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Royal Air Force grounds its entire fleet of fast jet training aircraft due to engine problem | UK News

The Royal Air Force has grounded its entire fleet of fast jet training aircraft because of an issue with an engine, Sky News can reveal. 

It is not known when flying training on the Hawk T2 jets at an air base in North Wales will resume.

The pause will be another blow for a training programme to deliver fast jet fighter pilots that has already been plagued by problems and chronic delays for years.

Sky News revealed last year that an “emerging” problem had been identified with the Rolls-Royce engine on the Hawk jet, used by fast jet recruits for training at RAF Valley.

A source on Wednesday claimed the issue involved engine blades wearing out.

“Now one has broken and gone down the engine,” the source said, asking to remain anonymous.

An RAF spokesperson confirmed that flying on the Hawk 2 jet had been paused “as a precaution”.

“Post a recent issue on the runway involving an RAF Hawk TMk2 engine, as a precautionary measure, flying has been temporarily paused pending the results of the technical investigation,” the spokesperson said.

It is understood that the RAF is working closely with the manufacturer and awaiting analysis on the specific engine.

Flying training will only resume when it is deemed safe to do so.

The problem with the training fleet will not impact the Red Arrows team, which operates Hawk T1 aircraft.

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In an exclusive report last August, Sky News, citing leaked documents, revealed how issues with the Hawk training aircraft and a “damaging drain” of flying instructors quitting for jobs in the industry had helped push the RAF’s fast jet pilot training into a new crisis.

RAF recruits can spend up to eight years passing through the training pipeline. The length of time should be only two or three years.

Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, gave Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, the head of the RAF, the task of fixing flying training as his only priority more than three years ago.

The Hawk T2 is a single-engine aircraft manufactured by BAE Systems, though the engine is made by Rolls Royce.

Scottish Water apologises after burst water main in Milngavie cut off 250,000 customers and cracked road | UK News

Around 250,000 customers in Scotland were left without water after a major pipe burst.

The pipe burst in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, on Tuesday afternoon and led to flooding in the area.

The force of the 36-inch mains bursting split Auchenhowie Road open, and children at the Lullaby Lane nursery had to take shelter in the nearby Rangers Training Centre.

Restoration works have been carried out but Scottish Water has warned there could be some ongoing interruptions and discolouration to normal supply.

The utilities company said around 100,000 properties were affected across East Dunbartonshire and parts of Glasgow.

Supplies for customers in Glasgow city centre and the Knightswood, Yoker, Scotstoun, Partick, Kelvinside, Tradeston and Ibrox areas of the city were also interrupted.

Fans attending Lewis Capaldi’s gig at the OVO Hydro faced long queues after the venue was forced to close some toilets due to the water shortage.

Hydro bosses said the issue was beyond their control but the “safety and comfort” of its customers took priority.

The water supply had been reconnected for most affected homes and businesses by Tuesday night.

Read more from Sky News:
Critically injured firefighter named
Transgender woman found guilty of rape when she was a man
‘You could hear the screams’ after Darvel cup shock

In an update on Wednesday morning, Scottish Water said: “We are aware that there are some isolated reports of no water from customers in and around Glasgow city centre this morning.

“This is under investigation, and we will be liaising directly with those customers that have contacted us this morning.”

Those that are experiencing discoloured water have been advised by the company that it is the natural lying sediment within the mains that has been disturbed and that it should clear by gently running the cold-water kitchen tap.

White water – caused by air in the water – will settle within the next day or two, Scottish Water added.

Glasgow Road and part of Auchenhowie Road remain closed with local diversions in place.

Scottish Water added: “We are working with our utility partners to assess the impact and damage caused, as well as to allow a safe excavation of the damaged water main for repairs to be undertaken.

“We apologise to all customers affected for the inconvenience and disruption to their service.”

Darren Moore: Body of well-known drag queen found in Cardiff city centre alleyway | UK News

Police are investigating the sudden death of a well-known drag queen who was found dead in a city centre alleyway in Cardiff.

Darren Moore, a 39-year-old from Newport, was last seen at about 5am on Sunday while wearing full face make-up, a luminous green dress, blonde wig, heels and carrying a clutch bag.

Detectives are appealing for anyone who may have seen Mr Moore in the city centre during the early hours of Sunday to get in touch.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Raikes, who is leading the investigation, said: “Extensive enquiries are being carried out to establish the cause and circumstances of Mr Moore’s death.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. A Home Office post-mortem has been conducted and further examinations are currently ongoing to establish cause of death.

“I would like to thank the community for the excellent support they have provided to this investigation so far this week, which has helped enormously and I would appeal for anyone with information to please come forward.

