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May welcomes Zimbabwe’s ‘brighter future’ after Mugabe

Robert MugabeImage copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption The resignation of Robert Mugabe comes after Zimbabwe’s military took over the country and put him under house arrest

Theresa May has welcomed the resignation of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, saying it offered an opportunity to “rebuild the country’s economy”.

The president stepped down after 37 years in power via a letter that was read out to the country’s parliament.

It followed a takeover by the Zimbabwean military, who put Mr Mugabe under house arrest last week.

Boris Johnson called the end of Mr Mugabe’s reign a “moment of hope.”

The 93-year-old had resisted calls to step down, despite the intervention of the country’s military and protests across the capital of Harare.

However, on Tuesday, parliament speaker Jacob Mudenda read a letter from the former leader of Zanu-PF, which said his decision was “voluntary” and “arising from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe.”

Responding to the announcement, Mrs May said: “In recent days we have seen the desire of the Zimbabwean people for free and fair elections and the opportunity to rebuild the country’s economy under a legitimate government.

“As Zimbabwe’s oldest friend, we will do all we can to support this, working with our international and regional partners to help the country achieve the brighter future it so deserves.”

The foreign secretary also welcomed the announcement, but warned it should not mark “the transition from one despotic rule to another”.

Mr Johnson said: “I think it’s very important at the moment that we don’t focus too much on the personalities.

“Let’s concentrate on the potential, the hope for Zimbabwe – an incredible country, a beautiful country, blessed with extraordinary physical and human potential.”

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Media captionForeign Secretary Boris Johnson says Robert Mugabe’s resignation as president is a “moment of hope” for Zimbabwe

Asked about what he thought should happen to Mr Mugabe and his wife Grace – who the former leader had been priming as a successor – he added: “[Mr Mugabe] played an important part in the birth of the independent nation of Zimbabwe.

“And yet, tragically, he allowed that legacy to be squandered and his country went to rack and ruin and in some cases his people were driven to the brink of starvation.

“It’s time now for a new future and how Robert Mugabe spends the rest of his years is very much a matter for his countrymen.”

‘Family dynasty’ failed

Labour MP and former Africa minister, Peter Hain, said the president’s attempt to ensure Grace Mugabe would follow in his footsteps was his downfall.

He told BBC News: “It was his determination to create a family dynasty and protect himself that finally meant his party gave up on him and the ruling elite gave up on him as well.

“The Zanu-PF party, that Mugabe had controlled with an iron fist, reacted against it and would not accept his wife being ushered in as his presidential replacement.

“The military said we have had enough and we are not going to put up with this, although they had ruled with him and supported him at times in murderous extermination of the opposition.

Image caption Lord Peter Hain met with Mr Mugabe when he was the minister for Africa in 1999

Lord Hain added that the people of Zimbabwe had the chance for a “fresh start“, and called on former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is expected to will be sworn in as president in the coming days, to take the country “in a different direction”.

Salil Shetty, secretary general of London-based Amnesty International, said Mr Mugabe’s leadership had allowed “grotesque crimes to thrive”, but his resignation was a turning point.

She said: “After more than three decades of violent repression, the way forward for the country is to renounce the abuses of the past and transition into a new era where the rule of law is respected and those who are responsible for injustices are held to account.”

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Graduate with 2:1 sues Oxford for £1m

Oxford University
Image caption Faiz Siddiqui is suing Oxford university for £1m in damages

An Oxford graduate’s failure to get a top degree cost him a lucrative legal career, the High Court has heard.

Faiz Siddiqui alleges “inadequate” teaching on his modern history course resulted in him getting a low upper second degree in June 2000.

He blames staff being absent on sabbatical leave and is suing the university for £1m.

Oxford denies negligence and causation and says the case is “massively” outside the legal time limit.

Mr Siddiqui also alleges medical information about him was not submitted to examiners by a tutor.

The 39-year-old studied at Brasenose College and singled out the teaching on the Indian special subject part of his course for criticism.

‘A huge disappointment’

His counsel Roger Mallalieu told Mr Justice Foskett that Mr Siddiqui had been a “driven young man” aiming at a postgraduate qualification at an Ivy League university.

