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Andy Murray: British tennis star hints he could retire this year | UK News

British tennis star Andy Murray has hinted he could retire this year.

Speaking in Dubai after his 500th win on hardcourt, the 36-year-old said: “I still love competing, I still love the game. It gets harder and harder the older you get to compete with the young guys.

“It’s not easy, I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do the best that I can these last few months.”

He made the remarks during an interview on court after beating Denis Shapovalov in the first round of the Dubai Open – only his second win of the year.

Hinting again that his career could be coming to an end, Murray said: “Obviously hardcourt has been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches so I’m very proud of that.

“There aren’t many players that have done that, so [it is] great to get to 500 before I’m done.”

Only four players – Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal – have recorded more hardcourt wins.

'It's not easy, I probably don't have too long left but I'll do the best that I can these last few months.' Pic: Reuters
‘I probably don’t have too long left’. Pic: Reuters

Earlier in February, the former world number one lost a second round match against 18-year-old Jakub Mensik, and appeared to shout “This game is not for me anymore”.

Downplaying that remark, he said on Monday that “people read a lot into what I say on the court sometimes and it’s not always rational”.

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Murray also vowed he would not quit last month after he dropped out of the first round at both the Brisbane International and Australian Open.

Writing on X after questions were asked about if he would retire, Murray said: “Tarnishing my legacy? Do me a favour.

“I’m in a terrible moment right now I’ll give you that. Most people would quit and give up in my situation right now. But I’m not most people and my mind works differently.

“I won’t quit. I will keep fighting and working to produce the performances I know I’m capable of.”

It is not the first time the two-time Wimbledon winner has hinted at calling it a day. He previously announced plans to retire in 2019 after undergoing hip surgery the year before.

Murray underwent a second operation the same year but later returned to the court. He said in December 2022 that he was one “big injury” away from retirement.

Sunak paid half a million pounds in tax last year, according to his tax returns | Politics News

Rishi Sunak has published his personal tax return, showing he paid more than half a million pounds in UK tax last year.

The summary of the prime minister’s tax affairs was slipped out on Friday afternoon as parliament was in recess.

The document shows he paid a tax bill of £508,308 in the financial year 2022-23 – around £75,000 more than what he paid in the previous year.

Mr Sunak made nearly £1.8 million through capital gains – up from £1.6 million in 2021/22 – as well as £293,407 in other interest and dividends.

Rishi Sunak's tax return. Source: screenshot of UK government document
Rishi Sunak’s tax return. Source: screenshot of UK government document

All of the investment income and capital gains came from a US-based investment fund listed as a blind trust, according to the summary.

He also earned £139,477 from his roles as an MP and prime minister.

Rather than a full tax return, Number 10 published “a summary” of Mr Sunak’s UK taxable income, capital gains and tax paid over the last tax year as reported to HM Revenue & Customs, prepared by accountancy service Evelyn Partners.

A summary of his tax affairs for the year 2021/22 was also published last March, showing the prime minister paid £432,493 in taxes that year.

Mr Sunak first said he would publish his tax returns during his unsuccessful campaign to be Tory leader against Liz Truss in the summer of 2022.

The prime minister is thought to be one of the richest MPs in parliament and his personal wealth has long been used by opponents to attack him as being “out of touch”.

Pressure started piling on Mr Sunak while he was chancellor, after it emerged his wife Akshata Murty, who is the daughter of an Indian billionaire, had non-dom status – meaning she did not have to pay UK tax on her international income.

The calls for the prime minister to release his tax details then grew louder following the controversy around Nadhim Zahawi, who was sacked as Tory Party chairman in January 2023 after he failed to disclose millions of pounds in tax.

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TSB to cut jobs and branches this year, parent firm reveals | Business News

The boss of TSB’s Spanish parent firm Sabadell has told reporters the UK brand’s cost-saving plans this year will result in job losses and branch closures.

Sabadell CEO Cesar Gonzalez-Bueno was questioned at a news conference, following the publication of the group’s annual results, about a £29m provision made by TSB for restructuring costs this year.

When asked if it would involve a reduction in bank staff and branches, he replied: “Yes, it will include both” but he did not put a number of either.

Follow live: Reaction to Bank of England decision

He went slightly further on the issue than TSB was explicitly prepared to do itself while outlining its own performance during 2023.

However, the £29m provision did include an estimated £24.4m for estimated employee severance costs.

TSB reported a 30% rise in pre-tax profits to £237.2m, aided by higher interest rates.

It proposed a dividend of £120m to Sabadell – up from the £50m sum in 2022.

But it added that inflationary pressures on its bottom line remained stubborn.