“I would also like to respectfully ask people to refrain from speculating on social media about what has occurred and please let the police investigation take its course.”

Superintendent Michelle Conquer said: “We understand there is shock and upset in the local and wider community following the death of Darren Moore who was a well-known drag artist in Cardiff.

“While an investigation is ongoing, our neighbourhood policing team as always will continue to provide a visible police presence in the city centre.

“A police cordon is in place while enquiries continue at the scene, and we thank the community for their support at this time.

“South Wales Police is proud to represent and protect all communities that it serves.

“Cardiff has a long and proud tradition of recognising, celebrating and protecting equality and diversity.

“Anyone who has concerns is asked to please contact South Wales Police in confidence.”

In a statement issued by police, Mr Moore’s family said: “Darren Moore was a loving husband, son, brother, uncle and friend.

“He was always the life and soul wherever he went, he was Our social butterfly. He made sure he had a lot of time for people, and never judged others.

“Darren’s husband and family want to thank everyone for their support but now need time to grieve and respectfully request privacy at this time.”

A GoFundMe fundraising page has been set up to raise money for Mr Moore’s family.

It said: “Anyone who knew Darren would know how he was never understated in his appearance and costume. His larger-than-life character and charisma were something that you’ll never forget.

“We’d like to support Darren and the family and give Darren the biggest send off. If you’re able too and can afford a few quid, please donate what you can to ensure we do him proud.”

Tributes have been paid from across Cardiff’s gay community.

The Golden Cross, Wales’s oldest LGBT+ venue, posted on Twitter: “We are deeply saddened to learn of Darren Moore’s passing.

“Many of you will know of his long-standing support of the Golden.

“He was the life and soul of the party and would always be entertaining the masses, usually accompanied with a round of shots.”

Better home insulation could mean people live longer, study suggests | Climate News

Making homes better insulated and using renewable energy to power them could mean people live longer.

That’s the conclusion of a new study that found net zero policies like home insulation, if successfully introduced, would “significantly” cut mortality in England and Wales by 2050.

The government’s net zero strategy, published in 2021, sets out a pathway to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of this century.

An extra two million years of life lived would be added across the population by 2050, if the balanced pathway plan – a 60% reduction in emissions by 2035 – was implemented, said researchers.

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National Grid: Cash to reduce energy

The study looked at six net zero policies – it argued that retrofitting homes with insulation would be the most effective, resulting in an additional 836,000 life years for the population by the middle of the century.

Switching to renewable energy to power homes was the second most-effective policy, resulting in an extra 657,000 years over the same period, the modelling suggested.

Researchers said retrofitting homes, to make them more energy efficient and reduce consumption and emissions, would mean properties get warmer in the winter.

They argued that as long as there was adequate ventilation, then people would be exposed to less pollution generated indoors, like from particles and radon.

Radon is a natural radioactive gas which comes from the decay of uranium in rocks and soil, and can seep from the ground and get into homes through the floor.

The researchers stressed that without additional ventilation, the indoor generated pollution could build up inside properties, which is bad for people’s overall health.

Window installation

Retrofitting can include insulating roofs, walls and floors; replacement windows; improved ventilation design; airtightness works and more efficient heating and hot water systems.

Moving forward, those behind the study claimed it may even underestimate the health benefits of net zero policies, as they did not model all the potential health benefits of the policies’ implementation.

The peer-reviewed study was published in the journal, The Lancet Planetary Health.

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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.

Eurostar: Hundreds of seats on trains left unsold to avoid long queues at stations | UK News

Hundreds of seats on Eurostar trains from London to the continent are deliberately being left unsold so long queues don’t build up at stations, the company has admitted.

A cut in the number of border officials means it takes nearly 30% longer to process passengers leaving St Pancras International than before Brexit and the pandemic.

Also contributing to the delay is the post-Brexit requirement to stamp UK passports for outbound travel.

Eurostar train

Seat numbers are now being capped to prevent bottlenecks at stations.

The first daily services connecting London to Paris and Brussels can take up to 900 passengers.

But 350 of those seats are intentionally not being sold.

Eurostar runs the only high-speed trains that directly link the UK to France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel.

As well as London’s St Pancras, it also runs UK services from Ebbsfleet and Ashford, both in Kent.

Read more:
Eurostar to axe direct trains between London and Disneyland Paris due to Brexit
France vows financial support to ‘maintain strategic Eurostar link’ with UK

Eurostar chief executive Gwendoline Cazenave said it was vital that the first trains to leave are on time to avoid a knock-on problem.

