US election 2020: Michael Bloomberg joins race for White House


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Michael Bloomberg submitted his papers in Alabama on Friday

Billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signalled he will join the race to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for US president.He has filed paperwork ahead of a deadline for the Democratic primary election in Alabama.The move is a necessary step to join the race to be the party’s candidate to take on President Donald Trump in next year’s election.Mr Bloomberg, 77, has not formally confirmed his candidacy.However, spokesman Jason Schechter told US media that an announcement “could come as early as next week”.

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Media caption”Little” Michael Bloomberg will hurt Biden – Trump
The businessman is said to be concerned the current Democratic contenders would not pose a strong enough challenge to Mr Trump in 2020.He will be entering a crowded field as one of 17 candidates hoping to be chosen as the Democratic nominee.Former Vice President Joe Biden is the frontrunner, followed by senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.The tycoon had strongly hinted that he would run, with his adviser Howard Wolfson releasing a statement on Thursday evening saying they wanted to “ensure that Trump is defeated” in the election next year.”But Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of [Democratic] candidates is not well positioned to do that,” he added.

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Media captionBloomberg to BBC in 2018: ‘I’d like to make a difference’
His comments came after months of debate over wealth inequality in the US, with Mr Sanders and Ms Warren announcing plans for steep tax rises for billionaires. Unveiling his tax proposals in September, Mr Sanders said: “Billionaires should not exist.”Mr Bloomberg is estimated to be worth $52bn.On Friday, President Trump taunted Mr Bloomberg by saying there was “nobody I’d rather run against than little Michael”.Mr Bloomberg filed his papers in Alabama later the same day.Better late than never?Mr Bloomberg is said to be fully aware such a belated entry to the race presents challenges in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, where other Democratic contenders have been campaigning for months. The Bloomberg team reportedly sees a possible pathway through the so-called Super Tuesday contests in March, when 14 states – including California, Alabama and Colorado – will vote on a single day for their preferred White House nominee. Mr Bloomberg considered running for the White House as an independent candidate in both 2008 and 2016. In March of this year he had said he would not join the 2020 race.

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Mr Bloomberg and Mr Trump, pictured here playing golf in 2007, were once friendly

What happens after Alabama?Mr Bloomberg’s advisers are reportedly preparing the paperwork for other states with nearing deadlines. Both Arkansas and New Hampshire require candidates to file by next week. State-by-state votes, known as primaries and caucuses, will be held from February next year to pick a Democratic White House nominee.The eventual winner will be crowned at the party convention in Wisconsin in July. He or she is expected to face President Trump, a Republican, in the general election in November.

What’s the other reaction?Mr Biden told media on Friday that he had “no problem” with Mr Bloomberg joining the Democratic field. “Michael is a solid guy,” Mr Biden said. “Let’s see where it goes.” Ms Warren welcomed Mr Bloomberg to the race on Twitter, linking to her own campaign website and suggesting the former mayor take a look for potential policy plans. In tweet seemingly directed at Mr Bloomberg, Mr Sanders wrote: “The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared.” Some recent opinion polls have suggested that Ms Warren and Mr Sanders – who are more politically liberal than Mr Biden – might face an uphill battle against Mr Trump.The Republican National Committee said in a statement that the billionaire’s prospective entry “underscores the weak Democrat field”.

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Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren are currently leading the field of Democratic candidates

Who is Bloomberg? Mr Bloomberg was a Wall Street banker before going on to create the financial publishing empire that bears his name.His net worth is $52bn (£40bn), according to Forbes. This is 17 times more than Mr Trump’s (estimated at $3.1bn).Are US billionaires really going to pay more tax?He staged a successful campaign for New York mayor in 2001, remaining in office for three consecutive terms until 2013. A philanthropist, he has donated millions of dollars to educational, medical and other causes.Why is he running now?Analysis – Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, WashingtonWhy is he contemplating a run for the highest political job in the land just a few months after announcing he would watch 2020 from the sidelines? Here are a few theories:
Because he thinks he can win
Because he wants to shape the debate
Because he can afford to
The top one is the obvious response. Mr Bloomberg has plenty of pollsters and political strategists at his disposal, and is reported to be a very data-driven businessman. It doesn’t take an advanced degree in quantitative analysis, however, to realise that the Democratic field, even at this (relatively) late date, is still in flux.There are four candidates at or near the top of early state and national primary polls – Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. All of them have their strengths, of course, but all of them also have obvious weaknesses. Read Anthony’s piece in fullWhat does Bloomberg believe in? Originally a Democrat, Mr Bloomberg became a Republican to mount his campaign for New York mayor in 2001.Now regarded as a moderate Democrat, he rejoined the party only last year.

