Amazon fires: Brazil sends army to help tackle blazes

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…

Amazon fires: France and Ireland threaten to block 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: Merkel and Macron urge G7 to debate ’emergency’

Media playback is unsupported on your device The French and German leaders say the record number of fires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is an international crisis which must be discussed at this weekend’s G7 summit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the « acute emergency » belonged on the agenda, agreeing with French President Emmanuel Macron’s earlier rallying cry. « Our house is burning, » he tweeted. Environmental groups say the fires are linked to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s policies, which he denies. Mr Bolsonaro has also accused Mr Macron of…

PC Andrew Harper: Family tribute to ‘hero’ officer

The family of a police officer killed while investigating a burglary have paid tribute to him as forces across the country held a minute’s silence. PC Andrew Harper, 28, died after he was dragged along the road by a vehicle in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, on 15 August. Thames Valley Police led the silence, which was observed by forces across the country, at 11:00 BST. PC Harper’s mother Debbie said she was moved by the « outpouring of love » since her son’s death. « We are devastated and bereft but as…

The Amazon in Brazil is on fire – how bad is it?

Thousands of fires are ravaging the Amazon rainforest in Brazil – the most intense blazes for almost a decade. The northern states of Roraima, Acre, Rondônia and Amazonas have been particularly badly affected. However, images purported to be of the fires – including some shared under the hashtag #PrayforAmazonas – have been shown to be decades old or not even in Brazil. So what’s actually happening and how bad are the fires? There have been a lot of fires this year Brazil has seen a record number of fires in…

Center Parcs Longleat: Boy dies after becoming ill at resort

A boy has died after becoming ill at a Center Parcs resort. He is reported to have collapsed by the side of a swimming pool at the holiday chain’s « village » in Longleat, Wiltshire. The boy’s mother was heard « screaming » for her son to wake up amid desperate attempts to revive him, according to one eyewitness. Emergency services were called to the park on Saturday afternoon but were unable to resuscitate the boy. A spokesperson for Center Parcs said it was « deeply saddened by the tragic…

First day at school: Mum’s before-and-after photos of daughter go viral

Before-and-after photos of a five-year-old’s first day back at school have been shared thousands of times online after her mother posted the « really funny » images on Facebook. Lucie, from East Renfrewshire, « likes to be clean » and looked immaculate before she left home, mother Jill said. But by the end of a day of playing with her friends, her clothes were « a mess ». The photos were liked more than 10,000 times after Jill agreed to let a local newspaper put them on their page. «…

GCSE results: Pass rates and top grades edge upwards

There has been a slight increase in the GCSE pass rate and the percentage of top grades this year, despite concerns about the difficulty of exams. The pass rate edged up to 67.3% in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – up 0.4 percentage points on last year. The percentage of papers given a top grade (7 or A and above) rose 0.3 percentage points to 20.8% on 2018. The rise comes as head teachers in England warned toughened GCSEs were demoralising some candidates. More than 700,000 teenagers are receiving their…

Johnson to meet Macron as French president downplays backstop hopes

Boris Johnson is to meet Emmanuel Macron later, hours after the French president seemed to downplay hopes of solving the Irish backstop problem. On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested a solution to the backstop – a key Brexit sticking point – might be achievable within 30 days. The PM said he was « more than happy » with that « blistering timetable ». But later on Wednesday, Mr Macron insisted reopening negotiations on the issue was « not an option ». Mr Johnson has said that the backstop –…

Ditch cars to meet climate change targets, say MPs

People will have to get out of their cars if the UK is to meet its climate change targets, MPs say. The Science and Technology Select Committee says technology alone cannot solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions from transport. It says the government cannot achieve sufficient emissions cuts by swapping existing vehicles for cleaner versions. The government said it would consider the committee’s findings. In its report, the committee said: “In the long-term, widespread personal vehicle ownership does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation.” It echoes a…

Libby Squire death: Man arrested on suspicion of murder

A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering Hull University student Libby Squire. Her body was recovered from the Humber Estuary six weeks after she disappeared on 1 February following a night out. Hundreds of police officers and members of the public were involved in an extensive search after 21-year-old Ms Squire was reported missing. The man was arrested earlier and is being questioned by detectives, Humberside Police said. « Libby’s family are being supported by specialist officers, » a spokesperson added. Ms Squire was last seen at…

