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FA nets £600m Shahid Khan bid for Wembley Stadium

26 April

The Football Association (FA) has confirmed receiving a bid for Wembley Stadium, in a deal Sky sources understand to be worth at least £600m.

English football officials were tight-lipped on details publicly, saying only that "the FA has received an offer to buy Wembley Stadium".
But the bidder is the billionaire owner of Fulham Football Club, Shahid Khan, who also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team.
Sky sources suggest that if talks are successful, a deal would signal the creation of the first NFL franchise outside the US.
It could mean the England football team playing its autumn home games across the country, rather than at the home of English football.
The big winner from any deal, it is also believed, will be grassroots football which would be on track to secure a £500m boost from the proceeds.
A Sport England spokesperson said: "Sport England invested £120m of National Lottery money into the development of Wembley Stadium. We look forward to hearing more detail about how such a deal would work and whether it would benefit grassroots sport."
Reports suggested that the deal would also see the FA keep its Club Wembley debenture and hospitality business, valued at £300m.
There is nothing to suggest that Mr Khan would seek to take Fulham, currently in the Championship, away from Craven Cottage and base the team at Wembley.
He told fans any agreement would not detract from his Fulham interests.
In a statement he said: "The games the Jaguars play at Wembley are essential to the financial stability of the Jaguars in Jacksonville, which is one of the smallest markets in the NFL.
"If my ownership interests were to include Wembley Stadium, it would protect the Jaguars' position in London at a time when other NFL teams are understandably becoming more interested in this great city.
"And the stronger the Jaguars are in London, the more stable and promising the Jaguars' future will be in Jacksonville."
The terms under consideration by the FA board suggest Wembley would remain the organisation's base.
Wembley, which has a 90,000-capacity, was reopened in 2007 after a £757m rebuild.
It is no stranger to hosting NFL games and has been a temporary base for Tottenham Hotspur during the current football season while the Premier League side's new stadium is completed.
The NFL released a statement which read: "We are very happy for Shahid Khan and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"The potential purchase of Wembley Stadium is a further powerful sign of their commitment to the UK and their vision to help us grow the sport.
"Having stadium options in London has always been critical to the NFL and, in tandem with our 10-year partnership with Tottenham Hotspur, this new relationship would allow for even greater flexibility in scheduling future NFL games in London."
Mr Khan bought the Jaguars in 2011 and was among those who pushed for more NFL games to be played in London.
The businessman, who left Pakistan in his teens and made his fortune in the US through a car parts empire, later bought Fulham from Mohamed al Fayed in 2013.
Reaction to news of the bid was swift from top football figures.
Former England striker Gary Lineker tweeted his potential support - if grassroots football was to be the big winner.

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Home Secretary Amber Rudd says she didn't know about immigration targets

26 April

The Home Secretary has told MPs she was "not aware" of illegal immigrant removal targets, as she again faced calls to resign.

Amber Rudd said she never agreed to use removal targets for migrants, adding that the regional targets used by the Home Office "were not published targets against which performance was assessed".
They emerged in a 2015 report and the disclosure has piled further pressure on the Home Secretary over the Windrush scandal and the Government's immigration policy.
Ms Rudd has been accused of misleading Parliament after telling a committee of MPs on Wednesday: "We don't have targets for removals."
Downing Street said the Prime Minister has full confidence in Ms Rudd and she is "working hard to address concerns which are raised in relation to Windrush and is working to put them right".
The PM's official spokesman said the idea of governments setting removal targets was something that had happened for "a number of decades".
The Windrush furore has seen long-term residents of the UK, who came to Britain in the decades after the Second World War, wrongly stripped of benefits and threatened with deportation.
Responding to an urgent question from Labour in the Commons, Ms Rudd said: "I have never agreed that there should be specific removal targets and I would never support a policy that puts targets ahead of people.
"The immigration arm of the Home Office has been using local targets for internal performance management.
"These were not published targets against which performance was assessed, but if they were used inappropriately then I am clear that this will have to change.
"I have asked officials to provide me with a full picture of performance measurement tools which are used at all levels, and will update the House and the Home Affairs select committee as soon as possible."
Ms Rudd said Home Office staff should not go after "low-hanging fruit", amid concerns people were detained if they were seen as easy targets.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott repeated her call for her opposite number to resign, telling MPs: "When Lord Carrington resigned over the Falklands, he said it was a matter of honour.
"Isn't it time that the Home Secretary considered her honour and resigned?"
Ms Rudd responded by saying: "I believe I have addressed the issue of targets, referring to the fact that there are some offices which are working with them.
"Unfortunately I was not aware of them and I want to be aware of them, which is why I'm now putting in place different measures to ensure that that happens."
SNP MP Alison Thewliss claimed the Home Secretary was leading an "out of control" department.
Labour's Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said it was "deeply disappointing" Ms Rudd "did not know the facts" when she gave evidence.
But the Home Secretary insisted she was the right person to sort out the issues identified.
"I do take seriously my responsibility but I do think I am the person who can put it right," Ms Rudd said.
"I understand the House will want to hold me to account for that, but I am confident the changes I am committed to putting in place and the transparency that will go with that will deliver the changes that are expected."
She also received backing from a number of Conservative MPs.
Tory former minister Sir Nicholas Soames said she had the "total support of this side of the House in trying to resolve a very difficult legacy issue", while backbencher Philip Davies urged Ms Rudd "not to be knocked off course by the parties opposite on the issue of illegal immigration".

