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Mads Bech Sorensen: AFC Wimbledon sign Brentford centre-back on loan

Mads Bech Sorensen has made two senior appearances for Brentford so far this season

AFC Wimbledon have signed centre-back Mads Bech Sorensen on loan from Championship side Brentford until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old has also signed a new long-term deal with the Bees until the summer of 2023.

“He’s a Danish Under-21 international, so hopefully he comes in and adds something,” said Dons boss Glyn Hodges.

“Mads is a good footballer and he’s been in the Brentford first-team squad, so we are quite fortunate to get him.”

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Rail fares rise by 2.7%, hitting millions of commuters

King's Cross station in London in 2014

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Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Millions of commuters will have to pay an average of 2.7% more for train tickets from today.

The rise, announced by industry body the Rail Delivery Group in November, is lower than the 3.1% increase at the start of last year.

Train companies say it is the third year in a row that average fares have been held below RPI – the inflation measure on which rises are based.

But many commuters face an increase of more than £100 for annual passes.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps cited a new fund for trials for flexible fares as an example of how the government was committed to “putting passengers first”.

He said he planned to tackle the “fragmented” system and had begun the process to end the franchise for Northern Rail, whose performance was “completely unacceptable”.

“You can judge me on this at the end of the year,” he told BBC Breakfast. “These changes are going to take time but I think people will see things moving in the right direction.”

But Labour’s shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, said the rise showed passengers were “once again paying more for less under the Tories”.

Independent watchdog Transport Focus says most rail users (53%) do not feel train ticket prices offer value for money.

The watchdog’s director, David Sidebottom, said: “After a year of pretty poor performance in some areas, passengers just want a consistent day-to-day service they can rely on and a better chance of getting a seat.”

He encouraged passengers to claim compensation for eligible delays in order to “offset” the cost of fare rises.

Passengers at a mainline railway station

PA Images

Season ticket rises

Some annual passes go up by more than £100

  • £132Reading to London. Total £4,736

  • £118Gloucester to Birmingham. Total £4,356

  • £116Glasgow to Edinburgh. Total £4,200

However, Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions for Rail Delivery Group, said rail companies were investing in improving journeys while holding fare increases below inflation.

He said 2020 will see 1,000 extra weekly services and 1,000 more carriages added to Britain’s rail fleet.

“There is a record level of investment going into the railway at the moment,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“For people who do suffer from poor punctuality in areas of the country, that could be for a variety of different reasons, we apologise. We are looking at at trying to make punctuality much better across the board,” he said.

Official statistics show that just over one in three trains failed to arrive on time in July, August and September 2019, although that figure was an improvement on the previous year.

Passenger complaints

About 40% of annual rail price rises are regulated by governments in England, Scotland and Wales. They are pegged to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure for the previous July. Other fare rises are decided by train companies.

RPI inflation was 2.8% last year.

But RPI inflation is generally higher than the most widely watched measure of inflation, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

Passenger groups have repeatedly called for the system to be changed since RPI inflation was abandoned by the UK Statistics Authority as a national statistic in 2013.

Emily Yates, a freelance writer from Brighton who co-founded the Association of British Commuters, said the annual rises feel like “Groundhog Day” and a “complete charade”.

“Every year, we ask for a fares freeze, the government says no, and the rail industry defends the decision,” she said.

Protests will be held against the fare increase on Thursday, including a demonstration outside London King’s Cross station.

The rallies come as the Trades Union Congress (TUC) releases research suggesting fares have risen by twice as much as wages in the last 10 years.

The TUC said someone earning an average salary in the UK would have to spend 16% of their wages for a season ticket from Chelmsford to London (£511 a month), but similar commutes would cost 2% of the average salary in France, and 4% in Germany and Belgium.

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Second man charged over fatal stabbings in Barnet and Elstree

Police officers and tent

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@999London

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The two victims were found on 19 and 20 December

A second man has been charged in connection with the fatal stabbing of two men within hours of each other.

