them accountable,” she posted on the social media website X, formerly known as Twitter.

The mural was cleaned up by volunteers with Zebra Youth.

In a post on social media, Zebra Youth said: “Today Zebra Youth and LGBT+ Center Orlando – The Center’s beautiful murals were vandalized with hateful homophobic and transphobic messages and n*zi symbols.

“We are working with the Orlando Police Department to identify and prosecute this horrible hate crime.

“We appreciate all of the community support and are doing everything to ensure the safety of our youth and staff.

“We will not allow hate to win.”

Undated handout photo issued by Chiho Tang/Oranga Creative of Lyra McKee. the copyright holder. A 52 year old man charged with the murder of the journalist will appear Londonderry Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

The vandalism comes months after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed four bills restricting LGBTQ+ rights in the state.

One of the bills bars trans people from using the public facilities that align with their gender identities. Another restricts drag performances in front of children.

Meanwhile, Florida teachers have said they have removed books from their classrooms and decided not to form LGBTQ+ clubs as a result of what critics have called the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.

The law bans instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity “in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards”.

Sara Sharif’s cause of death still undetermined – but inquest hears it is ‘likely to be unnatural’ | UK News

Sara Sharif’s cause of death is yet to be determined – but an inquest has heard it is “likely to be unnatural”.

The 10-year-old was found dead at her home in Woking on 10 August, with Surrey County Council confirming she was previously known to authorities.

Earlier this month, a post-mortem revealed Sara had “suffered multiple and extensive injuries” that were “likely to have been caused over a sustained and extended period of time”.

Sara Sharif, 10, was found dead in a home in Woking, Surrey

Coroner Simon Wickens said inquest proceedings will be adjourned until 29 February 2024 so Surrey Police can continue with their investigations – adding there was an “international” aspect to the case.

He went on to offer his “sincere condolences” to all those “touched by Sara’s short life”.

Sara’s father Urfan – as well as her stepmother, uncle and five children – are believed to have travelled to Islamabad before she was discovered by police.

He went on to call 999 from Pakistan on the day she was found, expressing concern for his eldest daughter’s safety.

Read more:
School’s tribute to ‘bubbly and confident’ girl

Urfan Sharif, left and Beinash Batool. Pic: AP
Urfan Sharif, left and Beinash Batool. Pic: AP

Police in the country have been trying their “level best” to locate Sara’s family.

Detectives have told Sky correspondent Sabah Choudhry they are “blind” in their search for Sara’s father, uncle and stepmother – and reports of officers being close to finding them are “fake news”.

Meanwhile, Sara’s grandfather has urged his son to hand himself over to police as part of the investigation.

Back here, detectives have been piecing together a picture of her lifestyle before she died – and her mother Olga is being supported by specialist officers.

Lawyers in the UK have said Pakistan’s government is unlikely to block an extradition request in connection to Sara’s death.