Priti Patel says she will HALVE migrant Channel crossings within weeks

Home Secretary Priti Patel says she will HALVE migrant Channel crossings within weeks and virtually eliminate the trips by spring next year

  • Home Secretary vows to halve illegal migrant crossing by the end of this month
  • Action plan with France vows to make crossings an ‘infrequent phenomenon’
  • More than 1,400 people have crossed Channel illegally in the past ten months 

Illegal migrant crossings of the Channel will be halved by the end of this month, Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed on Tuesday night.

It came as she agreed an ambitious new action plan with the French which will aim to virtually eliminate the crossings by next spring.

The UK and France agreed to halve crossings in just a fortnight’s time. Within six months the dangerous journeys will be an ‘infrequent phenomenon’, according to the action plan.

Police patrols along the northern French coast will be doubled, with beaches under round-the-clock surveillance for the first time.

Illegal migrant crossings of the Channel will be halved by the end of this month, Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed last night

New detection equipment will be used so French authorities can intercept boats before they leave shore.

More than 1,400 people have crossed the Channel illegally in the past 10 months, unofficial figures show. 

Miss Patel said: ‘I am absolutely committed to doing everything in my power to stop these dangerous Channel crossings.’

The ‘immediate objective’, by the end of October, is to halve the number of migrant crossings accounted for over the summer and reduce it further by the end of December so that by the spring it has become an ‘infrequent phenomenon’, according to the pledges made in the document by the Home Secretary and French interior minister. 

Millions of euros in funding could be used to tackle the problem – and once this is spent ‘additional UK support’ may be needed to pay for resources, the paper said.

More ‘intelligence sources’ will be sent out in France to gather information on organised criminal gangs behind the crossings, while migrants would be encouraged to stay in the country rather than travel to the UK with action being taken to ‘deter repeated attempts to cross the Channel’.

The agreement was made in August and details were eventually published on Tuesday.

In it, Priti Patel and Christophe Castaner vow to put into motion the ‘urgent action’ they said was needed to stop the wave of crossings when they met.

The patrols are ‘crucial’ to meeting the 50% reduction target and are believed by the UK and French Governments to be the best chance at having the most impact in preventing boats leaving the continent before crossing the water.

In the agreement, Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner (pictured) vow to put into motion the ‘urgent action’ they said was needed to stop the wave of crossings when they met

So far this year, UK authorities are thought to have intercepted more than 1,000 migrants – and it is understood there were more than 300 crossings in August alone.

The document frequently refers to the large numbers of incidents – but never commits in numbers how many crossings have taken place.

The Home Office has so far declined to provide an exact, up-to-date figure.

Loss of life at sea ‘is to be avoided at all costs’, the document made public a day after two migrants were found dead also said.

The bodies of two Iraqis were found washed up on a beach in northern France on Monday.

The pair – aged 17 and 22 – were discovered on the same beach at Le Touquet at different times of the day.

It is thought they were trying to reach the UK by boat. One was found near a small boat with two oars and a life jacket, according to reports.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: ‘Our thoughts and sympathies are with the friends and families of those involved.

‘An investigation into the circumstances is being run by the French authorities and we are ready to assist if required.’

The action plan said there would be ‘direct engagement and deterrence’ by ‘debriefing teams’ speaking to migrants on beaches and at camps about the ‘relative attractiveness of France compared to the UK as a destination for asylum seekers’. 

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Notorious child abuser who 'burned toddler in baking hot oven scalds another boy with boiling hot water after being let free’

AN alleged child abuser notorious for apparently throwing a toddler in a hot oven has been accused of scalding another with boiling water.

Terry May, 47, burned the terrified three-year-old boy last month after the child accidentally wet himself, according to police in Florida.


Daycare teachers spotted the child's horrific injuries and reported them to Volusia County Sheriff’s Office on September 27.

A police report said severe burns covered half of the toddler's back – from "the very top of his back all the way to the bottom."

The boy's mother told cops that the marks were accidental and the result of him being pulled across a trampoline.

But the tragic youngster is said to have told officers: "My back hurts. Terry burned me", the Miami Herald reports.

It is unclear what relationship May has to the boy or his mother.

TAKEN INTO CARE

Florida Department of Children and Families later took the child into care before leaving him with relatives.

May, of Deltona, Florida, faces a charge child abuse causing greater bodily harm.

It comes after May was accused last year of putting a three-year-old girl in an oven and switching it on.

