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Hong Kong police officer shoots masked protester point blank in shocking encounter

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A Hong Kong police officer shot a masked protester at point blank range in a shocking skirmish broadcast on Facebook Live on Monday morning.

The outbreak of violence happened at a blockaded junction in Sai Wan Ho during rush hour as a police officer attempted to arrest a masked man during a wild scuffle in the city’s 24th straight weekend of pro-democracy demonstrations.

Footage showed the policeman drawing his sidearm as a second man moved towards the officer in an attempt to liberate his comrade.

The protester appeared to take a swipe at the officer’s pistol and just moments later he opened fire, hitting the masked demonstrator in the torso.

As shrieks pierced the air, other demonstrators rushed at the officer who quickly fired another two rounds.

The masked demonstrator he had originally tried to collar broke free in the struggle but another man went to ground as the shots were fired. 

Police could later be seen detaining the two men on the ground. The first man had a pool of blood next to him, his body limp and his eyes wide open as officers moved him around and tried to tie his hands.

The second man was conscious and talking.

A Hong Kong police officer (pictured opening fire) shot at masked protesters on Monday morning - hitting at least one in the torso - during clashes broadcast live on Facebook

A Hong Kong police officer (pictured opening fire) shot at masked protesters on Monday morning - hitting at least one in the torso - during clashes broadcast live on Facebook

A Hong Kong police officer (pictured opening fire) shot at masked protesters on Monday morning – hitting at least one in the torso – during clashes broadcast live on Facebook

Police could later be seen detaining the two men on the ground. The first man (face blurred) had a pool of blood next to him, his body limp as officers moved him around and apparently tried to tie his hands, while the second man was conscious and talking

Police could later be seen detaining the two men on the ground. The first man (face blurred) had a pool of blood next to him, his body limp as officers moved him around and apparently tried to tie his hands, while the second man was conscious and talking

Police could later be seen detaining the two men on the ground. The first man (face blurred) had a pool of blood next to him, his body limp as officers moved him around and apparently tried to tie his hands, while the second man was conscious and talking

Police officers detaining the two protesters in the aftermath, the man who was shot in the torso appeared to be unconscious

Police officers detaining the two protesters in the aftermath, the man who was shot in the torso appeared to be unconscious

Police officers detaining the two protesters in the aftermath, the man who was shot in the torso appeared to be unconscious

The demonstrator is bent double after being shot as the police officer continues to scuffle with the policeman, his hand over his face

The demonstrator is bent double after being shot as the police officer continues to scuffle with the policeman, his hand over his face

The demonstrator is bent double after being shot as the police officer continues to scuffle with the policeman, his hand over his face

The police officer fires two more rounds, the man in the white hooded jumper has broken free (centre), another man falls to the ground (left), while the man shot in the midriff appears to be in agony on the road

The police officer fires two more rounds, the man in the white hooded jumper has broken free (centre), another man falls to the ground (left), while the man shot in the midriff appears to be in agony on the road

The police officer fires two more rounds, the man in the white hooded jumper has broken free (centre), another man falls to the ground (left), while the man shot in the midriff appears to be in agony on the road

The officer first gets hold of a masked man in a white hooded top, this man later escapes but not before the policeman shoots one of his comrades who attempts to liberate him

The officer first gets hold of a masked man in a white hooded top, this man later escapes but not before the policeman shoots one of his comrades who attempts to liberate him

The officer first gets hold of a masked man in a white hooded top, this man later escapes but not before the policeman shoots one of his comrades who attempts to liberate him

The black-clad masked man who will, within a split second be shot in the torso, rushes towards the police officer as he tries to free the man he is detaining

The black-clad masked man who will, within a split second be shot in the torso, rushes towards the police officer as he tries to free the man he is detaining

The black-clad masked man who will, within a split second be shot in the torso, rushes towards the police officer as he tries to free the man he is detaining

Further footage on social media showed a police motorbike attempting to ram black-clad protesters in a running battle through the streets.

Other officers chased them off with batons while the motorbike sped dangerously towards the demonstrators, appearing to be totally out of control. 

A police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to AFP that live rounds were fired at more than one protester in Sai Wan Ho and that a statement would be issued.

Police said in a statement radical protesters had set up barricades at multiple locations across the city and warned the demonstrators to ‘stop their illegal acts immediately’.

The police officers can be seen detaining the men on the ground, it is not clear from the footage whether the conscious man had been shot

The police officers can be seen detaining the men on the ground, it is not clear from the footage whether the conscious man had been shot

The police officers can be seen detaining the men on the ground, it is not clear from the footage whether the conscious man had been shot

They did not comment immediately on the apparent shooting.

