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Two people remanded over 'hit-and-run' deaths of brothers in Coventry

24 February

Two people have been remanded in custody over the deaths of two young brothers killed in a suspected hit-and-run collision in Coventry.

Corey Platt-May, six, and two-year-old Casper were struck by a car as they crossed the road with their family in the Stoke area of the city on Thursday afternoon.
Both boys died after being taken to hospital. A damaged black Ford Focus was found a short time after the crash.
Robert Brown, 53, and Gwendoline Harrison, 41, have been charged under joint enterprise of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, West Midlands Police said.
Brown, of Attwood Crescent, Wyken, is also charged with driving while disqualified, no insurance and otherwise than in accordance with a licence, while Harrison, of Triumph Close, Wyken, faces a common assault allegation.
They appeared at Coventry Magistrates' Court, sitting at Leamington Justice Centre.
Corey and Casper's mother Louise Platt-May paid tribute to the boys following their deaths.
She described Corey as "an amazing boy" who had a passion for football, while his younger brother Casper was a "cheeky little boy" whose "smile could light up any room".
The boys' aunt Chelsea Platt-May told Sky News they had been on the way to a family day out at the park at the time of the collision.
"I hope - it sounds horrible to say - they didn't suffer and I hope they were going with happy thoughts and not thoughts of pain," she said.
Both boys were taken to hospital with severe injuries. Casper could not be revived and died a short time later. Corey died despite undergoing surgery.
Family and friends have launched a number of fundraising pages to help their parents.
Corey's football coach Matthew Hopkins told Sky News he was unsure how the youngsters' teammates would react.
"I won't be able to say 'good tackle Corey', 'good pass Corey' or 'good goal Corey.' That's really sad," he said.
Detective Sergeant Paul Hughes said: "It is always tragic to lose loved ones, especially when so young, and we are continuing to offer our support to family members at such a devastating time.
"We are very appreciative of the overwhelming help we have received from the public during our investigations to date and we continue to ask anyone with information who has not already spoken to us to get in touch with us."

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#BoycottNRA: Companies turn against US gun lobby

24 February

Several companies in the US have ended long-held customer discounts for National Rifle Association members following the Florida massacre.

An online #BoycottNRA campaign has seen hundreds of thousands of people urge dozens of firms which hold partnerships with the NRA to end their promotional links with the gun lobby.
Companies which have pulled out of NRA promotions include airlines United and Delta, internet security brands such as Symantec and Norton Antivirus; car hire firms Hertz, Alamo and National; identity theft protection company Lifelock; and First National Bank.
United said it was ending a discount it has offered for travel to the NRA's annual meeting.
Delta announced it would be ending its contract with the NRA for discounted rates for group travel.
Several of the 27 firms listed as associated with the NRA by website Think Progress have announced they have cut ties with the organisation.
Many more not featured on the site, including Best Western and Wyndham Hotels, have also ended their relationship with the group.
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The push comes in the wake of the deadliest school shooting in America's history in Parkland, Florida, where 17 teenagers were murdered by a classmate armed with an AR-15 rifle.
Outrage following the massacre has prompted widespread protest both in the streets and online, in many cases spearheaded by young people directly affected by the killings.
The campaign targeting brands gained momentum on Thursday and Friday, with hashtags such as #BoycottNRA and #DisarmtheNRA being used on social media.
Twitter users told corporate accounts they would stop buying from firms that maintained promotional collaborations with the NRA, which are designed to make the $40 annual subscription to the association more enticing for gun owners.
One user, who created a template urging Amazon to drop its NRA links, said 250,000 people had contacted the group in less than 24 hours.
First National Bank, which ran what was termed the "official credit card" of the NRA, offered discounts, rewards and a bank card co-branded with the rifle association.
It cited "customer feedback" as the reason for the turnaround, telling Twitter users that it would "not renew its contract with the National Rifle Association to issue the NRA visa card".
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However, not all the companies linked to the NRA have dropped their links.
Apple and Amazon are being called on by activists to drop their hosting of the NRA TV app.
Hotel Planner also still appears to be operating with the organisation, as well as FedEx, which gives NRA members discounts on shipping fees.
The NRA did not respond to Sky News' request for comment.
However, on Friday it tweeted that "people should take a hard look at the number of failures by the FBI and local law enforcement agencies" rather than gun campaigners.
The head of the lobby group, which has around five million members, said on Thursday that gun control advocates "hate individual freedom".