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Michael Bloomberg has highlighted climate change and gun control as key issues

Mr Bloomberg has liberal views on issues such as climate change, gun control, immigration and abortion rights. He was credited this week with helping Democrats win control of Virginia’s legislature, after his gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety injected $2.5m into the state’s election. But Mr Bloomberg is more conservative on topics like the economy and policing. As mayor, he defended the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, which critics say disproportionately targeted African Americans and Hispanics. At city hall, Mr Bloomberg banned supersize sodas to prevent obesity, but was overruled by the state’s Supreme Court.



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Remembrance Sunday: Actors 'wage peace' in 24-hour theatre marathon


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Miranda Richardson and Toby Jones will read parts of the 237,000-word script

A non-stop 24-hour performance will see actors including Toby Jones and Miranda Richardson speak the words of 100 peace workers for Remembrance Sunday.24 Hours of Peace has been created from interviews with community and charity workers, ex-Armed Forces personnel, religious leaders and former neo-Nazis.It will be staged at the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester from 11:02 GMT on Sunday.The 24 professional actors also include Julie Hesmondhalgh and Liz Carr.

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Left-right: Liz Carr, Don Warrington and Julie Hesmondhalgh

Hesmondhalgh is known for Broadchurch and Coronation Street, while Carr stars in Silent Witness. Don Warrington (Death In Paradise), Mina Anwar (The Thin Blue Line), Maggie Steed (EastEnders), Adjoa Andoh (Casualty) and Steffan Rhodri (Gavin & Stacey) will also take part, joined by a 24-strong community ensemble.The marathon show has been put together by Neil Bartlett, former artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith theatre, who has spent three years interviewing people involved in working towards peace.”I asked them all the simple question – what does this day, when we’re supposed to be reflecting on war and peace, what does this day mean to you?”And out of those 100 completely different answers, I’ve created the text of this show.”Bartlett travelled the UK interviewing figures including Nigel Bromage, who joined the far right at 15 and now helps people who want to leave; three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Scilla Elworthy; Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s chief negotiator in Northern Ireland; and “honour” abuse campaigner Jasvinder Sanghera.He spoke to 16 former members of the Armed Forces; ex-IRA member Patrick Magee and Jo Berry, the daughter of one of his victims; an imam in Rochdale and a priest in Salford; an aid worker with experience in Somalia, South Sudan and Syria; and a community safety officer in Blackpool.His 100 interviewees represent the 100 years since the first Armistice Day.

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Matthew Hargraves

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Neil Bartlett has volunteered to do the 03:30 shift himself

“I’ve come out of it with hope,” he says. “If we want to choose peace – by which I mean reconciliation, de-escalation, negotiation – we already have all the tools and all the expertise in this country.”If we want to know how to start solving the problems we face – whether that’s catastrophic rises in hate crime figures to foreign policy questions to disarmament questions – we have the thinking, we have the thinkers, we have a century of experience. There is every reason for hope, if only we would ask the right people.”The performance will begin after Sunday’s two minutes’ silence. It will be free to watch live, with people invited to pop in during their shopping, on the way back from a night out or on their way to work on Monday. It will also be broadcast live on the radio on Resonance FM.Most of the performers will make a few appearances throughout the 24 hours. Hesmondhalgh, for example, is scheduled for two stints on Sunday evening before doing the 05:30 slot and then returning at 10:00.Groundhog Day?Bartlett has put himself in for 03:30-04:30. “I felt if I was going to call on both some of my very distinguished friends in the business, I had to be able to say to them, I’m doing the graveyard shift,” he says.While his 237,000-word script is all about peace, he says he is not trying to shift the focus of Remembrance Day and the two minutes’ silence from the commemoration of those who have died in conflicts.He says he wants to ask whether it is “meant to be like Groundhog Day, that we always return to the same point”. The silence was “always conceived of as a hinge moment”, he believes.”Some people say that’s why it’s two minutes – one minute to look back and one minute to look forward.”Life stops. We reflect. Do we then go back to where we were and pretend those two minutes never happened, or do those two minutes change us in some way? Do they charge us to do something different?”

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Berlin Wall: 'Germany was first re-united on the dancefloor'


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Carolin Saage

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Ravers are still taking to the Berlin dance floors, as pictured at the Konfettinacht club in 2007

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, some of the city’s clubbers and DJs recall how illegal raves helped bring a once divided nation back together.Berlin today is a temple for dance music fans from all corners of the globe, ready to leave their prejudices at the nightclub door and collectively surrender to the beat.There was a time not so long ago though when scenes of this nature were a physical and ideological impossibility. While baggy ravers in the UK were coming together for an extended Second Summer of Love, people in the German capital remained divided by a 27-mile wall. After it came down on 9 November 1989, as well as rubble and dust, there was a sudden explosion of underground parties in vacant buildings, train stations and power plants.Unlike the discos of old, these ecstasy-fuelled nights took their lead from the new sounds of Detroit techno and Chicago acid house, while emulating the free-spirited experience of parties in Ibiza and at Manchester’s Hacienda club. ‘Utopian’Heiko Hoffmann, who was a teenager at the time, said the “massive shift” to rave culture instantly “changed my life”.Previously, West Berliners like him were only able to visit the east with a day pass. Generally speaking, people in the east could not cross the border.”Just a couple of weeks after the fall of the wall I was dancing in industrial ruins next to people from the east, who just a couple of months earlier I wouldn’t have been able to meet,” says Hoffmann, the co-curator of the new No Photos on the Dance Floor! exhibition.”All of this was happening to mostly very raw techno music,” he adds, explaining that the name of the collection refers to the prevailing culture of protecting revellers from the judgement of the all-seeing camera.”If someone would tell you today that next week North and South Korea would be reunited, and a radical new form of music that you didn’t know existed before would be coming, and people would be dancing together in spaces that were new and unused for both of them, you would think that’s completely utopian.”That’s what happened 30 years ago.”

