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California wildfire wreaks havoc as wind-driven blaze forces scorches 11,000 acres and forces residents to flee their homes – with at least two firefighters injured

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  • The fire broke out at an explosive materials testing site in Northern California
  • By late Saturday night, the massive fire was just 13 percent contained 

A wildfire in Tracy, California is raging and has already burned some 11,000 acres across the West coast state, and forced the evacuation of thousands.

The Corral Fire was first reported on Saturday afternoon at around 2.30pm. By around midnight, the fire was just 13 percent contained, according to the California Fire department.

The fire, which is being driven quickly by wind, jumped Interstate 580, prompting evacuation orders for the communities east of the major artery.

Evacuation orders extended to the Tracy Golf and Country Club, as well as the Tesla Treatment Facility. 

At least two firefighters have been injured attempting to contain the blaze, according to the Santa Clara California Fire Unit. Both were hospitalized with minor to moderate burns.

A firefighter attempts to extinguish part of the massive 11,000 acre blaze

A firefighter attempts to extinguish part of the massive 11,000 acre blaze 

The fire began at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Site 300 on Saturday afternoon

The fire began at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Site 300 on Saturday afternoon

A view of flames as firefighters try to extinguish the Corral Fire that broke out near I-580 and Highway 132 on Saturday

A view of flames as firefighters try to extinguish the Corral Fire that broke out near I-580 and Highway 132 on Saturday

Remnants of destroyed property in the Tracy area after the fire swept through

Remnants of destroyed property in the Tracy area after the fire swept through 

The cause of the fire's outbreak remains unclear - an investigation is ongoing

The cause of the fire’s outbreak remains unclear – an investigation is ongoing

Two firefighters were injured Saturday fighting the blaze - neither with life-threatening injuries

Two firefighters were injured Saturday fighting the blaze – neither with life-threatening injuries

The fire reportedly began at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Site 300 on the border of San Joaquin and Alameda counties. 

Site 300 is home to facilities that support the development of explosive materials, as well as hydrodynamic testing. 

Those running the site assess the operational ability of non-nuclear weapon components, and test new conventional explosives to potentially add to the nuclear stockpile. 

Overnight winds of up to 40mph were expected to continue spreading the fire. 

At present, it remains unclear how the blaze began – the investigation into its origins is ongoing.

The Tracy Police Department said firefighters will do a controlled burn near Tracy Hills, which is just below the area that’s been evacuated.

A controlled burn was previously scheduled for May 28 at the Site 300 lab – the LA Times reports that no controlled burns were conducted Saturday.

California trees are glowing red in the light of the blazing hot fire

California trees are glowing red in the light of the blazing hot fire

Several thousands people temporarily lost power Saturday evening as powerlines close to the blaze went down

Several thousands people temporarily lost power Saturday evening as powerlines close to the blaze went down

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. reported two fire-related power outages Saturday evening.

The first occurred because Cal Fire requested that energy be cut to several lines to ensure the safety of their firefighters. That outage hit roughly 1,600 people.

The second, which impacted about 2,350 customers, was caused by damage to PG&E equipment.

By late Saturday evening, power was restored to all but about 200 customers. 



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UK weather: Brits cross their fingers for a June heatwave – with sun-seekers packing out beaches and parks as temperatures rise above 20C

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The warm summer weather this weekend has the nation crossing their fingers in hope for a June heatwave as sun-seekers head to beaches and parks to enjoy the heat. 

After a damp May, June is off to a balmy start with temperatures across the UK reaching as high as 24C today. 

The sudden spell of hot weather has been welcomed by Brits who have headed outside to enjoy the sunshine while they can. 

In Dorset and the surrounding areas, revellers have been pictured flocking to the areas picturesque beaches.  

In the South East of England, the Met Office forecasts that the mercury levels could rise as high as 24C in Southampton this afternoon. While the rest of the south enjoys an average temperature of around 20C.

