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SpaceX astronauts reveal the surprising details of their historic trip to space

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Nasa astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken landed on the International Space Station (ISS), over two hours after docking with the orbiting laboratory. They had to run pressure and leak tests before exiting the Crew Dragon capsule.

They met American astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian space station residents Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, as they left their spacecraft.

Both are currently official affiliates of the Expedition 63 crew.

Speaking to the men from mission control in Houston, Texas, Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine said: “The whole world saw this mission and we are so, so proud of everything you’ve done for our country and, in fact, to inspire the world.”

Mr Hurley and Mr Behnken’s 19-hour itinerary on SpaceX’s Dragon capsule on top of the Falcon 9 rocket started in Cape Canaveral in Florida on Saturday evening.

Despite only being 300 miles above the planet, the space station took almost a day to reach.

A number of manoeuvres had to be performed to raise its orbit to get close enough to hook up to the space station.

The assignment, dubbed Demo-2, is the first mission Nasa where has launched astronauts from the US in nine years.

SpaceX also became the first private firm to launch humans into orbit in a historic event.

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The mission aims to prove SpaceX’s ability to send astronauts into the space station and bring them back safely.

It is the last major procedure for SpaceX’s astronaut carrier, the Crew Dragon, to get authorised by Nasa’s Commercial Crew Programme for long-term manned missions to space.

Mr Hurley and Mr Behnken have entitled their Dragon capsule Endeavour as a tribute to Space Shuttle Endeavour, a retired orbiter from Nasa’s Space Shuttle programme.

He added: “Endeavour is going to get a lot of checkout over the next week or two here and hopefully we will be able to declare her operational.

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“Doug and I will be able to take some burden off Chris and his crew mates Ivan and Anatoli, so that we can keep the space station operating at a peak possibility.

“So we are looking forward to contributing any way that we can and, like I said, trying to keep (the) space station as productive as possible.”

The mission is expected to last anything between one and four months.

Speaking of their sleeping patterns, Mr Behnken said: “We did get probably a good seven hours or so of opportunity for sleep and I did succeed at sleep and Doug did as well.”The first night is always a bit of a challenge but the Dragon was a sleek vehicle and we had good airflow. So we had an excellent evening.”

He added that he was “excited to be back in low-Earth orbit again.”

Mr Behnken said while they are on the space station, they hope to put the Dragon capsule, which they called Endeavour, through its paces and aiding other members of the crew in different other exercises.

He added: “Endeavour is going to get a lot of checkout over the next week or two here and hopefully we will be able to declare her operational.

“Doug and I will be able to take some burden of Chris and his crew mates Ivan and Anatoli so that we can keep the space station operating at a peak possibility.

“So we are looking forward to contributing any way that we can and like I said trying to keep (the) space station as productive as possible.”

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China PANICS: Warning Beijing is lashing out and risking war because it fears IRRELEVANCE

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Chris Patten said Chinese President Xi Jinping is so nervous about the position of the Communist Party that he is risking a new Cold War and imperiling Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s preeminent financial hub. Lord Patten said Xi’s “thuggish” crackdown in Hong Kong could trigger an outflow of capital and people from the city which funnels the bulk of foreign direct investment into mainland China.

“What does it mean? It means serious question marks not just about Hong Kong’s future as a free society but also about Hong Kong’s ability to continue as probably the premier international financial hub in Asia,” Lord Patten said in an interview.

“A lot of people will try to leave Hong Kong,” Lord Patten said, adding he feared capital would also flow out of the territory which Britain handed back to China in 1997.

The West, he said, should stop being naive about Xi.

“We have long since passed the stage where, without wanting another Cold War, we have to react to the fact Xi seems to want one himself, seems to want to be able to bully his way to whatever he thinks China wants,” Patten said.

Patten, now 76, watched as the British flag was lowered over Hong Kong when the colony was handed back to China in 1997 after more than 150 years of British rule – imposed after Britain defeated China in the First Opium War.

Hong Kong’s autonomy was guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement enshrined in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

In some of his toughest rhetoric yet, this week US President Donald Trump said Beijing had broken its word over Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy by proposing new national security legislation and the territory no longer warranted US economic privileges.

“We will take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China,” Mr Trump said, adding that Washington would also impose sanctions on individuals seen as responsible for “smothering – absolutely smothering – Hong Kong’s freedom.”

