Categories
World News

Daredevil ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes dies in rocket crash tragedy

Beloved daredevil ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes had been doing a rocket launch on Saturday in California before he died in the fatal smash.

The amateur engineer was blasted into the air with a “steam-powered rocket” that then crash-landed into the ground.

In a video clip shared online, a parachute can be seen flying out of the rocket – but it did not appear that anyone was using it.

It is understood that Mike would have stayed in the rocket as it climbed hundreds of feet into the air before it plunged towards the ground.

Mike’s former representative, Darren Shuster told TMZ the daredevil was “one-of-a-kind”.

He added: “When God made Mike he broke the mould. The man was the real deal and lived to push the edge. He wouldn’t have gone out any other way. RIP.”

  • Lindsey Lagestee dead – Dixie Crush country singer dies aged 25 after being hit by car

  • Boris Leskin dead – Men In Black actor dies aged 97

This is a breaking news story and is constantly being updated.

Please refresh the page regularly to get the latest updates.

Reporters working on dailystar.co.uk will be working to source the latest information, reaction, pictures and video related to this story.

You can also follow us on Twitter @Daily_Star to get the latest news updates 24 hours a day.

Or download the Daily Star app for flash alerts on the biggest stories of the day.

Why not also subscribe to receive our regular Daily Star news bulletins? You can do this on this page by simply entering your email address above and hitting 'subscribe'.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

Brexit-bashing civil servants deliberately attempted to sabotage UK’s EU exit – EXCLUSIVE

The allegations made by a former contractor to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) who worked in the EU Exit unit of the department. The whistleblower, who worked in IT, said that a new computer service contract was put in place after the 2017 election. But it was a downgrade unable to deal with the department’s existing work, let alone the increased demands of Brexit, he claimed.

The fresh workload from Brexit included fishing licences and control of rare materials like ivory among nine new major responsibilities.

The whistleblower, who was based at Defra’s Digital Data and Technology Services (DDTS) department in Reading, said that as a result of him raising concerns about the computer system which is used to deliver Defra’s responsibilities a contract extension was cancelled and he was blacklisted from government work.

He also claimed that senior managers in Defra did not hide their contempt for Brexit and Boris Johnson, insulting the Prime Minister in front of junior employees when he appeared on departmental television screens during the election calling the Prime Minister a “w*****, bulls****** and twat”.

The claims have been denied by Defra, however, former environment secretary Theresa Villiers has confirmed to the Sunday Express that she held a meeting about the allegations while still in office and ordered an investigation.

The meeting took place the day before the reshuffle where Ms Villiers lost her job, with senior Tory backbencher Andrew Bridgen and saw civil servants ordered to leave the room.

Ms Villiers told the Sunday Express: “I was shocked and I asked for an investigation immediately.”

She has also asked her successor George Eustace to ask him to ensure the investigation happens.

And the Sunday Express has been told that the new environment secretary has requested a meeting with Mr Bridgen and the whistleblower.

A dossier has also been sent to the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Dominic Cummings who is running a recruitment campaign for new civil servants and warned senior mandarins that they “need to work with us not against us”.

They come amid growing tension between the government and the civil service, some of whom ministers claim have tried to undermine Brexit.

Concerns were raised last week over civil servants resisting Home Secretary Priti Patel’s new immigration policy in the Home Office.

The whistleblower, who has nearly 20 years experience working for high level tech companies, warned that a switch of service contract in 2017 meant the system could not cope with its then current responsibilities, such as processing farm subsidy payments. This was before a further nine responsibilities were transferred from the EU to be dealt with by DEFRA.

The department changed the contract to one run by French tech giant Capgemini while Michael Gove was environment secretary. But the new contact also downscaled the old, the whistleblower said.

He said: “The switch was like going from a Bentley to an old banger. It was literally downscaling the IT support. No two ways about it.”

According to the whistleblower, an early sign of the chaos emerged when he arrived at Defra and asked to see the contract. After six weeks Defra was still unable to produce it.

In November 2019 a major incident took place at the department’s data centre in Telford, when another company logged on to a server owned by Capgemini and managed to break it. The chaos lasted for three weeks.

The whistleblower said:  “It was all hands to the pump, there were directors involved because it went on for three weeks.”

Another problem was that the contract prevented Defra from fixing problems itself  for anything other than the most serious failures.