He said: “Whilst a 2:1 degree from Oxford might rightly seem like a tremendous achievement to most, it fell significantly short of Mr Siddiqui’s expectations and was, to him, a huge disappointment.”

Mr Mallalieu said his employment history in legal and tax roles was “frankly poor” and he was now unemployed, rather than having a career at the tax bar in England or a major US law firm.

Mr Siddiqui also said his clinical depression and insomnia have been significantly exacerbated by his “inexplicable failure”.

Julian Milford, for Oxford University, told the court Mr Siddiqui complained about insufficient resources, but had only described the teaching as “a little bit dull”.

He added the student received exactly the same amount of teaching as he would have in any other year.

The seven-day hearing is concerned only with liability – with damages to be assessed later if Mr Siddiqui succeeds.

Bus tours for future teachers expand to Bradford’s secondary schools

TEACHER training students will be taken on bus tours of secondary schools across Bradford as part of a major recruitment campaign.

Bradford Council organises the tours to give people who are training to be teachers an insight into how rewarding working in the district’s schools can be.

Tours have so far been of primary schools, but students are now being shown around Bradford’s secondary schools.

The bus tours have already been credited with helping to recruit more than 200 teachers into Bradford’s primary schools since they were first launched two years ago.

Councillor Imran Khan, executive for education, employment and skills said: “We know that when people see the work that our schools do first-hand they want to be involved. We hope the teacher training students who take part are inspired by what they see.

“Bradford’s secondary schools are already achieving some amazing results – having been the fourth most improved area in the country for the progress pupils are making at GCSE. We hope more talented teachers taking part in the latest round of bus tours will join us to help improve the district’s results further.”

The tours are followed by a ‘Journey to Your First Teaching Post’ workshop where candidates are given advice about applying for jobs, writing personal statements and preparing for their job interviews.

The newly qualified teachers are then invited to apply to a talent bank which has been set up by Bradford Council to allow the district’s schools to find the best candidates for their vacancies.

Kezia Dugdale not suspended by Labour over I’m A Celebrity

Kezia DugdaleImage copyright Rex Features
Image caption Kezia Dugdale has arrived in Australia for the show

Kezia Dugdale will not be suspended from the Scottish Labour Party over her decision to join reality TV programme I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!

The MSP and former party leader has been the subject of heated debate after agreeing to join the ITV programme.

Ms Dugdale was not given permission by the party to go on leave to Australia during the Holyrood term.

But a meeting of MSPs on the Scottish Labour group concluded that she “would not face suspension”.

New leader Richard Leonard had previously said he was “not persuaded” that his predecessor should be punished in this manner, despite his own “personal disappointment” and strong criticism from others in the party.

Lothians MSP Ms Dugdale has arrived in Australia and is expected to make her debut on the programme this week.

She is expected to be paid tens of thousands of pounds, part of which she will donate to charity, along with her MSP’s salary for the three weeks she is away.

Image copyright Rex Features

Scottish Labour business manager James Kelly said the MSP group had discussed Ms Dugdale’s “unauthorised leave of absence from her parliamentary duties”, but had decided against sanctioning her in the immediacy.

He said: “Today, the group concluded that Kezia Dugdale would not face suspension.

“In accordance with standard procedure, Kezia Dugdale will be interviewed on her return to parliament and have the opportunity to present her account of events.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Leonard is “disappointed” by Kezia Dugdale’s television appearance

Criticism of Ms Dugdale has chiefly come from within her own party, with fellow MSP Neil Findlay calling the decision “ludicrous” and MP Jess Phillips calling her a “hypocrite”, given she previously called Tory MP Nadine Dorries “daft” for going on the show.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was not something she would want an SNP MSP to do, but also Tweeted that she was on “#TeamKez”.

Ms Dugdale was defended by her partner, the SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth, who told reporters at Holyrood that she was “very proud” of her.

She said: “Why wouldn’t she use that opportunity to get her views across to millions of people? I think some of the comments have been unfair – it’s really hurtful actually that she saw some of that commentary over the weekend.

“She was quite hurt by some of those things but she’s taken a lot of spirit from the good-luck messages she’s had from lots of people. I think Scotland is rooting for her.”

Plans for a Bradford BID take a step forward

PLANS for a Business Improvement District in Bradford have taken a stride forward.

