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South Korea: At least 30 dead in landslides and floods as monsoon nears all-time record | World News


At least 30 people are dead and a dozen are missing after more than a week of devastating torrential rain caused landslides and floods in South Korea.

The government said the casualties include 13 dead and two missing from the last two days, as the country battles through its longest monsoon since 2013.

Some areas have seen more than 40 consecutive days of rain.

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A person waits for rescue in Hadong, South Korea

The downpours left more than 3,700 people displaced on Friday and Saturday alone, as residential areas, roads and farming fields all experienced devastating flooding.

And the capital city, Seoul, and other southern regions have been warned by the safety ministry that even more heavy downpours are expected on Sunday.

Landslide warnings remain in place at the highest level for every region except the holiday island of Jeju.

A trail alongside Yangjae Stream is flooded due to heavy rain in Seoul, South Korea, 09 August 2020.
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Seoul has already been hit by floods – and is braced for more

Weather official Woo Jin-kyu said most places in South Korea had received three to four times more rainfall last week than the average precipitation recorded in the same period across the last 30 years.

Trapped residents were pictured using rubber rings to stay safe in the southeastern county of Hadong, while cows were seen struggling to keep their heads above water in southwestern Gurye.

Some have also had to be rescued from their cars, having been left stranded by flooding on the roads.

Cows struggling to swim through floodwater caused by heavy rain in the southwestern county of Gurye, South Korea, 08 August 2020.
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Cows struggled to swim through floodwater in Gurye

About 100 metres of levee collapsed at the Seomjin River on the southern edge of the Korean peninsula on Saturday, forcing about 1,900 people to be evacuated from the local area.

Five homes were buried in a landslide on Friday from a mountain behind a village in Gokseong, South Jeolla province,
killing five people and requiring more to be rescued.

Forecasters fear the monsoon could end up eclipsing the length of the one seen in 2013, which at 49 days is the country’s longest on record.



Woman is rescued from flooded car in South Korea







Woman rescued from car in flood-hit South Korea

North Korea has also been hit by the floods, with concern growing there about damage to crops.

Leader Kim Jong Un visited a town on the border with its southern neighbour on Friday to inspect the damage.

There, torrential rain has destroyed 179 houses and flooded rice-growing land – but there have been no fatalities, according to state news agency KCNA.

North Korea’s ruling party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, cited a study that said rice and corn would suffer if the crops were under water for just two or three days.



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Simon Cowell breaks his back while testing electric bicycle | Ents & Arts News



Simon Cowell has broken his back while testing his new electric bicycle at his home in California.

The music mogul, 60, was trying out the bike in the courtyard of his Malibu home when he fell off.

A spokesperson for Cowell said he was due to have surgery on Saturday evening.

He is currently under observation in hospital and is said to be fine.

Cowell is the creator of America’s Got Talent and serves as a judge on the show.

He has also been the judge on Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor and American Idol.



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Belarus police detain opposition group campaign manager before election | World News


Police in Belarus have detained the campaign manager for the leading opposition candidate in today’s election.

Former English teacher Svetlana Tikhanouskaya poses the biggest political challenge President Alexander Lukashenko has faced in decades when the polls open at 8am (6am UK time).

Ms Tikhanouskaya’s campaign manager Maria Moroz was detained on Saturday and is expected to be held until Monday, her spokeswoman said.

She was briefly detained on Thursday after visiting the Lithuanian embassy in Minsk but was re-arrested over the weekend.

It is not clear on what grounds she is being held.

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Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is likely to be re-elected for a sixth time

Police arrested another member of Ms Tikhanouskaya’s team on Saturday, Maria Kolesnikova, but later claimed she had been mistaken for someone else.

Lukashenko, 65, who has ruled since 1994 and is often described as “Europe’s last dictator”, is almost certain to win a sixth consecutive term in today’s vote.

But he faces a new wave of protests amid anger over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and his human rights record.

An ongoing crackdown on the opposition could also hurt Lukashenko’s attempts to mend his relationship with the West amid fraying ties with traditional ally Russia.

Protests in Belarus
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Opposition protests have swept Belarus in the weeks leading up to today’s vote

Political novice Ms Tikhanouskaya, 37, decided to enter the race after her husband, an anti-government blogger who intended to run, was jailed.