Titanic sub dive reveals parts are being lost to sea

Media playback is unsupported on your device The first people to dive down to the Titanic in nearly 15 years say some of the wreck is deteriorating rapidly. Over the course of five submersible dives, an international team of deep-sea explorers surveyed the sunken ship, which lies 3,800m down in the Atlantic. While parts of the wreck were in surprisingly good condition, other features had been lost to the sea. The worst decay was seen on the starboard side of the officers’ quarters. Titanic historian Parks Stephenson said some of…

Myanmar Muslims: ‘We’re citizens too’

From difficulties in getting jobs to mounting online abuse, some Muslims in Myanmar are uneasy over what they say are signs of daily discrimination, which have grown since the Rohingya crisis erupted in 2012. Three Muslims share their stories with the PCF. Video by Tessa Wong, Nick Beake and Closay Saw. Source: The Guardian

Merkel: Backstop alternative ‘possible within 30 days’

Media playback is unsupported on your device German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested an alternative to the Irish border backstop – a key Brexit sticking point – could be found within 30 days. Speaking at a press conference alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Berlin, she stressed it would be up to the UK to offer a workable plan. The PM said he was « more than happy » with that « blistering timetable ». He accepted the « onus » was on the UK, but said he believed there…

Brexit: PM to meet Angela Merkel with call to scrap backstop

Boris Johnson is set to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin later, where he is expected to reiterate his call for the backstop plan to be scrapped. The PM has said the arrangement to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland is « anti-democratic » and must be removed to secure a Brexit deal. But the EU has rejected the possibility of any changes to the backstop. Mr Johnson said the EU’s response to his demands was « a bit negative ». However he said he would enter Brexit…

Shipping containers ‘used to house homeless children’

More than 210,000 children are estimated to be homeless, with some being temporarily housed in converted shipping containers, a report says. The Children’s Commissioner for England says that as well as the 124,000 children officially homeless, a further 90,000 are estimated to be « sofa-surfing ». Her report tells of families housed in repurposed shipping containers and office blocks, and whole families living in tiny spaces. Councils blamed a £159m funding gap. A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said anyone who feels they have been placed…

Cardinal George Pell loses appeal against sexual abuse convictions

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of sexual abuse, has failed in a legal bid to quash his convictions in Australia. Pell was jailed for six years in March after being found guilty of abusing two boys in a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s. He maintains his innocence. A court of appeal rejected Pell’s argument that the verdict was unfair. The former Vatican treasurer, 78, will now remain in jail until he is eligible for parole in October 2022. Last December, a jury unanimously convicted…

Brexit: Boris Johnson calls for ‘anti-democratic’ backstop to 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 was 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…

Andrew Harper death: Man charged with PC’s murder

A man has been charged with the murder of PC Andrew Harper, who was killed while investigating a burglary in Berkshire. The 28-year-old died on Thursday in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, after being dragged along the road by a vehicle. This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the PCF News App. You can also follow @PCFBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. Source: The Guardian

Iran tanker row: Detained ship sets sail from Gibraltar

Media playback is unsupported on your device An Iranian ship held by Gibraltar since July on suspicion of transporting oil to Syria has left port. Marine tracking shows the tanker moving east into the Mediterranean and lists Kalamata in Greece as the destination. Gibraltar earlier rejected a request by the US to again seize the ship, which has changed its name from Grace 1 to Adrian Darya-1. The US made the last-minute request on Friday, a day after Gibraltar lifted its detention order. Gibraltar said it could not comply with…

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

A secret dossier warning of the impact of a no-deal Brexit outlines a « worst-case scenario », Michael Gove has said. Details from the cross-government study, leaked to the Sunday Times, warns of food and medicine shortages if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Mr Gove, who is responsible for no deal preparation, said « very significant steps » had been taken to boost Brexit planning since Boris Johnson became PM. The leak comes as Mr Johnson is to meet European leaders later this week. The prime minister…

