The Telegraph 2024-05-11 10:00:42

Voters not in love with Starmer’s Labour Party, warns Kinnock

Britain is not yet in love with Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party, Lord Kinnock has said, as party insiders fear that the general election could become a repeat of 1992…

Live ‘Fierce battle’ underway in Kharkiv

A “fierce battle” is underway in Kharkiv, with nearly two thousand people forced to evacuate from villages near Russia after Moscow launched a surprise cross-border ground offensive.

Russian forces made small advances in the area it was pushed back from nearly two years ago – the latest in a series of gains as Ukrainian forces find themselves outgunned and outmanned.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said a “fierce battle” was under way in Kharkiv, adding: “We must disrupt Russian offensive operations and return the initiative to Ukraine.”

“A total of 1,775 people have been evacuated,” Kharkiv governor Oleg Synegubov wrote on social media, adding that Russian artillery and mortar attacks had affected 30 settlements over the past 24 hours.

The Kharkiv region has been mostly under Ukrainian control since September 2022.

A senior Ukrainian military source said Russian forces had advanced one kilometre into Ukraine and were trying to “create a buffer zone” in the Kharkiv and neighbouring Sumy regions to prevent attacks on Russian territory.

Follow the latest updates below and join the conversation in the comments section

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Britons gaze up in wonder as Northern Lights illuminate the world

Britons stayed up all night to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights as a massive solar storm brought a beautiful aurora to the skies above the UK.

In rare and spectacular sightings on Friday night, the aurora was spotted across the country, from Whitley Bay in the North East to as far south as Kent and Hampshire.

The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, were seen in Essex, Cambridgeshire, Berkshire, Suffolk, and Liverpool.

The stunning light show came as the most powerful solar storm in almost 20 years hit Earth on Friday night.

Space weather experts said buffeting solar wind is colliding with our planet’s magnetic field, triggering strong aurora at more southerly latitudes than normal.

The scale of the geomagnetic storm heading to Earth is the largest in two decades and the effects will likely last several days. 

The Northern Lights are set to be visible until dawn on Saturday, but may appear (in places with clear skies and not thunderstorms) on Saturday night too.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned on Saturday morning that the “extreme” geomagnetic storm is classed as a G5 – the strongest level of space storm – and could affect communications, GPS and power grids.

People up and down the UK took to social media to share their images of the Northern Lights.

Kathleen Cunnea, in Great Horkesley, Essex, said: “It was absolutely stunning to see.”

Dr David Boyce, a science teacher in Rutland, shared that he was telling himself not to cry as the aurora lit up the sky above him and wasn’t sure if he was having a “religious experience” or going through “an alien abduction”.

Some of the most striking photographs from the UK were taken on beaches in the north, at Crosby Beach in Liverpool and Whitley Bay in Tyne and Wear.

At Whitley Bay the aurora lit up St Mary’s Lighthouse in a remarkable display.

People flocked to Crosby Beach, where they were joined by Antony Gormley’s Another Place sculptures.

Gormley’s installation, which was finished in 2005, consists of 100 cast iron statues facing out to sea and provided a striking eeriness against the backdrop of the aurora.

The phenomenon was seen across larges parts of Europe too, with stunning images captured in Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

The aurora also reached the US, where the NOAA said the lights could be seen as far south as Alabama and southern California, while they were also seen in Oklahoma and Missouri.

Sightings were also reported as far away as Tasmania in Australia.

Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon said on Friday that people in the UK could get another glimpse of the Northern Lights on Saturday.

“Those conditions could continue on Saturday night but we still have to work out some details on where exactly that will be.”

The sightings have reached Ireland too, with the Irish weather service Met Eireann posting images of the lights in Dublin and at Shannon Airport in Co Clare.

Aurora displays occur when charged particles collide with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere around the magnetic poles.

In the northern hemisphere, most of this activity takes place within a band known as the aurora oval, covering latitudes between 60 and 75 degrees.

When activity is strong, this expands to cover a greater area – which explains why displays can be occasionally seen as far south as the UK.

As it happened – Northern Lights illuminate Britain

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Kevin Spacey interview: The British ask me ‘when are you going back to work? This has gone too far’

Kevin Spacey has accused money men of blocking his acting career in the face of public support, in his first newspaper interview since being cleared of all wrongdoing by the courts…

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Jeremy Clarkson’s eight most cancellable moments – and how he’s survived

He’s done it again. Jeremy Clarkson made headlines in December for a column about the Duchess of Sussex in which he said he hated Meghan Markle “on a cellular level” and wanted to see her publicly shamed and smeared in excrement. He was met with widespread outrage.

It might well be the last straw: the Independent Press Standards Organisation received a record number of complaints and both Amazon and ITV are reportedly cutting ties with Clarkson after their current filming commitments have ended.

But it’s definitely not the first time he has courted controversy. Over a 34-year career on TV he has peddled more insults than there are episodes of Top Gear and even resorted to a punch-up on more than one occasion. And yet, with each offensive remark he seemed to bounce back stronger – until now. Here, we recall eight previous incidents that had the potential to curtail his career… 

1. The Piers Morgan punch

In a fracas at the British Press Awards in 2004, Clarkson punched Piers Morgan. It was the culmination of a feud between the pair that began when a photograph of Clarkson with another woman was published in the Daily Mirror while Morgan was editor.