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Prince William to be best man at Harry's wedding

26 April

Prince Harry has asked his brother William to be best man at his wedding to Meghan Markle.

The Duke of Cambridge is "honoured to have been asked" and is "very much looking forward to supporting his brother" on 19 May, Kensington Palace said.
Prince Harry served as best man to William at his wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011.
The wedding date clashes with the FA Cup final, but it is understood that Prince William, who is president of the Football Association, will be concentrating on his duties as best man so won't be able to make it to Wembley.
:: Royal wedding 2018: Ultimate guide
Harry will marry Ms Markle at St George's Chapel in Windsor next month with approximately 600 guests invited to the ceremony.
Officially there is no such thing as a best man at a Royal wedding, which instead uses the term "supporters", but Prince Harry is known to break with tradition.
:: Meghan Markle married - but not to Prince Harry
When asked about the possibility of being best man or supporter in January, William responded: "He hasn't asked me yet... so it could be a sensitive issue."
It seems the busy prince finally found time while wedding planning to ask his brother.
Ms Markle has made no announcement yet about her maid of honour, but some of her celebrity best friends are being touted as possible candidates.
They include Serena Williams, actress and UNICEF ambassador Priyanka Chopra and British reality TV star Millie Mackintosh.

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Knife crime rises in England and Wales as London murders surge

26 April

Police recording of knife crime rose by 22% in England and Wales last year while London experienced a surging murder rate, official figures show.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), police recorded 39,598 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in 2017 - up from 32,468 in the previous 12 months.
There was an 11% increases in firearms offences, with 6,604 crimes recorded last year.
The ONS said both knife and gun offences tended to be disproportionately concentrated in London and other cities.
A total of 653 murders were also recorded by police across England and Wales - a rise of 9%.
The ONS figures exclude homicides from terror attacks in London and Manchester and the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in their figures so a more consistent comparison can be provided.
Burglary was also up 9% over the period (to 438,971 recorded offences), along with a rise in robbery (33%) and vehicle-related theft (16%).
However, computer misuse offences fell by 28%, based on the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), which the ONS said was largely due to a decline in computer viruses.
This decrease drove a fall in the overall level of crime estimated by the CSEW, a face-to-face survey in which households are asked about their experience of crime.
In the year ending December 2017, 80% of adults were not a victim of any of the crimes asked about in the CSEW.
Alexa Bradley, from the ONS, said: "Today's figures show that, for most types of offence, the picture of crime has been fairly stable, with levels much lower than the peak seen in the mid-1990s.
"Eight in ten adults had not experienced any of the crimes asked about in our survey in the latest year.
"However, we have seen an increase in the relatively rare, but 'high-harm' violent offences such as homicide, knife crime and gun crime, a trend that has been emerging over the previous two years.
"We have also seen evidence that increases in some types of theft have continued, in particular vehicle-related theft and burglary."
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police released their own crime statistics on Thursday.
These revealed murders were up by 44% in the capital - from 109 to 157 offences - in the financial year April to March 2017/18, compared to the previous 12 months.
This included victims of terror attacks in Westminster, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.
Overall crime in the capital was up by 6.4% from 777,458 to 827,225 offences, with knife crime offences up 21% but gun crime down 4.6%.
Knife crime with injury offences were up by 5.7% (4,446 to 4,700), although there was a smaller rise of 3% in knife crime injuries to under 25s compared to a 24% increase in the previous set of figures.
The figures come after recent rising violence in the capital sparked a political row - with data showing more murders were committed in London in February and March this year than there were in New York.
Scotland Yard's assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt said: "The Met continues to experience a very busy and challenging time against the backdrop of significant reductions in resources.
"I am very concerned about the rise in crime in the capital, particularly murder, violent crime and knife crime.
"My thoughts are with the victims' families of these tragic and horrific crimes which have brought untold misery to countless people."
Commenting on the ONS figures, London mayor Sadiq Khan said: "These statistics show once again that crime, and violent crime in particular, is rising at an unacceptably high rate across the whole of England and Wales, including London.
"This is clearly a national problem that requires national solutions from the Government."
Mr Khan called for more funding from Government for police to tackle knife crime, as well as investment in services that "provide young people with alternative paths away from crime".
Commenting on the ONS figures, Louise Haigh MP, Labour's shadow policing minister, said: "The Tories have created the conditions for crime, including serious violent crime, to thrive.
"The Home Secretary has comprehensively failed to protect the public. Whether it's Windrush citizens or victims of violent crime, the Home Secretary has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the evidence staring her in the face.
"The Tories have axed 21,000 police officers, and neighbourhood policing, which helps to prevent crime, has been undermined. Our communities are now exposed and we have a Government unwilling or unable to put it right."
The Government's policing minister, Tory MP Nick Hurd, said: "The independent Office for National Statistics is clear that overall levels crime are stable, with traditional crime over a third lower than it was in 2010.
"It is also welcome that the police's recording of crime is improving, and that more victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence are feeling empowered to come forward.
"But we know that some of the increase in police-recorded violent offences is genuine which is why we have taken urgent action to stop these crimes.
"We will be announcing tough new laws to crack down on acid attacks and knife offences.
"And as crime changes, we will change our response - our Serious Violence Strategy places a new emphasis on steering young people away from a life of crime, while continuing to promote the strongest possible law enforcement response."