Mr Trump told reporters at the White House that China’s move on Hong Kong was a tragedy for the world, but he gave no timetable for the moves, leaving Hong Kong residents, businesses and officials to ponder just how far his administration will go.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said Saturday marked “a sad day” for China’s freest city.

“This is an emotional moment for Americans in Hong Kong and it will take companies and families a while to digest the ramifications,” AmCham President Tara Joseph said in a statement.

“Many of us … have deep ties to this city and with Hong Kong people. We love Hong Kong and it’s a sad day,” she said, adding the chamber would continue to work with its members to maintain Hong Kong’s status as a vital business centre.

China’s parliament this week approved a decision to create laws for Hong Kong to curb sedition, secession, terrorism and foreign interference. 

Mainland security and intelligence agents may be stationed in the city for the first time, with critics saying these moves put the city’s extensive freedoms at risk.

Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong insist the legislation will target only a small number of “troublemakers” who threaten China’s national security. 

They say such action is urgently needed after months of sometimes violent anti-government protests rocked the city last year.

Protests are simmering again as Hong Kong emerges from its coronavirus shutdown, with demonstrators expected to take to the streets on Sunday.

Trump did not name any sanctions targets but said the announcement would “affect the full range of agreements we have with Hong Kong”, including the US-Hong Kong extradition treaty to export controls on dual-use technologies and more “with few exceptions”.

China’s Global Times, published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, said Trump’s decision was a “recklessly arbitrary” step.

The Hong Kong government has had a long history of working ties with US counterparts, distinct from Beijing, with cooperation on counter-terrorism, trade and money laundering.

More than 1,300 US firms have offices in Hong Kong and provide about 100,000 jobs. 

In the past decade, the US trade surplus with Hong Kong has been the biggest among all its trading partners, totalling $297 billion from 2009 to 2018.

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Brexit warning: UK desperately needs trade deal more than EU – ‘Impacts far more severe’

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Negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and EU began in March after Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered on his general election manifesto promise to “get Brexit done” on January 31. David Frost took a negotiating army to Brussels to begin talks with a team led by EU counterpart Michel Barnier, and there were smiles aplenty for the camera from the outset. But those smiles have soon been wiped off faces with the trade talks dominated by vicious blows between the two sides over their negotiating stances and demands for certain elements in any post-Brexit agreement.

Key areas such as the level playing field, state aid, tax and access to the single market all still remain unresolved – with no solution in sight.

Mr Johnson is insisting a trade deal must be signed with the EU before the end of the transition period on December 31, but has infuriated Brussels infuriated by refusing requests to extend this deadline.

Trade talks could reach a critical point on Monday when the next round of virtual negotiations begin, with Mr Frost continuing to warn the EU needs to dramatically change its stance in negotiations and relent on a number of areas if further progress is to be made.

On Wednesday, Mr Barnier sent a letter to UK opposition party leaders and said Brussels was open to the idea of extending the transition period by up to two years.

But this move was immediately slapped down by both Mr Johnson and Mr Frost, who are sticking by their determination to have a trade deal signed with the EU before the end of this year.

Despite Britain appearing to be in control of negotiations and making demands of the EU, political experts have warned that it is in fact Brussels who hold the upper hand in current trade talks.

Professor Alex de Ruyter, Director of the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University, explained to Express.co.uk: “The EU holds all the advantage in the post-Brexit trade talks.

“As the UK conducts about half of its trade with the EU, whilst the EU in total only exports about 10 percent of its products to the UK, which will be heavily concentrated in certain sectors like automotive and fall more on countries like Germany.

“So whilst both sides would take a hit from ‘No Deal’, the effects would be far more severe for the UK.

When asked if the UK should extend the transition period beyond December 31, 2020, Professor de Ruyter added: “Yes, for all the reasons alluded to above. COVID-19 has sapped the ability of Government to devote time and resources to this.

“The prospect of a No Deal coming on top of the coronavirus disruption could tip many businesses over the edge and would devastate our manufacturing sector.”

Alistair Jones, Associate Professor in Politics and a University Teacher Fellow at De Montfort University, explained how Britain could find it difficult to operate in particular trade sectors if they are unable to strike an agreement with the EU.

He told this website: “The reality is that Britain probably needs the trade deal more.

“We import more than we export in our trade with the EU and much of what is imported, such as food and medicines, may be very difficult to source elsewhere.

“While the Germans are the largest individual trade partner (of the EU-27), they are pragmatic enough to try to find a common position.

“A lot of the smaller countries have negligible trade with the UK and are not going to invest time.”

Kostas Maronitis, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Leeds Trinity University, echoed Professor Jones’ comments, and said: “The EU has more of an advantage in these talks because it negotiates as a bloc of member states with more or less a clear understanding of economic and political objectives.

“Both sides are desperate for a comprehensive trade deal, but the prevailing idea in the UK that in the midst of a pandemic, nobody would notice just another wave of economic shocks and disruptions should be abandoned as soon as possible.

“The pandemic has exposed the UK’s dependence on migrant workers and on uninterrupted supply chains concerning food, medical and protective equipment.”

But Professor de Ruyter warned the EU will not change its negotiating stance in trade talks and is extremely unlikely to relent in the areas because of the risk the single market could “unravel” as a consequence.

He added: “The UK is a middle-sized economy with about 65 million people and the EU is a trade bloc with a population of about 450 million.

“If we look at the key areas of disagreement; fisheries and so-called “level playing field” provisions; on the former, fishing (whilst a totemic issue for the UK, despite its trivial economic contribution at about 0.01% of our GDP) is also equally totemic for EU countries with equally strong maritime traditions; the Netherlands, France, Spain, Denmark etc.

“Regarding the EU insisting on the UK abiding by level playing field provisions around, for example, labour laws, state aid and environmental standards, this is an existential issue for the EU.

“An ex-member state cannot be seen to extract favourable concessions on single market access, least other EU countries such as Poland and Hungary kick-off and start demanding similar treatment.

“At that point the whole single market really could unravel.”

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Oh dear, Brussels! Angela Merkel admits coronavirus pandemic a ‘stress test’ for the EU

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed her concern about upcoming hurdles for the bloc in tackling the coronavirus aftermath. Coronavirus’ impact will be long felt in the European Union as key economic member states were struck hardest by the virus. Germany is also expected to take over the position of Presidency of the Council of the European Union in June.

Ms Merkel has insisted, under her presidency, the bloc will take a global responsibility in handling the fallout of coronavirus.

She noted this was particularly important despite tensions between the EU and the US.

While speaking to the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung think tank by video link Ms Merkel also explained she was concerned the coronavirus pandemic could strain geopolitical tensions.

She said: “The United States of America is Europe’s most important partner.

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“I am, of course, aware that cooperation is currently more difficult than we would like.

“This is true in the field of climate, in the field of trade, and also currently on the question of the role of international organisations in the fight against the pandemic.

“In many places, the pandemic will intensify existing conflicts and problems.

“This will also become a stress test for the European Union.”

Euronews’ Jessica Saltz also remarked on the feelings in Europe towards Ms Merkel taking over later this year.

Ms Saltz said: “Angela Merkel has acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic is the toughest crisis that the European Union has ever faced.

“Therefore she has very ambitious plans to try and overcome it.”

Ms Saltz also explained the expected reception from the news Ms Merkel will be pushing for ambitious tactics to curve the impact of the virus.

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She continued: “Many in Europe will probably be feeling quite glad that Angela Merkel, the longest-running leader in Europe and known as a figure of stability, will be guiding the way when Germany takes over the European Council Presidency out of this crisis.

“She has ambitious plans to overturn and renew health systems in Europe.

“But she also has plans to spend billions of Euros to help beleaguered nations even if this means, in part, marginalising European debt.

“This is something we would have never heard the Germans agreeing to even a couple of years ago.

“I think Angela Merkel has learned quite a few lessons over the years.”

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‘Biblical plague’ ravages India as unprecedented locust invasion sparks apocalyptic fears

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A locust swarm “of biblical proportion” has sparked apocalyptic fears in India, as millions of the crop-eating insects overwhelm entire cities. Agricultural experts claim that the locust swarms have already destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of cropland across India, and could spark a food crisis across the world. This comes as India also grapples with an unprecedented heatwave, with temperatures reaching 50C, as well as soaring coronavirus cases in the country.

Indian health ministry officials have reported 166,000 coronavirus infections and 4,706 deaths

Indians have pointed to the simultaneous crises rocking the country as signs of an impending apocalypse.

Footage from Jaipur earlier this week showed millions of the insects covering entire houses.

One clip showed the sheer number of insects had turned the sky black, after the swarms blocked out the sun.

