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Manchester’s Co-op Live arena finally opens after weeks of cancellations and setbacks | UK News

Manchester’s beleaguered Co-op Live arena has finally officially opened its doors after weeks of setbacks, cancellations and postponements.

The 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 Co-op Live’s new opening night was then due to be 1 May when US act A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie should have performed – but this was cancelled at the last minute as fans queued outside.

In the fortnight since, numerous other acts have been forced to postpone or move their Co-Op Live gigs but the doors have finally opened to fans, with Manchester band Elbow taking to the stage this evening.

The show is due to start at 7.40pm, with London band The WAEVE as the support act, and people have been seen going into the venue.

Concert goers arriving at the Co-op Live in Manchester for the Elbow concert. The troubled arena said it has completed an inspection and will open after a string of delays.  Peter Byrne/PA Wire
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Co-op Live bosses said inspections have taken place ahead of tonight’s gig. Pic: PA

Concert goers arriving at the Co-op Live in Manchester for the Elbow concert. The troubled arena said it has completed an inspection and will open after a string of delays. Pic: PA
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More than two weeks after Co-op Live should have fully opened, concertgoers are finally inside. Pic: PA

Guy Garvey of the band Elbow performs at the Platinum Jubilee concert in 2022. Pic: AP
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Elbow’s Guy Garvey. File pic: AP

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s last-minute cancellation came after part of the venue’s ventilation and air conditioning system fell from the ceiling during a soundcheck.

The venue’s boss said today that the accident could have been “catastrophic” if it had happened just 15 minutes later.

Read more: All the Co-op Live gigs cancelled or postponed

Security screening zone at the Co-op Live in Manchester for the Elbow concert. The troubled arena said it has completed an inspection and will open after a string of delays.  Tuesday May 14, 2024. Pic: PA
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Security staff were ready to welcome the 23,500 attendees. Pic: PA

PABest A view of the Co-op Live arena in Manchester. The £365 million venue, the biggest indoor arena in the UK, has postponed its opening numerous times after rescheduling performances from Peter Kay, The Black Keys, and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, as well as shows by Olivia Rodrigo scheduled for this Friday and Saturday. Picture date: Thursday May 2, 2024.
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Pic: PA

Tim Leiweke, chief executive of the arena’s operator Oak View Group, told BBC News: “They didn’t put the bolts in. It wasn’t visible to the eye and it fell out.

“So we [have since] got that double checked and triple checked. We’ve looked at thousands of bolts up in that ceiling now. We’ve looked at the life safety lines. And we were going to take our time to make sure we did this right.

“There was no way we were opening the doors until we checked every screw and every bolt and every one of those 95 shafts.”

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Co-Op Live delays explained

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A number of Elbow fans at the venue admitted they were feeling “apprehensive” ahead of the gig.

“When you go anywhere you want to know about the structural integrity of the place you’re going to,” said Samantha, 51, who did not want to share her surname.

“I know all venues have to start somewhere but as long as they say everything is fine, that’s as reassuring as it can be.”

With a capacity of 23,500, Co-op Live is the UK’s latest indoor arena and it cost £365m to build.

Police Scotland’s chief constable: SNP finance probe heading to prosecutors ‘within weeks’ | UK News

The police investigation involving Nicola Sturgeon’s husband is “moving on” with prosecutors to receive a file within weeks, Scotland’s most senior officer has told Sky News.

The former first minister and SNP leader’s spouse, Peter Murrell, has been charged in connection with embezzlement of party funds.

In her first interviews since taking on the UK’s second biggest police force, Chief Constable Jo Farrell insisted her officers are “objective” but refused to be drawn on whether the long-running probe will end imminently.

The investigation, dubbed Operation Branchform, was launched in July 2021 after officers received complaints about how SNP donations were used.

There were questions about more than £660,000 raised for a second Scottish independence referendum campaign.

Peter Murrell
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Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell, who were both arrested as part of Police Scotland’s Operation Branchform. Pic: PA

Police Scotland has said Nicola Sturgeon remains under investigation after she was arrested and released without charge in 2023.