Services on some train and subway lines were disrupted early on Monday, with riot police deployed near stations and shopping malls. Many universities cancelled classes on Monday and there were long traffic jams in some areas.

Activists blocked roads and trashed shopping malls across Hong Kong’s New Territories and Kowloon peninsula on Sunday during a 24th straight weekend of anti-government unrest. 

Tensions have soared in recent days following the death on Friday of a 22-year-old student who succumbed to injuries sustained from a fall in the vicinity of a police clearance operation the weekend before. 

Protesters block roads in Wong Tai Sin district, as they call for a general strike, in Hong Kong on Monday morning

Protesters block roads in Wong Tai Sin district, as they call for a general strike, in Hong Kong on Monday morning

Protesters block roads in Wong Tai Sin district, as they call for a general strike, in Hong Kong on Monday morning

Police officers direct residents as pro-democracy protesters block major roads in Hong Kong on Monday morning

Police officers direct residents as pro-democracy protesters block major roads in Hong Kong on Monday morning

Police officers direct residents as pro-democracy protesters block major roads in Hong Kong on Monday morning

A traffic jam is seen as roads are blocked by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong

A traffic jam is seen as roads are blocked by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong

A traffic jam is seen as roads are blocked by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong

Protesters set up barricades to block a road in Wong Tai Sin on Monday

Protesters set up barricades to block a road in Wong Tai Sin on Monday

Protesters set up barricades to block a road in Wong Tai Sin on Monday

The city has seen four days of consecutive protests since the student’s death as well as tens of thousands attending mass vigils.

Using online messaging forums, activists had called for a general strike on Monday morning.

Flashmob protests sprung up in multiple districts during the morning commuter period, with small groups of masked protesters targeting subway stations and building barricades on road junctions.

Even before the shooting in Sai Wan Ho, tear gas had been fired in at least two other locations. 

A view of graffiti at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong on Monday

A view of graffiti at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong on Monday

A view of graffiti at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong on Monday

People react after a tear gas canister fired by police lands amongst them during a standoff with protesters and residents in the Tsuen Wan district of the New Territories in Hong Kong on Sunday night

People react after a tear gas canister fired by police lands amongst them during a standoff with protesters and residents in the Tsuen Wan district of the New Territories in Hong Kong on Sunday night

People react after a tear gas canister fired by police lands amongst them during a standoff with protesters and residents in the Tsuen Wan district of the New Territories in Hong Kong on Sunday night

Monday’s shooting is the third time protesters have been shot with live rounds by police. 

On 1 October a student was struck in the chest as he and a group of activists attacked an officer with sticks and poles. He survived his wound and is being prosecuted.

Days later a 14-year-old boy was shot in the leg when a policeman in plainclothes fired his gun after his car was attacked by a crowd. He also survived and was arrested. 

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Boris Johnson says Tories will CANCEL planned corporation tax cut

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Boris Johnson today announced the Tories will postpone a planned further cut to corporation tax in order to free up £6 billion to invest in public services like the NHS. 

The Prime Minister revealed the move as he addressed business leaders at a CBI summit in London.   

The current rate of corporation tax is 19 per cent but it had been due to fall to 17 per cent next year. 

The PM insisted postponing the reduction was the ‘fiscally responsible thing to do at the present time’ as he joked that he hoped business leaders would not ‘storm the stage’ after he made the announcement.  

‘It doesn’t mean we’re in any way averse to reducing taxes on business as I’m sure you’ll understand,’ he said. 

Labour claimed the decision represented a ‘temporary pause in the Tories’ race to the bottom on corporation tax’. 

The CBI gave the move a cautious welcome but director general Carolyn Fairbairn said the PM would have to help business in other areas. 

She said in a statement: ‘Postponing further cuts to corporation tax to invest in public services could work for the country if it is backed by further efforts to the costs of doing business and promote growth.’ 

Mr Johnson did try to assuage business concern in his speech as he set out four policies to cut taxes for companies, including a proposal to reduce employers’ National Insurance contributions.  

Mr Johnson also used his address to launch a savage attack on MPs who failed to support his Brexit deal as he claimed the UK is being ‘held back’ by its politicians.

He said the Tories only need to gain nine seats on December 12 in order to make sure they ‘can and will’ get Brexit resolved ‘in a matter of weeks’ and by the January 31 deadline. 

He likened his divorce accord to a Pot Noodle as he said it could be implemented incredibly quickly: ‘Just add hot water, stir in pot.’ 

