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Nicki Minaj arrested at Netherlands airport hours before Co-op Live show in Manchester | Ents & Arts News

Music star Nicki Minaj has been arrested at an airport in the Netherlands hours before she was due to perform in front of thousands of fans at Co-op Live in Manchester.

The American rapper, 41, was detained at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on suspicion of possession of soft drugs.

She was later released from custody just before 9pm but she will have to pay an undisclosed fine for “illegally exporting soft drugs from the Netherlands to another country”, Dutch police told Sky News.

In a series of social media posts on X and Instagram, Minaj earlier claimed police said they found drugs in her luggage after items were checked by customs.

She wrote on X that “they said they found weed”. She also claimed “they took my luggage without consent” and “they’re trying to keep me from MANCHESTER”.

The messages also included one where she wrote: “This is Amsterdam btw, where weed is legal.”

The star, whose hit songs include Starships, Super Bass and Anaconda, also filmed what appeared to be an airport official asking her to have her luggage checked.

Minaj later wrote: “It’s a 45 minute to an hour flight. So they’re probably trying to stall for about 4 hours.”

And she added: “Now they said I have to go 5 mins away to make a statement about my security to the police precinct.”

She has not posted on X since.

Asked about Minaj, Robert van Kapel, a spokesman for the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee military police, earlier told Sky News’ US partner network NBC News: “We can confirm that we have arrested a 41-year-old American woman at Schiphol Airport because of possession of soft drugs.”

The Co-op Live in Manchester. Pic: PA
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The Co-op Live in Manchester. Pic: PA

It is unclear if Minaj’s show at Co-op Live has been affected.

A post on the venue’s X account said shortly after 5.15pm: “Please note that general admission and premium doors for tonight’s Nicki Minaj show will now open at 19:00.”

Connor Wynne, who is a fan of the singer, was in the front row and was hopeful he would see her perform tonight.

He told Sky News: “So the organisers… haven’t really told us anything at the moment, like what’s going on with it. But we’re waiting to find out if she’s going to come. We’re hopeful because we’ve all been let into the arena and it’s filling up nicely as well. And we’ve got a good space. So let’s pray and hope that she does arrive.”

Nicki Minaj fan, Connor Wynne
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Connor Wynne, a Nicki Minaj fan, is at the arena tonight

As part of her Pink Friday World Tour, Minaj is due to perform in Birmingham on Sunday, followed by a concert at London’s O2 arena next Tuesday.

Then on Wednesday, she is due to play in Glasgow followed by a gig on Thursday, again at the Co-op Live in Manchester.

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The beleaguered £365m arena – the UK’s largest indoor entertainment venue – opened earlier this month after it was plagued by a series of problems.

There had been weeks of setbacks, cancellations and postponements, before live music finally got under way there on 14 May when Manchester rock band Elbow took to the stage.

The problems included part of the building’s ventilation and air conditioning system falling to the ground from the ceiling during a soundcheck in early May.

The 23,500-capacity venue was initially due to fully open with two Peter Kay stand-up shows on 23 and 24 April, but these dates were pushed back when problems emerged at a test event headlined by Ricky Astley.

The arena then planned for US rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie to open the arena on 1 May, but it was called off just over an hour before his performance and after doors had opened to fans – because the ventilation system became detached.

The ventilation issue meant scheduled performances by US pop star Olivia Rodrigo and British band Keane were postponed, while a series of shows by Take That were moved to the AO Arena in Manchester.

Long delays at Gatwick Airport after system outage grounds flights | UK News

Flights were grounded and passengers faced hours of delays at Gatwick Airport on Saturday following a system outage.

Travellers reported planes being stuck on the tarmac at the West Sussex airport after problems emerged around 8am this morning.

Dozens of departures and arrivals appeared to be affected, with football fans travelling to Premier League matches among those experiencing issues.

Gatwick Airport has apologised, saying the delays were the result of an “outage” to a National Air Traffic Services (NATS) system.

It comes just months after widespread disruption affected thousands of passengers at airports in August, with NATS chief executive then blaming a “one in 15 million” technical glitch.

Danny Bellringer, 45, was travelling from Dublin with fellow Brighton fans for the game against Burnley when the group was told their Aer Lingus flight would be delayed by at least two hours.

The oil rig worker said: “There’s not a huge amount we can do – we’re kind of used to it when travelling over from Ireland to the UK for games, (it) very rarely goes completely smoothly.”

Padraic Mac Aonghusa, 24, said fellow passengers on his Ryanair flight from Dublin were “angry” when the pilot announced there would be a delay due to the issues at Gatwick.

