Croydon warehouse blaze tackled by firefighters

Shurgard warehouse
Twenty fire engines were deployed to the fire at the warehouse in Purley Way

Up to 120 firefighters are battling a large blaze at a self-storage warehouse in south London.

Twenty fire engines were deployed to the fire at the warehouse in Purley Way, Croydon, after London Fire Brigade (LFB) were called at 19:45 GMT.

Local roads have been shut while crews from Croydon and other surrounding fire stations tackle the fire.

LFB said there had been no reports of any injuries and the cause of the blaze was currently not known.

Shurgard warehouse
Local roads around Purley Way have been closed while fire crews tackle the blaze

Transport for London urged drivers to use alternative routes.

Brexit: US ambassador to UK Johnson warns on trade deal



Donald Trump’s offer of a “quick, massive bilateral trade deal” won’t be possible if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is backed by Parliament, the US ambassador to the UK has warned.

Woody Johnson told Radio 4’s Today programme such a deal with the US could lead to an “exciting future” for the UK.

But that’s only if Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement does not succeed, he said.

President Trump had previously described her offer as a “great deal for the EU” .

The UK-US trade relationship in five charts

What are the challenges ahead for a UK-US trade deal?

“What I’m focusing on here is something the president has also said – that is looking forward to, and hoping, that the environment will lead to the ability for the US to do a quick, very massive bilateral trade deal,” said Mr Johnson.

He added it could be “the precursor of future trade deals with other countries around the world for Great Britain that will really take you way, way into an exciting future”.

“We’re still going through the stages of deciding exactly where the country is going,” said Mr Johnson. “If it goes in a way that allows these kinds of agreements to occur then I think that will be very positive in the president’s eyes.”


Johnson said a trade deal with the US would be “positive” in Mr Trump’s eyes

Asked if that would go ahead under the current proposed Brexit deal, he replied: “It doesn’t look like it would be possible.”He said ministers – and the prime minister – had to “measure the impact of all the other trade offs” and how different trade agreements would benefit the UK.

Mr Trump has said Mrs May’s deal could leave Britain unable to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the US.

Mr Johnson did not give more details about what such a deal would entail.

However, while the UK is either in a transition period after Brexit – or in a temporary customs union – it will not be able to implement its own free trade deals, with the US or any other third country.

IMAGESThe Queen and Donald Trump
President Trump met the Queen in July – could a state visit be on the cards for 2019?

Mr Johnson also said he had been surprised by the “defeatism” felt in the UK over Brexit.

“All of the reporting looks back and it looks at a very static future, rather than an active British future – about solving problems, entrepreneurialism and taking advantage of opportunities and being very innovative,” said Mr Johnson.

“If you look back and try to project the past into the present and future, it’s going to be bleak.

“But you’re leaving out the great thing that Britain has to offer and that is all of the people and all of their efforts and their ability to solve problems. If you factor that in, I think the future is extremely positive, extremely bright.”

He added that it would be “great” if President Trump’s postponed state visit could take place in May, around the time of World War Two commemorations – if his schedule, and that of the Queen, allowed.

Drone to watch over New Year celebration in New York”:

A camera-equipped drone will watch over New Year’s Eve celebrations in New York City, the NYPD has confirmed.

It is the first time the force has used a surveillance drone to monitor the annual party in Times Square.

It will be tethered to a building so that it cannot fall on to the crowd below if something goes wrong.

The force said it would also deploy “counter-drone technology” to prevent unauthorised aircraft flying over the celebration in Times Square.

It declined to elaborate on its counter-drone measures, but said visitors to the city should leave their drones at home. The drone will let police move the camera to a point of interest with “greater rapidity”, the NYPD’s John Miller said at a press conference.

However, officers declined to say how many camera drones would be deployed.

Police Commissioner James O'NeillImage copyrightNYC MAYOR’S OFFICE
Image captionPolice Commissioner James O’Neill said the drone would be “this big”

More than a million people are expected to celebrate New Year in the area surrounding Times Square, where the annual “ball drop” on top of One Times Square will take place.

