Amazon rainforest fires: Ten readers’ questions answered

Swathes of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil are burning at a record rate. On Monday, the sky in São Paulo blackened due to smoke drifting from the fires 2,700 km (1,700 miles) away. Politicians and environmental activists are taking a stand against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, blaming the fires on his policies. But it’s a complex story, and online discussion of it has been riddled with misinformation, misleading photos and errors. To fill in the gaps and bust some common myths, we asked you to send us your questions on…

Brazil sends army to tackle Amazon fires

Media playback is unsupported on your device Brazil’s president has ordered the armed forces to help fight a record number of forest fires in the Amazon. A decree issued by President Jair Bolsonaro authorises the deployment of soldiers in nature reserves, indigenous lands and border areas in the region. The announcement comes after intense pressure from European leaders. France and Ireland say they will not ratify a huge trade deal with South American nations unless Brazil does more to tackle blazes in the Amazon. Finland’s finance minister has also called…

Bury owner Steve Dale says club has been sold with EFL deadline approaching

Owner Steve Dale has told BBC Radio Manchester he has agreed a deal to sell Bury, as a deadline for their possible expulsion from the EFL approaches. Dale says the League One club has been sold to football analytics company C&N Sporting Risk, headed by Henry Newman and Rory Campbell. Bury have been given until 23:59 BST to prove it can pay off creditors and has funding to complete the season. BBC Radio Manchester has contacted the English Football League for comment. A statement given to PA Media, Newman and…

Trump says US firms ‘hereby ordered’ to quit China

Media playback is unsupported on your device President Donald Trump says he has « hereby ordered » American companies to leave China, after Beijing announced plans to slap new tariffs on US goods. The White House did not immediately say what authority the president had to compel private firms to quit a country. President Trump announced a 5% increase on tariffs on Chinese imports, after China unveiled plans for duties of 10% on $75bn (£61bn) of US goods. The latest salvos in the trade war sent global financial markets tumbling.…

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump speak ahead of G7 meeting

Boris Johnson has spoken to US President Donald Trump ahead of meeting him on Sunday for the first time since becoming prime minister. The leaders, who will meet at the G7 summit in France, discussed « foreign policy issues and global trade ». No 10 said they « looked forward to speaking further » at the summit. Mr Trump has praised Mr Johnson, calling him « Britain Trump », and predicted a speedy US-UK trade deal after Brexit. A UK government spokesman said: « Of course we want to move…

Amazon fires: Brazil threatened over EU trade deal

Media playback is unsupported on your device France and Ireland say they will not ratify a huge trade deal with South American nations unless Brazil does more to fight fires in the Amazon. French leader Emmanuel Macron said President Jair Bolsonaro had lied to him about his stance on climate change. There are currently a record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest – a major source of oxygen for the world. Environmental groups say the fires are linked to Mr Bolsonaro’s policies, which he denies. European leaders have also…

Amazon fires: ‘Our house is burning’, Macron warns ahead of G7

Media playback is unsupported on your device French President Emmanuel Macron has said the record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest is an « international crisis » that needs to be on the top of the agenda at the G7 summit. « Our house is burning, » he tweeted. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said his government was « open to dialogue » about the surge in fires. But he said calls to discuss the issue at the G7 summit, which Brazil is not participating in, evoke « a misplaced…

Brexit: Macron tells PM renegotiating deal ‘not an option’

Boris Johnson is to meet Emmanuel Macron later, hours after the French president insisted reopening negotiations is « not an option ». Mr Macron said: « We have to help the British deal with this internal democratic crisis but we mustn’t be hostage to it nor export it. » On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the onus was on the UK to find a workable plan. Mr Johnson said a deal could be achieved with « sufficient patience ». The UK prime minister has said that the backstop –…

GCSE results: Nail-biting wait for grades

More than 700,000 teenagers are receiving their GCSE results, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, amid claims some exams were too hard. GCSEs in England have been overhauled in recent years to make them tougher. And a new numerical 9-to-1 grading system has been introduced. Head teachers say some lower-attaining pupils have been so demoralised they refused to sit the exams. England’s exams regulator insists it is keeping standards the same over time. Exam boards do this during the marking process by making adjustments to grade boundaries, having married the…

Brexit: ‘Ample scope’ for new deal, says Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has said there is « ample scope » for the UK and EU to renegotiate a new Brexit deal before 31 October, as he meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. At a press conference, the prime minister reiterated his call for the current Irish border backstop plan to be ditched. Mrs Merkel said the backstop was necessary until a long-term solution to the UK-Irish border after Brexit was found. Source: BBC

