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Teenager Henry Searle becomes first Brit to win Wimbledon boys’ singles title in more than 60 years | UK News

Henry Searle has become the first British boys’ singles champion at Wimbledon since 1962.

The 17-year-old, from Wolverhampton, beat fifth seed Yaroslav Demin 6-4, 6-4 on Court One at the tournament on Sunday.

His win emulated Stanley Matthews, son of the famous Blackpool footballer of the same name, who triumphed 61 years ago.

Wimbledon men’s final latest: Alcaraz takes on seven-time champion Djokovic

Henry Searle

Searle is this country’s first junior champion since Laura Robson won the girls’ event in 2008.

Henry Searle (R) with the winners trophy and Yaroslav Demin
Henry Searle (R) with the winners trophy and opponent Yaroslav Demin

Henry Searle (L) celebrates with the trophy after victory against Yaroslav

He has ensured more home success at this year’s tournament after Brit Neal Skupski – ranked number one doubles player in the world – won the men’s doubles with Dutch player Wesley Koolhof, on Centre Court on Saturday.

Henry Searle

“It is amazing to play on Court One with such a special crowd and manage to get the job done,” Searle said on court.

“It’s a pretty special feeling and it is not going to come too often and I am going to try and enjoy it. It was amazing in front of this crowd today.”

Meanwhile, on Centre Court, Prince George and Princess Charlotte joined their parents the Prince and Princess of Wales in the Royal Box for the men’s singles final.

Wearing a blue dress, the eight-year-old royal held Kate’s hand and petted a police dog before taking her seat to watch the match between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz.

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Royals at Wimbledon for men’s final

Speaking to Ella Ottaway, who runs the All England Club’s young people programme, Kate said that the youngest of the Wales’, Prince Louis, was “very upset” that he was not attending.

“It’s Charlotte’s first time, George came last year. They’ve been eagerly watching,” she said.

“Charlotte, you’ve been getting to grips with the scoring. Louis was very upset he wasn’t coming today.”

England win European Under-21 Championship with 1-0 victory over Spain | UK News

England have won the European Under-21 Championship for the first time since 1984 with a 1-0 victory over Spain in the final.

The win came thanks to a goal from Curtis Jones four minutes into first-half stoppage time, when Cole Palmer’s free kick was deflected off his back and into the net.

Spain’s Abel Ruiz thought he had equalised with a header from a free kick, but VAR ruled he was offside.

Five minutes into stoppage time, Spain were awarded a penalty after Levi Colwill tackled Ruiz inside the box – but keeper James Trafford became the hero when he saved Ruiz’s shot.

The England side did not concede a single goal at the tournament in Georgia.

Trafford revealed after the game that he predicted he would make a penalty save.

“I told everyone this morning I was going to save a pen,” he said. “When they got a penalty, I knew I was going to save it.”

More on England Football Team

England's goalkeeper James Trafford makes a save during the Euro 2023 U21 final. Pic: AP
England’s goalkeeper James Trafford makes a save. Pic: AP

Tempers flared on and off the pitch Saturday night, with a total of 30 fouls, 11 yellow cards and four reds handed to players and coaches on the bench.

England coach Ashley Cole and his Spain counterpart were dismissed from the dugout in an eventful conclusion to the first half of the match.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham shared his congratulations, saying completing the tournament without conceding a goal was “simply remarkable”.

“The manner in which this England squad has progressed through the tournament has been hugely impressive,” he said.

“Everybody connected with the group should feel a great sense of pride for the part they’ve played in leading this age group to the trophy for the first time since 1984.”

Man in serious condition after assaults during Celtic Scottish Premiership win celebrations | UK News

A man remains in a serious condition in hospital after being attacked during celebrations of Celtic’s Scottish Premiership title win, Police Scotland has said.

Two other men also needed treatment following assaults as thousands of the club’s fans gathered in Glasgow Cross on Saturday.

Police were also targeted but none were injured.

In all, 10 people were arrested and eight people were handed fixed-penalty fines.

Rubbish – including plastic bags, bottles and cans – was also left strewn throughout the city centre after the celebrations.

Celtic signed off the season with a thumping 5-0 home win against Aberdeen, although the Parkhead side had secured the trophy even before kick-off.

