UK weather forecast: FIVE-DAY cold blast from Iceland will batter Britain this week bringing snow and frost warns forecasters

As the country gears up for Christmas party season it's going to be a frosty affair for many as a cold snap sends temperatures plummeting.

The Met Office have said there will be frost across northern, eastern and some southwestern parts this morning as Britain braces for a week of freezing weather.

Snow is most likely on Thursday and the wind chill will make things feel a lot colder.

Motorists may have to wake up a little earlier for their commute as forecasters say they will need be needing to clear their windscreens of ice in the mornings.

Scotland is going to bear the brunt of the bad weather and there are warnings of a chance of hill snow in the north.

Chilly air from Iceland began sweeping across the country overnight, with the country forecast to remain cold until midweek.

Freezing fog is a possibility and snow could even blanket the hills of northern England.

And while temperatures should rise again on Thursday, "disruptive snowfall" then threatens to cause road and rail chaos.

Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: “It turns colder on Sunday with air from Iceland, and it certainly looks cold until midweek in the East.

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“Widespread frosts and the chance of freezing fog are expected, with Monday morning down to -5C in Scotland and -3C in northern England.

“Gales or severe gales with gusts up to 60mph in the West are expected into the weekend, with further heavy rain – and snow in the North, mainly on hills.”

On Saturday, parts of the country were submerged by flash floods as gale-force winds battered the country.

Dean Hall, a forecaster with the Met Office, told the Sun Online:  "It will be a cold night going into Monday. There will be a sharp frost in northern and eastern parts with temperatures of -5 or -6 overnight when there are clear skies."

Ex-BBC and Met Office forecaster John Hammond of weathertrending said: “Colder weather will arrive from the North, with East coasts prone to the odd wintry shower.

“There is a significant chance of disruptive snowfall as moister air arrives from the West from midweek.”

And despite the winds easing off slightly today, it will feel much colder this evening. Some areas could even see a frost forming as temperatures drop.

This week we told how Brits are braced for a blast of icy Scandinavian air next week, as the odds of a white Christmas is slashed.

As temperatures fall next week, bookies have slashed the odds on every city in Britain seeing snow on Christmas Day.

Aberdeen is the most likely to see a White Christmas at 6/5 while London’s chances have been cut from 5/1 to 9/2.

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Dog protected ruins of home destroyed by California wildfire for weeks

A dog that survived the catastrophic wildfire in Northern California apparently protected the ruins of his home for almost a month until his owner returned.

Madison was there waiting when Andrea Gaylord was allowed back to check on her burned property in Paradise this week.

Gaylord fled when the Nov. 8 fire broke out and decimated the town of 27,000. An animal rescuer who responded to Gaylord’s request to check on Madison first spotted the male Anatolian shepherd mix several days later.

Shayla Sullivan said the outdoor guard dog was apprehensive and kept his distance. Sullivan left food and water for him regularly until Gaylord got back on Wednesday. She also helped locate Madison’s brother Miguel, another Anatolian shepherd mix that was taken to a shelter 85 miles (135 kilometers) away in the confusing aftermath of the wildfire.

“If (the evacuees) can’t be there I’m going to be and I’m not going to give up on their animal until they can get back in,” Sullivan said.

The dogs reunited Friday when Gaylord came back to the property with Miguel and brought Madison his favourite treat: a box of Wheat Thin crackers.

Gaylord told news station ABC10 she couldn’t ask for a better animal.

“Imagine the loyalty of hanging in in the worst of circumstances and being here waiting,” she said.

“Their instinctual job is to watch the flocks and we’re part of them,” Gaylord said about her dogs. “It’s a comforting feeling.”

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Nuns misappropriated $500K in school funds, spending some on gambling: Church

Two nuns at a Catholic church in Southern California are suspected of embezzling up to $500,000 in school funds, allegedly using some of the money to go on trips and gamble at casinos, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told ABC News.

