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Emiliano Sala’s funeral to take place in hometown in Argentina


The funeral of Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala will take place in his native Argentina on Saturday.

The 28-year-old died when the plane he was in with pilot David Ibbotson crashed in the English Channel en route from Nantes to Cardiff on 21 January.

His funeral will take place in his hometown of Progreso and a wake will also be held at the club Sala played for as a youth.

Among those due to attend is Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock

GETTY IMAGES/DAVID IBBOTSON

Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson

Sala was killed when a single-engine light aircraft, flown by pilot Mr Ibbotson, crashed near Alderney just two days after he became Cardiff City’s record transfer,

His body, which was recovered from the wreckage following a privately-funded search last week, was repatriated in Argentina on Friday.

It was then driven from Buenos Aires to the Sante Fe province, where Sala grew up.

Emiliano Sala: Search for footballer and pilot called off

Emiliano Sala: £220,000 raised for private search Emiliano Sala: £220,000 raised for private search

Ahead of the service, boyhood club San Martin de Progreso posted a message on social media saying: “We are waiting for you … like the first day you left but this time to stay with us forever.

“Eternally in our hearts.”

San Martin de Progreso club entrance
GETTY IMAGES / AFP

Sala played football at San Martin de Progreso until he was 15

As well as Cardiff’s delegation of Warnock and chief executive Ken Choo, Sala’s former club FC Nantes will be represented by defender Nicolas Pallois and its general secretary.

Sala’s mother Mercedes and sister Romina, who travelled to Europe after his disappearance, have already rejoined the footballer’s dad Horacio back in Argentina.

Meanwhile, a campaign to raise funds to find the body of Mr Ibbotson has reached £240,000

The family of the 59-year-old, who is feared dead, are hoping to raise £300,000.

Killer car seats’ sold online for £8′


Children’s car seats, dubbed “killers” by trading standards officers, have repeatedly appeared for sale on online marketplaces, Which? has warned.

The consumer group said the fabric seats, which can cost as little as £8, offered almost no protection in a crash and were illegal to use in the UK.

The online sites – Amazon, eBay and AliExpress – all said they had removed the seats from sale.

But Which? said the listings should have been deleted quicker.

Crash tests

Which? said the seats had been described online as suitable for children from newborns up to the age of five.

However, in 2014, Surrey Trading Standards had conducted tests on a fabric seat which fell to pieces in a 30 mph accident. The crash test dummy of a three-year-old child was flung through the windscreen when the straps securing the seat failed.

Trading standards officers dubbed them “killer car seats” and removed dozens of them from sale. Which? said they lacked the support needed to protect babies and toddlers.

However, the consumer group said that they had repeatedly re-appeared for sale on online marketplaces ever since.

Alex Neill, from Which?, said: “Parents will be horrified at the thought they could be unwittingly putting their child’s life at risk with one of these ‘killer’ car seats. Online marketplaces cannot continue to turn a blind eye to dangerous and illegal products being sold on their sites.”

How to check

Regulations state that only EU-approved child car seats can be used in the UK.

Approved seats carry a clear orange label with the codes ECE R44-03, ECE R44-04 or ECE R129 to indicate they have been put through EU safety testing and can therefore be legally sold on the UK market.

Consumer groups suggest car seats should never be bought secondhand, as they could have been involved in an accident but damage to the seat may be unclear.

Sales site eBay told Which? that it had asked the sellers involved to contact the buyers to organise a return, and to pay for the return shipping.

“Our specialist teams work with regulators and Trading Standards to ensure our block filters stay up to date, using sophisticated software that monitors billions of listings a day to remove any prohibited items,” an eBay spokesman said.

Amazon said: “All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The products in question are no longer available.”

AliExpress said: “After we were told by Which? about these third-party listings, we took prompt action to remove them. We will continue to take action against sellers who violate our terms of use.”

Newspaper headlines: IS teen baby plea, and Trump Brexit ‘boost’


