Harry and Meghan's future: Your questions answered


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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer use their HRH titles and will not receive public funds for royal duties, Buckingham Palace has announced.Here we answer some of the questions we have received from readers about what this means.What will they be called? – EllePrince Harry and Meghan have said they will no longer use their HRH titles.From this spring, they will become known as Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Harry and Meghan drop royal duties and HRH titles
Queen’s statement on Harry and Meghan in full
Prince Harry will remain a prince, having been born one.Will Harry still be sixth in line for the crown? – Margaret WyattYes, his position in the line of succession will not change.Which royal patronages will they keep? – Steve Oltmanns

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The prince has been the driving force behind the Invictus Games

The statement from Buckingham Palace said the duke and duchess will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations “with the Queen’s blessing”.
In pictures: Harry and Meghan’s life together
The party prince who carved his own path
Harry holds 16 patronages, according to the Sussex Royal website – including the Invictus Games Foundation, the Royal Marines and the Rugby Football League (RFL), for which he hosted the 2021 World Cup draw on Thursday.The RFL has confirmed he will continue as patron.Meghan holds four: the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, London-based animal charity Mayhew, and women’s charity Smart Works.Will Harry relinquish the position of Captain General Royal Marines? – Sean O’Callaghan

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The prince said quitting the Army had been a “really tough decision”

The ceremonial head of the Royal Marines is a very important position – and one that Harry will have to let go.Losing it is likely to be a sad moment for the duke, who has maintained a strong bond with the military since he left the Army in 2015.As well as bowing and curtseying to the Queen, will they have to do this with every other royal? – Lisa TownsleyNo. Apart from to the Queen, members of the Royal Family don’t tend to bow and curtsey to one another that often.Are all these measures reversible if Harry changes his mind? – Andrew C BarquinIn theory, the title HRH would still stand, Frogmore Cottage would remain available, and there would be plenty of work for him.But some doors will be closed. The Royal Marines will, in all likelihood, look for a replacement as Captain General, and the same goes for his other military appointments.The answer also depends on what he does next.The couple have said they will “continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty” in their future work, but they may decide to branch out into areas outside of other royals’ remits.A return would be possible, but it seems unlikely that it would be to the same role.What will Harry do for income? – PamHarry and Meghan have said they want to become “financially independent”, and Buckingham Palace has confirmed they will no longer receive public funds for royal duties.What that means in practice for their future work is not clear – but they will be independent and, according to BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond, the Palace will have no oversight of them.Will they pay rent for Frogmore Cottage? – Gary O’BrienYes. Palace officials have confirmed they will pay rent for the house, which will remain their UK family home – although we don’t know how much it will be.They intend to repay £2.4m of taxpayer money that was spent on its refurbishment.Will they still take money from the Prince of Wales? – Lucy Baldwin

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Yes. It’s thought – but not confirmed – that they have received just under £2.5m a year from Prince Charles. That money comes from the income the Prince of Wales receives from his estate, the Duchy of Cornwall.It’s not clear whether the same level of funding will continue.Will they pay for any required security? – Judith Aselton DelaneyWe don’t know. Buckingham Palace did not comment on the details of security arrangements, but said there are independent processes to work out what is needed. A former senior palace official told Jonny Dymond that discussion around the cost of the couple’s security may be blown out of proportion.Who will cover the public engagements previously carried out by Meghan and Harry? – William RansfordThere will be extra work for the remaining royals, especially the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.According to tables compiled each year by retired insurance broker Tim O’Donovan, Harry attended 201 engagements last year, while Meghan had 83.The Prince of Wales is already carrying out a lot of the Queen’s former duties, and the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of York have stepped down from public life.Members of the Royal Family carried out more than 3,500 engagements last year. The working royals will need to assess how many of the Sussexes’ appointments they can handle.