The first victim was found in the boot of a car near Scratchwood Park, Barnet, on 19 December, while a second man was discovered by officers in Hogg Lane, Elstree on 20 December.

On Christmas Day, Besnik Berisha, 42, of Martock Gardens, Friern Barnet, was charged with two counts of murder.

Kaziku Tuwisana, 31, of no fixed address, faces the same charges.

Mr Berisha is due before Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

The Met Police has asked drivers who “may have caught something that could prove massively important” on dash-cam footage to contact them.

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@999London

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The victims were found within five miles of each other

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New life brewed for 100-year-old East End coffee stall

Coffee stall in 1920

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Jane Tothill / Museum of London

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Syd’s coffee stall has been on Calvert Avenue in Shoreditch since March 1919

An east London coffee stall which has been run by the same family for a century is to be given a new lease of life once it shuts for the final time.

Syd’s coffee stall was opened by a World War One veteran who started it using his invalidity pension.

It has been run by three generations of the Tothill family since then but will close on Friday after current owner Jane decided it was “time to move on”.

The stand has been acquired to go on display at the Museum of London.

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Museum of London

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The stall will be displayed at the museum once it moves into its new building

Sydney Edward Tothill spent £117 commissioning a local coachbuilder to construct the stall which has sat on Calvert Avenue in Shoreditch since March 1919.

By today’s standards, the initial menu was a little limited.

“Camp coffee”, a brown liquid made of essence of coffee-beans, chicory and sugar, was served alongside tea, cocoa and Bovex – described as a poor man’s Bovril.

The snack of choice was a “Sav and a Slice” – a saveloy sausage served with a slice of bread and English mustard.

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Museum of London

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Jane Tothill is Sydney Edward Tothill’s granddaughter

During World War Two, Syd and his wife May were given a special licence to remain open during blackouts so that they could cater for air raid wardens overnight.

The stall was considered so essential that when May was injured by shrapnel from a nearby explosion, the War Office brought Syd’s son back from a secret overseas RAF mission so it could remain open.

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Jane Tothill/Museum of London

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Syd junior became a Freeman of the City of London and was the only caterer to ever be allowed to trade on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral

The son, also called Syd, successfully expanded it into a catering business called Hillary Caterers to commemorate Sir Edmund Hillary’s conquest of Everest in 1953.

Jane Tothill said reaching 100 years had been “an incredible milestone” but “it was time for the stall to move on to tell a new story at the Museum of London”.

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Museum of London

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The stall will sell its final ever coffee on Friday

Vyki Sparkes, curator of social and working history at the museum, said the stall was “an invaluable piece of our shared history as Londoners”.

It will go on display once the museum moves into its new building.

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General Election 2019: Polls open across London

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PA

Voting is under way to decide who will represent London’s 73 parliamentary seats.

Londoners will decide the fate of hundreds of parliamentary candidates including the prime minister and leader of the Labour Party.

Registered voters will be able to cast their ballots from 07:00 to 22:00 GMT.

Labour represented 46 seats in the city going into the 2019 General Election. The Conservative had 20 London MPs while Liberal Democrats had four.

The BBC, like other broadcasters, is not allowed to report details of campaigning while the polls are open. More details around electoral law and our BBC code of practice is explained here.

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London minicab qualifications from private schools banned

Minicab

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Minicab drivers must sit mandatory exams to get a licence from Transport for London

Minicab drivers in London will only be able to gain required qualifications at official centres after a cheating scandal was exposed by the BBC.

Drivers could previously sit mandatory exams at Transport for London (TfL) centres or authorised private schools and colleges to get a licence.

However the investigation found some colleges cheated the required tests.

TfL said all licences gained from colleges where cheating occurred had been revoked.

‘Urgent review’

As part of the cab application process, drivers must sit a topographical exam and an English test at one of eight official TfL testing centres.

