Sky News

Sky News is a British free-to-air television news channel and organisation. Sky News is distributed via a radio news service, and through online channels. It is owned by Sky, a division of Comcast. John Ryley is the head of Sky News, a role he has held since June 2006.

Madonna has hit out at Instagram for taking down provocative photographs in which her nipple was exposed.

The 63-year-old star had shared a series of risqué pictures of herself on and underneath a bed, wearing a cut-out bra, a thong, fishnet tights and high heels, which made headlines earlier in the week.

Resharing the images with a few well-placed emojis on Thursday, Madonna said the originals had been removed "without warning or notification" and that Instagram had told her management it was because "a small portion" of the star's nipple was exposed.

Image: The star pictured at the MTV Video Music Awards in September. Pic: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
Image: She has always been known for pushing boundaries with fashion. Pic: AP Photo/Sean Kardon/ 1990

According to Instagram's community guidelines, nudity is banned but there are exceptions for photos for health reasons, such as post-mastectomy scarring, and women breastfeeding. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is allowed, too.

"It is still astounding to me that we live in a culture that allows every inch of a woman's body to be shown except a nipple," the singer said. "As if that is the only part of a woman's anatomy that could be sexualized. The nipple that nourishes the baby! Can't a mans nipple be experienced as erotic ??!!

"And what about a woman's ass which is never censored anywhere. Giving thanks that I have managed to maintain my sanity through four decades of censorship…… sexism……ageism and misogyny."

Madonna finished her post with the hashtag: #artistsareheretodisturbthepeace.

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As well as her music, Madonna is almost as famous for pushing boundaries with fashion and her choices of explicit outfits over the decades.

In the early days of her career, she pioneered the "underwear as outerwear" trend by wearing a corset body suit with conical bra cups, designed by Jean Paul Gaultier.

And in 2016, the star attended the Met Gala in a bondage-inspired Givenchy outfit featuring leather, lace, thigh-high boots, a thong and nipple pasties.

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Sky News has contacted Instagram for comment on her recent photos.

In 2020, the photo-sharing app updated its rules to allow pictures of women holding, cupping or wrapping their arms around their breasts.

Earlier this year, the social media site apologised for removing the official film poster for Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's Madres Paralelas (Parallel Mothers), which showed a lactating female nipple, for breaking its rules on nudity.

After reinstating the images, it said exceptions could be made "to allow nudity in certain circumstances, which includes when there's clear artistic context".

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Four teenage boys have been arrested on suspicion of murdering 12-year-old
Ava White in Liverpool.

The girl died following an incident in Liverpool city centre on Thursday night, Merseyside Police said.

Ava suffered "catastrophic injuries" in an assault following a verbal argument in the city at 8.39pm, shortly after the Christmas lights switch on took place, police said.

One of the four boys arrested is aged 13, two are aged 14 and one is 15.

When police arrived at the scene, they found the girl, who was with friends, collapsed on the ground and receiving first aid from a member of the public.

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The FTSE 100 fell more than 3% as the market opened on Friday morning, reflecting fears that a new coronavirus variant could wreak further havoc on international business and travel.

Shares in major airlines plummeted with IAG, the owner of British Airways, falling more than 21% in early trading, while EasyJet plunged 16%.

Engine maker Rolls-Royce and oil giants BP and Shell were also among big fallers.

Overnight, Asian markets suffered their sharpest drop in two months after the detection of the possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant.

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Cody Ackland, 24, has been charged with the murder of teenager Bobbi-Anne McLeod in Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall Police say.

A body, believed to be that of the missing 18-year-old, was discovered on Tuesday afternoon close to the beach at Bovisand, about seven miles from where she was last seen.

Ackland, who was arrested on Tuesday, has now been charged with her murder and is due to appear at Plymouth Magistrates' Court later.

Image: Police say they are not seeking anyone else in connection with the case

Ms McLeod's family has been informed and are being supported by specialist officers, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

The force said on Thursday there was "no known link" between Ms McLeod and the suspect.

Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Leaper said investigators were not seeking anyone else in connection with the killing.

Ms McLeod left her home in Leigham at about 6pm and was last seen waiting at a bus stop close to her house as she made her way into town.

Hundreds of people gathered by the spot she was last seen to hold a candlelit vigil in her memory.

A bank of flowers dotted with candles has been laid by local residents over the past few days.

Image: Crowds gathered in Plymouth to hold a candlelit vigil for Bobbi-Anne

Donna McLeod, the victim's mother, thanked the crowd for all the love and support her family has received over the last few days.