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Boy missing from M1 services 'found asleep beside motorway'


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Aadil Umair Rahim disappeared at Newport Pagnell services on Friday evening

A six-year-old who sparked a nine-hour search when he vanished from a service station was asleep when he was found beside the motorway, his father said.Aadil Umair Rahim was on a school trip when he went missing from Newport Pagnell services on the M1 on Friday.More than 1,000 people joined police and fire crews to search through the night for the Nottingham schoolboy.Umair Rahim said his son was “perfectly fine”, adding: “Police told me he was sleeping when they found him.”Aadil was found near roadworks just off the northbound carriageway at about 04:15.”I have no idea if he was outside for the whole nine hours,” his father said.Mr Rahim said his son and his classmates had been visiting museums in London “and the group had stopped at the services for a comfort break”.He said he was grateful to the emergency services, and “those members of [the] public who sacrificed their evening to assist with the search for our son”.

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Aadil was found about half a mile from the service station where he went missing

Search teams initially thought Aadil could be hiding in the service station but grew concerned as the hours went by and the weather got colder.Temperatures fell to 1°C before he was found close to a footbridge near Newbolt Close, about half a mile from the service station.

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The six-year-old went missing from Newport Pagnell services, near Milton Keynes



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Duke of Sussex: The party prince who carved his own path


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The Duke of Sussex grew up in the media spotlight – from a young royal dealing with his mother’s death, through his partying teenage years, to his career in the military. Since then Harry has followed in his mother’s footsteps, doing charity work across the globe. He has got married and become a father.Now he and the Duchess of Sussex will begin a new chapter: giving up their royal duties, HRH titles and public funding, and – it is expected – spending most of their time in Canada.Harry has tried to balance his public and private lives. At times, the publicity that comes with being sixth in line to the throne has helped him to bolster support for his charitable endeavours. But there have also been times when that attention has become too much, and he has fought fiercely for his family’s privacy.Young life

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Prince Harry was born in 1984, the second child of the Prince and Princess of Wales

Born at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, on 15 September 1984, the prince was christened Henry Charles Albert David by the Archbishop of Canterbury in December of that year in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.But it was officially announced from the start of his life that he would be known as Harry.

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Although christened Henry, he has always been known as Harry

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Harry with his mother and brother on a trip to Thorpe Park in 1993

The prince’s childhood was cut short when his mother died in 1997.Princess Diana was killed in a crash in Paris, aged 36, as the car she was in sped through a tunnel followed by paparazzi photographers.Her death shook royal fans the world over, but it was 12-year-old Harry and 15-year-old William whose lives changed forever.The funeral, which featured the image of the boys walking behind their mother’s hearse to attend the service at Westminster Abbey, remains one of the most-watched programmes on the BBC.

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Prince Harry stood between his father, Prince Charles, and his older brother, Prince William, as they watched the hearse carry Diana’s coffin

“I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” the prince said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph in 2017.He added: “I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and all sorts of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle.”The prince followed the educational path of his older brother William, at Wetherby School in Notting Hill, before entering Eton in 1998.

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Harry, five, on his first day at Wetherby School, Notting Hill

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Prince Harry watching his brother sign the Eton College entrance book in 1995 – he would follow in his footsteps, joining the school three years later

After leaving Eton with two A-levels in 2003, Harry took a gap year.He worked on a sheep farm in Australia and with Aids orphans in Lesotho, paving the way for the charity he later set up there. Life in the spotlight

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Prince Charles took his sons on annual skiing holidays to Switzerland

Attention from the press has been a constant in Harry’s life.The front page of a 2002 edition of the (now defunct) News of the World roared: “Harry’s drugs shame”, and claimed Prince Charles sent his son to visit a rehab clinic as punishment for smoking cannabis.St James’s Palace confirmed the then 17-year-old had “experimented with the drug on several occasions” but said the use was not “regular”.Then in October 2004, there was a scuffle with a photographer outside a club.A royal spokesman said at the time the 20-year-old prince was hit in the face by a camera “when photographers crowded around him”.