Annual operating expenses only fell by 3.9% compared to the previous 12-month period when the effects of a big fine, relating to its disastrous 2018 customer migration programme, was excluded.

TSB said it had set aside the £29m for a “programme of strategic cost saving initiatives which will reduce costs from 2024 onwards”.

Barclays and Lloyds bank logos
Barclays and Lloyds have announced thousands of job losses between them. Pic: PA

Rivals, including Barclays and Lloyds, have also stepped up the pace of cost-cutting in recent months despite strong profitability.

Mr Gonzalez-Bueno said details on planned cuts would be announced by TSB in due course, but the aim was to bring its so-called efficiency ratio – which measures a bank’s cost-to-income – down towards 60% from a current 73.6%.

The bank told Sky News in reaction to his remarks: “We have been clear about our focus on reducing costs, but as with any announcements about changing how we operate, we always consult with our colleagues first.”

TSB currently has 5,426 employees and 211 branches.

Robin Bulloch, TSB’s chief executive, said of its 2023 performance: “We are reporting another year of sustained profitability, demonstrating the impact of both our continued focus on customers, delivering products and services that genuinely meet their needs, and the work to make TSB a simpler, more efficient, and resilient bank.

“Throughout the cost of living challenges, our Money Confidence purpose has resonated strongly with our customers – and I’d like to thank everyone at TSB for their continued hard work to step up to support them.”

10,000 people a year could die as a result of heatwaves, MPs warn | UK News

Up to 10,000 people a year in the UK could die as a result of heatwaves if nothing is done, MPs have warned.

According to a report from the Environmental Audit Committee, the increased frequency of extreme heat events could also cost the economy £60bn a year.

The committee’s Conservative chair, Philip Dunne MP, urged the government to act, because “there is a lot of work that needs to be done”.

The UK Health Security Agency issued its first ever ‘level 4’ heat alert in July 2022 when 40C was recorded for the first time.

While globally, 2023 was confirmed as the hottest year on record by a significant margin.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Dunne said: “It’s here, it’s a present danger, and it’s coming at us quite quickly.

“We need a plan now.

“The longer we delay it, the more at risk we’re going to be.”

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Wildfires spotted in the Highlands

According to the Office of National Statistics, there were an estimated 4,500 heat-related deaths in 2022.

But MPs say the annual rate could rise to 10,000 by 2050 if there is no intervention.

Extreme heat increases blood pressure and heart rate, raising the risk of illness or death caused by dehydration and heatstroke.

Over-65s and those with existing conditions are most at risk, while there are impacts on mental health too.

The committee heard evidence that suicide risk in the UK is twice as high when the temperature is 32C rather than 22C.

The report recommends the Met Office should name heatwaves in the same way as storms to help raise awareness of the threats.

Climate change experts agree that public perceptions must be urgently changed.

“It’s clear that Britain still thinks of itself as a cold country that celebrates periods of heat by talking about going to the beach and eating ice cream, when in actual fact it’s an extreme weather event that leads to thousands of deaths,” Bob Ward, Policy Director at the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute said.

Other recommendations include creating more parks and ‘green infrastructure’.

This is considered particularly important in urban areas, like London, which can be 8C warmer than surrounding areas.

The committee is also calling for a national strategy to retrofit homes and offices with passive cooling measures, like external shutters, to help save lives and boost productivity.

“The problems we have with heat are primarily because we have homes and offices that are not well designed for dealing with it,” Mr Ward told Sky News.

“Most people who die [in heatwaves], die in overheated homes. Most of the people who are less productive in heat are in offices that are overheating.

“There needs to be an urgent retrofit program to make our homes and offices much better at dealing with heat.”

Read more:
2023 was world’s hottest year on record – and 2024 could be worse
UK weather: Warmest ever January temperature record rises to nearly 20C

A government spokesperson said: “We have set out a robust five-year plan to respond to the impacts of a changing climate and strengthen our national resilience – with action to improve infrastructure, promote a greener economy and safeguard food production.

“We are the first major economy to halve our emissions and have already taken steps to manage the risks of climate change – with new warning systems to alert the public to heatwaves and our Environmental Land Management schemes supporting farmers to make their land more resilient to the changing climate.”

“Nearly half of homes in England now have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of C. This is up from just 14% in 2010 and we are investing billions to ensure homes and buildings are even more energy efficient.”

Man shot minutes before New Year – murder inquiry launched in Edinburgh | UK News

A murder investigation has been launched following a fatal shooting in Edinburgh on New Year’s Eve.

Police were called to the Granton area of the city following reports of two men being seriously injured after a firearm was discharged in Granton Crescent at around 11.50pm on Sunday.

Emergency services attended and the two men were taken to hospital.

