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Babies 'taken away from Rotherham victims'

Babies born to some victims of sexual exploitation in Rotherham were taken away from them and their mothers would never see them again, the town's MP said.

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Report finds 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham. Credit: ITV News

A report by Professor Alexis Jay found 1,400 children were sexually abused while in care at the council over a 16-year period.

In a number of the cases we read, children and young people had pregnancies, miscarriages and terminations. Some had children removed under care orders and suffered further trauma when contact with their child was terminated and alternative family placements found. This affected not just the victims themselves, but other siblings who had developed attachments to the baby.

– Professor Alexis Jay's report

Labour's Sarah Champion said it "spoke volumes" about how the authorities did not see these children as victims.

"In my eyes, this is one of the most upsetting parts of the report," she said.

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Sir Paul McCartney joins 'Let's Stay Together' campaign

Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney Credit: PA

Sir Paul McCartney has been unveiled as the latest celebrity to sign up to the Let's Stay Together campaign.

The campaign, led by Dan Snow, aims to urge Scotland to stay in the UK.

Sir Paul McCartney said:

"The decision on whether to leave our shared country is, of course, absolutely yours alone. Nevertheless, that decision will have a huge effect on all of us in the rest of the United Kingdom. We want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them. What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let's stay together."

– Sir Paul McCartney

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Ukraine hopes for 'progress in peace negotiations'

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expects to see progress toward peace in the east of the country in the coming days, he said.

Poroshenko with Van Rompuy
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko shakes hands with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. Credit: Reuters

"We are waiting that in the very next days, starting from Monday, we can demonstrate the real progress in the peace negotiations," the president said after talks in Brussels.

"Why? Because we are too close to the border where from it would be no return to the peace plan."

Meridian

Names of first confirmed beach gold finders revealed

Megan Henderson, Kirsty Henderson and Kevin Wood
Megan Henderson, Kirsty Henderson and Kevin Wood confirmed as first people to find gold on beach in Folkestone Credit: Folkestone Triennial

The organisers of the Folkestone Triennial gold hunt on a beach in Folkestone have revealed the names of the people confirmed to have found the precious metal buried in the sand.

Kevin Wood, Kirsty henderson and her sister Megan Henderson from Canterbury made their discovery at about 7pm on Friday evening. They had been digging for about an hour before low tide. Each gold bar is worth about £500.

Folkestone Digs gold bars
The gold before it was buried in the sand Credit: Folkestone Triennial

“My legs went from under me and I started shaking,” Kevin recalled. “I put it quietly in my pocket. We left the beach and half way home, we pulled over for a drink.”

– Kevin Wood, Treasure hunter
Kirsty Henderson and Kevin Wood
Kirsty Henderson and Kevin Wood at the Kent beach where they made their discovery Credit: Folkestone Triennial

Co-op chair speaks of 'defining moment for the group'

The vote on a radical shake-up of the way Co-operative group is run is "a momentous and defining moment" for the group, Co-op chair Ursula Lidbetter said.

Co-op
Co-op group members have backed radical shake-up. Credit: PA Wire

These reforms represent the final crucial step in delivering the change necessary to return the group to health. This will strengthen the society and enable us to move forward with the urgent work to rebuild the business and deliver on our renewed purpose, in the interests of all our colleagues and our millions of members and customers.

– Co-op chair Ursula Lidbetter

The changes to the group's governance were backed by its members following a landmark vote.

Co-op group members back radical shake-up

A radical shake-up of the way the Co-operative group is run has been approved by its members.

A general view of a Co-operative food store, in the Strand, central London
A general view of a Co-operative food store, in the Strand, central London. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Archive

At a special general meeting in Manchester, the crisis-hit company said 83% of votes were cast in favour of proposals drawn up in the wake of last year when the group racked up £2.5 billion losses.

The plans include reform of the food-to-funerals group's board structure, with elected directors - including the likes of a plasterer, engineer and retired deputy head teacher - largely replaced by professional business people.

The new governance structure includes the creation of a smaller board of directors and a move to a one-member one-vote system.

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EU 'prepared to toughen sanctions against Russia'

The European Union is prepared to toughen sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis, the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.

The bloc wants to reach a political deal to end the confrontation, he added.

Barroso and Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Credit: Reuters

He said: "We are in a very serious, I would say, dramatic situation... where we can reach the point of no return. If the escalation of the conflict continues, this point can come."

"We are ready to take very strong and clear measures but we are keeping our doors open to a political solution," Mr Barroso added.

He described any tightening of sanctions as intended not to escalate the crisis but to push Moscow to negotiate and he stressed that the EU did not want confrontation - "it makes no sense to have ... a new Cold War" - and said that would be "detrimental to all of Europe".

Family of ex-Tory minister praise health professionals

The family of former Conservative minister Sir David Mitchell, who died aged 86 following a long illness, have paid tribute to the health professionals who looked after him.

Former transport minister Sir David Mitchell.
Former transport minister Sir David Mitchell. Credit: PA

Sir David Mitchell, the former Member of Parliament for Hampshire North West and minister in the Thatcher governments has died today aged 86.

The family has expressed its gratitude to the health professionals and carers who enabled him to die peacefully in his own home.

– A family spokesman

Former Conservative minister Sir David Mitchell dies

Former Conservative minister Sir David Mitchell has died aged 86 following a long illness, his family has announced.

Sir David, who served under Margaret Thatcher in various departments including industry, transport and Northern Ireland, was the father of former Cabinet minister and current Tory MP Andrew Mitchell.

He was an MP from 1964 to 1997, representing Hampshire North West, and died at his home in Odiham, Hampshire, in the early hours of this morning.

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