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Thomson and First Choice release updated statement following the events in Tunisia

"Following the tragic events in Tunisia, we are working around the clock to handle a continuously moving and challenging situation and would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of those involved.

"Whilst our priorities remain to provide every support to the families who lost loved ones in Friday’s incident, caring for the injured and bringing home customers from Tunisia who wish to return, we are also constantly reviewing the situation and updating our response accordingly.

"This includes updates to our customer policy and helping customers who no longer want to travel to Tunisia to find other holidays.

"We can confirm that we will be extending the cancellation of all our holidays to Tunisia up to and including the 9th July. Customers travelling to Tunisia in this period will be given the opportunity to amend their holiday free of charge to any of our destinations or receive a full refund.

"Furthermore, customers planning to travel to Tunisia at any time up until the end of the summer season (31st October) will be able to amend their holidays free of charge to any of our destinations.

"We can now offer fifteen new flights from airports across the UK to destinations including the Balearic Islands, Mainland Spain and Cyprus. In addition to customers being able to amend free of charge, those choosing these new flights will be offered a £50 discount per person.

"Customers wishing to amend their Tunisia holiday should contact the customer service centre on 0800 009 3835 or 020 3636 1996 or visit a Thomson or First Choice retail shop.

"Owing to the unprecedented volume of calls experienced by our customer service centre we can currently only take calls from those who have holidays booked to Tunisia in July. For customers travelling between August and October please visit your local Thomson retail shop or call us from Monday 6th July.

"The whole of Thomson and First Choice are deeply shocked and truly saddened by the events and we are grateful to our staff on the ground and in the air and the emergency services who are working hard in an incredibly challenging environment.

"Anyone with concerns about friends and families should continue to call 0800 0885372.

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Foreign Office advice for travelling to Tunisia

The Foreign Office have issued advice to travellers following the terror attack in Tunisia.

A reinforced British Embassy team is on the spot providing consular assistance to British nationals in the resort.

On their website the Foreign Office said: "Further terrorist attacks in Tunisia, including in tourist resorts, are possible, including by individuals who are unknown to the authorities and whose actions are inspired by terrorist groups via social media.

"You should be especially vigilant at this time and follow the advice of Tunisian security authorities and your tour operator."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

  • the Chaambi Mountain National Park area
  • the Tunisia-Algeria border crossing points at Ghardimaou, Hazoua and Sakiet Sidi Youssef
  • the militarized zone south of, but not including, the towns of El Borma and Dhehiba
  • within 5km of the Libya border area from north of Dhehiba up to but not including the Ras Ajdir border crossing

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • areas south of, and including, the towns of Nefta, Douz, Médenine, Zarzis (including the Tunisia-Libya border crossing point at Ras Ajdir)
  • within 30km of the border with Algeria south of, and including, the town of Jendouba (this area includes the archaeological sites of Bulla Regia and Chemtou)
  • the governorate of Kasserine, including the town of Sbeitla

Fathers for Justice protestor leaves Trip Advisor review of his Tyne Bridge stay

Simon Anderton reviewed his Tyne Bridge stay on Trip Advisor Credit: Fathers for Justice

Fathers for Justice protestor Simon Anderton who scaled the Tyne bridge on Father's Day has posted a review on Trip Advisor of his stay.

He posted the review titled “Self catering facility in the penthouse suite” on 26 June - five days into his stay on top of the bridge.

In it, Mr Anderton said he is currently halfway through a two-week stay on top of the iconic landmark.

The review has since been deleted but included a list of negatives and positives including 'no stairs to reach my room' and a lack of 'toilet facilities' although he did say he'd been 'improvising'.

In the list of positives he includes 'spectacular views over a beautiful city and a 'central location'.

The review ends with the 56-year-old saying: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first week here and hope the weather improves for week two.”

Mr Anderton, 56, who has five children, has said he has not seen his youngest two daughters for 14 years and sold his house to to fund his family court battle.

In previous protests he has scaled Westminster Abbey, spent 9 days on the roof of Metro Radio studios and occupied the Tyne Bridge for 3 days in 2008.

Mr Anderton has said he is dedicating this protest, which he says will be his last, to the memory of fellow activist Elaine Downes who lost her battle with cancer in 2012.

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'Outpouring of emotion' over Tunisia terror death

The Rector of Whickham, Gateshead, has spoken of the shock felt by the community over the death of grandmother Lisa Burbidge, who was killed in the terror attack in Tunisia.

Her local church, St Mary the Virgin, will be open every morning to allow people time for prayers and contemplation.

People are also being invited to lay floral tributes on the Green outside the church.

The Rev Barry Abbott spoke to ITV News Tyne Tees:

Men accused of killing Tipu Sultan appear in court

Two men accused of killing, Tipu Sultan, who was shot dead outside his family takeaway, will go on trial next year.

Tipu Sultan was gunned down on April 7th. Credit: Northumbria Police

Michael McDougall, 47, and Michael Mullen, 24, are accused of shooting the 32-year-old father outside Herbs and Spice, South Shields, on April 7th.

Prosecutor Jolyon Perks told Newcastle Crown Court: "Both defendants are sent in relation to a joint allegation of murder."

McDougall, of Hylton Avenue, South Shields and Mullen, of Hawthorne Avenue, South Shields, appeared at the hearing via video link to HMP Durham.

They were not asked to enter pleas to the charge.

Both men will be back in court on October 1st for a plea hearing.

A trial date has been set for February 1st 2016.

Judge Paul Sloan QC remanded both men in custody.

Metro passenger subjected to a racist assault

Police are investigating a racist incident on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

It happened at around 6.30pm on Sunday, June 28, when a man travelling on the Metro from Central Station made racist comments towards another man who was travelling on the train.

The offender then threw a can of lager over the man as he left the train at Wansbeck Road Metro Station.

He is white, aged around 30, and was wearing a blue polo shirt, shorts and white trainers.

Police say the incident was reported to them by a witness, and they areicers are keen to trace and speak to the victim.

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