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Mystery on Northumberland coast as seabirds ‘wash up on shorelines’

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Investigations have launched as seabirds wash up on Northumberland coast shorelines.

According to birdwatchers in the last few weeks hundreds of razorbills and guillemots have washed up dead on the shore between Humberside and Orkney.

Others have also raised concern about the amount of birds swimming ‘unusually close to shore’.

Tom Cadwallender, a freelance ornithologist who formerly worked for the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), described it as a ‘real mystery’.

He told the Northumberland Gazette: “On our part of the coast you would normally expect the razorbills and guillemots from the Farne Islands to be getting ready to go out to sea for the winter.

“For some unknown reason they are hanging around inshore and the ones which are still alive are not as active as they should be. They should be feeding quite frequently but they many are just sitting on the water.”

However, Tom did offer some expert theories behind the unusual behaviour.

“There are several schools of thought. One is that we had a run of northerly winds over the last few weeks which may have created turbulence at sea that may prevent them from feeding- but that has settled down now.

“It appears there are plenty of sand eels on our bit of the coast so it’s difficult to explain. I’ve been birdwatching on the Northumberland coast for 50 years and this is unprecedented.

“Hopefully we will find out soon what is happening, but it is quite alarming.”

Razorbills and guillemots nest among rocks in seabird colonies at the bottom of cliffs and feed on fish in the sea.

The seabird unit at UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has hinted these are indicators that ‘birds are getting desperate in their search for food’.

Dr Francis Daunt, ecologist at UKCEH, said: “The dead birds are little more than skin and bone, with many half their usual weight, which is catastrophically low. So, it appears that the birds are dying from starvation.

“This suggests that there is a lack of their fish prey in the sea, but people are seeing a lot of feeding flocks by our coasts at the moment, so perhaps starvation is being caused by something else.

“We have tested 10 birds for avian flu, all of which came back negative, and we are now looking at the possibility of toxic poisoning from algal blooms.”

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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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