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Max Malins: Saracens full-back out for three months after breaking foot against Exeter

Max Malins made his Sarries debut against Scarlets in January 2017

Saracens full-back Max Malins has had surgery to repair a broken foot, ruling him out for three months.

The 23-year-old former England Under-20 international suffered the injury in Sarries’ 14-7 defeat at Premiership leaders Exeter on 29 December.

He will now begin a rehabilitation programme following Monday’s successful operation but is expected to be out of action until April.

Saracens are bottom of the Premiership table on -7 points.

The reigning champions were docked 35 points and fined £5.36m in November for breaching salary cap regulations.

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Civil partnerships: First mixed-sex unions take place

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan

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Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan took their fight for civil partnerships to the Supreme Court

One of the first mixed-sex couples to become civil partners hailed it as a “unique, special and personal moment”.

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, who won a legal battle for the right to heterosexual civil partnerships, celebrated at Kensington and Chelsea Register Office in west London.

Previously, the law only allowed same-sex couples to be civil partners.

About 84,000 mixed-sex couples could form civil partnerships next year, the government says.

Introduced for same-sex couples in 2005, civil partnerships offer almost identical rights as marriage, including property, inheritance and tax entitlements.

After Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan won their legal bid at the Supreme Court in 2018 for the right to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage, the rules were changed to make them available to everyone.

Speaking on the steps of the register office, Ms Steinfeld said their “personal wish” to form a civil partnership came from a “desire to formalise our relationship in a more modern way, with a focus on equality, and mutual respect”.

She said: “So today is a unique, special and personal moment for us, a moment that we’ve been able to affirm our love and commitment to one another in the company of our beautiful children, Eden and Ariel, and close friends.”

Ms Steinfeld said it creates “new, modern possibilities” for thousands of people to express their love and commitment and ends “the unrivalled position of marriage”.

She called for “deeper discussions” on giving legal recognition to other kinds of caring relationships, including those between friends, siblings and co-parents.

Mr Keidan said they succeeded in their legal battle “against all odds” but added that their mental health has suffered under the strain.

Five years after being refused permission to give notice of a heterosexual civil partnership, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan will finally become civil partners today.

Their conscientious objection to marriage and what they saw as its patriarchal associations led to a lengthy legal battle culminating in a unanimous Supreme Court ruling last year that the law was discriminatory and breached their right to a family and private life.

The government changed the law, opening such a union to the majority of the UK’s 3.3 million co-habiting heterosexual couples.

Many believe they are already protected by so-called “common law marriages”, but these do not exist.

As a result, they do not enjoy the same property, inheritance and tax entitlements as married couples and civil partners.

The government estimates as many as 84,000 mixed sex couples could become civil partners this year, giving them greater rights and protections within their relationships, without having to get married.

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Julie Thorpe and Keith Lomax are among thousands of opposite sex couples that are set to enter into a civil partnership

Another couple, Julie Thorpe, 61, and Keith Lomax, 70, said they were looking forward to being among the first mixed-sex people to officially enter a civil partnership – but it would not change their relationship “one jot”.

The couple from near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, have been living together for most of their 37-year relationship and have three children.

They will have a civil partnership ceremony at a register office in Halifax.

Ms Thorpe said: “It won’t change our relationship one jot. It will not make any difference to how we behave towards each other when we get up the next day.

“We have had a very successful relationship for 37 years and a bit of paper is not going to make any difference to that whatsoever. It does give us some legal protection within that relationship.”

Mr Lomax, a human rights lawyer, added: “It is a mutual celebration of all of those and also of the people who actually brought the case to court and changed the law in the first place, because that was a very brave and bold thing to do at considerable financial risk.”

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Croydon stabbing: Man, 60, found injured in street dies

Woodcroft Road

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The victim was found suffering from stab wounds outside a property in Woodcroft Road

A 60-year-old man has been stabbed to death in a residential street in south London.

Police and ambulance crews were called to reports of a stabbing in Woodcroft Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon, at 21:30 GMT on Monday.

The victim was found outside a property with knife injuries and was pronounced dead at 21:49, the Met Police said.

A 50-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and taken into custody.