A woman enjoying the sunshine on Branksome Chine beach in Dorset. After a damp May, June is off to a balmy start with temperatures across the UK reaching as high as 24C today

A woman enjoying the sunshine on Branksome Chine beach in Dorset. After a damp May, June is off to a balmy start with temperatures across the UK reaching as high as 24C today

Revellers enjoying the sunshine in Wimbledon Common in south west London. In the South East of England, the Met Office forecasts that the mercury levels could rise as high as 24C in Southampton this afternoon

Revellers enjoying the sunshine in Wimbledon Common in south west London. In the South East of England, the Met Office forecasts that the mercury levels could rise as high as 24C in Southampton this afternoon

Cyclists on a sunny bike ride in Berkshire. Those Brits hoping for a heatwave might be in for a disappoint as rain are expected later on in the week

Cyclists on a sunny bike ride in Berkshire. Those Brits hoping for a heatwave might be in for a disappoint as rain are expected later on in the week 

It is a similar picture in the Midlands and most the North –  with the temperature slightly dipping to a still pleasant 18C in Manchester. 

North of the border in Scotland, areas of the Highlands are a full 10C cooler than in parts of England but remaining mostly in the high teens for most of the country. 

Those Brits hoping for a heatwave might be in for a disappoint as rain are expected later on in the week.

The Met Office have also reportedly prepared the government for an extremely soggy weather. 

Between the start of June and the end of August, they estime  wet weather will be 50 per cent more likely than average.  

The bleak forecast threatens to interrupt a number of summer events, including Wimbledon and Glastonbury. If predictions are correct, it could be the dampest summer since 1912 – when rain fell on 55 days across the summer season.

In Weymouth (pictured) and the surrounding areas, revellers have been pictured flocking to the areas picturesque beaches

In Weymouth (pictured) and the surrounding areas, revellers have been pictured flocking to the areas picturesque beaches

The sudden spell of hot weather has been welcomed by Brits who have headed outside to enjoy the sunshine while they can

The sudden spell of hot weather has been welcomed by Brits who have headed outside to enjoy the sunshine while they can

Families enjoy the warm weather at Hathersage Swimming Pool in the Peak District. The Midlands are enjoying similar warm weather to the South with temperatures dipping slightly in the North

Families enjoy the warm weather at Hathersage Swimming Pool in the Peak District. The Midlands are enjoying similar warm weather to the South with temperatures dipping slightly in the North  

Two ladies out punting near Cambridge. The warm summer weather this weekend has the nation crossing their fingers in hope for a June heatwave

Two ladies out punting near Cambridge. The warm summer weather this weekend has the nation crossing their fingers in hope for a June heatwave

The Met Office long-range forecast said: ‘The chances of a wetter-than-average period are higher than a drier-than-average one.

‘Rainfall at this time of year has a greater risk of localised heavy downpours and thunderstorms.’

Low pressure systems have been blamed by forecasters as the reason for the wet summer. 

It comes after the Met Office revealed April was the sixth wettest since records dating to 1836.



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Mareeba, Queensland: Desperate search for two primary school aged children who have been missing for four days

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A desperate search is underway for two young children who disappeared four days ago. 

Queensland Police said the 11-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy, who are known to each other, have been missing from Mareeba, just west of Cairns, since Thursday.

Police are searching for the two children who are believed to still be in the Cairns or Tablelands area.

Police hold concerns for their welfare due to their young age.

The 11-year-old girl (pictured) is around 150cm tall with brown hair and green eyes

The 10-year-old boy (pictured) is 145cm tall with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Two primary school aged children who are known to each other have been missing from Mareeba since Thursday 

They are Caucasian in appearance and are of slim build.

The girl is around 150cm tall with brown hair and green eyes and the boy is 145cm tall with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Investigators are asking anyone with information on their whereabouts to contact police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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German Islam critic stabbed in the face at rally that was livestreamed on YouTube brands knifing ‘an absolute nightmare’ – as he warns frenzied assault was an ‘attack against our free democratic state’

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An anti-Islam campaigner who was stabbed in an attack at a far-right event in Germany has described the horrifying rampage as an ‘absolute nightmare’ – as he warned the assault was an ‘attack against our free democratic state’.

Michael Stuerzenberger, a well-known German Islam critic, a police officer and four others were injured when the knifeman launched a frenzied attack in Mannheim on Friday.

Mr Stuerzenberger, who was seen preparing to speak to a small crowd on a livestream earlier in the morning, was rushed to hospital before undergoing a successful surgery for the stabbing injuries to his face. 

A 25-year-old man from Afghanistan has been remanded in custody on supicion of attempted murder.

Speaking for the first time from his hospital bed, Mr Stuerzenberger told BILD: ‘It was like an apocalypse. He was stabbing me, even when I was lying on the floor and was trying to fight him off with my feet. It really was a nightmare.’

