Brexit: EU sets stage for UK withdrawal

Veil of silence Speculation about the possibility of no deal – or even an emergency summit – ebbs and flows with each passing hour. No-one will admit to being on the receiving end of tentative calls from the UK about the possibility of postponing Brexit beyond 29 March, allowed under Article 50 of the EU treaty. But everyone agrees it would be a logical thing for the UK to explore. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Last month, EU leaders agreed the withdrawal deal could not be renegotiated Post-Brexit partnership Separately, the EU is also designing the joint committee that will settle arguments with the UK over how to interpret the withdrawal agreement. The European Commission will represent the EU …

Octavian wins the BBC Sound of 2019

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionA year ago he was penniless – now Octavian’s the BBC’s Sound of 2019 Maverick, genre-defying rapper Octavian has won BBC Music’s Sound of 2019. Endorsed by Drake, but entirely self-made, the 23-year-old has perked ears with a series of unpredictable EPs that juggle grime, house, pop and gospel. He beat pop singer King Princess and balladeer Grace Carter to take the title, which has previously gone to Adele, Sam Smith, Haim and Sigrid. “That’s lit,” said Octavian on finding out he’d won. “I don’t even know how to feel right now… Mum, I made it!” Read our full interview with Octavian Octavian is the first rapper to win the Sound Of… …

Woman’s ‘eyes closed during cricketer rape’

“I was tipsy but well aware of what I was doing,” she responded. Under cross-examination, she said some details of what had happened on the night were “a bit hazy”, but rejected the suggestion her memory of the initial sexual contact with the defendant was “not completely clear”. She denied the suggestion she had woken up, kissed Mr Hepburn and performed a sex act on him after he got into the bed. ‘Pushed him off’ The woman further denied Ms Heeley’s assertion she and the defendant had “moved around the bed”. “I was asleep. From what I can remember I was lying still on my back,” the witness said. Ms Heeley said: “The fact it continued for ten minutes, I …

Abuse case coach ‘made boys fight naked’

‘Awkward’ Mr Smith, a prosecution witness who has waived his right to anonymity, was coached by Mr Carson after joining Cambridge United in 2001, aged 11, on a youth scholarship. He said boys were made to run in the snow fully naked, and told it was to “toughen us up” and “make us men”. On other occasions, Mr Smith said, trainees would be made to fight naked under the guise of an initiation test. “It was all to build character, but it always felt really awkward,” he said. Image copyright Kit Carson Image caption Michael “Kit” Carson worked as a coach and scout for a number of clubs Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the fatal crash, which …

Football sex abuse accused dies in crash

Jeremy Benson, prosecuting, told the court: “The defendant died yesterday morning.” Cambridgeshire Police said in a statement that Carson was driving his red Mazda 3 when it left the road and went into a tree on the A1303 at Bottisham, around seven miles east of Cambridge. No other vehicle or person was involved, a spokesman said. Denied charges The court heard that his body was later formally identified by his wife, Pauline Carson. The former coach and scout had pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing at Cambridge Crown Court to 12 counts of indecent assault and one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. Cambridgeshire Police said the allegations involved 11 victims, all boys under the age …

Which vegan milks are best for the planet?

Looking at land use, the difference is starker still. Don't cry because you can't play with our interactive. Image copyright Getty Images People tend to underestimate the greenhouse gas emissions from food, and dairy milk is no exception, according to research by Dr Adrian Camilleri, a psychologist at the University of Technology Sydney. “The greenhouse gas emissions from milk are about 30 times higher than what people estimate,” he told BBC News. “I suspect that most consumers underestimate the greenhouse gas emissions saved by switching from dairy milk to plant-based milk such as soy milk.” Sales of so-called alternative milks are growing faster in the UK than sales of traditional milk, according to market researchers Mintel. Searches for milk alternatives …

Grayling blames rail fare hike on unions

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionCommuters tell the BBC of their rail travel woes Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has accused trade unions of driving the 3.1% increase in rail fares. Mr Grayling told the BBC unions had demanded “higher pay rises than anyone else” and threatened strikes if they did not get them. The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union said it was “scandalous” that Mr Grayling was trying to blame workers. Rail fares have increased by an average of almost 3% in Scotland and 3.1% in England and Wales. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the increase a “disgrace” and said it “drives people away from public transport”. Image copyright EPA Image caption Protesters made their voices heard …

Murdered woman lay dead ‘for weeks’

He told the BBC: “On the basis of what we’ve recovered from the scene and from what June’s family has told us, I think it’s probably fair to say she had probably lost her life around mid-December, a couple of weeks before we were notified that she was missing.” Suspect Mr Foran, 32, was seen in Liverpool on Tuesday after leaving the West Midlands on Monday, with CCTV showing him at an Esso garage in the Anfield area of the city. UK ports have been put on alert along with police in Ireland where he has family. Latest news and updates from the West Midlands Image copyright West Midlands Police Image caption Michael Foran was seen on CCTV at an …

Two British soldiers injured in Syria

Why is there a war in Syria? Trump slows down Syria troop withdrawal Theresa May says action in Syria ‘moral and legal’ In December, US President Donald Trump announced he was withdrawing troops from Syria and claimed the IS group had been “defeated”. His decision to withdraw troops was met with surprise and strong criticism. The UK government distanced itself from the president’s comments, saying “much remains to be done”. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionExclusive footage: Is this the Islamic State group’s last stand in Syria? The UK has been part of a coalition of several countries – led by the US and including France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – launching air strikes as part …