A mother and her two children were among six British nationals killed in the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, an inquest heard.
Anita Nicholson, 42, and her children, Alexander, 14 and Annabel, 11, died instantly in an explosion at the Shangri-la Hotel in Colombo.
Lorraine Campbell, Bill Harrop and Sally Bradley also died in the blast at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel.
All six were unlawfully killed, the coroner recorded.
Mr Harrop, a retired firefighter and his wife, Dr Bradley, had been on holiday from their home in Australia when they were killed in an explosion at the restaurant of their hotel.
The couple, originally from Manchester, had been described as soulmates.
Ms Campbell, an IT director from Greater Manchester, was on a business trip at the time. Her family has spoken of the “enormous void” created by her death.
Ben Nicholson survived the blast which killed his wife and children.
The family had been visiting Sri Lanka from their home in Singapore having previously lived in Upminster, East London.
Mrs Nicholson, a lawyer for mining firm Anglo American, went to college in Thurrock, Essex and had been living in Singapore with her family since 2010.
Senior coroner for Essex Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded that all six were unlawfully killed as she concluded inquest hearings in Chelmsford.
Mr Nicholson described his wife as “a wonderful, perfect wife and a brilliant, loving and inspirational mother to our two wonderful children”.
He said: “Alex and Annabel were the most amazing, intelligent, talented and thoughtful children, and Anita and I were immensely proud of them both and looking forward to seeing them develop into adulthood.
“They shared with their mother the priceless ability to light up any room they entered and bring joy to the lives of all they came into contact with.”
The six British Nationals were among 310 victims of a wave of bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
Two other Britons, brother and sister Daniel and Amelie Linsey, 19 and 15, were killed in the blasts.
A man embarked on a series of “depraved” sex attacks on women and children, one as young as 11, a court has heard.
Joseph McCann is accused of 37 offences against 11 alleged victims, including rapes, kidnap and false imprisonment, over two weeks in April and May.
The Old Bailey heard the 34-year-old snatched two women off London streets and told one he would “never release her” as he raped her multiple times.
Mr McCann of Harrow denies the charges.
The jury was told one 25-year-old woman was abducted as she walked home in Walthamstow, east London, just after midnight on 25 April.
Prosecutor John Price QC said the defendant told her “to stop screaming or he would stab her” then dragged her into a car “and drove off”.
The court heard the woman was raped “many times” in various locations over the next 14 hours and subjected to acts of “shocking depravity and violence”.
“He made her call him ‘daddy’ and say that she was a child. At one point the man parked the car near to a school, saying that he wanted to make her rape a child,” Mr Price said.
Later the same day, and while still holding the woman prisoner, the defendant abducted a 21-year-old woman in Edgware, north London, as she walked along the street with her sister, the court heard.
CCTV of the woman being bundled into a silver people carrier just after midday was played to the jury.
Mr Price said she “suffered a similar fate” to the 25-year-old woman before the pair managed to escape while in Watford where Mr McCann had booked a hotel room for two nights.
He told the jury they would have come to “further harm” but one of the women hit their captor over the head with a vodka bottle and some builders “bravely” intervened to prevent them being recaptured.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has been criticised for saying it would have been “common sense” to flee the Grenfell Tower fire, ignoring fire brigade advice.
The Leader of the House of Commons was appearing on a radio phone-in on the findings of a Grenfell inquiry report when he made the comments.
The Grenfell United group called the MP’s comments “insulting”. Mr Rees-Mogg said he “profoundly apologised”.
Seventy-two people died in a fire at the tower block on 14 June 2017.
Speaking on LBC’s Nick Ferrari Show on Monday, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The more one’s read over the weekend about the report and about the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you’re told and leave you are so much safer.
“And I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building. It just seems the common sense thing to do.
“And it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen.”
On Tuesday, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “What I meant to say is that I would have also listened to the fire brigade’s advice to stay and wait at the time.
“However, with what we know now and with hindsight I wouldn’t and I don’t think anyone else would. I would hate to upset the people of Grenfell if I was unclear in my comments.”
