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Julia Skala: Family’s appeal for ‘loved and missed’ teenager missing for more than a week | UK News

The family of a 16-year-old who has been missing for more than a week have pleaded for her to “let someone know” she is safe.

Julia Skala left her house in south London at about 1pm on 8 January and has not been heard from since, with police increasingly concerned for her welfare.

Officers are “working around the clock” to track her down, the Met Police says, and has appealed for the public’s help.

Her family, from Mitcham, said Julia is “loved and missed terribly”.

“No matter what the reason was for you to leave, you aren’t in any kind of trouble and we just want to know you are safe,” they added.

“Please, just let someone know you are OK.”

She was last seen wearing a black North Face jacket, black trousers, white Nike trainers, and carrying a black Nike rucksack.

Police say they launched an investigation – which has included house-to-house inquiries and recovering CCTV – as soon as Julia’s mum reported her missing on the morning of 9 January.

The detective chief superintendent in charge of policing for Merton, Claire Kelland, said the force has gathered “hours of CCTV and doorbell footage” and spoken to “many people”.

Julia Skala's family has pleaded for her to communicate. Pic: Met Police handout
Image:
Julia Skala’s family has pleaded for her to communicate. Pic: Met Police handout

“Julia has never been away from home for this long and obviously her family are extremely worried,” she added.

“While there is no evidence to suggest she has come to harm, we are growing increasingly concerned about her welfare.

“She did not take her mobile phone with her and there has been no activity on social media or known contact with her friends.

“We also do not believe she had a credit or travel card, or any cash when she left the house.”

Read more on Sky News:
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Julia, who lives in Mitcham, has links to Lambeth, Camden and Islington and it is possible she travelled to these places via public transport, police say.

Anyone with information should call police immediately on 999 quoting the reference 24MIS000879.

Snow set to cause disruption as Britain braces for week of freezing temperatures | UK News

Snow is set to hit parts of Scotland today before spreading south next week as cold air from the Arctic brings freezing temperatures.

Up to 5cm of snow is expected in places by the end of Sunday, causing disruption on the roads and railways.

A yellow weather warning for snow and ice is in place into Monday, covering areas including the Highlands and the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

Northern Ireland could also see up to 5cm of snow on higher ground on Monday, with a yellow warning in place from 3am until the end of the day.

Check the five-day forecast where you are

Weather warning in Northern Ireland and Scotland on Monday
Image:
Weather warning in Northern Ireland and Scotland on Monday

Forecasters predict the snow will then move south over the course of the week, with the potential for wintry weather in parts of northern England on Tuesday.

Southern regions were said to be at “low risk” of snow.

Met Office meteorologist Honor Criswick said: “It is going to be feeling pretty chilly in the north of Scotland.

“Throughout the week we are going to see more and more snow showers and warnings, towards the end of the week we will probably see an accumulation.

“The warning is of 2cm to 5cm of snow, throughout the week there is the possibility we will see a build up of snow.

Read more:
Why forecasting snow in the UK is a big challenge

“On Tuesday, we are going to see more rain turning to snow moving east across the country, with more prolonged snow and more accumulations at low levels in the north of Scotland and northern England.

“That’s where we could see 5cm or 10cm of snow in low-lying areas.

“There’s a very low chance the south might see a bit of it.”

UK weather: Alert for cold conditions will be in force for most of next week, amid fears flooding impact could last for days | UK News

A yellow cold weather alert across England comes into force at 9am this morning – and will remain in force for most of next week.

All of this comes as many parts of the country continue to grapple with the aftermath of Storm Henk, with heavy rainfall inundating homes and almost cutting off communities.

As of 2am on Saturday, 244 flood warnings – meaning flooding is expected – have been issued by the Environment Agency. A further 262 flood alerts, indicating flooding is possible, also remain in force.

Follow the latest weather updates here

“Significant river flooding impacts” are expected to continue today across parts of the Midlands on the River Trent and in Gloucester, as well as areas of the South West on the River Avon.

Disruption elsewhere in England could last for the next five days because the ground is “completely saturated”.

Almost every river in England is at an exceptionally high level, with some rivers reaching their highest flow on record.

Alex McDonald, an Environment Agency spokeswoman, said: “We’re seeing a large number of big events, and this winter has been particularly bad since October onwards.

“We are feeling the effects of climate change in the East Midlands, and as a nation we need to be more resilient to flooding.”