Brexit: PM meets Angela Merkel with call to scrap backstop

Boris Johnson has arrived to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel, where he is expected to reiterate his call for the Irish border backstop plan to be scrapped. The pair shook hands outside the Chancellery in Berlin, as protesters nearby shouted « stop Brexit ». The PM has said the arrangement to avoid a hard border after Brexit must be removed to secure a deal. But the EU has rejected the possibility of any changes to the backstop. Mr Johnson has said the EU’s response to his demand to scrap the…

HS2: Review to examine costs and benefits of rail project

The government is launching a review of high-speed rail link HS2 – with a “go or no-go » decision to be made by the end of the year, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said. The review will consider whether and how the project to connect London, the Midlands and northern England should proceed, looking at costs and benefits. Mr Shapps refused to rule out scrapping the project entirely. He said it was « responsible » to see if it was « going to stack up ». The first segment of…

Lucas Dobson: Police find body in search for missing boy

A body has been found by emergency services searching for a missing six-year-old boy. Lucas Dobson slipped into the River Stour in Sandwich, Kent, at about 13:30 BST on Saturday while fishing with family. Kent Police said the body had not been formally identified but Lucas’ family have been informed. Hundreds of volunteers had joined emergency crews in the search for Lucas in the past five days. This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. You…

Brexit: ‘No prospect’ of a deal unless backstop is dropped

Unless the UK’s withdrawal agreement with Brussels is reopened and the backstop abolished there is no prospect of a deal, No 10 has said. The strong statement came after the EU pushed back against Boris Johnson’s proposal to implement « alternative arrangements » for the UK-Irish border. Mr Johnson has said the backstop is « anti-democratic » and must be scrapped. But Donald Tusk said it was « an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland ». Meanwhile, the government has said UK officials will stop…

Andrew Harper death: Murder accused appears in court

A man has appeared in court charged with murdering a police officer who was killed while investigating a burglary. Jed Foster, 20, appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court charged with the murder of 28-year-old PC Andrew Harper, and the theft of a quad bike. PC Harper, of Thames Valley Police, died on Thursday after being dragged along the road by a vehicle in Sulhamstead, Berkshire. Mr Foster has been remanded to appear at Reading Crown Court on Wednesday. Robert Jacques, defending, said Mr Foster, of Pingewood in Burghfield near Reading, denied…

Italy government crisis: PM Conte to quit amid coalition row

After a blistering attack on coalition partner Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he will offer his resignation. Mr Conte said Mr Salvini had been « irresponsible » in creating a new political crisis for Italy for « personal and party interests ». Mr Salvini, the leader of the nationalist League party, had tabled a no-confidence motion against Mr Conte. He also said he could no longer work with his coalition partners Five Star. The League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement formed a coalition to govern…

‘Why me? I had ovarian cancer at 14’

Media playback is unsupported on your device When 14-year-old Kelliyah started experiencing severe abdominal pain, she initially blamed it on one too many fizzy drinks and a lack of exercise. She lived with the persistent symptoms for weeks before going to hospital. But once she did, doctors found a tumour the size of a pumpkin and, within 24 hours, Kelliyah was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Doctors found a tumour weighing more than 5kg. What is ovarian cancer? One of the most common types of cancer in women, about 7,500 new…

Vocational ‘T-level’ worth three top A-levels

Students who achieve the very top grade in their T-level qualification will have the equivalent of three A*s at A-level, it has been announced. University admissions service Ucas says a starred distinction will be worth 168 Ucas points – the same as three A*s, each worth 56 points. Those who are awarded a merit will have the equivalent of three Bs at A-level. The government says the « size and rigour » of the new T-level course is comparable to studying three A-levels. The two-year qualifications are being brought in…

Brexit: Boris Johnson says ‘anti-democratic’ backstop must be scrapped

Boris Johnson has told the EU the backstop plan for the Irish border must be scrapped because it is « unviable » and « anti-democratic ». In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, the PM said the backstop – which aims to avoid a hard border – risked undermining the Northern Irish peace process. If the plan were removed, Mr Johnson claimed a Brexit deal would be passed by Parliament. Brussels has not yet responded. However, the EU has consistently insisted the backstop must remain part of the…

Lightning strike ‘partly to blame’ for power cut

A lightning strike and the sudden loss of two large electricity generators caused nearly a million people to lose power in England and Wales earlier this month, an interim report has found. The National Grid outage affected homes, businesses and transport, and while power was restored quite quickly, disruption continued into the next day. Regulator Ofgem has opened an investigation into National Grid and other companies involved. That could involve a financial penalty. Ofgem said its investigation « would try to establish what lessons can be drawn from the power…

