The news service heard by 26 million listeners to commercial radio in the UK

Top Stories

Michel Barnier's hints at a compromise are music to Theresa May's ears

19 September

Theresa May is travelling to Mozart's birthplace, Salzburg, in a bid to find some much-needed harmony on Brexit at a two-day summit of European leaders.

And an eve-of-summit pledge by the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, to break the deadlock on the Irish border will have been music to her ears.
Speaking in Brussels, Mr Barnier said he was ready to come forward with an improved proposal on the border that would respect the "territorial integrity" of the UK.
He said the next full summit of EU leaders, in Brussels on October 18 and 19, would be the "moment of truth" on whether a Brexit deal could be reached.
"It is then we shall see whether agreement we are hoping for is in our grasp," he told a news conference at the European Commission after talks with foreign ministers.
In talks at Salzburg's Mozarteum University, the Prime Minister will yet again try to persuade the EU leaders her much-derided Chequers plan hits the right note.
The plan, agreed by the Cabinet at Chequers in July and followed by the resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson, seeks to maintain free-flowing trade in goods by maintaining common rules with the EU post-Brexit.
In an interview in the Daily Express before heading for Salzburg, Mrs May says: "Brexit gives us the opportunity to build a better future and to help people to realise the British dream."
She also claims demands for a second EU referendum risks shattering trust in Westminster, declaring: "We gave people the opportunity to make a choice.
"They made that choice. If we as politicians want people to trust us, then we have to deliver for them on that."
On Brexit negotiations, she says: "The withdrawal agreement is virtually agreed. Chequers is about the future relationship.
"I'm putting on the table what we think is the right plan for the UK and deliver a good deal for the EU."
She adds: "I believe that what we're proposing is the Brexit that delivers the freedoms that people voted for - making our own laws, controlling our own borders, controlling our money."
A senior Downing Street source said the PM would tell EU leaders in Salzburg that Britain was proposing "a fair arrangement that will work for the EU's economy as well as the UK's".
The source told the Reuters news agency: "To come to a successful conclusion, just as the UK has evolved its position, the EU will need to do the same.
"With goodwill and determination on both sides we can avoid a disorderly exit and reach a deal that is in the best interests of both sides."
The border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic has become the main obstacle to an agreement ahead of the UK's withdrawal from the EU in March 2019.
The EU has proposed a "backstop" which would see Northern Ireland remain in Europe's customs union in the event of no deal, to avoid the return of a so-called "hard border".
But Mrs May has rejected that plan as unacceptable, claiming it would effectively create a border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Addressing those concerns, Mr Barnier said he was working on a plan to "de-dramatise" the controls that would be necessary in the event of the backstop coming into play.
"We are ready to improve this proposal," he said. "Work on the EU side is ongoing.
"We are clarifying which goods arriving in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK would need to be checked and where, when and by whom these checks could be performed.
"We can also clarify that most checks can take place away from the border at the company premises or in the markets. We need to de-dramatise the checks that are needed."
He added: "What we need in the withdrawal agreement is a legally operational backstop which fulls respects the territorial integrity of the UK.
"It is a backstop that will only apply unless a better solution is found."
Mrs May and her Cabinet allies have already been encouraged by a claim by Mr Barnier last week that a deal might be possible within six to eight weeks.
It is also thought the German Chancellor Angela Merkel favours a quick slimmed-down deal that puts off some of the biggest problems, like the Irish border, until after Brexit.
This short-term approach was also hinted at by the Environment Secretary Michael Gove when he said in a TV interview on Sunday that the PM's Chequers plan was the "right one for now".
Mr Gove claimed the onus was on the EU to compromise "because we've shown flexibility" and said: "A future prime minister could always choose to alter the relationship between Britain and the European Union."
Mrs May will be hoping for a diplomatic breakthrough and some harmony at the Mozarteum. But she will still face noisy discord from Tory MPs when she returns to Westminster.

READ MORE

Kim Jong Un agrees to close missile test site after South Korea talks

19 September

North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un has vowed to permanently dismantle a missile test site and a launch pad after talks with South Korea.

