Great Britain’s 200m world champion Dina Asher-Smith says she will support the Athletics Association, an athletes’ union formed in response to changes to the Diamond League programme.
American two-time Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor launched the body to “fight for athletes’ rights”.
“You know you always have my support! Let’s do this,” tweeted Asher-Smith.
The 200m and triple jump were two of four events cut from the regular 2020 Diamond League programme.
The 3,000m steeplechase and 200m will still feature at 10 of 15 Diamond meetings, while two will stage the discus and triple jump events.
None of the four will be included in the Diamond League final in Zurich in September.
Diamond League chairman and International Association of Athletics Federations president Lord Coe said the changes were intended “to create a faster-paced, more exciting global league that will be the showcase for our sport”.
However Taylor said “separating the events can only damage this sport we all love”.
“We will fight for athletes’ rights and ultimately demand a seat at the table and a say in how our sport is run and how the sport can grow and evolve without ripping out its core.”
He invited fellow athletes to email to register their interest and follow the organisation’s social media accounts.
Britain’s Adam Gemili, who expressed surprise at the Diamond League’s announcement on Wednesday, retweeted Taylor’s manifesto.
Athletes already have two voting positions on the 26-person IAAF Council with competitors at the recent World Championships in Doha balloted on who should represent them as part of the Athletes’ Commission.
French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie and New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams are among those elected.
“We are fully supportive,” an IAAF spokesperson told BBC Sport of the Athletics Association’s creation.
“The more athletes involved in the decisions made in the sport the better the sport will be.”
One person has died and 15 others have been hurt in a crash between two buses and a car in south-east London.
The crash occurred on Sevenoaks Road in Orpington at about 22:10 GMT on Thursday.
London Ambulance Service said one person was pronounced dead at the scene and 15 people had been taken to hospital. Three have serious injuries.
A man who was driving the car has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, the Met said.
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) sent 60 firefighters to the scene of the collision.
Fire crews rescued several people from the single-decker buses, helped carry out first aid and made the vehicles safe, according to LFB Assistant Commissioner Graham Ellis.
Road closures have been put in place and police have advised motorists to use alternative routes.
Six bus routes have also been diverted.
Evidence that women are being driven to sex work because of problems with universal credit must lead to government action, MPs have said.
A number of women told the work and pensions committee they turned to sex work because their benefits payments did not cover their basic needs.
The committee said the government had previously been “dismissive” of the issue but had now changed its position.
The government said it was taking the evidence “very seriously”.
The committee has been investigating a potential link between universal credit and “survival sex” – when people, overwhelmingly but not exclusively women, turn to sex work to meet their basic needs, including food, shelter and clean clothes.
Universal credit merges six benefits into one payment and was designed to simplify the benefits system and help people move into work.
However, the committee has heard evidence that problems with the new system, including a five-week wait for the first payment, are forcing some women to rely on sex work.
A 21-year-old woman – referred to as T to protect her identity – told the committee she was abused as a child and had not been to school since the age of 11. She worked in a cafe, then became a carer – gaining a social care qualification – but had to leave her job because of mental health problems.
She said she turned to sex work because her universal credit payments were not enough to cover her basic living costs.
“It is horrible to say, but it is the easiest thing to keep us girls alive,” she said.
Advances are available while people wait for their first payment, however this must then be paid back from subsequent payments so T said she continued to struggle to make ends meet.
“I only spend £20 on gas and electric a fortnight… I am trying my best, £30 on shopping, not a penny over, because if I go a penny over I can’t get other stuff that I need, tampons and things.
“By the time I got [the advance payment] I had spent it and then I was waiting another three to four weeks for my benefit.
“Even then when I got my benefit, they were taking £150 off my benefit and I was left with £50.”
She said she is now “sofa-surfing”, having been evicted from her house because she fell behind on rent payments.
‘I left the baby next door’
An adviser for a London-based housing association shared the experience of one mother – referred to as Ms J – who had resorted to survival sex after being caught shoplifting because she could not afford to buy food.