He added: ‘Every attack is an attack against all of us, against our free democratic state and those who ensure our security. Who attacks a police officer launches an attack against all of us.’ 

Anti-Muslim campaigner Michael Stuerzenberger (pictured) has been speaking from his hospital bed after he was stabbed by a knifeman at an anti-Islam rally in Germany

The attacker was seen holding a blade several inches long as he carried out a terrifying rampage

The attacker was seen holding a blade several inches long as he carried out a terrifying rampage

Mr Stuerzenberger is seen on the YouTube live stream before the attack took place

 Mr Stuerzenberger is seen on the YouTube live stream before the attack took place

Mr Stuerzenberger yesterday posted this picture from his hospital bed after he was stabbed by a knifeman

 Mr Stuerzenberger yesterday posted this picture from his hospital bed after he was stabbed by a knifeman

The aftermath of the stabbing is seen in the German city of Mannheim

The aftermath of the stabbing is seen in the German city of Mannheim

Describing the attack, he said:  ‘We were about to start the event when he suddenly came storming at us like a hurricane and stabbed one after the other. It was insane. I guess even the police were surprised.’

He explained: ‘He stabbed my thigh which someone immediately isolated. One stab wound above the knee, it could have been worse. Another on the side of the chest, my upper arm is injured and three stab wounds to the head. My upper lip was cut and I have a deep cut to my jaw.’

‘I’m keeping my fingers crossed [for the police officer] and hope that everything goes well,’ he added.

The 59-year-old yesterday posted a picture of himself on his Telegram channel from his hospital bed, showing a long, bandaged cut on his upper lip and cheek. 

In a separate interview with Deutschland-Kurier, he said: ‘I’m alright given the circumstances. I’m happy for all involved that yesterday went somewhat mild. There could have been deaths. It was really bad what the Afghan did with his knife.

‘I’ve seen parts of the videos and the stab in the neck, twice, of the police officer. Hope his life is not in danger anymore. It was a clear attempted murder. Seven or eight stab wounds for me, one near lung, a bit closer and that would have been it.’

He added: ‘He definitely had [combat experience] when you look at the footage.

‘It was a strike like lightning, so fast, I obviously got really deep wounds, you can see if from the side of my jaw.’

It was around 11.35am local time on Friday when chaos broke out as a man dressed in a dark hooded jacket, green shirt and tracksuit bottoms lashed out with a knife, wounding six people including Mr Stuerzenberger, who was tackled to the ground and stabbed in the face and leg.

The other victims were five men aged 25, 36, 42 and 54. 

Police arrived almost immediately and one officer jumped on one of the victims. 

There was confusion as to why the officer jumped on the victim,  but this gave the aggressor a chance to stab the back of the policeman’s neck.

His colleagues were heard screaming ‘throw the knife away!’ However, with the knifeman not responding, the officers opened fire from near point blank range.

In a follow-up video from the incident, a scramble of people can be seen embroiled in a punch-up next to signs advertising an anti-Israel protest. 

The group can be seen tackling each other to the ground while one man in a blue coat takes multiple swings at another person on the floor.

The rampage began when man dressed in a dark hooded jacket and tracksuit, (seen centre right) tackled a BPE member to the ground and began violently swinging a large blade at him

The rampage began when man dressed in a dark hooded jacket and tracksuit, (seen centre right) tackled a BPE member to the ground and began violently swinging a large blade at him

The man believed to be Stuerzenberger (right) tumbles to the ground following the initial attack as other BPE members push the knifeman away

The man believed to be Stuerzenberger (right) tumbles to the ground following the initial attack as other BPE members push the knifeman away

During the attack bystanders attempted to drag the knifeman away. One of his victims is seen with wounds to his thigh

During the attack bystanders attempted to drag the knifeman away. One of his victims is seen with wounds to his thigh 

The savage blade is clearly seen in this grab from the YouTube live stream as the attack goes to stab the officer in the neck

The savage blade is clearly seen in this grab from the YouTube live stream as the attack goes to stab the officer in the neck

Other footage captured the moment German cops tackled a man to the ground after mistaking him for the attacker during a horror stabbing spree in Mannheim, Germany

Other footage captured the moment German cops tackled a man to the ground after mistaking him for the attacker during a horror stabbing spree in Mannheim, Germany

Cops could be seen lunging at the man

Cops could be seen lunging at the man

Cops could be seen lunging at the man and dragging him down to the floor after they spotted him swinging punches at another man on the ground

After throwing a series of overarm punches, at least two cops are spotted lunging towards the man donning the bright coat until he is knocked to the ground.