The alleged sickening attack on the daughter of his ex-girlfriend left the toddler with horror burns to her ears and feet.

May was branded "Scumbag of the week" by Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood after the alleged January 2018 attack.

But prosecutors later revealed they had insufficient evidence to bring May to trial.

That left him free to allegedly commit another attack on a helpless child.

May's bond has been set at $250,000.

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New NHS bowel cancer test finally rolled out – paving the way for screening at 50 after Sun campaign – The Sun

A NEW and improved bowel cancer screening test is finally being rolled out across England – after almost a year of delays.

It's better at spotting cancer and easier for the public to use – meaning it could save thousands of lives each year.

A major new report has criticised the NHS for delaying the new faecal immunochemical test (FIT) after health bosses promised it would be available last autumn.

Screening at 50 will save lives

Bowel cancer screening is estimated to save around 2,400 lives every year.

Currently the test is offered to everyone in England from the age of 60 – but across the border in Scotland screening starts at 50.

That's why The Sun launched  the No Time 2 Lose campaign last April, calling on the Government to lower the screening age in England – a move which could save around 4,500 lives a year.

Last summer health secretary Matt Hancock announced they would be lowering the bowel cancer screening age – marking a victory for The Sun and campaigners.

But, to date that promise has not been acted upon – in part due to delays rolling out the new FIT test, and a shortage of staff to cope with the inevitable increase in colonoscopies.

New screening test rolled out

Today, Professor Sir Mike Richards, the NHS's first cancer director and the CQC's chief inspector of hospitals, has outlined a new blueprint for the future of all NHS cancer screening.

His report notes the roll out of FIT started in June this year – but criticises delays in making the new test available.

Pilot studies trialling FIT showed it was effective in 2003.

Yet it took the UK National Screening Committee until late 2015 to recommend its use on the NHS and another four years for the public to be offered the test.

Sir Mike's report states: "This (FIT) is a more sensitive test and is easier for participants as they only have to collect a single stool sample, rather than three.

"In 2004, evidence from large scale pilots in England showed that uptake was around 7 per cent higher than for FOBT (the current test), reflecting the increased acceptability of the test.

"Uptake has increased by 8.5 per cent since FIT was introduced in Scotland in November 2017."

SIGNS OF BOWEL CANCER YOU NEED TO KNOW

IT  can be embarrassing and unpleasant to talk about your guts, but we promise it's important.

Bowel cancer, also known as colon cancer or colorectal cancer, is the fourth most common form of the disease in the UK, after breast, prostate andlung cancers.

It's the UK's 2nd deadliest cancer – after lung – claiming 16,000 lives a year, but it CAN be cured – if it's caught early enough.

Fewer than one in ten people survive bowel cancer if it's picked up at stage 4, but detected quickly, more than nine in ten patients will live five years or longer.

What are the red-flag signs of bowel cancer?

The five red-flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
  • a change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
  • pain or a lump in your tummy
  • extreme tiredness
  • losing weight

Tumours in the bowel typically bleed, which can cause a shortage of red blood cells, known as anaemia. It can cause tiredness and sometimes breathlessness.

In some cases bowel cancer can block the bowel, this is known as a bowel obstruction.

Other signs of bowel cancer include:

  • gripping pains in the abdomen
  • feeling bloated
  • constipation and being unable to pass wind
  • being sick
  • feeling like you need to strain – like doing a number two – but after you've been to the loo

While these are all signs to watch out for, experts warn the most serious is noticing blood in your stools.

But, they warn it can prove tricky for doctors to diagnose the disease, because in most cases these symptoms will be a sign of a less serious disease.

2nd deadliest cancer – but it can be cured

Bowel cancer is the second deadliest form of the disease in the UK, claiming around 16,000 lives every year.

Yet, it can be cured, better still prevented – but early diagnosis is key to that.

Catch the disease at stage 1 and a patient has a 97 per cent chance of surviving five years or longer.

But, catch it at stage 4 – when the cancer has spread – and that chance plummets to just 7 per cent.

Screening is one of the best ways to catch the disease early – hence the importance of the new FIT test.

Sir Mike's report notes: "At present, FIT is aimed at men and women aged 60 to 74, though the plan is to reduce the starting age to 50.

In August 2018, ministers agreed that the starting age for bowel screening should be lowered… Final decisions on the timescales for extension to lower ages and on increasing sensitivity are awaited

"In August 2018, ministers agreed that the starting age for bowel screening should be lowered.

