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Just Stop Oil protesters storm stage at Les Miserables show in London’s West End | Ents & Arts News

Just Stop Oil protesters have halted a West End performance of Les Miserables after invading the stage.

During the song One Day More, members of the group stormed the stage with banners emblazoned with Just Stop Oil.

Footage showed the actors on stage continue to perform the song briefly before stepping back, with the safety curtain then coming down.

Some members of the audience booed and shouted at the protesters, while a member of Just Stop Oil addressed the auditorium.

The activists then locked themselves to the set, prompting the Sondheim Theatre to be evacuated.

A Just Stop Oil protester on stage during a performance of Les Miserables. Pic: Just Stop Oil
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Protesters storm the stage. Pic: Just Stop Oil

The Metropolitan Police said five people have been arrested.

William Village, chief executive of Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, told Sky News: “During the first half of our performance of Les Miserables, individuals from Just Stop Oil invaded the stage, abruptly stopping the show.

“Following our safety protocols, the audience were asked to leave the auditorium and the Met Police attended.

“Regrettably, there was insufficient time to enable us to complete the rest of the performance. Whilst we recognise the importance of free expression, we must also respect our audience’s right to enjoy the event for which they have paid.”

Refunds will be offered to audience members, the theatre group has said.

Just Stop Oil protesters storm the stage at the Sondheim Theatre in the West End. Pic: Just Stop Oil
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Pic: Just Stop Oil

Read more:
Just Stop Oil protesters interrupt Proms
Golf star helps remove demonstrators
‘We’re being lied to’, says Just Stop Oil activist

Addressing the group’s latest protest, Just Stop Oil member Hannah Taylor said: “The show starts with Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving child. How long before we are all forced to steal loaves of bread? How long before there are riots on the streets?

“The show cannot go on. We are facing catastrophe. New oil and gas means crop failure, starvation and death. It is an act of war on the global south and an utter betrayal of young people.”

Activists disrupt a performance of Les Miserables. Pic: Just Stop Oil
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Pic: Just Stop Oil

Poppy Bliss, who also took protest action, added she was “absolutely terrified for my future”.

“I don’t want to be disrupting people’s evenings out, but I have been left with no other choice,” she said.

“Our government is betraying the young and putting everyone’s futures on the line for the sake of a few votes.

“I am doing this because I am desperate.”

Videos showed Just Stop Oil members explaining why they took the action, wearing t-shirts saying: “The show can’t go on”.

It is the latest in a string of public protests for Just Stop Oil, which has previously disrupted high-profile sporting events including The Ashes and Wimbledon, as well as carrying out walking protests through the capital during rush hour.

The group was also accused of causing criminal damage by a government minister after spraying the Department for Energy and Net Zero with orange paint.

Last month, Fossil Free London carried out a similar protest at Sadler’s Wells theatre during a performance of a ballet version of Romeo & Juliet, demanding an end to the involvement of Barclays in the production.

Train strikes: Commuters warned to expect disruption as 20,000 rail workers stage walkout in ongoing pay row | UK News

More than 20,000 rail workers will strike on Thursday in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions – with passengers warned they may experience severe disruption to services.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out on 20, 22 and 29 July while drivers in Aslef are banned from working overtime this week.

RMT members involved in the strikes include station workers, train managers and catering staff with 14 train companies affected.

Read more: A full list of July dates and services affected by industrial action

The industrial action will see variations in services across the country with trains due to start later and finish much earlier than usual.

Around half of train services will run in some areas, while others will have no services at all.

Services the evening before and morning after strike days may also be affected.

Passengers have been advised to check their journeys in advance.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the strikes would show the country “just how important railway staff are to the running of the rail industry”.

“My team of negotiators and I are available 24/7 for talks with the train operating companies and Government,” he said.

Mr Lynch said neither party had “made any attempt whatsoever to arrange any meetings or put forward a decent offer that can help us reach a negotiated solution”.

“The Government continues to shackle the companies and will not allow them to put forward a package that can settle this dispute,” he added.

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Starmer: Strikes ‘are government’s mess’

Meanwhile, Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said the union wants to resolve the dispute.

“Train drivers don’t want to be inconveniencing the public,” he said.

“We have given the Government and rail operators plenty of opportunities to come to the table but it remains clear that they do not want a resolution.