The suspect became unwell while in custody and was transferred to hospital where he is in a stable condition, police said.

Det Ch Insp Simon Harding said: “The victim was found injured in a residential street. While it is not a heavy footfall location, there may have been members of the public travelling through Woodcroft Road who saw something.

“I urge those people to come forward and speak to my officers without delay.

“No matter how insignificant you think it may be please do make the call.

“We are building the sequence of events leading up to and immediately following this attack which has led to a man’s death, your call could complete the picture.”

Inquiries into the circumstances continue.

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Love Island host Caroline Flack to stand down

Caroline Flack

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Caroline Flack is due to appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on 23 December

Love Island host Caroline Flack has stood down from the show after being charged with assault by beating.

“I feel the best thing I can do is stand down for series six,” she said, describing ITV2’s Love Island as “the best show on telly”.

Police were called to the 40-year-old’s home in Islington, London, last week, where she lives with her partner, tennis player Lewis Burton.

She was bailed and will appear before magistrates on Monday.

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“There have been a significant number of media reports and allegations into my personal life,” she said in her Instagram story on Tuesday.

“While matters were not as have been reported, I am committed to working with the authorities and I can’t comment further on these matters until the legal process is over.”

The star, who was due to present the forthcoming winter edition of the popular ITV2 show – which is expected to start on 12 January – added: “However, Love Island has been my world for the last five years, it’s the best show on telly.

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Love Island won a TV Bafta award last year

“In order not to detract attention from the upcoming series I feel the best thing I can do is stand down for series six. I want to wish the incredible team working on the show a fantastic series in Cape Town.”

Flack began presenting Love Island in summer 2015, having fronted the 12th series of The X Factor alongside Olly Murs, and winning Strictly Come Dancing in 2014.

An ITV spokesperson said: “ITV has a long-standing relationship with Caroline and we understand and accept her decision.

“We will remain in contact with her over the coming months about future series of Love Island.”

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She won Strictly Come Dancing in 2014

On Monday, Burton wrote on Instagram that his girlfriend had been subject to a “witch hunt” since being charged, describing her as “the most lovely girl”.

“I’m tired of the lies and abuse aimed at my girlfriend. This is not a witch hunt, this is someone’s life,” he wrote.

The TV star mentioned him personally online, writing: “My boyfriend Lewis… I love you.”

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Flack and boyfriend Lewis Burton


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General election 2019: How election promises could help the NHS in London

With the general election only days away, every party has been making big commitments on NHS spending.

Among other things, the parties have offered more funding, extra GPs, more nurse training and upgraded facilities.

But critics say that in addition to more spending, politicians should focus on better long-term planning for the NHS to ensure its survival.

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South Western Railway strike: 27-day walk out begins

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Media captionSouthampton rail commuters speak out on first day of strike

Commuters are facing disruption as workers on South Western Railway (SWR) begin a 27-day strike.

It comes after talks between the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and SWR over a long-running dispute over guards on trains broke down.

The operator called the action “unnecessary” and said “more than half” of weekday trains would run, but warned of queues at stations.

The union said the strike is “in defence of passenger safety”.

The RMT said SWR had “point-blank refused” to show any serious movement at talks held at the conciliation service Acas.

The union has been demanding that guards should oversee the operation of doors and perform other safety functions in dispatching trains.

It said the company’s proposals would leave guards as “glorified porters” without any safety responsibilities.

As the strike got under way earlier, disruption was compounded when a man seen carrying an air rifle led to a train being evacuated.

Elsewhere, Sophia Griffiths, who travels from Earlsfield station into central London, said: “Usually when they strike the station is not too bad but today was just nuts.

“I saw the queue outside and thought ‘no way’ – I’ve never seen it that long so I took the bus to Tooting and got the Tube from there.”

She said she was supportive of the striking workers and said it was “crazy they (SWR) would let it get to this”.

The communications officer at Nuffield Council on Bioethics said she was considering cycling to work during the prolonged action and working from home more.

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Becky Bartlett

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The morning rush hour meant a crowded platform at Wokingham station

Charlotte Burnell said it took almost an hour to travel from Claygate, Surrey, to Waterloo – a journey which usually takes 34 minutes.