Clarkson reflected on the incident in his Sunday Times column last April and wrote: “[He] said something unkind about my wife. So, even though I was calm and sober, having just come from a recording of Call My Bluff, I hit him. And immediately a gang of portly hacks gathered round, chanting ‘Finish it’.”

At the time, Clarkson was married to Frances Cain, with whom he has three children. They divorced in 2014. Morgan was left with a scar on his forehead from Clarkson’s right hook but responded by saying: “I’ve frankly taken worse batterings from my three-year-old son.” 

2. The ‘special needs’ joke

Clarkson faced criticism for a joke about a car having “special needs” on a 2010 episode of Top Gear. He said the Ferrari F430 Speciale was “a bit wrong… that smiling front end… it looked like a simpleton… [it] should have been called the 430 Speciale Needs”. After Ofcom intervened and said the comments were “capable of causing offence”, the BBC removed them from reruns of the show on BBC Two, and from iPlayer.

3. The One Show

In 2011, the BBC’s One Show presenters Alex Jones and Matt Baker looked shocked when Clarkson said he believed striking workers should be “shot”.

“I’d have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families,” he said of public sector workers taking part in the strikes. The BBC received 31,000 complaints and later issued an apology. 

4. The N-word

In an outtake from series 19 of Top Gear, Clarkson was shown mumbling a racial slur whilst reciting the children’s rhyme, “eeny, meeny, miny, moe”. This was removed in the edited version that aired on the BBC in February 2013.

After the footage was published by the Mirror, he issued an apology video. “I was well aware that in the best-known version of this rhyme there is a racist expression that I was extremely keen to avoid,” he said. “If you listen very carefully with the sound turned right up, it did appear that I’d actually used the word I was trying to obscure… Please be assured I did everything in my power to not use that word, as I’m sitting here begging your forgiveness for the fact my efforts obviously weren’t quite good enough, thank you.”

He later wrote in his Sun column: “I’ve been told by the BBC that if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked.”

5. The other race rows

Ofcom found that Clarkson had deliberately used an “offensive racial term” that breached broadcasting rules during Top Gear filming. In the Burma special, which aired in March 2014, he used the word “slope” – a derogatory term for Asian people – as an Asian man crossed a bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand. The BBC also had to apologise for comments the Top Gear presenters made about Mexican people in 2011.

6. The rant against Liverpool

A Sunday Times column in 2015 about the North-South divide left Clarkson in hot water. “People up there earn less, die more quickly, have fewer jobs and live in houses that are worth the square root of sod all,” he wrote. He then took to Twitter for a foul-mouthed rant against Liverpool Echo journalists, whom he called “the f—tards on the local rag”. Joe Anderson, then mayor of Liverpool, said Clarkson was a “buffoon”. 

7. The Top Gear producer punch

In the same year, it was an altercation over a sirloin steak that eventually got Clarkson fired from the BBC. He punched a producer in a hotel in North Yorkshire after being told he could not order a steak and was instead served a cold platter for dinner. Clarkson launched an “unprovoked physical and verbal attack” at Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon, now aged 44, which left him bloodied and requiring hospital treatment. He allegedly called Tymon a “lazy, Irish c—” and had to pay in excess of £100,000 in damages for racial discrimination and and personal injury. 

8. The trouble on Clarkson’s Farm

Clarkson’s Farm, which launched on Amazon Prime in 2021, was popular with viewers but less so with locals. Clarkson clashed with his Cotswolds neighbours over plans to develop his Diddly Squat farm to include a restaurant in 2021, which he opened via a “delightful little loophole” in planning law. He was accused of flooding the village with traffic and turning the area into a “rural theme park”. Clarkson responded by calling the hordes of fans “a bloody nuisance… you have my absolute sympathy”.

After residents lodged complaints with the council, Clarkson was eventually forced to close the restaurant. He called the “jealous locals” the “red trouser brigade.”

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Police officer shot in the leg with a crossbow

A police officer has been shot in the leg with a crossbow after reports of a stabbing in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, Thames Valley Police said.

Police attended School Lane, Downley, at around 6pm on Friday after a man in his sixties suffered a stab wound.

A 54-year-old man, from High Wycombe, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

He has been taken to hospital under police supervision with potentially life-changing injuries after he was shot by an armed police officer.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Metcalfe said one of the officers in attendance was shot in the leg with a crossbow and was taken to hospital but has since been released.

“Our thoughts are with the injured officer and we are doing everything to support him and his colleagues, as well as all others affected by the incident within the force,” he said.

“The assault victim has also been taken to hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries. Our thoughts are with him as well.”

He continued: “We are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident at this time.

“There is a large police presence in the area as a result but there is no ongoing threat to the wider public. Anyone with concerns should speak to a uniformed police officer.”

The force has made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct over the incident.

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