According to the contractor there were at least 20 second level problems going on at any time and “thousands” of less serious issues, none of which Defra could address itself.

He said: “It was a big problem that we were not able to intervene and not normal practice.”

Shortly after starting with the department in September 2019, the whistleblower was seconded to the EU Exit team where he was shocked by the lack of preparation.

“It became clear to me under Theresa May there actually was zero preparation for Brexit. When I came in they were literally at the early stages of preparing for Brexit.

“They had one process alone they had 750 defects. We were about six days away from [EU departure date] 31 October. As you know the Benn Act changed things and the rest is history.”

The whistleblower’s contract was originally going to be extended to March 31 but on December 17, the same day as he put in a critical report about the Capgemini arrangement, the extension was cancelled.

He also claims that Defra blacklisted him which prevented him getting a job with another government department which he had been due to interview for.

He said:”There are many good people there who just want to do a good job but everything I experienced gave the impression that some senior civil servants in key roles were happy for the system to fail because of their dislike of Brexit. That was evidenced in their defence of the setup.”

“For Brexit to be given a fair chance to succeed it cannot be that the pro EU senior civil servants hinder the process by playing the age old game of keeping the Secretary of State blind to what’s actually going on. And this is the case. 

“The civil service is there to enact government policy and nothing more. There are some fantastic civil servant’s who agree with everything I have said.”

A Defra spokesman said: “These allegations are fundamentally untrue.  

“Defra has made extensive preparations ahead of the end of the transition period, which is why we brought in new skills to build brand new national IT systems. 

“These were delivered in record time and we have consistently received positive feedback from industry users that have tested these services.”

The department said it has completed the development of, and extensively tested with industry users to ensure readiness for live operation, a variety of new national systems.

Capgemini has declined to comment.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

Hispanics help push Sanders to lead as Nevada caucus-goers' first choice: Edison Research Poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders appears to have an early edge in the Nevada Democratic caucus with the largest share of initial support from Hispanics, union families and white college-educated women, according to polling agency Edison Research.

Edison, which compiles voter polls and live election results for media organizations including ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News and Reuters, said its polling of early voters and state caucus-goers shows Sanders “leads in the first preference” vote.

Nevada will award Democratic delegates after party members state their preferences at hundreds of caucus locations around the state. Many Democrats may eventually switch their choice during the caucus meeting if the candidate they support does not garner enough interest.

Here are some highlights from the Edison poll, which was based on interviews with 2,746 Nevada Democrats, including about 1,780 as they entered early voting sites earlier in the week and another 966 on Saturday at 30 locations around the state:

** Among Hispanics, 53% said they were going to support Sanders ahead of the caucuses. Hispanics make up nearly one-third of the state’s population.

** Among those caucus-goers who are members of a labor union or have family members in a union, 34% said they planned to caucus for Sanders. About one in four said they were part of a union family.

** 62% said they support replacing all private health insurance with a single government plan. That initiative, also known as Medicare for All, is a signature issue for Sanders and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. It was criticized earlier this month by the state’s 60,000-member Culinary Workers Union in what was seen as a boost for more moderate Democrats who are still in the race.

** 43% of Democratic Nevada caucus-goers say healthcare is the issue that mattered most to them when deciding which candidate to support. Another 25% said it was climate change, 18% said it was income inequality and 9% said foreign policy.

** Among white, college-educated women – a voting block seen as key to Democrats’ chances for victory over Trump in the November general election – 22% said they planned to caucus for Sanders, compared with 19% for Klobuchar, 18% for Warren, 17% for Buttigieg and 13% for Biden.

** Sanders had the largest share of support from caucus-goers of all age groups, except those 65 and older. Among the 65-plus group, 28% said in entrance polling that they supported Biden, 20% supported Klobuchar, 14% supported Buttigieg and 12% supported Sanders.

** 52% of those participating in the Democratic caucus are doing so for the first time. A record number of Democrats are expected to show up at the Nevada caucuses, in part because of population growth in the state and also the party’s decision to allow residents to vote early this year for the first time.

** 65% say that when picking a candidate to support, they are thinking mostly about that person’s electability instead of whether the candidate agrees with them on major issues.

** 66% of Democratic caucus-goers said they considered themselves to be liberal. Another 31% said they were moderates and 3% were conservative.

** Among political moderates, support was largely split among Sanders, Biden and Buttigieg, with those three candidates getting a little more than 20% each.