The SNP’s former treasurer, Colin Beattie, was also detained for almost 12 hours for questioning in spring last year.

The 72-year-old has told Sky News he had heard “nothing at all” from police recently.

Murrell, 59, was chief executive of the SNP for two decades.

He quit the role weeks before his arrest and resigned his SNP membership in the wake of his police charge.

The probe has involved detectives seizing a £100,000 motorhome from outside the home of one of Murrell’s elderly relatives.

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Officers concluded in April there is sufficient evidence to charge Murrell in connection with embezzlement of party funds.

The next stage is for Scotland’s prosecution service, the Crown Office, to receive a report on the case from police and decide whether to proceed to court.

A Crown Office spokesman said: “All (of) Scotland’s prosecutors act independently of political interference.

“As is routine, to protect the integrity of ongoing investigations, we do not comment in detail on their conduct.”

Chief Con Farrell was questioned by Sky News about why the investigation was taking so long to conclude.

Jo Farrell, Police Scotland's chief constable
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Chief Constable Jo Farrell described the investigation as ‘complex’

She said: “It’s a live investigation, complex investigation and the matter has been progressed, and we expect the report to go to the Crown Office in a matter of weeks.”

Asked about this probe continuing in a general election year, she said: “We’ve investigated allegations. That’s moving on.

“We have very skilled, professional, objective individuals working on that case.”

The senior officer refused to say when the SNP probe would be fully concluded or whether other individuals would face further questions.

“I’m not going to make a commentary on the length of it. One person’s been charged, the report will go to the Crown Office and it’s a live investigation,” she said.

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Ms Sturgeon unexpectedly announced her resignation as SNP leader and first minister of Scotland months before police arrested her and her husband.

She has always insisted the probe never played any part in her sudden departure from office.

Crime scene where human torso was found in Salford reopens weeks after discovery | UK News

A crime scene where a human torso was found in a Salford nature reserve has reopened more than two weeks after the discovery.

A passer-by found human remains, consisting of the bottom of the back, buttocks and thigh, in clear plastic while walking at the Kersal Dale Wetlands in Greater Manchester on 4 April.

Hundreds of specialist officers and scientists were deployed and the force closed the scene on Wednesday, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

Officers have now reopened scenes at Great Clowes Street and the wetlands after “further reports” during “inquiries in the area”, GMP added.

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From 6 April: Torso found ‘belongs to man’

Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes said: “I would like to reassure you that this is precautionary.

“Every piece of intelligence we receive is investigated thoroughly, leaving no stone unturned to give us the best chance of finding out who our victim is and what happened to him.”

The victim is believed to have been a white man in his 40s, who had died a number of days before his remains were found on 4 April. He has not yet been identified.

Police and forensic officers at Kersal Dale, near Salford .
Pic: PA
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A forensics tent at the crime scene earlier in April. Pic: PA


DS Hughes said officers were expecting to be at the scene for several hours on Sunday “but there should be no disruption to the wider community”.

A man in his 20s was also arrested on suspicion of murder by GMP on 6 April. He was later released on bail pending further enquiries.

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Police also previously said that children who were playing in the area in the days before the remains were discovered could have crucial information.

‘Hardest Geezer’ Russ Cook set to run London Marathon on Sunday – two weeks after finishing Africa challenge | UK News

Russ Cook, the British man nicknamed the Hardest Geezer who ran the length of Africa, has said he plans to run the London Marathon this Sunday. 

Mr Cook, from Worthing, West Sussex, finished his 352-day challenge on 7 April, in which he covered more than 16,000km.

The 27-year-old passed through 16 countries before crossing the finish line in Ras Angela, Tunisia‘s most northerly point.

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Russ Cook on his run through Africa

He has raised almost £950,000 to date for two charities, the Running Charity and Sandblast, since starting the venture last year.

Speaking about possible long-term injuries on YouTuber JaackMaate’s Happy Hour podcast, which was released on Thursday, Mr Cook said: “It’s hard to know until I’m back really.

