NEWS

  • Diego Maradona: Argentina legend dies aged 60

    Diego Maradona: Argentina legend dies aged 60

    Football legend Diego Maradona, one of the greatest players of all time, has died at the age of 60.

    The former Argentina attacking midfielder and manager suffered a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home.

    He had successful surgery on a brain blood clot earlier in November and was to be treated for alcohol dependency.

    Maradona was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, scoring the famous 'Hand of God' goal against England in the quarter-finals.

    In a statement on social media, the Argentine Football Association expressed "its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend", adding: "You will always be in our hearts."

    Declaring three days of national mourning, Alberto Fernandez, the president of Argentina, said: "You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of them all.

    "Thank you for having existed, Diego. We're going to miss you all our lives."

    Maradona played for Barcelona and Napoli during his club career, winning two Serie A titles with the Italian side.

    He scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for Argentina, representing them in four World Cups.

    Maradona led his country to the 1990 final in Italy, where they were beaten by West Germany, before captaining them again in the United States in 1994, but was sent home after failing a drugs test for ephedrine.

     

    During the second half of his career, Maradona struggled with cocaine addiction and was banned for 15 months after testing positive for the drug in 1991.

    He retired from professional football in 1997, on his 37th birthday, during his second stint at Argentine giants Boca Juniors.

    Having briefly managed two sides in Argentina during his playing career, Maradona was appointed head coach of the national team in 2008 and left after the 2010 World Cup, where his side were beaten by Germany in the quarter-finals.

    He subsequently managed teams in the United Arab Emirates and Mexico and was in charge of Gimnasia y Esgrima in Argentina's top flight at the time of his death.

    Football world pays tribute

    Brazil legend Pele led tributes to Maradona, writing on Twitter: "What sad news. I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to family members. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky."

    Former England striker and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker said Maradona was "by some distance, the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time".

     

    Ex-Tottenham and Argentina midfielder Ossie Ardiles said: "Thank dear Dieguito for your friendship, for your football, sublime, without comparison. Simply, the best football player in the history of football. So many enjoyable moments together. Impossible to say which one was the best. RIP my dear friend."

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  • Bobby Brown's son found dead aged 28 at LA home

    Bobby Brown's son found dead aged 28 at LA home

     
    Landon Brown, Bobby Brown Jr, and Bobby Brown arrive at the Hollywood premiere of The Bobby Brown Story in 2018IMAGE COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGES
    image captionLandon Brown, Bobby Brown Jr, and Bobby Brown arrive at the Hollywood premiere of The Bobby Brown Story in 2018

    The son of R&B singer Bobby Brown has been found dead in Los Angeles, police have confirmed.

    Bobby Brown Jr, 28, was discovered at his home on Wednesday, after police were called to a "medical emergency".

    No cause of death was available, but there is no suspicion of foul play.

    Brown Jr's brother, Landon, paid tribute by sharing a black-and-white photo of his late sibling on Instagram, alongside the caption: "I love you forever King."

    His girlfriend, Anna Reed, tweeted: "The heavens gained an angel but I lost my soulmate".

    Like his father, Bobby Brown Jr was a performer, and released one of his latest tracks, Say Something, in September.

    His death is the latest in a series of personal tragedies to befall the family.

    It comes eight years after his stepmother Whitney Houston accidentally drowned in a bath, and five years his 22-year-old half-sister Bobbi Kristina died in similar circumstances.

    His father, Brown Bobby Snr - whose hits include My Prerogative, Every Little Step and Rock Wit'cha - has five children who are still alive.

    In a statement to CNN, Brown's agent said he had no comment to make on his son's death.

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  • The Mayor has rejected the Government’s proposal that the Congestion Charge be extended

    Sadiq Khan’s response

    The Mayor has rejected the Government’s proposal that the Congestion Charge be extended to the North and South Circular roads in October 2021.

    This was a condition that the Government tried to impose in return for the second round of emergency Government funding for TfL. This funding was necessary because TfL’s fare income has collapsed due to Covid-19.

    Under the Government’s proposal, the £15 Congestion Charge would have been extended to the North and South Circular Roads next year, meaning that all journeys across the North and South Circular roads and journeys within that area would have been subject to the charge within operating hours. It would have hit four million more Londoners hard and put economic recovery from Covid-19 at risk before it had begun. The Mayor is pleased that the Government has now backed down from this condition.

    In the face of continued Covid-19 restrictions, the Mayor has now reached a funding deal to keep tube, bus and other TfL services running until March 2021. Extending the Congestion Charge in this way was only one of several conditions the Government sought to impose in order for TfL to receive the further emergency funding it needs to keep the network running. Others included removing free travel for under-18s and over-60s and increasing fares by more than the previously agreed RPI+1 per cent. These proposals have also been successfully defeated, although it was a condition of the funding that fares would have to go up by RPI+1 in January.

    Whilst the deal reached is not ideal, the Mayor fought hard against the Government, which was determined to punish Londoners with higher costs for doing the right thing to tackle Covid-19. The only reason TfL needs Government support is because its fares income has almost dried up since March, as people did what was asked of them and stayed at home.

    It should be noted that the Congestion Charge is different to the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge. At present, the ULEZ charge currently applies to the same area as the Congestion Charge in central London and is specifically designed to clean up London’s toxic air and deliver health benefits to Londoners. It is due to be expanded in October of next year to the North and South Circular but the charge will only apply to highly polluting vehicles. TfL modelling shows that only 1 in 5 vehicles will need to pay this charge. This is due to the fact that all other vehicles that travel in this area are compliant with the ULEZ emissions standards.