Officers seemingly tackled the man believing he was the assailant after seeing him beating up the other individual who was already floored.

The attack was livestreamed on YouTube.

Mr Stuerzenberger has been a part of of several far-right organisations, including the PEGIDA movement that holds regular marches in German cities.

A 25-year-old man born in Afghanistan has been remanded in custody by a German court on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the knife attack.

Officials offered no information regarding the motive for the attack on Friday on the central square in Mannheim.

A statement from police and prosecutors said that the suspect had lived in Germany since 2014, was married and has two children. 

Residents in Mannheim city centre were seen visibly upset while laying flowers and lighting candles

Residents in Mannheim city centre were seen visibly upset while laying flowers and lighting candles

‘It is definitely scary, this is our way home. We walk past [the market square] daily and will think about what happened here and that it could happen again any day,’ 22-year-old student Emilia, who came to the scene to put down a bouquet, told MailOnline

Locals in Mannheim have been left shocked by the frenzied attack and came to the market square to lay down flowers and light candles for the victims

Locals in Mannheim have been left shocked by the frenzied attack and came to the market square to lay down flowers and light candles for the victims

Leo, 21, who also brought flowers to express his sympathy for the victims, added: 'To see something like that happen in a place where we spend a lot of time ourselves and to know that could have also been a friend, my girlfriend or myself standing there, that obviously really shocked me'

Leo, 21, who also brought flowers to express his sympathy for the victims, added: ‘To see something like that happen in a place where we spend a lot of time ourselves and to know that could have also been a friend, my girlfriend or myself standing there, that obviously really shocked me’

His apartment in the town of Heppenheim was searched on Friday night and police recovered digital devices and the contents are being evaluated.

Officials said that the suspect, who was shot and wounded by police, is in hospital and not in a condition to be questioned. They said he had no prior police record.

They have not disclosed the suspect’s citizenship or immigration status or how he came to Germany.

The group, Pax Europa, describes itself as an organization that informs the public about the dangers posed by the ‘increasing spread and influence of political Islam’.

German interior minister Nancy Faeser called Islamist extremism a ‘great danger’.

‘I would like to thank the police officers who intervened immediately and the doctors and paramedics who are fighting for the lives of the victims of this terrible crime,’ said the minister.



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Kidnapped Ukrainian policewoman’s two years of hell being tortured by Putin’s forces: Emaciated officer, 24, starved and beaten after she was abducted while fleeing Mariupol weeps as she finally returns home

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For the last two years, Mariana Checheliuk was kept under lock and key in Russian ‘filtration’ camps, never knowing when she would ever see her loved ones again. 

Moved between detention centres in Donetsk, Yelenovka, Taganrog, Kamyshin and Mariupol, the 24-year-old investigator with Ukraine‘s national police endured relentless physical and mental torture at the hands of her captors. 

They starved her, and beat her badly for two years, after she was taken while hiding from Russian bombs in the walls of Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol along with her sister, who was thankfully released by her kidnappers. 

She suffered a litany of health problems, suffering from kidney failures, spine problems and chronic bronchitis. Her hair also started to fall out, and she stopped having periods.

In August 2022 human rights activists expressed alarm over her fate in Russian hands. 

Russian forces also tried to get her to defect, her mother Nataliia Checheliuk, told ZMINA news outlet in January 2024: ‘They were trying to lure my daughter to the Russian side with both sweet promises of a big salary and intimidation. But she refused.’

For the last two years, Mariana Checheliuk was kept under lock and key in Russian 'filtration' camps

For the last two years, Mariana Checheliuk was kept under lock and key in Russian ‘filtration’ camps

On Friday, Mariana was one of the 75 people who were returned to Ukraine as part of an agreed prisoner swap with Russia

On Friday, Mariana was one of the 75 people who were returned to Ukraine as part of an agreed prisoner swap with Russia

During her two years of captivity, she was only allowed to talk to her family once, and sent just a handful of letters detailing her deteriorating health.  

But on Friday, Mariana was one of the 75 people who were returned to Ukraine as part of an agreed prisoner swap with Russia. 

The returnees were seen singing a patriotic song led by former PoW Konstantin Mirgorodsky as they were driven to meet their families after release from detention in Russia. 