In a statement, survivors’ group Grenfell United said: “The Leader of the House of Commons suggesting that the 72 people who lost their lives at Grenfell lacked common sense is beyond disrespectful.
“It is extremely painful and insulting to bereaved families.”
Former Grenfell resident Joe Delaney told the BBC: “Jacob Rees-Mogg talking about common sense is a bit like my dog talking about wifi. It’s surprising he even understands the concept.”
Grenfell inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said fewer people would have died if the London Fire Brigade (LFB) had taken certain actions earlier.
Sir Martin criticised the LFB for following a “stay put” strategy, where firefighters and 999 operators told residents to stay in their flats for nearly two hours after the blaze broke out.
The advice is designed to prevent hundreds of people descending stairs while firefighters are coming up during a contained fire.
As flames spread around Grenfell’s external cladding, the advice may have prevented some families escaping, the report found.
LFB Commissioner Dany Cotton told the London Assembly on Tuesday that the brigade would respond differently to a Grenfell-like fire in the future.
She told the fire resilience and emergency planning committee: “Knowing what we know now about Grenfell Tower and similar buildings with ACM cladding, our response would be very different.”
Surrey have signed former South Africa batsman Hashim Amla on a two-year Kolpak contract.
The 36-year-old retired from international cricket in August as the Proteas’ second-highest Test run scorer with 9,282 runs in 124 matches.
Amla is the only South Africa batsman to score a Test triple hundred – 311 not out against England in 2012.
He was Test captain between 2014 and 2016, scoring 28 centuries and averaging 46.64.
“Surrey are one of the most established and accomplished cricket clubs in the world and I am very excited to be joining them again,” he told the Surrey website.
“I was part of the Surrey team in 2013 and 2014 and thoroughly enjoyed myself during those stints, so to rekindle that relationship for a longer period is something that excites me. I’m really looking forward to working with Alec Stewart and the rest of his team.”
Amla joins former South Africa team-mate Morne Morkel at 2018 County Championship winners Surrey, who had been looking for an experienced batsman with Ollie Pope and Rory Burns likely to be away on England duty for extended periods of next season.
As well as his two previous spells with Surrey, he has also played for Essex, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Hampshire.
In total, Amla scored more than 18,000 runs across all formats for South Africa with 55 centuries in 349 matches and has been ranked as the number one batsman in both Test and one-day international cricket.
He scored 27 one-day international centuries, the most by a South Africa batsman, and scored 8,113 runs at an average of 49.46 in the format.
“With several of our players now in or around the international setup, the opportunity to bring Hashim back to Surrey was too good to ignore,” said Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart.
“His record speaks for itself and we know from his previous spells here that he will be an excellent resource for all of our players to learn from both on and off the field.”
Amla’s career in numbers
- Tests: 124, 9282 runs, average 46.64, 28 hundreds, highest score 311*
- ODIs: 181, 8113 runs, average 49.46, strike-rate 88.39, 27 hundreds, highest score 181
- T20Is: 44, 1277 runs, average 33.60, striker-rate 132.05, highest score 97*
Extinction Rebellion activists are continuing protests despite a London-wide ban by police.
The group says it will challenge the ban, saying it believes it is unlawful. Lawyers and politicians have also criticised the move.
Meanwhile climate change protesters targeted the Department for Transport and MI5 on Tuesday morning.
A government spokeswoman said protests “should not disrupt people’s day-to-day lives”.
Extinction Rebellion’s co-founder, Gail Bradbrook, was arrested after climbing on to the entrance of the Department for Transport on Tuesday morning. Police also cleared further protesters from outside the building.
Activists have also been arrested on Millbank outside MI5’s headquarters, where a small group had gathered. Two men briefly sat in the middle of the road before being moved by officers.
On Monday evening, the Metropolitan Police began clearing protesters from Trafalgar Square following the announcement of a ban on the protests.
Under Section 14 of the Public Order Act, the force had imposed conditions requiring activists to stop their protests in central London by 21:00 BST on 14 October or risk arrest.
The Metropolitan Police said that the ban was imposed after “continued breaches” of a condition limiting the demonstration to Trafalgar Square.