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Aerial footage shows extent of flooding

What cold weather alert means

The UK Health Security Agency’s warning will be in place until 12pm on 12 January, with forecasters warning of icy conditions as temperatures plunge below freezing.

While colder conditions increase risks to the most vulnerable, with “significant impacts possible” in the health sector, there are hopes that river levels will start to go down as rainfall eases.

The agency said: “Temperatures are likely to be a few degrees below average, across much of the UK, especially overnight, with more widespread frosts than of late.

“Ice is likely to be an issue for many given the very wet ground in most areas. It is probable this cold spell may last well into the following week.”

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Floodwaters rage around home

Meanwhile, Met Office forecaster Oli Claydon said conditions are turning “considerably drier” – with no rain warnings in force for the first time in a while.

“We’re heading to a more settled spell of weather, which will be very welcome for many people across the UK after what’s been a very wet start to 2024,” he added.

Sky meteorologist Steff Gaulter added: ” Flooding issues should gradually subside as the weather begins to change. The change to colder and brighter conditions will be welcome, but it won’t happen instantly.”

Check the forecast where you are

Sunday afternoon weather
Monday afternoon weather

Govt ‘asleep at the wheel’ during flooding crisis

Rishi Sunak’s government has been criticised by rival parties for its handling of the flooding, with the prime minister urged to visit affected areas.

Labour accused the government of being “asleep at the wheel” over flood warnings, and said Mr Sunak should convene a “COBRA-style taskforce” to protect homes from further damage.

Sir Keir Starmer has said “people’s lives shouldn’t be upended by extreme rain”, and vowed to make flood defences “fit for purpose” if he wins the next election.

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A pint in waist-high floodwater

But floods minister Robbie Moore has insisted that the government has “absolutely” provided enough money for flood prevention, with £5.2bn pledged to better protect homes.

Travel disruption is set to continue this weekend, with flooding across the Great Western Railway network meaning trains may be cancelled at short notice.

There are set to be fewer services on long-distance routes, and customers are being urged to check before they travel.

Rishi Sunak facing crunch week on flagship Rwanda legislation | Politics News

Rishi Sunak is waiting to see the size of revolt over his immigration plans from both wings of his party as he enters a crunch week for his premiership. 

Two major meetings on Monday – one with One Nation MPs and one with the Tory right – will determine the size of the rebellion on Tuesday over his emergency legislation, which he claims will get flights to Rwanda off the ground.

It takes 29 MPs to vote against, or 57 MP to abstain, to defeat Sunak’s flagship legislation – with no clarity whether he could survive such a defeat in practice.

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The Tory right will meet at midday on Monday, with five different groups represented and addressed by Bill Cash, while the centrist Tory MPs will gather at 6pm and could be addressed by Justice Secretary Alex Chalk.

One Nation Conservative MPs, who represent the centre of the party, insist to the Politics At Jack and Sam’s podcast that some of their group will vote against, while some on the right do not see a way of toughening the bill in a way that will become law.

Robert Jenrick, the newly hardline former immigration minister, has upped pressure on the prime minister by declaring he will not support the bill, stiffening the resistance amongst some of those on the right.

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Crunch week for Sunak’s premiership

Read more:
PM is facing a crisis sooner or later – analysis
What is the revamped Rwanda asylum plan and what hurdles does it face?

Mr Cash, who heads the “star chamber”, has already said the bill does not deliver what is needed and is offering to negotiate further with government.

Meanwhile, newer MPs in the New Conservatives, Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates, have signalled their unhappiness with the proposal for failing to go far enough.

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Can the new Rwanda policy work?

Unlike the Brexit era, there is no organised whipping operation among opponents meaning there is no way for Downing Street to know what will happen on Tuesday.

They still expect to win the first vote on the bill, but all sides are shaping up for a big battle when the legislation resurfaces early in the new year.

For full analysis, listen to Politics at Jack and Sam’s.

Politics At Jack And Sam’s: The Week… Rishi and the King go to Dubai | Politics News

Two of Westminster’s best-connected journalists, Sky News’ Sam Coates and Politico’s Jack Blanchard, guide us through their predictions of how British politics will play out over the next seven days.

On this episode, after a government U-turn on measures to help Britain get to Net Zero, Rishi Sunak and the King both head to Dubai for COP28. Jack and Sam analyse the tone the prime minister may strike.