"Thank you for doing everything to try and find her and bring our baby home," she said.

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French fishermen blocked off a boat in the port of St Malo this morning as they started a day of protests over post-Brexit fishing rights.

According to Reuters, the Jersey-based vessel Normandy Trader was prevented from leaving the port in Brittany.

There are also plans for fishermen to block the Channel Tunnel and the port of Calais later today.

Image: The Normandy Trader was prevented from leaving the French port this morning

The row centres around French fishermen demanding the UK issue more licences to fish in British waters than what Westminster says was agreed in the post-Brexit trade deal.

In order for a licence to be granted, fishermen need to be able to show they have worked in UK waters in recent years.

Some of those on the French side have been unable to provide this evidence - which would also give access to waters around the Crown Dependency of Jersey.

A similar agreement is in operation for British vessels to work in French waters.

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French authorities briefly seized a British fishing boat that was in its waters last month, taking it back to one of their ports.

The scallop vessel Cornelis was eventually allowed to leave Le Havre port.

Speaking ahead of today's action, Gerard Romiti, president of the National Maritime Fisheries Committee, said: "This is our demonstration of the quality and ability of professional fishermen to mobilise in response to the UK's provocative, contemptuous and humiliating attitude towards them."

A Downing Street spokesman said the government was "disappointed by threats of protest activity".

He added: "It will be a matter for the French to ensure that there are no illegal actions and that trade is not affected. We continue to monitor the situation closely."

It is not the first time French fishermen have sought to take direct action.

In April, they blocked lorries carrying fish from British waters to processing centres in France.

And the British navy dispatched two patrol boats in May when French boats blockaded the Saint Helier harbour in Jersey.

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The tension comes as the UK and French government seek to find a way to address the issues which lead to the 27 Channel deaths on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Port of Dover said they were aware of the potential for a "limited period of disruption in France".

They added: "The port will be open for business as normal, and has tried and tested plans in place to deal with temporary interruptions to cross-Channel services should they occur.

"We would encourage any customers travelling to allow some extra time for their journey and check with their chosen ferry operator for the latest updates."

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France has cancelled a meeting with the UK to discuss Channel crossings after Boris Johnson asked the French to take back migrants arriving in Britain.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin has told Home Secretary Priti Patel "she was no longer welcome" at Sunday's European meeting on migrant issues, a French government spokesman said.

Spokesman Gabriel Attal said it was because of Mr Johnson's letter to French President Emmanuel Macron.

"That letter was formally poor and its content inappropriate," Mr Attal told BFMTV.

Image: This is what remains of the boat that capsized in the Channel and resulted in the deaths of 27 people

Mr Darmanin said the letter is a "disappointment" and the fact it was made public was "worse", according to reports in French media.

An Interior Ministry statement, reported in French media, said the letter was "unacceptable and contrary to our discussions between counterparts".

The meeting will now go ahead with just France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the European Commission.

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Conservative MP Tim Loughton told Sky News the French need to "get read" and realise there are consequences to "turning a blind eye" to Channel crossings.

He added that the PM has "come up with practical solutions" and it is "extraordinary" Paris has cancelled the meeting.

Governments on both sides of the Channel have been blaming each other this week after 27 migrants drowned on Wednesday evening off the coast of France as they tried to get to the UK on a small dinghy.

In the letter to Mr Macron, which he tweeted out, the PM set out five steps he thinks both sides should take "as soon as possible".

Image: Migrants, including young children, arriving in the UK the day after 27 died

The PM's five-point plan entails:

• Joint patrols to prevent migrant boats from leaving French beaches
• Using more advanced technology such as sensors and radar
• Carry out reciprocal maritime patrols in each nation's territorial waters and utilise airborne surveillance
• "Deepening the work" of the Joint Intelligence Cell and ensuring there is better intelligence sharing to drive more arrests and prosecutions
• Committing to "immediate work" to strike a bilateral returns agreement between Paris and London, as well as discussions on a UK-EU agreement.

"If those who reach this country were swiftly returned the incentive for people to put their lives in the hands of traffickers would be significantly reduced," Mr Johnson said.

"This would be the single biggest step we could take together to reduce the draw to Northern France and break the business model of criminal gangs.

"I am confident that by taking these steps and building on our existing cooperation we can address illegal migration and prevent more families from experiencing the devastating loss we saw yesterday."