A 38-year-old man was pronounced dead a short time later and a 39-year-old man remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition.

On Monday, Police Scotland said the force was treating the death as murder and investigating officers believe the shooting was targeted.

Detective Superintendent Graham Grant said: “This is believed to have been a targeted incident and our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of both men involved.

“Enquiries are at a very early stage to establish the full circumstances surrounding what happened, and while officers have already gathered CCTV and spoken to various people who were in the area at the time, I’d urge anyone with information who hasn’t yet spoken to us to come forward.”

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Road closures remain in place on Granton Road and Granton Crescent while enquiries continue.

DS Grant added: “This incident will undoubtedly have caused concern in the local community and officers will be carrying out extra patrols of the area and I’d like to reassure the public that everything possible is being done to trace whoever is responsible.”

Mary Earps wins Sports Personality of the Year | UK News

England and Manchester United goalkeeper Mary Earps has been crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

The 30-year-old strung a series of impressive performances as the Lionesses reached the Women’s World Cup final this summer, including a penalty save from Spain’s Jenni Hermoso in the final – a game England lost 1-0.

Earps also won the Golden Glove award as the best ‘keeper at the tournament.

File photo dated 27/10/23 of England goalkeeper Mary Earps. England goalkeeper Mary Earps has won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. Issue date: Tuesday December 19, 2023.
Earps won the Golden Glove award at the finals

England goalkeeper Mary Earps saves a penalty from Spain's Jennifer Hermoso during the FIFA Women's World Cup final match at Stadium Australia, Sydney. Picture date: Sunday August 20, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story WORLDCUP Final. Photo credit should read: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire...RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
Earps saves a penalty from Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso

Last season Earps kept 14 clean sheets for Manchester United as they finished second in the Women’s Super League.

Earps’s popularity was summed up when Nike initially refused to sell her England replica goalkeeper shirt, only for it to sell out in five minutes after the sports manufacturers performed a U-turn.

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Mary Earps on ‘injustice’ of Nike shirt row

It’s the second year running that a women’s footballer has picked up the coveted prize, with Euros star and Earps’ England teammate Beth Mead the winner last year.

Retired England cricketer Stuart Broad finished second in the vote, while world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson came third.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson (left) and Stuart Broad pose with their respective third and second placed BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards during the 2023 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards held at MediaCityUK, Salford. Picture date: Tuesday December 19, 2023.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson (left) and Stuart Broad were runners up

Wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, jockey Frankie Dettori and golf star Rory McIlroy were the three other contenders for the prize.

‘This is wow’

“I feel a bit sick actually,” Earps said upon receiving the award at the ceremony in Salford, Manchester.

“I would like to say how humbled I am to be among incredible athletes. Sport is a fantastic thing that brings the world together and to hear your stories is unbelievable.

“Thanks to everyone for voting for me, I’m very honoured and humbled. This is the ultimate all-round sporting accolade, us Lionesses and Manchester United have had an amazing couple of years. But this is wow.”

Recipients of other awards included Manchester City’s striker Erling Haaland, who won World Sport Star of the Year and his manager Pep Guardiola, who was named coach of the year.

Manchester City's Erling Haaland speaks via video after winning the BBC World Sport Star of The Year during the 2023 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards held at MediaCityUK, Salford. Picture date: Tuesday December 19, 2023.
Manchester City’s Erling Haaland has been a giant for his club

Sir Kenny Dalglish, a Liverpool legend, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

And snowboarder Mia Brooks was crowned Young Sports Personality of the Year, while Fatima Whitbread was honoured with the Helen Rollason Award.

Rodrigo Falcon: Fresh appeal in search for man who disappeared in Scottish town a year ago | UK News

Police searching for a man who vanished in the Scottish Highlands a year ago today have issued a fresh appeal for information.

Rodrigo Falcon, now 34, was last seen in Aviemore on Sunday 11 December 2022.

Mr Falcon had been at The Vault Nightclub and was later captured on CCTV walking along Grampian Road towards the southern end of the town at around 3.10am.

Despite extensive Police Scotland enquiries and searches of the area, Mr Falcon has never been found.

Inspector Craig Johnstone said: “It has now been one year since Rodrigo Falcon was seen by his family and friends.

“We know from the response by the community in the [town] and surrounding area how much concern they have for him, and I know that Rodrigo has never been far from the thoughts of many over the past 12 months.

“Officers carried out extensive searches to locate Rodrigo, including door-to-door enquiries, liaising with other agencies and reviewing CCTV footage.

“We continue to ask people with any possible sightings or new information as to Rodrigo’s whereabouts to get in touch with us.”