"It is also planned that over time the sensitivity level of the FIT screening test will be increased, thereby identifying a higher proportion of patients with cancer or polyps (pre-cancerous lumps)."

With a more effective screening test, comes the inevitable increase in people needing further cancer investigations.

When it comes to bowel cancer, patients with abnormal screening tests are often sent for a colonoscopy – where a camera is inserted into the bowel to look for polyps, or pre-cancerous lumps.

But staff shortages mean that is a "limiting factor," Sir Mike warned.

"Final decisions on the timescales for extension to lower ages and on increasing sensitivity are awaited," he added.

"While the five screening hubs have the capacity to process more FIT tests, optimising bowel cancer screening will have inevitable consequences for workforce."

Welcomed news

Dr Lisa Wilde, director of research and external affairs at Bowel Cancer UK told The Sun the charity welcomes Sir Mike's report.

"We are extremely pleased that the review echoes our concerns around NHS staff shortages, which must be addressed in order to deliver vital improvements to screening for bowel cancer.

"These include the Government's commitment to lowering the screening age from 60 to 50, as well as increasing the sensitivity of the new, easier to use FIT test.

"We look forward to working with the Department of Health, PHE and NHS England to ensure bowel cancer can be prevented, or diagnosed at the earliest opportunity when treatment can be more successful."

Dr Wilde also welcomed Sir Mike's call for targeted screening for those people with Lynch syndrome.

It's a genetic condition that increases a person's risk of bowel cancer by as much as 80 per cent.

Regular colonoscopies for those with the condition can "significantly reduce their risk of dying so it is vital this is implemented", she added.

Cancer screening in supermarkets and at work

Other recommendations in Sir Mike's report include offering women cancer checks during their lunch breaks, and providing screening in supermarket car parks, and in the workplace to make it easier.

GPs will also get extra cash to provide out of hours and weekend appointments.

The NHS currently sends out 15 million invites each year for breast, bowel and cervical cancer screening, with 10 million getting checks.
Sir Mike said implementing the changes in his report could save thousands of lives annually.

He told The Sun: "We know when it comes to cancer, catching it early can save lives, but when life is so hectic it is all too easy to put your job or family ahead of your own health.

"When you can arrange everything from a plane ticket to a mortgage at the touch of a button we want to make health checks more convenient too – if and when they need it, people should be able to get screened for cancer when they pop out for lunch or a coffee.”

Sir Mike's steps all contribute to the NHS Long Term Plan goal of saving an extra 55,000 lives each year within a decade by catching three quarters of all cancers early when they are easier to treat.

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Parents of UK crash victim to seek 'justice' at White House

BREAKING: Parents of British motorcyclist Harry Dunn, 19, who was killed by US diplomat’s wife arrive at White House for Donald Trump meeting as they urge officials to send her back to the UK to face justice

  • Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, arrived at the White House in Tuesday afternoon 
  • It is not yet clear if they will meet directly with President Donald Trump 
  • Their 19-year-old son was killed in August when his motorcycle collided with a car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas outside a British air force base
  • Case attracted widespread interest after Sacoolas, who is a U.S. diplomat’s wife, flew back to the United States and claimed diplomatic immunity 
  • Dunn’s parents took their case directly to U.S. audiences this week, holding a New York news conference and urging Sacoolas to return to Britain 

The parents of a British teenager killed in a car crash involving an American diplomat’s wife have gone to the White House to meet with officials about their son’s case.

Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, arrived at the White House in Tuesday afternoon.

It is not yet clear if they will meet directly with President Donald Trump. 

Their 19-year-old son was killed in August when his motorcycle collided with a car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas outside a British air force base in Northamptonshire. 

The case has attracted widespread interest after Sacoolas, who is a U.S. diplomat’s wife, flew back to the United States following the crash and claimed diplomatic immunity.   

Sacoolas has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing but her claim of immunity and return to the U.S. provoked an uproar in Britain.

Dunn’s parents took their case directly to U.S. audiences this week, holding a New York news conference and urging Sacoolas to return to Britain. 

Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, were spotted arriving at Union Station in Washington on Tuesday ahead of their meeting at the White House

Ahead of their meeting, Dunn’s parents told Sky News they were shocked they received a White House invitation so quickly. 

‘Hopefully it’s good news that she’s’ coming back to the UK and the government has said this is the way to go,’ Dunn’s father said.  

‘We came to America to get our point across and Anne back to the UK. If are going to the White House, surely this is a good step forward.’ 