They explore the potential fallout from Matt Hancock’s upcoming appearance in front of the COVID inquiry – what might we learn from his turn in the chair? 

Legal migration stats have caused jitters in the Tory party – how will new Home Secretary James Cleverly respond this week? 

Plus – what does Rishi Sunak want out of this week’s investment summit?

Click to subscribe to Politics at Jack and Sam’s wherever you get your podcasts

Email with your thoughts and rate how their predictions play out: jackandsam@sky.uk or jackandsam@politico.co.uk

UK weather: Met Office forecasts wintry ‘sleet and snow’ showers as Arctic blast causes temperatures to plummet this week | UK News

The first taste of winter is on its way with the UK set to see wintry showers – including sleet and snow – as cold Arctic air sweeps across the country.

The Met Office forecasts heavy showers and gales across Scotland and some parts of northern England on Thursday, particularly in the northeast, but it is expected to stay largely dry across the rest of the country and Wales.

Forecasters say it will turn noticeably colder by Friday, with temperatures expected to plummet – reaching below freezing in some parts.

Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern said: “By the end of the week we are going to see cold winds arrive from the north.

“It’s going to feel colder this week and there will be some snow showers over, mainly, hills of northern Scotland.

“But elsewhere, with high pressure in place, it is going to be mostly dry on Friday and into the start of the weekend.”

Check the forecast where you are

Met Office weather map for UK for Friday 24 November, 2023
Image:
Forecasters say it will turn noticeably colder on Friday. Pic: Met Office

He said Friday would be a “chillier” day and as the wind arrives it will bring showers to northern Scotland and parts of North Wales.

“Although those showers will be falling as sleet and snow over the hills of northern Scotland, perhaps to lower levels in the far north, for the vast majority despite the chill in the air, it’s a dry, it’s a bright day,” he said.

“As we head into the weekend it is a continuation of that theme,” he added.

“Those showers falling as snow mostly over northern hills, but widespread snow very unlikely, and for the vast majority it’s just dry, crisp, bright autumn weather.”

Met Office weather map for UK for Saturday 25 November, 2023
Image:
The wintry conditions are expected to continue into the weekend on Saturday. Pic: Met Office

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Sky News weather producer Chris England added the Arctic air will spread to most of Britain over the next couple of days, behind a band of mostly light and patchy rain, “bringing very strong winds and a scattering of hail and snow showers to the north and east”.

He added: “High pressure following from the west will settle things down later on Friday, with an extensive frost developing overnight.

“Temperatures will mostly be a degree or two (Celsius) above or below freezing, but some sheltered northern parts may well go a few degrees lower.”

Deepfake audio of Sadiq Khan suggesting Remembrance weekend ‘should be held next week instead’ under police investigation | UK News

Digitally generated audio of Sadiq Khan seemingly calling for Armistice Day to be delayed is being investigated by police.

Clips have been circulating on social media, using the London mayor’s voice and mannerisms, where he can be heard playing down the importance of Remembrance weekend commemorations.

In one clip, a voice similar to Mr Khan can be heard saying: “I don’t give a flying s*** about the Remembrance weekend.”

Follow the Sky News Politics Hub

The fake recording continues to say: “What’s important and paramount is the one million-man Palestinian march takes place on Saturday.”

It’s a reference to the Million March in 1965 – a civil rights protest in Washington DC attended overwhelmingly by people of colour.

A large pro-Palestinian demonstration in London calling for a ceasefire in Gaza has been planned for Saturday, with more than 2,000 police officers drafted in to help manage the event.

More on Artificial Intelligence

However, Home Secretary Suella Braverman has criticised the Metropolitan Police over its decision to allow the march go ahead.

Another clip using Mr Khan’s voice says: “I know we have Armistice Day on Saturday but why should Londoners cancel the Palestinian march on Saturday? Why don’t they have Remembrance weekend next weekend? What’s happening in Gaza is much bigger than this weekend and it’s current.”

The Metropolitan Police said it was investigating the fake clips.

“We can confirm that we have been made aware of a video featuring artificial audio of the mayor, and that this is with specialist officers for assessment,” the force said in a statement.

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Why are people marching in London?

Read more:
More than 1,000 officers drafted in to help Met Police amid pressure to prevent Remembrance disruption
‘Disrespectful’ pro-Palestine march will go ahead on Armistice Day, PM says

Writing on social media, Mr Khan wrote: “While I hosted an interfaith Remembrance event with our armed forces at City Hall: the far-right were sharing deepfake audio about me.