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Martin Eberle

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Outside Tresor nightclub, which was built in the vaults of a former department store next to Potsdammer Platz – a literal no-man’s land during the partition.

Wild nights in often temporary and industrial spaces near where the wall had stood – from Potsdamer Platz to Fredreichshain – fitted the primitive music and light/sound systems perfectly.Hoffmann believes the conditions were ripe for this unique scene to grow, because there was “a social change happening, as well as a musical one.””Germany was first reunited on the dancefloor of these parties. You didn’t really have to make a distinction any longer between east and west.”I think it’s crucial that it was not people from East Berlin dancing to music that was already around, or going to spaces that were West Berlin spaces, but it was really that people from the west and east could discover something radically new together.”‘A friendly revolution’It took almost a year for Germany to be officially re-unified in October 1990, and even then there were still plenty of legal grey areas.East Berliner Sebastian Szary, of electronic music duo Modeselektor, recalls how budding young DJs and party people like himself at the time took full advantage.”Anything was possible because there was no rule, the government was still in a grey zone – in a no-man’s land – and the law was not written,” he says.”The re-unification was done but there were a lot of things which were unclear. Like the police knew there were illegal parties but [they said] ‘We don’t know what do – let them do the party!'”People from the UK and across western Europe soon “found the playground to make dreams happen”, forming collectives, while enjoying East Berlin’s cheap rent and “positive energy”.

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Birgit Kaulfuss

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Sebastian Szary (right) and east Berlin schoolmate Gernot Bronsert formed Berlin electronic duo Modeselektor

“I’m 100% sure that is was the result of a friendly revolution,” he adds.”There was a chance the revolution was going to go in another direction with riots and war – it was really close. “For the next four years there were an uncountable amount of illegal parties, some in forests for hundreds and thousands, and also the Love Parade was growing.”

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Matthias Roeingh

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An aerial shot of Love Parade 2003, from the Nineties Berlin exhibition, shows how popular it was

The appetite for a re-unified Germany and the collapse of the Berlin Wall – itself a symbol of the Cold War between Soviet-led communism and the democracies of the West – was already evident at the staging of the first Love Parade festival in July 1989.It saw 150 people – led by Matthias Roeingh, aka Dr Motte – take to the streets for a demonstration of peace, love and music.It would become an important part of the rave calendar, in Berlin and beyond, for decades.Work permit issues forced the parade out of the city from 2007, and ultimately the tragic death of 21 people in a crowd crush in Duisburg in 2010 brought it to an end.’The re-start of a life’Quirin Graf Adelmann, whose Nineties Berlin exhibition chronicles the history of the event, stresses mass unemployment in the previously Soviet-run east side of the city made the DIY dance movement an attractive proposition for many.”Imagine 3.2 million people in Berlin lost their sense of life and the feeling to be useful to society, as there were no jobs,” he says.

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Mike Trobridge

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Festival-goers partied in the streets of Berlin and on top of a truck at Love Parade 1992

“All the education of the past 40, 50 years was blown away. People from the age of 16 to 22, starting their professional lives, had seen everything they’d learned about had disappeared.””So that was the start of of the ’90s. And what are you doing when you are free of the old stories and free of education?” he asks.”You to try to invent yourself, again. It means you have to experience everything, you have to start something new, and that’s what many people tried in Berlin.

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Tilman Brembs

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More party people: Dancing at Marco, Insel der Jugend in 1991, from the No Photos on the Dancefloor! exhibition

“On the one hand there was a 20% unemployment rate, and on the other – 50 different nations from everywhere around the world came into Berlin to feel the re-start of a life.”‘Queer culture was crucial’As the scene progressed – and original basement nights like Tekknozid and UFO gave birth to clubs like the legendary Tresor and E-Werk – two things were vitally important in ensuring it could prosper.Firstly, unlike in the UK and other European nations, Berlin’s clubs and bars did not have to close at a particular time, due to the abolition of the curfew in 1949. So parties could go on literally all weekend.”There are places that have never closed for the last 17 years – they will open 24 hours, seven days,” notes Hoffmann.And secondly, the driving influence of the gay community at venues like Metropol – which had previously been “a Berlin equivalent to Studio 54”, he adds, referring to the famous New York nightclub.