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A London Gatwick spokesperson said: “There was an outage to a local NATS system earlier this morning which has now been rectified.

“Some passengers may experience delays. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

The spokesperson added that one flight was cancelled and two were diverted from Gatwick.

Luton car park fire: Airport says it’s ‘unlikely any vehicles will be salvageable’ after blaze | UK News

Luton Airport has said it is “unlikely that any vehicles will be salvageable” after a massive fire caused one of its multi-storey car parks to partially collapse earlier this week.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service declared a major incident at 9.38pm on Tuesday and, at its peak, had 15 fire engines, three specialist aerial appliances and more than 100 firefighters at the scene.

Andrew Hopkinson, chief fire officer with the service, said as many as 1,500 vehicles were in the car park at the time – with up to 1,200 believed to be damaged.

The scene at Luton Airport after a fire ripped through level three of the airport's Terminal Car Park 2

Holidaymakers who left their cars at the airport say they have been “left in limbo” and have received “no help”.

In a statement, the airport said it is “unlikely that any vehicles in the car park will be salvageable” but this was “still in the process of being assessed”.

It said it had provided the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) with the registration details of 1,405 vehicles and, along with its parking provider APCOA, it had responded to almost 16,500 customer queries since the fire.

An airport spokesperson said it recognised it has been an “extremely distressing” time for those affected and it was working with the Association of British Insurers to establish the possibility of safely retrieving any personal items from the vehicles.

The airport said the emergency services have handed back control of the site and it is working to make it safe.

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Moment fireball consumes Luton Airport car park

‘An extremely distressing time for all concerned’

A London Luton Airport spokesperson added: “We recognise this has been an extremely distressing time for all concerned and we would like to thank our customers for their ongoing patience and understanding while we work through the many complexities following this incident.

“Dealing with such a large volume of inquiries, while an investigation is ongoing, has naturally extended our response times.

“Our team have been tirelessly working around the clock to keep customers informed of developments.

“We also advise all customers affected to notify their insurance company as soon as possible.”

The scene at Luton Airport after a fire ripped through level three of the airport's Terminal Car Park 2, causing it to collapse. The airport, which was closed due to the incident, has since reopened following the fire which caused disruption for tens of thousands of passengers. Picture date: Thursday October 12, 2023.
The scene at Luton Airport after a fire ripped through level three of the airport's Terminal Car Park 2, causing it to collapse. The airport, which was closed due to the incident, has since reopened following the fire which caused disruption for tens of thousands of passengers. Picture date: Thursday October 12, 2023.

The statement continued: “We are working with the Association of British Insurers on behalf of the many insurance companies to establish whether it will be possible to safely retrieve any personal possessions and, if so, how this process may work.

“Until such time, it will not be possible to provide more detailed information or a specific timeline.

“We remain committed to transparency and resolution and will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds.”

The airport’s Dart rail transit system, which opened earlier this year, remains closed along with the car park.

Heathrow Airport warns services will ‘remain significantly disrupted’ after UK air traffic control fault | UK News

Heathrow Airport has said its services will “remain significantly disrupted” on Tuesday after air traffic controllers across the UK experienced a technical fault.

In a statement about the “technical issues” that affected the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), Britain’s busiest airport urged passengers to contact their airline before travelling to the airport.

“The issue has been resolved, however schedules remain significantly disrupted,” it said.

“If you are travelling on 29th August, please ensure you contact your airline before travelling to the airport.”

Brits stuck abroad as warnings disruption could last into the week – live updates

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London Gatwick has said it plans to operate a normal schedule on Tuesday following the disruption.

However, passengers have been advised to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport.

London Stansted also said it planned to run a normal flight schedule on Tuesday, but added “our terminal may be busier than anticipated”.

And major UK airlines such as Tui and BA warned of “significant delays” for passengers amid changes to schedules.

By Monday afternoon 232 flights departing UK airports had been cancelled along with 271 arriving flights, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium. It equates to about 8% of all expected departures and 9% of expected arrivals, Cirium added.

The technical fault meant flight plans had to be input manually by controllers.

Read more:
What we know about system failure and how it’s affecting flights

What have airports said about the disruption?

While NATS has confirmed it has fixed the technical issue with the UK’s air traffic control system, airports have warned the disruption it has caused will continue. Here’s what some of them have said.

London Luton Airport: “The earlier technical issue with air traffic control systems has now been resolved, however widespread disruption continues across UK airspace.”