“Our members, the drivers who keep the railway running day in, day out, will not accept the Government’s attempts to force our industry into decline.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, joins union members on the picket line outside Newcastle station. Rail passengers will suffer fresh travel disruption in the next few days because of more strikes in long-running disputes over pay, jobs and conditions. Picture date: Wednesday May 31, 2023.
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Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, joins union members on the picket line outside Newcastle station in May

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “The upcoming rail strikes called by the RMT union and the overtime ban by Aslef will undoubtedly cause some disruption, affecting not only the daily commute of our passengers but also disrupting the plans of families during the summer holidays.

Members of the drivers' union Aslef on the picket line at Euston station, London, during their long-running dispute over pay. Picture date: Friday May 12, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story INDUSTRY Strikes. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
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Members of the drivers’ union Aslef on the picket line at Euston station, London in May

“This will lead to disappointment, frustration, and financial strain for tens of thousands of people. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and understand the impact on individuals and businesses.

“While we are doing all we can to keep trains running, unfortunately there will be reduced services between 17 July and 29 July so our advice is to check before you travel.

“Passengers with advance tickets can be refunded fee-free if the train that the ticket is booked for is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.”

Read more:
Train strikes – Full list of July dates, Tube and rail services affected by industrial action
Nearly every railway ticket office in England could close under plans due to be unveiled
RMT’s Mick Lynch insists rail strikes ‘have been a success’

London Underground passengers were also warned to expect disruption next week because of industrial action by the RMT and Aslef in a separate dispute.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The Government has met the rail unions, listened to them and facilitated improved offers on pay and reform. The union leaders should put these fair and reasonable offers to their members so this dispute can be resolved.”

Thousands of ambulance workers go on strike today – as junior doctors announce when they will stage walkout | UK News

Thousands of ambulance workers are going on strike today in their ongoing dispute over pay and staffing.

The strike will involve more than 11,000 members of the GMB union in England and Wales, along with some members of the Unite union.

It comes as the number of health workers taking industrial action continues to grow, with junior doctors set to go on strike next month.

Speaking on behalf of ambulance workers, GMB national secretary Rachel Harrison said they will walk out “because this government is tin-eared”.

“It has been over a month since the government engaged in any meaningful dialogue,” she said.

“They are missing in action and refuse to talk pay.”

She added: “Solving the issue of pay is vital if we’re going to stem the tide of dedicated healthcare workers leaving the profession.”

GMB members

Junior doctors in the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) have said they will strike in England on Wednesday 15 March.

Some 97.48% of members voted in favour of what will be the first strike in the union’s history.

HCSA president Dr Naru Narayanan said: “Junior doctors have held together patient care amid a spiralling staffing crisis.

“In return for this huge emotional, mental and physical toll they’ve been subjected to a decade of real-terms pay cuts totalling over 26%. Enough is enough.”

Read more:
Who is taking industrial action in 2023 and when?
Rising public support for unions, poll suggests

Around 45,000 junior doctors who are members of the British Medical Association (BMA) have also been balloted on strike action – with the result due at the end of February.

The BMA has warned it will stage a three-day strike if there is a “yes” vote.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “As part of a multi-year deal we agreed with the BMA, junior doctors’ pay has increased by a cumulative 8.2% since 2019/20.

“We also introduced a higher pay band for the most experienced staff and increased rates for night shifts.”

Steve Barclay  leaves after attending a cabinet meeting in Downing Street
Pic:AP
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Steve Barclay said ‘it is time unions engaged constructively’. Pic: AP

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Strikes are in nobody’s best interests and only cause further disruption for patients, despite contingency measures in place.

“It is time unions engaged constructively with the pay review body process for 2023/24 and cancelled strikes so we can move forward and continue tackling the COVID-19 backlog.

“I’ve been clear throughout that I remain keen to keep talking to unions about what is fair and affordable for the coming financial year, as well as wider concerns around conditions and workload so we can make the NHS a better place to work.”

Nurses will continue their action with a 48-hour strike starting on 1 March, with the Royal College of Nursing saying it has received £250,000 in public donations since starting its campaign in December.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “There isn’t a person in this country whose life hasn’t been impacted by a nurse and that’s why the public are with us every step of the way.”

Ambulance workers to stage two more strikes in January | UK News

Ambulance workers will stage two further strikes in January amid a dispute over pay and staffing.

The Unison union says the industrial action will take place in England on 11 and 23 January.

The strike action will involve staff employed by London, Yorkshire, North West, North East and South West ambulance services.

It comes after 25,000 ambulance workers from Unison, Unite and the GMB unions walked out in coordinated strike action on 21 December – their biggest strike in 30 years.