“If you delay the first train, then you delay the second and then it’s a very bad customer experience,” she said.

“Our customers say it’s awful.”

Eurostar trains at St Pancras
Eurostar trains at St Pancras

Passengers are being urged to arrive up to 90 minutes before their departure so they have sufficient time to get through border checks, which is three times longer than before the pandemic.

BBC chairman Richard Sharp confident he was ‘appointed on merit’ after Boris Johnson loan row | Politics News

Richard Sharp has said there was “no conflict of interest” over his role in helping Boris Johnson secure a loan before being appointed BBC chairman.

He said he is confident he was given the job “on merit” after an investigation was launched into his hiring.

The BBC is also reporting that Mr Sharp has no plans to stand down despite scrutiny of his appointment.

Politics live: Tory party turning on Zahawi

The former banker has confirmed he introduced his close friend Sam Blyth to cabinet secretary Simon Case in late 2020, to discuss whether Mr Blyth could act as a guarantor for a loan facility for Mr Johnson.

The talks took place while Mr Johnson was still prime minister, and while Mr Sharp was in the process of applying to be BBC chair.

In an interview with the broadcaster today, Mr Sharp said that a decision was made by Mr Case that there was no conflict of interest, nor the perception of one.

He said: “Having had a discussion with the cabinet secretary about avoiding a conflict – and the perception of conflict – I felt comfortable and I still feel there was no conflict because at that stage what I was seeking to do was to ensure the process was followed exactly by the book, and that the process hadn’t started, of any kind, in terms of any support that Sam [Blyth] was going to provide to the prime minister.”

Mr Blyth is a multimillionaire Canadian businessman and distant relative of Mr Johnson.

The Sunday Times reported he ended up being a guarantor of a loan of £800,000 to the former PM, who oversaw Mr Sharp’s appointment.


November 2020:
According to the Sunday Times the loan guarantee was first suggested by Canadian millionaire Sam Blyth during a dinner with Richard Sharp.

Early December 2020:
In early December, Richard Sharp put Sam Blyth in contact with the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case.

Late 2020:
Before the end of the year, Richard Sharp and Sam Blyth met with Boris Johnson for dinner at his country residence, Chequers. They insist the prime minister’s finances were not discussed.

January 2021:
At the start of January, the government announced Richard Sharp as the preferred candidate to be BBC chairman.

Asked if he thought he had misled a parliamentary committee or the advisory panel which picked him, Mr Sharp said: “No, I don’t.”

He added: “I had clarified and agreed with the cabinet secretary, both of us had the judgment that I’d avoided a conflict or a perception of conflict.”

Pressed on whether the row was an issue at a time when the BBC is making efforts to be impartial and highlight transparency, Mr Sharp told his own news channel: “Well look I see attacks on the BBC all the time, from the media, and for example social media, and they attack our impartiality.

“And I think the governance we put in place is extremely strong on impartiality and I’ll be talking about it later today, precisely because we should be judged by our output. “

The BBC is reviewing any conflict of interests related to Mr Sharp’s role while William Shawcross, the Commissioner for Public Appointments, has opened an investigation into the competition which led to his appointment.

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Johnson says Richard Sharp ‘knows nothing’ about his finances

Labour has also reported Mr Johnson to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, saying the former prime minister’s financial affairs are “dragging the Conservative Party deeper into yet another quagmire of sleaze”.

On Monday, Mr Johnson told Sky News that Mr Sharp “knows absolutely nothing about my personal finances – I can tell you that for 100% ding-dang sure”.

Rishi Sunak, who is under pressure over Tory Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi’s tax affairs, has sought to distance himself from the controversy, saying saying Mr Sharp’s appointment was made by “one of my predecessors”.

This man was found dead in woodland 11 years ago – investigators are trying to find out who he was | UK News

Investigators hope a computer-generated image of a man found dead in woodland more than 10 years ago will finally help them solve the mystery of who he is.

The man was found dead near Balmore Golf Club, in East Dunbartonshire, on 16 October 2011.

It is thought he could have been dead for up to six months before he was discovered.

But now, investigators at the Scottish Cold Case Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University have released a new facial reconstruction and 3D images of the man’s clothing in a fresh bid to solve the 11-year puzzle.

There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the man’s death, who detectives have estimated as between 25 and 34 years old.

However, forensic analysis has revealed he suffered injuries before his death which may have affected his appearance, quality of life and gait.

Dr Maureen Taylor, co-director of the cold case unit, said: “We know he had a chip to one of his front teeth and injuries to his nose and jaw that he sustained in the months leading to his death.

“These injuries were not only left untreated, but would have caused him significant pain.