“You can manage a couple of days of strike action but the thought of it going on for 27 days is pretty overwhelming,” she said.

“It’s physically uncomfortable. I was forced to stand awkwardly and my back was killing me.”

Steve Nagioff described passengers “rammed” into a carriage on his commute from Whitton in south west London.

“A woman next to me said that she couldn’t breathe. The train stopped at Richmond and I fell out – luckily other passengers got off the train so I got back on it again.

“It’s just not right – I pay full ticket prices. If the service is going to be like this then it should be free,” he added.

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Media captionBBC Transport Correspondent Paul Clifton explains the background to the strikes

Becky Bartlett, from Wokingham in Berkshire, said she was an hour late for work in London after her regular train was cancelled.

“I have various theatre and gig plans for the month, plus Christmas parties and events, which I have either had to cancel, some at loss of the ticket price, or I’m going to have to pay for a £30+ taxi from Reading just to get home.

“This whole experience is going to be horrific. I’m one day in and I’ve already had enough.”

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Charlotte Burnell

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Passengers faced packed carriages on the line from Guildford to Waterloo

RMT assistant general secretary Steve Hedley said members were “absolutely furious” with SWR following the Acas talks.

“Of course our members don’t want to lose a month’s money running up to Christmas but they’re prepared to do that to show that safety and accessibility for disabled people is non-negotiable.”

Regional organiser Mick Tosh said the union would consider financial support for any members who suffered particular hardship because of the strike.

Your Questions Answered: Could public transport be made cheaper?

SWR said it had offered “a guard on every train, and a safety critical role for that guard”.

Managing director Andy Mellors said the action was “unnecessary” and the issue needed to be settled before a new fleet of modern suburban trains was introduced next year.

“Our assessment is that by having drivers opening and closing doors, that will actually optimise the performance of the network by getting more trains to Waterloo on time.

“We’ve been very clear that we’re committed to keeping a guard on our trains and those guards will have safety critical competencies. Our proposals will make guards more customer facing and improve safety, security and accessibility.”

Analysis

By Paul Clifton, BBC South transport correspondent

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Steve Parsons/PA

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Commuters at Bracknell station are among those affected by the strike

At Chandler’s Ford station this morning, the ticket office door was locked. The platform was empty and all the signs were blank.

It’s going to stay that way for a month. The next train isn’t due until 2 January 2020.

It’s the same story at Swaythling, Millbrook, Dean, Dunbridge and a few other small stations popular with children heading to school as well as daily commuters.

The two sides are trading insults and blaming each other. They haven’t budged in more than two years of strikes.

I don’t think many passengers have any goodwill left at all for either the RMT or South Western Railway – because this month-long strike is going to cause real hardship for hundreds of thousands of people each day.

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RMT

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Union members took part in a picket at Waterloo Station

SWR released a revised timetable and said it would provide longer trains to increase capacity where possible.

The operator runs services between London Waterloo and Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth as well as Reading, Exeter and Bristol. It also operates suburban commuter lines in south-west London, Surrey, Berkshire, and north-east Hampshire.

Strike days are as follows:

  • From 00:01 GMT on Monday 2 December until 23:59 on Wednesday 11 December
  • From 00:01 on Friday 13 December until 23:59 on Tuesday 24 December
  • From 00:01 on Friday 27 December 2019 until 23:59 on 1 January

Has your journey been affected? Email

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:



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Zlatan Ibrahimovic move to Tottenham makes ‘no sense’ – Jose Mourinho

Ibrahimovic move ‘doesn’t make sense’ – Mourinho

Jose Mourinho says signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Tottenham “doesn’t make sense” because he has the “best striker in England” in Harry Kane.

Ibrahimovic, who played for Mourinho at Inter Milan and Manchester United, is available after his two-year spell at LA Galaxy ended.

The new Tottenham manager said he has “more than a connection” with the former Sweden forward.

But he said: “Amazing player, amazing guy, but I would say no chance.”

Mourinho, appointed Tottenham manager last Wednesday after the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, added: “We have the best striker in England. It doesn’t make sense to sign him when we have Harry Kane.”

England captain Kane scored last Saturday as Tottenham won 3-2 at West Ham in the Premier League.