"Hardest Geezer" sets off on final day of run.
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‘Hardest Geezer’ sets off on the final day of his run

“I’ll have probably a few days of not running, then we’ll see.

“I’ve got the London Marathon in two weeks, so I need to shape up for that.”

Mr Cook said he was entering the marathon with the Running Charity and would be happy to finish the run in under four hours.

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‘Hardest Geezer’s’ journey across Africa

He added he would “probably do some little bits and pieces in between” to “keep ticking over a bit”.

Mr Cook also confirmed he would be returning to Africa next year to run the Marathon des Sables – a six-day, 156-mile ultra-marathon in the Sahara desert.

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Asked if he had another continent-sized running challenge planned, Mr Cook said: “I’m not sure in terms of [the] next challenge, it’s going to be a hard one to kind of top.

“I don’t really want to be away for another year any time soon.”

Around 48,000 athletes took part in last year’s London Marathon, with the winner crossing the finish line in just over two hours.

Mounjaro: New weight loss drug approved for use in Britain to be available ‘within weeks’ | UK News

An American weight loss drug approved in a four-dose injection pen format for use in Britain could be available “within weeks”.

Mounjaro, also known as tirzepatide, is a diabetes drug that was authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to help obese and overweight adults lose and manage weight in November last year.

The authorisation of the US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro “KwikPen” means the company will be able to “begin supply to the UK within weeks”, according to its president and general manager of UK and Northern Europe Laura Steele.

The Mounjaro KwikPen gives four doses of the drug for once-a-week treatment over a month, and has been approved to treat adults with type 2 diabetes and for weight management in obese adults, as well as overweight adult patients who have weight-related health problems like prediabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart problems.

Julian Beach, MHRA interim executive director of healthcare quality and access, said: “The public health importance of safe and effective treatments to help manage diabetes and obesity, which can have a significant impact on people’s health, is clear.

“This approval enables access to the approved Mounjaro pen in a more convenient presentation of a month’s treatment, of one dose per week.”

The jab was approved for NHS use in September last year by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as an option for patients with type 2 diabetes who do not have the condition under control, but NICE has yet to approve use of the drug for obesity.

The active ingredient in the drug helps to reduce sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes when their levels are high, and works as a weight management drug by making a patient feel full, and making them experience fewer food cravings.

The MHRA’s newest authorisation is based on the results of a bridging study which showed the efficacy and safety of the multidose Mounjaro KwikPen are expected to be the same as those for the single-dose pen.

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Douglas Twenefour, head of care at Diabetes UK, said: “We hope the MHRA’s approval of this device will help people living with type 2 diabetes, who are eligible, to access this effective treatment.

“Supporting people with type 2 diabetes to lose weight and manage their blood sugar levels is key to reducing the risk of diabetes-related complications, and tirzepatide (Mounjaro) expands the range of treatment options available to help people achieve this.”

However, the MHRA warned Mounjaro may affect how well the contraceptive pill works in obese or overweight female patients.

It also listed potential side effects of the medicine, including nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting – which usually goes away over time – and constipation.

Low blood sugar is also “very common” in patients with diabetes, the agency added.

The MHRA said it will keep the safety and effectiveness of Mounjaro under close review.

Father found dead with daughters and woman in Norwich taken to hospital by police weeks before deaths | UK News

A father who was found dead with his two daughters and a 36-year-old woman in a house in Norfolk was taken to hospital by police weeks before his death.

Bartlomiej Kuczynski, 45, was found with a stab wound to his neck at a house near Norwich, on 19 January.

Kanticha Sukpengpanao, 36, Jasmin Kuczynska, 12, and Natasha Kuczynska, eight, were found with stab wounds to their necks at the same property. Their deaths are being treated as murder, police said yesterday.

Mr Kuczynski’s death is not being treated as suspicious, and officers are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

Weeks before the incident, on 14 December, police attended the same property in Costessey in relation to a missing person inquiry.