Members of the GMB union at nine ambulance trusts are also preparing to strike on 28 December, while 1,000 union members in the Welsh Ambulance Service are set to announce strike dates in the new year.

Wednesday’s strikes took place after last-ditch crisis talks between Health Secretary Steve Barclay and unions failed to address the issue of pay.

About 600 members of the army, navy and RAF were drafted in from across the country to help during this week’s walkouts.

The majority of ambulance trusts in England declared critical incidents this week – meaning they were on their highest level of alert, fearing they could not provide usual critical services.

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Paramedic Paul Turner explains why he and others are taking industrial action and says that the government is ‘not listening’.

Ahead of Wednesday’s industrial action, the unions had called on the government to make an offer on pay and suggested an agreement could be reached.

Unions warn strikes will ‘escalate’

Unite’s Onay Kasab, who attended the Tuesday meeting, warned afterwards that ambulance strikes would “escalate” unless the government agreed to negotiations.

“Our members are absolutely determined to win not just the pay battle but to win the battle to save the NHS,” he said.

Mr Barclay said: “Further pay increases would mean taking money away from frontline services at a time when we are tackling record waiting lists as a result of the pandemic.”

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Steve Barclay lists a number of factors putting pressure on the NHS and suggests that the trade unions have decided to strike at precisely this time.

On Thursday morning, the stalemate between unions and the government appeared to show no signs of abating, following two days of historic action from nurses and paramedics.

On top of ambulance worker strikes, NHS members of the Royal College of Nursing went on strike on 15 and 20 December calling for a rise of 5% above RPI inflation – 19.2% – as they said they have had a real terms pay cut of 20% since 2010.

They are also calling for better working conditions as nursing vacancies are at a record high so staff are stretched and regularly working beyond their shifts without extra pay.

Ambulance workers take part in a strike, amid a dispute with the government over pay, outside NHS London Ambulance Service in London, Britain December 21, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
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Ambulance workers take part in a strike on December 21

In a tweet on Thursday, Mr Barclay said his door “is always open to talk to trade unions about concerns around working conditions”.

He is reportedly considering offering NHS staff a pay rise in spring in a bid to end strikes.

But he added: “We have an independent pay review body… and we will continue to defer to that process to ensure decisions balance the needs of staff and the wider economy.”

The pay review body (PRB) has recommended pay rises of around £1,400 – about 4% – for most NHS staff, but unions say this is not enough to keep up with soaring inflation.

Read more:
Strikes every day before Christmas – which sectors are affected and why
How A&E and other NHS services will be impacted

The government says it can’t afford to make a new offer, but has not ruled out a new deal early next year.

Workers across several other industries are also set to strike in the build-up to Christmas.

Today, NHS Providers warned two days of strikes by nurses and paramedics will have a knock-on effect on appointments with a return to “very high numbers” of emergency calls in the coming days.

‘A challenging time for the NHS’

Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive of NHS Providers, told Sky News that the next few days would be a “challenging time”.

Talking about structural issues impacting the NHS, she said: “Staff on the frontline are significantly overstretched and we need to see a real growth in the number of staff across the whole of the NHS.

“What we’ve got to see now is the government come to the table and have a serious discussion and negotiation about pay because this dispute is about pay and it’s also about working conditions and keeping patients safe.”

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The NHS is in for a

The chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor, told Sky News that lack of investment in the NHS was now coming to the fore: “We know we had the 10 years of austerity. It meant we went into COVID with a hundred thousand vacancies, with a crumbling estate.

“So, what we’ve got now is a big gap between demand and capacity.”

He repeated calls to the government and trade unions to re-enter negotiations and to try to find a way of avoiding further strikes across the winter, saying: “We can’t afford to drift into further industrial action.”

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‘Call 999 if you need to’

Appealing directly to anyone needing to use the NHS over the coming days, Mr Taylor said: “Primary care has not been affected by the industrial action… If you have concerns about your health, contact your GP. If you have an emergency, contact 999. If you’re not sure, ring 111. The services are there and do use them.”

The number of people calling 999 appeared to drop in some parts of England yesterday, and NHS Providers – the membership organisation for NHS hospital, mental health, community and ambulance services – said there had been “varying levels of disruption” across the country.

It said some demand had shifted to other services or not materialised as expected.

But the organisation said demand for care across the whole healthcare system remained high and trust leaders were reporting ongoing delays to ambulance services and overcrowding at some accident and emergency departments.

Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor forced to miss Hall of Fame induction due to stage 4 cancer treatment | Ents & Arts News

Duran Duran’s original guitarist Andy Taylor was forced to miss the band’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame due to ongoing treatment for stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer.

The British new wave group revealed Taylor, 61, was ill by reading a letter from him to the audience at the ceremony at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles.

Taylor had been due to reunite with his former bandmates – singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor – but they said he had suffered a setback that would not allow him to travel to Los Angeles from his home in Ibiza.

The ceremony was set to be the first time the five-piece band from Birmingham had played together in 17 years, having last reformed for a world tour and the album Astronaut in 2004.

John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon, and Roger Taylor of Duran Duran on stage in LA
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John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon, and Roger Taylor of Duran Duran on stage in LA

The group were the first act inducted during Saturday’s ceremony and took the stage by performing their 1981 breakthrough hit Girls On Film.

They continued with a set that included Hungry Like The Wolf and Ordinary World before addressing Taylor’s absence by reading the letter.

Taylor wrote: “Just over four years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer.

“Many families have experienced the slow burn of this disease and of course we are no different; so I speak from the perspective of a family man but with profound humility to the band, the greatest fans a group could have and this exceptional accolade.

“I have the ‘Rodgers and Edwards’ of doctors and medical treatment that until very recently allowed me to just rock on.

“Although my current condition is not immediately life-threatening, there is no cure.”

Rodgers and Edwards refers to Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, the pop producers and founders of Chic, who worked with Duran Duran throughout their career.

Taylor added that he was “truly sorry and massively disappointed” he could not attend the ceremony, noting he had even bought a new guitar for the occasion, but that he was “very proud of these four brothers” and “overjoyed” they were accepting this award.

“I often doubted the day would come. I’m sure as hell glad I’m around to see the day”, he added.

Also inducted during the ceremony were Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, Eminem, Carly Simon, Eurythmics, Harry Belafonte, Judas Priest and Dolly Parton.

Duran Duran formed in Birmingham in 1978 and were one of the biggest acts of the 1980s, with hits including Rio, Wild Boys and Bond theme A View To A Kill. The three Taylors are not related.

The group has risen to prominence again recently, releasing their 15th studio album, Future Past, last year and undertaking a 40th anniversary celebration tour, including headlining the British Summer Time festival in London’s Hyde Park this year.

They also performed at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace and starred in the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Birmingham.

Gary Neville rules out bid to become Labour MP as he joins Keir Starmer on conference stage | Politics News

Former footballer Gary Neville has ruled out any future bid to become a Labour MP.

Appearing at the party’s conference in Liverpool on Monday, he said he has “no intention of going into politics” as he does not want to give up the businesses he co-owns or his work in football.

The Manchester United defender turned Sky Sports pundit added that he is “not going to be tempted” to stand in the upcoming by-election in West Lancashire.

‘Battle lines’ drawn with mini-budget – latest updates

The former England star confirmed he had joined the Labour Party back in January this year.

But speaking to broadcasters on Monday, he ruled out any further progression.

“It’s something that I’ve been asked regularly over the last 12 to 18 months,” he said.

“I’ve got no intention of going into politics at all because the reality is I love what I do so much.

“I love what I do in football. I love what I do in the in Greater Manchester with the businesses that I co-own.

“And I have to say that I wouldn’t want to give that up. I feel as though I’m happy in what I’m doing.

“I want to continue to do the things that I’m doing locally in Greater Manchester. I have to say that I feel politically motivated, but I can do as much, I think, for the Labour Party being here today as I can do being an MP.”

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Britain's Labour Party leader Keir Starmer and Former footballer Gary Neville attend Britain's Labour Party's annual conference in Liverpool, Britain, September 26, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

‘Get behind Keir Starmer’

In a later conversation on the main conference stage with Keir Starmer and shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell, Neville urged delegates to “get behind” the Labour leader as he is a “serious politician”.

Asked what advice he would give the party to put it on the path to victory, he said: “Remain laser-focused and aligned behind a single goal – which is to remove this Conservative government and put everything else aside and focus on that alone.”

He added: “Not only is this current government damaging us in our country, our relationships with our partners in Europe and around the world are broken and shattered.

“We need to rebuild our reputation and that is not going to happen under a Conservative government.”

Asked for his view on Liz Truss, Neville said: “She has tanked the pound lower than my reputation in Liverpool.”