Speaking to the Victoria Derbyshire programme, Extinction Rebellion campaigner and former Met Police officer Paul Stephens said: “Police are being really sloppy with the law, and it won’t stand up in court.”
He added that “there will be a judicial review”.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said he is “seeking further information” about the decision to impose the ban and why it was necessary.
“I believe the right to peaceful and lawful protest must always be upheld,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the government said the UK was “already taking world-leading action to combat climate change”.
The statement added: “While we share people’s concerns about global warming, and respect the right to peaceful protest, it should not disrupt people’s day-to-day lives.”
‘Overreach of powers’
Meanwhile, lawyers have questioned whether the ban by police was legal.
Anti-Brexit barrister Jo Maugham QC said the move was “a huge overreach” of police powers, while human rights lawyer Adam Wagner described it as “draconian and extremely heavy-handed”.
Mr Wagner added in a tweet: “We have a right to free speech under article 10 and to free assembly under article 11 of the (annex to the) Human Rights Act. These can only be interfered with if the interference is lawful and proportionate. I think the police may have gone too far here.”
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott tweeted: “This ban is completely contrary to Britain’s long-held traditions of policing by consent, freedom of speech, and the right to protest.”
Allan Hogarth, of Amnesty International, issued a statement saying the ban was “an unlawful restriction on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly”.
A number of demonstrations have been staged across the capital by Extinction Rebellion, which is calling on the government to do more to tackle climate change.
The protests were due to last two weeks and have led to more than 1,400 arrests.
The Met said there had been 1,457 arrests by 08:45 BST on Tuesday, in connection with the nine days of Extinction Rebellion protests in London.
Last week, the Home Office confirmed to BBC News that it was reviewing police powers around protests in response to recent demonstrations.
What are the rules around protests?
Police have the powers to ban a protest under the Public Order Act 1986, if a senior officer has reasonable belief that it may cause “serious disruption to the life of the community”.
Police are also under a duty to balance the task of keeping the streets open with the right freedom of assembly under the Article 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and freedom of expression, under Article 10. These rights are not absolute – the state can curtail them.
However, the BBC’s home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani said: “The test, if and when it gets to a court battle, is whether police action was proportionate to threat and only what was strictly necessary.”
By law, the organiser of a public march must tell the police certain information in writing six days in advance.
Police have the power to limit or change the route of the march or set other conditions.
A Section 14 notice issued under the Public Order Act allows police to impose conditions on a static protest and individuals who fail to comply with these can be arrested.
Dereck Chisora will face David Price on 26 October in a British heavyweight bout where both men will risk their careers, says promoter Eddie Hearn.
Chisora, 35, was set to face Joseph Parker until the former world champion withdrew following an illness he believes stemmed from a spider bite.
Price, 36, has stepped in and enters the bout off a run of three victories.
“I kept in the gym all summer as I had a feeling I had to be ready for a call like this, and ready I am,” Price said.
The bout, at London’s O2 Arena, will form part of the undercard to the world title fight between super-lightweights Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis, which is the final of the World Boxing Super Series.
Chisora has previously expressed his displeasure at not being the night’s main event and threatened to walk away from competing if he was not paid more.
But following news of Liverpool’s Price taking part he said: “David Price has stepped up and I’m ready for whatever he brings. This is north versus south and in my home town I write the rules.”
Price – who has 25 wins from 31 outings – and Chisora – with 31 wins from 40 contests – have both built momentum in recent fights with strong displays.
But with each vying to push forward from the elite level domestically to become part of the conversation among the very top heavyweights globally, a defeat for either would prove damaging at such a late stage in their careers.
“It was frustrating to lose the Parker fight but I feel we now have a fight with even more curiosity and danger,” said promoter Hearn. “The careers of both men are on the line, they will be giving it everything. It’s going to be a dramatic fight and dramatic night.”
A man has been restrained by police after attempting to set fire to himself outside the Houses of Parliament.
The Metropolitan Police said a man had been detained under the Mental Health Act after covering himself “in what appeared to be a flammable liquid”.