The nuns, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang, had been “involved in the personal use of a substantial amount” of school funds “over a period of years,” Monsignor Michael Meyers, pastor for the St. James Catholic School in Redondo Beach — about 20 miles southwest of Los Angeles — wrote in a letter to parents on Nov. 28.

The money came from tuition, school fees and donations and was taken while the nuns allegedly made parents believe that the school was operating on a shoestring budget, The Press-Telegram, a Long Beach, California-based newspaper, reported.

School administration noticed the alleged scam after performing financial reviews “in connection with a change in leadership” at the school, Meyers wrote. The half million-dollar figure represents only what auditors have been able to trace in six years’ worth of bank records and may not include cash transaction, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told parents at an alumni meeting last week, according to The Press-Telegram.

Both Kreuper, the school principal, and Chang, a teacher, retired earlier this year, according to The Press-Telegram. A standard audit procedure was initiated about six months ago, ahead of Kreuper’s retirement after 28 years of working at the school, the local newspaper reported.

Around that time, school staff noticed that a check made out to the school had been deposited into a different bank account after a family happened to request a copy of the check, according to The Press-Telegram. Kreuper then became “very nervous and very anxious” about the financial review and requested that staff alert records, and Meyers alerted an archdiocese internal auditor performing the review that “something was off,” Meyers said at the alumni meeting.

The auditor later confirmed Meyers’ suspicions, he said at the alumni meeting. In addition, a tip was made to an archdiocese ethics hotline, The Press-Telegram reported.

“They used the account as their personal account,” an attorney for the archdiocese said during the alumni meeting, adding that they had a “pattern” of going on trips and to casinos, according to the local newspaper.

Kreuper allegedly handled all checks made out to the school for tuition and fees and before handling them over to the bookkeeping for processing, auditors said at the alumni meeting, The Press-Telegram reported. Kreuper would allegedly hold some of the checks and deposit them into a “long forgotten” bank account opened in 1997 that only she and Chang knew about, auditors said. Those checks would then be endorsed with a stamp that read “St. James Convent” instead of “St. James School,” according to the local newspaper.

Although Meyers initially wrote in his letter that the Archdiocese did not wish to pursue criminal proceedings, the spokesperson for the archdiocese told ABC News Sunday that it plans on pursuing the matter as a criminal case now that the investigation has deepened. Other staff members at the church were not implicated, Meyers wrote in his letter to parents.

ABC News could not immediately reach a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for comment.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the order to which Kreuper and Chang belong — has agreed to arrange for full restitution of the funds, Meyers said. The order will also impose “appropriate penalties and sanctions” on the sisters, in accordance with the policies of the order, Meyers wrote. ABC News could not immediately reach the order for comment.

The accused nuns feel a “deep remorse” for their actions and are asking for “forgiveness and prayers,” Meyers wrote in his letter to parents.

“They and their Order pray that you have not lost trust or faith in the educators and administrators of the school,” Meyers wrote in his letter to parents. “Let us pray for our school families and for Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana.”

St. James Catholic School has initiated additional procedures and oversight policies for financial management and reporting responsibilities, Meyers said.

No student or program has “suffered any loss of educational resources, opportunities, or innovations” as a result of the misappropriation of funds, Meyers wrote, emphasizing to parents that their children’s education “has not and will not be affected by these events.”

ABC News could not reach Kreuper or Chang for comment. It is unclear if they have retained attorneys.

ABC News’ Frank Elaridi and Lisa Silverstein contributed to this report.

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Court documents reveal details of Huawei CFO’s Vancouver connection, legal defence

Newly released court documents from the bail hearing for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou offer a closer look at the executive’s connection to Vancouver and her possible coming legal defence.

Meng was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 at the request of U.S. authorities, who want her extradited to face fraud charges related to alleged violations of sanctions against Iran.

She remains in custody in Vancouver pending the outcome of her bail hearing.

Vancouver connection

Global News combed through hundreds of pages of documents released this weekend, including affidavits filed by both Meng and her husband Xiaozong Liu.