Andrew Harper death: Man charged with newlywed PC’s murder

A man has been charged with murdering 28-year-old PC Andrew Harper, who was killed while investigating a burglary. The Thames Valley Police officer died on Thursday in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, after being dragged along the road by a vehicle. PC Foster’s wife, Lissie, paid tribute to the « kindest, loveliest, most selfless person you will ever meet ». Jed Foster, 20, of Reading, has been charged with his murder and the theft of a quad bike. Mr Foster will appear at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning. Nine other people who…

Boris Johnson: UK ‘will be ready’ for no-deal Brexit

Boris Johnson has insisted no-deal Brexit preparations are on track, despite a leaked report warning of food and medicine shortages in a no-deal exit. The prime minister said preparations had been « very far advanced » ahead of the original 29 March deadline. He added that plans had since « slipped back », but the UK would be ready to leave with no-deal if required. Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to do « everything necessary » to stop no deal. In a speech earlier, the Labour leader said the leaked report…

The little-known spinal injury ‘costing the NHS millions’

Media playback is unsupported on your device Failure to identify and treat a little-known spinal condition probably costs the NHS hundreds of millions a year, according to a leading consultant. Cauda equina syndrome requires surgery within hours to avoid damage to the bowel, bladder, sexual organs and legs. And it can be triggered by the most seemingly innocuous of body movements. The Royal College of GPs says the condition is rare but every doctor should be on alert for it because of how serious it can be. Red flag signs,…

Brexit: Freedom of movement ‘will end’ says the government

The UK government has said rules allowing EU nationals to live and work freely in the UK will end in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. Theresa May had considered extending freedom of movement to 2021 or allowing EU citizens to stay for three months before applying for a longer stay. Those options have now been dropped, in favour of a new approach to be set out later. Boris Johnson said the UK would not « become hostile to immigration ». The PM added that « immigration…

Andrew Harper death: Police given more time to quiz suspects

Police have been given an extra 24 hours to question 10 people arrested on suspicion of murdering PC Andrew Harper. The 28-year-old died on Thursday in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, when he was dragged along the road by a vehicle. The Thames Valley Police officer, who got married four weeks ago, was responding to reports of a burglary. Ten males, half of whom are under 18 years old, were arrested on suspicion of murder. Thames Valley Police said officers were granted the extension on Sunday night at Reading Magistrates’ Court. PC Harper…

A young face scarred by war: The impact of an air strike one year on

Jouma and his family were fleeing their home in Syria in 2018 when an air strike hit the bus they were on. The little boy’s face was severely wounded and he was left completely blind. He was three years old at the time. The family now live in neighbouring Lebanon and allowed the BBC’s Eloise Alanna to film them in their temporary home. Correction 19 August 2019: A previous headline for this story referred to a « Syrian air strike ». However, it is not clear who was responsible for…

Jeremy Corbyn: General election will stop Brexit ‘crisis’

Jeremy Corbyn will say the UK is facing a Brexit « crisis » later and vow to do « everything necessary » to stop the UK from leaving the EU without a deal. The Labour leader will say the Tory party has « failed our country » and a general election is the « change of direction the country needs ». It comes after a leaked government report warned of food and medicine shortages in a no-deal exit. Cabinet minister Michael Gove said it outlined a « worst-case scenario ».…

Brexit: No-deal dossier shows worst-case scenario – Gove

A leaked cross-government study warning of the impact of a no-deal Brexit outlines a « worst-case scenario », cabinet minister Michael Gove has said. Details from the dossier warn of food and medicine shortages if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Mr Gove, who is responsible for no-deal preparation, said the document was old and Brexit planning had accelerated since Boris Johnson became PM. But he acknowledged no deal would bring disruption, or « bumps in the road ». The leak comes as Mr Johnson is to meet…

Hong Kong protests: Huge crowds rally peacefully

Media playback is unsupported on your device Hundreds of thousands are holding another day of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, amid increasingly severe warnings by Beijing. Activists and police have clashed over the past 10 weeks, but this weekend’s rallies have so far been peaceful. The protests were sparked by an extradition bill, which has since been suspended by the Hong Kong government. China, which has built up security forces in nearby Shenzhen, has likened the protests to terrorist activity. Its chargé d’affaires in London has warned that Beijing «…

Lucas Dobson: River fall boy ‘unlikely to be found alive’

A six-year-old boy who fell into a river in Kent while fishing is « unlikely » to be found alive, police have said. Lucas Dobson slipped into the River Stour in Sandwich at about 13:30 BST on Saturday and has not been seen since. Supt Amanda Tillotson said more than 100 emergency services workers and 200 volunteers had taken part in a « massive » search for Lucas. But there was « unlikely » to be a positive outcome, she added. Rescuers, including specialist police divers, resumed their efforts early…