Upon arrival, they whooped and cheered as they joined their loved ones in Ukraine.

Some knelt and kissed the ground, while many wrapped themselves in yellow-blue flags.

They hugged one another, breaking into tears. Many appeared emaciated and poorly dressed.

The 24-year-old investigator with Ukraine 's national police endured relentless physical and mental torture at the hands of her captors

The 24-year-old investigator with Ukraine ‘s national police endured relentless physical and mental torture at the hands of her captors

During her two years of captivity, she was only allowed to talk to her family once, and sent just a handful of letters detailing her deteriorating health

During her two years of captivity, she was only allowed to talk to her family once, and sent just a handful of letters detailing her deteriorating health

Ukraine returned 75 prisoners, including four civilians, in the latest exchange of POWs with Russia

Ukraine returned 75 prisoners, including four civilians, in the latest exchange of POWs with Russia

This is only the fourth prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia since the invasion began in February 2022

This is only the fourth prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia since the invasion began in February 2022

Many were seen weeping tears of joy upon returning to Ukraine

Many were seen weeping tears of joy upon returning to Ukraine

The same number of Russians, 75, were also returned home in a swap brokered by the United Arab Emirates.

It was the first PoW exchange since February, and only the fourth prisoner swap this year and the 52nd since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. It included a total of 150 POWs and the United Arab Emirates helped negotiate this latest exchange, the Foreign Ministry in Kyiv said.

The two sides have traded blame for what they say is a slowdown in the swaps.

Ukraine has in the past urged Russia to swap ‘all for all’ and rallies calling for the release of POWs take place across Ukraine weekly. 

A Ukrainian official at the headquarters coordinating the exchanges, Vitalii Matviienko said that ‘Ukraine is always ready.’

Tatyana Moskalkova, Russia’s human rights ombudsperson, said earlier this week that Kyiv was making ‘new artificial demands,’ without elaborating.

Despite the swap, nearly 2,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war still remain in Russian hands.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday: ‘Throughout all of this time, we have not stopped working for a single day to bring everyone home from Russian captivity.

‘We remember every person.

‘We are making every effort to find each and every one of our people. I am grateful to the team responsible for the exchanges.’ 



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Did China secretly MOVE George Mallory’s body off Everest? Chinese are accused of removing climber’s remains after they were found in 1999

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Suspicions have been raised that China moved the body of a British explorer off Mount Everest in a bid to cover up proof that they might have made it to the top first.

George Mallory, 37, and Andrew ‘Sandy’ Irvine, 22, were part of an ill-fated expedition to climb the world’s tallest mountain in 1924, with the pair going missing during their ascent.

For more than 80 years mystery surrounded the final resting place of the pair, having last being seen around 800ft from the top during their expedition from the Tibetan side of the peak.

When Mallory’s body was discovered 2,000ft from the summit in 1999, and researchers said they believed they had located where Irvine’s remains were lying, there was renewed hope that more details about the fate of their trip.

However, in the years since Mallory’s corpse has vanished and multiple attempts to find Irvine have come up empty-handed, sparking rumours that their bodies have been moved.

George Mallory and Andrew Irvine were last seen alive around 800ft from the summit of Mount Everest. Pictured: Members of the 1924 Everest expedition Back row (left to right) - Andrew Irvine, George Mallory, Edward Norton, Noel Odell and John Macdonald. Front row (left to right) - Edward Shebbeare, Geoffrey Bruce, Howard Somervell and Bentley Beetham

George Mallory and Andrew Irvine were last seen alive around 800ft from the summit of Mount Everest. Pictured: Members of the 1924 Everest expedition Back row (left to right) – Andrew Irvine, George Mallory, Edward Norton, Noel Odell and John Macdonald. Front row (left to right) – Edward Shebbeare, Geoffrey Bruce, Howard Somervell and Bentley Beetham

The remains of George Mallory (pictured) were found around 2,000ft from the summit of the mountain by an American climber in 1999

The remains of George Mallory (pictured) were found around 2,000ft from the summit of the mountain by an American climber in 1999

A portrait photo of George Mallory

A portrait photo of Andrew Irvine

George Mallory (left) and Andrew Irvine (right) attempted to scale Everest from the Tibetan side of the mountain

Ahead of the 100th anniversary of the pair’s attempts to climb Everest, there have been fresh murmurings that China is involved in the strange disappearance of their bodies. 