** Most of Nevada’s caucus-goers came with their minds made up. Eighty-three percent of Democratic caucus-goers said they made their pick for the party’s presidential nomination more than a few days before the caucus.

** About half of the poll respondents were college graduates. The other half did not have a college degree.

Edison will update its results later in the day after the caucuses have ended.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

7-car pileup stalls traffic on Highway 1 in North Vancouver

Traffic was stalled for some time on Highway 1 in North Vancouver after seven cars piled up on “The Cut” Saturday afternoon.

The cars crashed into each other in the southeast-bound left lane of the highway between the Lynn Creek and Ironworkers bridges near the Keith Road exit around 1:30 p.m.

Firefighters responded with three trucks, while paramedics also sent an ambulance. No patients had been transported as of 2:30 p.m.

The cause of the crash is not yet known.

Traffic was backed up eastbound all the way to Boulevard Crescent until crews were able to begin clearing the scene.

Drivers are being warned to expect heavy delays to continue on the highway for some time, particularly around the Keith Road offramp.

The scene was finally cleared around 3:15 p.m.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

UK’s best-selling houses have certain number on door with average price of £310k

The UK’s most valuable house number is… 239.

Researchers found that detached, semi-detached and terraced houses with those digits on the door sell for the most money.

The study of prices paid for property showed that those fortunate to live at 239 received an average of £310,625 for their home.

That’s way above the next best seller – number 300 – which sold for £275,000. It was followed by 363, which went for an average
of £272,500.

In the analysis of Land Registry sold prices, number 373 is ranked fourth place, selling for £268,000, with 285 coming in fifth at £266,000.

Bottom of the table – the UK’s least desirable number – is 367. It sells on average for just £138,000.

  • Disgusted locksmith finds Britain's worst toilet after breaking into drug den

  • Couple leave Airbnb room splattered with blood and knives in the wall

Estate agent comparison site GetAgent analysed data from the Land Registry House Price Index and prices on the Propdex and PropertyData sites.

They included streets of all sizes, including those with fewer than 50 houses. House numbers with triple digits on longer streets featured most prominently.

Houses numbered one, in ninth place, and two, in 13th, were the only single digits to feature in the top 20. Spokesman Colby Short said: “The value attributed to a house number is really down to pot luck most of the time.

“Homebuyer preference is largely driven by more substantial factors such as the geography, style, size and price of the house itself.

“Traditionally, the lower house numbers have proved most popular and acted almost as an inadvertent pecking order of superiority within a road.

  • Taxi driver 'took girl, 11, to McDonald's before groping her at his flat'

“But this isn’t the case in today’s market and you will struggle to find a buyer that will pass up their dream house because they don’t like the number or, in contrast, opt for a property they don’t like because their lucky number is sitting on the door.”

He added: “We were struck by how triple-digit numbers attracted the higher prices with only numbers one and two in the top 20.

“We believe this is partly due to a preference for new-build properties among buyers.

“They come at a premium, of course, but are also on new developments, often with unique number schemes going to higher numbers than we have seen on the more traditional and smaller streets in Britain.”

  • Money
  • Daily Star Sunday

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

Alex Ovechkin become 8th NHL player to score 700 career goals

Alex Ovechkin became the eight NHL player to score 700 career goals, reaching the milestone in the third period of the Washington’ Capitals’ 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

The 34-year-old Ovechkin one-timed a slap shot from the right circle that went in off the left post 4:50 into the third period, tying the game at 2. It was his 42nd goal of the season, one behind Boston’s David Pastrnak for the league lead, and came on his second shot on goal of the game.

Capitals players rushed onto the ice to congratulate their teammate, and Devils fans gave him a strong ovation.

Wayne Gretzky leads the career list with 894 goals. He is followed by Gordie Howe (801), Jaromir Jagr (766), Brett Hull (741), Marcel Dionne (731), Phil Esposito (717) and Mike Gartner (708).

Ovechkin had not scored in five straight games before getting No. 699 against Montreal on Thursday night. He had 14 goals, including three hat tricks, in his previous seven games before the drought.

The Russian forward needed 1,144 games to reach the landmark, second fastest behind Gretzky at 886 games. He moved from 600 goals to 700 in 154 games, the fewest among the eight players to reach the mark.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

Sanders leads as Nevada caucus-goers' first choice: Edison Research Poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders appears to have an early edge in the Nevada Democratic caucus with the largest share of initial support from Hispanics, union families and white college-educated women, according to polling agency Edison Research.