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Weather warning: Heavy snow to hit most of UK as 'Beast from the East' arrives

24 February

Heavy snow is expected to hit most of the UK next week as a cold blast of air known as "the Beast from the East" arrives from Russia.

Forecasters say the freezing weather could bring travel disruption and power cuts as Britain faces its coldest February week in five years.
Severe weather warnings are in place for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with snow showers forecast on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Temperatures are expected to drop to -5C overnight and remain cold throughout the week, with the icy conditions predicted to last until the middle of March.
The Met Office said: "There is the potential for travel delays on roads, stranding of some vehicles and passengers, as well as delays or cancellations to rail and air travel.
"Some rural communities could become cut off. Power cuts may also occur and other services, such as mobile phones, may be affected."
A yellow "be aware" warning for snow has been issued for eastern and central England on Monday, which is extended to cover Scotland, parts of Wales and northern and southern England on Tuesday.
The warning covers most of the UK on Wednesday, with heavy snow showers forecast across the country.
Forecaster Marco Petagna said five to 10cm of snow is expected in places on Monday and Tuesday, while 10 to 15cm is predicted on Wednesday afternoon.
The Met Office has also issued an amber cold weather alert for England - its second highest level - which warns of increased health risks to vulnerable and elderly people.
The AA urged drivers to take extra care and said it was mobilising extra resources for an increase in demand for help over the coming week.
The prolonged spell of cold weather has been blamed on a rare North Pole phenomenon called "sudden stratospheric warming".
The event disrupted the polar vortex in the upper atmosphere, resulting in bitterly cold air sweeping in from Siberia, according to forecasters.
Sky News weather presenter Joanna Robinson warned that while spring should be approaching, winter was "far from over" for the UK.
"There is increasing confidence that easterly winds will develop, dragging in very cold air from Siberia as early as next week," she said.
"This set-up is often referred to as the 'Beast from the East'.
"It's not just the UK that will be affected - much of Europe will see temperatures well below average."

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Vicar Of Dibley and Notting Hill actress Emma Chambers dies at 53

24 February

British actress Emma Chambers, known for her roles in The Vicar Of Dibley and Notting Hill, has died age 53.

A statement from her agency said the actress died from natural causes, adding: "Emma created a wealth of characters and an immense body of work. She brought laughter and joy to many".
"At this difficult time we ask that the privacy of the family and loved ones be respected."
She was known for playing Alice Tinker in the BBC show which ran from 1994 to 2007 and starred Dawn French.
In 1998, Chambers won the British Comedy Award for best actress for her performance.
One year later, she grasped international attention for her role in the Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts comedy Notting Hill.
In the movie, she plays Honey, Hugh Grant's little sister and the romantic interest of Rhys Ifans' character Spike.
Broadcaster Emma Freud tweeted: "Our beautiful friend Emma Chambers has died at the age of 53. We're very very sad.
"She was a great, great comedy performer, and a truly fine actress. And a tender, sweet, funny, unusual, loving human being."
Chambers is survived by her husband and fellow actor Ian Dunn.
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Three-year-old boy missing from shopping centre

24 February

A three-year-old boy has gone missing after last being seen at a shopping centre play area, police have said.

Abdullah Mohammed, from Harrow, was last seen playing football in a play area at the London Designer Outlet in Wembley Park Boulevard on Saturday afternoon.
Police said they were called at 3.23pm after reports that he had gone missing.
Officers from Brent, in north-west London, are searching around Wembley and have asked that anyone who sees Abdullah call them by phoning 999.
The little boy was wearing a green coat with a fluffy hood over a black jumper with white stripes.
He was also dressed in blue jeans and blue trainers.
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