The affidavits reveal the couple owns two homes in Vancouver.

One home is at 4005 West 28th Ave., purchased in 2009 and valued at $5.6 million in 2017, and one is at 1603 Matthews St., purchased in 2016 and valued at $16.3 million in 2017, which they claim is currently under renovation for the family’s use.

The filings reveal the mother of four seeks to live at the 28th Avenue home if granted bail, and say her husband, daughter and extended family would move to the city to live with her. They also offer the homes’ equity as collateral against bail.

The documents also speak to Meng and her family’s 15-year connection to Vancouver.

The documents reveal two of her children attended school in the city between 2009 and 2012 while her husband completed a master’s degree there.

“Even after the children stopped attending school in Vancouver, my husband and younger children spent many weeks, sometimes months, here during the summer,” states Meng’s affidavit.

“Since approximately 2010, my in-laws typically stay at our home in Vancouver for multiple months in the summer … I always try to spend at least 2-3 weeks in Vancouver every summer.”

Coming legal strategy

While Meng’s case has not even completed its bail hearing phase, never mind extradition proceedings, the court filings hint at Meng and Huawei’s legal strategy ahead of a potential U.S. court case.

The submission summarizes the U.S. goverment’s case as alleging that Huawei “effectively ‘controlled’ an entity called Skycom” until about 2014, and that it had operated in violation of sanctions against Iran at some point between 2007 and 2013, while defrauding U.S. banks by misrepresenting its relationship with the smaller company.

The submission highlights a specific date upon which fraud is alleged to have occurred, Sept. 3, 2013, in which Meng gave a PowerPoint presentation to an unnamed financial institution.

In it, Meng is alleged to have misrepresented Huawei’s ownership and control of Skycom and its compliance with U.S. laws.

skycom 4

PowerPoint slides included in Meng Wanzhou’s bail proceedings.

skycom 3

PowerPoint slides included in Meng Wanzhou’s bail proceedings.


PowerPoint slides included in Meng Wanzhou’s bail proceedings.

pp slide 1

PowerPoint slides included in Meng Wanzhou’s bail proceedings.

The slide in question refers to the fact that Huawei was once a shareholder in Skycom, and that Meng sat on the company’s board “to ensure trade compliance.”

It is alleged that “because the applicant used the word “I” in the presentation, she must have had personal knowledge of the factual accuracy of her statements,” states the document.

“As a review of the document itself reveals, the presentation from which the U.S. authorities select excerpts indeed emphasizes Huawei’s extensive compliance programs and its efforts to comply with the complex and dynamic applicable legal regimes in the many counties it operates.”

The submission further argues that even if Huawei was in violation of sanctions — which it does not concede — there is no evidence Meng was aware of it.

“The case against the Applicant seems to rest wholly on her reliance on a PowerPoint presentation prepared by others,” it states.

The submission, along with affidavits supplied by Huawei’s U.S. lawyer Bryan Harrison, also detail Huawei’s history of legal interactions with U.S. government regulators and auditors.

Meng’s bail submission refers to a report from KPMG in Huawei’s 2017 Annual Report which details the company’s “enterprise-wide commitment to compliance,” and which “lists the company’s related parties and major subsidiaries, and that list includes neither Skycom nor the entity that purchased it.”

Harrison’s affidavit also details a series of interactions between Huawei and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement (OEE) between 2013 and 2016.

Harrison submits that in 2014 the OEE found no violations, that in 2016 Huawei confirmed to the OEE that it had been meeting annually with U.S. government officials between 2009 and 2014 to discuss sanctions compliance efforts, and that in 2010 and 2014 it retained U.S.-based auditors to ensure that compliance.

Harrison’s submission also argues that there have been no lawsuits filed against Huawei by any of the financial institutions it is alleged to have defrauded or indictments against the company itself by U.S. governments.