The teenager’s mother said she was trying not to get her hopes up. 

‘We are keeping our fingers crossed that we’re not going to go and have a ‘there-there’ pat on the back, but of course I’m pleased,’ she said.

‘I just don’t know what to expect and we keep our fingers crossed that it’s not just an invitation to have a general chat.’ 

Trump last week called it ‘a terrible accident’ and said he planned to intervene and potentially arrange a meeting between the Dunns and Sacoolas.  


Harry Dunn, 19, was killed in August when his motorcycle collided with a car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas outside a British air force base in Northamptonshire 

Dunn’s parents announced the White House meeting on a ‘Justice4Harry’ crowd-funding page. 

A senior U.S. official, speaking on background, confirmed the plan.

The family said they hoped the invitation represented ‘a positive development in our fight for justice’.

‘We believe this can only be achieved if Anne Sacoolas returns to England and engages properly with the justice system, where she will be treated fairly in a proper investigation of what happened to our son on that day,’ they said.

Dunn’s parents are expected to meet with reporters outside the White House after the late-afternoon meeting.

Sacoolas’s lawyer, Amy Jeffress, told the BBC earlier that her client was ‘devastated’ by the accident and wanted to meet with the parents to ‘express her deepest sympathies’.

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The insanity of Trump's Syria surrender as Russia gleefully moves in

The insanity of Trump’s surrender in Syria: On the left hand side of the road, US troops pull out of their base near the Turkish border … on the right Assad’s forces – and their Russian allies – gleefully move in

  • US Army is abandoning its protection of the Syrian Kurds who led anti-jihadi war 
  • Turkey’s seven-day-long offensive is redrawing the map of northern Syria 
  • Russia announced units were deploying to keep Syrian and Turkish forces apart 

With the Stars and Stripes flying from the turrets of their armoured lorries, US troops performed a humiliating retreat from a key Syrian base yesterday.

Just after midnight, 15 vehicles pulled out of the facility built three years ago when the city of Manbij was cleared of Islamic State forces. As the US convoy headed one way Syrian fighters headed in the opposite direction – intent on occupying their abandoned positions.

On the orders of Donald Trump, the US Army is abandoning its protection of the Syrian Kurds who led the war against the jihadis. The Kurds have now had to turn to the Syrian regime and its Russian allies in their desperate bid to avoid being over-run by Turkish forces exploiting the American withdrawal.

On the orders of Donald Trump, the US Army is abandoning its protection of the Syrian Kurds who led the war against the jihadis

The Wagner Group, a shadowy mercenary outfit waging secret wars on the Kremlin’s behalf, immediately moved into the former US base. At the same time, Syrian government forces took full control of Manbij.

An official from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said: ‘The Russians are in the American base in Manbij now, they helped escort the Americans out of the area and got their base in return.’

Now in its seventh day, Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish fighters is redrawing the map of northern Syria once again in a civil war that has lasted eight years.

On Sunday the SDF was forced to cut a deal with Russian-backed President Bashar Al Assad to stave off potential genocide.

The Kurds have now had to turn to the Syrian regime and its Russian allies in their desperate bid to avoid being over-run by Turkish forces exploiting the American withdrawal. Pictured is a Syrian soldier

Russia announced yesterday that its units were deploying to keep apart the advancing Syrian and Turkish forces. It is a clear sign that Moscow is filling the security vacuum left by Donald Trump’s withdrawal of US soldiers last week.

Moscow’s special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, said fighting between the Turks and Syrians was ‘unacceptable’ and ‘therefore we will not allow it, of course’.

The US President’s unexpected and widely-condemned decision to withhold protection from Syria’s Kurds after a phone call with Turkish opposite number Recep Tayyip Erdogan overturned five years of US policy in the Middle East.

Republicans have largely remained loyal to Mr Trump but appear to be losing patience. Defence chiefs and White House advisers all warned him against his Syrian move and Congressional leaders said last night that they wanted to pass a bipartisan motion to overturn Mr Trump’s decision. US news shows have carried alarming reports from Syria highlighting the civilian casualties.

The pressure seemed to be telling last night when Mr Trump phoned Mr Erdogan to demand an immediate ceasefire.

The arrival of the Wagner Group is a dangerous development. In February last year 600 of its mercenaries, armed with tanks and artillery, launched an assault on the SDF only to find US advisers were embedded with them.