Her rallies have drawn some of the biggest crowds since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.



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Our baby died during lockdown – it affected our grief in so many ways | UK News


Jess Watson was seven months pregnant when the UK’s lockdown was announced.

Months earlier she had been told her baby had a 50/50 chance of survival having being diagnosed with a rare condition known as CDH.

Here, she reveals how she and husband James dealt with the loss of their son Leo after she gave birth – and the effect lockdown had on their grief.

I was almost 19 weeks pregnant when we had our first anomaly scan on 23 December.

We were having a boy.

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Leo was diagnosed with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, or CDH

He was a very active baby so we had to return after Christmas because he wasn’t in the right position for his heart and stomach to be seen.

Christmas and New Year passed in a blur of celebrations and on 15 January we returned for our repeat ultrasound.

Within a few minutes the sonographer went quiet.

There was something wrong. The baby’s heart and stomach weren’t where they should be.

A lovely senior midwife came to speak with us and she called it congenital diaphragmatic hernia, or CDH.

Having had an almost textbook pregnancy first time around, we were in shock.

A few days later the fetal medicine consultant confirmed the CDH diagnosis.

Jess and James Watson with Leo
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Leo was born at almost 39 weeks in Bristol

We were referred to the regional fetal medicine unit for the South West in Bristol for a second opinion.

They confirmed the hernia was large, right-sided with liver and bowel in the chest, which put us on the more severe side of the spectrum.

We were offered further genetic testing to look for any other anomalies that might have caused or be linked to the CDH.

The results came back clear so we decided to give our baby boy every chance to fight.

I was around 32 weeks pregnant when lockdown was announced. It meant that at all the remaining appointments, the discussions around induction of labour and delivery had to be done without James.

Leo was born at almost 39 weeks by planned c-section in Bristol where the specialist neonatal team could care for him.

We were able to visit him a few hours after birth once he had been put on a ventilator. He was finally here.

But by the next morning Leo had started to deteriorate.

He was already on the maximum level of support they could give him.

The day was spent with Leo whilst having difficult conversations about his care.

By early evening we knew there was nothing left to do but make sure he wasn’t in any pain.

Jess Watson pictured with his son Leo
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Leo’s parents cast his hand and foot in clay

The nurses and doctors were incredible and made our last hours with him truly memorable.

We cast his hand and foot in clay, took so many pictures and told him all about his sister and the rest of his family.

We just couldn’t believe we were saying goodbye so soon without any of our family and friends around us.

Lockdown affected our grief in so many ways.

We had to register Leo’s death within five days, over the phone, but we weren’t able to register his birth until register offices opened again – almost two months later.

There were times when James felt isolated without face-to-face contact and direct support but the bereavement teams at both our local and regional hospitals, as well as CDH UK, have been able to help – albeit at a distance.

To learn more about CDH, visit https://cdhuk.org.uk/



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Coronavirus: Only half of Britons say they would get a vaccine, poll reveals | UK News



Just over half of the UK would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine, with “damaging misperceptions” affecting potential uptake, a poll has revealed.

Only 53% of Britons would be certain or very likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19, researchers at King’s College London (KCL) and Ipsos Mori found.

One in six (16%) said they would definitely not get a vaccine or it would be very unlikely, the poll of 2,237 people between 16 and 75 showed.

The study found that people were more likely to reject the vaccine because of their attitudes and beliefs about science and authority than reasons related to coronavirus itself.

Young people were twice as likely not to want a vaccine, with 22% of 16 to 34-year-olds saying they would not have one – compared to 11% of 55 to 75-year-olds.

People who believe face masks are bad for people’s health and do not reduce the spread of the virus were among those who disagreed with a vaccine.

Of those who said they would not get one, 34% believe the government is trying to control the population by getting them to wear masks and 36% think “too much fuss” is being made of the pandemic.

People who are comfortable with lockdown restrictions easing and who have not found the outbreak stressful were also more likely to say no to a vaccine.

Other groups who would not want immunisation included those who say it is important they make their own decisions and “do not follow the rules”.

Where people get information about the virus was also a factor, with 27% of people who get their news from WhatsApp claiming they would be unlikely to get a vaccine.

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Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the policy institute at KCL, said: “Misperceptions about vaccines are among our most directly damaging beliefs and they’re clearly influencing people’s intentions during the coronavirus crisis.