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The locust attack on Jaipur even stunned experts, as locusts typically stay away from urban centres. 

In response, drones, tractors and cars have been sent out to spray pesticides in a desperate bid to stop the infestation.

The locusts were arriving in India from Iran and Pakistan, where the swarms have already devastated huge agricultural harvests. 

India has seen half a dozen states in the west and central regions of the country blanketed in locust swarms. 

Google Trends suggest that Indians are fearing apocalyptic scenarios, with searches of Biblical passage on locusts sky-rocketing since news of the locust attacks broke.

One Indian social activist Kasturi Shankar remarked on social media: “Death. Disease. Cyclone. Floods. And now Locusts.

“All the biblical plagues. In the Bible, it was because headstrong rulers would not do right.”

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Another user tweeted: “First fires, then disease, then floods, and now locusts. The Bible called it.”

The Indian government’s Locust Warning Organisation’s deputy director K.L. Gurjar said: “Eight to 10 swarms, each measuring around a square kilometre are active in parts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.”

Locusts have affected around 64 countries in the past few months, which include Iran, Afghanistan, Africa and India.

Experts fear that the pests will continue to spread across the country well into the summer. 

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Remainers dealt crushing blow: EU expert outlines why Brexit extension ‘really difficult’

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Professor Catherine Barnard told the UK in a Changing Europe that Britain has the option to decide on an extension of the transition period with the EU before July 1. Professor Barnard added that after July 1 it will be really difficult legally for the UK to negotiate an extension to the Brexit transition period if they later decide more time is needed. 

Professor Barnard said: “It is difficult, legally it is really difficult.

“They have got to decide on a single extension of up to one or two years that has got to be done by July 1.

“Let’s assume that nothing happens at that moment and we get to October and more time is required.

“Then how do we secure an extension to the transition?”

She added: “The more ambitious the trade deal is the more likely it is to be classed as a mixed agreement.

“That means it has got to be signed off by the EU, EU Parliament and also all of the national and regional parliaments.

“That is going to take some time and will not be done overnight.”

Earlier this month Michael Gove revealed staying in the European Union for another year could cost the UK between £20billion gross and £10billion net.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster outlined the cost to the UK if the Brexit transition period is extended during the Lords’ European Union committee.

Lord Lamont asked: “Can you be more precisely about what the costs of an extension to the transition period would be?”

Mr Gove replied: “Yes, for every year continued membership the additional cost would be between £20billion gross and £10billion net.

“One additional complicating factor is that the current multi-annual framework of the EU ends at the end of this calendar year.

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“There would be a new MFF.

“It would be decided by the EU 27 and we would not have a voice in that process.

“We would find that even the limited say we had in the setting of the MFF when we were a member of the EU would have gone.

“So, we can’t know preciously what bill we may be saddled with were we to agree to another year of continued transition.”

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EU crisis: Support for bloc plummets as Europeans attack Brussels for coronavirus response

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A survey carried out in France, Italy and Germany found a strong majority of respondents were critical about the European Union’s approach to the crisis. It also revealed citizens believed the pandemic has “weakened” the arguments in favour of the bloc. Respondents disregarded the EU’s cherished free movement and said the coronavirus outbreak has shown that national borders are crucial for the security of a country.

The survey, carried out by Redfield and Wilton Strategies on behalf of Euronews, found that 70 percent of Italians, 60 percent of Germans and 59 percent of French citizens think the EU has not helped their country during the crisis.

On the questions of the importance of national borders, 61 percent of Germans, 66 percent of Italians and 69 percent of people in France said they “agreed or strongly agreed” with the statement.

And 61 percent of respondents in Italy, 47 percent in France and 40 percent in Germany said the pandemic had “weakened” arguments in favour of the political project.

On the day Ursula von der Leyen announced her Brussels-driven rescue fund, less than 20 percent of respondents in the three countries said coronavirus had “strengthened” the bloc’s purpose.

The online survey was carried out between May 22-25 with a sample of eligible voters in France, 1,500 in Italy and 1,500 in Germany.

Earlier today, the European Commission set out plans for a €750 billion bailout fund that involves eurocrats borrowing vast sums on cash on international markets.

In a new tax and spend, Mrs von der Leyen, the Commission president, set out a new power grab that would turn the Brussels-based executive into a de facto EU finance ministry.

Her blueprint is likely to cause immense friction with member states wanting to retain national tax sovereignty.