Russia announced yesterday that its units were deploying to keep apart the advancing Syrian and Turkish forces. Pictured are Syrian soldiers 

Moscow’s special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, said fighting between the Turks and Syrians was ‘unacceptable’ and ‘therefore we will not allow it, of course’

The Wagner forces maintained the assault for four hours despite being hammered by US airstrikes. An estimated 300 Russians were killed or wounded.

Western intelligence agencies believe Russia also sent Wagner mercenaries into Libya earlier this year to help General Khalifa Haftar overthrow the UN-backed government. It was suspected that Moscow wanted to exploit the instability to launch a formal intervention.

Footage posted online yesterday showed Russian war correspondent Oleg Blokhin, known to be following the Wagner group, smirking as he looked around the abandoned US base. He boasted: ‘Yesterday it was them and today it is us here.’

A senior Pentagon official told Newsweek that US personnel have ‘been assisting the Russian forces to navigate through previously unsafe areas quickly’.

A senior Pentagon official told Newsweek that US personnel have ‘been assisting the Russian forces to navigate through previously unsafe areas quickly’. Pictured are Turkey’s forces advancing towards Manbij, Syria 

The official said: ‘It is essentially a handover. However, it’s a quick out, not something that will include walk-throughs, etc. Everything is about making out with as much as possible of our things while destroying any sensitive equipment that cannot be moved.’

A TV crew understood to be from Russia Today filmed the base, showing what the US forces had left behind, including a television, sofas and bunks with bed linen.

Clashes between the SDF and Turkey continued yesterday, with Ankara saying two of its soldiers were killed by shelling in the Manbij region. It claimed 15 ‘terrorists’ were killed when the Turkish army returned fire.

From Manbij, Saddam Al Hasan, 28, said: ‘No one wants the people to be homeless and killed. I am happy to allow Russia to enter if they provide security and safety, and stop the ongoing war. I am happy that they will protect the borders of my city from the barbaric attacks of the armed factions and I hope that the crisis will end after uniting with the SDF.’

Pictured is the Syrian Army driving one way towards Kobane, and Americans driving the other 

President Erdogan has vowed to ignore growing condemnation of the invasion from the West. Turkey is a Nato member and the alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, met Boris Johnson yesterday for talks.

Britain and France have accused Turkey and the US of undoing five years of work in fighting IS, whose fighters and families are plotting escape from detention facilities.

French prime minister Edouard Philippe said: ‘This intervention is devastating for our collective security with the inevitable resurgence of Islamic State in northern Syria and also probably northwest Iraq.’

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday suggested three British orphans whose parents were killed in Syria after joining Islamic State could be allowed to return to the UK.

Mr Raab told MPs the Government did not want to see British foreign fighters return to the UK but, given the ‘fluid situation’, this might change. His comments were rebuffed by Home Office sources.

Additional reporting by Bedir Ahmed in Syria and Tom L

 

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Boy with rare Parkinson’s secures funding for life-changing operation

A severely disabled 12-year-old boy is looking forward to a “dream Christmas” after securing funding for pioneering treatment.

Marcus Allen suffers from a rare disease similar to Parkinson’s.

His family yesterday raised the £70,000 they needed to pay for cutting-edge gene therapy treatment in Poland because the NHS won’t fund it.

It came after the Daily Star donated the last £1,000 – with some cash even left over for other support Marcus may need.

His overjoyed mother Diane, 41, said: “Every donation is appreciated – no ­matter how small.

“The Daily Star have really helped support our journey and helped people educate themselves about Marcus’ condition.

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“You have helped raised his profile.”

The £70,000 milestone was reached ­exactly eight weeks after Diane launched the appeal from her home in Romiley, Greater Manchester.

Marcus was diagnosed with aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase deficiency when he was six months old and has ­gradually lost all of his mobility.

Diane is now hoping to travel to Poland in early December and have the treatment done by the New Year.

She said: “This will be the best Christmas present anybody has given me.”

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As war map shifts once more, fleeing Syrians face tough choices

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Driven from his hometown in northeast Syria as bombs rained down in a Turkish assault, a Kurdish father worried for his toddler son, who was ill, and accused America of betraying the Kurds in the region.

Agid Meshmesh escaped from the mainly Kurdish border town of Kobani on Monday after he couldn’t get food or diapers for his son, who was battling a severe infection.

“Life stopped; the doctors all fled,” Meshmesh, 29, told Reuters by phone from the nearby town of Manbij, where he was staying with his wife and son. “We’re fleeing, but we don’t know where to go.”

