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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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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

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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

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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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The victims were found within five miles of each other

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Beckenham murder: Man killed girlfriend during ‘orgy of violence’

David McCorkell

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Met Police

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David McCorkell previously admitted murdering Diane Dyer

A convicted robber who bludgeoned his girlfriend to death in an “orgy of violence” has been jailed for life.

David McCorkell previously admitted murdering Diane Dyer in her home in Beckenham, south London, on 18 July.

The Old Bailey heard the 54-year-old inflicted 71 separate injuries on his 61-year-old partner and had strangled her during the attack.

McCorkell, of Beckenham, was jailed for at least 21 and a half years when he was sentenced on Wednesday.

Ms Dyer’s body was found after a neighbour called emergency services when she saw blood and disarray through a window at the house.

“There was extensive blood splatter within that room. There was blood on the bedsheets, blood on the bedside table, blood on the cupboard,” prosecutor Allison Hunter QC said.

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Met Police

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Ms Dyer suffered 71 separate injuries

The court heard Ms Dyer’s friends had been concerned about how McCorkell had been treating her during their three-month relationship up to her death.

“She had quite literally been strangled and beaten to death in an orgy of violence,” the prosecutor said.

Following his arrest McCorkell suggested several reasons for what led to the murder, including a row over Ms Dyer disrespecting his mother’s grave and an argument about whether to contact a dealer to obtain class A drugs for habit they shared.

The 54-year-old had previously been jailed four times, including being given a life sentence in 2002 for the robbery of a woman who was beaten around the head with a wooden pole.

At sentencing, judge Richard Marks described the defendant as a “thoroughly evil bully”.

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General Election 2019: Polls open across London

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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

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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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Seventeen arrested in human trafficking raids in London

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Scotland Yard raided 16 addresses across east London on Thursday morning

Seventeen people have been arrested in early morning raids across east London in an international human trafficking investigation.

Officers went to 16 addresses after working with Romanian police, who simultaneously raided four addresses in Romania and arrested one man.

In London, police took 29 potential victims – women aged between 20 and 40 – to a “place of safety”.

The suspects – 14 men and three women – remain in custody in central London.

The 17 arrested people, who are aged between 17 and 50, are being held on suspicion of modern slavery, controlling prostitution, Class A drug offences and firearm offences.

‘One fell swoop’

Det Ch Insp Richard McDonagh, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “The Met recognises the seriousness of modern slavery and the devastation it brings to people’s lives.

“Today’s synchronised operational activity [had] the aim of, in one fell swoop, dismantling an organised crime network and providing support to the victims.”

The London raids were carried out in Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Brentwood and Tower Hamlets.

A spokesman for Romanian police in the UK said: “Romanian police officers working shoulder to shoulder with our British partners is a great achievement, a proof of our mutual permanent support and a great professional reward.

“The Romanian police is committed to continue its efforts in combating all forms of criminality together with the Metropolitan Police.”

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Mbwana Samatta: Newcastle and West Ham target Genk striker

Mbwana Samatta joined Genk from Congolese side TP Mazembe in 2016

Newcastle and West Ham are both interested in signing Genk striker Mbwana Samatta.

The 26-year-old, who scored against Liverpool in his side’s 2-1 Champions League defeat on Tuesday, has a release clause in his contract reported to be about £10m.

Samatta was the top scorer in the Belgian league last season with 25 goals as Genk were crowned champions.

The Tanzanian has six goals from 13 league games this campaign.

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