In addition to the drone, the NYPD said it would deploy thousands of cameras, officers and other security measures to keep party-goers safe.

“You will see a lot of officers with a lot of gear and long guns,” said Police Commissioner James O’Neill.

Times Square ballImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe Times Square “ball drop” is world famous

He also urged the public to remember the “see something, say something” campaign, and to report anything suspicious to police.

“That’s not just a slogan… in fact, attacks have been stopped because someone said something. Lives have been saved because someone said something,” he said.

“If something doesn’t feel right, you’ve got to tell an NYPD officer.”

However, he stressed the measures were precautionary and said police had not received any credible threats of disruption.

Dino Melaye: Nigeria police don become Buhari goment toy to attack opposition – Senate president

African News

PHILIP OJISUASaraki use vex eye dey look Buhari

Nigeria goment dey use police to close di mouth of di opposition pipo for di kontri and dey supress human rights, according to Senate president Bukola Saraki.

“Dis kontri no be banana kontri, police no suppose act outside di law, dem no suppose to dey abuse pipo rights”na so Saraki tok for statement e release late Saturday, to reply di way police take block di house of opposition senator Dino Melaye.

Tori be say police don declare wanted Senator Melaye wey be right hand man of Senate President Saraki sake of accuse wey concern using of thugs to attack one police officer.

For statement wey di senate president tok tok pesin Yusuph Olaniyonu sign e say di President Muhammadu Buhari goment dey use police to shut-up di mouth of opposition for Nigeria.  

E say dem dey suspect di way police take enta di senator house and di timing show say dem no wan make im join do di kontri election wey go happun for February.

“Police claim say dem send letter to clerk of di senate about Dino mata, but I check for clerk office, I no see anytin like dat”na so di senate president tok.


Police brutality na im make #EndSARS turn to serious mata among kontri pipo of Nigeria and e don tey wen ordinary pipo and activists dey cry out say di kontri police sabi abuse di rights of citizens.

Saraki say dem no dey against police to do dia work, but dem no suppose begin touchlight mata wey happun since July now wey election time don reach.

Di statement say “Dem just dey charge am wit plenti allegation wey no dey necessary and dem no say im be candidate for di next election and e no fit run”.

Senator Dino Melaye bin tok say police wan arrest and inject am to death, but police deny am, few days later police use force enta di senator house to arrest am and dem say dem go tanda for dia till im surrender to dem.

Meanwhile oga Melaye don tell police wen him don ready, e go surrender himsef give police.

Saraki and Buhari no dey see eye to eye since August wen di senate president port from ruling All Progressive Congress APC join opposition People’s Democratic Party PDP wia im don become director general of opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar campaign organisation.

Calls to rid bacon and ham of processing nitrites



Leading scientists and a cross-party group of politicians are calling for chemicals called nitrites to be removed from processed meats like bacon.

Cancer specialists and politicians are among those backing the campaign to take out nitrites.

They say nitrite-free alternatives are safer and should be more widely used.

The British Meat Processors Association said nitrites are used in curing meats to help preserve them and add flavour and they are authorised additives.

They said the European Food Safety Authority found consumer exposure to nitrites and nitrates as food additives was within safe levels for all population groups, except for a slight exceedance in children whose diet is high in foods containing the chemicals.

Should there be a tax on red meat?

How much of a cancer risk are processed meats?

MPs and doctors said there was a “consensus of scientific opinion” that, when cooked and eaten, nitrites produce nitrosamines – chemicals which can cause cancer.

They said producers of Parma ham had not used nitrites for 25 years and more recently Nestle in France and Finnebrogue in the UK had produced mass-market products such as bacon and ham that did not use chemical additives.

They point to a 2015 World Health Organization report that said chemicals involved in processing could increase the risk of colorectal cancer as well as research from Glasgow Universitythat suggested eating processed meat could increase the chance of developing breast cancer .

They also called on the government to launch a public awareness campaign, similar to the war on sugar and fattening foods, to raise awareness of the risks of nitrites.