Leaders will discuss the recovery fund at a European summit on June 19, likely to be a frantic affair.

The plans, which are based on a Franco-German proposal put forward by Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, require the unanimous support of all 27 EU capitals before they can be implemented.

The Dutch, Austrian, Danish and Swedish governments have all voiced their opposition for the creation of the creation of mutualised EU debt.

A joint diplomatic paper put forward by the so-called “Frugal Four” said the four countries “cannot agree” to any “instruments or measures leading to debt mutualisation nor significant increases in the EU budget”.

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The fiscally conservative member states want grants issued to Spain and Italy to be linked to the introduction of austerity politics.

A Dutch diplomat said: “Our position is well known: The starting point is that the Netherlands is willing to help and wants to cooperate on a European level to fight the crisis. We want to do this in a way that strengthens member states and the EU as a whole.”

“The positions are far apart and this is a unanimity file; so negotiations will take time. It’s difficult to imagine this proposal will be the end state of those negotiations,” they added.

According to internal documents, seen by Express.co.uk, Italy is in line for grants worth almost €82 billion, Spain would receive some €77 billion and France around €38 billion.

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This would leave poorer EU countries who have avoided the worst of the pandemic will be left to shoulder the financial burden of some of the bloc’s biggest economies.

The likes of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic would feel the pinch as a result.

Hungarian MEP Eniko Gyori said the plan would lead to a “moral hazard” by encouraging countries to rack up huge bills.

She said: “It cannot happen that poorer member states finance the wealthier ones.”

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‘Pathetic’ Ian Blackford faces backlash after thanking Barnier for his letter -‘We’re OUT’

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This afternoon SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford openly welcomed Michel Barnier’s surprise letter to opposition leaders, which outlined the EU’s plan to extend the negotiating period for up to two more years. Responding to the letter, Mr Blackford thanked the European Commission’s Head of Task Force and urged Boris Johnson to abandon his commitment to the British people and extend talks beyond December 31.

Mr Blackford wrote on Twitter: “Thank you Michel Barnier for your letter today confirming the EU is open to a two-year extension to the Brexit transition period.

“Time is running out. Boris Johnson must put his responsibilities to jobs and the economy first – agree an extension to prevent another crisis.”

The desperate plea from the SNP chief was met with an angry response by many users on Twitter – who in no uncertain terms reminded Mr Blackford what 17.4 million people voted for.

One user said: “This is ant-democratic. It’s been four years since the UK voted to leave.”

A second responded by saying: “We’re out.”

A third told Mr Blackford: “We do NOT want any extension! Keep out of it.

“It’s MPs like yourself that kept casing problems in the UK parliament and dragging Brexit out for so long. Now we want it finished for good.”

A fourth simply said: “No extension, listen to the majority!”

A fifth wrote: “Sad pathetic wee man.”

In the letter to Westminster leaders of the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Green Party and Alliance Party, Mr Barnier said the EU “remain open” to an extension until 2022 but warned this would come at a financial cost to the UK.

The UK and the EU negotiating teams have just one round of talks to go in June before both sides must decide on any extension before the July 1 deadline – Downing Street has again reiterated a delay is not an option.

In the letter Mr Barnier said: “Such an extension of up to one or two years can be agreed jointly by the two parties.

“The European Union has always said that we remain open on this matter.

“Any extension decision has to be taken by the Joint Committee before July 1, and must be accompanied by an agreement on a financial contribution by the United Kingdom.”

The Prime Minister has already knocked back any suggestion of a new timetable for talks and insisted the UK will honour the December 31 deadline.

Responding to Mr Barnier, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “No change to the government’s position.

“The transition period will end on December 31.”

Boris Johnson’s chief negotiator David Frost, said it was “firm policy” of the Government to honour the current timetable.

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In front on the Commons Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union, Mr Frost also insisted there remains a “big gap” in negotiations regarding the EU’s insistence on a level playing field with the UK on trade rules and regulations.

He said: “I think it’s fair to say that we have a fundamental disagreement at the moment on most aspects of the level playing field.

“There are one or two areas that are slightly less controversial and problematic but in most of the important areas, there’s a big gap.

“And he obviously is delivering the mandate he was given. Member states regard the level playing field as very important.

“I think, to recall, we are not saying that there can be no level playing field provisions, we’re simply saying that there must be provisions which are appropriate to a free trade agreement.”