The police said the man, who had a lighter, had been sprayed with a fire extinguisher and there were no flames.
Tory MP Huw Merriman, who witnessed the episode, praised the “incredibly brave response” from the police.
The Met confirmed there had been an incident in which a man had “doused” himself with an unknown substance outside Carriage Gates – the main entrance to Parliament.
The police said there had been no reported injuries and the man had been taken to hospital after being examined at the scene by the emergency services.
The London Fire Brigade, it added, had made the scene safe by dispersing the suspected flammable liquid.
‘Cry for help’
Eyewitness Assunta Andrews, a Brexit supporter who was protesting outside Parliament at the time, said the man had scattered sheets of paper everywhere before dousing himself.
“There was a man standing next to us, very close,” she told the BBC.
“He had a large one and half litre bottle, opened it and started spraying it around. We really smelt petrol. So we all just ran for it, leaving all our posters behind, and calling for the police to come.”
The police arrived on the scene within seconds, she said, while she got a small amount of petrol on her clothes as a result.
She said she believed the protest had nothing to do with Brexit and the man was trying to draw attention to a “personal” dispute with a local council over a parking fine.
“They were clearly a cry for help,” she said of the leaflets.
The Commons and Lords are sitting this week despite the Conservative conference continuing in Manchester – after MPs voted against a short recess for the event.
Chancellor Sajid Javid is currently answering Treasury questions while ministers will later answer Urgent Questions on the government’s latest Brexit proposals, as well as homelessness and Yemen.
London Broncos head coach Danny Ward has signed a new two-year contract to keep him with the club until the end of the 2021 season.
The Yorkshireman, 39, took charge in 2018 and led them to promotion to Super League in his first season.
However, they were relegated back to the Championship after finishing bottom of the top flight this term.
“I’m happy to extend my contract and big thanks to [chairman] David Hughes for putting faith in me,” he said.
“It has been an incredible journey so far, suffering incredible highs and lows along the way, with a fantastic bunch of players and performance staff and I am really looking forward to next season and the challenges that come our way.”
Ward initially joined London as a player in 2008, when they were known as Harlequins Rugby League, and went on to coach at the Broncos following his retirement.
He was assistant to former boss Andrew Henderson before stepping up to replace him when he left to join Warrington in 2018.
“Danny is almost a Londoner now and has done incredible things with the squad here in the capital. You can tell by the way the boys play that they have a huge respect for him and he has instilled a togetherness here that is second to none,” Hughes said.
The government is ready to fly holidaymakers back to the UK if tour operator Thomas Cook collapses, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said.
Mr Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show contingency planning was in place to make sure no-one would be stranded.
But he dampened hopes of a government rescue bid for the firm.
Ministers did not “systematically step in” when businesses went under unless there was “a good strategic national interest”, he said.
Mr Raab said he did not want to undermine the rescue talks that Thomas Cook is currently conducting with its biggest shareholder and creditors at City law firm Slaughter & May.
The tour operator’s financial difficulties have mounted over the past year, culminating in a refinancing plan in August led by its biggest shareholder, Chinese company Fosun.
But banks now want the company to raise extra funds and it could fall into administration within days unless it finds £200m.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) union, which represents Thomas Cook staff, is urging the government to step in with a bail out amid fears the company’s collapse could leave about 150,000 British tourists stranded.
Katie Prescott, business correspondent
This meeting is crucial for Thomas Cook’s survival.
If there is no agreement, then the decision to wind up the company will be taken at a Board meeting this evening. It’s likely (looking at the precedent of Monarch’s collapse) that any announcement about that will be made late at night, once all planes are on the ground. But the company doesn’t have to announce anything until the markets open at 07:00 BST on Monday.
It’s low season at the moment, the time of year when Thomas Cook has to pay its suppliers for the busy summer season just gone. Hoteliers are paid on 60 to 90-day terms, once travellers have already taken their holidays. The nightmare scenario is that hoteliers who don’t think they will get paid might turn out the people staying with them.