Manchester Airport: “As a result of the nationwide technical problem experienced by NATS earlier today, there continues to be flight disruption, including delays and cancellations.”

Newcastle International Airport: “We understand that the technical issue with National Air Traffic Services is now resolved, but it will take some time for operations to get back to normal.”

London Stansted Airport expects to run a normal flight schedule on Tuesday 29 August, following the nationwide technical issue that affected air traffic control. We do still advise passengers to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport. As our airlines look to accommodate passengers whose travel plans have been disrupted over the past 24 hours, our terminal may be busier than anticipated.
Our teams will be working with our airlines and their handing agents to get you through the airport as smoothly as possible. Thank-you for your understanding.

Heathrow Airport: We apologise for any inconvenience as a result of the NATS technical issues today. The issue has been resolved however schedules remain significantly disrupted. If you are travelling on 29th August, please ensure you contact your airline before travelling to the airport.

Gatwick Airport plans to operate a normal schedule on Tuesday 29 August following disruption today (28 August). Passengers are however advised to check the status of their flight with the airline before travelling to the airport.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said on Monday that “despite resolving the technical issue behind today’s air traffic control issues, flights are still unfortunately affected”.

He said he would encourage all passengers to read the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s guidance and “be aware of their rights when flights are delayed or cancelled”.

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‘I can’t get home to my nine-month-old baby’

Technical issue ‘remedied’ but travellers face continued disruption

Earlier on Monday NATS said the “technical issue” affecting its flight planning system had been “identified and remedied”, but travellers continued to face disruption.

“We are now working closely with airlines and airports to manage the flights affected as efficiently as possible,” NATS said.

“Our engineers will be carefully monitoring the system’s performance as we return to normal operations.

“The flight planning issue affected the system’s ability to automatically process flight plans, meaning that flight plans had to be processed manually which cannot be done at the same volume, hence the requirement for traffic flow restrictions.

“Our priority is always to ensure that every flight in the UK remains safe and we are sincerely sorry for the disruption this is causing. Please contact your airline for information on how this may affect your flight.”

Snakes, horses and frogs among millions of animals passing through Heathrow Airport every year | UK News

Snakes, horses and frogs are among the millions of animals passing through Heathrow Airport every year.

Approximately 19,000 dogs and cats, 28 million fish, 400 horses, 2,000 birds, 50 zoo animals and 150,000 reptiles are imported through the UK’s largest airport.

Each animal is taken from its flight to the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre where they are inspected.

Chris an Animal Attendant Supervisor holds a female bower constrictor at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre. Each year approximately 14,000 dogs and cats, 400 horses, 100,000 reptiles, 1,000 birds and 28 million fish are imported through Heathrow Airport in London. Picture date: Thursday August 10, 2023.
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An animal attendant holds a female boa constrictor

Iona an Animal Attendant holds an adult white tree frog at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre. Each year approximately 14,000 dogs and cats, 400 horses, 100,000 reptiles, 1,000 birds and 28 million fish are imported through Heathrow Airport in London. Picture date: Thursday August 10, 2023.
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An animal attendant holds an adult white tree frog

The animals are provided with temporary accommodation while paperwork and shipments are checked. They can then be reunited with their owners.

The facility, owned and operated by the City of London Corporation, can hold any animal species.

It works with airlines to ensure animals are well cared for and meet the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme, which allows them to travel easily without undergoing quarantine.

Michael Gallo a lead senior veterinary inspector for AHVLA holds a Starfish at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre. Each year approximately 14,000 dogs and cats, 400 horses, 100,000 reptiles, 1,000 birds and 28 million fish are imported through Heathrow Airport in London. Picture date: Thursday August 10, 2023.
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Michael Gallo, a lead senior veterinary inspector, holds a starfish

Michael Gallo a lead senior veterinary inspector for AHVLA holds a Clown fish at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre. Each year approximately 14,000 dogs and cats, 400 horses, 100,000 reptiles, 1,000 birds and 28 million fish are imported through Heathrow Airport in London. Picture date: Thursday August 10, 2023.
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A clownfish at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre

On Thursday, there was also an adult white tree frog, a boa constrictor, a royal python, a clownfish, a starfish and a neon marine fish at the centre.

An owner is reunited with his Springer Spaniels at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre. Each year approximately 14,000 dogs and cats, 400 horses, 100,000 reptiles, 1,000 birds and 28 million fish are imported through Heathrow Airport in London. Picture date: Thursday August 10, 2023.
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An owner is reunited with his springer spaniels

Springer spaniels, a German shepherd, a pug and a corgi were among the species of dog also being inspected.

