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Thames Water fined a record £20million for environmental disaster

Thames water has been fined a record £20.3m after it admitted pumping 1.4 billion litres of raw sewage into the Thames.

People and animals were left sick and hundreds of fish and birds died over a two-year period when "out of control" sewage treatment centres owned by Thames Water, sent untreated water into rivers in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Thames Water sewage plant Credit: ITV Meridian

The company allowed more than a billion litres of untreated effluent to enter the waterway in 2013 and 2014.

The judge described it as a disgraceful level of Pollution after people and animals became ill and thousands of fish died.

Judge Francis Sheridan handed down a fine of £20,361,140 - a record for a water utility for an environmental disaster - at a sentencing hearing at Aylesbury Crown Court today.

Thames Water was fined £380 for polluting this stream in 2013 Credit: Environment Agency

Judge Sheridan handed down a fine which is ten times higher than the previous record penalty paid by Southern Water

This is a shocking and disgraceful state of affairs. It should not be cheaper to offend than to take appropriate precautions.

– Judge Sheridan

The company admitted 13 breaches of environmental laws over discharges from sewage treatment works in Aylesbury, Didcot, Henley and Little Marlow, and a pumping station at Littlemore.

Thames Water fined Credit: PA

Levels of ammonia described as being "devastating to life" were detected during tests on the river at a Thames Water site at Henley-on-Thames before 50 dead fish were spotted floating on the surface of the river.

At a hearing last week, the judge said he had to ensure the fine was"sufficiently large that they (Thames) get the message"

Thames's previous record fine for pollution was £1 million, paid in January 2016.

The sentencing followed a ruling in March 2016 that big commercial. organisations which cause environmental pollution can be ordered to pay fines running into tens of millions of pounds.

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Police and family of murdered pensioner renew appeal to find killers

Police in Kent have renewed a witness appeal a year after a pensioner was found beaten to death in his home.

Roy Blackman was found murdered at his ransacked bungalow, in Biddenden in March 2016, but Police think he was attacked by more than one person.

Roy Blackman murdered in his home Credit: Kent Police

Mark Love, 38, of Staplehurst has been sentenced to life imprisonment , after being found guilty of Mr Blackman’s murder, as well as another aggravated burglary in Sussex, at Maidstone Crown Court on 29 September but police think others were involved in the attack.

Detectives found a number of items including a large safe containing a quantity of cash, an air weapon and jewellery had been stolen and officers believe other people may have been involved in the break-in. They are keen to speak to anyone who may have information about what happened the night Mr Blackman was killed.

One person has been convicted of Mr Blackman’s murder, however, we firmly believe there were other people involved in the tragic incidents of that night and we believe there are people who know who they are.

However, small or insignificant you think the information you have is, we still want to hear from you as it may be the missing piece in our jigsaw.

We’re hoping that a year on, people will realise Mr Blackman’s family are still waiting for justice to be fully served and I would encourage anyone with information who is yet to talk to us to come forward.

– Detective Chief Inspector Nick Gossett

Mr Blackman's family has issued a joint statement appealing for witnesses as their search for justice continues.

One year after our world fell apart, every day continues to be a struggle for us all.

Our beloved dad, grandad and brother is no longer here to share our lives and guide us - his loss was not the result of an illness or a tragic accident but at the hands of a terrible gang - some of whom are still enjoying their freedom.

We urge anyone with information that they feel may be helpful to please come forward and pass it to the police. Nothing will bring our dad back, but we would like to get as much justice for him as possible.

We are proud of our dad and all he achieved. He was a strong and brave man and will be our hero forever.’ continue to question how they could possibly do such a thing – to go mob-handed against a pensioner living alone.

– Family statement

Anyone with further information is asked to call the dedicated Kent and Essex SCD appeal line on 01303 289600.

Alternatively, you can call Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on0800 555 111.

Flights to Paris cancelled & diverted after shooting

Police at Paris Orly Airport Credit: AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu

Anyone flying to Paris in France today is being advised to check before travelling. Flights have been suspended at Paris Orly Airport after a man who tried to seize a soldier's gun there was shot dead by police.

Flights between Southampton Airport and Paris Orly Airport have been suspended. A spokesperson said that one inbound flight heading to the UK has been delayed.

Some British Airways flights from Heathrow Airport to Paris Orly Airport have also been cancelled.

A number of flights from various airports have been redirected to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport. Do check before you travel.

"We are doing all we can to assist our customers while the airport authorities at Paris Orly prepare for the airport to re-open. ​

The safety and security of our customers and colleagues is always our priority."

– British Airways spokesperson

'Biggest building project in 500 years' offers rare views of Canterbury Cathedral - full report

It's the most famous landmark in the South East - attracting almost a million tourists a year. Now Canterbury Cathedral is undergoing its biggest restoration ever.

The conservation scheme called 'The Canterbury Journey' is costing close to £25million. A painstaking process mixing engineering with a place of quiet daily worship.

The first step - an enormous scaffolding built inside the cathedral - is now almost finished and offers stunning views of the building itself.

Andy Dickenson went to take a look and spoke to site manager Matthew Butler, head of conservation Heather Newton and Mark Hosea, project director.

The situation in East Africa is desperate

Communities and aid agencies in the South are trying to get urgent aid to famine-hit areas of Africa including Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia. In neighbouring Yemen too.

ITV's International Affairs Editor Rageh Omaar has been reporting from the worst affected areas and has seen how desperate the situation is.

He gives Stacey an update.

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Around 20million don't know where their next meal will come from

Charities and communities in the South want to change the outcome for those suffering in East Africa.

The humanitarian crisis is deepening in and around the Horn of Africa. South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen have declared a famine or are on the verge of one.

Aid agencies are trying to raise urgent funds, Oxfam - and it's Bicester warehouse - are working with this country's Disasters Emergency Committee.

Sam Holder reports.

What is the East Africa Crisis appeal; how can you help?

Hunger on a massive scale is looming across East Africa. The Disasters Emergency Committee says 'if we don’t act now, it will get much worse'.

Drought and conflict have left 16 million people on the brink of starvation and in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment. People are already dying in South Sudan and Somalia.

In Kenya, the government has declared a national emergency and Ethiopia is battling a new wave of drought following the strongest El Nino on record.

Women, children and older people are suffering the most; more than 800,000 children under five are severely malnourished. Without immediate treatment, they are at risk of starving to death.

DEC member charities are already delivering life-saving assistance in all affected countries. But, they need more money to help reduce the scale and severity of the crisis.

You can donate through the DEC websiteand the UK Government will match pound for pound the first £5 million donated by the public.

https://donation.dec.org.uk/eastafrica#/

Ravaged by thirst and hunger; East Africans need help

Described as the worst humanitarian crisis since WW11, charities in the South are desperate to help people in East Africa tackle famine.

Around 20 million people do not known when their next meal will be. Most are in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment.

We speak to:

Nasra Dirir, Amal Kulane and Hibo-Misky Mohamoud, students at SOAS, University of London; Roy Irons, St Peters Methodist Church, Canterbury; Laura Cook, 'All We Can' charity; Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for Worthing East and Shoreham. Also to Dr Idil Osman, Research Associate at the Dept of Development Studies, SOAS.

To find out more or donate to the cause, head to https://www.dec.org.uk/splash/africa

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