Mr Johnson had targeted the annual CBI gathering as an election opportunity to reset his relationship with the business community. 

Relations between the Tories and business were rocked by comments Mr Johnson reportedly made in 2018 when it was claimed he said in response to business concerns about Brexit: ‘F*** business’.

Boris Johnson told a CBI event in London that he wanted to postpone a planned cut in corporation tax

Boris Johnson told a CBI event in London that he wanted to postpone a planned cut in corporation tax

Boris Johnson told a CBI event in London that he wanted to postpone a planned cut in corporation tax

Corporation tax was due to fall from 19 per cent to 17 per cent next year. But Mr Johnson said postponing the shift now was the 'fiscally responsible' thing to do

Corporation tax was due to fall from 19 per cent to 17 per cent next year. But Mr Johnson said postponing the shift now was the 'fiscally responsible' thing to do

Corporation tax was due to fall from 19 per cent to 17 per cent next year. But Mr Johnson said postponing the shift now was the ‘fiscally responsible’ thing to do

Mr Johnson also used his address at the CBI summit to announce four planned business tax cuts

Mr Johnson also used his address at the CBI summit to announce four planned business tax cuts

Mr Johnson also used his address at the CBI summit to announce four planned business tax cuts

Jeremy Corbyn tries to calm business fear of a Labour government

Jeremy Corbyn attempted to calm business fears about a Labour government today, insisting they had ‘much to gain’ if he takes power in December. 

The opposition leader said it was ‘complete nonsense’ to say that he was anti-business as he addressed the CBI annual conference in London this morning.

His address came the day after the trade organisation’s director general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn had warned that his election plans would ‘crack the foundations of our economy’.

Labour has outlined to nationalise key industries, including broadband, water, railways and the Royal Mail.

Labour announced plans to nationalise broadband last week, pledging to take parts of BT into public ownership.

The party costed the policy at £20billion – but the chief executive of BT said it would cost taxpayers at least £100billion.

Mr Corbyn told assembled captains of industry: ‘It’s not anti-business to be against poverty pay. 

‘It’s not anti-business to say the largest corporations should pay their taxes just as smaller companies do. 

‘It’s not anti-business to want prosperity in every part of our country and not only the City of London.

‘And I say this to business too: if a Labour government is elected on 12th December you’re going to see more investment than you ever dreamt of.’ 

In a bid to win over his critics and restore the Tories’ reputation as the party of business Mr Johnson set out four proposed tax cuts to reduce the burden on companies in the UK. 

The most eye-catching is a plan to cut employers’ National Insurance contributions. 

He also signalled his intention to reduce business rates, increase tax credits on research and development from 12 per cent to 13 per cent and boost tax relief on the purchase, building or leasing of a premises from two per cent to three per cent.

In his address to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference, Mr Johnson said: ‘Let’s not beat around the bush, big business didn’t want Brexit.

‘You made that clear in 2016 and this body said it louder than any other.

‘But what is also clear is that what you want now – and have wanted for some time – is certainty.

‘So that you can plan and invest, so you can grow and expand, so that you can create jobs and drive prosperity.’

He added: ‘Whilst you didn’t want it, the people did vote for it. And so it was for politicians to deliver it.’

Setting out his plans to reduce the tax burden on businesses, he said the Tory government would cut business rates, launching a fundamental review at their first Budget.

The party said they will increase the employment allowance from £3,000 to £4,000, providing a cut in National Insurance of up to £1,000 for more than half a million businesses.

Under the plans, the R&D tax credit rate will increase from 12 per cent to 13 per cent, which the Tories say will boost manufacturing and the professional, scientific and technical services sectors in particular.

Boris Johnson vows to keep Sajid Javid as his Chancellor

Boris Johnson today guaranteed that Sajid Javid will remain as Chancellor if the Tories form the next government. 

There has been growing speculation of a rift between the two men. 

But Mr Johnson today committed to keeping Mr Javid in the post. 

Asked about Mr Javid’s future, the Prime Minister said following his CBI speech: ‘I’m going to give you an absolutely categorical assurance that I will keep Sajid Javid as my chancellor. How about that?

‘I think he’s a great guy and I think he is doing a fantastic job and I’m proud to count him as a colleague.

‘I’d be grateful however if… we could not have endless questions about the personnel at the top of the Tory Party, I don’t think I want to answer exhaustively about everybody.’

They have also promised to increase the structures and buildings allowance (SBA) from two per cent to three per cent. 