“We also believe that he may have walked with a limp or had difficulty walking.”

Investigators said the white European man was between 5ft 8in and 6ft 1in tall and of slight build, with light-coloured hair.

Undated handout photo issued by the Cold Case Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University of a computer generated image of a man found dead in woodland in East Dunbartonshire, that investigators hope helps solve the more than decade old mystery of who he is.

He was discovered wearing a blue Topman T-shirt with a maroon diagonal stripe on the front, a blue zipped cardigan bearing the logo Greek Pennsylvania, light-coloured jeans and black waterproof walking shoes, commonly bought in Lidl.

In a nearby Nike messenger-type bag, investigators found items including toiletries, clothes, headphones, chargers, a lighter and cigarette papers.

The images were produced by the University of Dundee and are being shown online alongside photos of the man’s belongings and drone footage of the woodland, close to Golf Course Road, where his body was found.

Anyone who recognised the man can contact the cold case unit on 0141 331 3235 or contact Police Scotland on 101

Ghislaine Maxwell believes Jeffrey Epstein was murdered – and wishes she ‘never met’ him | World News

Ghislaine Maxwell said she believes the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was murdered and she wishes she “never met” him.

The British socialite, 61, was sentenced to 20 years in a US prison last year for luring young girls to massage rooms so Epstein could molest them between 1994 and 2004.

Epstein was found dead in his cell at a Manhattan jail in August 2019 as he waited trial on sex trafficking charges.

His death was ruled a suicide, but Maxwell, who had a relationship with him, said she does not believe that.

In an interview for Talk TV’s Jeremy Kyle Live: Ghislaine Behind Bars, she said: “I believe that he was murdered. I was shocked.

“Then I wondered how it had happened because as far as I was concerned, he was going to… I was sure he was going to appeal. And I was sure he was covered under the non-prosecution agreement.

“But I wasn’t in the indictment. I wasn’t mentioned. I wasn’t even one of the co-conspirators.

“I honestly wish I had never met him.

“Looking back now, I probably wish I had stayed in England. But leaving that aside, you know, I tried to leave and start another new job and move on from the end of ’98, ’99.

“So I wish I had been more successful in moving on… Because I’d been a banker and so I should have moved on completely.”

Undated handout photo issued by US Department of Justice of Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein, which has been shown to the court during the sex trafficking trial of Maxwell in the Southern District of New York. The British socialite is accused of preying on vulnerable young girls and luring them to massage rooms to be molested by Epstein between 1994 and 2004. Issue date: Wednesday December 8, 2021.
Maxwell with Epstein

Maxwell, daughter of the late media tycoon and MP Robert Maxwell, said she “didn’t know” Epstein “was so awful”, though he is “obviously now, looking back with hindsight, of course”.

“But at the time, I mean he had lots of friends. He was friendly with just about everybody you could imagine,” she said, speaking from prison.

“There was no reason to imagine that he was someone of interest to people.”

Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell, pictured in a photo believed to have been taken in 2001. Pic: Rex/Shutterstock
Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell in a photo believed to have been taken in 2001. Pic: Rex/Shutterstock

The convicted sex offender also believes the infamous photograph of the Duke of York next to Virginia Giuffre is fake.

Allegedly taken inside Maxwell’s Mayfair home, the photograph shows Prince Andrew with his arm around Ms Giuffre, who claims he had sex with her while she was underage.

Andrew has questioned the validity of the image and claimed to have never met Ms Giuffre, who was Virginia Roberts at the time.

Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of recruiting underage girls to be sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein
Epstein and Maxwell

Maxwell said: “Well, it’s a fake. I don’t believe it’s real. In fact, I’m sure it’s not… There’s never been an original. Further, there’s no photograph; I’ve only ever seen a photocopy of it.

“I don’t believe it happened, certainly the way as described. It would have been impossible. I don’t have any memory of going to [the private nightclub] Tramp [where Ms Giuffre said Andrew danced with her].

“Certainly it’s not an outfit I would have worn.”

The duke paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case to Ms Giuffre after previously saying he has “no recollection” of meeting her and he is “not one to hug” or “display affection” in public.

He claimed in 2019 it is not possible to prove if the image has been faked.

Could Prince Andrew settlement be challenged?

Reports at the weekend claimed Prince Andrew is now looking into ways to overturn the settlement.

Lawyer Wendy Murphy said if those reports are correct, the timing of the legal challenge could be significant.

She told Sky News: “I think there is about a 0.0% chance of a court overturning a settlement. Let’s remember the money has already been paid, the court has signed it off.”

Andrew did not accept culpability in the settlement.