The leaders of both countries signed a declaration after agreeing the Korean peninsula should turn into a "land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats".
After the summit in Pyongyang, South Korea President Moon Jae-in told reporters: "The North agreed to permanently close the Tongchang-ri missile engine test site and missile launch facility in the presence of experts from relevant nations."
North Korea says it will also permanently dismantle its main Nyongbyon nuclear complex but only if the United States takes reciprocal measures, Mr Moon added.
In a joint news conference after the talks, Mr Kim said he had promised to visit Seoul "in the near future".
He would be the first North Korean leader to visit the South's capital since the peninsula was divided at the end of the Second World War.
It was also announced that North and South Korea will seek to co-host the 2032 Summer Olympics.
The two countries will establish a joint military committee to evaluate how to reduce tensions and maintain communication, Mr Moon said.
It is part of a commitment to remove "any threat that could cause war" on the Korean peninsula, he added.
Other agreed measures included setting up the first-ever joint search effort at the border for bodies of soldiers killed in Korean War.
Both countries also vowed to disarm a jointly-controlled border village, starting with the removal of land mines, and to withdraw 11 guard posts from the demilitarised zone by December.
US President Donald Trump said the measures agreed by North and South Korea, including the joint Olympic bid, were "very exciting".
South Korea's president is on a three-day visit to Pyongyang following two previous meetings with Mr Kim this year.
Ahead of the trip, Mr Moon said he was pushing for "irreversible, permanent peace" and for better dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.
Both North and South Korean leaders want the US to sign off on formally ending the Korean War, which still technically continues because no peace treaty has ever been signed.
Officials in South Korea say Mr Kim has pledged to denuclearise North Korea by the end of MrTrump's first term as US president in 2021.
Mr Kim has requested a second summit with the US president after their first face-to-face meeting in Singapore earlier this year.
A follow-up to the June summit was scuppered in August, when US secretary of state Mike Pompeo cancelled his trip to North Korea.

READ MORE

UK weather: Storm Ali brings 'danger to life' as 80mph winds hit

19 September

The Met Office has warned of a danger to life as Storm Ali brings winds up to 80mph to parts of the UK today.

Forecasters are predicting a very windy spell of weather, with travel disruption, power cuts and damage to buildings expected.
Severe amber weather warnings have been issued for the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which are in place until 5pm.
"Flying debris is likely and could lead to injuries or danger to life," a Met Office spokesman said.
Commuters have been told to expect longer journey times and cancellations, with road, rail and air travel likely to be affected.
The strong winds may blow tiles from roofs and cause damage to properties from falling trees, the Met Office said.
There is also a risk of power cuts, which could affect mobile phone coverage, it added.
A less severe yellow warning for wind has been issued for the whole of Scotland, northern England, North Wales and Northern Ireland until 10pm.
A yellow warning for rain is in place for northern England and Wales on Thursday as wet weather brings a risk of flooding to some homes and businesses.
Some 40-60mm of rain is expected widely, with up to 80-100mm in parts of Wales and Cumbria.
Storm Ali comes after the UK was hit by the remnants of tropical storm Helene, which brought gusty winds and an unusually warm start to the week.
Sky weather presenter Isobel Lang said: "The weather does not look like settling down for a while yet with a series of Atlantic depressions set to sweep across the country.
"Thursday's depression is more likely to be a rain-maker with the potential for some local flooding, and another deep low is due over the weekend."
Ali is first on the storm names list for 2018-19 announced by the Met Office and Met Eireann, which has run the Name Our Storms scheme for four years.
The season's names have been compiled from a list of submissions by the public, choosing some of the most popular names and also selecting those which reflect the nations, culture and diversity of the UK and Ireland.
The practice is aimed at raising awareness of severe weather before it hits, with polling finding almost 80% of people think naming storms is useful in making them realise severe weather may have a greater impact than normal.

READ MORE

Incidents of spiking double in three years, official figures show

19 September

'Drinks spiking' has more than doubled in three years, according to figures from UK police forces.