The Conservatives said the cumulative benefit to businesses of the changes to the employment allowance, SBA and R&D tax credits will be approximately £1 billion by 2022-23.

Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: ‘These measures lay down a gauntlet to other parties, and we hope there will be more to come at this election.

‘Actions to reduce the cost of employment and fix business rates should be complemented with clear commitments to tackle the scourge of late payments and help ensure the Government is helping the self-employed.

‘For example, through introducing a ‘self-employment legislative lock’ and measures to help the self-employed have better access to maternity, paternity and adoption support, and mortgages and pensions.’ 

Jeremy Corbyn, pictured addressing the CBI after Mr Johnson, said he would not be making 'any apologies' for Labour's nationalisation plans

Jeremy Corbyn, pictured addressing the CBI after Mr Johnson, said he would not be making 'any apologies' for Labour's nationalisation plans

Jeremy Corbyn, pictured addressing the CBI after Mr Johnson, said he would not be making ‘any apologies’ for Labour’s nationalisation plans

Carolyn Fairbairn yesterday warned Mr Corbyn's business policies could 'crack the foundations of our economy'

Carolyn Fairbairn yesterday warned Mr Corbyn's business policies could 'crack the foundations of our economy'

Carolyn Fairbairn yesterday warned Mr Corbyn’s business policies could ‘crack the foundations of our economy’

Labour ‘set to shelve 2030 carbon neutral target’

Jeremy Corbyn is poised to water down a Labour target to make the UK carbon neutral by 2030 after opposition from union bosses. 

Motions were adopted by Labour delegates at the party’s annual conference back in September which committed to working towards a ‘path to net zero carbon emissions by 2030’. 

The Labour leadership has made much of its green credentials as it seeks to dominate the climate change issue ahead of the general election on December 12. 

But the 2030 target has apparently been shelved amid concern from some in the Labour movement that setting a firm commitment would set the party up to fail should it win the election. 

The Telegraph reported that the party’s election manifesto, due to be published later this week, will not include a cast iron guarantee that the 2030 date will be stuck to. 

It will instead say that a Labour government will make ‘substantial progress’ towards the UK becoming carbon neutral by that date. 

The policy is believed to have been watered down on Saturday as Labour chiefs met to hammer out the details of the party’s election manifesto. 

Tim Roache, the head of the GMB union, reportedly demanded the existing wording be changed from ‘overwhelming progress’ to ‘substantial’.  

Jeremy Corbyn also addressed the CBI conference this morning after Ms Fairbairn said Labour’s nationalisation plans would ‘freeze investment’ in the UK. 

Ms Fairbairn told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: ‘We look at the policies on the table and we have real concerns that they are going to crack the foundations of our economy.’ 

Speaking at the event this morning, Mr Corbyn said he was ‘not making any apologies’ for pledging to bring some key services into public ownership. 

He said: ‘It’s not an attack on the foundations of a modern economy, it’s the very opposite. It’s the norm in many European countries.

‘It’s taking the essential steps to build a genuinely mixed economy for the 21st century.’

Mr Corbyn added: ‘So I understand your caution about some of our plans but your businesses, your workers, your consumers have been failed by rip-off energy bills and very poor rail and bus services in many parts of the country, and I think many of you know that because you know things can’t go on as they are.’ 

Labour has pledged to nationalise water and energy companies, train firms and Royal Mail. Last week the party announced plans to partially nationalise the UK’s broadband network. 

Mr Corbyn also dismissed as ‘nonsense’ claims he is ‘anti-business’, and instead said a Labour government would bring ‘more investment’ to businesses than they have ‘ever dreamt of’.

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UK weather: Britain braces for the COLDEST night of Autumn so far

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Arctic air will force temperatures down to as low as -9C (15.8F) in parts of Britain tonight, bringing the coldest night of autumn so far and widespread frost across the country.

The ‘Arctic swell’ blowing from the North Pole into the UK means areas of Britain are now colder than Helsinki in Finland, with Tulloch Bridge in Scotland recording an overnight temperature of -8.6C (16.5F).

Public Health England has issued a cold weather alert for the North and Yorkshire and Humber regions, running until 12pm on Wednesday, urging people to watch out for the elderly and those with heart and lung problems.

Meanwhile, the UK is also set to be hit by more flooding this week, with two inches of rain expected to fall starting in western areas today, with other parts including flood-hit Yorkshire affected from Thursday.