Edison, which compiles voter polls and live election results for media organizations including ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News and Reuters, said its polling of early voters and state caucus-goers shows Sanders “leads in the first preference” vote.

Nevada will award Democratic delegates after party members state their preferences at hundreds of caucus locations around the state. Many Democrats may eventually switch their choice during the caucus meeting if the candidate they support does not garner enough interest.

Here are some highlights from the Edison poll, which was based on interviews with 2,496 Nevada Democrats, including about 1,780 as they entered early voting sites earlier in the week and another 716 on Saturday at 30 locations around the state:

**Among Hispanics, 54% said they were going to support Sanders ahead of the caucuses. Hispanics make up nearly one-third of the state’s population.

**Among those caucus-goers who are members of a labor union or have family members in a union, 36% said they planned to caucus for Sanders. About one in four said they were part of a union family.

**Among white, college-educated women – a voting block seen as key to Democrats’ chances for victory over Trump in the November general election – 24% said they planned to caucus for Sanders, compared with 18% for Klobuchar, 17% for Buttigieg, 17% for Warren and 12% for Biden.

** Most of Nevada’s caucus-goers came with their minds made up. Eighty-four percent of Democratic caucus-goers said they made their pick for the party’s presidential nomination more than a few days before the caucus.

** 51% of those participating in the Democratic caucus are doing so for the first time. A record number of Democrats are expected to show up at the Nevada caucuses, in part because of population growth in the state and also the party’s decision to allow residents to vote early this year for the first time.

** 64% say that when picking a candidate to support, they are thinking mostly about that person’s electability instead of whether the candidate agrees with them on major issues.

** 63% said they support replacing all private health insurance with a single government plan. That initiative, also known as Medicare for All, is a signature issue for Sanders and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. It was criticized earlier this month by the state’s 60,000-member Culinary Workers Union in what was seen as a boost for more moderate Democrats who are still in the race.

** 43% of Democratic Nevada caucus-goers say healthcare is the issue that mattered most to them when deciding which candidate to support. Another 25% said it was climate change, 18% said it was income inequality and 9% said foreign policy.

** 66% of Democratic caucus-goers said they considered themselves to be liberal. Another 34% said they were moderates and 3% were conservative.

Edison will update its results later in the day after the caucuses have ended.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

US health firm handed £7million to help NHS identify most ‘expensive’ patients

A US healthcare firm praised by Donald Trump has been handed £7million to help the NHS identify its most “expensive” patients.

It is running a nine-month programme to train managers to rank people according to their risk of illness.

The move has sparked fears more could be turned down for ops because of factors like age or weight.

And it raises fears the NHS could be on the table in a trade deal despite PM Boris Johnson’s claims it is not for sale.

The contract was agreed between NHS England and Optum – which assesses patients for America’s privatised insurance-led system.

It divides NHS patients into high, medium and low risk groups and identifies “rising risk groups” such as those at risk of Type 2 diabetes.


  • US drug firms body calls for UK to be put on international trade 'Watch List'

  • US wants to hike NHS drug prices in a Brexit trade deal, top diplomat declares

The training has been rolled out all over the country including Dorset, Berkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and Leeds.

Managers say it helps them allocate resources more efficiently as they try to save cash amid a historic Tory funding squeeze.

But half of local care groups are already restricting who can have once-routine procedures such as cataract surgery and hip and knee replacements.

Anti-privatisation campaigner Ellen Lees, of We Own It, said: “These revelations are the latest in a long list of toxic private sector involvement and a classic example of eroding our NHS bit by bit.

“The prospect of people being shut out of treatment flies in the face of a service based on the principle that everyone’s needs must be met. What’s frankly terrifying is the idea that this training could be rolled out more widely. It should be stamped out.”

NHS England – including chairman Lord Prior – has held a string of meetings with Optum in recent years.


  • 'Boris Johnson is a shameless pathological liar who will let you down'

The US firm has already done NHS advisory work in Dorset, Harrow and other areas but this is the first time the company has trained managers how to identify high-cost patients.

Former boss Larry Renfro boasted to investors in 2016: “We’ve been planting seeds and I’d say that we’re strong with the NHS. We’re strong with [the regulator] NHS improvement. We are getting stronger with the Minister of Health, as well as the Secretary of Health.”