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As part of his gap year, Prince Harry spent time at an orphanage in Lesotho, in southern Africa

When Harry pushed the camera away, “it’s understood that a photographer’s lip was cut”, the spokesman added.The following year, an image of the prince dressed as a Nazi at a fancy dress party sparked outrage.Clarence House later said the prince had apologised for any “offence or embarrassment” caused and had realised “it was a poor choice of costume”.And in 2009, video footage emerged of Harry using offensive language to describe an Asian member of his Army platoon.St James’s Palace said the prince was “extremely sorry for any offence his words might cause” but said he had “used the term without any malice and as a nickname about a highly popular member of his platoon”.Harry enjoyed lighter-hearted press coverage during the London 2012 Olympic Games, in his role as an Olympic ambassador.

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The prince was an Olympic ambassador at the London 2012 Games

In the same year he spent a lot of time in front of the cameras for the Queen’s Jubilee. As part of those celebrations Harry completed his first royal solo tour overseas with visits to Belize, the Bahamas, Brazil and Jamaica.However, that August, photos emerged of the prince and a young woman naked in a Las Vegas hotel room.The two photos, published on US gossip website TMZ and later in the Sun newspaper, were taken on a private break with friends, with the site reporting the prince was in a group playing “strip billiards”.He later said he had “probably let myself down” but added: “I was in a private area and there should have been a certain amount of privacy that one should expect.”There is, however, a saving grace to the scrapes Harry has found himself in.As the younger brother to the expected future king, Harry has relatively little responsibility.Like the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, and Prince Charles’s younger siblings, Harry is a “spare to the heir” – and a world away from the throne.So Harry’s indiscretions have done little to dent public opinion of him.And he has perhaps had a freer existence because of it; security worries would have made active service in Afghanistan impossible for his older brother, for example.Army and charity

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Harry served a tour in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter pilot

Harry spent 10 years in the armed forces, becoming the first royal in more than 25 years to serve in a war zone.He was left disappointed in 2007 when Army chiefs decided not to send him to Iraq because of “unacceptable risks”, but later spent 10 weeks serving in Afghanistan in 2008.Harry returned to the country as an Apache helicopter pilot from September 2012 to January 2013, before qualifying as an Apache commander in July 2013. He later described how he had shot at Taliban insurgents, and said that being in Afghanistan was “as normal as it’s going to get” for him.

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The prince said quitting the Army had been a “really tough decision”

When he announced he would be leaving the Army in 2015, the prince said his time in the military would “stay with me for the rest of my life”.This is reflected in his charity work, which mostly concentrates on mental health and helping service veterans. Harry’s most notable charity work so far is his founding and chairing of the Invictus Games in 2014.The Paralympic-style international competition for injured ex-service personnel has been held in London, Orlando, Toronto and Sydney.

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The prince has been the driving force behind the Invictus Games

He has also supported the charity Walking With the Wounded, for injured veterans.The prince’s other charity work includes supporting conservation projects in Africa and jointly founding Sentebale, a charity to help orphans in Lesotho. He has continued his mother’s work helping children affected by HIV and Aids, and supporting the Halo Trust’s work in clearing landmines.

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On his visit to Angola in September, Harry said landmines are “an unhealed scar of war”

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Harry and his brother William have worked together on various charity initiatives

Diana captured global attention when she walked through a live minefield in central Angola in 1997.She died in Paris later that year, before seeing the full impact of her visit – such as the signing of an international treaty to outlaw the weapons – but Harry highlighted her achievements when he retraced her steps in September 2019. Tackling stigma

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Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge supported Heads Together runners at the London Marathon in 2017