Bail proceedings

Meng’s bail proceedings are set to resume on Monday in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

Meng’s defence has submitted that she does not pose a flight risk, owing in large part to her connection to the city, along with a moral obligation to see the case through that is laid out in her affidavit.

“My father founded Huawei and I would never do anything that would cause the company reputational damage,” the document reads.

“I believe that breaching my bail conditions would cause such damage.”

Crown prosecutors dispute that position, arguing that Meng has no meaningful connection to the jurisdiction, virtually inexhaustible resources and is a citizen of a country with no extradition treaty with Canada and the U.S.

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Commuters prepare for travel chaos with launch of new train timetable

Commuters brace themselves for travel chaos as train companies launch ANOTHER new timetable, after last one brought misery for thousands

  • Timetable was launched yesterday but today is first weekday of new schedule 
  • Rail firms are promising 200 extra trains across Thameslink and Great Northern
  • May’s timetable changes caused thousands of routes to be cancelled or delayed 

Rail passengers were this morning braced for fresh disruption following the launch of the latest new timetable.

The last time major changes were made, in May, commuters were left stranded as thousands of services were delayed or cancelled.

And although network bosses stressed they had planned fewer changes this time around, they warned there could still be ‘pockets of disruption’.

Worst-hit in May were 8,000 Thameslink and Great Northern services – run by Govia Thameslink Railway – and 5,000 run by Northern, which were cancelled or severely delayed. 

Both companies could face fines in the New Year following an investigation into whether they breached their operating licences.

Rail passengers are bracing themselves for delays this morning after train companies introduced another new timetable yesterday. File image of chaos at St Pancras Station used

The fiasco led to the introduction of emergency timetable services in which trains were cancelled or replaced by buses for weeks on end.

In one case, trains were delayed by a lack of drivers qualified to take them through a newly-built tunnel in North London.

The winter timetable was officially launched yesterday without incident but today is the first weekday the revamped service will be used by millions of commuters.

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Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, said: ‘This time around passengers expect the rail industry to drive a smooth set of timetable improvements.

‘Passengers paid a hefty price for the catalogue of over optimism, missed deadlines and blurred accountability that led to a summer of timetable crisis and ensuing chaos.

‘To regain their trust, passengers need to see that lessons have been learned.

‘Looking forward, someone must be placed clearly in charge of major timetable changes in future, to ensure robust oversight and with the power to hit the stop button when something is not going to work.’

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operating companies, said changes for the winter timetable have been ‘smaller than those seen earlier this year’ to minimise the risk of problems.

When timetable changes came in in May the worst-hit were 8,000 Thameslink (pictured) and Great Northern services – run by Govia Thameslink Railway – and 5,000 run by Northern, which were cancelled or severely delayed

Improvements include the introduction of 200 additional weekday services on Thameslink and Great Northern.

But Northern, which has had up to 10 per cent of its trains out of action due to wheel damage caused by leaves on the line, admitted its service would still not be up to scratch.

Hundreds of the company’s trains have had fewer carriages than usual, causing sometimes severe overcrowding, and it said the problems could ‘last until at least next May’.

In the month to November 11, 1,162 of Northern’s trains lacked the normal number of carriages and some were axed altogether.

Later last month, services on the Preston to Ormskirk line in Lancashire were cancelled for an entire week.

Raj Chandarana, stakeholder manager for Northern, told a public meeting in Manchester that May’s timetable crisis had led to a ‘horrendous’ shortage of trains – worsened by the wheel damage issue.

The last time major changes were made, in May, commuters were left stranded as thousands of services were delayed or cancelled. File image of delayed passengers at London Waterloo used

He said: ‘We are doing what we can but in reality until the infrastructure improvements happen we are not able to use the trains that are fit for purpose on electrified tracks and it won’t be until May next year at the earliest that we’ll be in a position to say at peak there won’t be short-formed trains.’

Northern blamed Network Rail for delays on electrification projects on major lines, which meant diesel trains on those routes could still not be released for use elsewhere.