Suggestions the number of migrants crossing the Channel has reached record levels this year due to Brexit were dismissed by transport secretary Grant Shapps.

He told Sky News: "I think it's a bit of a red herring to mix it up with Brexit, it's not even an argument I've heard before.

"There were plenty of people crossing before but in different ways, they tended to do it by lorry but what's different here is the number of people doing it by sea.

"I think the Europe argument is confusing here because it's not related to that. It's heartbreaking to see and I think it's incumbent on the UK and France to do everything they can do to resolve this and get on top of this human tragedy."

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The UK is taking "a safety first approach" in banning entry from six African countries in the face of a virulent new COVID variant, Grant Shapps has told Sky News.

Flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be suspended from 12pm on Friday until 4am on Sunday.

From Sunday onwards, new arrivals in the UK will be required to quarantine in hotels.

Mr Shapps said: "It is important to make sure that you do act immediately and in doing so you get to slow things down in terms of potential entry into the country.

"That gives us a bit of time for the scientists to work on sequencing the genome, which involves growing cultures - it takes several weeks to do - so we can find out how significant a concern this particular variant is.

"It is a safety-first approach.

"We have done that before with things like the mink variant from Denmark and we were then able to relax it reasonably quickly."

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The UK Health Security Agency has said the new B.1.1.529 variant identified in South Africa is the "worst one we've seen so far" and has a spike protein that is "dramatically" different to the original COVID strain.

The variant also has 30 mutations - twice as many as the Delta variant - and are likely to evade the immune response generated by prior infection and vaccination.

However, B.1.1.529 can be detected with a normal PCR test.

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Five Derbyshire Police officers are being investigated over events leading up to the violent death of Gracie Spinks at a stable block near Chesterfield where she kept her horse.

Gracie, who was 23, is believed to have been stabbed to death by Michael Sellers, a former work supervisor she'd reported for stalking her there four months earlier.

Sellers' body was found nearby a few hours after Gracie died.

A local couple later revealed on social media that they had given the police a bag of weapons they had found close to the stables a month before she was killed.

Image: A local couple revealed they had found a bag of weapons close to the stables a month before she was killed. Pic: Anna Kipling

A statement from the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said: "[We have] made good progress on our investigation into police contact with Gracie Spinks prior to her death in Duckmanton, Derbyshire earlier this year.

"After consideration of evidence so far, we have reached a stage where we have now served disciplinary notices on five officers."

Gracie's mother Alison Heaton told Sky News the development moves the family closer to getting the answers they have demanded.

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"It means that we can have some sort of justice for Gracie," she said.

"I totally believe that had the police done their job properly Gracie would be alive."

The IOPC has confirmed one sergeant and a constable are being investigated for alleged misconduct over what they did following Gracie's stalking complaint when she found Sellers waiting for her at the stables one morning in February.

Image: Gracie died in June this year

Two constables are being investigated for alleged misconduct and a sergeant for alleged gross misconduct over what was done with the bag of weapons, which also contained a note saying: "Don't lie".

In a statement the IOPC said: "Our investigation is considering whether the force carried out all its safeguarding obligations to Ms Spinks and whether its investigation into the stalking matter was carried out in accordance with relevant police guidelines and policies.

"We are also looking into the actions and decision making of police following the discovery of a bag, containing a hammer, an axe and some knives, in May this year."

Wayne Kipling who found the bag on a footpath while walking with his wife Anna told Sky News it also contained clothing, a card payment receipt and Viagra pills.

Image: Gracie was last seen alive as she headed to a stable to see her horse

"We thought something's not right here, finding all these weapons with a change of clothes in, so we rang the police," he said.

"I'm not happy at all, what's the point of finding something and handing it in?"

Gracie's brother Tom said he has been told the police put the bag into lost property storage until Gracie was killed, despite it containing enough evidence to link it to Sellars.

"She would be alive right now if the police has done anything, anything at all to let the public know," he said.

The IOPC said its investigation is ongoing.

An online petition started by Gracie's family for each police force to have funding for a dedicated point of contact for stalking complaints has gathered more than 80,000 signatures.

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According to her mum, Daisy is the "happiest little girl you'll ever meet". It certainly seems that way at her physiotherapy session, where the four-year-old is laughing, dancing, singing and playing musical instruments.

But her mum, Corina Gander, also says her daughter is frequently written off, due to a general lack of understanding around Down Syndrome.

"Sometimes as a parent you kind of feel that no one has any high expectations for our children," she told Sky News. "It's that old-fashioned stigma."