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Wolfgang Tillmans

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Clubbers queue for a “sex positive” gay party at Snax Club in east Berlin in 2001, which still hosts nights at the super-club Berghain

“It was basically the biggest queer discotheque that we had in Berlin. When when the wall came down and the techno scene started, what was great is that the initial parties, they weren’t really gay nights or queer nights – but people from all sorts of backgrounds came together,” he reminisces.”So you had football hooligans, and queer [people] and it didn’t really matter.”‘Influential’Not everybody was a fan of this newly open party city, but over the next three decades more and more “Easy Jet ravers” – as they became known – flooded in.Radio anthems by the likes of Scorpions, David Bowie and David Hasselhoff may have initially “put the message out in the world,” that “freedom” had arrived in Berlin, but it was this experimental new DJ-led “machine music” that truly soundtracked the era.As Hoffmann notes in his exhibition, a whole generation of Berlin clubbers “haven’t stopped dancing yet”, some alongside their own sons and daughters now, at venues like the world-famous Berghain.Szary, who will perform in London next weekend, is certain you can still hear the influence of techno, breakbeat and ’90s Berlin in electronic dance music (EDM) and the pop charts today.”It’s a fundamental part of commercial music now.” “It’s a copy of a copy of a copy,” he laughs. “But the influence is always there.”



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Uxbridge stabbing: Murder charge after knife awareness course attack


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Met Police

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Hakim Sillah was attacked at Hillingdon Civic Centre on Thursday

A teenager has been charged with murdering a man stabbed at a knife awareness course in London.Hakim Sillah, 18, was attacked in the youth offending service department of the Hillingdon Civic Centre in Uxbridge on Thursday.The Metropolitan Police said a group had gathered at the venue when a fight broke out. Mr Sillah was taken to hospital but died an hour later.A 17-year-old boy will appear before Uxbridge magistrates on Saturday.A teenage boy who sustained a knife wound to his ear was praised by detectives for “bravely” trying to break up the fight.

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The youth offending service was holding a knife awareness course

In a statement, Mr Sillah’s family described him as “a lovely lad who cared about his family”.”He loved looking after his little brother, who had been ill,” they said.Det Ch Insp Noel McHugh said: “A young man with his whole life ahead of him has been fatally attacked and his family are absolutely devastated.”



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The Papers: Blunkett warns of Labour election defeat



Newspaper headlines: David Blunkett warns of Labour election defeat

By BBC News
Staff

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The Daily Telegraph leads on comments by former Labour home secretary Lord David Blunkett, who suggests the Labour Party’s chances of a majority in the general election are “slim”, and describes his “despair” over “anti-Semitism and thuggery” in the party. The paper is also among a majority of Saturday’s front pages to highlight floods in parts of England this week – it pictures Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to Derbyshire, where the River Derwent burst its banks.

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The i weekend splashes an aerial view of homes and gardens surrounded by floodwaters, with the headline: “Roads turned into rivers”. Parts of the country were hit by a month’s worth of rain in a day, and rivers reached record levels in some areas. A woman has died after she was swept into the River Derwent in the early hours of Friday.

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Meanwhile, the Guardian shows residents being evacuated from their homes following rainfall in northern England and the Midlands. The newspaper also publishes figures that show the number of NHS patients having surgery in private hospitals has trebled since 2010, and carries a story that claims the prime minister “misled the public on his Brexit deal”.

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The Daily Star says England was hit by “biblical” downpours as it shows a young family being transported from their home by boat.

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Turning back to the general election, the Daily Mail urges readers to tell Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage to stand down his candidates from next month’s poll. It says “a host” of Mr Farage’s own candidates and backers fear the Brexit Party could cost the Conservative party vital seats.

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Support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is “imploding” across the country, reports the Daily Express. The paper cites a YouGov survey that it says shows Labour voters are abandoning Mr Corbyn, including in the party’s heartlands.

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The Times reports that Google is making tens of millions of pounds from “rip-off firms”, which are using its search engine to encourage savers to invest in “high-risk or potentially fraudulent schemes”. The paper says the tech giant is taking “huge” fees for promoting such websites on its ads service. Google told the paper it would “conduct a thorough investigation of the websites” it had approved for its ads services.

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“Sugar baddie” is the Sun’s headline, as it says Lord Alan Sugar has launched an investigation into his new business Siteform Flooring over claims a director shared far-right views online. The paper says Brian Costello re-tweeted a video bearing the manifesto slogan of the New Zealand terror attacker.

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The FT Weekend leads on Invesco’s top UK fund manager, Mark Barnett, apologising to investors over his performance after downgrades by rating agency Morningstar. Consultants cited “an increasing number of stock-selection issues”, the paper says.

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Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror carries a story that says a facelift clinic has caused fury by using photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge to win clients. The firm reportedly said it could offer Kate’s “natural look”, the newspaper says.

