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in pictures: sophie raworth and the 150-mile desert ultra-marathon

on sunday, runners combated temperatures of 24.1c during the london marathon - the hottest on record. but for bbc news presenter sophie raworth, the unseasonable heat was nothing in comparison with the marathon des sables (mds), a 150-mile ultra-marathon in the sahara desert. image copyrightiancorless.comit's known as the toughest foot race on earth. it's six marathons in five days, carrying everything you need to survive for the week. i signed up with some friends 18 months ago and trained hard for it. it turned out to be the toughest - at times hellish - but most wonderful, rewarding experience i've ever had. running down the dunes, wearing gaiters to stop the sand getting in my shoes, is something i will never forget. image copyrightiancorless.comwe arrived in camp after a six-hour coach journey deep into southern morocco. i was with my great friend susie chan, an endurance runner, who had already run the mds three times. our backpacks had to be checked and weighed to ensure we had enough food for the week as well as the compulsory equipment: a sleeping bag, compass, venom pump and a whistle. my pack weighed almost 9kg (20lb) without water. thankfully it got lighter during the week as i ate my way through it.image copyrightiancorless.comthe start of the race is legendary. about 1,000 runners were there, but only 175 women had signed up. helicopters hovered overhead as patrick bauer, the frenchman who started the race 33 years ago, waved us all off to the sound of highwa...





jacqueline wilson calls for books industry plastics ban

image copyrightgetty / bbcimage caption more than 40 million of dame jacqueline's books have been sold in the uk alone dame jacqueline wilson and chris riddell are among 50 writers and illustrators calling for the book industry to ditch plastic.authors4oceans wants publishers, bookshops and readers to find eco alternatives to plastic bags, straws, bottles and single-use cutlery.author lauren st john came up with the idea when she bought a drink in a bookshop with a plastic straw.other famous names involved include sir michael morpurgo and sir quentin blake.image copyrightlauren st johnimage caption lauren st john went on a dolphin rescue mission in turkey war horse author sir michael said: "the greatest weakness we have, the greatest mistake we make is to take the world about us for granted. "we use up the earth we live in at our peril. it is a finite source and we have to remember that. destroy it, and we destroy ourselves. it is that simple."while st john has always been passionate about conservation - she admits to being "obsessed with the demise of the tuna - i want people to stop eating tuna" - she credits david attenborough's blue planet ii with putting a spotlight on the plastics problem.image caption david attenborough - "a miracle of a person" "blue planet lit a bonfire under us collectively - when i had the straw epiphany, it was just before that," she told bbc news."thank god for david attenborough, a miracle of a person. he has ...





royal baby: 'new mums have so much unnecessary pressure'

image copyrightepaimage caption the duke and duchess of cambridge leave hospital after the birth of their third child mums have responded to pictures of the duchess of cambridge leaving hospital following the birth of her third child with their own recollections of giving birth.the duchess looked happy and relaxed as she emerged from st mary's hospital in paddington, london, cradling her newborn son and waving to the assembled crowds.on social media, other mums were quick to compare their own post-pregnancy experiences with those of the duchess.a forum thread discussing the birth on popular parenting website mumsnet attracted hundreds of comments and was among the site's trending posts.many social media users admired the duchess of cambridge's fresh-faced appearance hours after giving birth. others wondered how they might have reacted to finding the world's media gathered outside their maternity ward.image copyrightamy li/facebookimage caption memes highlighting women's different experiences post-childbirth have been shared online kalpana vaughan wilson was one of many women to respond to a tweet from bbc woman's hour presenter jane garvey, posting a picture with daughter clara from her hospital ward."i posted the pictures because, as a new mum, we have so much unnecessary pressure put on us," she told the bbc."i think it's important to show the realities of childbirth and motherhood so other mums don't feel so alone."if someone had offered me a ma...





trump brushes 'dandruff' off 'perfect' macron

videothe us president lavishes his french counterpart with praise during an oval office meeting - but there are areas of disagreement, especially on iran.





london marathon: first paralysed man to walk london route

a person from norfolk is the first paralysed man to walk the london marathon.simon kindleysides, from blofield, is paralysed from the waist down but completed the 26-mile route in 27.5 "actual walking hours" using a battery-powered exoskeleton suit.