Mr Chandarana said: ‘We’ve tried to plug the gap with existing stock and by borrowing trains from other operators.’ 

‘The situation we face is one that is hugely regrettable.’ Greater Manchester authorities estimate a 5 per cent rise in traffic coming into the city has been generated by the rail disruption, which also includes Northern guards striking every Saturday.

Robert Nisbet, regional director of the Rail Delivery Group, admitted there could be ‘some pockets of disruption’ on the network today and urged passengers to check the new timetables before they travel.

It comes after a report into May’s timetable chaos by Professor Stephen Glaister, chairman of watchdog body the Office for Rail and Road, warned train companies had a battle to restore ‘trust and confidence’.

Mr Nisbet said: ‘Over the next few years, we are committed to delivering a step change in the quality and reliability of rail services through huge investment in infrastructure so that thousands of extra services can run.

‘We know that people in some areas might be concerned about another timetable change but as the Glaister Review acknowledges the rail industry has worked together to start learning the lessons from May.

‘As with the introduction of any new timetable, there may be some pockets of disruption as people get used to new journeys and train times, so we advise people to check before travelling.’

He added that improvements over the next three years would include introduction of 7,000 new carriages and hundreds of fully refurbished trains, supporting 6,400 extra services a week by 2021.

Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail, said: ‘The railway industry (took) a long hard look at its plans for the timetable change in December and, taking into account recent painful lessons, the industry has scaled back its ambition and tempered it with a more cautious, phased approach.

‘The railway is too vital for the health and wealth of our country to risk a repeat of the mistakes of May and this more balanced approach of ambition and caution is absolutely the right thing to do for the millions who rely on our railway every day.’ 

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Volunteer passport app will make NHS volunteering easier

‘Volunteer passport’ smartphone app will make it easier for people to help out in NHS hospitals

  • A ‘volunteer passport’ will be introduced to make it easier to help out hospitals  
  • The passports aim to condense waiting times for volunteering down to a month 
  • Currently would-be volunteers have to wait between three and six months  
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants the scheme introduced next year 

A ‘volunteer passport’ is to be introduced to make it far easier for the public to help out in hospitals.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants to bring in the scheme next year to dramatically slash the bureaucracy involved in registering as a helper.

Currently, would-be volunteers have to wait between three and six months after expressing their interest with a hospital to start their placements.

The passports, being built as a smartphone app, aim to condense this down to just a month. Health officials hope they will encourage thousands more kind-hearted people to volunteer.

A ‘volunteer passport’ will be introduced to make it easier for members of the public to help out in hospitals (stock image)

Importantly, the passports will mean those who have volunteered in one hospital can work in another part of the NHS without having to register again.

This includes volunteers with charities who work on behalf of the NHS, such as the Red Cross and St John Ambulance.

So far, more than 20,000 readers have signed up to the Daily Mail’s hospital volunteer drive since its launch on December 1. ‘I want to make it easier to volunteer in the NHS,’ said Mr Hancock.

‘I want to introduce a volunteer passport so that the checks that it’s important people undergo can be done once and then somebody is approved and trained to work as a volunteer in any setting.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants to bring in the scheme next year to dramatically slash the bureaucracy involved in registering as a helper

‘At the moment if you have a background check it’s for a particular role.

‘It should be based on the need for a particular person and then that could be taken across the NHS.’

The first volunteer placements for the Mail’s campaign will begin in the spring, with the exact timings depending on individual hospitals. But the overwhelming response suggests many people would have liked to help out much earlier, especially as the NHS is so busy over winter.

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At present, anyone who wants to help at their local hospital has to have a criminal records check, occupational health check (including tests for illnesses such as tuberculosis and hepatitis) and training.

The passports are being built by Helpforce, the charity partnered with the Mail to launch our volunteer campaign, with the full backing of the Health Secretary.

Helpforce hopes to introduce them by the end of 2019 although they will be continually upgraded and improved thereafter.