The results of a study into the scheme, designed to improve the city centre, were revealed at the Alhambra Theatre by Ian Ward, Chair of the Bradford BID Development Group, this afternoon. 

A BID is a defined area within a city where a levy – typically one to 1.5 per cent – is charged on all business rate payers over and above their normal business rates.

The levy is then used to develop projects or services which benefit the businesses in that area. Other BID areas have used the money to tidy up empty premises, make it easier for visitors to find their way around, provide extra security such as cracking down on anti-social behaviour and street drinking, and organise festivals.

The survey found that 70 per cent of respondents were in favour of the BID concept being tested by ballot, while 22 per cent were undecided and 8 per cent were against the idea.

Following analysis of survey returns, it is recommended that Bradford now moves towards detailed consultation and the production of a draft BID business plan.

It is anticipated that a ballot would take place in Autumn 2018 and, subject to a positive vote, the BID would operate from December 2018.

An initial BID boundary has been proposed, along with a 1.25 per cent BID levy, which would lead to 585 eligible business premises being part of the improvement district.

This would result in an annual BID levy income of nearly £420,000, which would amount to more than £2 million over the course of the fiveyear BID term.

Further “extensive” consultation will now be carried out around the outline proposals.

BIDs have been established in more than 270 cities, towns and districts across the UK, including in Keighley, Otley, Halifax, Leeds and Wakefield.

Please don’t pet!

Carol Willacy with her dogs, Charlie and BillyImage copyright Carol Willacy
Image caption Carol Willacy says even working dogs like Charlie, left, get “horrendous” attention from strangers

“I’m working” or “do not disturb” are messages usually worn by a guide or assistant dog.

Charity the Royal National Institute of Blind People says petting a working dog risks “distracting the dog from its work” and “could put its owner at risk of danger”.

But some pet owners are also saying they don’t like strangers stroking their non-working dog.

Contact can also be a problem for owners of shy dogs, deaf dogs, and puppies prone to bite or growl. Here are why some people are saying: “Please don’t pet my dog.”

1) ‘My dog’s deaf’

Image copyright Debra Dorrans

Debra Dorrans’ black Labrador-Staffie Benny is 14 and has lost his hearing – so she worries “he might get a fright” if people come up to him and stroke him.

She also recently adopted seven-year-old Sam, a white Westie who gets nervous around other dogs and children.

“I have heard of dogs biting children that have then had to be put down,” she says.

“I’ve never been in that position, but I’m always aware.”

Debra, a retired nurse, is one of 12,000 members of Facebook group Reactive Dogs, which brings together owners of dogs who show excessive fear or aggression around strangers.

“I always put my dogs first,” says Debra.

“I don’t want them to get into any trouble or bite someone.”

She says she’s not afraid to say no to people who want to pet her dogs, but warns that “you have to keep your wits about you”.

“One day a small child ran up to Benny and wrapped his arms around him. I told the parents they shouldn’t do that, but they didn’t really seem to understand.”

2) ‘Quite alarming’

Image copyright Dale McLelland

“I’m not embarrassed to say to someone – please don’t pet my dog,” says Dale McLelland, from Ayrshire, owner of two-year-old Hattie.

She says people “absolutely make a beeline” for the Old English Sheepdog.

“It’s hairy dog syndrome. She looks so cute.”

But she explains it can be “quite alarming for her” if too many people approach Hattie during her walks.

Dale, who has worked as a dog behaviourist for 10 years, says dogs can find strangers’ hugging and petting intrusive.

“Can you imagine if you were on a train and every second person came over and touched you, how uncomfortable that would make you feel?”


Dog person? The correct way to pet a stranger’s pooch

  1. Never leave your child alone with a stranger’s dog
  2. And don’t approach a dog without an owner around
  3. Only stroke the a dog if the owner says “yes you can”
  4. Get the dog to sniff your hand first, then stroke gently
  5. If a strange dog approaches you – stand still, look away and cross your arms

Source: Dogs Trust


Dale avoids busy places, and volunteers for Yellow Dog, a US-based project which advocates putting a yellow ribbon on a dog to show that they need space.

“The problem is, not many people know what the ribbon means – and those that do are normally clued up”.

She adds: “I had Rottweilers for 20 years – and only people who probably knew the breed came over and touched them.”