The coalition is led by Professor Chris Elliott, the food scientist who ran the government’s investigation into the horse meat scandal, and Dr Aseem Malhotra, a leading NHS cardiologist.

Dr Malhotra said the meat industry “must act fast, (and) act now”.

But a spokesman for the British Meat Processors Association said nitrites helped to hinder microbial growth and protect against botulism, a serious form of food poisoning.

“The industry is constantly looking at the levels of nitrites and nitrates, but reductions have to be balanced against the food safety issues and minimising waste,” he said.

What is processed meat?


Processed meat has been modified to either extend its shelf life or change the taste and the main methods are smoking, curing, or adding salt or preservatives.

Simply putting beef through a mincer does not mean the resulting mince is “processed” unless it is modified further.

Processed meat includes bacon, sausages, hot dogs, salami, corned beef, beef jerky and ham as well as canned meat and meat-based sauces.

Kilmarnock shop assistant threatened with ‘firearm’

Glasgow & West Scotland


The robbery happened at the Heather Store in Holehouse Road

A shop assistant was threatened with what appeared to be a firearm during a robbery at a store in Kilmarnock.

The 49-year-old man was working in Heather Store in Holehouse Road at about 09:40 on Saturday when a man came into the shop, threatened him and demanded money.

The man then left the shop with a small amount of cash and was last seen heading towards Grassyards Road.

Police said the shop assistant was not injured but was extremely distressed.

The suspect was described as being white, aged 45-50, 5ft 8in to 5ft 10in tall, of slim build with ginger/blond stubble on his face. He was wearing a green parker-style jacket and black skinny trousers.

‘Traumatic ordeal’

Det Con Steven Grey said: “This was a very traumatic ordeal for the shop assistant and something he should not have to experience during his working day.

“It is vital that we catch the man responsible for this robbery as he could very well do this again, therefore, I urge anyone who recognises his description, or anyone who has any information at all regarding the incident, to contact police immediately.

“We know that there were a number of joggers and people walking their dogs in the area at the time the robbery took place so I especially would like to speak to them as they may be able to provide vital information.”

2face, Tiwa Savage, AY, others bond with neighbours at Haven Homes Xmas party

Residents of Richmond Gate Estate, in highbrow Lekki area of Lagos, built by leading lifestyle connoisseur, Haven Homes held their Estate Christmas party recently and it was a moment of bonding for the people. The annual event was organized by the estate’s residents to promote friendship among residents. The chairman of the Residents Association, MrAfolabiOke explained that in an estate where many residents are top celebrities and VIPs who have excelled in renowned industries, it was important to create a night of music, jokes and entertainment to crown the year. The grand event was anchored by MC Pencil and performances were led by celebrity co residents like 2face, comedian cum film maker, AY, Dr Sid, Tiwa Savage, Banky W among others.


Tiwa Savage had thrilled her neighbours’ kids at the children’s party held earlier in the day. Speaking  at  the  event, Managing  Director  Haven Homes, Tayo  Sonuga, disclosed  that the company’ goal is to create a luxurious, peaceful and safe environment where celebs, VIPs, expatriates and other influential members of the society can live peacefully and cohabit peaceably with their neighbors. That’s what we have currently at Richmond Gate Estate. He also added that, ‘our estates are designed to give comfort that is devoid of status but is also very affordable by all who desire the serene atmosphere all round’. Sonuga further revealed that Haven Homes was the developer that pioneered the spectacular contemporary designs that have now dotted the capital’s landscape.  AY, who recently moved into his second home he bought within Richmond Gate Estate noted that his heart knows no bounds seating and chatting with his neighbours in an environment that is homely without rattling and bustling after working hard all day.   He enjoined more Nigerians to come join the train as they are building an inclusive environment that will impact individual and contribute to economic and social development. 2Face, aka 2Baba was also present with his lovely wife, Annie. 2Face couldn’t find words to describe his peace and joy for having found such a tranquil and friendly estate to live with his family. Banky W confirmed he has joined the growing list of celebrities finding haven at Richmond Gate Estate and he also used the occasion to enjoin the residents of the need to come out and vote with  their consciences at the forthcoming general elections in 2019. 