Kanticha Sukpengpanao. Pic: Facebook
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Kanticha Sukpengpanao died from stab wounds. Pic: Facebook

It has now emerged that on the same day the missing person report was filed, Mr Kuczynski was taken to the emergency department at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital by police.

He later left the unit after he was assessed as having “mental capacity”.

“We can confirm that the patient was taken to the emergency department by police on December 14,” a spokesperson for the hospital said in a statement on Thursday.

“Following a comprehensive clinical assessment, the patient was assessed as having mental capacity and he left the unit before being reviewed again by the team.”

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The four bodies were discovered by police at the house in Allan Bedford Crescent at 7.15am around five weeks later, after a 999 call from a concerned member of the public.

The police force has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) due to the contact on 14 December, as well as a separate 999 call that was made by a man from the house on the same day the bodies were found, that did not result in the deployment of officers.

During the phone call, the man expressed concerns for his own mental state, saying he was confused, but was advised by police to seek medical advice, Charmaine Arbouin, IOPC regional director, said on Tuesday.

Norfolk Police has said it will investigate and will be examining if the contact its officers had with the man was “appropriate and in line with force policy, training and procedures”.

Christmas babies: Twins born weeks early but won’t share same birthday | UK News

A couple have received the ultimate Christmas present after their twins arrived four weeks early – but they won’t share the same birthday.

Adeeqa Ali and her partner Faisal Imran from Livingston, Scotland, went to hospital on Christmas Eve, nearly a month ahead of the expected due date.

Baby boy Jami and twin sister Rumi were both born within an hour of each other, but not on the same day.

Jami was born at 11.44pm on Christmas Eve, while his sister was delivered at 12.27am on Christmas Day.

Staff said the pair will remain with their mother in hospital for a few days but should be out by Hogmanay – New Year celebrated in the Scottish way.

Rumi came within minutes of being the first Christmas baby in Scotland, but Aberdeen’s Eliza Shearer took that accolade.

Maja and Jason Shearer rushed to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on Christmas Eve as Eliza made an appearance a few days before she was due at 12.18 on Christmas Day.

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Mr Shearer said it was “touch and go” whether she would be born before or after midnight.

He described the quick change of plans with Mrs Shearer’s parents, who came over from Poland, having to host the traditional Christmas Eve celebration without the expectant parents at home.

He said: “Maja’s Polish, so we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and British Christmas on Christmas Day.

“Maja’s folks are over just now so they had to host Christmas dinner without us last night because we’re here, and they’ll probably get a nice Christmas dinner again today.”

The new father also thanked the midwifery staff at the hospital, who he said had been “absolutely amazing”.

Just Stop Oil protests have cost Metropolitan Police £4.5m in six weeks | UK News

Just Stop Oil protests have cost the Metropolitan Police more than £4.5m in the last six weeks, the force said.

Since 24 April, Just Stop Oil (JSO) activists have staged demonstrations every day – including disrupting events like the Chelsea Flower Show, Gallagher Premiership final and World Snooker Championship – in what they call “an indefinite campaign of civil resistance”.

Up to 8 June, nearly 13,770 officer shifts had been used dealing with the demonstrations, the Met said.

This has cost the force over £4.5m as they are diverted from other roles to control the demonstrations which have disrupted traffic and other high-profile events.

Officers have new powers, introduced last month, to force protesters out of the road if they are deemed to be causing significant disruption, and these have been used in 125 of the 156 slow marches which have taken place so far.

Police said 86 arrests have been made for failing to comply and 49 people have been charged so far.

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Just Stop Oil activists tweeted that they would only stop their protests when the government stops new oil and gas contracts

The £4.5m is on top of the £7.5m which had already been spent policing the series of protests JSO staged between October and December last year.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan said: “In deploying the new tactics of moving slowly in front of traffic along highways, Just Stop Oil’s intent has been clear on disrupting road users.

“This has caused a significant impact to the public and officers have been responding as swiftly as possible once aware of the incidents.”