It was the side’s 11th league title in 12 years.

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Superintendent Gerry Corrigan, of Police Scotland’s Greater Glasgow division, said there was “an unacceptable level of antisocial behaviour and incidents of disorder” throughout the day.

“Three people were seriously assaulted in three separate incidents during the event,” he added.

“A 31-year-old man remains in a serious condition within Queen Elizabeth University Hospital after being attacked.

“Two other men, aged 33 and 19, were treated at hospital after being assaulted and have since been discharged.

“There were 10 arrests for a number of other offences including assault, acts of public disorder and police assault following the event. No police officers were injured.

“A further eight people were issued with fixed penalty notices.

“Eighteen people sustained minor injuries mainly due to intoxication.”

Seven sites get government backing to win UNESCO World Heritage status | UK News

Seven sites have received government backing to win UNESCO World Heritage status.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) publishes a “tentative list” around every 10 years setting out which sites it feels have the best chance of being included.

If successful, the sites will join the 33 other World Heritage sites in the UK or overseas territories, including Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall.

The seven sites are:

• York city centre, with its Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman history, and civic and religious buildings including York Minster
• Birkenhead Park, which opened in 1847 – a pioneering project to bring greenery to urban environments and a blueprint for municipal planning that has influenced famous sites such as New York’s Central Park
• The Zenith of Iron Age Shetland – three ancient settlements dating back thousands of years
• The East Atlantic Flyway – a migratory bird route over western Europe which includes Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent
• The Little Cayman Marine Parks and Protected Areas, in the UK overseas territory of the Cayman Islands
• The Flow Country – a large area of peatland across Caithness and Sutherland in Scotland’s north
• Gracehill Moravian Church Settlement in Northern Ireland

The last two submitted their full nominations to UNESCO earlier this year, and remain on the Government’s tentative list, while the other five are new additions.

Gracehill Moravian Church, Northern Ireland. Pic: Stormont Dept for Communities
Gracehill Moravian Church, Northern Ireland. Pic: Stormont Dept for Communities
An aerial view of Birkenhead Park visitor centre, Birkenhead, Wirral. Picture date: Sunday March 21, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Birkenhead Park visitor centre

Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “Today we are confirming our support for some of the most enchanting heritage sites and breath-taking landscapes in the UK and its overseas territories as they bid for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

“All the locations being put forward would be worthy recipients of this accolade – and we will give them our full backing so they can benefit from the international recognition it can bring.”

UNESCO World Heritage status is for places that are of “outstanding universal value to humanity” and should be “protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy”.

Read more:
Liverpool stripped of UNESCO World Heritage status
French baguette secures spot on UNESCO cultural heritage list

Places already recognised include the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, the Taj Mahal in India, the Grand Canyon in the USA, and the Acropolis in Greece.

Laura Davies, HM Ambassador to UNESCO, said: “It is great that the UK is contributing to making World Heritage more representative.

“These five sites brilliantly reflect the diversity and beauty of the UK and its overseas territories’ natural and cultural heritage, and I look forward to working with them towards World Heritage listing.”

The DCMS will work with local authorities and devolved administrations to develop their bids.

Manchester United beat Newcastle United to win Carabao Cup | UK News

Manchester United have won their first trophy under manager Erik ten Hag, beating Newcastle United 2-0 at Wembley to lift the Carabao Cup.

United’s goals came from their Brazilian midfielder, Casemiro, and an own goal from the Magpies’ Sven Botman.

Both came in the first half.

Casemiro headed home a Luke Shaw free-kick before Botman deflected a Marcus Rashford strike over Newcastle keeper Loris Karius.

Former Man Utd captain Roy Keane, working for Sky Sports, said Newcastle had “done very, very well”, but Man Utd had been “efficient”.

“This is top-level sport,” Keane said, adding that it was “hopefully the start of the good days coming back to United”.

United's Casemiro scored the first goal
United’s Casemiro scored the first goal
It is Erik ten Hag's first trophy as Man United manager
It is Erik ten Hag’s first trophy as Man United manager

It is the Red Devils’ first silverware since they won the Europa League in 2017 under José Mourinho.

It means United have now ended their longest trophy drought in 40 years.