The Daily Telegraph front page on 16 February 2019
The Daily Telegraph reports that the head of MI6 has said British citizens who join the Islamic State group – such as Ms Begum – have a right to return to the UK. Alex Younger also warned that fighters trying to return home from Syria were “potentially very dangerous” and the group would “morph and spread”, even as world leaders prepare to announce the end of the so-called caliphate.
Daily Mail front page 16 February 2019
The Daily Mail has claimed a “victory” following its campaign urging banks to reimburse victims of “sophisticated” frauds. A number of banks have agreed to pay into a fund that will “ensure no genuine victim is left out of pocket”, the newspaper reports.
FT Weekend front page 16 February 2019
Mobile phone companies will be forced to open up their networks to rivals in an effort to improve coverage in rural areas, according to the FT. More than a fifth of the UK does not have adequate signal to make a phone call, the paper reports. The digital and culture secretary has told the telecoms regulator to examine the benefits of forcing operators to share masts.
Daily Express front page on 16 February 2019
The Daily Express celebrates on its front page US President Donald Trump’s remarks that US-UK trade will increase “very substantially” after Brexit. The paper says the comments will give Britain a “huge boost”.
The Daily Mirror front page 16 February 2019
The Daily Mirror reports that TV presenter Ant McPartlin has accused broadcaster Piers Morgan of insulting people suffering from mental health problems. Morgan recently questioned why McPartlin was up for an award since he had been “sitting on his backside”. McPartlin pulled out of hosting ITV’s Saturday Night Takeaway last year after he was arrested for drinking and driving.
The Sun front page 16 February
The Sun features on its front page a “fiery clash” between the estranged wife of celebrity chef Paul Hollywood and his “young lover” in Marks and Spencer.

Vatican envoy Luigi Ventura faces sexual assault claim”:


Archbishop Luigi Ventura is Italian by birth

The Vatican’s ambassador to France is under investigation for sexual assault.

Luigi Ventura, 74, allegedly molested a junior official at a mayoral address to diplomats at Paris town hall on 17 January.

The city mayor’s office filed a complaint on 24 January and a judicial investigation opened the next day.

Archbishop Ventura has served as ambassador for 10 years. The allegations come amid a wave of sexual abuse accusations in the clergy.

AFP

Luigi Ventura met President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace earlier in January

It is traditional for ambassadors to attend the Paris mayor’s New Year address to diplomats, religious leaders and civil society figures

A City Hall official told Reuters that Archbishop Ventura “caressed in an insistent and repeated manner” the buttocks of the young man who welcomed him to the event.

Last week, Pope Francis acknowledged sexual abuse of nuns by priests and in December two cardinals were demoted following abuse allegations.

Mr Ventura’s representatives have declined to comment on the allegations.

China closes its Everest base camp to tourists”:


More and more people want to see the world’s tallest peak

China has closed the base camp on its side of Mount Everest to visitors who don’t have climbing permits.

Authorities have resorted to the unusual move to deal with the mounting waste problem at the site.

The ban means tourists can only go as far as a monastery slightly below the 5,200m (17,060ft) base camp level.

More people visit the mountain from the southern side in Nepal, but over the past years numbers have been rising steadily on the Chinese side as well.

The Chinese base camp, located in Tibet, is popular as it is accessible by car – whereas the Nepalese camp can only be reached by a hike of almost two weeks.

The world’s highest peak has been struggling with escalating levels of rubbish for years, as the number of visitors rises.

The Chinese Mountaineering Association says 40,000 visited its base camp in 2015, the most recent year with figures. A record 45,000 visited Nepal’s base camp in 2016-7 according to Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation.

Everest view from Tibetan side
GETTY IMAGES

Tourists are still allowed to go as far as the Rongbuk monastery

Ordinary tourists will only be banned from areas above Rongbuk monastery, which is around 5,000m above sea level, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.

Mountaineers who have a permit to climb the 8,848m peak will still be allowed to use the higher camp.

In January, authorities announced that they would limit the number of climbing permits each year to 300.

On Chinese social media, claims have spread in recent days that its base camp will be permanently closed to tourists – but Xinhua cited officials denying that.

Nepalese sherpa picking up trash on Everest
GETTY IMAGES

The temperature and high altitude make clean-up efforts on Everest a tough task

The official announcement about the closure was made in December, on the website of the Tibetan authorities.

It stated that three clean-up operations last spring had collected eight tonnes of waste, including human faeces and mountaineering equipment climbers had left behind.

This year’s clean-up efforts will also try to remove the bodies of mountaineers who have died in the so-called death zone above 8,000m, where the air is too thin to sustain life for long.

Due to the cold and high altitude, these bodies often remain on the mountain for years or even decades.

Spain PM Sánchez sets snap election for April”:


The PM has been governing in a very fragmented political landscape

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has called a snap general election for 28 April, after Catalan nationalist MPs withdrew support for the Socialist government’s budget.

It is just eight months since Mr Sánchez took office, heading a minority government reliant on Catalan support.

Opinion polls suggest that no single party would win a clear majority. But conservatives and the far-right Vox party are expected to do well.

The Catalan crisis is still simmering.

Catalan separatist MPs rejected Mr Sánchez’s budget bill after the government refused to discuss the region’s right to self-determination.

