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UK Terrorist Threat Level Rises

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The UK’s terror threat level has been raised from “substantial” to “severe”, meaning an attack is now judged to be “highly likely”.

The move, confirmed by Home Secretary Priti Patel, follows an explosion outside a hospital in Liverpool on Sunday which police have declared a terror incident.

Detectives have arrested four people over the blast, which killed a passenger inside a taxi. Police believe it was that passenger who took an improvised explosive device into the vehicle, which exploded as the taxi arrived outside the reception of Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

Police say the motivation for Sunday’s incident is “not clear” – but that officers believe they know the identity of the taxi passenger and that four arrested men are thought to be “associates”. Two addresses have been searched and “significant items” have been found at one of them. The taxi driver who escaped the car explosion has been named as David Perry. He has been discharged from hospital and is recovering at home.

The decision to raise the threat level has been taken by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) and Ms Patel said it was made due to two incidents occurring in the last month. It is exactly a month since Conservative MP Sir David Amess was stabbed to death at his constituency surgery in Essex. That attack was also declared to be a terrorist incident.

JTAC is based at MI5’s headquarters in London and is made up of counter-terror experts from the police, government and security agencies.

Speaking to reporters, the home secretary said: “The prime minister has this afternoon just chaired a Cobra meeting and I attended that meeting too – and the points to note from that meeting is that, first of all, the incident has been declared as a terrorist incident, the police have now declared that. But, secondly, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre – JTAC – are now increasing the United Kingdom’s threat level from substantial to severe. And there is a reason for that, and that reason is because what we saw yesterday is the second incident in a month. Now, of course that means we continue to work with our world class security, intelligence and policing services – representatives from those agencies. There is a live investigation taking place right now, they will need the time, the space, to do the work that they are doing in terms of investigating the incident. But of course, we as a government, I as home secretary, continue to work with everyone when it comes to the security of our country and making sure that we are taking all the necessary steps required.”

The threat level was last raised to severe in November 2020 following attacks which saw four people shot dead in Vienna, three others die in a knife attack in Nice, and a teacher murdered in Paris. In February 2021 it was downgraded to “substantial” – which the home secretary said followed a “significant reduction” in the momentum of attacks in Europe.

The “severe” level is the second highest alert, with only “critical” above it, and was last reached in September 2017 in the wake of the Parsons Green train bombing.

The five terror threat levels are:

Low – an attack is highly unlikely
Moderate – an attack is possible, but not likely
Substantial – an attack is likely
Severe – an attack is highly likely
Critical – an attack is highly likely in the near future

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, from Counter-Terrorism Policing North West, said the investigation into the explosion is “continuing at pace”. He said: “The circumstances as we understand them to be are that yesterday, shortly before 11am, a local taxi driver picked up a fare in the Rutland Avenue area of Liverpool. The fare – a man – had asked to be taken to Liverpool Women’s Hospital which was about 10 minutes away. As the taxi approached the drop-off point at the hospital an explosion occurred from within the car. This quickly engulfed it in flames. Remarkably, the taxi driver escaped from the cab. He has been treated for his injuries that he sustained and he’s now been released from hospital.”

Ms Patel said the attack had had a “very significant impact across the community” in Liverpool and her thoughts were with people in the city.

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Doctor Who: David Tennant and Catherine Tate to return

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David Tennant and Catherine Tate are to return to Doctor Who, the BBC has confirmed.

The pair are currently filming for the sci-fi show’s 60th anniversary, which it will celebrate in 2023.

Tennant played the 10th Doctor on the time travel drama from 2005-2010, while Tate played companion Donna Noble. Tennant and Tate’s involvement means they will be reunited with returning Doctor Who head writer Russell T Davies.

Davies, who was in charge of Doctor Who when it was successfully revived in 2005, left at the same time as Tennant. Their last episode together was broadcast in 2010.

Tennant has briefly returned before, joining then-Doctor Matt Smith for the programme’s 50th anniversary in 2013.

Davies has teased fans, saying: “Maybe this is a missing story. Or a parallel world. Or a dream, or a trick, or a flashback. The only thing I can confirm is that it’s going to be spectacular, as two of our greatest stars reunite for the battle of a lifetime.”

Tennant and Tate’s 2008 series of Doctor Who is the most successful that the show has had since its revival in 2005, with an average audience of more than eight million viewers per episode.

Are you excited to see their return?

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Eurovision 2022: How Sam Ryder Turned Things Around For the UK

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Sam Ryder has said the “stigma” about the UK’s Eurovision performance has finally been “destroyed” after he brought home our best result in 24 years.

The singer led the UK to second place during Saturday night’s Song Contest in Turin, Italy, with his song ‘Space Man’.

It was the the highest the UK has placed since 1998, when Imaani’s ‘Where Are You?’ finished just behind Israel’s Dana International, who won with her song Diva.

In the years since, Britain has suffered a number of embarrassment moments, receiving the dreaded “nul points” in 2003 with Jemini’s ‘Cry Baby’ and in 2021 with James Newman’s ‘Embers’.

However, the public overwhelmingly backed Ukraine, who won the competition with 631 points on the leaderboard, with the UK securing 466 points.

Winning the 2022 Eurovision trophy is a hugely emotional and symbolic victory for Ukraine in the contest’s 66th year as the conflict continues.

The nation’s president Volodymyr Zelensky responded: “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe.

“We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt.”

The results had many fans in sheer disbelief on social media, while prime minister Boris Johnson said he was “incredibly proud” of Sam and how “he brilliantly represented the UK”.

You’re the winner in our eyes Sam, well done!

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Eurovision 2022: Sam Ryder Odds Rocket Ahead of Eurovision Final

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The UK’s Eurovision 2022 entry Sam Ryder has closed in on Ukraine in the winner odds after his performance in the jury semi final.

The TikTok star blew away the audience who flocked to the Pala Olimpico arena in Turin, Italy to see the second jury semi final. The reaction to Sam’s act and his amazing performance have now got plenty of fans and experts predicting he is going to push Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra all the way on Saturday night.

Last week , Sam was sitting in fourth place in the Eurovision odds with his song ‘Space Man’ but, after his second rehearsal in Turin received a rave reaction from press over in Italy and fans and he was given a huge advantage by being drawn in the second half of the Eurovision final, he soared up to second.

The Ukraine currently have a 59% chance of winning and the UK 11%. Sweden and Italy then currently stand as third and fourth favourites at 9% and 6% respectively. Our odds have improved even more so since too as the UK have been announced to perform fourth from last, number 22, which has been the winning performance slot two years in a row.

On May 3 2022 it became exactly 25 years to the day since the UK’s last triumph in Eurovision, when Katrina & the Waves topped the leaderboard in Ireland with their anthemic track Love Shine A Light. Since then, there’s been little to shout about. The UK has always been on the wrong side of the leaderboard, with us consistently finishing at or near the bottom. And last year proved a particularly bitter pill to swallow when James Newman came last on zero points, having received nothing from either the juries or televote.

Check out Sam’s song here:

Who do you think will win?

Watch Eurovision Song Contest 2022 – Grand Final this Saturday (May 14) at 8pm GMT on BBC1.

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