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Norwich City 0-2 Watford: Hornets' first win of season lifts them off bottom




Gerard Deulofeu’s goal was the second fastest by an away team in the Premier League this seasonWatford earned their first Premier League win of the season as they moved off the bottom of the table at the expense of opponents Norwich.The Hornets’ victory, their first in the top flight since April, means they leapfrog Southampton and the hosts, whose own winless run has now stretched to a seventh game. Gerard Deulofeu’s goal after 76 seconds after some lax defending from Emiliano Buendia set Watford on their way and Andre Gray’s close-range flick from a Deulofeu cross secured the points.But they had to survive for 25 minutes with 10 men after Christian Kabasele was dismissed for his second yellow card.That provided the hosts with some impetus in the closing stages but Quique Sanchez Flores’ side held firm to earn a first league victory since his return to the club.The Hornets, who have struggled for goals this term, displayed a clinical streak that has until now been absent, scoring with their only two efforts on target.Norwich have now gone 10 Premier League home games without keeping a clean sheet – a run stretching back to their previous campaign in the top flight – and hold the worst defensive record in the division.Deulofeu stars on positive night for WatfordWatford’s season has so far followed a familiar pattern of failing to convert chances in front of goal before being punished at the other end. So this was a welcome reversal of fortune for Sanchez Flores, who had overseen four draws and three defeats in his seven matches in charge since replacing compatriot Javi Gracia in September.The Spanish boss will also have been encouraged by being able to name Troy Deeney in a Hornets squad for the first time since August. And while the physical presence and bustling firepower that the 31-year-old can provide may yet prove pivotal if Watford are to turn their season around, Deulofeu’s pace was crucial in East Anglia.Dispossessing Buendia, Deulofeu drifted into the Norwich penalty area from the right unopposed and drilled a low left-foot shot past Canaries goalkeeper Tim Krul into the bottom left corner from 15 yards.While he clearly has the capacity to frustrate his team-mates at times, by failing to track back or make runs in behind opposition defences, the former Barcelona and Everton forward then created Watford’s second. Latching on to a ball down the left channel, the 25-year-old teased Max Aarons before picking out Gray, whose attempted backheel deflected off Jamal Lewis into the bottom left corner. Norwich lacking firepowerWhile Norwich appeared to regain control of the game in the first half, there was a certain inevitability about the outcome once they had fallen behind to Deulofeu’s early goal.Daniel Farke’s side may have dominated possession but their struggles were underscored by a lack of creativity and thrust in front of goal.They are also yet to earn a point this season after conceding the first goal with Teemu Pukki’s form indicative of their problems. The Finland international started the campaign prolifically with six goals in his first five games but has now failed to score in his last seven outings for the club.And while he worked away industriously all evening, producing more sprints than any other player (19), he barely got into the positions to test Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster.Cuban winger Onel Hernandez offered some threat down the left, repeatedly beating Kabasele before he was dismissed but he was underused thereafter, with the lively Todd Cantwell also introduced too late.It ensured Norwich ended the evening with their joint-lowest tally at this stage of a top-flight season.Man of the Match – Gerard Deulofeu (Watford)
Gerard Deulofeu (right) scored and then laid on Watford’s second goal of the evening.Super-sub GrayWatford registered their first Premier League win at the 12th attempt in 2019-20 and ended a run of 15 league games without a victory, stretching back to April.Norwich are the sixth newly promoted side to lose as many as nine of their opening 12 Premier League games to a season – four of the previous five went on to be relegated (the exception being Crystal Palace in 2013-14).This was the first away Premier League win by a team starting the day bottom of the table since last November, when Huddersfield Town won 2-0 at Wolves.Watford striker Andre Gray has more Premier League goals as a substitute in 2019 than any other player (3).In just two Premier League appearances on a Friday, Watford’s Gerard Deulofeu has been involved in six goals, scoring four times and assisting two.Deulofeu’s goal after 76 seconds for Watford was the second-quickest away goal scored in the Premier League this season, behind only Harry Kane’s effort after 47 seconds for Spurs at Liverpool.Norwich are still without a home Premier League clean sheet this season, one of only three teams without one, along with Liverpool and Southampton.Since returning to the Premier League in 2015-16, Watford have received more red cards than any other top-flight team (17).Watford have kept three clean sheets in their last five Premier League games, having kept none in their 19 games prior to this.More to follow.



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General election 2019: Wife of ex-MP facing assault charges to stand in his place


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The wife of an ex-Conservative MP has been chosen to contest his former seat at the general election.Natalie Elphicke was selected by Tory members to be the party’s candidate in Dover and Deal.Her husband Charlie Elphicke said he was standing down to fight three charges of sexual assault. He denies any wrongdoing.Mr Elphicke said he regretted having to make way but was determined to clear his name and ensure a fair trial. Mr Elphicke, who has held the Kent seat since 2010, lost the Conservative whip this summer after being charged with three counts of sexual assault against two women.
Who has selected the most women as candidates?
Which MPs are standing down at the election?
While he continued to sit in Parliament as an independent, as he no longer had the party whip he was not eligible to fight the seat again as a Conservative.He won the constituency for a third time in 2017 with a majority of 6,437’Outstanding’A lawyer by training and housing expert, Natalie Elphicke is chief executive of the Housing and Finance Institute, set up by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government in 2013.She has sat on the board of the Principality Building Society and Student Loans Company. She is also a former director of the Conservative Party’s national policy forum. She received an OBE in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to housing.