The results, from a series of Freedom of Information requests, show a 108% increase since 2015, of the number of reports to police forces, which include both the words 'drink' and 'spiking' or 'lacing'.
The Met Police in London recorded the most cases in 2017 with 179 reports.
This was up 74% from 2015 when 103 reports of 'drinks spiking' were recorded.
In total there were 992 cases recorded by the forces who responded.
But victims of spiking attacks have told Sky News they believe incidents of drinks spiking are vastly under-reported.
Dizzy, a 23-year-old student from Liverpool, said she has been spiked "at least twice, possibly three times" and that "fewer of her friends haven't been spiked than have been".
She said that like most people, she only went to the police following an assault that took place after her drink was spiked in London.
But she didn't report the other instances, as friends intervened and she got home safely.
:: How many cases of spiking are there in your region?
DI Daniel Boulter from Lincolnshire Police's rape and sexual assault task force agreed that spiking attacks are vastly under-reported crimes.
He told Sky News that most people who have been spiked will not report it to police because they get home safely with the help of a friend, bar staff or a taxi driver.
In his experience, police only deal with incidents of drinks spikings in relation to sexual assaults.
Data for reports of drinks spiking is most often recorded under arrests for other crimes, like rape or assault. There is no Home Office crime code for spiking, so the data can only be an indication of the number of cases.
In an attempt to proactively combat drinks spiking attacks, DI Boulter's task force teamed up with Lincolnshire Country Council to roll out the UK's first city-wide drinks testing scheme in participating bars.
Since January, anyone who feared their drink may have been spiked has been able to ask for a Drink Detective kit allowing them to instantly test their drink for drugs.
The spiking test kits saved at least one man from consuming a spiked drink. But, as is often the case, he did not want to report the incident to the police.
DI Boulter said the scheme was about raising awareness and proactively deterring people who want to spike drinks.
He added that the availability of test kits meant that the police would have evidence and possibly a suspect who was still at the scene, if a drink tested positive for spiking.
Former Home Office toxicologist Jim Campbell developed the Drink Detective kits.
He told Sky News he knew of one case where a girl committed suicide after following an assault, which began when her drink was spiked.
He said while Rohypnol was known as the classic date rape drug, many benzodiazepines can be used which have a similar anaesthetising affect. In reality, he said, any drug could be used, from GHB right through to LSD.
Mr Campbell thought the figures obtained by Sky News were "a drop in the ocean" as he said, "people often feel they have no evidence to go to the police".
He said: "Victims feel like they won't be believed. They rack their brains to figure out what happened the night before, but because of the effects of the drugs they can't remember. They need answers."
Mr Campbell said he believes there are deaths related to drinks spiking attack that are not "in the public eye".
"It's a very dangerous thing to do," he said.

The police force recording the largest increase in reports of spiking was the British Transport Police, who had just two in 2015 and 12 in 2017, an increase of 600%.
Greater Manchester Police recorded a rise of 178%, up to 103 in 2017, from 37 in 2015.

READ MORE

TV host and comedy writer Denis Norden dies aged 96

19 September

Former TV host and comedy writer Denis Norden has died aged 96, his family has said.

The It'll Be Alright On The Night host died on Wednesday morning after spending "many weeks" at the Royal Free Hospital in north London, a statement from his children, Nick and Maggie Norden, said.
It added: "We'd like to say a huge thank you to all the dedicated staff and doctors who have looked after him - with much devotion.
"A wonderful dad, a loving grandfather and great great-grandfather - he gave his laughter mongering to so many.
"He will be in our hearts forever."
Born in London's East End in 1922, Norden's writing career began during WW2 penning troop show sketches while serving in the RAF.
During his time in the armed forces he got to know many of the writers and performers who would feature on radio and TV in the post-war years.
Preparing for troop show in northern Germany in 1945, he went in search of stage lighting with fellow performers Eric Sykes and Ron Rich at what they believed to be a nearby prison camp.
It turned out to be the recently liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. So moved were they be the plight of the inmates that they organised a food collection amongst their comrades for the camp's victims.
After being demobbed Norden began writing for radio, teaming up with Frank Muir in 1947. Their first show together, as writers and performers was Take It From Here on which they collaborated for 11 years.
He continued to write and perform in many successful TV and radio shows throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies.
In 1977 he began presenting It'll be Alright on the Night, which featured outtakes from films and TV shows.
He retired in 2006 at the age of 84, although in 2008 he published a sequence of autobiographical sketches called Clips From A life.

READ MORE