Divisions were highlighted on Tuesday, when 12 Catalan separatist leaders and activists went on trial accused of rebellion and sedition over their unrecognised independence referendum in 2017.

The Socialists (PSOE) have 84 seats in the 350-seat lower house (Congress of Deputies), and their main allies, anti-austerity Podemos, have 67. But the biggest party is the conservative opposition Popular Party (PP), with 134.

In his announcement, Mr Sánchez complained that the right-wing parties – the PP and Ciudadanos – had blocked numerous bills in parliament, including important measures to reduce inequality.

Is this snap election unusual for Spain?

Yes. Since the return of Spanish democracy, with the death of fascist dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, it is only the second time that a government’s budget bill has been defeated in parliament.

The previous occasion was in 1995, when the Socialists under Felipe González were forced to call an election.

Turbulence and shifting alliances

By the BBC’s Guy Hedgecoe in Madrid

While the end of Pedro Sánchez’s tenure looked inevitable, following his parliamentary budget defeat, this adds further uncertainty to a fragmented Spanish political landscape.

His PSOE is leading many polls and could win this election, but might find it hard to form a majority and govern.

The leftist Podemos, the PSOE’s natural ally, is riven by infighting and struggling in polls.

With the Catalonia issue likely to dominate the upcoming campaign, the hardline pro-unity stance of parties on the right – the PP and Ciudadanos – could see them benefit. If the numbers add up, they could try and form a majority, possibly with the support of far-right Vox, which has enjoyed a surge in polls, due mainly to its uncompromising policy on Catalan independence.

Cheryl Grimmer: Murder charge in toddler’s 1970 disappearance dropped”:


Cheryl disappeared shortly after her family migrated to Australia

Australian prosecutors have dropped their case against a man who had been accused of murdering a UK-born toddler almost 50 years ago.

The disappearance of three-year-old Cheryl Grimmer from a New South Wales beach in 1970 is one of Australia’s longest-running mysteries.

A man was arrested in 2017, and he later pleaded not guilty to murder.

On Friday, a judge ruled that a key part of the prosecution case could not be used as evidence in a trial.

It concerned statements made by the man during a police interview in 1971, when he was aged 17.

The Supreme Court of New South Wales found that the evidence could not be heard because the teenager had not had an adult representative present during the interview.

Justice Robert Allan Hulme said: “The Crown accepts that its case cannot succeed without it.”

Family devastated

Cheryl went missing from a shower block on 12 January, 1970, in Wollongong, a city 70km (44 miles) south of Sydney, shortly after her family moved to Australia from Bristol.

It sparked a massive search at the time, but no trace of the girl was ever found.

GETTY IMAGES

Police conduct a search days after Cheryl’s disappearance

On Friday Cheryl’s brother, Ricki Nash, said the family was devastated by the latest development and felt let down by police.

“We’re just a bit numb, a bit shocked… no words can describe how I feel at the moment,” he said outside the court.

Over the years, the family had expressed frustration at the lack of progress in the case.

Another of her brothers, Stephen Grimmer, said in 2016: “My mum and dad have passed on now not knowing, and we want to know too before we pass on.”

‘Unfair’ evidence

In explaining his decision, Justice Hulme acknowledged that the man had made a written statement and engaged in a “walk-through style interview” with police in 1971.

Unlike now, minors were not legally required to be accompanied by an adult when giving such statements.

NSW POLICE

Cheryl with her late father, Vince Grimmer

However, Justice Hulme ruled that the man’s police interview “should be excluded on the basis of unfairness”.

He also noted testimony from psychologists who had reviewed the case for the trial.

They found that the man had “low intellect” and would have been “more vulnerable to influence” at the time, the judge said.

The man’s trial had been due to begin in May.

A&E waits at worst level for 15 years.


A&E waits in England have reached their worst level since the four-hour target was introduced in 2004.

The deterioration in performance came after hospitals appeared to be coping well in the early part of winter.

During January, just 84.4% of patients were treated or admitted in four hours – well below the 95% threshold.

It means nearly 330,000 patients waited longer than they should with hospitals reporting significant problems finding beds for those needing to be kept in.

More than 80,000 patients were kept waiting an extra four hours or more to be transferred to a ward after their wait in A&E.

These are known as trolley waits since patients are left in temporary waiting areas while a bed is found.

All this comes despite relatively low levels of flu.

Presentational grey line

Dr Nick Scriven, of the Society for Acute Medicine, said it was clear the NHS was under “severe strain”.

He said hospitals had seen significant over-crowding with many intensive care units completely full.