In recent years, Harry has had counselling to help him deal with his mother’s death.He was best man at his brother William’s wedding in April 2011, and has since spoken of how hard it was not to have Diana there.In a candid interview with the Daily Telegraph, he described shutting down all of his emotions for nearly 20 years and refusing to thinking about his mother.This, he said, had a “quite serious effect” on his personal life and his work, and brought him close to a breakdown “on numerous occasions”.He also said he would probably regret “for the rest of his life” how brief his last phone call with his mother was, and spoke of her “fun” parenting.She was a “total kid through and through”, he said.Harry, William and the Duchess of Cambridge joined forces to focus their campaigning efforts on mental health.They founded Heads Together, which aims to tackle stigma and fundraise for new support services.’Beautiful surprise’

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were first pictured together at the Invictus Games in 2017

As one of the world’s most high-profile bachelors, Harry’s love life has drawn much interest over the years.In late 2016, he confirmed a new relationship with US actor, Meghan Markle, while issuing a statement accusing journalists of harassing her.He described “nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers”, attempts by reporters and photographers to get into her home and the “bombardment” of nearly every friend and loved one in her life. The pair had met on a blind date, organised by a mutual friend. Then after just two dates, they went on holiday together to Botswana.Profile: Duchess of SussexIn September 2017, the year before their wedding, Meghan told Vanity Fair magazine she and Harry were “two people who are really happy and in love”.And in an interview that November, when their engagement was announced, Harry admitted he had never heard of Meghan before his friend introduced them, and was “beautifully surprised”.He designed the engagement ring for Meghan, including two diamonds from his mother’s jewellery collection.The couple married in May 2018 at a ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, and consequently became known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

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On a 16-day tour of Australia that October, the duke and duchess announced they were expecting their first child, adding that they were happy to share the “personal joy” of their news. Baby Archie, described by Harry as “our own little bundle of joy”, was born on 6 May 2019.

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Prince Harry said he was “absolutely thrilled” with the birth of his first child, Archie

The next chapterThe duke’s past year has been a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows.In March, he and his wife split their household office from that of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.In April, the launch of the Sussexes’ Instagram account amassed more than one million followers in record-breaking time (five hours and 45 minutes).The joy of becoming parents was followed days later by news Harry had accepted damages and an apology from a paparazzi agency which had used a helicopter to take photographs of his home in the Cotswolds.In June, the Sussexes announced they would split from the charity they shared with the Cambridges – fuelling speculation of a rift between brothers Harry and William.

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Media captionPrince Harry on his brother, William: “We are certainly on different paths at the moment”
A 10-day tour of Africa at the end of September 2019 started well.Harry raised awareness for causes close to his heart, and the couple introduced Archie to anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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The duke and duchess went on a 10-day tour of Africa in September 2019

But during the tour, the Duchess of Sussex launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday over a claim that it unlawfully published one of her private letters.In a lengthy statement Harry said “positive” coverage of the tour of Africa had exposed the “double standards” of the “press pack that has vilified [the duchess] almost daily for the past nine months”.And in an ITV documentary, filmed during the tour and broadcast the following month, the duchess admitted she was struggling to adjust to royal life while the duke said his mental health was a matter of “constant management”.Harry’s charity work will no doubt continue. Buckingham Palace said he and Meghan will keep their “private patronages and associations”.But much of the rest of his future – including where exactly he will live with his wife and son – is, for the moment, unclear.



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How to nail an eco-friendly budget holiday


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Christmas – done. New Year – done. New Year fitness plan – erm, not done.Dark January evenings are a prime time to start dreaming of where you and your mates might head this summer.Party hubs like Malaga and Ibiza are still a big draw for group holidays, with Eastern European countries like Romania and Lithuania gaining popularity too.But with the climate increasingly on everyone’s minds, can you still book a cheap getaway and help the planet?Plan to avoid planes

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If you do book a train journey – you don’t have to travel like this