Keith Single, chairman of the local Conservative association, said he was saddened by Mr Elphicke’s decision to stand down but respected his reasons for doing so and remained fully supportive of him. “We have always supported him because we believe in the principle of innocence unless proven otherwise,” he said. “Unfortunately, these protracted events have unfolded in a way that meant Charlie did not get the chance to clear his name before this election.”He said the association thought “carefully” before selecting Natalie Elphicke to succeed her husband but he believed she was an “outstanding” candidate who would make a first-class MP. ‘Difficult time’Mrs Elphicke said she was looking forward, if elected, to building on her husband’s achievements.”I will fight tirelessly to deliver better healthcare, more jobs and money, better schools, high quality affordable housing, more police on our streets – and stronger, more secure borders,” she said. Mr Elphicke said he was incredibly proud of what he had achieved for his constituency but his focus was now on proving his innocence.”I have been subjected to daily falsehoods and vile abuse – from the malfeasance of cabinet ministers to the malice of Twitter trolls,” he said. “This has had the cumulative effect of jeopardising my right to a fair trial on charges I know to be baseless.””I would like to thank our Conservative association, my dedicated team of staff, the people of Dover and Deal and my family for their unwavering kindness throughout this difficult time.”



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Essex lorry deaths: Who are the victims?


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A relative lights an incense stick in front of a portrait of Bui Thi Nhung

The names of 39 Vietnamese nationals who were found dead in a refrigerated lorry in Essex have been released by police.Many of their families had feared the worst ever since the bodies were discovered in the early hours of 23 October.The BBC has been speaking to friends and relatives of those who died about how they came to be the victims of the tragedy.This article will be updated as further information about the victims comes to light.Pham Thi Tra My, 26

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Family of Pham Tra My

The family of Pham Thi Tra My said they paid £30,000 to people smugglers to get her to the UK.Miss Tra My, who was from Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province, flew to China before travelling via France and Belgium, according to her brother. He told the BBC she first attempted to cross the border to the UK on 19 October but was caught and turned back. The last message the family received from her was at 22:30 BST on 22 October – two hours before the trailer arrived at the Purfleet terminal from Zeebrugge in Belgium.The texts, sent to her parents, read: “I am really, really sorry, Mum and Dad, my trip to a foreign land has failed.”I am dying, I can’t breathe. I love you very much Mum and Dad. I am sorry, Mother.”Nguyen Dinh Luong, 20

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Nguyen Dinh Luong, also from Ha Tinh, had been living in France but hoped to work in a nail salon in the UK. The last his father heard from him was in mid-October, explaining that the journey would cost £11,000. Bui Phan Thang, 37

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Mr Phan Thang was a father from Ha Tinh province. Nguyen Huy Hung, 15

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Supplied by family

Among the youngest of the victims, Mr Hung was also from Ha Tinh. He wanted to join his parents who live in the UK, his brother told local media. His sister asked for help to find him in a Facebook post after the lorry was discovered. She wrote that he flew from Hanoi to Russia on 26 August, then to France on 6 October, but that the family lost contact when he went to the UK on 21 October.Tran Thi Tho, 21

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Family Handout

A friend who lives in Glasgow did not want to be identified, but told the BBC he had been due to meet up with Miss Tho – who was from Nghe An province – when she arrived in the UK.Her eyes are blurred in this image at the request of her family. Bui Thi Nhung, 19

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Bui Thi Nhung left her job in a clothes shop in Nghe An province to travel to the UK using money that her friends had helped her raise.Once there Miss Nhung, who was also known as Anna, hoped to meet up with friends and family, and to work to pay off debt owed by her late father.She was the youngest of four siblings – and the most educated – her sister Bui Thi Loan told the BBC.The sisters had exchanged messages on Facebook on 21 October, when Nhung said she fine and “in storage”. Vo Ngoc Nam, 28Originally from Nghe An province, Mr Nam had been working in Romania and planned to travel to the UK. His family did not want to be interviewed.Nguyen Dinh Tu, 26

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Nguyen Dinh Tu, 26, borrowed thousands of pounds when he was discharged from the military in order to get married and build a house.But with no work available in his hometown in Nghe An province, he went abroad to seek employment and repay his debts, leaving behind his wife and 18-month-old baby.Mr Tu paid smugglers the equivalent of around £4,960 in the hope of making it to the UK, according to AFP news agency. Le Van Ha, 30