Mist caused by a temperature inversion over the town of Keswick in the Lake District this morning

Mist caused by a temperature inversion over the town of Keswick in the Lake District this morning

Mist caused by a temperature inversion over the town of Keswick in the Lake District this morning

Mist over the town of Keswick in the Lake District after temperatures dipped to -2C this morning

Mist over the town of Keswick in the Lake District after temperatures dipped to -2C this morning

Mist over the town of Keswick in the Lake District after temperatures dipped to -2C this morning

Mist over Buttermere Lake in the Lake District as temperatures fell below -8C in parts of Britain overnight

Mist over Buttermere Lake in the Lake District as temperatures fell below -8C in parts of Britain overnight

Mist over Buttermere Lake in the Lake District as temperatures fell below -8C in parts of Britain overnight

The Environment Agency has 80 flood alerts and 45 more serious warnings in place for England today, and this comes after intense snowfall in the west last Wednesday, making it England’s earliest snow for the past 11 years

There is also a risk of a ‘very cold start’ tomorrow, with temperatures of -5C (23F), while the north faces snow flurries on higher ground. Fog is also expected across central and South East England, and eastern Wales.

Last night, temperatures equalled the lowest of the autumn so far in Scotland. In Northern Ireland the lowest temperature recorded was -5.1C (22.8F) in Katesbridge, County Down.

The Met Office said tonight would be cold and frosty for many areas and could be the coldest night across the UK as a whole. Locally, temperatures could fall to -9C (15.8F) in rural Scotland and -7C (19.4F) in England and Wales.

But a spokesman said the current cold spell may soon come to an end, with temperatures recovering throughout the week. People across the UK can expect sunshine today and temperatures will rise across the board.

They will reach 5C (41F) to 6C (42.8F) in the North and peak at 8C (46.4F) to 10C (50F) in the South. Throughout the week, more cloud will push through in the south-west from the Atlantic, bringing an increasing chance of rain.

Mist caused by a temperature inversion over the town of Keswick in the Lake District today after temperatures dipped to -2C

Mist caused by a temperature inversion over the town of Keswick in the Lake District today after temperatures dipped to -2C

Mist caused by a temperature inversion over the town of Keswick in the Lake District today after temperatures dipped to -2C

Mist in Keswick today. Forecasters say there is a 'risk of seeing a very cold start' tomorrow, with temperatures of -5C (23F)

Mist in Keswick today. Forecasters say there is a 'risk of seeing a very cold start' tomorrow, with temperatures of -5C (23F)

Mist in Keswick today. Forecasters say there is a ‘risk of seeing a very cold start’ tomorrow, with temperatures of -5C (23F)

Mist over Buttermere Lake this morning. Last night, temperatures equalled the lowest of the autumn so far in Scotland

Mist over Buttermere Lake this morning. Last night, temperatures equalled the lowest of the autumn so far in Scotland

Mist over Buttermere Lake this morning. Last night, temperatures equalled the lowest of the autumn so far in Scotland

There is also a chance of showers on the North Sea coast and in the far east of Scotland. Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkhill said: ‘There’s low pressure to the south-east of the UK, which is dragging in cold, northerly air. 

‘A weak ridge of high pressure is trying to build in from the west. That’s the reason we have these largely clear skies developing overnight. Another system is waiting in the wings in the Atlantic.

‘So Scotland has become sandwiched between these fronts. This will produce sunny conditions on Monday but it will remain cold by day – no more than 6C (42F) – but very chilly again by night.’

He added: ‘I think most people would settle for things being cold and clear, rather than being wet and windy. It is a bit unusual for things to be just as chilly as this in November, though we did have a cold spell this time last year.’

Cold as things are, temperatures are not likely to threaten the 2019 low recorded at Braemar, Aberdeenshire, on February 1, when it got down to -15.4C (4.3F).

Traffic Scotland warned drivers of dangerous conditions caused by low temperatures. A further motoring peril at this time of year is created by the sun being so low in the sky, which can often dazzle motorists.

Keswick today. The Met Office said tonight would be cold and frosty and could be the coldest night across the UK as a whole

Keswick today. The Met Office said tonight would be cold and frosty and could be the coldest night across the UK as a whole

Keswick today. The Met Office said tonight would be cold and frosty and could be the coldest night across the UK as a whole

Keswick today. The Met Office the current cold spell may soon come to an end, with temperatures recovering this week

Keswick today. The Met Office the current cold spell may soon come to an end, with temperatures recovering this week

Keswick today. The Met Office the current cold spell may soon come to an end, with temperatures recovering this week

Mist over Buttermere Lake in the Lake District this morning as parts of Britain face a very chilly autumnal morning

Mist over Buttermere Lake in the Lake District this morning as parts of Britain face a very chilly autumnal morning

Mist over Buttermere Lake in the Lake District this morning as parts of Britain face a very chilly autumnal morning

Mist over the town of Keswick in the Lake District today after temperatures dipped to -2C in the area overnight

Mist over the town of Keswick in the Lake District today after temperatures dipped to -2C in the area overnight

Mist over the town of Keswick in the Lake District today after temperatures dipped to -2C in the area overnight

The government agency also suggested packing the boot with an ice scraper, de-icer, shovel, warm clothes, boots and food and drink to prepare for worsening conditions.