“A lot of people think going green means things will be expensive but it actually means being more efficient so you end up wasting less.”That’s according to Claire O’Neill, the chair of the green working group for The Association For Electronic Music (AFEM), which aims to protect the environment where music events are happening.And whether it’s a night in a bar, a week of club-crawls on the strip or a full-blown festival, our favourite getaways often involve music.Claire says the key to a guilt-free trip away is “forward planning” and advises anyone who has already sorted their summer plans to get ahead of the pack.And if you’re worried about the impact flying might have on the environment, Claire says using Europe’s “great train network” could be a fun way of making your trip more eco-friendly.”You can extend what you were planning to experience along the way,” she says. “Some brave people even do long-distance cycling to get where they need to be as well.”What if flying is the only way?

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Despite dedicating the last 15 years of her life to sustainability and environmental causes, Claire is “still a strong believer” that people should make the most of being able to travel and knows that flights aren’t always avoidable.”We are going to unavoidably create emissions at some point,” says Claire.”The cost of trains can be so much higher than flying… not many people can afford to pay five times the price for their transport.”If air travel is the easiest and cheapest way to get to where you’re going – then there is the option of offsetting your flight.

A few airlines – such as RyanAir, Lufthansa and American Airlines – offer the option for passengers to pay a bit extra to help compensate for the carbon emissions produced by their flight.The money is then invested in environmental projects – like planting trees or installing solar panels – which reduce carbon dioxide in the air.Where’s that food from?

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We’ve all been told about the damage plastic can do to the planet.Let’s be honest – we know we’re not going to be able to rid the world of plastic while we’re on holiday but there are things you can do to have a bit more of a positive impact on your travels.Claire suggests taking reusable cutlery and packaging with you and looking into where the food you’re eating is coming from.”If you’re getting teas, coffees or eating chocolate then you want to look for fair trade or direct trade logos. “That helps make sure there aren’t human rights abuses in the supply chain. “If you can’t see those logos you can always ask questions.”Where are you staying?

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Even taking some time to research accommodation (if you’re not in a package deal) can change the impact your holiday has on the environment.”There are various certifications that hotels can have to keep an eye out for, such as green key and greener tourism,” says Claire.”But if you’re in a group, then it would be better to find some kind of a home to hire, before looking at individual hotel rooms.”That often saves energy because they’re not needing to change all the bed sheets and towels and there isn’t the need to heat a huge building like a hotel.”She also suggests that you can ask where you’re staying to tell you what they do to to help the environment.”The more people that ask, the more they realise it’s important for their business and the more that they will make the changes more quickly,” she explains.Use your voice

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Messaging organisers of events you’re going to could have more of an impact than you think

Another way of having a positive impact on the planet while you’re on holiday is by using social media to get in touch with places you’re staying.”Everybody should feel empowered to make a change and have their voice heard.”If there’s 100,000 people all having the same feeling about something – like not wanting single use plastics to be used at the event or place they go – if they all think ‘I’m not going to make any difference, then that’s 100,000 messages that don’t reach the right people and nothing will change.”Where’s that cup going?

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And then there are places that offer a fun break for party-goers in eco-friendly surroundings.”The first thing to think about is what you can do near home,” says Claire.”You don’t necessarily need to go long distances and, additionally, masses of people going to the same place every year is probably not so helpful for the local environment.”She reckons cities like Amsterdam – which have taken steps to be more environmentally friendly – could be a good option.”They have a lot of support from their government to try to create circular economy.”That’s where businesses think about all the materials that are used to make sure there’s a life for them afterwards.”For instance, it could be taking a cup and then making sure that it becomes a cup again, rather than sending them to incinerators or landfill afterwards.”

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South African rugby: Meet the female players changing the game



South Africa’s 2019 Rugby World cup victory was a landmark moment for the country. It saw the Springbok’s first black captain, Siya Kolisi, lift the trophy and unite the nation. Radio 1 Newsbeat spoke with young female rugby players in Soweto and heard from Siya about how he wants to see the sport grow amongst the black majority in the country.Video journalist: Christian ParkinsonFollow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.