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Alfie Evans: Doctors to decide if toddler can go home

26 April

The father of sick toddler Alfie Evans says there will be a meeting with doctors later to discuss taking his son home.

Tom Evans told reporters outside Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool that his son no longer needs to be in intensive care.
Judges on Wednesday rejected appeals made by Alfie's parents to allow him to be taken to Italy for treatment.
Mr Evans and Kate James made applications to the Court of Appeal after a High Court judge ruled they could take their son home from the hospital, but not abroad.
Doctors say the toddler has a rare degenerative neurological condition and is considered to be in a semi-vegetative state.
"We got rejected yesterday to go to Italy unfortunately," he told reporters on Thursday.
"We could take it further but would that be the right thing to do, would there be more criticism?
:: Timeline: The fight to keep Alfie Evans alive
"So what we do today is we have a meeting with the doctors at Alder Hey and we now start asking to go home."
He added: "Alfie doesn't need intensive care any more. Alfie is lying on the bed with one litre of oxygen going into his lungs and the rest is him. Some people say it's a miracle, it's not a miracle, it's a misdiagnosis."
:: Alfie Evans: Appeal court hearing 'extraordinary and tragic'
Mr Evans said his son has been off a ventilator for three days and is showing no signs of deterioration.
"He hasn't woke up, he's still a little bit weak but what we ask for is to go home to sustain his life," he said.
He added Alfie was "still fighting" and was "comfortable" and "content" with a stable heart rate.
He said Alder Hey doctors could be "wrong" and added: "Alfie lives, comfortably, happily, without ventilation, without any form of ventilation.
"That must be enough for you now to consider that Alfie may prove you wrong."
Mr Evans said the family did have "appeals to explore" - but that their priority was to get Alfie home before they decide on their next steps.
:: Court rejects Alfie Evans appeal as hospital trust speaks of staff being 'abused'
"All I ask for now is for this meeting to be a positive one and I hope to have Alfie, on the terms of mine and Alder Hey, to be home within a day or two.
"If the meeting doesn't go well today, well then I'll go back to court. As I sit next to Alfie's bedside, every second of every day, it encourages me more and more that he will live for 'x' amount of months, possibly years."
He said he hoped to be able to make arrangements with the hospital to get a care plan in place today, and that he was already trained to do most things but there were a few other procedures to learn.
"Get Alfie home, please," he said.
Speaking on Wednesday at the hearing, which the toddler's parents did not attend due to their desire to stay by their son's bedside, Lord Justice McFarlane said the decision to block him travelling to Italy for treatment was the correct one.
"This is awful for everyone concerned. We are in the middle of palliative care plan at Alder Hey Hospital," he said.
"I can see no basis that judgment was wrong."
The ruling came hours after life support ended for the youngster, who was granted Italian citizenship this week to facilitate a move to Rome for treatment.
The trust for the hospital in Liverpool has since spoken of the "barrage of highly abusive and threatening" language and behaviour towards medical staff treating the toddler, who has a rare degenerative neurological condition and is considered to be in a semi-vegetative state.
"Our staff have received in person, via phone calls, email, and through social media channels a barrage of highly abusive and threatening language and behaviour that has shocked us all," it said.
"Worse still, patients and visitors to Alder Hey have also reported abuse."
Michael Mylonas, the hospital trust's lawyer, said on Wednesday that there was "no new medical evidence" to contradict the evidence given before the High Court in February.
He said Alfie continuing to breathe was "not a change in circumstances" and added: "It was never suggested that death would be instantaneous.
"In fact, to the contrary, the evidence had been that when previously extubated he survived. It has never been said to this family that Alfie would die immediately or before sundown.
"No doctor could have said that."
The lawyer said the "tragedy" for the parents was that Alfie appeared as if he was a normal child.
Mr Evans' lawyer, Paul Diamond, said: "We say the order of Mr Justice Hayden was simply to remove life-sustaining equipment because there is no medical cure.
"We say when we enter a situation where the individual continues to breathe we have to amend that care plan.
"We cannot allow a situation like that to continue in a British hospital."
The court also heard how Mr Evans had sought to bring a private prosecution against three doctors with the charge of conspiracy to murder.
The case has drawn international attention, with the Pope pledging support to the family, and has sparked demonstrations outside the hospital in Liverpool.

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