Optum is one of the biggest health insurers in the US and has had regular meetings with President Trump.

The outgoing chief of its parent firm UnitedHealth Group was once America’s highest-paid boss – on £50million a year.

Stephen Hemsley held a series of talks with NHS chiefs in 2016 and 2017 and was praised by Donald Trump after a meeting at the White House in 2017.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens used to be an executive at UnitedHealth Group but we understand he was not involved in the Optum deal.

NHS England said: “The NHS works with organisations for the sole purpose of offering better care to our patients.”

The Department of Health and Social Care said: “The NHS is not and never will be for sale. No one will be excluded from treatment because of the cost.”

Optum said: “We use our extensive experience to train the NHS in analytics, so the NHS can identify groups of patients who already have chronic illness and provide treatments which keep patients as well as they can be.”

UnitedHealth Group is the biggest health insurance company in the world when measured by revenue, making £184billion

last year with profits of more than £10billion.

It employs more than 300,000 and already gives the NHS contract negotiation and medication management services. in 2018, it won dismissal of a case alleging that it had defrauded the US government’s Medicare insurance scheme of more than £771million.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

England international kickboxing star murdered in armed raid on cannabis factory

An international kickboxing star was among two men killed in a vicious gang war.

Khuzaimah Douglas, 19, was killed alongside pal Raseem Ramzan, 36, as armed men raided a West Midlands cannabis farm.

Leading figures from the world of kickboxing led the tributes to Douglas, who fought out of Tyseley’s USKA fight factory.

Reports claim both men were caught in a brawl as a rival gang stormed their building in the city’s Brierley Hill suburb.

USKA posted a moving tribute to “humble” Douglas, who represented England at the International Combat Organisation’s world championships in Scotland, the WKO World Championships in Barnsley.

“Khuzaimah was a kind, considerate, extremely talented and humble young man who everyone had a connection with, an older brother to the USKA kids and a younger brother to all the seniors.

“To see the effect that this has had on each and every member at the gym last night was truly heartbreaking.

“I can only imagine what his family are going through right now having to process the situation and come to terms with their unimaginable loss.

“Thank you for all the messages, texts and calls of condolence, they are truly appreciated.

“Please say a prayer for Khuzaimah and his family and keep him in your thoughts today.”

A club member posted: “A father who devoted his life to leading the light for young people has lost his own young soul.

“A man who led the light for young people like myself once upon a time has to face such tragedy.

"Life doesn’t usually make much sense. We all got to strive for better days.

“It is just absurd to understand how such an inspirational father will have to attempt to comprehend this life taken so soon.”

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

Connor McDavid close to returning, Ethan Bear to get more PP time as Edmonton Oilers hit the road

The NHL’s most explosive offensive player has a simple goal for when he returns from a quad injury.

“Just come into the lineup and try not to mess things up,” said Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid after Saturday’s practice, drawing laughter in the midst of his media scrum.

McDavid, who has missed the last six games, was back on the Oilers first power play unit at practice. That’s a good indication he’ll play Sunday in Los Angeles, though the Oilers aren’t confirming anything.

“We’ll decide that in the morning. He’s anxious to play. Whether he gets the okay or not from the doctors, we’ll see in the morning,” said head coach Dave Tippett.

“We’ll see. I’ve been skating a lot. It feels pretty good,” added McDavid.

Joining McDavid on the Oilers top power play unit was defenceman Ethan Bear. With Oscar Klefbom injured, Darnell Nurse has been the point man. While Nurse did also skate with the top unit on Saturday, Bear went first in the rotation.

“His game has evolved. You gotta be careful with young players early. He’s really taken a big bite for us this year, a little bit of secondary power play stuff. With Klef out, we’ve talked about some different scenarios,

“Doc has done it before when Klef was out last year, but we didn’t have Bearsy. It’s an opportunity for Bearsy to jump in and get a little more, and we’ll see where it goes,” said Tippett.

“I’m excited. I’m right-handed, so maybe I can pose a one-timer threat. At the same time, I just have to play my game. If I see a good land, I’m going to take the shot. If not, I’ll try to open some areas for the other guys to get some speed and get their chances as well,” said Bear.

The Oilers start a three-game road trip Sunday in Los Angeles. Catch the game on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 6 p.m. The game will start at 8 p.m.


Source: Read Full Article