Thames Water fined more than £3m over sewage spill that turned rivers black near Gatwick Airport | UK News

Thames Water have been fined more than £3m after admitting polluting rivers.

The company, which supplies one in four people in Britain with water, had pleaded guilty to four charges relating to illegally discharging waste.

It was fined £3.3m at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday.

The court heard “millions of litres” of undiluted sewage was pumped into the Gatwick Stream and River Mole between Crawley in West Sussex and Horley in Surrey on 11 October, 2017.

The hearing was told that the spill turned the water “black” and killed more than 1,000 fish.

More than 1,000 fish died as a result of sewage in rivers
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More than 1,000 fish died as a result of sewage in rivers

Judge Christine Laing KC said that she believed the firm had shown a “deliberate attempt” to mislead the Environment Agency over the incident, by omitting water readings and submitting a report to the regulator denying responsibility.

The company has previously been fined £32.4m for pollution incidents in the Thames Valley and south-west London between 2017 and 2021.

During the first day of the hearing on Monday, the court heard how a storm pump at Crawley Sewage Treatment Works site was unexpectedly diverting sewage to its storm tank for 21 hours and went “unnoticed”.

Prosecutor Sailesh Mehta estimated untreated sewage was spilling into the river for six and a half hours after no alarm was raised.

When an alarm was raised the lead technician was unreachable as they were waiting for a new mobile phone.

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Eyewitness accounts read in court said how they saw the river turn “black” and “grey”, with “huge numbers of dead fish” visible in the water.

Nearly 1,400 dead fish were recovered from the rivers by the Environment Agency following the incident.

Lisa Roberts KC, representing Thames Water, said the firm expresses its “unreserved and sincere apology” for the incident, adding: “Put bluntly, it shouldn’t have happened and Thames deeply regrets the event.”

More than 1,000 fish died as a result of sewage in rivers

She said the company rejects that previous issues were to blame for the spillage, putting it down to a “faulty switch” in the storm pump which meant the incident could not have been predicted.

A £33m plan to improve the Crawley site has been put in place since the incident, according to Ms Roberts, with aims to complete it by the end of March 2025.

New systems have also been rolled out across other Thames Water sites to prevent such incidents happening again.

The fine comes as the company faces concerns over its future amid a mounting £14bn debt.

Thames Water’s chief executive Sarah Bentley stepped down with immediate effect last week after she gave up her bonus due to the company’s environmental performance.

In 2021, Southern Water was fined a record £90m for nearly 7,000 incidents of illegal discharge of sewage across Hampshire, Kent and Sussex.

People smuggling gang boss Tarik Namik arrested at Manchester Airport after going on the run | UK News

The boss of a Kurdish smuggling ring has been arrested at Manchester Airport after going on the run ahead of his sentencing.

Tarik Namik failed to show up at court back in December and was handed an eight-year prison sentence in his absence, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

The court had previously heard how the 45-year-old from Oldham had been found to be the head of an organised crime group involved in transporting migrants from Iraq and Iran to the UK in the back of lorries, the agency added.

Four other members of his gang were sentenced alongside him.

Namik first became a subject of an NCA investigation back in 2017, and a warrant was issued for his arrest after he missed his court date on 9 December.

He was arrested “the moment he set foot back in the UK” after landing in Manchester on a flight travelling from Istanbul, the NCA said.

“Namik was a prolific people smuggler whose crime group put vulnerable migrants at great risk while he reaped the profits,” said NCA branch commander Richard Harrison.

“I’m delighted that he will now face justice for the offences he committed.

“Fugitives never come off our radar, and I’d like to thank our colleagues at Greater Manchester Police for their assistance in ensuring he was detained quickly the moment he set foot back in the UK.”

Namik was due to appear at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Saturday and is likely to return to the crown court on Monday to be formally sentenced.

Uranium detected in package at Heathrow Airport – counter-terror police investigate | UK News

A small amount of uranium has been detected in a package that arrived in the UK at Heathrow Airport following a routine screening.

The Metropolitan Police said its counter-terrorism command unit was contacted by Border Force colleagues at the airport after the contaminated material was discovered on 29 December.

Commander Richard Smith said the amount of contaminated material “was extremely small” and has been assessed by experts as posing no threat to the public.

He added: “Although our investigation remains ongoing, from our inquiries so far, it does not appear to be linked to any direct threat.

“As the public would expect, however, we will continue to follow up on all available lines of enquiry to ensure this is definitely the case.

