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Johnson announces “first barrage” of sanctions against Russia

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Boris Johnson has declared the UK will be imposing sanctions on five Russian banks and three wealthy individuals as the “first barrage” of sanctions against Russia.

It was announced that any assets they hold in the UK will be frozen and the individuals banned from entering the UK.

He said this is the “first tranche” and further sanctions should be expected if the situation escalates.

The PM warned that 44 million people in Ukraine are at risk of being involved in war.

In a statement to Commons, he revealed: “Today, the UK is sanctioning the following four five Russian banks: Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank.

And we are sanctioning three very high net worth individuals: Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg, and Igor Rotenberg.”

Johnson confirmed the UK will support Ukraine, guaranteeing up to $500m of development finance to the country.

He said Putin has been given “every opportunity” for a peaceful resolve.

The government are not planning to give up on a diplomatic solution “until the last possible moment.”

However it must face the fact Putin is “implacably determined” for the situation to go further.

Johnson said it must “brace” for the next possible stages of Putin’s plan

He said Putin has hurled false accusations about Ukraine, including that it posed a “direct threat” to the security of Russia.

The PM believes this is “establishing the pretext for a full-scale offensive.”

Russian tanks and armoured personal carriers have been spotted.

Johnson said there is “no doubt” that their deployment amounts to a “renewed invasion” and said the actions “flagrantly violated the Minsk peace agreements.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer has responded that, although he agrees with the sanctions, he believes they should go further.

Starmer said that Putin will conclude he won’t be punished if stricter measures aren’t enforced now.

Former Conservative PM Theresa May and SNP leader at Westminster Ian Blackford also welcome the sanctions.

However Blackford believes the delay allowed Russians to move money out of the UK.

He called the recent escalation “war mongering, plan and simple.”

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Labour MP Chris Bryant also said that tougher sanctions need to be imposed.

 

 

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Deborah James Awarded Damehood After Raising Over £3,000,000 for Charity

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Deborah James has said she is ‘blown away’ after being made a Dame for her tireless campaigning for cancer charities.

The inspirational broadcaster and author announced earlier this week that she is receiving hospice care at home after stopping her cancer treatment, and has said she ‘could have weeks to live at most’.

In recent days, the You, Me & The Big C host has raised over £3million for charities that have helped her over the past five years, through her Bowelbabe Fund.

After calls for her to receive the Royal honour, it has been revealed that Deborah is now officially Dame Deborah James.

‘I don’t know what to say. I’m blown away and feel incredibly honoured,’ she said reacting to the news.

She added ‘I don’t feel like I deserve this. I can’t tell you what this means to my family, it’s so much to take in.’

Her husband Sebastien Bowen, said the public support of the fundraiser has ‘brought a piercing ray of light and hope into this, the darkest of times’, adding that the Damehood is ‘so truly deserved’.

Downing Street said the Queen was ‘pleased to approve the honour of damehood’ be bestowed upon Deborah James.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed Dame Deborah as an figure of inspiration to the country.

‘If ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it,’ the leader said.

‘Deborah has been an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage has been a source of strength to so many people.’

Thank you for all your incredible work.

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EuroMillions: UK ticket holder claims £184m jackpot

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One lucky ticket-holder’s life has changed forever after winning the £184million EuroMillions jackpot. It means they have become the biggest ever National Lottery winner, operator Camelot has said.

Whoever they are, they have knocked the anonymous winner of £170million in October 2019 off the top spot. They have also become the National Lottery’s 14th winner of more than £100million.

The winner, who is yet to be named, is also the second person in the UK to win the EuroMillions jackpot this year, after someone bagged £109million in February.

The winning numbers were 3, 25, 27, 28 and 29 – plus the Lucky Star numbers 4 and 9. One ticket matched all seven numbers to win £184,262,899.10.

Senior winners’ adviser for the National Lottery, Andy Carter said: “What an amazing night for one UK ticket-holder who has scooped the incredible £184million EuroMillions jackpot – they have become the UK’s biggest ever National Lottery winner.”

The claim will now go through a validation process to ensure terms and conditions are met and once the ticket has been validated the winner can choose whether or not to remain anonymous.

What would you do with all that money?

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Baby P’s Killer Mum Tracey Connelly Set for Prison Release after Judge Gives Green Light

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Tracey Connelly, the mother of Baby P, who died after months of abuse, will be released from prison after the Parole Board rejected a Government challenge against its ruling.

The decision comes after Justice Secretary Dominic Raab appealed against the recommendation to free Tracey Connelly from prison.

Connelly was jailed at the Old Bailey in 2009 for causing or allowing the death of her 17-month-old son Peter at their home in Tottenham, north London, on August 3 2007.

Dominic Raab said the decision demonstrated why the system “needs a fundamental overhaul – including a ministerial check for the most serious offenders”.

Now 40, this was Connelly’s fourth parole review after she was released on licence in 2013 but recalled to prison in 2015 for breaching her parole conditions by “developing intimate personal relationships” online and inciting another resident at her accommodation to engage in “inappropriate sexualised behaviour”.

In a statement, the Parole Board said: “In summary, the judge has concluded that the panel did take into consideration all evidence mentioned by the application and made rational conclusions.

“The reconsideration decision clarifies that the weight given to the evidence given by the Secretary of States witnesses, who supported release, and the proposed external controls, was proportionate and the reasons were clearly outlined in the decision letter.

“The final ground on the rationality of the outcome was also rejected on the grounds of not reaching the threshold, as defined by law, for becoming unreasonable.”

The Parole Board, which is independent of government, received a formal request to review the decision to free Connelly last week.

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