    If you want to check whether your vehicle meets the ULEZ standard you can do so using TfL’s vehicle checker. If you are on a low income or are disabled, the Mayor also has a Car and Motorcycle Scrappage scheme, whereby you could receive up to £2000 to scrap your older, polluting vehicle, so that you can purchase a cleaner vehicle and meet the standards or switch to another mode of transport. You can check your eligibility for this scheme on TfL’s scrappage scheme webpage. The ULEZ scheme is specifically designed to clean up London’s toxic air and deliver health benefits to Londoners.

    I hope this reassures you that the Mayor has succeeded in defeating the Government proposal to extend the £15 Congestion Charge to the North and South Circular roads next year.

    Yours sincerely

    Public Liaison Unit
    Greater London Authority

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  • Covid-19: Nottingham party students fined £40,000

    Four university students have been fined £10,000 each after telling police who broke up their house party they were "spoiling their fun".

     

    Officers on patrol spotted a party in Lenton, Nottingham, on Tuesday night but were told everyone had left.

    But inside they found more than 30 people hiding and, when challenged, organisers complained they should be having the "time of their lives".

    Nottingham Trent University said the third-year students had been suspended.

    Mixing of households indoors has been banned since Nottingham went into tier two restrictions on 14 October.

    On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said talks over moving Nottinghamshire into tier three were "ongoing" but the city council's leader said no discussions had started.

    Nottingham had the highest level of infection in England for nine days running, with many of the cases centring on areas with a high student population.

    Police said after being told the party in Kimbolton Avenue had ended, officers found people hiding in the kitchen, upstairs bedrooms and basement.

    Assistant Chief Constable Kate Meynell said the people at the property had shown a "blatant disregard for the safety of those around them".

    "This needs to stop. The claims that police presented as a barrier to the students' fun are astounding," she said.

    "How many fines do we have to give before the message is understood? We do not take pleasure in handing out fines and would much rather be in a situation where students could enjoy themselves but the reality is that if people do not follow the Covid-19 restrictions, more people will die."

    A spokesperson for Nottingham Trent University said: "Any student who is found to have breached our disciplinary regulations can face a range of sanctions, up to and including expulsion."

    Infection rate drops again

    The coronavirus infection rate for Nottingham has dropped again compared to the same time a week earlier.

    In the seven days up to 18 October there were 2,012 new cases, down from 3,085 in the previous weekly period.

    The rate of infection per 100,000 people has also gone down from 926.7 in the week up to 11 October to 604.4.

    For a third day, the city has the second highest rate in England, behind Knowsley in Merseyside.

     

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  • London drivers could have to pay £27.50 a day Congestion charge, Congestion charge could be expanded into Clapham, Stockwell, Peckham, Lewisham, Wandsworth

    A deal to provide emergency funding to Transport for London (TfL) could rely on the expansion of London’s congestion charge zone.

    Currently, the congestion charge operates in central London, covering the same area as the capital’s ultra-low-emission zone (ULEZ).

     

    However, an initial bailout from the Government in the wake of the coronavirus crisis has already seen prices increased and its hours of operation extended.

    It now applies from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week, while drivers must pay £15, rather than £11.50, to enter the zone. 

    At the time, TfL described that as a ‘temporary’ price increase as a result of a funding agreement between the Government and the transport authority.

    It secured a £1.6 billion bailout from the Government after warning it could have to cut services.

    TfL has asked for a £5.7bn package to prop up services for the next 18 months, after passenger numbers and revenues have fallen after the March lockdown.

    An interim funding measure was agreed for the next fortnight with ministers last Friday, but the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has hit out at Government proposals for further TfL funding.

    He labelled the plans “ill-advised and draconian”, and warned it would “punish Londoners for doing the right thing to tackle Covid-19”.

    The extension to the £15 congestion charge zone would go live in October next year, when the expanded ULEZ is also introduced due to be introduced covering the same area.

    It would see the zone expanded to cover approximately four million more Londoners.

    The Mayor also says that the Government wants to increase TfL fares by more than RPI+1%.

    A further Government proposal is to introduce a new council tax precept charge in the capital ­­– effectively increasing council tax by an as yet unspecified amount for all Londoners, regardless of whether they use public transport, claims Khan.

    He said: "I simply cannot accept this Government plan, which would hit Londoners with a triple whammy of higher costs at a time when so many people are already facing hardship.

    "The Government should be supporting Londoners through this difficult time – not making ill-advised and draconian proposals which will choke off our economic recovery.

    "Ministers already forced TfL to bring forward proposals to increase the cost and hours of the congestion charge in May – now they want to expand it to cover four million more Londoners.

    "They also want to significantly increase fares in London and hit all Londoners with a regressive new tax.

    "It is clear that difficult choices lie ahead to plug the huge gap the pandemic left in TfL's finances. I have been ready to talk with Government about how the necessary funds can be raised – but a proposal which singles out Londoners for punishment is completely unacceptable, as well as making no economic sense.

    "I urge Ministers to come back to the table with a revised proposal which does not punish Londoners for doing the right thing to tackle Covid-19 – and to publish their review into TfL's finances in full. I remain ready to talk."

    The Department for Transport (DfT) says talks over a settlement were ongoing.

    London's drivers could soon be forced to stump up £27.50 each day as part of a Government bailout of TfL.

    Sadiq Khan claims ministers are demanding he extends the £15 congestion zone to the North and South circulars as a condition for financial support.

     

     

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