Dr Emer O’Connell, consultant in public health at Public Health England, said: ‘Older people and those with heart and lung problems are at risk of getting sick in cold weather.

‘Keep an eye out for those who may need help staying warm, ensure they wear lots of thin layers and have everything they need.

‘Below 18C, changes to the body mean that the risk of strokes, heart attacks and chest infections increase so heating homes to this temperature is particularly important to stay well.’

Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Steve Ramsdale, said: ‘After a very wet period for parts of the UK the weather is now turning much quieter for a few days.

‘With these quieter conditions night time temperatures will fall away with more widespread frosts than seen recently despite daytime temperatures remaining fairly similar. Tuesday morning in particular looks to be cold across much of England.’ 

Mist over the town of Keswick in the Lake District today on a very chilly morning for parts of Britain

Mist over the town of Keswick in the Lake District today on a very chilly morning for parts of Britain

Mist over the town of Keswick in the Lake District today on a very chilly morning for parts of Britain

Mist over Buttermere Lake in the Lake District this morning as temperatures fall to -2C in Cumbria overnight

Mist over Buttermere Lake in the Lake District this morning as temperatures fall to -2C in Cumbria overnight

Mist over Buttermere Lake in the Lake District this morning as temperatures fall to -2C in Cumbria overnight

Mist over Buttermere Lake in the Lake District this morning as the country wakes up to another very chilly day

Mist over Buttermere Lake in the Lake District this morning as the country wakes up to another very chilly day

Mist over Buttermere Lake in the Lake District this morning as the country wakes up to another very chilly day

Looking ahead, the Met Office ‘contingency planning’ forecast has the three months of November, December and January being potentially wetter than average.

Things are expected to turn unsettled during the end of this month and the start of December.

The forecast up to the middle of December expects drier weather to take charge before things break down again for the second half of the festive month.

Mr Burkhill said: ‘This could end with a period of sleet or snow, but only for the higher ground.’ A white Christmas, it appears, is a long way off.

Meanwhile large parts of the country remain mired in floods as experts warn the chaos could continue until tomorrow.

The rivers Severn and Avon have burst their banks leaving properties waterlogged in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, while residents in the Midlands and Yorkshire are still battling to clear their homes. 

The sun rises over Liverpool this morning after the coldest night of autumn so far in parts of Britain

The sun rises over Liverpool this morning after the coldest night of autumn so far in parts of Britain

The sun rises over Liverpool this morning after the coldest night of autumn so far in parts of Britain

The sun rises over the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool this morning at the start of another chilly day

The sun rises over the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool this morning at the start of another chilly day

The sun rises over the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool this morning at the start of another chilly day

The sun rises over Dazzle, the painted Mersey Ferry in Liverpool, at sunrise this morning

The sun rises over Dazzle, the painted Mersey Ferry in Liverpool, at sunrise this morning

The sun rises over Dazzle, the painted Mersey Ferry in Liverpool, at sunrise this morning

The sun rises over the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool today at the start of another chilly autumnal day

The sun rises over the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool today at the start of another chilly autumnal day

The sun rises over the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool today at the start of another chilly autumnal day

But despite some areas enduring their ‘wettest ever autumns’, much-needed relief from heavy rainfall has been forecast for flood-hit areas in the coming days.

Although river levels in some areas remain high, the Met Office said it has not issued any weather warnings as drier weather approaches.

Meteorologist Sophie Yeomans said: ‘There is some rainfall around, but it’s looking light and patchy. Sunday has the highest risk of rainfall, but the start of next week is looking quite dry.

‘There’s light cloud and rain around in some of the areas in the north of England and also down in Shropshire and the West Midlands. But there’s no long-lasting or heavy rain – it’s a good situation.’

In a forecast of the flooding risk in England and Wales, the Environment Agency said: ‘River flooding is expected to continue in the Lower River Don washlands area in South Yorkshire through to at least Tuesday, where properties will continue to flood and there will be continued travel disruption.’

Communities in parts of central and northern England continued the clean-up after being overwhelmed with water following torrential rain in recent days.