Rishi Sunak must ‘do more than the bare minimum’ to combat Tory sleaze allegations | Politics News

Just a few months ago, Rishi Sunak promised on the steps of Downing Street that his premiership would be different.

With his commitment to integrity, professionalism and accountability he pledged a new chapter of government.

His vision seemed to be one of getting things done efficiently and drama-free rather than lurching from one self-inflicted scandal to another.

But as he is quickly finding out, it’s easier said than done.

And so he has begun 2023 with a new set of sleaze allegations.

The characters and the plot lines though are all too familiar.

Firstly, Conservative Party chair Nadhim Zahawi is accused of impropriety over his financial affairs, and not for the first time.

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‘Questions need answering’ in Zahawi case, says PM

He has always insisted he does everything by the book, but the latest revelation that he agreed to a multimillion-pound deal after a dispute with HMRC during his time as chancellor, eventually became too embarrassing for the Prime Minister.

Under mounting pressure over the weekend, the PM eventually referred it to his ethics advisor, admitting there are “questions to be answered”.

Nadhim Zahawi looks on outside the Conservative Party's headquarters in London, Britain January 23, 2023.
Nadhim Zahawi refused to speak to reporters after arriving at Conservative Party headquarters on Monday

And as if that wasn’t enough, his old frenemy Boris Johnson has proved he does not need to be in Number 10 to cause problems.

At the heart of this controversy is an issue that plagued him in office and has followed him to the backbenches.

A tendency to live well beyond his means and periodically ask for handouts has dragged down another of Johnson’s willing friends, this time BBC chair Richard Sharp who helped him secure an £800,000 loan in 2020.

Politics Hub latest: ‘Evidence’ Zahawi’s TV interview defence was ‘not true’ as Sunak orders probe

None of these sagas are of Sunak’s making but to live up to his own high standards he will need to show he really is prepared to deal with them differently, rather than doing the bare minimum and hoping it all goes away.

So far, he has yet to convince his critics that he hasn’t reverted back to business as usual.

BBC chairman asks for review into any ‘conflict of interest’ over Boris Johnson loan role | Politics News

BBC chairman Richard Sharp has asked for a review into potential conflicts of interest over his role in helping Boris Johnson secure a loan.

Mr Sharp said he wanted to ensure “all the appropriate guidelines have been followed”.

Politics latest: Zahawi told to quit – amid ‘evidence’ TV interview defence was ‘not true’

“We have many challenges at the BBC and I know that distractions such as this are not welcome,” he said in a statement read out on BBC News.

The Sunday Times reported Mr Sharp was involved in arranging a guarantor on a loan of up to £800,000 for Mr Johnson in late 2020, and that the then-prime minister went on to recommend him for the top job at the BBC.

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson called the report “rubbish” while both sides denied a conflict of interest.

In a letter to BBC staff, read out on the BBC News channel, Mr Sharp clarified some of the details surrounding the loan.

He confirmed he introduced multimillionaire Canadian businessman Sam Blyth to cabinet secretary Simon Case “as Sam wanted to support Boris Johnson”.

“I was not involved in making a loan, or arranging a guarantee, and I did not arrange any financing. What I did do was to seek an introduction of Sam Blythe to the relevant official in government,” he said.

“Sam Blyth, who I have known for more than forty years, lives in London and having become aware of the financial pressures on the then prime minister, and being a successful entrepreneur, he told me he wanted to explore whether he could assist.”

Mr Blyth is a distance cousin of Mr Johnson’s.

The statement was released moments after Mr Johnson said that Mr Sharp “knows absolutely nothing about my personal finances”.

Boris Johnson doorstep
Boris Johnson

Speaking to Sky News he said: “This is a load of complete nonsense – absolute nonsense.

“Let me just tell you, Richard Sharp is a great and wise man but he knows absolutely nothing about my personal finances – I can tell you that for 100% ding dang sure.

“This is just another example of the BBC disappearing up its own fundament.”

The BBC reported that Mr Sharp “has agreed with the board’s senior independent director” that the nominations committee will look at his appointment when it next meets and, “in the interests of transparency, publish the conclusions”.

It comes after Labour called for an independent investigation into the process for appointing the chair of the BBC.

The party has also reported Mr Johnson to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, saying the former prime minister’s financial affairs are “dragging the Conservative Party deeper into yet another quagmire of sleaze”.

The Cabinet Office has insisted Mr Sharp was appointed “following a rigorous appointments process”.

This included assessment by a panel of experts and “additional pre-appointment scrutiny by a House of Commons Select Committee”, according to a statement released yesterday.