He now has 175 goals in 269 games for Spurs, overtaking Martin Chivers to move third on the club’s all-time top scorer list.

Kane has overtaken Martin Chivers to become Spurs’ third all-time top scorer

But while Kane is central to his new manager’s plans, Mourinho said that the selection of Christian Eriksen – a substitute at West Ham – will be based on a “perspective of the future”.

The Denmark midfielder, 27, is out of contract next summer and has been the subject of intense transfer speculation since the club’s Champions League final defeat by Liverpool in June.

While dealing with Eriksen’s future, Mourinho also has to concentrate on the perceived hangover from that loss to Liverpool in Madrid.

“If Mauricio says that [losing the final affected the players] then he’s been here and he’s sharing his feelings. It’s like landing on the moon but you don’t do it,” he said.

“Look at Liverpool; they had the frustration of not winning and then the next season they reached the final and won it.”

Alli accepts Mourinho comment

Before Saturday’s win, Mourinho said he had asked midfielder Dele Alli “if he was Dele or Dele’s brother”, as the 23-year-old has been struggling with injury and poor performances.

Alli revealed that training-ground joke was the first thing Mourinho said to him after becoming Tottenham manager but accepted the criticism.

“A lot of people have been saying that, so it was nothing new,” Alli said. “In that sense, to have it honestly said to your face was nice because a lot of people would prefer to say it behind your back.

“It didn’t shock me. Playing in the Premier League, you expect it when you are not performing – to be criticised.

“It is just important you listen to the right people. I am my own biggest critic. I know what I need to work on.”

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Jodie Chesney: Two teens jailed for murder

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Media captionDetective Inspector Perry Benton explains how the Met Police pieced together evidence to catch Jodie’s killers

Two teenagers have been jailed for life for murdering a 17-year-old girl in an east London park.

Jodie Chesney was stabbed in the back as she sat with friends in Harold Hill on 1 March.

Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and Arron Isaacs, 17, of Barking, were both convicted earlier this month after a trial at the Old Bailey.

Ong-a-Kwie, of Romford, will serve a minimum of 26 years while Isaacs was detained for at least 18 years.

Explaining the sentences, Judge Wendy Joseph QC told the court she was “satisfied” Ong-a-Kwie had stabbed Jodie while Isaacs was a “willing supporter”.

“When that knife was driven into Jodie, that intention was to kill,” she said.

She added that her death “was part of a series of tit-for-tat attacks” which had been “increasing in ferocity”, and “although the target was not Jodie… there was a degree of planning”.

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Met Police

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Svenson Ong-a-Kwie (l) and Arron Isaacs (r) were both found guilty of Jodie’s murder

During the trial, each of the defendants blamed each other for the attack but a jury took less than six hours to find them both guilty of murder.

In an impact statement read before sentencing, Jodie’s father Peter Chesney said the death of his daughter “has destroyed my life”.

The 39-year-old, who was not in court, described how a year ago he had started a new job as a salesman in the City “and I was about to take over the world in a promising career.

“Now I sit here in the cabin in my garden writing this statement. I have left that job, the relationship with my wife has fallen apart and we are now getting divorced. I must sell my house, and above all, I have lost the most precious human being I will ever know,” he said.

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Met Police

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The 17-year-old was stabbed once in the back while she was socialising with friends in Amy’s Park

Following the stabbing, Jodie collapsed into the arms of her boyfriend Eddie Coyle who told the court he had been “completely changed” by the events of that night.

“I find it hard to sleep most of the time. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD from this, and it keeps me up most nights so I don’t sleep,” he said.

The court had heard drug dealer Ong-a-Kwie and his runner Isaacs had been looking to take revenge on rivals but had killed Jodie by mistake.

She had been socialising with friends that evening when two figures emerged out of the dark and one plunged a knife in her back.

The two defendants fled in another drug dealer’s car but were arrested together days later as they fled from a house linked to Isaacs, the jury were told.

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Jodie Chesney/Instagram

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Jodie Chesney was an active Scout member who was described as “one of our brightest and best” by chief scout Bear Grylls

Ong-a-Kwie had convictions for possessing and supplying drugs and had admitted being in breach of a six-week suspended sentence for handling stolen jewellery.