“The manager said if I gave him [oral sex] he’d let me off. What could I do? It was that or have the police called,” she said.
“He said afterwards that if I did the same next week he’d let me have forty quid’s worth of stock. It seemed like a fortune.”
The woman had faced long waits for her universal credit payments, which she said did not cover her basic costs.
“In the end, I held out for two weeks. I got my [universal credit] money, and again it was short, and again it was gone on bills before I’d even thought of food.
“So, I left the baby with next door and went down to the shop… It’s been like that for months now.”
The committee said the government’s initial response to the issue was “defensive, dismissive and trite”.
In a written submission to the committee’s inquiry, the DWP described reports linking universal credit and survival sex as “anecdote” and said the benefits system could not be “robustly attributed as a sole cause” of the issue.
However, after listening to the testimony of women, work and pensions minister Will Quince apologised for the department’s previous submission and said there was a need for better understanding of the issue.
The committee’s chair, independent MP Frank Field, said he welcomed the minister’s comments but said they must be accompanied by action.
“The department, having belatedly acknowledged that there is a problem, must take the steps to resolve it,” he said.
The committee’s report made a number of recommendations, including scrapping the five-week wait for the first payment and, in the meantime, offering non-repayable advances to vulnerable claimants who would otherwise suffer hardship.
It also called on the department to take account of people’s “lived experience” of universal credit and publish a review on improving services and support for those engaged in survival sex.
A DWP spokesperson said it was “committed to providing a safety net for the most vulnerable in society” and had made improvements to universal credit, including extending advance payments, removing waiting days and allowing claimants to continue to be paid housing benefit for two weeks after moving on to universal credit.
A Londoner who was a former victim of gun crime says taking up walking as a hobby helped him escape a life of gang violence.
Dwayne Fields believes it helped turn his life around and hopes sharing his experiences with young people might help them too.
The five-year-old daughter of a British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran on spying charges has returned to the UK.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, a charity worker from London, has been detained for three years over the allegations which she denies.
Gabriella – who has been living with her grandparents in Tehran – has returned to start school.
Her father Richard said it had been a “long journey” to having her home.
“Gabriella came back to us late at night, a bit uncertain seeing those she only remembered from the phone,” he said.
“Now she is peacefully sleeping next to me. And I am just watching.”
Thanking the British Embassy and the Iranian Foreign Ministry, he added: “It has been a long journey to have her home, with bumps right until the end.”
Gabriella has visited her mother at least once a week since her arrest in April 2016.
‘Job not yet done’
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family say she was in Iran to introduce her daughter to relatives.
Last week, they told the Times that her parents had agreed Gabriella should return to the UK for the start of the school year in September but postponed the decision after Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was taken to a psychiatric hospital.
Mr Ratcliffe had told the BBC that his wife was hoping for a “magic” last-minute release to enable her to come home with Gabriella.
Speaking after being re-united with his daughter, he added: “Of course the job is not yet done until Nazanin is home. It was a hard goodbye for Nazanin and all her family. But let us hope this homecoming unlocks another.”
The family’s MP, Labour’s Tulip Siddiq, said Gabriella’s parents have made a decision that “no family” should have to make.
“It is heart-warming to see Gabriella reunited with her father after 1,300 days in Iran, but heart-breaking that she is separated from her mother Nazanin,” Ms Siddiq said.
“Nazanin is at breaking point, and today is yet another reminder that she has been failed at the very highest levels of government.”
Hampstead and Kilburn MP Ms Siddiq called on Iran to end its “hostage diplomacy” and release Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for the release of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe during a meeting with Iran’s president.
In 2017, when he was foreign secretary, Mr Johnson had to apologise after saying she was in Iran “teaching people journalism” – despite her family’s insistence she was there on holiday.
A man stabbed to death at a London Underground station was a football fan on his way to a match, the BBC has been told.