3) ‘My dog IS working’

Image copyright Carol Willacy

But even working dogs get disturbed, according to those who rely on them.

Carol Willacy says her assistance dog Charlie, a golden Labrador, is “my life, everything” – but that the attention he gets from strangers can be “horrendous”.

She says about 50 people will approach her on a trip to the supermarket, even if he is wearing his harness.

“The ‘do not distract’ message doesn’t make a difference,” she says.

“There’s a saying at least half of people come out with, ‘I know I’m not supposed to touch your dog, but…'”

Carol, 48, suffered a spinal injury as a teenager and also has stereotypic movement disorder (SMD), meaning she uses a wheelchair and had to give up her job as a pharmaceuticals account manager.

Three-year-old Charlie helps Carol by passing her things and, crucially, detects and warns her if she is unwell.

“If your dog is going to tell you you’re not feeling well, you want that dog to be focused and not stroked and stopped,” she says.

“My previous assistance dog was a little Jack Russell and we had the same problem. He had to retire as he got grumpy with people,” she says.

4) ‘I’m training my puppy’

Image copyright Luke Balsam

Dog trainer Luke Balsam, who runs a school in London, says puppies in particular should be left alone – as they are still getting used to walks and being around strangers.

“People are drawn to puppies,” says Luke, who owns a Cocker Spaniel, Indie.

“But some don’t think it’s necessary to ask the owner’s permission.”

In London, where lots of people live in flats and might not own a pet, seeing dogs on the Tube or in cafes can be a novelty.

Luke says public-shy owners should go “off the beaten track”, like a wooded area, until they have trained a puppy or dog to walk around in busy places.

But he says anyone worried their dog might bite or nip a person should use a muzzle.

“It’s definitely recommended,” he says.

“The muzzle should be an essential part of training your dog, and they can be taught to enjoy wearing it.”


Have you said “don’t pet my dog” to a stranger? Or do you like it when people want to pet your dog? You can share your experience by emailing .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

Dales Dairies prepares to move 50 jobs to Bradford district

An expanding Yorkshire Dales dairy has revealed its plans to move into its new premises in the district next year.

Grassington-based Dales Dairies intends to bring its 60-strong workforce to the vacant former Fuzzwire complex next to Marley roundabout, in Keighley.

The company gained planning permission in July 2015 to develop a major new facility at the 11,000 sq m Aireworth Distribution Centre, off Aireworth Road.

Since then, the company has been working towards transferring its entire dairy processing unit to the premises.

Senior development manager Paul Mason this week confirmed the move was still due to go ahead, even though it had been more than two years since planning permission was granted by Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals committee.

He said: “The intention is to move into the premises in 2018.”

Mr Mason said Dales Dairies now owned the complex and was currently letting out part of it to other companies.

Dales Dairies is currently based at Town Head Farm in Grassington.

However, in recent years, business has expanded to the point where the current site had reached capacity.

The company had to find a new base to ensure it could continue to expand.

When the move was announced, Mr Mason said the dairy sourced its milk from 20 local farms, many of which were only a few miles from Keighley.

He said the company had struggled to find employees at the firm’s Grassington location and hoped a Keighley base would provide it with a workforce and “some stable employment for many years to come”.

At the time, Mr Mason said Dales Dairies employed 50 employees, but it aimed to quadruple production and would need to take on new staff to do so.

He said that once the firm bought the site, there was likely to be development phase of between 12 and 18 months.

Dales Dairies is a milk producer, processor and distributor that runs alongside a working dairy farm.

The business was started in 1938 by William Oversby, who ran the farm and started selling milk to the local community.

After 25 years of growth, William passed the reins to his son John, who in the early 1980s began selling milk to other wholesalers within Yorkshire.

David, third generation of the family, took over the business in 2003, adopting the name Town Head Farm Products Ltd. In 2011 the company became known as Dales Dairies.

National Lottery players could win £10,000 a month for life

couple winning moneyImage copyright Getty Images

Camelot, the operator of the National Lottery, is planning to introduce a new game which offers winners a monthly income for the rest of their lives.

Instead of winning a lump sum, those taking part in the new game could win as much as £10,000 a month, providing them with a lifetime annuity.