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Conor McGregor beats Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds at UFC 246 in Las Vegas




McGregor was fighting for the first time since being beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018Conor McGregor returned to the octagon in style at UFC 246 as he beat American fan favourite Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in just 40 seconds in Las Vegas.Irishman McGregor, 31, came out on top after one of the most spectacular performances of his career.Two of UFC’s most popular fighters went toe to toe in the main event at the T-Mobile Arena.But referee Herb Dean stepped in and waved off the contest inside a minute after a series of blows from McGregor.”I made history tonight. I set a new record. I’m the first fighter in UFC history to secure knockout victories at featherweight, at lightweight and now at welterweight – across three weight divisions, so I’m very proud of that,” said McGregor.He had not won inside the UFC’s octagon since capturing his second UFC world title in November 2016, and was submitted in four rounds by undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018.McGregor had said earlier in the week that he would look to “acquire rounds” against the American, but he showed no such patience as he came storming out of his corner and threw a huge left hand right from the very start that signalled his intent to claim a fast finish.The Dubliner then connected with a series of shoulders to the face from the clinch before following his man across the cage and connecting with a huge head kick that badly rocked Cerrone. A series of heavy left hands followed as Cerrone crumbled to the canvas, where he received a further barrage of strikes that sealed victory.”The amount of records that man has, but one of the records he holds (is) the most head-kick knockouts. I’m so happy to be able to get him down with a head kick myself. So I’m very happy and proud tonight,” said McGregor.”The UFC, they can strip fighters and give to other fighters make-believe belts in order to replicate my champ-champ status. But they can’t give knockout victories across multiple weight divisions, so there you go again. Etch my name in history one more time.”I like this weight division. I feel really good. God willing, I came out of here unscathed, I’m in shape. I don’t believe I’m there yet, though. I’ve still got work to do to get back to where I was.”McGregor surged to MMA superstardom when he signed for the UFC as a two-division Cage Warriors champion, then replicated the feat by capturing the UFC titles at featherweight and lightweight as he became the first man to simultaneously hold UFC titles in two weight classes.But those titles were subsequently stripped by the UFC after he failed to defend his belts and, after sharing wins with Nate Diaz in a pair of epic encounters in 2016, the Irishman pursued – and secured – a multi-million-dollar boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr.His return to the UFC saw him unsuccessfully challenge for the UFC lightweight title against Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in an encounter full of bad blood and divisive rhetoric. But he vowed to return, and he has kicked off what he described as his “2020 season” in spectacular fashion to set up a plethora of big-fight options later in the year.A shot at the UFC welterweight title, held by Kamaru Usman, or a bout with the UFC’s “BMF” champion Jorge Masvidal would allow McGregor to continue at his new weight class of 170 pounds, while he has made no secret of his desire to face Nurmagomedov in a rematch for the lightweight belt.There may be options outside of MMA, too, with a rematch with Mayweather a possibility, while Manny Pacquiao is reportedly also interested in a bout with the Dubliner, who is sure to command a huge TV audience and payday.



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Australia fires: Victoria braces for severe storms


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Heavy rains have doused many of the country’s bushfires

Forecasters have warned of severe storms in Australia’s fire-hit state of Victoria, which could lead to flooding.Recent heavy rains have dampened many of the country’s bushfires, but also led to power cuts and road closures.The fires, which began in September, have claimed at least 28 lives, destroyed thousands of homes and scorched millions of acres of land. As wet weather helped to ease the crisis, the government announced a major package to aid tourism recovery.Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government would channel some A$76m ($52m; £40m) from the national bushfire recovery fund into the industry.He described the package on Sunday as an “urgent injection” of funds for affected businesses, and said tourism in the country was facing “its biggest challenge in living memory”.The Australian Tourism Industry Council told Reuters news agency that damages to the industry were approaching A$1 billion. The Australian Tourism Export Council told the Australian Financial Review that the losses may go above A$4.5 billion by the end of the year.What’s the forecast?The Bureau of Meteorology in Victoria issued severe thunderstorm warnings for parts of the state on Sunday, saying damaging winds and heavy rainfall were expected. It said storms and widespread rainfall were forecast in the state for the next three days.One forecaster from the bureau said the state was “about to see it’s wettest two-day period in many, many months”, according to ABC News. At least 14 fires were still burning in Victoria as of Sunday. In NSW, where 69 fires were burning on Sunday, forecasters said widespread heavy rainfall in the north of the state would ease, as it withdrew flood warnings for the Bellinger and Orara rivers.