The win also means that ten Hag joins Mourinho as the only two United managers to win a major trophy in their first season at the club.

Newcastle’s last trophy was the FA Cup, which they won in 1955.

Sir Alex Ferguson was at Wembley Stadium
Sir Alex Ferguson was at Wembley Stadium

United midfielder Bruno Fernandes said victory was an “amazing feeling” and the team had been “searching for this moment – us, the fans, the club”.

He added: “Finally we get our trophy. We deserve it. It’s not enough for this club – we want more and we need more because our standards deserve more.”

Rashford said: “If we want to win things, we have to keep pushing.”

United are still in the FA Cup and the Europa League and are third in the Premier League.

Sky Sports’ Gary Neville, another former United captain, said ten Hag had “transformed a team from whiners into winners”.

He commented: “What a job Erik ten Hag has done. They have a sprit and a fight. There is a real chance of winning trophies beyond this.

“He makes good decisions in matches – his subs were critical in making sure they saw this game out. It’s been a brilliant last few months.”

Government officials fly to China to win support for British Steel bailout | Business News

Government officials will this week fly to China in an effort to convince the owner of British Steel to finalise plans for a state funding package amid hundreds of job cuts at the company.

Sky News has learnt that civil servants from the Department for Business and Trade are travelling to meet executives from Jingye Group amid protracted talks about a £300m grant to the Scunthorpe-based company.

Sources said the talks were expected to focus on the value of an energy subsidy package, which could take the overall value of government support for British Steel to approximately £1bn.

It comes just days after Kemi Badenoch, the new business and trade secretary, told Sky News’ economics and data editor, Ed Conway, that “nothing is ever a given” when asked whether Britain needed a steel industry.

A government spokesperson said: “The government recognises the vital role that steel plays within the UK economy, supporting local jobs and economic growth and is committed to securing a decarbonised, sustainable and competitive future for the UK steel sector.

“Government officials are engaging with Jingye regularly as part of the ongoing discussions with the company and our routine work with businesses across the steel sector.

“The Business and Trade Secretary considers the success of the steel sector a priority and continues to work closely with industry to achieve this.”

Sky News revealed last month that Jingye was drawing up plans to cut around 800 jobs at British Steel, with the BBC reporting on Tuesday night that 300 redundancies would be announced this week arising from the closure of coking ovens at the Scunthorpe plant.

Mrs Badenoch’s predecessor, Grant Shapps, told Jingye last month that proposals to make hundreds of workers redundant were “unhelpful” amid negotiations over a £300m taxpayer support package.

British Steel confirmed recently that it was “reluctantly having to consider cost-cutting” but did not specify the number of jobs that were at risk.

Nusrat Ghani, the business minister, had told MPs that talks between the government and British Steel were ongoing, even though the conditions attached to the taxpayer aid include a six-month moratorium on redundancies and a guarantee to preserve an unspecified proportion of the company’s workforce for the next decade.

Jingye said in January that steelmaking in Britain was “uncompetitive” in an international context.

“Unfortunately, like many other businesses we are reluctantly having to consider cost cutting in light of the global recession and increased costs,” the company said.

Sky News revealed last month that British Steel and larger rival Tata Steel would be required to guarantee thousands of jobs until 2033 in return for £600m of government support to help decarbonise the industry.

Any taxpayer funding is to be linked to the replacement of blast furnaces at the company’s sites with greener electric arc furnaces, while Jingye would be obliged to invest at least £1bn in the business by 2030.

A decision to grant the state aid would not be without controversy, given British Steel’s Chinese ownership and doubts about its adherence to financial commitments made when it bought the business out of insolvency proceedings in 2020.

In a letter to Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, in December, Mr Shapps and Michael Gove, the levelling-up secretary, warned that British Steel’s demise could cost the government up to £1bn in decommissioning and other liabilities.

They cautioned Mr Hunt that British Steel “does not have a viable business without government support”.

“Closing one blast furnace would be a stepping-stone to closure of the second blast furnace, resulting in a highly unstable business model dependent on Chinese steel imports,” Mr Shapps and Mr Gove wrote.

“Given the magnitude of the liabilities due to fall on HMG in the event of blast furnace closure, and following the PM’s steer, we would like officials to test whether net Government support in the region of £300m for British Steel could prevent closure, protect jobs and create a cleaner viable long-term future for steel production in the United Kingdom.”