Camelot said it was one of the different options it was looking at as a way for it to attract new players.

It follows a poor performance, as the firm raised less money for good causes.

A spokesperson for Camelot said the annuity-style prize was not designed to prevent binge spending.

He said it was for people who had “a different dream”. It is likely to be introduced some time in 2019.

In the six months to the 23 September, National Lottery ticket sales fell by 3.2% compared to the same period last year.

Over the same time it raised £746.6m for good causes, a 4.7% drop on 2016.

A ‘different dream’

Camelot UK has also appointed Nigel Railton as its permanent chief executive. He is charged with returning the National Lottery to growth.

Mr Railton is said to be keen on the annuity idea, having spent time in Chicago as boss of Camelot Global.

In the United States pay-outs of $10,000 a month for life are a regular feature of local lotteries.

A number of lump-sum lottery winners have lost their cash after spending all their winnings.

Image copyright Camelot
Image caption Pete Kyle, who reportedly spent most of his £5m winnings

Among them was Pete Kyle from Plymouth, who won over £5m in 2005.

In August this year The Sun wreported that he was penniless, after blowing the cash on luxury cars and holidays.

Lotto revision

Camelot said it was also planning to re-design its Lotto game, following criticism by players.

In 2015 it added 10 extra balls to the draw, making it harder to win a jackpot.

From next year it said it will offer a better game, with improved odds of winning.

However it is going to keep the existing number of balls.

VIDEO: Time flies! Watch company makes Yorkshire’s first drone delivery to customer in Keighley

A customer in Keighley has received what’s thought to be Yorkshire’s first drone delivery.

The unmanned delivery aircraft dropped off two watches from Yorkshire business Weird Ape.

The firm, based in Halifax, decided to run the trial after market research suggested it was something its customers wanted – and, says founder Stefan Kozikowski, “to see if it was possible”.

Stefan said: “Watches are small, light and high value making them ideal candidates for drone deliveries.” The drone can fly in a straight line at 20mph, cutting delivery times drastically – the whole process from order to delivery took just 45 minutes.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The drone on its travels through the West Yorkshire skies

After agreeing to take part in the trial, the customer – who hasn’t been named – received a text message notification when the drone was 10 minutes away from their address, then put out a special landing marker to help the robot drop its cargo in the right spot.

Weird Ape’s system uses a unique delivery system that opens automatically on landing, and there’s a fishy story behind it.

Stefan explained: “At first we were integrating a receiver and servos to open the hatch. This all needed additional power and added weight.

“Seeing us struggle with the design our accountant, an avid fisherman, suggested we create a much simpler design based on a bait dropper. This clever design didn’t require any of the complicated communications equipment, saving cost and weight.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The drone makes its drop.

Drone delievery technology has come a long way since 2013, when Amazon boss Jeff Bezos first announced the firm was working on flying robots to deliver packages to its Prime customers.

At the time, many in the tech world struggled to take the idea seriously.

But by December 2016 Amazon UK made the world’s first drone delivery during a trial scheme in Cambridge.

Since then a number of companies have begun experimenting with drone delivery around the world.

Unlike Amazon’s fully automated trial, Weird Ape’s delivery, which took place on October 31, used a human pilot licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Schools to help design web safety tool

FOUR schools in Bradford are competing in a competition to design an online tool to keep people safe online.

BBG Academy, Dixons Allerton Academy, Queensbury School, and Samuel Lister Academy are four of 26 schools taking part in the contest, organised by West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

Children aged 11 to 14 are being asked to design a resource – whether it be a website, leaflet, phone app or even a rap – to help people be safe on the internet.

Schools will also have to prove as part of the entry the safety message has worked on a small sample group of students.

Mark Burns-Williamson said: “The majority of cyber crime is preventable and there are some simple steps that you can take to vastly reduce your chances of being targeted, such as ensuring you use strong passwords and don’t click on suspicious links.

“The problem comes with raising awareness of these steps which aren’t always the most interesting things to read.

“However, who better to help than young people themselves who are often at the forefront of technology and much more digitally aware than most adults.”

The deadline for entries is Monday, December 18 with the final being held at West Yorkshire Police’s training base at Carr Gate, Wakefield, on Safer Internet Day, Tuesday, February 6, 2018.