He said this had had a knock-on effect on ambulances which were being delayed dropping off patients at A&E.

“Although there is less minor illness associated with flu this year, there are more severely ill people than last year which is putting an even bigger strain on the critical care facilities in our hospitals.

“Any NHS worker will tell you that the stresses and strains are very real and ongoing with no let up in sight.”

German economy narrowly avoids recession”:


Confusion over new emission standards has hit the country’s car industry

Germany’s economy just about avoided falling into recession during the final three months of last year.

Europe’s largest economy registered zero growth during the fourth quarter of 2018, the country’s Federal Statistics Office said.

That means it avoided two consecutive quarters of contraction, which is the usual definition of a recession.

A weak trade performance dragged on the economy, and consumer spending remained subdued.

The zero growth recorded in the October-to-December period followed a 0.2% contraction in the previous quarter.

Reasons for slower growth last year include a slowdown in the global economy and a weaker car sector, with German consumers less willing to buy new cars amid confusion over new emission standards.

In addition, low water levels, particularly in the Rhine, affected growth by holding back movement of some goods.

‘Worrying’ outlook

Jack Allen, senior Europe economist at Capital Economics, told the BBC: “If you look at Germany across 2018 we’ve seen a pretty broad-based slowdown in growth. We’ve seen household consumption slow, we’ve seen business investment slow and we’ve seen export growth slow.

He added: “What’s particularly worrying is that the early signs for 2019 suggest that a strong rebound is unlikely.”

GETTY IMAGES

The Rhine’s water level was hit by the hot summer

US tariffs on EU car exports, which US President Donald Trump has threatened, could have a major impact on Germany, Mr Allen said, but even if these are avoided the slowdown in the global economy means Germany is still only expected to grow by about 1% this year, compared with about 1.5% in 2018.

However, Claus Vistesen, chief eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said he was “optimistic” that the first quarter of this year would be better.

“The January [economic] surveys were poor… but net exports won’t be in free fall forever, and consumers’ spending also ought to pick up.”

Presentational grey line

Analysis:

By Andrew Walker, BBC World Service economics correspondent

It couldn’t have been much closer. And it is certainly possible that subsequent revisions to these figures will take the fourth quarter figure below zero and Germany into recession as the term is often defined.

For now though it looks like a very soft patch that has affected much of Europe.

Italy had a recession at the end of last year. The eurozone as whole has managed to continue to grow in spite of the weakening performance of two its largest economies. But it has been markedly slower.

That said, the jobs situation specifically in Germany is pretty good. Unemployment is among the lowest in the world at just above 3%.

French cash delivery man arrested after a van with €3m vanishes”:


File photo: The Loomis security van driver vanished during a delivery, along with the cash

Two cash delivery workers in France got a shock when they found their money-filled van had vanished – along with the third member of their team.

The van was soon found nearby but there was no sign of the 28-year-old driver or €3.4m (£3m) in cash.

He was eventually tracked down to a flat in Amiens, along with some of the missing money.

The suspect, named as Adrien Derbez, was arrested in the city on Tuesday evening.

According to news agency AFP, an estimated €1.5m is still missing.

The sudden vanishing act happened early on Monday morning. At about 06:00 (05:00 GMT), the team of three were making a routine cash delivery in their security van to a Western Union branch in Aubervilliers, on the outskirts of Paris.

Two of them took the ordered amount of cash inside, leaving the third man to watch the vehicle.

“When they came back out, the van and the driver were gone,” a police source told AFP.

A few blocks away, the white van from the Loomis cash transit company was discovered with its doors open and contents emptied – and no sign of the driver.

On Tuesday, police appealed for witnesses and released a photograph and description of Mr Derbez.

A police handout photo of Adrien Derbez
AFP / POLICE

Mr Derbez had vanished, but was found in Amiens late the following day

Following a tip-off, police raided an apartment in Amiens that evening, French media report.

At around 17:00, officers allegedly found Mr Derbez trying to escape through a window carrying several bags filled with banknotes, French broadcaster BFMTV said.

Three other people have been arrested since as part of the investigation. A large sum of money was also recovered – and was being counted to see how much, if any, was missing, the local prosecutor said.

The theft has similarities to the famous case of Toni Musulin, a Frenchman who stole some €11.6m (£10.2m) from the security van he was driving in 2009.

He vanished, along with the cash, in November that year, briefly becoming an internet superstar in France for his meticulously planned and bloodless heist.

However, most of the cash was found in a garage, and Musulin handed himself in to police in Monaco days later.

He spent four years in prison.