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Media captionSome, such as this thirsty koala, have been making the most of the wet conditions
Officials in Queensland urged people to “exercise caution” on Gold Coast beaches, where “large water movement and significant debris” were expected after heavy rainfall on Saturday.



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Stalkers to face court orders while police investigate


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Powers to prevent stalkers from contacting or approaching their victims while police investigate suspected offences come into force on Monday.The new court order, covering England and Wales, is designed to help police act at “the earliest opportunity”, the government said.Those who breach the civil order could end up with five years in prison.Campaigners and victims welcomed the move, but warned the orders would only be effective if police acted swiftly.From Monday, the police will be able to apply to magistrates for a Stalking Protection Order (SPO), which will usually remain in place for two years.Courts will also have the power to impose an interim SPO to provide immediate protection for victims while a decision is being made.The orders will also be able to force stalkers to seek professional help.Almost one in five women and almost one in 10 men aged 16 and over have experienced some form of stalking, according to the crime survey for England and Wales.’Obsessive’Professor Jane Monckton-Smith, who specialises in researching homicide, stalking and coercive control at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “I think the orders could be really useful if they are used correctly”.But breaches could put victims in danger and must be taken seriously by the courts, she added. “Stalkers by their nature are obsessive and will keep going and going until they are stopped.”Plans to introduce the new civil orders were first floated in 2015, when Theresa May was home secretary.In 2016, then-Home Secretary Amber Rudd promised to introduce them as soon as parliamentary time allowed.Campaigner Sam Taylor, who runs a victim support group in Sussex, said the orders could give victims “respite” from being relentlessly pursued.But she said they must be followed by a “significant investment in training” because there was still a “fundamental misunderstanding” in the criminal justice system of what stalking means.’Powerful tool’Stalking was made a specific criminal offence in England and Wales in 2012.In Scotland, stalking is illegal under the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 and in Northern Ireland it is prohibited under the Protection from Harassment Order (NI) 1997.Clive Ruggles, of the Alice Ruggles Trust, described the orders as a “powerful new tool”, but said it was “critical” there was no delay in arresting those who breach them.He said the existence of the orders could have made a “critical difference” for his 24-year-old daughter, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.



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Elephant Man city statue plan faces 'freak show' criticism


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Joseph Merrick became a celebrity in Victorian London, even being visited by a royal

Prejudice has hampered attempts to build a statue to the Elephant Man, his biographer has claimed.Jo Vigor-Mungovin, who traced Joseph Merrick’s grave, has been trying to raise the estimated £100,000 cost for a monument in his native Leicester.But progress has been slow with critics saying the idea was a “freak show” and the city was already “ugly enough”.Mrs Vigor-Mungovin said: “There is a fear of what the statue would be like – but he was an inspirational figure”.

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Joseph Merrick’s skeleton has been preserved at the Royal London Hospital

But the plans for the statue have been backed by artist and disability campaigner Alison Lapper who said anyone offended should “get over it”.Merrick was born in Leicester in 1862 but his physical disabilities forced him into a workhouse.In 1884 he joined a travelling exhibition and eventually found his way to the Royal London Hospital, where he died in 1890.While Merrick’s skeleton was kept at the hospital, his soft tissue was buried in a common plot but its location was forgotten.