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Mr Falcon is described as around 5ft 6in tall, slim, and with dark hair.

When last seen he had a mullet-style haircut with a moustache and beard.

He was also wearing a red jumper and baggy jeans with no coat.

Oxford names ‘rizz’ as word of the year after Tom Holland interview fuelled rise in use – but what does it mean? | UK News

“Rizz”, meaning romantic appeal, has been chosen as the Oxford 2023 word of the year.

A team of experts and tens of thousands of public votes selected ‘rizz’ as the word which most captures 2023.

And, if you don’t already know, it’s used (mainly by Gen Z) to describe someone’s ability to attract a romantic partner.

The slang term beat seven other contenders to win word of the year, including Swiftie which is, of course, the word used to describe fans of Taylor Swift.

Recorded uses of the word ‘rizz’ have increased dramatically this year, peaking in June when Spider-Man actor Tom Holland was asked about his ‘rizz’ in a widely shared interview.

He answered: “I have no rizz whatsoever.”

According to the Oxford University Press, “rizz” is defined as style, charm, or attractiveness; the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.

It is thought to be a shortened version of the word charisma.

It’s unusual in taking the middle part of a word for its shortened form. Other examples include ‘fridge’ (from refrigerator) and ‘flu’ (from influenza).

And if you can’t get enough of it as a noun, you can also use it as a verb by using the phrase ‘rizz up’, which means to attract or seduce someone.

Experts from Oxford University Press said the shortlist of eight words and phrases were chosen to most reflect the mood, ethos or preoccupations of the last year.

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The other seven are defined by the Oxford University Press as follows:

Swiftie: An enthusiastic fan of the singer Taylor Swift

De-influencing: The practice of discouraging people from buying particular products, or of encouraging people to reduce their consumption of material goods, esp. via social media.

Beige flag: A character trait that indicates that a partner or potential partner is boring or lacks originality; (also) a trait or habit, esp. of a partner or potential partner, viewed as extremely characteristic, but not distinctly good or bad.

Heat dome: A persistent high-pressure weather system over a particular geographic area, which traps a mass of hot air below it.

Prompt: An instruction given to an artificial intelligence program, algorithm, etc., which determines or influences the content it generates.

Parasocial: Designating a relationship characterised by the one-sided, unreciprocated sense of intimacy felt by a viewer, fan, or follower for a well-known or prominent figure (typically a media celebrity), in which the follower or fan comes to feel (falsely) that they know the celebrity as a friend.

Situationship: A romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established.

Votes from the public narrowed the eight down to four finalists.

The experts then used the votes, language data and public commentary to pick the finalist.

Last year, the slang term ‘goblin mode’, which is defined as a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent or lazy, was chosen as Oxford’s 2022 word of the year.

Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor to retire from darts after farewell tour next year | UK News

Phil Taylor, who has won a record 16 world championships, has announced he will retire from competitive darts next year.

Nicknamed ‘The Power’, Taylor says the World Senior Darts Tour in 2024 will be his final year on the circuit, following an “unbelievable journey over the past 35 years” in the sport.

The 63-year-old star, from Stoke-on-Trent, had originally stepped away from darts after reaching the final of the PDC World Championship in 2018.

But then he returned to competition last year.

He has spent the last two seasons on the senior tour where he reached the quarter-finals in 2022 and 2023, but will aim to go out on a high in 2024.

After his retirement, he will continue to be involved in the tour as an ambassador.

Taylor, who is often named the greatest darts player of all time, said: “I’ll always love performing to the best of my ability, but time waits for no man and I know now is the right time to step away from the tour.

“It’s been an unbelievable journey over the past 35 years and I’ve loved every minute of it.

“I’m going to be working just as hard as I always have to make sure I give the fans what they want and go out on top.”

Phil Taylor
Pic: AP

Taylor won his first world championship in 1990 when he beat five-time champion, the ‘Crafty Cockney’ Eric Bristow. His 16th and last world title was in 2013 when he defeated Michael van Gerwen.

The World Senior Darts Tour is made up of 11 events, including the World Senior Darts Championship at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet, Essex, in February.

The tour’s Billy Lovell said: “Phil is one of the greatest sports people the UK has ever produced and we would like to place on record how grateful we are that he decided to come out of retirement at the beginning of our project.

“We have absolutely loved having him around and we’re sure his final year on tour with us will be great fun.”

UK economy sees growth flatline but avoids recession this year | Business News

The UK economy flatlined in September but it means the country has avoided a recession this year.

Fresh data from the Office for National Statistics shows that gross domestic product (GDP) – which measures the value of goods and services produced – rose by 0.2% over the month, staying the same from August.

It means the UK dodges a recession this year which is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP.