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Refusing mandatory National Service won't lead to prison, home secretary says after Tory policy laun

26 May

Nobody would go to jail for refusing to comply with National Service under a Conservative government, the home secretary has said.

In the Conservatives' first policy announcement of the general election campaign, Rishi Sunak said on Saturday he would introduce a new form of mandatory National Service for 18-year-olds if his party wins the vote in July.
They would be given the choice of a full-time military placement for 12 months or a scheme to volunteer for one weekend a month for a year.
The announcement came two days after defence minister Dr Andrew Murrison told the Commons the government has "no plans" to reintroduce National Service and doing so would "damage morale, recruitment and retention and would consume professional military and naval resources".
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The military option would be selective but questions have arisen over whether any teenager who refuses to do either option would be punished.
Talking to Sky News's Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips, Home Secretary James Cleverly said: "There's going to be no criminal sanctions, nobody's going to jail over this."
He added that "nobody will be compelled to do the military element" but said those who do will be paid - while those who choose to volunteer will not be paid.
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Mr Cleverly said the main point of the policy is to make sure "people mix with people outside their bubble" for "community cohesion".
He said those who choose the military option "will be motivated to join the military" after spending a year with the Armed Forces.
Mr Sunak released a video on TikTok on Sunday explaining the new policy to young adults.
Mr Cleverly said: "We want to build a society where people mix with people outside their own communities, mix with people from different backgrounds, different religions, different income levels.
"The bulk of this is about helping build a cohesive society where people mix outside their bubble."
The Conservatives said the National Service programme would cost £2.5bn a year and would be funded by cash previously used for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and cracking down on tax avoidance and evasion.
Labour's shadow work and pensions secretary Liz Kendall accused the policy of being "yet another unfunded spending commitment".
She told Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips: "That UK Prosperity Fund is supposed to be used to tackle economic inactivity and helping people get back into work so that really undermines another one of their arguments.
"This is an unfunded commitment, a headline-grabbing gimmick."
She added that it does not deal with the big challenges facing young people, and said Labour has a "fully costed, fully funded plan to give young people those real opportunities that they need to build up".

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Pilot killed in Spitfire crash in Lincolnshire is named

26 May

A pilot killed in a Spitfire crash in Lincolnshire has been named.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) said it was with "great sorrow" it could confirm the death of Squadron Leader Mark Long.
Emergency crews were called to the scene on Langrick Road in Coningsby following reports of a plane going down just before 1.20pm on Saturday.
Group Captain Robbie Lees said: "Mark was a Typhoon pilot here at RAF Coningsby and for the last four years, he has been a pilot with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
"A great friend, colleague, and a passionate, professional aviator he will be sorely missed by all that knew him."
Mr Long, who leaves behind two children, was introduced to flying as a child when he would attend airshows with his family.
He joined the RAF and eventually rose to pilot the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet.
An investigation into the cause of the crash is under way.
Cap Lees continued: "I would like to extend a sincere thank you to the RAF personnel and our emergency services colleagues who responded so swiftly yesterday.
"Our thoughts remain with Mark's family and friends to whom we offer our deepest sympathies. We ask that their privacy be respected at this tragic and shocking time."
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RAF Coningsby is home to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, a collection of wartime fighter and bomber aircraft that take part in air shows and memorial displays.
Lincolnshire Police said the pilot was the "sole occupant of the aircraft" and he died at the scene.
Following the pilot's death, tributes were paid by the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

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Passengers and crew injured after turbulence on Qatar Airways flight to Dublin

26 May

Eight people have been taken to hospital due to turbulence on a flight to Dublin.

Dublin Airport said six passengers and six crew members on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Dublin were hurt after experiencing turbulence over Turkey.
In a later statement, the airport said all passengers were assessed for injury before getting off the plane and eight were taken to hospital.
Graeme McQueen, a spokesman for DAA, the operator of Dublin Airport, told Sky News the aircraft was met by emergency services upon landing shortly before 1pm on Sunday.
Qatar Airways described the injuries sustained by passengers and crew as "minor".
It said: "[They] are now receiving medical attention... The safety and security of our passengers and crew are our top priority."
An internal investigation into what happened has now been launched.
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Earlier this week, in a separate incident, a British man died on a Singapore Airlines flight after extreme turbulence on a Heathrow-Singapore journey.
Turbulence is defined as a sudden change in airflow and wind speed.
It can often be associated with storm clouds, which are usually well forecast and monitored, allowing planes to fly around them, Sky News weather producer Jo Robinson said.
Clear-air turbulence (CAT) is much more dangerous as there are no visual signs, such as clouds.
This invisible vertical air movement usually occurs at and above 15,000ft and is mostly linked to the jet stream.
It is unclear what type of turbulence the Qatar Airways flight went through.