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Le Van Ha left his heavily pregnant wife and young son behind in Nghe An province when he began his journey to the UK in June.He went in search of better-paid work to repay money that his family had borrowed to build their house.His father, Le Minh Tuan, mortgaged two plots of land to fund the £20,000 journey.”I don’t know when we can ever pay it back. I’m an old man now, my health is poor, and I have to help bring up his children,” he said.Nguyen Van Hung, 33

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Less than two weeks before his body was found in Essex, Nguyen Van Hung was photographed with his cousin, Hoang Van Tiep, at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.The music graduate had tricked his parents when he left Nghe An to join his cousin in France last year, leaving his passport at home and travelling on a different one.He found work in a kitchen but had spoken about how it was hard, and said he wanted to grow marijuana in the UK.Hoang Van Tiep, 18

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Hoang Van Tiep, Nguyen Van Hung’s cousin, left Nghe An province for France in 2017, funded by his mother, who borrowed money from banks and relatives to fund the trip.Once there, he worked illegally at a restaurant, his mother said. He was arrested multiple times and his passport was taken. On being threatened with deportation, he told his mother he wanted to travel to the UK.Nguyen Trong Thai, 26Having worked in his family’s timber business, Mr Thai had often talked about leaving Nghe An province and going abroad.He told his family he was going to Germany for business, his mother told the BBC. But after several phone calls in the first few days, they stopped hearing from him.Nguyen Ba Vu Hung, 34Mr Hung, who was from Thua Thien – Hue province, had been speaking to his family about trying to get to the UK in mid-October, according to his brother-in-law, Tom Wright, who is a US citizen but lives with his wife in Vietnam.Believing that he would have a better life in the UK, Mr Hung’s mother agreed to pay the estimated $15,000 (£11,800).He was in regular contact with his family while travelling through Europe, sending a photo of himself and a friend in front of the Eiffel Tower. He told his mother that he would be boarding a truck and would contact her in a few days, once he had reached the UK – but he never did.Vo Nhan Du, 19Mr Du left his home in Ha Tinh province in June, staying in Germany for 15 days and France for three months, his father told Vietnamese media.The last his father heard from him was on 22 October, when he called to say he was about to leave for the UK.Nguyen Huy Phong, 35-year-old man from Ha TinhTran Manh Hung, 37-year-old man from Ha TinhCao Tien Dung, 37-year-old man from Nghe AnCao Huy Thanh, 37-year-old man from Nghe AnTran Thi Mai Nhung, 18-year-old woman from Nghe AnNguyen Minh Quang, 20-year-old man from Nghe AnLe Ngoc Thanh, 44-year-old man from Dien ChauPham Thi Ngoc Oanh, 28-year-old woman from Nghe AnHoang Van Hoi, 24-year-old man from Nghe AnNguyen Tho Tuan, 25-year-old man from Nghe AnDang Huu Tuyen, 22-year-old man from Nghe AnTran Khanh Tho, 18-year-old man from Ha TinhVo Van Linh, 25-year-old man from Ha TinhNguyen Van Nhan, 33-year-old man from Ha TinhTran Thi Ngoc, 19-year-old woman from Nghe AnNguyen Van Hiep, 24-year-old man from Nghe AnNguyen Thi Van, 35-year-old woman from Nghe AnTran Hai Loc, 35-year-old man from Nghe AnDuong Minh Tuan, 27-year-old man from Quang BinhNguyen Ngoc Ha, 32-year-old man from Quang BinhNguyen Tien Dung, 33-year-old man from Quang, BinhPhan Thi Thanh, 41-year-old woman from Hai PhongDinh Dinh Thai Quyen, 18-year-old man from Hai PhongTran Ngoc Hieu, 17-year-old boy from Hai DuongDinh Dinh Binh, 15-year-old boy from Hai PhongAdditional reporting by Vinnie O’Dowd



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Scotland Women hammer Albania to maintain impressive start to qualifying




Jane Ross and Claire Emslie scored first-half goals for Scotland WomenScotland Women thumped Albania to maintain their emphatic start to Euro 2021 qualifying Group E.After opening their campaign with an 8-0 rout of Cyprus, the Scots started strongly in Elbasan with Claire Emslie and Jane Ross scoring before the break.Erin Cuthbert and debutant Hannah Godfrey added further goals as Christie Murray rounded off the scoring.Scotland are second in the group, three points shy of Finland, who have played a game more.The result means Shelley Kerr’s team have scored 13 goals and conceded none in their opening two matches.They are next in qualifying action away to Cyprus on 9 April.Free-scoring Scots bamboozle AlbaniaScotland’s previous visit to Albania, 14 months ago, brought a rousing 2-1 victory that sealed their passage to this year’s World Cup. By comparison, this was an absolute cruise for a Scotland team which never hit top gear but frankly never needed to.In the early skirmishes, they stretched and lacerated a largely hapless foe with the panache of their wide players and the slickness of their passing.Emslie and Emma Mitchell on the left flank, and debutant Kirsty Hanson on the right, made foray after telling foray. Hanson in particular was a constant menace, crossing for Ross to head over with 90 seconds gone then swaggering inside to blast a left-foot drive that was tipped away by Viola Rexhepi.The early siege bore fruit when Emslie prodded in with 15 minutes gone, pouncing on a chance at the back post after Ross had glanced on a Hanson delivery.The forward did likewise nine minutes later, seizing on a horrible spill from Rexhepi to plunder her 60th Scotland goal.There should have been more before the break, Ross and Lisa Evans coming closest. A 2-0 advantage was a meagre reflection of their supremacy.Caroline Weir fizzed over seven minutes into the second half before a delightful manoeuvre yielded Scotland’s third.