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Jo Vigor-Mungovin

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Jo Vigor-Mungovin traced the location of Joseph Merrick’s grave, which is now marked with a plaque

Shortly after tracking down the site of his grave, Mrs Vigor-Mungovin began looking into erecting a statue to Merrick.”I wasn’t expecting it to be controversial,” she said. “But I’ve come across the same reaction over and over.”When I approach funding sources or venues, people seem interested at first but when they hear it will be a statue of the Elephant Man, they seem a bit shocked.”They either say “you can’t do that” or stop answering emails or the phone.”I’m a descendant of Tom Norman, the showman who worked with Joseph, and I’ve even been accused of being an accomplice to a ‘Vampire showman’s crime’.”

Joseph Merrick

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Bieleckicollection/Getty

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Jo Vigor-Mungovin says the 1980 movie has had a huge impact on perceptions

Born in August 1862 in Leicester
His condition did not develop until he was five years old
Following years in a Leicester workhouse, he contacted a showman who set him up as a travelling exhibit in 1884
After being robbed and abandoned he went to London in June 1886 and contacted Dr Frederick Treves, who found him a room at the London Hospital
His head measured 36 inches (91cm), his right wrist 12 inches (30cm) and one of his fingers 5 inches (13cm) in circumference
He died on 11 April 1890, aged 27, asphyxiated by the weight of his own head, apparently after trying to lie down
The cause of his condition is still uncertain but many researchers favour Proteus syndrome, a rare genetic disorder
His story has inspired a number of books, an award-winning play and a film starring John Hurt

A letter printed in the Leicester Mercury newspaper said: “He was a freak of nature… Our poor city has become ugly enough without a statue of this poor man being displayed.”The appeal’s Facebook page has been challenged, with one person questioning whether Merrick deserves a statue, saying: “He had a rare condition and apparently that makes him somewhat amazing.”Other comments from people called it a “freak show”, or said “let’s have another [statue] of a bear dancing on hot coals”, and “disfigurement should not be celebrated”.Despite only raising a fraction of the cost, Mrs Vigor-Mungovin said she was still trying to realise her dream, with fundraising events, new designs for the statue and a possible exhibition of items related to Merrick.

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other

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The statue has so far only been sketched out

“I think the maquette [miniature design] will put a lot of people’s mind at rest,” she said.”And I am hoping to get items from the Royal London Hospital for the exhibition, maybe even the full-size copy of his skeleton.”It is not the only statue of a notable Leicester figure being planned for the city – and others appear to have been more warmly received. Plans for a statue to commemorate murdered playwright Joe Orton have received backing from famous names from the acting world and hit its fundraising target of more than £100,000 in November.And last April then-MP Keith Vaz said a statue should be built in memory of Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who died in a helicopter crash outside the club’s stadium in 2018. The design Mr Vaz suggested was of two elephants, with the animal being a symbol of good luck in Thailand.

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Getty Images

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The statue of Alsion Lapper was on display in Trafalgar Square from 2005 -2007

Artist Ms Lapper, who was born without arms and with shortened legs, became famous when a statue of her, naked and pregnant, was displayed on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth.”Attitudes have changed since then, but not hugely,” she said. “I remember sitting below my statue and seeing children being hurried away, people muttering it was ‘inappropriate’ but it started a conversation which is still going on today.”I can’t imagine how hard it must have been being disabled in the Victorian era, it was hard enough for me being born in the 60s.”It would be great to see a statue of Joseph, especially if it highlights his courage getting himself out of the workhouse.”People still feel uncomfortable around disability but if that’s all that stopping this, then I say ‘Tough, get over it’.”Mrs Vigor-Mungovin said: “People’s idea of him is dominated by the film from the 1980s, they want to feel sorry for him.”But the real story is he had quite a good life, all things considered.”He took control, he used his condition to his advantage, it’s a powerful story.”

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