royal wedding: teenage cellist and gospel choir to perform

image copyrightpaimage caption sheku kanneh-mason was the bbc's young musician in 2016 prince harry and meghan markle have announced some of the performers who will appear at their wedding.the couple have chosen a number of choral groups, soloists and musicians to perform at the service, which will take place at st george's chapel on 19 may.cellist and bbc young musician 2016 sheku kanneh-mason is among them, as is welsh soprano elin manahan thomas.the music will be overseen by james vivian, the chapel's director of music.kensington palace revealed in a string of tweets that the couple had taken "a great deal of interest and care in choosing the music for their service", adding the music chosen would include a number of well-known hymns and choral works.mr kanneh-mason tweeted in response saying he was "excited and honoured" to perform at the wedding. the cellist played for prince harry at a fundraising event last year for the antiguan charity the halo foundation. the 19-year-old also revealed that he received a phone call from ms markle herself, asking him if he would play during their ceremony."i immediately said yes!!! what a privilege. i can't wait!" he tweeted.kanneh-mason has scored the biggest-selling british debut of the year earlier this year with his classical album, inspiration.the kingdom choir, led by karen gibson, will be among the choral groups to perform at the wedding service.gibson said they were honoured and excited to have been picked. "...





eric bristow: funeral held for former darts world champion

media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia captionbristow's funeral was held on tuesdaytributes have been paid to darts legend eric bristow at his funeral in staffordshire.bristow, nicknamed the crafty cockney, died on 5 april after suffering a heart attack and collapsing at a premier league event at liverpool's echo arena.a private ceremony was held on tuesday afternoon at camountside crematorium in stoke-on-trent where guests were asked to wear darts or football shirts.bristow was world champion five times between 1980 and 1986.the funeral service was held a day before what would have been his 61st birthday. it was followed by celebrations at the rewind bar in leek, staffordshire.image copyrightgetty imagesimage caption eric bristow died of a heart attack after collapsing at the echo arena in liverpool bristow, who was awarded an mbe for his services to sport in 1989, also won five world masters titles and was a founder player when the pdc was formed in 1993. he also worked as a tv pundit and appeared on the itv show i'm a celebrity... get me out of here in 2012.bristow was born in stoke newington but settled in the staffordshire moorlands, and at one time ran the swan hotel in leek with his friend barry birch who said it was a "very sad day.""he was just accepted. eric mixed with anybody. he'd do what he felt comfortable with. he was comfortable with people," he added."not just the town of leek will show up but most of the country is going to turn o...





young can 'only read digital clocks'

image caption is time up for the traditional clock face? do young people really struggle with traditional analogue clocks with hands?that's the claim in a debate between teachers - with suggestions that digital clocks are being installed in exam halls for teenagers.it follows a report in the times educational supplement of a conference being told that pupils needed a digital clock to be able to tell the time.malcolm trobe, of the ascl head teachers' union, said young people were much more used to using digital clocks.as such, schools could be trying to give them more help by letting students use digital clocks in exam rooms during the summer gcses and a-levels."to adults it might seem second nature to use a standard clock face," said mr trobe, ascl's deputy general secretary.but younger people were much more familiar with seeing the time in a digital format - on computers or mobile phones."young people find it a bit easier to use a digital clock - and if they're timing themselves for questions, it might make it less likely that they'll make mistakes," said mr trobe.he said, as an example, if students had to answer a question in 15 minutes, it could be easier for them looking at a clock with a digital format, if that was how they usually told the time.there were no official indications about taking down analogue clocks, he said, but such claims were being made by teachers on social media.one of the examples on twitter being quoted is from a head of english, "...





brexit: may's 'customs partnership' idea cretinous, says rees-mogg

image copyrightpatheresa may's plan for a "customs partnership" with the eu after brexit has been described as "completely cretinous" by jacob rees-mogg.the leading tory brexiteer said it would be the same as staying in a customs union.he also accused the prime minister of lacking "enthusiasm" for brexit at a think-tank event in parliament.mrs may has ruled out joining a customs union but has come up with two options to avoid a hard border in ireland.one of them is a "customs partnership" that would rely on new technology to track the final destination of goods flowing across the border, removing the need for physical customs checks.'enigmatic'this has previously been dismissed as "magical thinking" in brussels but uk officials are reported by the financial times to believe the mood has changed and they plan to raise it again next month.mr rees-mogg said the "completely cretinous" idea would see the uk collect tariffs on the eu's behalf for goods landing in britain but intended for the bloc's market, something mr rees-mogg said would be "impractical, bureaucratic" and "a betrayal of common sense".the other option being proposed by the government would be to minimise checks rather than getting rid of them altogether, by using new technologies and things like trusted trader schemes.speaking at the open europe event, mr rees-mogg said mrs may's attitude to brexit was "enigmatic"."she is carrying out the will of the british people but it's hard to read w...





shopkeeper fights off armed robbers with chilli powder

a shopkeeper saw off three armed robbers, with the help of a tub of chilli powder.three men entered baba food city in runfold avenue, luton, with two handguns and a knife on saturday night, police said.they left empty handed when the chilli powder, stored under a till for self defence, was thrown at them.