Two other people – Manuel Petrovic, 20, of Romford, and a 16-year-old boy – were both cleared of murder and manslaughter.

Met Police officer Det Insp Perry Benton described the investigation as “one of the hardest I’ve ever dealt with”, adding that the defendants “have shown no remorse from day one”.

Speaking following the sentencing, Jodie’s uncle Terry Chesney said the family were “happy” with the jail terms and would now “try” to get on with their lives.

“Today was justice. We’ll never get her back, but we’ve got justice,” he said.

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General election 2019: Greens supporting Labour in Chingford

Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith

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Iain Duncan Smith has been MP for the area since 1992, when the constituency was known as Chingford

The Green Party has stood down its candidate to help Labour try to unseat former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.

Mr Duncan Smith has been MP for Chingford and Woodford Green since 1997, and has a majority of 2,348.

The Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru formed an electoral pact earlier this month. Supporting Labour in Chingford does not form part of that pact, the Greens said.

The Conservatives have been contacted for comment.

In a statement the local Green Party said the decision for John Tyne not to contest the election was made with the “ultimate hope of favouring the campaign of the Labour candidate” Faiza Shaheen.

A Green Party spokesperson it “was a decision taken by the local party”.

However, they added: “If Labour were serious in their concern for the environment they should reconsider their isolationist position on arrangements.”

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Faiza Shaheen will contest the constituency for Labour

Ms Shaheen, head of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies, said she was “so grateful” for the decision.

She said: “I will continue to fight hard for climate policy and democratic reform.”

The Liberal Democrats have selected Dr Geoffrey Seeff as their prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency.

Mr Duncan Smith has been MP for the area since 1992, representing Chingford until 1997 when the boundaries were re-drawn to include Woodford Green.

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N’Golo Kante in Chelsea squad to face Ajax in Champions League

Kante has made just six appearances this season, including five starts

Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is back in the squad for Tuesday’s Champions League Group H game with Ajax.

Kante, 28, has made just five starts in an injury-hit season, most recently suffering a groin problem.

“We’ve been able to get some work into him, he’s in the squad and he’s available,” said manager Frank Lampard.

Midfielder Ross Barkley (ankle) and defender Andreas Christensen (thigh) are also in training after injury lay-offs last month.

Victory at Stamford Bridge would see Chelsea go three points clear of Ajax in Group H and put them in a strong position to progress to the quarter-finals, with games against Valencia and Lille remaining.

“I said at the start that this group would be tight because all the teams could take points off each other. That has been proved to be correct,” said Lampard.

“After losing the opening game against Valencia, which was disappointing, we have shown a great reaction from that.

“I have to accept it’s expected of Chelsea to go through and that is no disrespect to any other teams. I have said already how hard the group is but it is more about our own expectations.

“That is maybe why we had that reaction. We wanted to prove ourselves, we wanted to go to Ajax and Lille and get results, and we did.

“But we won’t get carried away with ourselves in this group.”

Can Chelsea maintain 100% record against Dutch sides? – the stats

  • Ajax have never lost an away Champions League match in England (W1 D3 L0), winning most recently away at Spurs in April 2019. Their last away European Cup defeat on English soil was in April 1980, a 2-0 semi-final defeat against Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest side.
  • Chelsea have a 100%-win record in Champions League matches against Dutch opponents, beating Feyenoord twice in the 1999-2000 season and Ajax this season.
  • Ajax have won their last five away Champions League matches – prior to this run, the Dutch side had won just four of their previous 38 away games in the competition (W4 D13 L21).
  • Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has managed more away UEFA Champions League games without losing than any other manager (seven games), winning five and drawing two. Only two managers have lost none of their first eight away games in the competition – Louis van Gaal (first 14 games) and Pep Guardiola (first 11 games).
  • Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi has scored one goal every 47 minutes for the Blues in the Champions League (3 goals in 141 minutes) – the best minutes per goal ratio of any Chelsea player in the competition.
  • Dusan Tadic has been directly involved in eight of Ajax’s last 14 goals scored in the group stage of the Champions League (five goals, three assists), including six of their last seven away from home (three goals, three assists).



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