New Year Honours 2019: Twiggy, Michael Palin and Gareth Southgate on list

Twiggy, Michael Palin and Philip Pullman are among those being honoured.
Twiggy, Michael Palin and Philip Pullman are among those being honoured.

Monty Python star Michael Palin has been knighted and model Twiggy made a dame in a New Year Honours list that also recognises the achievements of England manager Gareth Southgate.

Southgate becomes an OBE after guiding the Three Lions to the World Cup semi-finals in Russia – and the same honour goes to another sporting hero from 2018, Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas.

Former England cricket captain Alastair Cook and His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman are among the other new knights, while Handmaid’s Tale novelist Margaret Atwood joins the elite Companions of Honour.

There are honours and bravery medals for seven members of the team of British divers which rescued 12 young footballers from a Thai cave in July.

And 43 people – including medics and police officers – have been recognised for their response to the terror attacks in Manchester and London in 2017.

‘Ambassador for Britain’

Sir Michael’s honour means he is the first member of the Monty Python comedy group to be knighted.

But the 75-year-old, who became a CBE in 2000 for his TV work, is being recognised for services to travel, culture and geography following his career as a writer and presenter of documentaries that have taken him all over the world, most recently to North Korea.

He said to mark his latest achievement, he may “just have a quiet celebration, just myself and a glass of Horlicks and then go to bed”.

Twiggy shot to fame in 1960s London

The damehood for Twiggy – born Lesley Hornby – is for services to fashion, to the arts and to charity.

She shot to fame as a face of 1960s London, and referring to her new title, said: “I’m a very proud Brit, I feel I’m an ambassador for Britain, I always have.

“My only sadness with this is my mum and dad aren’t here to know. They’d have been so proud.”

Gareth Southgate
Southgate’s squad reached the final four in Russia in July

Southgate, whose World Cup run came less than two years after he took over as England manager, said: “I hope that everybody that has supported me throughout my career feels pride in the fact that I’ve received this honour because I wouldn’t be in this position without that help and guidance.”

Kayaking rescue

Overall, 1,148 people are on the main honours list . Some 70% of recipients are recognised for work in their community and 47% of the total are women.

The Foreign Office has announced an additional 93 honours, and there are separate lists covering the gallantry awards and for service personnel in the military .

The dramatic rescue of a boys’ football team stranded in a cave in Thailand captivated the world in July. Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, the first divers to reach the teenagers, have been given the George Medal,the second highest civilian gallantry award.

Richard Stanton (left) and John Volanthen
Richard Stanton and John Volanthen were key members of the cave rescue team

Seven firefighters who saved elderly residents from a blaze at a care home in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, in 2017, receive Queen’s Gallantry Medals.

Meanwhile, 14-year-old Joe Rowlands, from Cheshire, who saved his father from drowning in a kayaking incident off Anglesey, receives a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.

Among those honoured after the 2017 terror attacks is Detective Chief Inspector Teresa Lam, family liaison lead for Greater Manchester Police, who receives a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to policing and the community.

Colin Kelsey, who led the NHS response to the Manchester Arena bombing, Dr Malik Ramadhan, who was in charge of A&E at the Royal London hospital after the London Bridge attack, and Paul Woodrow, operations director at the London Ambulance Service, all become OBEs.

Suffragist statue

From the arts world, there are CBEs for violinist Nicola Benedetti, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan, and actress Sophie Okonedo.

Children’s book author Julia Donaldson – creator of the Gruffalo, Zog and many other much-loved characters – also receives a CBE.

Jim Carter, Sophie Okonedo
Actors Jim Carter and Sophie Okonedo are recognised

Conservationist and broadcaster Chris Packham is made a CBE alongside three artists – Tacita Dean, Yinka Shonibare and Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing. The latter’s statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett was unveiled in Parliament Square in April.

Actors Jim Carter, who plays butler Charles Carson in Downton Abbey, and Thandie Newton, seen recently in Westworld and Line of Duty, have been made OBEs.