“They may have new means, but their ends are the same – to divide our diverse communities. We must stand together – it’s what London does best.”

The mayor also used social media to point people to an article written in the Evening Standard about the importance of events this weekend.

In it, he writes: “It’s right that the organisers have said they will not protest near the Cenotaph. I urge everyone attending to co-operate with police and make sure to be respectful on Armistice Day.”

People’s comments on the faked audio ask if it is real or made with artificial intelligence – an indication of how accurate the technology used to make these kind of clips is.

It comes after a deepfake clip of Mr Khan’s party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, was circulated as Labour’s annual conference got under way in October, heightening fears about the potential impact of the technology on democracy.

The Beatles: New track featuring all four band members set for release next week | Ents & Arts News

Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr will release what they say is the last song featuring all four Beatles next week.

The track, called Now And Then, was written and performed by John Lennon and later developed alongside the other band members including George Harrison.

The track has now been finished by Sir Paul and Sir Ringo decades after the original recording – using new technology.

A demo was first recorded by Lennon in the late 1970s at his New York home and features piano music.

After his death in 1980 aged 40, Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono gave the recording to the band along with Free As A Bird and Real Love, which were released by the band in the 1990s.

Former Beatles Ringo Starr (L) and Paul McCartney attend the world premiere of 'The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years' in London, Britain September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
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Former Beatles Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney in 2016

During this period, Harrison, Sir Paul and Sir Ringo recorded new parts and completed a rough mix for Now And Then with producer and musician Jeff Lynne.

But the band did not release the song – blaming issues extracting Lennon’s vocals and piano in a clear mix due to limited technology at the time.

Harrison died in November 2001 aged 58.

New audio restoration technology has now allowed for vocals, music and conservations by the band to be isolated.

FILE - The Beatles are seen performing, date unknown. From left to right: Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon. McCartney has revisited the breakup of The Beatles, refuting the suggestion that he was responsible for the group’s demise. Speaking on an episode of BBC Radio 4’s “This Cultural Life’’ that is scheduled to air Oct 23, McCartney said it was John Lennon who wanted to disband The Beatles. (AP Photo)
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Pic: AP

Lennon’s decades-old demo and Harrison’s electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995 were both included on the track, which Sir Paul and Sir Ringo finished last year.

Backing vocals from Here, There And Everywhere, Eleanor Rigby and Because were also added.

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Sir Paul said: “There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear. It’s quite emotional and we all play on it, it’s a genuine Beatles recording.

“In 2023, to still be working on Beatles music, and about to release a new song the public haven’t heard, I think it’s an exciting thing.”

Sir Ringo said: “It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room so it was very emotional for all of us. It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.”

Meanwhile, Lennon’s son, Sean Ono Lennon, said the new song was “incredibly touching”.

Read more:
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“It’s the last song my dad, Paul, George and Ringo got to make together. It’s like a time capsule and all feels very meant to be,” he added.

Two compilation albums will also be released on 10 November – 1962-1966, The Red Album, and 1967-1970, The Blue Album – featuring 21 newly added tracks.

A documentary about the new song, Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song will premiere at 7.30pm on 1 November on The Beatles’ YouTube channel.

Cap on bankers’ bonuses to be abolished next week | Business News

The cap on bankers’ bonuses is to be abolished, the financial services regulatory body has announced. 

From 31 October, EU rules that limit bonus payments to twice a banker’s salary will be removed, the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) said.

The policy change was initially announced by former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng in the infamous September mini-budget of the Liz Truss premiership.

It was one of the few announcements to be retained when Chancellor Jeremy Hunt took charge of the Treasury.

City executives had complained that the cap was a barrier to recruiting and retaining quality workers, and London was losing out on talented staff as a result.

The head of the London Stock Exchange had in May called for company bosses to be paid more.

“The alternative is we continue standing idly by as our biggest exports become skills, talent, tax revenue and the companies that generate it,” Julia Hoggett said.

From next week there will be no legislative barriers on bonus payments for employees of banks, building societies and major investment firms that are regulated by the PRA.

The move is being made to deal with what the PRA and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said are “unintended consequences” of the cap, namely that salaries have been increased.

Having high fixed yearly payments, rather than variable bonus sums, makes it harder for firms to adjust to times when financial performance is poor or to react to potential misconduct by a senior executive, a statement by the bodies said.