At the moment, would-be volunteers must wait between three and six months after expressing an interest in starting their placements (stock image)

The smartphone app will be essentially a volunteering CV, showing helpers have passed a criminal records check and occupational health assessment plus a record of previous work and training.

The charity also hopes to build an electronic version which can be looked up on any computer as many NHS volunteers are over 65 and may not own smartphones.

Mr Hancock stressed that speeding up the process would not mean vital checks will become less scrupulous. He said: ‘It’s important that people volunteering get the training they need to support staff and also have the right background checks.

The passports, being built as a smartphone app, aim to condense this down to just a month (stock image)

‘The great thing is when there’s a good volunteering system, it helps the clinicians do their job. I think the NHS has a huge amount to gain from embracing volunteering and Helpforce is a brilliant way to do this.’

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, founder and chairman of Helpforce said: ‘A digital passport will allow Britain to make a greater use of volunteers.

‘It will be more convenient, enabling them to carry out a multiplicity of tasks in different settings and for different charities, as well as the NHS.’ The passports would also bypass busy hospital human resources sections, helping to speed up registration.

There are numerous volunteering roles in the Health Service including reassuring patients while they wait in A&E, entertaining children with cancer and delivering blood on a motorbike.

Starting next year, the charity also hopes to develop a basic volunteer training qualification.

Volunteering will form a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan, a major policy document which is being published this month.

How many of you have signed up? 

In just over a week 20,000 Daily Mail readers signed up to the volunteer drive

The number of readers who have signed up to the Daily Mail’s hospital volunteer drive has hit 20,000 in just over a week.

They have kindly pledged their time to help overstretched NHS staff with tasks ranging from picking up prescriptions to befriending or feeding patients.

The biggest British recruitment since the 2012 Olympics will give the Health Service 1.1 million hours of support from ordinary people.

The NHS already had 78,000 ‘unsung heroes’ working as volunteers nationwide. Now that is approaching 100,000.

Backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Christmas appeal has seen people sign up for a minimum of six months. So far, almost 12,000 volunteers are pledging three hours a week and another 8,574 will help out one day a month. That all adds up to a grand total of 1,168,200 hours.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, chairman of Helpforce, the charity partnering the Mail in our campaign, said: ‘This proves the goodwill of the British people is alive and well. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.’

Melvin Louch: Helps out at hospital which saved his life

Pensioner Melvin Louch already helps out once a week at his local hospital, the Queen Alexandra in Portsmouth. Last year staff helped save his life three times when he suffered two heart attacks, a stroke and kidney failure.

‘I was so well looked after. They were all superb and saved my life,’ said the retired engineer, 75.

‘I wanted to show my gratitude by giving something back.’ He said of our campaign: ‘It’s great – the NHS really needed it right now so I have to say well done to the Daily Mail. It’s important we pull together and help.

‘Any person who goes into hospital can worry so to see friendly faces from volunteers really helps.

‘I’m really enjoying volunteering. Anyone can do it. There are so many different things they can do to help.

‘Not only do I enjoy the exercise but I like to know I’m making a difference.

‘I take flowers donated by Sainsbury’s to the hospital and deliver them to the reception on all seven levels which I thoroughly enjoy.’ 

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CIA Spy Imprisoned In Russia Seeks Help From Trump: 'My Family Is In Danger'

Yevgeny Chistov, a CIA spy currently imprisoned in Russia, is publicly urging U.S. President Donald Trump to conduct an exchange. Chistov penned a column for the Guardian, providing details about his biography and explaining to the public how he ended up serving a 13-year sentence in a Russian prison.

Chistov, an opponent of Vladimir Putin’s brutal regime, used to work as a police officer in the Russian interior ministry. While working there, Yevgeny began passing information to the CIA.

“I told them about the ministry’s secret plans, gave them the names of some people from the FSB, and revealed some objectives of Russia’s ministry of defence. Then I was caught.”