He called the Turkish military move on the region “a catastrophe,” and he criticized Washington for abandoning Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria, leaving the region at the mercy of Turkish troops and seeking help from Syria and Russia.

His hometown, Kobani, was the birthplace of a U.S.-Kurdish military alliance some five years ago, when Washington intervened with air strikes to help Kurdish fighters turn the tide against Islamic State. That made the U.S. pullout even more bitter.

“The Americans couldn’t do a thing for us,” he said. “It was an American betrayal of northeast Syria and the Kurdish people…. They left us between the jaws of a pincer.”

Caught in the crossfire, Meshmesh and his family are waiting, helplessly, to see how the shifting web of rivalries and alliances plays out in the tangled battlefield of northeastern Syria, which the Kurdish YPG militia controls.

The past week has redrawn the map of Syria yet again after more than eight years of war. Washington’s move to pull out of the region, opening the way for Ankara’s offensive, left Kurdish forces scrambling for protection. So the Kurds invited in the Syrian army and its ally Russia.

Meshmesh said he would rather have Syrian troops take his hometown than see it fall to Turkish forces — which he fears would make him a target for his Kurdish ethnicity. Turkey launched the operation in the region to target the YPG, which it brands a threat to Turkey.

The ethnically mixed northeast region is home to up to 2 million people, including Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and others, many of them uprooted from other parts of Syria.

The Syrian army’s deployment raises questions about the fate of a region where the YPG and its local allies have carved out self-rule for years.

Making matters even more fraught, the humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) announced Tuesday that it had suspended most of its activities in the region and evacuated all its international staff.

Meshmesh said the new reality on the ground could pose a threat for people who had evaded mandatory military service or Kurdish activists who are wanted by the government.

For him, that paled in comparison to the Turkish incursion. “It is an existential problem,” he said.

“I’m proud to be Syrian,” he said. “I prefer the Syrian government … even if it may weaken the rights and dreams that were built in the past eight years.”

But with territory shifting hands at lightning speed and a new exodus unfolding, Syrians must weigh up tough choices over where to seek shelter.

In the city of Raqqa farther south, a young Syrian Arab man hid in his home Tuesday, frantically following the news, worried about the prospect of Syrian government forces coming back.

“I’m living in a state of terror. I can’t sleep at night,” said the opposition activist, who is in his 20s and didn’t want to give his name because he is afraid of retribution. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

He has remained in his city since early in the war even as its rulers shifted from rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule to Islamic State militants and then to Kurdish fighters. But now he fears a return of state rule because of his past work with local outlets and activists opposed to Assad.

Syrian Kurdish leaders have said the deal with Damascus involves only army troops deploying at the border, and there has been no official comment from the Syrian government.

But the activist and a second Raqqa resident said they still worried that Kurdish forces would cut a deal with Damascus and hand over Raqqa.

Some in the city who support Damascus rallied on Monday, calling for a return of its rule and carrying photos of Assad for the first time in years, he said.

If it comes to it, his siblings, like many others, would have no problem staying in Raqqa, so he would have to find a way out alone, he said.

He hopes to get smuggled into territory in the north under the control of mainly Sunni Arab Syrian rebels funded and trained by Turkey, a swathe of Syria where Turkish forces are stationed. For now, though, he is waiting to see what happens.

The activist said he had heard from relatives in the north that some rebels had been looting and acting inappropriately but he would feel safer there than under state rule.

“Listen, nobody is good — they’re all criminals,” he said. “But some are easier than others.”

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Locals rescue four helpless puppies from burning car in India

Brave locals battle flames to rescue four helpless puppies from under a burning car in western India

  • A dog had given birth to four puppies underneath an abandoned police van
  • On Sunday the van caught on fire with the helpless puppies trapped below 
  • Heroic locals ran to the rescue and pulled out the litter of dogs
  • Incident was recorded on Highway 147A through Surendranagar, western India

This is the moment heroic locals crawl underneath a burning car to rescue a litter of puppies.

Without a moment to spare, several residents formed a human chain to pass the small puppies out of the burning wreckage to safety.

The incident was filmed on highway 147A, which runs through Surendranagar, western India.

In the footage, locals rushed to the roadside spot after seeing an abandoned police jeep catch fire.

Inspecting the area around the vehicle, one of the rescuers saw the puppies stuck under the jeep and decided time was of the essence to save them.

With the litter’s mother or owner nowhere in sight, the man and other locals decided to carry out the rescue operation.