“While one in six in the UK say they are unlikely to, or definitely won’t, get a potential vaccine, this rises to around a third or more among certain groups, with a clear link to belief in conspiracy theories and mistrust of government, authority and science.

“Vaccines are one of our greatest achievements and there is a great deal of faith that we’ll eventually develop one for COVID-19 – but more still need to be convinced of how important it could be for ending this crisis.”



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UK weather: One more day of sun before nationwide thunderstorms hit | UK News


Britain will bask in one more day of blistering temperatures – before thunderstorms sweep the nation next week.

Temperatures are expected to reach 35C (95F) in Kent, Sussex and parts of London on Sunday.

But this weekend’s heatwave is set to come to an abrupt end on Monday, with the Met Office issuing a yellow weather warning for thunderstorms for the whole of the UK.

Forecasters say all of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are at risk of storms from 12am on Monday to the same time on Thursday.

But they said there is “significant uncertainty in location and timing” of where they will hit.

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The Met Office’s yellow warning for Monday

Dan Harris, Met Office deputy chief meteorologist, said “the ingredients are there” for storms to strike, but “it’s just too early to pinpoint the details of exactly where and when thunderstorms will occur”.

The worst affected areas could get as much as 80mm of rain in just a few hours, he added.

And this could see homes and businesses flooded, train services cancelled and roads closed.

Thousands of people are soaking up the sun in Bournemouth
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Thousands of people soaked up the sun in Bournemouth on Saturday

Sky News weather presenter Kirsty McCabe said Sunday will bring “more sunshine once early low cloud in the east clears to the coast, with the sunniest skies across northern Scotland”.

She added: “It will be very hot again in southeast England. A few showers may pop up in England and southeast Scotland, but most places will stay dry.”

In England and Wales, the mercury is expected to reach the high 20Cs and low 30Cs.

Saturday’s top temperature was 34.5C (94.1F), which was recorded at Frittenden, Kent, Wiggonholt, West Sussex, and Herstmonceux, East Sussex.

Beaches in Brighton, Bournemouth, Blackpool and Margate were packed with people, triggering major concerns over social distancing amid an apparent rise in coronavirus infections.

Friday was the hottest August day in 17 years, with health warnings put in place before the mercury hit 36.4C (97.5F) at Heathrow and Kew Gardens in London.

The record for the hottest August day ever was set in Faversham, Kent, on 10 August 2003, when temperatures there reached 38.5C (101.3F).



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Border Force wants migrant boats turned around and taken back to France after crossing numbers soar | UK News


The government has said it wants to see migrant boats intercepted at sea and directly returned to France in a bid to curb recent increases in Channel crossings.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has appointed a “clandestine Channel threat commander” who will work to make the route “unviable for small boat crossings”.

Dan O’Mahoney, a former Border Force official and marine deployed to Kosovo and Iraq, will work with the French to explore what tougher action can be taken including “adopting interceptions at sea and the direct return of boats”.

Britain wants Paris to stop more small vessels heading to England and take them back to French ports, rather than shepherding them onward until they reach British waters.

A government source told Sky News on Saturday that a “passive blockade” in the Channel was being considered, with the Ministry of Defence being asked for assistance by the Home Office amid reports the Navy could be brought in.

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A group of migrants are seen sat against a Border Force van waiting to be processed in Kent

Immigration minister Chris Philp will meet his French counterparts next week as he seeks to shut down the Calais-to-Britain route completely.

It comes after recent calm conditions prompted a huge surge in people trying to make the journey.

Kent County Council has said that 400 migrant children have been taken into its care this year, including 60 in the first week of August and 23 on Friday alone.

A pregnant woman walks near the coast of Dungeness after arriving in the UK. Pic: Susan Pilcher
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A pregnant woman walks near the coast of Dungeness after arriving in the UK this week. Pic: Susan Pilcher

Ministers are believed to be looking at surveillance, reconnaissance and command controls as potential ways of reducing crossings.

But Helen Baron, a solicitor who is representing a number of migrants who arrived in the UK by boat, says the tactics are illegal and could risk lives.

“It’s completely illegal under international law and it’s deeply concerning that these kind of statements are coming out of government, they must know it’s completely against the law”, she said.



Some 4,000 migrants have already crossed the channel this year with more arriving during the clear weather this week.