Mike Peters, the frontman of rock band the Alarm, has been made an MBE for services to charity. He has raised thousands for cancer care projects after recovering from the disease himself.

The sporting honours include an MBE for England skipper Harry Kane, who won the World Cup’s golden boot after scoring six goals at the tournament.

There is a knighthood for Bill Beaumont, former England rugby union captain, a CBE for outgoing Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore, and an OBE for jump jockey Richard Johnson.

England netball star Geva Mentor, who was part of the team’s Commonwealth Games gold medal victory, becomes a CBE.

Clockwise from top left: Alastair Cook, Geva Mentor, Richard Johnson, Frances Houghton
The knighthood for Alastair Cook (top left) heads the sporting honours and there is recognition for Geva Mentor, Richard Johnson and Frances Houghton

Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, 86, who survived the Munich air disaster in 1958, becomes an OBE for services to football, and there is an MBE for Rangers and Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley.

There are MBEs for former Fulham and West Ham player Leroy Rosenior, now vice-president of Show Racism the Red Card, for services to tackling discrimination in sport, and Women’s Sport Trust co-founder Joanna Bostock for services to gender equality.

The same honour goes to former world darts champion John Lowe, Welsh triathlete Helen Jenkins and three-time Olympic rowing silver medallist Frances Houghton.

MPs knighted

From the world of business, former Virgin Money boss Jayne-Anne Gadhia is made a dame for her contribution to financial services and women in the industry. Ann Gloag, co-founder of Stagecoach, who set up a healthcare charity for women in Africa, is recognised with a damehood for services to business and philanthropy.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Glenda Bailey
Jayne-Anne Gadhia and Glenda Bailey are among the new dames

The other new dames include former athlete Louise Martin, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, and Glenda Bailey, editor of the US edition of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, for services to journalism and the GREAT Britain campaign.

Christopher Bailey-Woods, president of Burberry, and Whitbread’s chief executive Alison Brittain receive CBEs.

Three MPs have been given knighthoods for political service – Labour’s Alan Campbell, and Conservatives John Redwood and Gary Streeter.

The unexpected knighthood last month for MP John Hayes prompted speculation Downing Street would seek to use honours as an incentive to persuade politicians to back the PM’s Brexit deal.

However, decisions on awards for political service are made by an independent committee and the Cabinet Office stressed Theresa May’s “strategic steer” for this honours list had been that it supported those working to help children and tackle discrimination.

Melissa Mead with son William
Melissa Mead has been recognised for her campaign work on sepsis following the death of her son, William

Youth magazine founder Saeed Atcha, 22, is the youngest person on the main list. His MBE is for services to young people and the community in Greater Manchester.

The oldest person is 100-year-old Robert Lingwood, a World War Two veteran whose receives a British Empire Medal for services to the community in County Tyrone.

John Clough, whose daughter Jane was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in Blackpool, gets an MBE for his campaigning on behalf of domestic abuse victims, while Mark Prince, whose 15-year-old son Kiyan was killed outside a London school in 2006, has been made an OBE for tackling gang crime.

Melissa Mead, from Penryn, Cornwall, whose son William died in 2014 of blood poisoning,becomes an MBE after campaigning to raise awareness of sepsis.

The same honour goes to Colin Crooks, from social enterprise Tree Shepherd, who has helped disadvantaged communities in London since the 1980s.

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The honours system

CBE, OBE and MBE medals

Commonly awarded ranks:

  • Companion of honour – Limited to 65 people. Recipients wear the initials CH after their name
  • Knight or Dame
  • CBE – Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • OBE – Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • MBE – Member of the Order of the British Empire
  • BEM – British Empire Medal
  • Guide to the honours
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More on this story

Guide to the Honours01 August 2016

New York awe-struck as sky over Queens turns blue

The New York skyline had residents scratching their heads
The New York skyline had residents scratching their heads

An explosion at an electrical power station in New York City on Thursday evening lit up the sky with an eerie blue light – and triggered a flurry of speculation on social media.

Some wondered if aliens had landed.

Others thought something supernatural might be to blame for the ghostly glow.

