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How aftermath of 'Brexit' could threaten UK's craft ales

Craft ales are a popular feature of modern day life in the region

Craft beers are enjoying remarkable success - not least here in the South of England. The popularity of many of the brands is put down to the use of the distinctive of American hops. But the cost of importing those hops has soared after the pound fell following the vote for Brexit - an effect that is putting the craft ale revolution at risk. John Ryall reports.

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i360 closed all weekend for repairs

The i360 viewing tower will be shut for maintenance over the weekend

The i360 observation tower in Brighton is closed for repairs this weekend following reports that it became stuck mid-air on Friday.

Anyone affected by the closure can apply for a refund or change their dates.

"British Airways i360 will be closed this weekend, Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th February, for maintenance. We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.

Pre-booked tickets for this weekend will be valid for 3 months for customers who wish to visit on another day (subject to availability).

For refunds please call our Customer Services team on 03337 720 360 – our lines are open from 9.00am – 5.30pm.'

– British Airways i360 company statement

21 crew 'safe & well' after ship fire in English Channel

The fire is believed to have started in the cargo area

A Fire and Rescue Marine Response team was airlifted on board a ship which caught fire in the English Channel after leaving Southampton headed for the USA at about 3.45am on Friday.

The fire took hold in the cargo area of the US car carrier ‘Honor’ while it was en route to Baltimore, in the state of Maryland, USA.

The emergency team was transported to the vessel by the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Lee on Solent in Hampshire.

Their mission was to investigate the fire damage and determine whether or not it was safe for the vessel to return to the Port of Southampton.

The ship returned to land last night. Its 21 crew have been reported to be safe and well. The vessel will remain in Southampton over the weekend. Further updates will be released on Monday.

'Fuel bank' scheme used by 500 children in Hastings in less than a year

A 'fuel bank' that's been running for just under a year in Hastings has already helped more than 1,100 people - including 500 children.

The scheme gives foodbank users vouchers for gas or electricity so families don't have to choose between keeping the lights on and heating their home.

Jeffery Beale, manager, said: 'During the last few months, we’ve seen an increase in people coming through our doors for both food and fuel support, largely due to the roll out of Universal Credit in our area.

'With waiting times of up to six weeks before receiving any benefit means that not only those out-of-work are struggling, but also those in-work and on low incomes.'

AWE staff in 24 hour strike over pension changes

Workers have been carrying out industrial action over pension changes

Up to 600 workers at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire are on strike today in a continuing dispute over changes to their pensions.

Members of the Unite union from the sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield will join colleagues from across the country protesting at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall. They say they stand to lose thousands of pounds in retirement income.

The firm's defined benefit pension scheme was closed on 31 January 2017.

"Our committed members feel betrayed and badly let down by what has happened to their pensions and they don't deserve to lose thousands of pounds when they retire.

"There is a solution that could resolve this dispute and that is to allow the AWE workforce to join the principal civil service pension scheme.

"Our members want to have a constructive dialogue with Michael Fallon, but they have met with a brick wall which is insulting to such a dedicated workforce delivering the government's flagship Trident nuclear programme.

"So on Tuesday, our members will be knocking on the proverbial front door at the MoD as they seek to secure a decent retirement income that they were promised by a Tory government a quarter of a century ago."

– Jennie Formby, Unite regional secretary for the south east

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South's first cat cafe opens in Bournemouth

Welcome to the new cat cafe

The South's first ever cat cafe opens its doors on Friday. It's a concept that's popular in Far Eastern countries - the idea being that the stresses of urban life can be more easily forgotten if you spend some quality time in the company of cats.

Martin Dowse joined some specially invited customers for a sneak peak before the grand opening, to see what they, and the twelve resident rescue cats, would make of it..

ASLEF train drivers reject Southern deal - Rail boss says: 'Naturally we're saddened'

More industrial action to come in the dispute on Southern trains

The head of Govia Thameslink Railway - Southern's parent company, has given his reaction to the decision of ASLEF union members to reject a deal in the ongoing dispute about driver-only trains.

“Naturally we’re saddened and hugely disappointed, as will be our passengers, with today’s decision by drivers, particularly as the agreement carried the full support and recommendation of the ASLEF leadership. We now need to understand the issues which led to this outcome and we’ll be seeking to meet with the union as soon as possible to see how we can agree a way forward.”

– Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, Southern’s parent company
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