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Iran news: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to find out fate today – will she be freed?

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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was last week told she would remain on release pending a decision on granting clemency. A decision on her status is expected imminently and the family are said to be “on the cusp” of good news, but will she be freed?

Who is Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe?

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, is a British-Iranian dual citizen who has been detained in Iran since April 2016.

Before her arrest, she lived in London with her husband, an accountant Richard Ratcliffe.

She worked as a project manager for the charity Thomson Reuters Foundation and was previously employed by BBC Media Action, an international development charity.

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Why was she arrested?

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Imam Khomeini Airport in Iran with her then 22-month-old daughter Gabriella as they were about to board a flight returning to the UK.

She was in the country to visit her parents and celebrate the country’s new year.

The mother was accused of plotting to topple the Government in Tehran, although no official charges have been made public.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said she was leading a “foreign-linked hostile network” when she visited.

But her employers have issued statements saying she was not working for them in Iran but was instead on holiday there.

She was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in September 2016 for allegedly “plotting to topple the Iranian Government”.

What has been done to help Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe?

Mr Ratcliffe has remained in the UK and has been campaigning for her release since the start of the ordeal in 2016.

He was instrumental in the British Government granting Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe diplomatic protection in March 2019.

This made Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case a formal, legal dispute between Britain and Iran.

After becoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson called for her immediate release during a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani.

She was temporarily released in March as 85,000 inmates were allowed out as part of attempts to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Since her temporary release from Tehran’s notorious Evin prison in March, she has been wearing an ankle tag and has been forced to remain within 300m of her parent’s home in Tehran.

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What is happening now?

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is expected to find out today whether she will be released as the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei of Iran announces if 3,000 people are being pardoned as part of Eid.

Mr Khamenei recently said prisoners who were initially sentenced to five or fewer years and who had served a third of their sentence would be released as part of the Muslim holiday.

Her lawyers will report to the court in Tehran this morning to be told whether the mother-of-one will be one of the pardoned 3,000.

Mr Ratcliffe is said to be “euphoric” about his wife’s potential release.

Mr Ratcliffe told The Times: “It feels to me we are closer than we have been before.”

Speaking to Sky News he added: “It feels like things could still go wrong.

“We’ve had a number of times where we’ve been down to the prosecutor’s office and been told to come back in a week’s time so that might be happening again.”

Mr Ratcliffe and his daughter have been together in the UK since October.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Mr Ratcliffe said: “We are on the cusp of potentially good news.

“Nazanin’s lawyer was being brought down in front of the prosecutor’s office tomorrow to get a decision on her clemency.

“So she could be on that list, we don’t know yet.”

He added: “It would be great if we could become a normal family.

“’There’s a possibility we’ll find out on Wednesday there’s a chance we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks if it doesn’t happen in the next couple of weeks we need to think it hasn’t happened.”

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‘We are doomed!’ Biblical plague of locust engulfs city in horrifying footage -VIDEO

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Hordes of locusts have overrun areas in India and Pakistan over recent weeks with the latest footage showing large groups of the pests descend on Indian city Jaipur. The influx of the pests and the havoc of the coronavirus disease has sparked fears of the end of the world. On Monday, the swarms of locusts descended on Jaipur, a city of an estimated three million people, with many documenting the unbelievable footage and posting it to social media.

One stunned local posted a video of the swarm with the hashtag: “LocustAttack in Jaipur.

She added: “We are doomed, food shortage incoming.”

Another added: “Locust attack in Jaipur.

“That’s it, 2020 is the last year for humankind.”

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Others drew a comparison between this plague and that of the bible.

The Twitter user sarcastically wrote: “A swarm of locusts was one of the biblical plagues right?

“So we are in the apocalypse, right now?”

While another simply added: “This is the beginning of the end.”

The rapid infestation of locusts has lead many to fear for their food security.

Senior locust forecasting officer at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation warned the impact there could be long term complications from the swarms across the globe.

He said: “The current locust outbreak is the biggest in 25 years in Ethiopia and Somalia, 26 years in India and 70 years in Kenya.”

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Climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology also explained how climate change played a key role in the severity of the swarms.

He said: “The outbreak started after heavy amounts of rains over east Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

“Heavy rain triggers the growth of vegetation in arid areas where desert locusts can then grow and breed.

“On top of that, the rising temperature due to global warming made the Western Indian Ocean particularly warm.”

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