Entering the stage, he had joked: “Usually when I see reds in Liverpool I’m in big trouble. It is the best reception I have ever had here.”

Sir Salman Rushdie: Satanic Verses author is on a ventilator and may lose eye after he was stabbed on stage, says agent | US News

Author Salman Rushdie will likely lose an eye and has suffered severed nerves in an arm and damage to his liver after he was stabbed, his agent has said.

The 75-year-old remains on a ventilator after being airlifted to hospital and undergoing hours of surgery following the attack in New York state.

“The news is not good. Salman will likely lose one eye, the nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” Andrew Wylie said in a written statement.

The Indian-born British author was being introduced to the audience ahead of giving a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution, when a man stormed the stage and began attacking him, according to witnesses.

Author Salman Rushdie, behind screen left, is tended to after he was attacked during a lecture. Pic: AP
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Medics put up a screen as they tended to the author’s wounds. Pic: AP
Pic: Mary Newsom
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Pic: Mary Newsom

As Sir Salman fell to the floor, the man was pinned down by audience members and staff who ran on stage. The suspect was arrested by a state trooper soon after, and is now in custody.

He has been identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar from Fairview, New Jersey, who bought a pass for the event. Police say they do not yet know a motive for the assault, but they believe the suspect was acting alone.

A person was pictured being detained outside the Chautauqua Institution. Photo: AP
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A person was pictured being detained outside the Chautauqua Institution. Photo: AP

Read more: Why is Salman Rushdie so controversial?

Witness Pilar Pintagro told Sky News: “We were very scared because the first place (he was stabbed) was in the neck and that’s where the blood started to splash everywhere, and then he stabbed him in the shoulders and continued stabbing several times because it was so fast.

“People from the audience actually jumped onto the stage to try to put him down and Salman was trying to walk away from this guy, but he continued stabbing several times, and he was finally pinned down.”

Salman Rushdie
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Sir Salman was airlifted to hospital

‘In shock’

The writer was helped by a doctor who was in the audience before emergency services arrived.

Police said the event’s moderator, Henry Reese, suffered a minor head injury after also being attacked.

Another witness Julia Mineeva Braun told Sky News that as Sir Salman was being introduced “all of a sudden from the left-hand side of the stage a short man, (dressed) all in black, ran out, and he approached Mr Rushdie”.

“It was very quick… we thought he was fixing his microphone, and then we saw the knife. He started stabbing him in the neck first… and Mr Rushdie got up and started running. We’re still in shock.”

Rushdie continued to write despite threat to life

Salman Rushdie is an Indian-born British author whose writing about religion and politics has made him controversial in some parts of the world.

His first three novels – Grimus (1975), Midnight’s Children (1981) and Shame (1983) – were all met with praise but it was his fourth – The Satanic Verses – that brought criticism.

Some of the scenes in the 1988 book depict a character modelled on the Prophet Muhammad and this was met with anger from some members of the Muslim community in the UK.

Protests spread to Pakistan in January 1989 and the following month, the spiritual leader of revolutionary Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, condemned the book and issued a fatwa against him.

A bounty was offered for his death. Rushdie went into hiding under the protection of Scotland Yard in the UK, although he appeared in public occasionally.

Despite the threat to his life, he continued to write and in 1998 the Iranian government said it would no longer enforce the fatwa. But Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor as Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in 2005 that the fatwa was still valid.

Rushdie wrote about his experience in the third-person memoir Joseph Anton in 2012. He was knighted in 2007, a move that was criticised by the Iranian and Pakistani governments.

Sir Salman’s publisher Penguin Random House said they were “deeply shocked” by the incident.

“We condemn this violent public assault, and our thoughts are with Salman and his family at this distressing time.”

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan described the attack as “appalling”, adding: “We’re thankful to good citizens and first responders for helping him so swiftly.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter he was “appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend”.

He added: “Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay.”

Sir Salman lives in New York City and became a US citizen in 2016. His lecture was expected to discuss America’s role as an asylum for writers and other artists in exile, and as a home for freedom of creative expression.

Novelist Salman Rushdie holds paperback copy of his controversial novel. "The Satanic Verses" March 4, 1992. Pic: AP
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Pic: AP

His fourth book, The Satanic Verses, was banned in 1988 in a number of countries with large Muslim populations, including Iran, after it was considered by some to contain blasphemous passages.

In 1989, Iran’s then leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Sir Salman’s death.

The Middle East country also offered a bounty of more than $3m for anyone who kills the writer.