Flooded fields near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire yesterday as river levels remain high in parts of the country

Flooded fields near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire yesterday as river levels remain high in parts of the country

Flooded fields near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire yesterday as river levels remain high in parts of the country

A lorry is stranded on a flooded road yesterday near Eckington, Worcestershire, following heavy rain

A lorry is stranded on a flooded road yesterday near Eckington, Worcestershire, following heavy rain

A lorry is stranded on a flooded road yesterday near Eckington, Worcestershire, following heavy rain

The flooded A4213 in Tirley near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire is pictured yesterday following severe rainfall

The flooded A4213 in Tirley near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire is pictured yesterday following severe rainfall

The flooded A4213 in Tirley near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire is pictured yesterday following severe rainfall

Flooded fields near Forthampton, Gloucestershire, are pictured yesterday following severe weather in the area

Flooded fields near Forthampton, Gloucestershire, are pictured yesterday following severe weather in the area

Flooded fields near Forthampton, Gloucestershire, are pictured yesterday following severe weather in the area

The EA for Yorkshire and the North East said there is still lots of flood water in the region, and a pumping operation is under way to reduce water levels.

In an online message, Martin Christmas of the EA, said: ‘We are starting to think about moving from emergency rescue response into recovery and that means looking at our flood warnings and then starting to think about all the inspections we need to do to look at potential repairs for banks and flood assets based on the loading they have received from the water in the last week.

‘We have still got tens of people out there in the field carrying on with pumping activity trying to get levels at Fishlake reduced and we are also keeping an eye on East Yorkshire as well.’

The Met Office said its Sheffield weather station has recorded its wettest ever autumn.

It tweeted: ‘With 15 days still to go, the site has already recorded 427.6mm of rain. The previous record was set in 2000 with 425.2mm of rain falling between September 1 and November 30 that year.’

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ex-No 10 advisor says Prince Andrew used ‘n***** in the woodpile’ slur

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Prince Andrew was today accused of using the phrase ‘n***er in the woodpile’ and a colonial-era slur about ‘playing the white man’ during Buckingham Palace meetings with a top British Asian aide from No 10.

Rohan Silva, who worked for David Cameron, has blasted the Duke of York and said he was left ‘reeling at the prince’s use of language’.

Mr Silva, who is a tech entrepreneur who also writes for the Evening Standard, told the newspaper that he met Andrew in 2012 and asked him if he felt the Government ‘could be doing a better job’ on boosting trade with the world.

Andrew then allegedly responded: ‘Well, If you’ll pardon the expression, that really is the n***** in the woodpile’, upsetting Mr Silva, who is of Sri Lankan descent.  

A year earlier, Mr Silva said he met the Duke of York and on that occasion the Duke allegedly told him: ‘You’ll never get anywhere by playing the white man’ – an offensive term commonly used in Victorian Britain during the colonial period. 

Prince Andrew was today accused of using the phrase 'n***er in the woodpile' during a meeting at Buckingham Palace with a British Asian adviser to No 10, Rohan Silva

Prince Andrew was today accused of using the phrase 'n***er in the woodpile' during a meeting at Buckingham Palace with a British Asian adviser to No 10, Rohan Silva

Rohan Silva, who worked for David Cameron , has blasted the Duke of York and said he was left 'reeling at the prince's use of language' in 2012.

Rohan Silva, who worked for David Cameron , has blasted the Duke of York and said he was left 'reeling at the prince's use of language' in 2012.

Prince Andrew (left in his disastrous BBC interview) was today accused of using the phrase ‘n***er in the woodpile’ during a meeting at Buckingham Palace with a British Asian adviser to No 10, Rohan Silva (right) 

Origins of the toxic ‘n***er in the woodpile’ phrase

Once bandied around casually, the phrase ‘n***** in the woodpile’ originated in America in the mid-19th century before the abolition of slavery.

Collins English Dictionary defines the phrase – which it calls ‘old-fashioned and offensive’ – as ‘a hidden snag or hindrance’. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as ‘a concealed motive or unknown factor affecting a situation in an adverse way’.

The Oxford Dictionary of Slang says the phrase, which it calls ‘now taboo’, is ‘applied to an unsuspected or hidden factor that has an adverse effect’.

How it first came into use is not entirely clear. Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable says the phrase ‘was originally a way of accounting for the disappearance of fuel. It then came to be used for any hidden snag or problem’. The reference to ‘disappearance of fuel’ is thought to allude to an outdated and prejudiced racist belief about the frequency with which black people stole property from whites.

