Britain is set to review its energy links with France after the country threatened to cut off Jersey’s power supply in a row over fishing rights. A senior Whitehall source described France’s actions as “outrageous” and said the UK would have to take a more cautious view of France as an energy partner. It is understood that Britain could seek to route future giant undersea power cable projects towards the Netherlands, which it now views as a more reliable partner than France. A source said France had “weaponised” its electricity exports. Jersey, the self-governing British crown dependency with about 110,000 residents, receives about 95pc of its electricity from France through three undersea cables. It was thrown into turmoil as France responded to the UK’s decision to authorise 41 ships to fish in waters off Jersey. The French fisheries ministry claimed the permits came with demands that had not been discussed or authorised.
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The creator of Line of Duty has insisted that viewers enjoyed the finale, despite evidence to the contrary. Fans rushed to express their disappointment on Sunday night when the series drew to a downbeat close. Jed Mercurio said that “the perceived levels of dissatisfaction have been exaggerated in the echo chamber of social media”, and claimed that the BBC’s audience research was more positive. However, the research showed that the finale was the least popular episode of the series. After posting the research findings on Twitter, he was confronted by viewers who maintained that the ending had been a letdown, with lowly Det Supt Ian Buckells unmasked as the corrupt “fourth man” linked to a string of murders. In his first comments on the criticism since Sunday’s episode was broadcast, Mr Mercurio said: “No one disputes the Line of Duty finale divided social media opinion but the audience research so far shows a far less extreme picture.
India’s most senior opposition politician, Rahul Gandhi, has demanded a nationwide lockdown, as pressure grows on Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, with India reporting a global record of 412,626 new daily cases on Wednesday. A second wave of Covid-19 driven by new, more contagious variants has devastated India and the sheer volume of infections, with over 300,000 new cases for 15 consecutive days, has overwhelmed the nation’s threadbare healthcare system. Thousands of Indians are dying outside hospitals and in their homes due to oxygen and bed shortages. The residents of major Indian cities, like and Delhi, are also having to turn to the black market to procure essential drugs, due to shortages. While Mr Modi has resisted imposing a national lockdown so far, nearly a dozen Indian states have now imposed their own curfews. India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, home to over 200 million people, enforced a five-day lockdown this week, while curbs will also be enforced in the states of West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh from Thursday.
The RSPB has taken on the Environment Agency over a plan to create floodplains which would have destroyed the nests of rare birds. Mud flats were due to be created on the River Otter in Devon this month in a nature restoration attempt, but doing so would require the destruction of vegetation on the river, putting birds and their nests at risk. After angry rebukes from the bird charity and BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham, the Environment Agency said the start of the project was "being reviewed" in order to take possible ecological damage into account. The RSPB said it supported the restoration scheme but it was the wrong time of year, as many birds are nesting. Tony Whitehead from the charity said there were concerns about the work taking place in May, "in the middle of the nesting season". He explained that species like the rare Cetti's warbler were at risk and the RSPB had "repeatedly" asked for the work to be moved to another time of year. "It is good to hear that the works have been paused today and for the remainder of this week," he said. "We hope this will give time for the works to be rescheduled for after the bird nesting season, which in our view would be after the end of August." The bird charity said it had spent months trying to get the plans delayed. Birdwatchers rushed to the area, and said they found evidence of this rare warbler nesting on the site. The plan for the estuary is to return it to a more natural state, creating 55 hectares of mudflats, saltmarsh and other valuable estuarine habitats. Along with increasing biodiversity, the project is aimed at reducing floods in the areas around the River Otter. In a video posted on Twitter, Mr Packham said: "Sanctioned by the Environment Agency, workers are going to turn up and destroy an area of scrub, which is home to reed warbler, white throat, reed bunting, and Cetti's warbler, a schedule one species. Now this is the breeding season as we know, these birds are all likely to have nests with eggs or young. "The Environment Agency said they could not delay this work until after June because there are dormice on site. "You can't just start destroying birds' nests when they are protecting - what kind of signal is this sending out to developers elsewhere? Come on Environment Agency - wake up!". The presenter later thanked the government agency for pausing the work. An EA spokesperson said the delay had been agreed so "that timings reflect the balance of ecological risks". Clinton Devon Estates, a partner in the scheme, added: "Following consultation with our partners and other environmental organisations over risks to nesting birds, the start of vegetation clearance work in preparation for the Lower Otter Restoration Project has been postponed. "Any works in the future will be undertaken on the basis that they will not have a risk of impacting breeding birds."
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Fishing vessels departed France for Jersey in the early hours of May 6, amid a dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights.This footage, posted to Facebook by a local union in Normandy, shows vessels leaving port. The organization said the footage was filmed in Barneville-Carteret, where boats departed in the early hours.French news reports said vessels also departed Breton and Granville.According to the BBC, two UK Royal Navy vessels were sent to patrol the waters around Jersey in response. Credit: Hugo Lehuby/Comite Peches Normandie via Storyful
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Germany will allow AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to adults of all ages and aims to offer 12-18 year olds a vaccine by the end of August as it seeks to speed up its rollout, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Thursday. The country's 16 regional health ministers have agreed with Spahn to reverse a previous decision to restrict the AstraZeneca shot to people over 60 years old. "Both these measures serve to further to accelerate our vaccination campaign overall," said Spahn.
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A young London woman killed in Pakistan after she had refused two marriage offers had appealed for help from police two weeks before her killing. Mayra Zulfiqar had reportedly asked police in the city of Lahore for protection after accusing a man of abducting her at gunpoint. The 26-year-old was found dead in her apartment earlier this week, and had been threatened by two men who both wanted to marry her, according to a legal case filed by her family. Pakistani police have said they are seeking the two men and two other accomplices who are accused of breaking into Miss Zulfiqar's home and shooting and strangling her. New legal documents have now disclosed that she went to police on April 20 saying a man had taken her at gunpoint and tried to sexually assault her, the BBC reported. She said she managed to run away by alerting bystanders, but the man threatened her, saying "you won't be able to escape, I will kill you." Miss Zulfiqar had arrived in Pakistan from London two months ago to attend a wedding with her family. She decided to stay on when they returned and had been staying in the defence housing authority district of Lahore. Her uncle told police she had been threatened with “dire consequences” by two men after she refused their proposals and had asked him to intercede with the pair. Police had checked CCTV in the area after her abduction, according to neighbours in the street where she was renting the upper section of a house. A neighbour who declined to be named said that loud arguments could often be heard from the apartment and in one incident men brandishing knives had been seen threatening Miss Zulfiqar from the street. Miss Zulfiqar's funeral was held in the city in eastern Pakistan earlier this week. The Foreign Office said she was a Belgian national who had been resident in the UK.
Three in 10 local areas have recorded a week-on-week rise in rates.