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Grayson Murray: PGA Tour golfer who died aged 30 took his own life, parents say

26 May

PGA Tour golfer Grayson Murray who died aged 30 took his own life, his parents have said, as they urged people to be "kind to one another".

The American player, a two-time tour winner, withdrew from a competition in Texas with two holes remaining of his second round on Friday citing an illness, a day before he died.
In their statement, Eric and Terry Murray said "life wasn't always easy" for their son and "although he took his own life, we know he rests peacefully now".
The couple said that losing him was a "nightmare" and they have "so many questions that have no answers... but one".
"Was Grayson loved? The answer is yes. By us, his brother Cameron, his sister Erica, all of his extended family, by his friends, by his fellow players and - it seems - by many of you who are reading this. He was loved and he will be missed."
The pair thanked the PGA Tour and "the entire world of golf for the outpouring of support".
They ended their statement by saying: "Please honour Grayson by being kind to one another. If that becomes his legacy, we could ask for nothing else."
Murray pulled out of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday and his death on Saturday was announced by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who said Murray's parents had asked for the event to continue.
'I wanted to give up on life at times'
Murray spoke in January about his battles with anxiety and depression and revealed he had sought treatment in the past few years for alcohol abuse but had been sober for several months.
Following his tour victory at the start of this year in Hawaii, he explained how much the win meant to him after what he had been through, saying: "It's not easy... I wanted to give up a lot of times, give up on myself, give up on the game of golf, give up on life at times, and you just persevere.
"When you get tired of fighting, let someone else fight for you and that's what happened."
Golfers pay tribute to Murray
World number one Scottie Scheffler led the tributes to him. The American golfer said: "Obviously, the news hasn't really sunk in quite yet, but I'm thinking about his family and praying hard for all of them.
"I can't imagine how difficult of a time this is. I got to know Grayson a bit better over the last six months or so. There's not really a way to put into words how sad and tragic it is, but I'm thinking about his family."
Murray's long-time caddie Jay Green hailed him as "the absolute best".
"Not only was he an incredible, thoughtful and generous boss, he was an even better friend," he said in a statement.
"He truly would do anything for anyone. He has the best family and my heart goes out to them. We will all miss him deeply."
English golfer Luke Donald wrote on X: "Truly devastating news that Grayson Murray has passed away. He asked me for some advice on how to play Augusta a few months ago, last week I saw him at the PGA Championship, life truly is precious. My condolences and prayers to his whole family that they may find some peace."
Donald's fellow countryman Justin Rose wrote: "I had the opportunity to spend a few rounds of golf alongside Grayson in recent weeks at Hilton Head, Quail Hollow and Valhalla.
"I will always remember that and use it to remind myself that you never know what challenges people have going on in their lives and how they may be internalising things. RIP Grayson and love and strength to your family and friends."
PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan said: "Over the last several years I spent a lot of time with him because I wanted to understand what we could do, in his opinion, to help everybody else out here.
"I'm devastated by Grayson's loss. The conversations I had with him, particularly the last year, I learned an awful lot from him. He was very open and transparent with me."
Murray won the Sony Open in Hawaii in January after sinking a 40ft birdie putt to beat Byeong Hun An and Keegan Bradley in a playoff.
It marked his first tour victory since clinching his maiden PGA Tour title during his 2017 rookie campaign, when he won the Barbasol Championship in Alabama aged 24.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK

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Hamas launches first rocket attack on Tel Aviv in months

26 May

Hamas has launched rocket attacks from Gaza towards Tel Aviv for the first time in months.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in what appeared to be the first long-range rocket attack from Gaza since January, although Palestinian militants have continued to sporadically fire rockets and mortar rounds at communities along the Gaza border since then.
Hamas's military wing claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Israeli military said eight projectiles crossed into Israel after being launched from the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israeli forces recently launched an incursion.
Israel's Iron Dome defence system intercepted several of the missiles, it added.
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Earlier on Sunday, aid trucks entered Gaza via Israel's Kerem Shalom crossing for the first time since a new aid agreement was struck.
Aid routes were rediverted after Egypt closed its side of the Rafah crossing over Israel's decision to seize control of the Gaza side.
It is unclear whether humanitarian groups will be able to access incoming aid because of ongoing fighting in Rafah, however.
The International Court of Justice has ordered Israel to halt its Rafah offensive, with Israel insisting it is key to its self-defence and goal of destroying Hamas entirely.
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In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing growing pressure to make a deal with Hamas to free its remaining hostages after several bodies were recovered recently.
There were large protests in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, with scuffles breaking out between protesters and police.
Now in its eighth month, the Israel-Hamas war has killed almost 36,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.
The vast majority of Gaza's two million-strong population has been displaced.
Hamas's attack on Israel on 7 October last year killed 1,200 people, with militants taking some 250 hostages, around 100 of whom remain in captivity in Gaza.

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