Evidence of these exams can also be accepted via other qualifications including BTecs, which are usually taken at numerous private colleges and centres around the UK.

Some employees at one of these colleges – Vista Training Solutions in Newham, east London – offered to take the tests for several BBC researchers for £500 per BTec.

After the cheating was exposed, TfL carried out an “urgent review” of every licence gained through qualifications passed at private colleges.

It has now revoked those of 143 drivers who had gained them through Vista Training Solutions while another 209 licence applications made by people who passed their qualifications through the college have also been rejected.

The transport authority added that no evidence of “fraudulent activity” had been found at any other private colleges but from February, qualifications will only be allowed to be gained from one of TfL’s eight testing centres.

“The most robust and relevant topographical tests are our own assessments,” said Helen Chapman, TfL’s director of licensing, regulation and charging.

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Media captionGerti Qamili, a manager at Vista, was challenged after the secret filming

In a statement Ofqual, which regulates tests taken at private colleges, said it took “all allegations of qualifications fraud extremely seriously”.

Vista Training Solutions previously said it was “devastated to learn that such malpractice took place” and apologised “unreservedly”.

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Nuno Espirito Santo is a potential replacement if Arsenal sack Unai Emery

Unai Emery’s Arsenal are eight points adrift of the top four in the Premier League

Arsenal have identified Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo as a potential replacement for Unai Emery if the Gunners decide to sack the Spaniard.

Head coach Emery is under pressure after a winless run of six matches across all competitions.

Arsenal have only won four of 13 Premier League games this season.

BBC Sport understands that if Emery is sacked and Nuno is allowed to speak to Arsenal, then the Portuguese would be a strong contender to take over.

Nuno said it would be “disrespectful” to talk about being linked with Arsenal when asked in a news conference before his side’s Europa League tie against Braga on Thursday.

“I wouldn’t ever mention an issue which is not a reality,” he said. “Speaking about a job which has a manager would be disrespectful and I will not do so.”

My focus is on today and tomorrow – Emery

Emery said he still has the full support of the club, having been warned results must improve while being offered public backing by the Arsenal hierarchy earlier this month.

“Really the club is supporting me,” he said. “I feel the club, everyone responsible in that area, is backing me. Really I appreciate it a lot.

“I feel strong with that support and know my responsibility to come back and change that situation.”

The former Sevilla and Paris St-Germain boss added he is only focused on “today and tomorrow” as he prepares for his side’s Europa League match at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.

“My job is to prepare for the match, to show the best performance in front of our supporters,” he said.

Arsenal go into Thursday’s game top of Group F, four points clear of both their German opponents and Standard Liege.

On Sunday, a number of Arsenal fan groups called for “urgent action” over the “state of things” at the club.

“My focus is only today and tomorrow, to do all the things that we have worked on here at the training ground,” Emery added.

“We know our supporters were disappointed by the draw against Southampton, but we have the perfect chance to reconnect with our supporters.

“Our wish is that every supporter tomorrow helps the team, we need them.”

Arsenal are also eight points adrift of the top four and 19 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.

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General election 2019: ‘We’re just represented by white people’

Young people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds (BAME) have described how they feel the 2019 general election has failed so far to take on their views or represent them.

Students at London’s Westminster Kingsway College talked about the issues they care about and the changes they would like to see in politics.

Video by Jamie Moreland

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The rise of ‘facadism’ in London

London blogger The Gentle Author has been photographing the changing face of London, focusing on what is known as “facadism”, the practice of destroying everything apart from the front wall and constructing a new building behind it.

Here, we present a few pictures from the series and the story of the buildings that once stood.