Chistov began working for the American intelligence service out of rebellion and love for his country, he claims, and in an effort to help overthrow Vladimir Putin. Four years ago, Chistov was arrested by Russian authorities and placed in the notorious Lefortovo prison, infamously used by Joseph Stalin. There, he writes, he was kept in a freezing cell, without proper medical care, and forced to endure Federal Security Service’s abuse.

In March, 2016, the CIA spy was placed in a correctional colony in the Russian city of Bor. He shares his cell with a dozen inmates. Chistov writes for the Guardian that he has complained to the European court of human rights, and his application is currently being reviewed. But Chistov’s family, he claims, is in “great danger,” as it is being targeted by the authorities.

Now, Chistov writes, the United States is his only hope, which is why he is urging President Donald Trump to grant asylum to his mother, and his wife.

“In Russia there are people who, like me, risked our lives to help the U.S, and in the U.S. there are people imprisoned for helping Russia. Trump can conduct an exchange.”

Russian police officer-turned-CIA spy Yevgeny Chistov concluded his Guardian column by praising Donald Trump’s campaign promise to relax the relationship between Russia and the United States, claiming that the two countries need to cooperate better since “constructive and friendly relations will be beneficial to all people of Russia and the U.S.”

According to the Human Rights Watch, Vladimir Putin’s Russia keeps cracking down on all forms of political dissent. In 2018, the government is continuing to target peaceful protesters and independent voices. In one of the regions, local authorities are torturing dozens of gay men.

The Russian Parliament decided to decriminalize certain acts of domestic abuse earlier this year. Any and all attempts at political organizing in Russia are quickly and forcefully shut down, according to the world’s best-known international non-governmental organization dedicated to human rights.

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Bomb squad at Calgary International Airport after suspicious package found

The bomb squad was called in after a suspicious package was found at Calgary International Airport on Saturday, police said.

The package from international arrivals was reported at around 4 p.m., officers said, prompting entrances 13 to 17 to be closed.

Police said the airport is still functional and there have not been any evacuations.

The airport said it’s aware of the incident and has apologized for any disruption.

More to come…


Police respond to 2 suspicious package incidents in northeast Calgary

CTrain evacuated as Calgary police investigate suspicious package

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Final words of Jamal Khashoggi are revealed in transcript

‘I can’t breathe!’: Final words of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi are revealed in new transcript of his gruesome killing

  • The new transcript reveals how Khashoggi told his captors he couldn’t breathe 
  • The audio recording’s transcript also reveal the sounds of his body being sawed 
  • One of his killers tells his companions to listen to some music to block the sound

An audio recording has revealed the harrowing last words of journalist Jamal Khahsoggi as he was brutally killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. 

A source, who read a translated transcript of the recording, said that the journalist repeated several times ‘I can’t breathe’ moments before his death.

The recording also captured the horrific sounds of Khashoggi’s body being dismembered with a saw – while his alleged killers were told to listen to music to block out the noise.  

The shocking recording has thrown even more doubt on Saudi claims that the killing was a botched rendition attempt and not an execution.  

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi repeatedly told his captors he couldn’t breathe as he was killed in October

Khashoggi can be heard struggling against his captors – who make a series of phone calls during his torture. 

The calls suggest that the killers were keeping higher-ups updated with their butchering of the journalist. 

Turkish officials claim the calls were made to senior figures in Riyadh. 

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The transcript, shared by CNN, tracks the moment Khashoggi first entered the consulate to pick up papers that would let him marry his Turkish finacee, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting for him outside. 

It was supposed to be a routine appointment, but the journalist was then confronted by a man he recognised and did not expect to be at the consulate.

Khashoggi can be heard asking the man what he is doing there. 

According to CNN, the man is Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a former Saudi diplomat and intelligence official working for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and known to Khashoggi from their time together at the Saudi Embassy in London.

He can be heard telling Khashoggi: ‘You are coming back’.

The recording also captured the horrific sounds of Khashoggi’s body being dismembered with a saw at the consulate

The journalist can be heard arguing back and saying that there are people waiting for him outside. 