Others wondered if the hand of God was at work over New York, heralding perhaps a new Pope, or the moment when Evangelicals say true believers will be swept up, or “raptured”, to heaven.

The New York Police Department took to Twitter to reassure the public that the strange light was caused by something much more down to earth – a transformer explosion at a Con Edison power station in the Astoria neighbourhood of the borough of Queens.

And Con Edison shed more light on the cause of the excitement.

Meanwhile, the power cut hit New York’s LaGuardia Airport, which warned travellers to be prepared for delays.

The blue colour comes from the way electricity passes though air, correspondents say.

Electrical energy will knock electrons off atoms in the gases that make up the air.

When these electrons recombine with the excited atoms, returning them to their starting energy state, light is emitted.

The colour of the light emitted depends on the type of atoms involved.

A blue colour is associated with oxygen atoms; pink/purple colours are associated with nitrogen atoms. Oxygen and nitrogen are the gases that dominate the air we breathe.

Boko Haram launches series of attacks in north-east Nigeria

​By abekunle best

Militants seize town of Baga, near Chad, in show of force before presidential election

Boko Haram has launched a series of attacks in north-east Nigeria, hoisting its flags over several towns and overrunning a multinational military base. Militants from Islamic State West Africa Province, a faction of Boko Haram that split off in 2016, have taken over the former commercial town of Baga near the border with Chad, and seized the nearby multinational joint taskforce base (MNJTF), in a show of force less than two months before Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari

Hundreds of people fled Baga for Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, which has been the centre of the Boko Haram crisis during the past decade. Escapees said gunshots heralded the arrival of uniformed, turbaned men, who quickly took control of the town. Some said they led prayers in the town on Friday. The army chief of training and operations, however, said the fight was ongoing.

“We are having a ding-dong situation in Baga right now,” he said. “We are not in full control, but Boko Haram have not taken control either.”

Several communities surrounding Baga also fell to the insurgents, according to residents. “Boko Haram are now occupying the MNJTF and positioned their gun truck strategically in Shuwari town,” said Mala Musa, a youth volunteer living in Baga.

Hassan Mahmud, a resident of Kukawa, said they arrived just as he was starting dinner. “Boko Haram has taken over Cross Kauwa, Kukawa and Baga,” he said. “Presently Boko Haram (members) have hoisted their flag in Baga town and are in full control.

“I’d bet my life that Boko Haram are strongly and forcefully retaking the north of Borno state, because they easily sweep the area. No soldiers are in these areas as I speak, and most of our civilian populace have run out of the town.”

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari
 President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking reelection. Photograph: Sunday Alamba/AP

Mahmud managed to flee Kukawa, taking most of his family members with him. Arriving into Maiduguri at 9am on Friday morning, he sipped some tea as he recounted the ordeal that led to their 200km journey.

He said the militants headed straight for the military bases, trying to reassure civilians that they would be safe. “Boko Haram were even telling us: ‘Don’t worry, we are not here for you. Stay where you are and don’t panic.’ But can we trust them? Definitely not.”

Baga, previously a bustling town home to 300,000 people, was the site of what Buhari, then in opposition, called “an unspeakable massacre” in 2015. Up to 2,000 people are thought to have died then, but, as one resident said: No one stayed back to count the bodies

Over 100 police officers who were being trained in counter-terrorism were sacked this week after they absconded to avoid having to fight Boko Haram, Nigerian media has reported

Nigerian soldiers frequently complain of being poorly equipped to fight a group that has killed tens of thousands of people, raped and kidnapped many more, and displaced millions.

“The morale of our military personnel is going lower every day because our strength is daily weakened by the number of casualties.. due to lack of or obsolete equipment,” said an officer who asked for anonymity.

Buhari’s campaign for a second term rests partly on his security record – last week he claimed that “people in the north-east know that we have recorded remarkable improvement in the fight against Boko Haram”.

His administration has Sent thousands of displaced people back to the areas they fled to try to further this perception, despite the fact that many of them remain unsafe. The spate of attacks over Christmas could undo this carefully crafted perception.

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