Corina was told Daisy would have Down's syndrome while she was pregnant. The care she received before birth was "fantastic", but she says there was a dramatic shift once Daisy arrived, to the point where concerns over her daughter's breathing were repeatedly dismissed.

"I was always told 'well, she's got Down Syndrome, what do you expect?'," she said.

Corina, who has four other daughters aged between eight and 20, knew something wasn't right with her baby.

"My other kids aren't doing this, so should I be more concerned about her? 'No no, you've just got to accept you've got a sick child'. I remember someone saying that to me. Well yes, she was sick but having Down Syndrome doesn't make her sick."

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Image: Daisy's family say she is frequently written off but are hopeful that she will have 'a future' if the bill is passed

Daisy was eventually admitted to hospital three months later after contracting a virus. It transpired her lungs and other organs were "floppy", resulting in severe breathing difficulties that saw Daisy put on life support.

"For three months, she was potentially really struggling but no one listened to me and there is nowhere for you to go," Corina said.

The new Down Syndrome Bill, which is expected to clear its first Commons hurdle on Friday when it is debated at second reading, is designed to put an end to experiences like Corina's and Daisy's by making it a legal requirement for people with Down Syndrome to have their social care needs met.

The proposed legislation would see people with Down Syndrome legally recognised as a specific minority group, rather than treated more broadly as disabled.

Conservative former cabinet minister Dr Liam Fox, who introduced the bill, told Sky News: "It will give [people with Down Syndrome] a right to challenge local authorities, health authorities, educational authorities, if they're not providing care.

"It will give them the right to challenge, in law."

Guidance would be issued to the relevant authorities on the steps they need to take in order to meet the needs of people with Down Syndrome, according to the proposed law.

"This is the first generation that will outlive their parents because of life expectancy," Dr Fox said.

"So there is an urgency with dealing particularly with this element of assisted care to make sure that those who do live longer than their parents are dealt with, with proper dignity and independence."

Health minister Gillian Keegan, offering the government's backing, said: "The health, care and happiness of people with Down's Syndrome is an absolute priority for me.

"As both a minister and proud aunt to my much-loved nephew who lives with the condition, I am pleased to support this bill which will make a significant difference to ensuring health, education, social care and housing needs are met following a pandemic which highlighted disparities that need to be tackled.

"Dr Liam Fox's bill and the following guidance will make it clear how the needs of people with Down Syndrome should be met."

Back at home in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, Daisy is playing with two of her older sisters, Angel, 10, and Rhianna, 20, who double as carers.

"I usually get [Daisy] dressed in the morning and give her milk at night," Angel told Sky News.

Their support of Daisy is unlimited and unconditional, but there is no doubt that families like hers are in need of support too.

"Hopefully [the bill] will stop the challenges we face," Corina said.

"We're always fighting for things and it'll make a massive difference to me as a parent.

"When you see that you feel [Daisy] is going to have a future."

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Two Welsh rugby teams are looking to repatriate their staff and players as soon as possible after South Africa was added to the travel red list.

Cardiff Rugby and Scarlets Rugby had both travelled to the country to play two United Rugby Championship games each.

But a new coronavirus variant has been discovered that could be more transmissible and more resistant to vaccines.

South Africa is being added to the red list at 12pm on Friday, meaning flights are being suspended and those who arrive in the UK will be required to isolate for 10 days.

From 4am on Sunday, this quarantine period will need to take place in a hotel.

This will have a knock-on effect for both teams because the Heineken Champions Cup is due to begin on home soil on 10 December - affecting preparations in the run-up to the tournament.

Simon Muderack, the executive chairman of Scarlets Rugby, tweeted on Thursday night: "Many will have seen the news about the new COVID variant that affects our people in South Africa.

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"We are focused on the welfare of our staff in South Africa and the concern of their families at home. We are exploring all options to repatriate our people as soon as possible."

Cardiff Rugby released a similar statement, and promised to offer regular updates with any developments.

According to WalesOnline, both teams are currently trying to arrange charter flights later today.

While Cardiff are currently based in Cape Town, the Scarlets are approximately 1,000 miles away in Durban.

Flights from Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe are also being suspended as the new B.1.1.529 variant is investigated.

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'Our scientists are deeply concerned' - Javid

Experts in the UK have called it the "worst one we've seen so far".

A total of 59 confirmed cases have been linked to the variant at present.

But in South Africa, where infection numbers have risen dramatically in recent days, there are concerns that B.1.1.529 is behind many cases.

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