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Kurt Zouma: Michail Antonio questions reaction to cat incident – ‘Is it worse than racism?’

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Instagram: @KurtZouma

The West Ham forward has had his say on the Kurt Zouma cat-kicking incident, saying saying: “Is it worse than players convicted of racism?”.

Zouma has had his cats taken away from him following a video of him kicking his cat emerged on Monday, in the video Zouma dropped and kicked the cat.

The 27-year-old West Ham defender apologised, but Essex Police confirmed “urgent investigations” were underway in collaboration with the RSPCA.

Antonio who was stopped on his way to training this morning, was asked about the situation. Antonio responded to reporters saying: “I’ve got a question for you. Do you think what he’s done is worse than racism?”

“I’m not condoning a thing that he’s done. I don’t agree with what he has done at all.

“But there’s people that have been convicted and been caught for racism, and have played football afterwards. They got an eight-game punishment or something like that, but people are now calling for people to be sacked and to lose their livelihood.

“I’ve just got to ask this question to everyone out there: is what he’s [Zouma] done worse than what the people convicted of racism done?”

West Ham has fined Zouma two weeks’ wages, estimated to be £250,000, the wages are to be donated to animal welfare charities. West Ham did have the option to fine him up to six weeks wages.
Adidas have also dropped Zouma as one of their athletes.
A statement read: “We have concluded our investigation and can confirm Kurt Zouma is no longer an Adidas contracted athlete.”

Adidas had earlier said: “No animal should be subject to cruel and unwarranted abuse.”

The club initially condemned their player’s actions after the video surfaced, but backed manager David Moyes’ decision to start him against Watford on Tuesday night. The player will remain available for selection while the club investigate the matter internally.
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats,
“They’ve been taken for a check-up at a vets and then will remain in our care while the investigation continues.

“We’re grateful to everyone who expressed their concern for these cats. We were dealing with this issue before the video went viral online and are leading the investigation.

“We continue to investigate so we cannot comment further at this time.”

West Ham United confirmed the club is continuing to support an RSPCA investigation.

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Biggest Rail Strikes in 30 years to go ahead as talks fail

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Britain is braced for the biggest rail strikes in 30 years after last-ditch talks failed to resolve a row over pay and conditions.

Thousands of staff affiliated to the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Network Rail and 13 other train operators will walk out tomorrow, Thursday and Saturday.

The RMT says plans by Network Rail – the body which owns stations, track and signals – to cut 2,500 jobs, will put safety at risk. But the industry says it has to modernise and safety will not be compromised.

The Rail Delivery Group – which represents train firms – says the Covid pandemic has led to a decline in passenger numbers and while it wants to offer a pay rise to staff, the way the network operates has to change. But the RMT says it is prepared to take industrial action “for as long as it takes to get a settlement” and warned strikes could take place for the next six months.

It says train operators have now made an offer, but there is no further offer from Network Rail, after one was rejected last Friday. General secretary Mick Lynch said: “The RMT National Executive Committee has now found both sets of proposals to be unacceptable and it is now confirmed that the strike action scheduled this week will go ahead.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, whose department oversees the operation of the network, described calls by the RMT for ministers to intervene as a “stunt” and accused the union of “gunning” for industrial action. He said the strike was orchestrated by “union barons” and will cause misery and chaos to millions of commuters.

Services have begun to be affected this evening, and are likely to be disrupted throughout this week as the impact of the staggered stops cause an impact even on non-strike days.  Talks had continued this afternoon, but the two sides could not reach a deal.

Sources close to the negotiations said Network Rail was prepared to offer striking unions a five per cent pay rise to settle the dispute.

Use this tool to see if trains will run from your station.

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Aldi launches dog ice cream just in time for the Heatwave

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Aldi will be the first UK supermarket to sell Beechdean Doggy Ice Cream, which comes in two tasty flavours; pea & vanilla and apple & carrot.

Priced at £2.99 per tub, the ice creams will make for the perfect healthy snack for your pooches, with them being 100% plant-based and made with real fruit and vegetables.

And as part of the exciting rollout, Aldi has partnered with local ice cream vendors across the country so pups far and wide can enjoy the tasty treat.

The supermarket has also enlisted volunteer dogs to take part in an adorable ‘dog-livery’ service to help dish out the cooling treat to their furry friends.

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, said: “With more of our customers now owning dogs, we’re delighted to launch a nutritious and tasty treat that will help keep dogs cool in the heat.

“Being the first UK supermarket to launch a dog-friendly ice cream comes just in time for summer as we look forward to the warm weather.

“Teaming up with ice cream vans across the country gives us the chance to get the product straight into owner’s hands, so they can share a special moment alongside a tasty treat outside with their furry friend – we’re confident they won’t be able to keep their paws off it.”

Aldi’s Beechdean Doggy Ice Cream will be available in the Freezer aisle – next to Aldi’s full ice cream range – nationwide from Thursday June 16th.

Will your pampered pooch be getting some?

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Man Dies In Download Festival Arena Following Medical Incident Before Iron Maiden Set

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A man tragically died at Download Festival after being taken from the crowd by medical staff just before Iron Maiden started their headline set.

Emergency services saw to the man, who hasn’t been named, after he fell ill in the main arena just before 9pm on Saturday (11 June).

A spokesperson for Leicestershire Police confirmed the news, stating: “We can confirm the death of a man who had been attending the Download Festival in Castle Donington at the weekend.

“The man became unwell at the festival on Saturday evening (11 June) and was taken to the Derby Royal Infirmary where he sadly died.

“The death is currently being treated as unexplained and enquiries remain ongoing.”

More to follow.

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