However, it is worth re-stating that the company is still trading. People are still holidaying with Thomas Cook. And while we can assume the company is reining back marketing activity around last-minute deals and offers, until any announcement is made, it is business as usual.
The foreign secretary said he did not want talk of contingency planning to become “a self-fulfilling prophecy”.
He told the BBC the government had learned lessons from the collapse of the Monarch airline in 2017. The UK’s consular authorities abroad were ready to assist, he said.
Brian Strutton, the general secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association, said: “Ministers need to step forward and take responsibility for the sake of passengers and staff.
“There is a real risk that if the worst comes to the worst proper arrangements may not be in place for the repatriation programme and staff are still working while not knowing if they have a job or will even get paid for this month.”
A government spokesperson described the situation as a “worrying time for holidaymakers and employees”.
They added: “The financial circumstances of individual businesses are a commercial matter, but the government and the Civil Aviation Authority are monitoring the situation closely.”
‘Being held hostage’
Meanwhile, holidaymakers staying at a hotel in Tunisia owed money by Thomas Cook have reportedly been prevented from leaving the resort until it has been paid.
Guests at the Les Orangers beach resort in the town of Hammamet, near Tunis, said the hotel was refusing to let them leave because of concerns about Thomas Cook’s future.
Customers have reported that the hotel is asking visitors to pay extra money amid fears it will not be paid what it is owed by the tour operator for bookings.
Ryan Farmer, from Leicestershire, told BBC Radio 5 Live the hotel demanded all guests who were due to leave go to reception “to pay additional fees, obviously because of the situation with Thomas Cook”.
Security guards closed the hotel’s gates as guests refused to pay the extra fee, Mr Farmer claims.
He told the Stephen Nolan show: “I’d describe it as exactly the same as being held hostage.”
Thomas Cook customers have been reminded on social media that they have Atol protection – a fund paid for through industry levies – “in the event that Thomas Cook goes into administration”.
The travel firm also reassured customers on Saturday night that flights continue to operate as normal.
One of the world’s largest travel companies, Thomas Cook was founded in 1841 to operate temperance day trips, and now has annual sales of £9bn.
It employs 22,000 staff, 9,000 of whom are in the UK, and serves 19 million customers a year in 16 different countries.
There are currently 600,000 Thomas Cook customers on holiday, of which 150,000 to 160,000 are British.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes has called on Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom to help Thomas Cook “no matter what”, saying it would save thousands of jobs.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said “the government must consider stepping in and taking an equity stake to avoid this crisis”.
Chloe Hardy from Leicestershire is due to get married in Zante in October and booked the wedding package with Thomas Cook back in June 2018.
Chloe and her fiance will also have 33 family members flying out, with their trips costing more than £33,000 in total.
With the big day looming, Chloe is frustrated by Thomas Cook’s handling of their booking.
“We are unsure if we will be able to fly… This is causing great concern, worry and stress to all of us involved.”
In July, Thomas Cook produced a business plan saying that it needed £900m in refinancing, up from a previous estimate of £150m. The £900m would come from China’s Fosun, the group of creditors and some other investors.
The group of lenders then commissioned an independent investigation. Its financial advisers said Thomas Cook would require an additional £200m on top of the £900m already required, which would bring the total refinancing needed up to £1.1bn.
Thomas Cook succeeded in finding a backer to provide the additional £200m, but the BBC understands it has since pulled out.
The firm has blamed a series of problems for its profit warnings, including political unrest in holiday destinations such as Turkey, last summer’s prolonged heatwave and customers delaying booking holidays because of Brexit.
What are your rights?
If you are on a package holiday you are covered by the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence scheme (Atol).
The scheme will pay for your accommodation abroad, although you may have to move to a different hotel or apartment.
Atol will also pay to have you brought home if the airline is no longer operating.
If you have holiday booked in the future you will also be refunded by the scheme.
If you have booked a flight-only deal you will need to apply to your travel insurance company or credit card and debit card provider to seek a refund.
When Monarch Airlines collapsed in 2017, the government organised to bring home all the stranded passengers, whether they were covered by Atol or not.
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