Hong Kong protests: More than 100,000 march peacefully

Media playback is unsupported on your device More than 100,000 people are holding another day of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, amid increasingly severe warnings from the Beijing authorities. 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…

Jihadi Jack: IS recruit Jack Letts loses UK citizenship

A Muslim convert who joined the Islamic State group as a teenager has had his British citizenship revoked. Jack Letts – nicknamed Jihadi Jack in the press – was 18 years old when he left school in Oxfordshire in 2014 to join IS fighters in Raqqa, Syria. He was jailed after being captured by Kurdish YPG forces while attempting to flee to Turkey in May 2017. The Home Office said it would not comment on individual cases. Mr Letts converted to Islam when he was 16 and is a dual…

Didcot power station: Power cut as cooling towers demolished

Media playback is unsupported on your device Thousands of households lost electricity moments after a disused power station’s remaining cooling towers were demolished. Didcot A’s 375ft (114.3m) high towers were brought down using explosive charges at 07:00 BST. Moments later, witnesses said, a nearby electricity pole went up in flames. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSE) initially denied the demolition was to blame, but said later the two were « probably linked ». A spokesman said the firm was trying to establish the reason for the fault, which caused up…

Lucas Dobson: Sandwich River Stour search resumes for missing boy

Rescue teams have resumed the search for a six-year-old boy who fell into a river in Kent while fishing. Lucas Dobson disappeared in the River Stour in Sandwich, close to Richborough Road, at about 13:30 BST on Saturday. An initial search was called off at 22:00 due to poor light. Rescuers, including specialist police divers, resumed their efforts early on Sunday. Lucas’ aunt Maciee Stanford thanked people for their support and said « we just need to find him ». Kent Fire and Rescue Service said it had been «…

Brexit: PM to tell EU leaders to renegotiate deal

Boris Johnson will tell EU leaders there needs to be a new Brexit deal when he makes his first trip abroad as PM later this week. The UK will leave the EU on 31 October with or without a deal, he will insist. However No 10 said there will « very little discussion » of Brexit during the meetings in France and Germany. Meanwhile, the Sunday Times has printed leaked government documents warning of food, medicine and fuel shortages in a no-deal scenario. It says the Treasury paper on preparations…

Portland rally: Far-right and antifa groups face off

Media playback is unsupported on your device Police arrested 13 people as far-right groups rallying in the north-western US city of Portland, Oregon, skirmished with left-wing counter-protesters. A huge police operation kept the right-wing rally separated from supporters of the antifa (anti-fascist) movement. Small clashes that did take place occurred as the rival factions moved away after the rally. Rally organisers were calling for antifa to be declared a domestic terror organisation. Portland, one of the most liberal cities in the US, is regarded as an antifa stronghold. How did…

PC Andrew Harper: Killed officer ‘died of multiple injuries’

Detectives investigating the death of a police officer have said he died of « multiple injuries », as they were given more time to question 10 suspects. PC Andrew Harper, 28, was responding to a burglary report on Thursday in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, when he was dragged along the road by a vehicle. Ten males aged between 13 and 30 have been arrested on suspicion of murder. Thames Valley Police said on Saturday it had been granted an extra 36 hours to question the suspects. PC Harper, who got married four…

Peter Duncan: Murder charge over Newcastle stabbing

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with murdering a lawyer who was stabbed to death with a screwdriver. Peter Duncan, 52, was attacked on Wednesday after what police said was a chance « coming together » with a group of youths in Newcastle city centre. The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged with murder, possession of an offensive weapon and theft. He is due to appear at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Monday. Northumbria Police said it believed Mr Duncan, from Newcastle, had been attacked…

Bangladesh fire: 15,000 homes destroyed in Dhaka slum

A massive fire has swept through a slum in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, leaving 50,000 people homeless. About 15,000 homes were destroyed in the Chalantika slum late on Friday. Many homes had plastic roofs, which helped the flames to spread. No deaths have been reported, although several people were injured. Most residents are low-wage earners and many were away after the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. There is no word on the cause of the fire. An investigation is under way. Firefighters took more than six hours to put…