A month of railway disruption has begun, with workers walking out for their first in a wave of 48-hour strikes – as ministers consider ways to mitigate unprecedented industrial action in the NHS. We also have the latest forecast as snow and ice beset the UK.
Ministers consider block-booking cabs for paramedics
With the NHS facing unprecedented strike action, ministers are considering a plan for taxis to be used as makeshift ambulances during walkouts by paramedics. The Government is looking at proposals to “block-book” cabs to take patients who have called 999 to hospital when ambulance workers down tools later this month over calls for a pay rise. Soldiers have already been drafted in to drive ambulances, but health minister Will Quince said further plans to limit disruption could include offering taxi rides to hospital for lower risk patients. Mr Quince raised the proposal as talks last night between Steve Barclay, the Health Secretary, and the Royal College of Nursing over their separate strike ended with no progress, meaning their industrial action on Thursday will almost certainly go ahead. And a month of rail disruption begins today, as members of the RMT union walk out for their first in a wave of 48-hour strikes. These are the full details of dates and lines affected.
Beware the big refreeze as snow turns into black ice
Drivers are being urged to stay at home today as roads across the UK are expected to be coated in black ice caused by the “big refreeze”. The Met Office issued a yellow level snow and ice warning for northern Scotland and north-east England until noon on Thursday. There was also a warning covering much of the South East, until 11am. When snow melts and refreezes, black ice can appear on roads and pavements. Because it cannot be seen, the AA said that motorists are left with a “false sense of security”. Forecasters provisionally recorded the coldest night and day of the year yesterday, with the mercury in Braemer in Aberdeenshire dipping to a low of minus 15.7 Celsius. Follow our live blog for the latest forecast, weather warnings and travel updates.
Meanwhile, it emerged that a boy who died after falling into a freezing lake was trying to rescue three other children. Jack Johnson, 10, died alongside two other boys, aged eight and 11, after the ice cracked at a nature reserve in Solihull on Sunday afternoon. His aunt revealed yesterday that he had seen the children from another family fall through the ice and tried to save them before getting into difficulty himself. When news of the boys’ death was announced, viewers of BBC News watched presenter Joanna Gosling fight back tears – the second time this year she has been overcome with emotion live on air.
Camilla Tominey: The truth about Harry’s grievances
It took three slick trailers and three hour-long episodes, but could we at last seem to have arrived at the “truth” of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Netflix documentary? Associate editor Camilla Tominey thinks so. And far from love – or even race – being the central theme, like all the most destructive royal tales, she says that sibling rivalry lies at its heart. There were not-so-subtle clues in the first episodes, but Camilla says the kid gloves really come off in the latest trailer, which you can watch here.
Sturgeon mandarin | ‘We can keep working on indyref2 plans’
Nicola Sturgeon’s most senior mandarin has ruled that Scottish Government civil servants can continue working on her independence plans, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that she does not have the power to hold a referendum.Jon-Paul Marks, the Scottish Government’s permanent secretary, said that it was “entirely appropriate” that officials continue to support the SNP-Green coalition in “pursuing its policy objectives”.
Trial | Anne Keothavong breaks down during husband’s rape trial
Former British tennis number one Anne Keothavong broke down in court as she described her husband as a “fantastic person” at his rape trial.Ms Keothavong, 39, said she thought it was a “sick joke” when Andrew Bretherton, 49, was accused of rape because it was so beyond the “fantastic father’s” character, a court heard on Monday.
She told Inner London Crown Court her lawyer husband, with whom she has two children, “has never been remotely aggressive”.
MH370 | Evidence suggests flight intentionally destroyed by pilot
A pilot on the doomed MH370 flight likely lowered the plane’s landing gear just before it plunged into the Indian Ocean, according to new evidence, which suggests it could have been a premeditated act of mass murder.The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 with 239 people on board, dropped off radar screens after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, bound for Beijing on March 8, 2014.
BBC drama | Is Marie Antoinette’s lesbian kiss all hot air?
New drama continues tradition of overly sexualised ‘gossip’ about queen of France, according to academics
In a trailer for the new drama, titled Marie Antoinette, the eponymous queen of France is shown kissing one of her female courtiers despite experts saying there is no historical evidence that she was gay.
Around the world: Lockerbie suspect won’t face death
The suspected bombmaker behind the 1988 Lockerbie bombing will not face the death penalty, US prosecutors said, as he appeared in court in Washington to face charges. The attack, which downed Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town and killed 270 people, remains the deadliest terrorist attack on British soil. Abu Agila Masud, a former Libyan intelligence operative, was told he faces three charges as he appeared in federal court in Washington, as Rozina Sabur reports.
A relative of one of the victims of the bombing holds up pictures of those killed. Credit: Getty
Sherelle Jacobs | Rishi’s Invisible Man act will doom the Tories
It’s delusional to think there are simple technical solutions to the biggest political issues of our time
The famous line from Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man thuds with mortifying wisdom: “When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” The Prime Minister, who appears lost in a convoluted cage of his own cunning, might want to pay heed. Since, for all his sticking plasters against illegal immigration and strike action, Rishi Sunak the “invisible leader” is losing all touch with what it actually means to be a national leader.
A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world.
We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".
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