UK heatwave allows more migrants to cross the Channel

Former Labour shadow home secretary Diane Abbott commented: “The danger is that if you try and blockade these boats, which are mostly rubber dinghies and mostly steered by people who are not experienced sailors, then the boats tip over and people die.”

But Ms Patel said: “The number of illegal small boat crossings is appalling.

“We are working to make this route unviable and arresting the criminals facilitating these crossings and making sure they are brought to justice.”



Border Force representatives meet migrants at Kingsdown in Kent







Migrants met by Border Force in Kent

On Saturday morning in Kingsdown in Kent, a boat carrying 14 people – including two pregnant women and a child – arrived on the shore, an eyewitness told Sky News.

She said: “A pregnant lady had to be assisted off by the ambulance service to go to hospital because she was clearly about to give birth.

“It was a mad show… I’ve never seen anything like that in my time. It was literally just random and just popped up on shore… All the border patrol and the coastguard were coming down at the same time because they caught them all at the same time when they got in.”



Witness describes seeing the arrival of migrants in a dinghy on a beach in Kent







Migrants beach landing ‘was a mad show’

Another dinghy with 12 people on board was later filmed being intercepted by a Border Force patrol boat.

A vessel carrying 19 people and a migrant in a wheelchair was also among those seen being brought ashore at Dover this weekend.



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Coronavirus: PM says it is a ‘national priority’ to get all pupils back to school in September | Politics News


Boris Johnson says it is a “national priority” and a “moral duty” to get all pupils back in class next month, raising the prospect of closing shops, pubs and restaurants in local lockdowns to allow schools to stay open.

In a newspaper article, the prime minister writes that “social justice demands” that classrooms are full again, and says education is crucial for children’s welfare and future – especially the most disadvantaged.

He warns of the “spiralling economic costs” of parents and carers being unable to work, adding: “Keeping our schools closed a moment longer than absolutely necessary is socially intolerable, economically unsustainable and morally indefensible.”

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The prime minister has spoken of ‘a moral duty’ to get all children back in class

Mr Johnson is understood to favour only closing schools as the last resort after scientific advisers warned further interventions may be needed to reopen classrooms in England next month.

Children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield had said the reopening of schools “should be prioritised”, insisting they must be first to reopen and last to close during any reintroduction of restrictions.

But schools minister Nick Gibb said this week that the government could not “decree” that classroom education would be prioritised, instead saying decisions would be made by local health chiefs.



Jonathan Ashworth MP







Shadow health secretary: School reopening should be ‘national priority’

However, a Number 10 source said on Saturday that Mr Johnson’s expectation is that schools would be the last sector to close, with businesses being shut first in the event of severe local lockdowns.

“The PM has been clear that businesses including shops, pubs and restaurants should be forced to close first, with schools remaining open for as long as possible,” the source said.

Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, warned last week that the nation has “probably reached near the limit or the limits” of what can be done to reopen society safely.

And Professor Neil Ferguson, whose modelling led to the decision to impose the lockdown, suggested ministers would need to “row back on the relaxation of restrictions” to allow a full-time return to schools while keeping the virus under control.

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Regarding getting all pupils back, Mr Johnson writes in the Mail on Sunday: “This pandemic isn’t over, and the last thing any of us can afford to do is become complacent. But now that we know enough to reopen schools to all pupils safely, we have a moral duty to do so.”

He says the “costs of school closure have fallen disproportionately on the most disadvantaged, the very children who need school the most”, and time out of class leads to lower academic attainment on average, affecting “future life chances”.

There is a concern, he writes, that “some will tumble out of education, employment or training altogether, never to return”.



Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said school attendance will be 'mandatory from September'







‘School attendance mandatory from September’

He also says the “less children are in school, the worse it is for their health”.

Citing Sport England, the PM says a third of children have done less physical activity in lockdown, “with many suffering from poorer mental health”.

While the PM warns about complacency, he also points out that scientists have “learned more about how the virus spreads and how we can control it”.

He says Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) scientists have advised that the risk of children becoming severely ill with COVID-19 is low.

He adds that the government has “worked closely with teaching unions and school leaders on measures to ensure our schools are COVID-secure”.