“However, it does highlight the excellent capability we and our partners have in place to monitor our ports and borders in order to keep the public safe from any potential threats to their safety and security that might be coming into the UK.”

The material has been identified as being contaminated with uranium, the force said, and no arrests have been made.

It added that officers are working with partner agencies to investigate and ensure there is no risk to the public.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not comment on live investigations.”

Uranium is a metal that exists naturally in the earth, but is harmful to humans because it is an essential nuclear element.

Christmas travel hit again by strikes as Border Force set for airport walkouts | UK News

Border Force workers across UK airports and ports will take strike action on key dates in December as their union calls for the government to come back to the negotiating table.

Strikes will take place between 23rd and 26th December, and from 28th to 31st December, impacting Birmingham, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow and Manchester airports, as well as the Port of Newhaven.

And the officers taking the action will be those responsible for checking the passports of people arriving into the country.

It comes amid a raft of strikes set to hit festive travel, with industrial action organised by train, bus and road workers in the run up to Christmas and throughout the holiday season.

But the pickets are not limited to transport, with teachers, nurses and ambulance workers among others from the public sector taking action over pay and conditions.

The Public and Commercial Services union said they were taking their action due to rows with the government over pay, the threat of job cuts and changes in pension rules.

They are calling for a 10% pay rise, better job security and no cuts to redundancy terms.

General secretary of the union, Mark Serwotka, said 40,000 of its members were having to use food banks, while 45,000 were claiming in work benefits

“This is a crisis,” he added. “We have tried for months to negotiate with the government and we have been ignored.

“We keep being told the government has an open door, but there is no point the door being open if there is nothing behind that door.

“The public sector have no option other than to take industrial action because our members currently are skipping meals, not being able to put the heating on at home because of the poverty they are living in.”

A Border Force officer checks passports of arrival passengers in  Terminal 2 The Queen Terminal at Heathrow Airport, which opened for the first time to the public.
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The latest round of strikes will see Border Force officers responsible for checking passports walkout

The PCS union said 86% of its 100,000 members across 124 government departments and public sector employers voted in favour of strike action, calling it “unprecedented”.

A number of pickets had already been announced by its members, including driving instructors and highways officials.

But as well as today’s addition of the Border Force strikes, the union said it would “escalate in the new year if this action doesn’t get the government to sit around the negotiating table” – pointing to further workers in immigration and the Port of Dover willing to go out.

“Our action is designed to get the government to see sense and give our members money to stop them using foodbanks, which is the least they deserve,” said Mr Serwotka.

Heathrow Airport extends flight restrictions until end of October | Business News

Heathrow Airport has extended its flight restrictions until the end of October, hitting families’ plans for half-term getaways.

Previously the daily cap on passengers travelling through the airport – set at 100,000 – was due to end on 11 September.

The airport said on Monday that without a cap, it will not be able to safely and reliably handle its flight schedule.

Airline travellers across the UK have faced months of chaos, with disrupted and axed flights, paired with long waits at check-in, security and baggage collection.

The main reason for the problems has been a struggle to recruit new staff.

Heathrow claims that since the limits were introduced in July, there have been fewer last-minute cancellations, more punctual flights and shorter wait times for bags.

But airlines blame the airport – one of the busiest in the world – for failing to prepare for a bounce back in passenger traffic following the pandemic.

Some airlines could see the cap lifted sooner than October, Heathrow said in a statement, if “improved resource levels are evident and the airport continues to see sustained operational improvements”.

But it pointed to the lack of ground handling crews as a key problem in resuming normal services.

Issues with these staff remain “a core constraint on capacity at the airport”.

“Our primary concern is ensuring we give our passengers a reliable service when they travel,” said Heathrow chief commercial officer Ross Baker.

“That’s why we introduced temporary capacity limits in July which have already improved journeys during the summer getaway.”

“We want to remove the cap as soon as possible, but we can only do so when we are confident that everyone operating at the airport has the resources to deliver the service our passengers deserve,” he added.

Last week, Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said that the airport was beginning to recover from the travel chaos of recent months.

Thousands of jobs were lost in the aviation industry during the pandemic, when travel restrictions saw most flights grounded – and now there is a race to recruit new workers to accommodate the resurgence of holidaymakers.

Training those staff up and getting them the necessary security clearance has also been a lengthy process, airport bosses have said.

Heathrow has been among the worst-affected.

In an update on Thursday, Mr Holland-Kaye said: “Passengers are seeing better, more reliable journeys since the introduction of the demand cap.”