Another theory about the phrase’s origin is that it alluded to escaped slaves who concealed themselves behind or in woodpiles to escape capture.   

It came as Andrew’s reputation took a major battering over his disastrous interview with the BBC on Saturday where he floundered as he was asked to explain his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and claims he had sex with one of his young ‘slaves’. 

Buckingham Palace sources have said Andrew would never use racist language.

But Mr Silva, 38, told the newspaper: ‘I walked blinking into the sunshine outside Buckingham Palace, reeling at the prince’s use of language. 

He added: ‘For a long time afterwards I kicked myself for not confronting the prince on his choice of words — and it’s something I still regret today. After all, he clearly wasn’t taken to task very often by the people around him, which meant offensive language went unchallenged.’ 

He added that a year earlier Andrew said a year earlier: ‘You’ll never get anywhere by playing the white man’ when the discussed whether Mr Cameron could get the EU to reform,

Mr Silva said: ‘I genuinely didn’t know what he meant, and the discussion moved on. But the phrase “playing the white man” stuck in my head, as I’d never heard it before. I immediately Googled it.

‘The definition flashed up on my screen: an old-fashioned saying, used during colonial times, meaning that only white people can be trusted to follow the rules, unlike dark-skinned natives’.

Prince Andrew is facing an extraordinary backlash over his BBC interview, which Prince Charles’ former PR chief Dickie Arbiter described as: ‘Not so much a car crash but an articulated lorry crash’.  Mr Arbiter said he must ‘take a break’ from royal duties, adding: ‘What charity wants a VIP guest with this hanging over him?’

His older brother Charles has reportedly been urged to consider downgrading the Duke of York’s status as a working royal when he takes to the throne because of the damage he has caused to the royal family’s reputation.

It comes after the Prince's 'car crash' BBC interview. Sources close to the Duke of York said he wanted to address the issues head-on and did so with 'honesty and humility', despite a enormous backlash slamming him for a series of increasingly egregious remarks to Emily Maitlis

It comes after the Prince's 'car crash' BBC interview. Sources close to the Duke of York said he wanted to address the issues head-on and did so with 'honesty and humility', despite a enormous backlash slamming him for a series of increasingly egregious remarks to Emily Maitlis

It comes after the Prince’s ‘car crash’ BBC interview. Sources close to the Duke of York said he wanted to address the issues head-on and did so with ‘honesty and humility’, despite a enormous backlash slamming him for a series of increasingly egregious remarks to Emily Maitlis

Prince Andrew is pictured with Epstein in Central Park in New York in February 2011. The Duke  has been dragged deeper into the Epstein scandal following his apparent suicide in a New York jail

Prince Andrew is pictured with Epstein in Central Park in New York in February 2011. The Duke  has been dragged deeper into the Epstein scandal following his apparent suicide in a New York jail

Prince Andrew is pictured with Epstein in Central Park in New York in February 2011. The Duke  has been dragged deeper into the Epstein scandal following his apparent suicide in a New York jail

Prince Andrew is seen smiling with American socialite Chris Von Aspen, who cups his face as they pose for photographs

Prince Andrew is seen smiling with American socialite Chris Von Aspen, who cups his face as they pose for photographs

Prince Andrew is seen smiling with American socialite Chris Von Aspen, who cups his face as they pose for photographs. The two seemed enamored with each other in the photographs

Viewers described watching Andrew’s grilling by Emily Maitlis from behind their sofas as he denied having sex with Virginia Roberts because he was in Pizza Express in Woking.

He suggested that the world-famous picture of his arm around Ms Roberts’ waist at Ghislaine Maxwell’s London mews house could be faked as he denied ever meeting her.

Miss Roberts’ evidence that he sweated ‘profusely’ on the three occasions she claims they gad sex were explained away by the duke claiming a rush of adrenaline while being shot at during the Falklands conflict in 1982 made it impossible for him to perspire.

A royal source claimed last night he has defiantly told his mother the Queen that his appearance on the BBC Two Newsnight special was largely a ‘great success’ – but a friend told the Mail he ‘regretted’ not expressing sympathy for Jeffrey Epstein’s victims in his disastrous TV interview.

Today former royal protection officer said it went so badly for Prince Andrew it should spark a police investigation.

Dai Davies said he and the millions who watched would be ‘utterly unconvinced’ by the duke’s denial that he slept with a teenager, or even met her. He said that he displayed ‘classic signs’ of someone not telling the truth amd told the Mirror: ‘It beggars belief the stupidity of his answers.’ 

 

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