Handout photo issued by Just Stop Oil of three protesters at Chelsea Flower Show who have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage in connection with a Just Stop Oil protest. Picture date: Thursday May 25, 2023.
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Protesters at Chelsea Flower Show who have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage

Demonstrations continued on Monday with protesters marching in various locations including Waterloo near the Imax cinema, Victoria Street and Cromwell Road, Chelsea.

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JSO has pledged to carry on its protests ‘indefinitely’ until the government stops granting new licences for gas, coal and oil.

Mr Adelekan added: “We know that this action has been very frustrating for the public who just want to carry on with their day-to-day business.”

Just Stop Oil activists during  their slow walk protest in central London
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Just Stop Oil activists during their slow walk protest in central London

He urged the public not to intervene and take matters into their own hands but to call the police to let them know where the incident is.

“It may look like we are not responding quickly enough, however policing protests is complex and there are steps officers must take to make sure our response is lawful and appropriate,” he said.

“You can see from both the arrest and charge figures that we are taking this operation very seriously, and once a protest is deemed to have caused serious disruption or may do so, we are taking swift action to stop it.”

Woman dies two weeks after being hit by police motorcycle escorting Duchess of Edinburgh | UK News

An elderly woman who was hit by a police motorcycle escorting the Duchess of Edinburgh has died.

Helen Holland had been in hospital in critical condition since she was hit on the afternoon of 10 May in west London.

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, had said after the crash that her “thoughts and prayers” were with Ms Holland, with Buckingham Palace adding that she would “keep abreast of developments”.

A few days later, Ms Holland’s family had told Sky News that she was a “beautiful, loving, kind and caring lady who would always put anyone before herself”.

They had said that the mother of four, grandmother of 10, and great-grandmother of seven was a “well-respected and popular member of the community”.

“Helen may be 81-years-old but she is sprightly for her age and nothing stopped her living life to the full, spending precious time with her family, muddy walks with the dogs and lunches with friends is what she enjoyed most.”

The incident is being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Palestinian gunmen killed weeks after shooting three British-Israeli women dead | World News

Two Palestinian gunmen have been killed – weeks after they shot dead a British-Israeli woman and her two daughters.

Israel’s military said that troops were sent to an apartment in the city of Nablus during the early hours of Thursday.

There was an exchange of fire before the two suspects, and a third man who had helped them, were killed.

The gunmen were identified as Hassan Katnani and Maed Mitsri, members of the Hamas militant group.

The third man was named as Ibrahim Hura, a senior operative in the group.

Maia and Rina Dee, aged 20 and 15, died in the West Bank when their car was shot at and forced off the road on 7 April.

Their mother, Lucy Dee, 45, died in hospital from her wounds a few days later.

The attack happened near Hamra, about 30 miles north of Jerusalem, but the family lived in the settlement of Efrat – close to Bethlehem.

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Maia and Rina’s father, Rabbi Leo Dee, said: “I and the kids were delighted to hear that the terrorists were apprehended and eliminated today, and most of all that it was done in a way that apparently did not endanger the lives of Israeli soldiers because that was one of the most important things from our family’s perspective.

“I have requested from the Shabak [Israel’s Security Agency] that since we cannot sit and interview live the terrorists… that we should have the opportunity perhaps to interview live on television members of the family of the terrorist – perhaps the parents, siblings or the parents or the siblings.

“So that is my message.

“The question we would like to ask them is: what was their purpose in this particular attack, what is their vision for a better world?”

Hundreds of people attended funerals for the three women, whose deaths reduced the Dee family from seven members to four.

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Rabbi Leo Dee spoke to Sky News soon after the deaths of his wife and two daughters

Rabbi Dee has appeared in Israeli media a number of times since then, saying he bears no hatred towards the killers and calling for national unity.

Israel has been raiding West Bank villages, towns and cities for more than a year in what it says is a bid to dismantle militant networks and prevent future attacks.

But Palestinians see these as Israel further strengthening its 56-year occupation of lands they seek for a future independent state.

Some 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the raids began – Israel has said most of these have been militants, but stone-throwing youths and people not involved in the confrontations have also been killed.

During the same period, nearly 50 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks on Israelis.