The announcement follows a period of consultation conducted by the PRA and will apply to the current and future financial years.

The law had been enacted in 2014 in the wake of the 2008 global financial crash. It was associated with incentivising bankers to take outsized risks which the EU sought to discourage.

A spokesperson for the Treasury said, “Decisions on remuneration in the banking sector are for the PRA as the independent statutory regulator.”

Rishi Sunak condemns ‘evil’ Hamas attack on Israel one week on | Politics News

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has condemned Hamas’s “evil” attack on Israel one week on from the group’s surprise raids.

In an unprecedented incursion, Hamas took hostages and killed civilians last weekend.

In the week since, Israel has retaliated by bombing Gaza, from where the militants launched the attack.

Civilians have been caught up in the reprisals, as they try to flee south and thousands have died on both sides of the conflict.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said the “next stage” of the country’s response is coming – with a ground offensive, supported by air and sea attacks, expected on Gaza.

Follow live: Gazans told ‘go south if you want to live’

Speaking on Saturday evening, Mr Sunak defended Israel’s right to defend itself, saying: “We stand with Israel, not just today, not just tomorrow, but always.”

“And I stand with you, the British Jewish community, not just today, not just tomorrow, but always.

“Am Yisrael Chai,” he added.

Am Yisrael Chai translates as ‘the people of Israel live’.

Mr Sunak said that he knew the coming days and weeks would be “very difficult”.

“No words can begin to describe the horror and barbarism unleashed in Israel a week ago,” he said. “Daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, grandparents taken from people in the cruellest and most horrific way possible.

“Hundreds of people have been killed, many wounded or missing and others living through the unimaginable agony of having a loved one kidnapped and held hostage.

“British citizens were among the victims. And as we continue to learn more, I know there are families here and in Israel in deep pain and torment.

“My thoughts and my heart go out to everyone suffering in the wake of these attacks.”

‘We will do everything to protect Jewish people’

Mr Sunak also offered a message to the people of Israel.

“Britain is with you,” he said.

“What took place was an act of pure evil and Israel has every right to defend itself. We will do everything we can to support Israel in restoring the security it deserves.”

He told the British Jewish community: “I know you are hurting and reeling from these vile terrorist acts.

“At moments like this, when Jewish people are under attack in their homeland, Jewish people everywhere can feel less safe.

“We’ve seen intimidating behaviour and shameful antisemitism online and on our streets with attempts to stir up tensions.

“I say, not here.

“Not in Britain. Not in our country. Not in this century.

“We will do everything we possibly can to protect Jewish people in our country.

“And if anything is standing in the way of keeping the Jewish community safe, we will fix it.”

Read more:
Labour warns MPs against attending protests
British-Israeli soldier describes ‘anarchy’ of Hamas raid
‘This Jew stands with Gaza’: Inside the London protests

‘Unimaginable and heartbreaking’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also marked a week since the Hamas attack, while calling for safe humanitarian corridors for Palestinians in Gaza fleeing violence.

He said: “A week ago we awoke to the unimaginable and heartbreaking news of terrorist attacks on Israel from Gaza by Hamas.

“In the days that have followed, we have heard horrific stories of the murder and mutilation of men, women and children, along with the horror of hostage-taking.

“Israel has the right, indeed the duty, to defend herself and rescue these hostages. Responsibility for what has happened sits with the terrorists of Hamas; and we repeat our call for Hamas to release all hostages.

“I’ve met with members of the British Jewish community this week and told them that we stand with Israel and with them at this time.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says goodbye to Rabbi Eli Levin after visiting the South Hampstead Synagogue, London. Picture date: Thursday October 12, 2023.
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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says goodbye to Rabbi Eli Levin after visiting the South Hampstead Synagogue, London. Picture date: Thursday October 12, 2023.

Sir Keir added: “I know this is a distressing and worrying time and welcome the extra funding for the CST (Community Security Trust).

“There must be zero tolerance of any increase in antisemitism or Islamophobia.

“Hamas has no interest in peace. No interest in protecting Palestinians.

“We call on all parties to act in line with international law, including allowing humanitarian access of food, water, electricity and medicines to Gaza and ensuring safe humanitarian corridors in Gaza for those fleeing violence.

“Seven days on from the darkest day in Israel’s recent history, our resolve in the face of terrorism will not falter.”