millicent fawcett: first woman statue on parliament square

less than 3% of statues in the uk are of women. rachael thorn explains why millicent fawcett is getting one.produced by fatma wardy.▪ reality check: where are all the female statues?





germany's jews urged not to wear kippahs after attacks

image copyrightepaimage caption a "berlin wears kippah" rally is planned in the german capital on wednesday the leader of germany's jewish community has advised jews to avoid wearing traditional skullcaps (kippahs) following anti-semitic attacks.josef schuster, the president of the central council of jews in germany, told berlin public radio that jews should exercise caution in big cities.his comments come ahead of a "berlin wears kippah" solidarity march in the german capital on wednesday.last week, two young men wearing kippahs were assaulted in the city.the attacker was filmed shouting anti-semitic abuse.jewish organisations in germany have expressed alarm over a number of recent anti-semitic insults and threats in schools.at the weekend, chancellor angela merkel condemned what she described as "another form of anti-semitism". she told israel's channel 10 tv network that aside from anti-semitism by right-wing groups, similar threats were coming from some muslim refugees in the country.what did josef schuster say?"defiantly showing your colours would in principle be the right way to go [to tackle anti-semitism]," he said."nevertheless, i would advise individual people against openly wearing a kippah in big german cities," mr schuster added.but he also stressed that if germans refused to stand up to anti-semitism "our democracy would be at risk"."this is not only about anti-semitism - it goes along with racism, it goes along with xenophobia. you need a...





britain powers on without coal for three days

image copyrightgetty imagesimage caption the drax power station in north yorkshire has been switching some furnaces from coal to biomass britain has not generated electricity from coal for more than three days - the longest streak since the 1880s.the new record comes just days after the last record of 55 hours was set, national grid said.the coal-free period began on saturday at 1000 bst and has continued into tuesday afternoon.power generated from wind and gas dominated the mix of energy for users in england, scotland and wales.just last week the uk grid recorded its first two-day period without using any power from the fossil fuel, which the government has pledged to phase out by 2025.coal accounted for less than 7% of the power mix last year, according to official figures.in april, 2017 britain went its first full day without coal since the 19th century.image copyrightgetty imagesimage caption a wind farm in mid-wales however, experts warned that power generated by coal was largely being replaced by gas, another fossil fuel, rather than renewable sources.andrew crossland, of the durham energy institute, said gas generated 40% of the uk's electricity and fuelled the vast majority of domestic heating: "as a country we consume nearly eight times more gas than coal."the daily consumption of gas was outstripped by wind on just two days last year, while all sources of renewable energy - including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower - beat fossil fuels for just...





toronto van attack: moment suspect arrested

a man suspected of killing 10 people and injuring 15 more by ploughing a rental van into pedestrians in toronto has been charged by police.alek minassian, 25, pleaded "kill me" and claimed to have a gun as a police officer approached.but the officer put his own gun away and approached with a baton.▪ toronto van attack: how is the suspect not dead?





toronto van attack: alek minassian charged with 10 counts of murder

media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia caption"i have a gun in my pocket" – the moment alek minassian was arrested.a driver suspected of killing 10 people and injuring 15 more by ploughing a rental van into pedestrians in toronto has appeared in court in the city.alek minassian, 25, was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.mr minassian wore a white jumpsuit, with a shaved head and his hands behind his back. he showed little emotion.he was read the charges and ordered to have no contact with surviving victims. he will return to court on 10 may.a man believed to be a relative of mr minassian's sat in the front row of the court and wept. asked by reporters after the hearing if he had anything to say, the man replied "sorry".mr minassian's court appearance came shortly after canadian prime minister justin trudeau addressed reporters in the city, calling the incident a "senseless attack and a horrific tragedy".the suspect was arrested several blocks from the scene of monday's attack, after a tense standoff with a police officer.image copyrightinstagram/vodkawaterpapiimage caption the suspect confronted a police officer and claimed to have a gun what do we know about alek minassian?police say mr minassian is from the northern toronto suburb of richmond hill and was not previously known to authorities. public safety minister ralph goodale said there "would appear to be no national security connections" and ca...





alfie evans' life support withdrawn, father says

image copyrightkate jamesimage caption alfie evans' condition in alder hey children's hospital has been described as "semi-vegetative" the life support of seriously ill toddler alfie evans has been withdrawn, his father has said.tom evans said the 23-month-old's life support was turned off on monday but alfie was breathing on his own and had been given oxygen. it comes after his parents lost legal challenges against a high court ruling in february that alder hey children's hospital could withdraw ventilation.a further hearing is currently under way.the hospital said it would "not be issuing any updates on his condition".media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia captiontom evans: 'he's been doing this for nine hours, totally unexpected"speaking outside the hospital earlier, mr evans said: "[alfie] is now on oxygen. it's not changing his breathing but it's oxygenating his body."he is still working, he's doing as good as he can but we do need him to be supported in the next hour. it's going to be hard."a candle-lit vigil was held by supporters of alfie outside the hospital overnight, where earlier in the day protesters had tried to storm the entrance.in a statement on twitter alder hey bosses said "out of respect for the privacy of alfie and his family" it would not be commenting on the toddler's condition, in line with "normal and agreed practice with all our patients".the christian legal centre, which is representing alfie's parents, sai...