He is believed to have told his waiting fiancee to call associates if he didn’t return.  

Khashoggi is then set on by a several people, according to the transcript.  

Despite Saudi officials suggesting he was accidentally choked to death, the journalist can be heard repeating: ‘I can’t breathe.’ 

The transcript notes that Khashoggi screams and gasps before dying and his body is then sawed.  

The only other person named in the transcript is Dr Salah Muhammad al-Tubaiqi, the head of forensic medicine at Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry 

Tubaiqi can be heard advising people to listen to music as they dismember the dead journalist.  

Mutreb, who is updating someone throughout, then says: ‘Tell yours, the thing is done, it’s done.’ 

According to CNN, the transcript has been circulated to Turkish and Saudi allies, including those in Europe, but only the United States and Saudi Arabia have received the recording itself.  

The office of one US senator, who has received a briefing on the investigation by CIA Director Gina Haspel, told CNN that the source’s recollections of the transcript are ‘consistent’ with that briefing. 

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‘Hundreds of teachers still struggling with basics of curriculum’

Hundreds of teachers still struggle with spelling, maths and knowledge of the curriculum, ‘confusing children by ‘inserting errors into their work’

  • Analysis of Ofsted ratings shows teachers make many mistakes during lessons 
  • It found they are struggling with spelling, numeracy and basics of their subjects
  • In some examples teachers were actually inserting errors into pupils’ work

Hundreds of teachers are struggling with spelling, numeracy and the basics of their subjects, reports by school inspectors suggest.

Analysis of Ofsted ratings shows many make mistakes during lessons or when marking work, leaving children confused.

In some examples uncovered by the Mail, teachers were actually inserting errors into pupils’ work.

Analysis of Ofsted ratings shows teachers make many mistakes during lessons. Stock picture shows a teacher writing on a blackboard

Other cases involved teachers displaying ‘weak subject knowledge’ and offering ‘muddled and confusing explanations’.

The findings show most mistakes are taking place at primaries, when children are learning the basics of core subjects such as English, maths and science.

Campaigners say it suggests some teachers themselves are so poorly educated they are passing on their mistakes to youngsters.

The findings come from analysis of 280 schools inspected by Ofsted over the past few years and graded ‘inadequate’ for teaching.

At least 22 were identified as having teachers who lack basic literacy and numeracy skills, or knowledge of the curriculum.

In one example from last year, inspectors at Dines Green Primary in Worcester found that ‘teachers make mistakes when teaching English and mathematics which leads to pupils becoming confused’.

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At Wilkes Green Infant School in Handsworth, Birmingham, a teacher ‘used incorrect grammar in their written feedback to pupils about their work’ in 2016.

This year at Dormers Wells Infants in Southall, west London, teachers had ‘weak subject knowledge’ which led to ‘misconceptions in pupils’.

Last year at Central CE Academy in Chichester, West Sussex, inspectors noted ‘sometimes adults unintentionally introduce errors into pupils’ work, including spelling’.

And also last year at Edenbridge Primary in Kent, Ofsted said: ‘Some teachers’ subject knowledge is poor. At times, they offer pupils muddled and confusing explanations of concepts in mathematics and English grammar’.

Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: ‘Many teachers too were failed by their schooling. They are incapable of providing the next generation with basic skills and core knowledge.

‘We are the only country in the developed world where grandparents out-perform their grandchild.’

When approached for comment, many of the schools said they now have new leadership teams which have made improvements since the inspections were carried out.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: ‘We are confident in the quality of our teachers and their teaching. As part of initial teacher training, all teachers must pass tests in numeracy and literacy to achieve qualified teacher status.’

Children who have books at home are three times as likely to have good reading skills than those who don’t, a study found.

The National Literacy Trust found reading for pleasure at home, particularly at pre-school age, gives children a head start, with 12 per cent who had books at home reading above their age level, compared with just 4 per cent who had none.

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