British Steel employs about 4,000 people, with thousands more jobs in its supply chain dependent upon the company.

Tata Steel employs substantially more people in the UK, including more than 4,000 at its Port Talbot steelworks in Wales.

According to the ministers’ letter, British Steel had already informed the government that it could close one of the Scunthorpe blast furnaces as soon as next month, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.

This would be “followed by the second blast furnace closing later in 2023, creating cumulative direct job losses of around 3,000”, Mr Shapps and Mr Gove wrote.

In May 2019, the Official Receiver was appointed to take control of the company after negotiations over an emergency £30m government loan fell apart.

British Steel had been formed in 2016 when India’s Tata Steel sold the business for £1 to Greybull Capital, an investment firm.

As part of the deal that secured ownership of British Steel for Jingye, the Chinese group said it would invest £1.2bn in modernising the business during the following decade.

Jingye’s purchase of the company, which completed in the spring of 2020, was hailed by Boris Johnson, the then prime minister, as assuring the future of steel production in Britain’s industrial heartlands.

Big retailers report Christmas progress as Tesco claims win over premium grocers | Business News

Tesco says it is the only one of the major chains to have grown its market share versus pre-pandemic levels over Christmas, claiming it took business from rivals with the exception of the discounters.

The UK’s biggest retailer said like-for-like sales rose 4.3% in its third quarter to 26 November and were up 7.2% in the six weeks to 7 January.

Grocery rival M&S said its like for like food sales were up by 6.3% on the same basis over the 13 weeks to 31 December.

M&S said its clothing & home offering – long a drag on the group’s performance – enjoyed its highest market share for seven years with sales up by 8.6%.

Both Tesco and M&S, however, maintained their annual profit guidance.

One big name to reveal Christmas trouble was online fashion retailer asos.

It reported a 3% fall in revenue during the four months to the end of December, driven by an 8% plunge in UK sales over the four weeks to Christmas.

It blamed weak consumer sentiment and earlier cut-off dates for Christmas deliveries due to delivery problems caused by the Royal Mail strikes.

FILE PHOTO: A model walks on an in-house catwalk at the ASOS headquarters in London April 1, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo
Asos said sales plunged ahead of Christmas versus a strong comparison with the previous year

Halfords, the motoring and cycling chain, cut the range of its annual profit outlook to between £50m and £60m, from £65m to £75m.

It blamed soft demand for tyres and bikes. The company also warned that a failure to recruit enough skilled technicians at its auto-centres business would have an impact on the final quarter of its financial year.

The firms are the latest to report on their progress after a tough festive season for family budgets – squeezed by the energy-led cost of living crisis.

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Food inflation reaches record levels

The overall picture for retailers’ performance ahead of Thursday’s trading updates has been one of resilience, however, suggesting that shoppers were prepared to relax the purse strings for Christmas amid record food inflation.

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It has led retail groups to express caution over consumer demand for the months ahead, while financial analysts have also questioned the extent to which company profitability has risen in line with sales.

While inflation has generally driven a surge in sales values in the company updates to date, retailers have given little away on their margins and growth in the volume of sales – the amount of goods sold.

That said, Sainsbury’s and JD Sports both adjusted upwards the guidance on their annual profit expectations on Wednesday.

Next and B&M did the same last week.

Another trend to have emerged over Christmas included a dive in online sales – possibly wholly explained by the impact of strikes at Royal Mail – with more visits to physical stores replacing some of that retail space.

Shares in both Tesco and asos opened 1.5% down while M&S stock fell by 2.6%.

Halfords suffered through a 12.8% plunge.

Commenting on Tesco’s sales figures Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “For all the progress, there is an elephant in the room.

“A large proportion of success is coming down to discounting. Things like Aldi Price Match and price freezes are very successful tactics, but can spell bad news for margins.”

“Supermarkets had only recently rediscovered their footing before the pandemic, following years of margin degradation from an all-out price war.

“Soaring inflation and the pressure on customer spending power means history is repeating itself. The tug of war between pricing and volumes is clearly producing a good result, which is why profit expectations have been reiterated, but it’s still hardly an ideal state of affairs for the big names in industry.”