Evans danced clear down the right, and slid back towards Weir, whose sumptuous dummy let the ball roll in to the path of Cuthbert. The Chelsea forward, an unusually understated presence until then, caressed brilliantly beyond Rexhepi.Play continued to flow in an inexorable torrent towards the home goal. Ross’ header was too weak to trouble Rexhepi, but Cuthbert’s curler from the left was poked in a trifle clumsily by Godfrey at the second attempt.What little resistance Albania had offered early in proceedings had now been eroded. Hanson struck the bar with a cross from a piercing drive up the left, before Murray was allowed the freedom of the home box to delicately stroke home from another neat Evans cut-back.Player of the match – Kirsty HansonOn her international bow, Hanson was an outstanding architect of Scotland chances, appearing on either flank and filleting the Albanian defence.When she scurried her way into space, her deliveries were crisp and accurate and she was twice unlucky not to cap her debut with a goal.A late call-up for Martha Thomas, who was also in line for a first Scotland outing, Hanson has given Kerr another exciting attacking option.



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General election 2019: Boris Johnson 'does not understand' deal trade checks


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Media caption”There will not be checks on goods going from NI to GB,” Boris Johnson tells Conservative supporters
Boris Johnson has been accused of not understanding his Brexit deal or what it means for businesses in Northern Ireland.Labour criticised him after he briefed Conservative members on Thursday.The PM said firms could “bin” customs forms because there would be “no barriers of any kind” to trade crossing the Irish Sea.But that contradicts what Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said last month about customs declarations for goods.Mr Barclay said businesses in Northern Ireland would have to submit customs declaration forms after he initially denied that was the case.
Did PM get Brexit deal details right?
Johnson a ‘fervent, passionate unionist’
On Friday, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer tweeted that Mr Johnson’s remarks to Conservative Party members in Northern Ireland suggested he “either doesn’t understand the deal he has negotiated or he isn’t telling the truth”.In a video of the meeting, which has appeared on social media, businessman Irwin Armstrong asked Mr Johnson if he could tell his staff “we will not be filling in any customs declarations for good leaving Northern Ireland to go to GB”.Mr Johnson replied: “You can.”He added: “If somebody asks you to do that, tell them to ring up the prime minister and I will direct them to throw that form in the bin.”There will be no forms, no checks, no barriers of any kind – you will have unfettered access.”‘Just being bombastic?’On Friday, broadcasters questioned Mr Johnson about his remarks.He told told reporters: “Northern Ireland and the rest of GB are part of the UK customs territory and there can be no checks between goods operating in one customs territory.”We’re the UK – we will not be instituting such checks.”

‘Tory campaign bogged down in Brexit detail’Analysis: Jonathan Blake, BBC News political correspondent

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Boris Johnson may have been trying to keep the focus of this campaign on his deceptively simple slogan of “get Brexit done” but three days in he’s already found himself bogged down in the detail of his deal.His words to Tory supporters in Northern Ireland on Thursday were an attempt to allay fears that businesses there would be subject to extra paperwork when shipping goods to the rest of the UK.But with little detail – and confusing messages from ministers about how that aspect of his Brexit deal will work – the picture is unclear.The prime minister will continue to present it as an agreement that is ready to go if he wins a majority at next month’s general election.

Mr Armstrong, who said his company makes small shipments to pharmacies in the rest of the UK, said he was not sure Mr Johnson was being “absolutely serious in his answer”.The businessman told the PA Media news agency: “I want to believe him but is he just being bombastic and being Boris?”I don’t know Boris Johnson well enough, whether it’s just what you say on a campaign trail or whether he is absolutely serious.”Mr Johnson also told his Northern Ireland Conservative supporters: “Northern Ireland has got a great deal.”You keep free movement, you keep access to the single market but you also have, as it says in the deal, unfettered access to GB.”

‘Many questions about cross-Irish Sea trade’Analysis: Chris Page, BBC News Ireland correspondent

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Trade experts say they believe there will need to be checks.That is because under the Brexit deal Northern Ireland will have to follow some of the rules of the EU single market – on food produce, for example.These issues may be technical but they are also highly political and not just in Northern Ireland where they are going to practically matter the most.



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