trump threatens 'big problems' for iran

media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia captiontrump brushes 'dandruff' off 'perfect' macronus president donald trump has warned iran of "big problems" if it resumes the nuclear programme it agreed to curb in a 2015 international accord.speaking at the white house with french president emmanuel macron, mr trump called the iran deal "insane".mr macron, who is lobbying mr trump to preserve the deal, said it was possible to forge a new iran accord.the us president has been threatening to reject an extension of the obama-era nuclear pact by a 12 may deadline.germany's chancellor angela merkel is due to visit the us capital on friday to make a last-minute bid to dissuade mr trump from potentially torpedoing the iran agreement.media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia captionwhat french people think about trump and macron meeting"it won't be so easy for them to restart," mr trump said in the oval office on tuesday when a journalist asked him about the possibility of iran relaunching its nuclear programme if the deal is scrapped."they're not going to be restarting anything. they restart it they're going to have big problems, bigger than they've ever had before."and you can mark it down - they restart their nuclear programme, they will have bigger problems than they've ever had before."iranian foreign minister, javad zarif, later told the associated press iran would "most likely" abandon the nuclear accord if the us pulls out. on monday, iranian...





plastic straws: call for government to rethink policy

a woman with cerebral palsy has called for the government to consider the need of disabled people before bringing in a ban on plastic straws.ellie simpson, from chesterfield, who set up her own charity, said politicians had not given proper consideration to people with disabilities who rely on plastic over other alternatives.the government has started a consultation ahead of a proposed ban on plastic straws.





in pictures: sophie raworth and the 150-mile desert ultra-marathon

on sunday, runners combated temperatures of 24.1c during the london marathon - the hottest on record. but for bbc news presenter sophie raworth, the unseasonable heat was nothing in comparison with the marathon des sables (mds), a 150-mile ultra-marathon in the sahara desert. image copyrightiancorless.comit's known as the toughest foot race on earth. it's six marathons in five days, carrying everything you need to survive for the week. i signed up with some friends 18 months ago and trained hard for it. it turned out to be the toughest - at times hellish - but most wonderful, rewarding experience i've ever had. running down the dunes, wearing gaiters to stop the sand getting in my shoes, is something i will never forget. image copyrightiancorless.comwe arrived in camp after a six-hour coach journey deep into southern morocco. i was with my great friend susie chan, an endurance runner, who had already run the mds three times. our backpacks had to be checked and weighed to ensure we had enough food for the week as well as the compulsory equipment: a sleeping bag, compass, venom pump and a whistle. my pack weighed almost 9kg (20lb) without water. thankfully it got lighter during the week as i ate my way through it.image copyrightiancorless.comthe start of the race is legendary. about 1,000 runners were there, but only 175 women had signed up. helicopters hovered overhead as patrick bauer, the frenchman who started the race 33 years ago, waved us all off to the sound of highwa...





jacqueline wilson calls for books industry plastics ban

image copyrightgetty / bbcimage caption more than 40 million of dame jacqueline's books have been sold in the uk alone dame jacqueline wilson and chris riddell are among 50 writers and illustrators calling for the book industry to ditch plastic.authors4oceans wants publishers, bookshops and readers to find eco alternatives to plastic bags, straws, bottles and single-use cutlery.author lauren st john came up with the idea when she bought a drink in a bookshop with a plastic straw.other famous names involved include sir michael morpurgo and sir quentin blake.image copyrightlauren st johnimage caption lauren st john went on a dolphin rescue mission in turkey war horse author sir michael said: "the greatest weakness we have, the greatest mistake we make is to take the world about us for granted. "we use up the earth we live in at our peril. it is a finite source and we have to remember that. destroy it, and we destroy ourselves. it is that simple."while st john has always been passionate about conservation - she admits to being "obsessed with the demise of the tuna - i want people to stop eating tuna" - she credits david attenborough's blue planet ii with putting a spotlight on the plastics problem.image caption david attenborough - "a miracle of a person" "blue planet lit a bonfire under us collectively - when i had the straw epiphany, it was just before that," she told bbc news."thank god for david attenborough, a miracle of a person. he has ...