Inspecting the area around the vehicle, one of the rescuers saw the puppies stuck under the jeep and decided time was of the essence to save them

As he bent down to pull out the puppies, others joined in to help him. 

The puppies were taken out one by one and can be heard whimpering in relieve.

It is reported that a dog had given birth to the four puppies under the abandoned police van and had been keeping them there.

The mother dog could not immediately be found- it is not known if she abandoned them or had gone out to look for food.

It is reported that a dog had given birth to the four puppies under the abandoned police van and had been keeping them there

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Boris Johnson ‘on verge’ of securing Brexit deal after Irish backstop agreement

Britain is on the verge of finally clinching a Brexit deal, sources revealed.

Senior British and EU politicians said a draft treaty could be published today.

It would signal a major leap forward, with PM Boris Johnson racing to get an agreement ratified in time for a summit of EU leaders in Brussels tomorrow.

The UK has reportedly agreed in principle to a customs border in the Irish Sea, solving the divisive Irish backstop issue.

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But Mr Johnson will have to convince parliament, including the Democratic Unionist Party, to get a deal through.

Tory Brexiteers will also not agree to his plan unless they are certain Northern Ireland will still be legally within the UK’s customs territory.

Irish leader Leo Varadkar said talks were “making progress”, adding: “Negotiations are moving in the right direction.”

But Downing Street sought to downplay the chances of an imminent breakthrough.

The PM’s official spokesman said: “Talks remain constructive but there is more work still to do.”

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Classic French Fare at Brasserie Saint Marc in the East Village

Headliner

Brasserie Saint Marc

An ambitious project, four years in the making, from Karin Agstam, a model and actor who owned the restaurant Station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is ready to open. Ms. Agstam was so smitten by the arched, brick-walled East Village space that she was determined to make it a restaurant. Now, it has a spacious bar area up front and a passage along an open kitchen that leads to a pair of dining rooms, one of which features Champagnes, and a garden. Glittering chandeliers and white marble-top tables brighten the space. As for the menu, the executive chef Frederick Piccarello, an experienced hand who was once at the Sign of the Dove uptown, has gone classic French. Escargots? Rillettes? Coquilles Saint-Jacques? Frisée aux lardons? Onion soup? Duck confit? Moules frites? Steak au poivre? Ms. Agstam’s favorite bouillabaisse? They’re all there. The menu also tips its hat to the neighborhood’s Eastern European roots with borscht and pierogies, and to vegans with an Impossible Burger. (Opens Wednesday)

136 Second Avenue (St. Marks Place), 212-548-3959, brasseriesaintmarc.com.

Opening

Bumu

The latest from the chef and restaurateur Joaquin Baca is in Manhattan, not Brooklyn, where he owned Brooklyn Star after a long stretch in David Chang’s Momofuku organization. Now he and Chris Johnson, the managing partner and beverage director, have taken over the former Neta space to create an izakaya-style restaurant serving an array of Japanese foods. They include raw seafood, yaki skewers, okonomiyaki from a cast-iron skillet, plates of fried oysters with smoked yam purée, and grilled mackerel with gobo and umeboshi. (Wednesday)

61 West Eighth Street (Avenue of the Americas), 212-505-2610.

Palais by Perfect Pie

Bill Yosses, the former White House executive pastry chef, has opened his first restaurant. It’s in the space once occupied by Le Lavandou, the restaurant owned by the French chef Jean-Jacques Rachou, who is helping Mr. Yosses with the menu. The restaurant will serve French bistro fare with American items, such as roasted duck breast with lavender and peppercorns, red snapper with artichoke barigoule, a burger, a flatbread pizza and Mr. Yosses’ pies. John Fanning, the manager and a New York restaurant veteran, worked with the chef on a selection of mocktails (the liquor license is pending). John Wu and Mr. Yosses’ husband, Charlie Fabella Jr., are partners. A display of pies and other items for sale is near the entrance to the restaurant.

134 East 61st Street, 212-410-3262, perfectpie.com.

Ten Hope

Do you recall Perilla and Kin Shop, Harold Dieterle’s Southeast Asian places? Now Mr. Dieterle is the consulting chef at this new charmer with a gracious entry, a garden patio and about 100 seats. His food is contemporary and somewhat Mediterranean. Think crisp lamb ribs, halloumi cheese in a salad, spice-roasted carrots, seared scallops with romesco sauce, and chicken cooked under a brick. His kofta burger is garnished with kasseri cheese and tzatziki. (Thursday)

10 Hope Street (Roebling Street), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 347-916-0951, tenhopebk.com.

Three Times

Shi bing tong — a fried snack of pork, squid, tofu, noodles and vegetables wrapped in pastry — is from Taizhou, a city on the East China Sea, northeast of Hong Kong. Now, Jennifer Yang, a chef who specializes in preparing it, is introducing the snack to New York at two counter-service restaurants owned by Jason Wei: She makes a vegan version and also serves buns, dumplings and noodle dishes.