The Arsenal supporter was killed in an “unprovoked attack” on the platform at Hillingdon station on Tuesday.
He had been on his way to the Emirates Stadium to see the Gunners face Nottingham Forest in the third round of the Carabao Cup, a source said.
It is the third murder investigation on the Tube network this year.
No arrests have been made over the attack, which Det Supt Gary Richardson described as “a shocking act of violence”.
He said the British Transport Police (BTP) investigation was in its “early stages”.
“We believe a group of young men were involved in an altercation on the platform before one of the men received a fatal stab wound,” he said.
Police were called to the station in west London shortly before 16:00 BST and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Danielle Foster, who was driving past Hillingdon station at the time of the stabbing, said upon “hearing so many sirens, I knew something terrible had happened”.
“Lots of people were being turned away from the station as it had been closed,” she said, adding: “Then the police helicopter began circling the scene.”
Hillingdon station was closed by Transport for London (TfL) while police searched the area.
The station has since reopened.
So far in 2019 more than 110 murder investigations have been launched across London by the Metropolitan Police and BTP.
Commuters have been told not to travel from London Waterloo during the rush hour after a fire closed nine platforms.
The lineside blaze damaged cabling outside the station, meaning trains cannot use platforms 16-24.
Network Rail said “significant damage” had been caused to equipment, meaning trains will be delayed or cancelled.
Disruption is expected for the rest of the day while the Thursday morning rush hour may also be affected.
Network Rail said its engineers would be working through the night to fix the damage.
Waterloo is the busiest and largest railway station in the UK.
The platforms which are closed are normally used by trains serving Windsor, Reading, Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston.
However, services from other platforms are also being affected because trains have to be diverted or revised.
- Circular services via Hounslow, Richmond, Strawberry Hill and Kingston have been cancelled
- Trains between Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside are diverted via Kingston
- Trains between Waterloo and Exeter/Salisbury are terminated and will restart from Basingstoke
Passengers were warned that services on other routes may also be subject to short-notice cancellations or delays.
In a joint statement, Network Rail and South Western Railway said commuters were “strongly advised to use alternative routes where possible and check their journeys before travelling at southwesternrailway.com for ticket acceptance and service details”.
Some passengers took to social media to express their frustration at the travel disruption.
One Twitter user described the situation as an “absolute shambles”, while others complained about being given the wrong or no information at all by train station staff.
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (day two):|
|Middlesex 384 Malan 166; Carey 4-54 & 189-5 Robson 73*, Simpson 56|
|Glamorgan 171 Lloyd 67; Helm 5-53, Roland-Jones 4-45|
|Middlesex (7 pts) lead Glamorgan (3 pts) by 402 runs|
Middlesex have a formidable lead of 402 over Glamorgan at 189-5 in their second innings, going into day three in Cardiff.
Sam Robson (73*) and John Simpson (56) have strengthened the visitors’ grip.
Toby Roland-Jones (4-45) made the most of a helpful pitch as Glamorgan were hustled out for an inadequate 171.
David Lloyd’s 67 was the top home score, while Tom Helm (5-53) wrapped up the innings with his fifth wicket after his first-evening purple patch.
Lloyd shared half-century stands with Billy Root and Chris Cooke before the visitors’ seamers re-established control, as Glamorgan’s last five wickets mustered just 28 runs.
A lead of 213 runs was not enough to persuade Dawid Malan to enforce the follow-on, wanting to avoid batting last on the most bowler-friendly Championship pitch of the season in Cardiff.
Although Middlesex slumped to 85-4, they were never under pressure thanks to their first-innings lead, and the Robson-Simpson century partnership blossomed in the evening sunshine to grind down Glamorgan hopes of avoiding a first defeat of the campaign.
Glamorgan vice-captain David Lloyd told BBC Sport Wales:
“A very difficult day, they hit their lengths more regularly than we did, then we started well with the ball in the second dig but it’s always tough when you’re chasing the game.
“It’s a wicket where you have to be positive and get forward because it’s starting to go more up and down- it’s about looking to score rather than sit there and wait for things to happen.
“We’ve showed in previous games that we can battle draws out so you never know, we’ll have to try to bat the rest of the game and we can do it if we get our mindsets right.”
Middlesex bowler Tom Helm told BBC Radio London:
“It took a bit longer to get the fifth one than I had in my head last night, but Toby had four and I’m very happy with it.
“If you get the ball in the right area, the odd one zips through and it changed a bit from day one.
“There’s so long left in this game, we can bat for as long as we want and it’ll be interesting to see how the morning goes, they’ll come out fired up but we’ll see how we go.”
A woman riding an electric scooter has been killed in a crash with a lorry in south-west London.
The 35-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene at the Queen Circus roundabout, Battersea following the crash at about 08:30 BST.
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said her next of kin had yet to be informed and no arrests had been made.
In July last year a cyclist was killed at the roundabout after being hit by a bin lorry.
A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We sent an advanced paramedic, two ambulance crews, an incident response officer and two medics in cars to the scene, with the first of our medics arriving in under four minutes.
“Sadly, despite the extensive efforts of medics, a woman died at the scene.”
Transport for London and Wandsworth Council redesigned the roundabout in 2015, which trialled the use of raised kerbs and separate traffic lights to keep cyclists and vehicles segregated at junctions.
Concerns had been raised that the new layout was too complicated.
While the cause of the crash is unknown, e-scooters are illegal to ride on public roads, including in cycle lanes or on the pavement.
A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “We extend our deepest sympathies to all those involved in this tragic incident, and fully support the police as they carry out their investigations.
“Safety is at the heart of all our road laws and it is important that retailers continue to remind people at the point of sale that it is illegal to ride e-scooters on public roads.”
An electric scooter, or e-scooter, is similar to a traditional children’s scooter but has a motorised engine attached.
An engineering train has derailed in south London causing the closure of the Gatwick Express service.
The train partly left the tracks at low speed outside Victoria station at about 03:00 BST.
No Gatwick Express trains are running, while Southern warned its services would be “severely reduced”.
The train has moved and the track will now be “assessed for damage” and repaired if necessary through the night, according to Southern.
Disruption is expected to last throughout Tuesday but Gatwick Express and Southern said a normal service was expected on Wednesday.
The train was stuck across a number of tracks meaning platforms nine to 13 at Victoria were blocked, while services were not able to use the “slow/stopping” lines to and from Clapham Junction.
Some trains were also unable to leave the Battersea depot – further reducing the number of services that could run.
Recovery teams cut the 50-tonne train from its two wagons and lifted it back on to the track using hydraulic jacks.
Trains running through Gatwick Airport were also disrupted by a separate signalling fault and a passenger who was injured as they left a carriage, which led to one platform becoming blocked.
Some commuters took to social media as they found their trains had been cancelled.
Other stations, including London Bridge, also became congested as people tried to find alternative routes.
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A Network Rail spokesperson said passengers should travel “via London Bridge or London Blackfriars as trains will be delayed, diverted or cancelled”.
Train tickets for Southern and Gatwick Express services have been accepted for reasonable routes on other services.
Train services affected:
- Gatwick Express services are completely suspended
- Services to Sutton, Epsom Downs and Epsom to and from London Victoria are reduced
- Some mainline services will be diverted to London Bridge instead of London Victoria
- Southern services between London Victoria and Reigate are cancelled and passengers are advised to use Thameslink to and from Redhill and then Great Western Railway between Reigate and Redhill
- Services between London Victoria and East Grinstead will call additionally at Selhurst and Streatham Common
- Services between Milton Keynes and East Croydon will call additionally at Wandsworth Common when not already booked to do so
- Services between London Victoria and Horsham via Sutton will call additionally at Ewell East
- Southern trains from Sutton to London Bridge via Wimbledon will be cancelled. Thameslink will be running as normal
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