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Sideman quits BBC over use of racist term in news report | UK News


A BBC radio DJ has quit after the corporation used a racist slur in a news report, which he said felt like “a slap in the face to our community”.

1Xtra presenter Sideman announced his immediate departure from the station on social media following the report, which contained the N-word.

The story saw social affairs correspondent Fiona Lamdin repeat the word, which was allegedly used in a racially-motivated attack in Bristol.

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The BBC defended using the N-word but admitted it knew it caused offence

It ran on the BBC News Channel and local news programme Points West on 29 July, but the broadcaster stopped running it later that day.

In a video posted on Instagram, Sideman, real name David Whitely, said: “This is an error in judgement where I can’t just smile with you through the process and act like everything is okay.

“I’m happy working with organisations until we all get it right, but this feels like more than getting it wrong”, he continued.

“The action and the defence of the action feels like a slap in the face to our community.

“With no apology I just don’t feel comfortable being aligned with the organisation.”

On Thursday, the BBC said it had received 18,656 complaints over the news report.

A spokesman said: “The BBC set out the context of the news report about the shocking attack on an NHS worker in Bristol.

“As we have said, the word is highly offensive and we completely accept and understand why people have been upset by its use.

“The decision to use the word was not taken lightly and without considerable detailed thought: we were aware that it would cause offence.

“But, in this specific context we felt the need to explain, and report, not just the injuries but, given their alleged extreme nature, the words alleged to have been used – a position which, as we have said, was supported by the family and the victim.”

Sideman said he had enjoyed his time at the BBC and has had “great opportunities”, but added: “Money and opportunity doesn’t outweigh the dissatisfaction that I feel with this situation.

“This is wild to me, especially in the current social climate, and I can’t make any sense of it no matter how much I think about it, so I think it is time that I left.”

A spokesman for Radio 1Xtra said: “Sideman is an incredibly talented DJ. Obviously we are disappointed that he has taken this decision.

“We absolutely wish him well for the future. The door is always open for future projects.”



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Coronavirus: People adapting to new restrictions in Preston | UK News


In the first 24 hours of tighter restrictions in Preston it seemed most people, but not all, were buying into the council’s new public health campaign.

Officials are targeting the under-30s who are disproportionately catching and spreading coronavirus in the area.

But in a city centre charity shop three bare-faced twenty-somethings could be seen huddled together for a lunchtime catch up.

While in a nearby nail bar a bored-looking young woman was waiting her turn, sitting a seat apart from other customers, but with her mask perched ineffectively under her nose.

“Don’t Kill Granny” is the stark plea officials hope will change behaviour among the under-30s who make up half the area’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

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Young people are being blamed for a spike in coronavirus cases in the north of England

The messaging campaign was launched as Preston joined areas already under tighter restrictions across the north in East Lancashire, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.

In all of them, mixing with other households outside a support bubble is banned in houses, gardens and public indoor spaces including pubs and restaurants.

By early Saturday evening, licensing officer PC Julie Stewart was masked up in the city centre with more than two dozen of her Lancashire Constabulary colleagues, tasked with enforcing the new rules.

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PC Julie Stewart talks to staff at Preston’s 1842 bar

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On the quiet streets it was not an onerous task, following a similar operation on Friday night that by midnight had resulted in only two arrests for offences unconnected to the pandemic.

Whatever activities are driving the rise in virus transmission in Preston, PC Stewart is convinced it is not pubs and bars.

“As you can see, everybody sits apart, everybody’s friendly,” she said.

“Maybe it’s from house parties, we’ve been to several of those over the past few months.”

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Jemma Whewell (left) was out for drinks with her five housemates

In the socially distanced 1842 bar, university student Jemma Whewell, 25, was drinking with five housemates, in accordance with the new regulations.

She blames the local lockdown on the premature relaxation of nationwide restrictions.

“The bans were lifted too soon and now they’ve been taken back, so it makes it a little bit harder for everyone,” she said.

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Public health messaging is visible throughout Preston city centre

Jemma Knight, 23, enjoying a drink with her sister Ellie at a table on a cobbled pavement, was broadly supportive of the new rules.

“Maybe it’s questionable what difference there is in meeting in a garden and a park, but I understand that they’ve got to do something,” she said.

Preston’s new restrictions are in place until at least 14 August, with the council warning of potential fines, and threatening further restrictions if the rate continues to climb.



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