90 Clinton Street (Delancey Street), 646-609-6324; 818 Broadway (12th Street), 646-609-3040, 3times.com.

Ivy Lane

The latest from Abraham Merchant, in the former Jade Sixty space with more than 160 seats on three levels, has an ivy-covered facade to match its name. The restaurant has a modern American menu with French and Asian touches from the chef Sung Park. (Wednesday)

116 East 60th Street, ivylanenyc.com.

Flipper’s New York

The first American branch of a popular Japanese chain specializing in soufflé pancakes has opened to long lines. But the wait to get a seat in the airy upstairs dining room was matched by the time it took for my order to arrive: a good 40 minutes or so. The pancakes are a delicious but ephemeral Instagrammable treat; they deflate at the touch of a fork. The rest of the menu, put together mainly for the American market, consists of ordinary pancakes and waffles with sweet and savory toppings.

337 West Broadway (Grand Street), 917-265-8292, flippersus.com.

Les Halles D’Anthony Bourdain

In a ceremony on Friday at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., the school’s president, Tim Ryan, will dedicate the main hall of the main building on campus to the memory of Anthony Bourdain, an alumnus of the school. The name is a reference to the Manhattan restaurant, Les Halles, where Mr. Bourdain once worked.

Reopening

Aquavit

After months of renovations, this long-lived Midtown Scandinavian restaurant, now with two Michelin stars, is reopening. Its bar has been turned into a dining area, with backlit walnut panels and a new, somewhat shorter bar to permit more tables. There’s also a more extensive food menu, including American and Nordic items — like crab fritters, fries with truffle aioli, steak tartare, gravlax, a herring trio and pork schnitzel — for a full meal, not just bar snacks. The main dining room has also been redone with curved, deep teal banquettes and a glass-walled open kitchen for the chef, Emma Bengtsson. There, diners can choose between à la carte and tasting menus. (Wednesday)

65 East 55th Street, 212-307-7311, aquavit.org.

Chefs on the Move

Kazushige Suzuki

Mr. Suzuki, 30, has been named the head sushi chef at Sushi Ginza Onodera in Midtown. He’ll maintain its Edomae tradition, which features fish that’s often cured, aged and marinated. At the same time, he is adding inventive touches like tempura of uni, his version of fish and chips with long-tail red snapper, fried lotus root and sweet potatoes.

Jordan Frosolone

Mr. Frosolone has left 10 Corso Como, a seaport district restaurant named for the branch of the Milan-based store it’s located in. He plans to take time off, will travel to Italy and has some new projects for the future.

Steven Shockley

A native of Cincinnati, Mr. Shockley, who has worked in his hometown, in Chicago and in Raleigh, N.C., is the new chef de cuisine at Ruffian in the East Village.

Awards

Aldo Sohm

On Monday night in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France, Mr. Sohm, the head sommelier at Le Bernardin in New York, was named the best sommelier of Les Grandes Tables du Monde, an organization founded in 1954 by a group of French restaurateurs. This year’s best restaurateur was Birgit Reitbauer of Steirereck in Vienna, and the best pastry chef was François Perret of La Table de L’Espadon in Paris.

Looking Ahead

Ju Qi

Next year, New Yorkers will be able to sample the often-unusual fare at this Beijing-based chain, with 20 locations in China and one in Sydney, Australia. Mashed potatoes molded in the shape of a rabbit is a specialty. (China is the world’s biggest potato grower, though you rarely see spuds on Chinese menus here.) Peking duck, bing pancakes, black fried rice and dishes that supposedly reflect the cooking of old Beijing are also available. It will occupy more than 6,000 square feet in the Tangram complex being completed in Flushing, Queens.

133-36 37th Avenue (College Point Boulevard), Flushing, Queens.

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Florence Fabricant is a food and wine writer. She writes the weekly Front Burner and Off the Menu columns, as well as the Pairings column, which appears alongside the monthly wine reviews. She has also written 12 cookbooks.

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