National Provincial Bank, Threadneedle Street, City of London, EC2

National Provincial Bank, Threadneedle Street, City of London, EC2

This Grade I listed building was designed by John Gibson as London’s largest banking hall, in 1863-65, with figures along the roofline representing locations where the bank did business including:

  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Dover
  • Newcastle
  • London

Above the arched windows, eight sculpted panels of heroic allegorical scenes represent the achievements of mankind:

  • the arts
  • commerce
  • science
  • manufacturing
  • agriculture
  • navigation
  • shipbuilding
  • mining

The Cock & Hoop, Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, E1

The Cock & Hoop, Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, E1

Thomas Lloyd is recorded as this pub’s first landlord, in 1805.

After it closed for good, in 1908, the building was incorporated into the Providence Row Night Refuge and, in 2006, converted into student housing for the London School of Economics.

London Fruit & Wool Exchange, Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, E1

London Fruit & Wool Exchange, Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, E1

This building was designed by Sydney Perks, in 1927, as a state-of-the-art auction room with a roof that simulated sunlight on cloudy days, parquet floors, careful detailing and significant craft elements throughout.

Since the fruit and vegetable market left Spitalfields, in 1991, it has housed many small independent local businesses.

The tenant of the new development is an international legal corporation.

465 Caledonian Road, Islington, N7

465 Caledonian Road, Islington, N7

Mallett, Porter & Dowd built this handsome warehouse for their business, in 1874.

Redevelopment by University College London for student housing was turned down by Islington Council, citing inadequate daylight, due to the windows of the new building not aligning with those in the facade.

But this judgement was later overturned by the Planning Inspectorate.

And the development won Building Design’s Carbuncle Cup for 2013.

College East, Toynbee Hall, Wentworth Street, Spitalfields, E1

College East, Toynbee Hall, Wentworth Street, Spitalfields, E1

Designed by Elijah Hoole, this part of the Toynbee Hall campus, built in 1884-85, was demolished and facaded for the construction of Attlee House, which was completed in 1971 but itself demolished in 2016.

It will next front Gatsby Apartments, a development of flats for the commercial market.

Former Unitarian Chapel, Stamford Street, Blackfriars, SE1

Former Unitarian Chapel, Stamford Street, Blackfriars, SE1

Designed in 1821 by Charles Parker, the architect of Hoare’s Bank, in the Strand, this chapel was demolished in the 1960s apart from the portico and part of the ground floor, which stood in front of a car park for many years.

The Grade II listed Doric hexastyle portico is topped by a triglyph frieze and a pediment.

Its central door has a shouldered architrave and iron gates.

The Spotted Dog, 38 High Road, Willesden, NW10

The Spotted Dog, 38 High Road, Willesden, NW10

The Spotted Dog was described as “a well accustomed public house” in 1792, by which time it was at least 30 years old.

In the 19th Century, it was famous for its pleasure gardens and in the 1920s housed a dancehall.

18 Broadwick Street, Soho, W1

18 Broadwick Street, Soho, W1

Decorative brick inlay on the Berwick Street elevation declares this facade was built in 1886.

Originally a bakery, it became Central Chemists in 1950 when the ground floor and basement premises were acquired by Gertrude Kramer.

Michael Moss acquired the pharmacy and freehold to the building from Mrs Kramer in the 1970s and enlarged it to include 85-86 Berwick Street in the late 1980s, naming it Broadwick Pharmacy.

Richard Piercy bought the shop in 1990 and ran it as Zest Pharmacy until 2016.

In recent memory, the upper parts of the building were used as offices by music, film and voice-over businesses.

All photographs © The Gentle Author from the book The Creeping Plague of Ghastly Facadism.

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Algorithms helping patients on ventilators at London hospitals

Imperial College London and the Royal Brompton Hospital have found a way to make ventilators more precise for individual intensive care patients.

The trial involves a monitor next to a patient’s bed that will collect data showing their breathing patterns and lung capacity.

Doctors and nurses will use the data to better understand how to treat a patient and individually tailor their ventilator oxygen levels and pressure.

If successful, it could prove to be the future of critical care medicine, according to the research team.

Video by Gem O’Reilly.

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