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Labour promises to set up 'cradle-to-grave' National Education Service

26 September

Labour is pledging to establish a National Education Service (NES) which will provide "free" teaching to all from nursery to old age.

After a bruising couple of days over Brexit policy, Labour will look to draw a line under the conflict today as it renews its focus on the domestic agenda, with the announcement of a new draft charter for the NES.
Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, will reveal a 10-point charter for an education system that "is free at the point of use, available universally and throughout life".
Labour initially launched the policy in the run up to the general election, winning instant support from students with the promise to scrap tuition fees.
But Ms Rayner will go further today, sketching out a charter that promises more democratic oversight of schools and colleges, more autonomy for teachers and more emotional support for staff and students.
"Our National Education Service will be lifelong, providing for people at every stage of their life. That is our National Education Service," she said.
"Not just another structure. Not another sign on the school gate. A promise from the Labour government to the British people."
Labour will also step up the pressure on the Prime Minister to pour £500m into an NHS bailout fund to avoid another seasonal crisis in the health service.
Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, will tell conference the extra funding is needed to avoid thousands of people waiting hours in emergency care.
He will also urge the Prime Minister not to "stick her head in the sand" over the annual crisis.
Previous bail-out funds for the NHS over winter have ranged from £300m to £700m but Labour will hope that making the call now will enable it to take credit for any funding injection announced over the winter season.
The NHS and education push comes on the heels of Labour's announcement on Monday that it wants to nationalise private finance initiatives (PFI) contracts - on top of bringing rail, energy, water and the Royal Mail back under public ownership.
Labour did not say how much such policies would cost - but the price tag could well run into the tens of billions.
Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "There's a huge number of policies that have been proposed at this conference - all of which would need to be paid for, but I know the question businesses and voters will be asking today is who's paying? Am I paying, and if so, how much?"

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North Korea moves its planes after vowing to shoot down US jets

26 September

North Korea has been moving its aircraft and boosting its defences on its east coast, apparently in response to US bombers flying to the Korean peninsula.

The mobilisation came after the US dispatched B-1B jets to South Korea over the weekend, the country's Yonhap news agency reported.
Yonhap claimed it had been told by South Korea's spy agency that the US had released information about the route taken by the B-1Bs because North Korea seemed to be unaware.
North Korea's foreign minister said on Monday that Pyongyang has the right to "shoot down" US planes because Donald Trump had "declared war".
Mr Trump had said that North Korea's leader might not be around much longer - some the North regarded as a "declaration of war".
It had the right to shoot down the bombers even if they were not in North Korean airspace, Ri Yong Ho claimed.
Mr Ri told reporters in New York: "The whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country.
"Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country."
The Pentagon responded with its own threat, saying that if North Korea did not stop its provocative actions, it would make sure the "President is provided with options to deal with Pyongyang".
However, the White House said that to suggest the US had declared war was "absurd".
"We have not declared war against North Korea and frankly the suggestion of that is absurd," said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Mr Ri, who made his remarks before leaving New York following last week's UN General Assembly, added: "In light of the declaration of war by Trump, all options will be on the operations table of the supreme leadership of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)."
"The question of who won't be around much longer will be answered then," he said.
On Saturday, the President tweeted: "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!"
Last week, in his first speech to the General Assembly, Mr Trump vowed to "totally destroy" North Korea if it continued to threaten the US and it allies.
The Pentagon called the flight by the bombers a "show of force" designed to demonstrate the range of military options available to President Trump.

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NFL flag issue has divided the sport and the US

26 September

Perhaps it was apt that it fell to the NFL franchise known as "America's Team" to deliver the ultimate verdict.

The country was watching how the Dallas Cowboys, the league's best-supported team, loved and loathed by Americans in equal measure, would address the controversy over the flag.
In the end the entire line-up, including owner and Trump supporter Jerry Jones, struck a balance: kneeling briefly before the national anthem but standing during it.
Still, the boos rang down from the stands, an illustration of how this issue has divided a sport and a country.
The Cowboys' Monday Night Football game against the Arizona Cardinals came after a weekend on which 200 players made their feelings about their President clear.
Trump's profane call for players who do not stand during the anthem to be fired has inflamed an issue which has been simmering for a year.
It started when San Francisco 49ers star Colin Kaepernick staged a one-man protest over police brutality against the black community.
Last weekend, days before Trump raised the issue, just four players knelt in protest before NFL games. Now it is a full-blown controversy.
The President has not backed down in his views - far from it, tweeting repeated calls for players to "respect the flag".
He insists it is not about race but for many Americans it is entirely about that.
The fact that the military provide the honour guard for the flag at NFL games has added an extra emotive element to the controversy.
And supporters admit they are conflicted about the protest and their President's response.
Dallas fans Victor Goldman and Albert Rios both served in the US military.
"Why the national anthem and why the flag?" asked Goldman.
"It is not that I oppose what they are doing, I just don't understand it."
Rios added: "I served my country and I love my country.
"I served it for one purpose only: to make sure that every American has the right and the freedom to express whatever they want."
He said that Donald Trump also had that right to freedom of expression.
Arizona fans Moses Perez and Tony Rodriguez have known each other since school and they have very different views on the controversy.
Perez said: "If it makes them feel better I guess they have the right to do it because it is their freedom.
"But I believe it is highly disrespectful to kneel to the national anthem and not respect your country."
Rodriguez disagrees: "To me they are not doing it in a disrespectful manner.
"They are just doing it to draw attention to the big problem, which is the social injustice going on in this country."
There is no doubt Trump has opened up a culture war that would appear, on the surface, to be un-winnable.
But how many times have we said that during his presidency?

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Man charged over stabbing of Muslim surgeon outside mosque

26 September

Police have charged a man in connection with the stabbing of a Muslim surgeon outside a mosque.

The 58-year-old, believed to be consultant Nasser Kurdy, was on his way to the Altrincham Islamic Centre in Hale, Cheshire, when he was attacked just before 6pm on Sunday.
He was taken to hospital with a stab wound to his neck but was later discharged, according to Khalid Anis, a spokesman for the Altrincham and Hale Muslim Association.
On Tuesday Ian Anthony Rook, 28, of no fixed abode, was charged by Greater Manchester Police in connection with the stabbing.
Rook has been charged with a section 18 assault and possession of a lethal weapon and will appear at Manchester City Magistrates Court later.
A second man has been released with no further action.

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The look of love? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's first official outing together

25 September

Prince Harry and his actress girlfriend Meghan Markle looked awash with love and happiness on their first official public appearance together.

The couple laughed and smiled as they attended the wheelchair tennis at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada.
They looked relaxed in casual clothing as they finally gave fans a long-awaited sighting of them together.
They attended this weekend's opening ceremony of the Paralympics-style event for wounded and injured servicemen and women which was founded by Harry but they sat a few rows from each other.
On Monday they were happy to let the world see how close they are and Royal watchers will view their official appearance together as a milestone in their relationship.
Meghan,36, recently revealed her love for Harry, 33, in an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, fuelling speculation of an imminent engagement announcement.
Harry has spoken of the Invictus Games' power to change lives and, speaking at the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research forum, he told the delegates about his inspiration for the Games.
He added: "For the competitors, we know that the journey to the Invictus Games is often not an easy one.
"We are dangling a carrot of sporting glory to help reignite qualities which have been worn down by months and often years of fighting - fighting to find purpose, fighting to reconnect with family, fighting to get fit again, fighting to leave the house and in some cases fighting to stay alive.
"Sport of course is not the only answer, but it is a hugely powerful tool."
Harry went on to say: "Competitors, friends and their families told us that the Games were not only changing lives, but saving lives."

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