China has long claimed that three of its climbers were the first to make the ascent to the top of Everest – which straddles the border between itself and Nepal – from the north.

An expedition by three Chinese mountaineers in 1960 is widely believed to be the first to successfully summit from the Tibetan side, and certainly the first in which the expedition returned alive.

Mallory’s body – which had a rope around its waist and injuries consistent with the possibility that he and Irvine might have fallen while being roped together – was found by American climber Conrad Anker in 1999.

While there was no sign of Irvine, Anker left Mallory where he was but took photographs and marked its location on GPS. However, when climbers returned the spot in years later, it was no longer there.

Mark Synnott, who was part of an expedition that searched for their remains told The Observer: ‘We had GPS co-ordinates for where the body was. We flew the drone to that spot. We took photos. I feel if Mallory’s body was still there, we would have seen it. It doesn’t make any sense. Why remove the body?’

Jamie McGuinness, who has made it to the top of Everest five times from the Tibetan side and was also involved in the search, says the pairs’ remains were almost certainly moved at some point in the 2000s.

A plaque commemorating George Mallory and Andrew Irvine placed on Mount Everest by Italian climbers. The inscription reads 'from the glory of the peaks forever in our hearts'

A plaque commemorating George Mallory and Andrew Irvine placed on Mount Everest by Italian climbers. The inscription reads ‘from the glory of the peaks forever in our hearts’

He said: ‘Irvine’s body is almost certainly no longer up there. We gave it a good search with drones, and we spotted several other bodies, so we know we weren’t missing anything of the right size.’

It has been suggested that authorities in China moved the bodies of Mallory and Irvine in a bid to cover up potential evidence that they may have made it to the summit before they tragically succumbed to the elements.

China’s claim to have summitted Everest from the north first in 1960 was a big propaganda boost for its then leader Mao Zedong, who took personal interest in the mountain and ensuring that half of it was claimed as Chinese.

Jake Norton, who was part of the team who found Mallory in 1999, returned to the mountain in 2001 to try and locate Irvine as well and although they found more artefacts from the expedition, the climber’s body remained elusive.

He told The Observer that he believes Irvine was ‘still there in 2001’, as ‘the Chinese were worried enough to do anything about it in the early 2000s’.

However, this changed in the lead-up to the 2008, when Chinese climbers carried the Olympic torch to the top of Everest ahead of the Beijing games. 

McGuiness said he was told the publication that he had asked an official at the China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) whether they had moved Irvine’s body ahead of the Olympics and received the response: ‘It was thrown off the mountain a lot earlier than that.’

In his 2021 book The Third Pole: Mystery, Obsession, and Death on Mount Everest, Synnott said that  source at the CTMA told New Zealander McGuiness that they had ‘beat us’ to the location of Irvine’s body.

Pictured: Mallory and Irvine are seen leaving North Col on Mount Everest for the last climb to the summit

Andrew Irvine, the British climber, is pictured working on an oxygen bottle in the Everest Expedition camp in 1924

Andrew Irvine, the British climber, is pictured working on an oxygen bottle in the Everest Expedition camp in 1924

An artist's impression of George Mallory (top) and Andrew Irvine climbing up the Second Step on Everest

An artist’s impression of George Mallory (top) and Andrew Irvine climbing up the Second Step on Everest

The body was allegedly then taken off the mountain before taking it back to Lhasa, in Tibet, ‘where it is kept under lock and key with other Mallory artefacts, including the VPK’.

Synnott said the information echoed rumours the 2019 team had heard earlier in the expedition, writing: ‘We now have multiple sources all essentially saying the same thing: the Chinese found Irvine, removed the body, and are jealously guarding this information from the rest of the world – all to protect the claim that the 1960 Chinese team was the first to reach the summit…’

He added that after the publication of his book he was contacted by a former US intelligence officer who had been told by a ‘high-ranking official’ in the British Embassy in China that the body of a climber was found during China’s 1975 expedition to Everest’s North Face.

He also interviewed an unnamed British diplomat who, in 1984, had interviewed the Chinese female climber Pan Duo – who was only the second woman to reach the summit of Everest and the first to do so from the Tibetan side.

Synnott said that the diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous, told him that Pan Duo – had said that on the 1975 expedition, the Chinese team that she was part of found the body of Irvine and his camera.

He claimed the diplomat later emailed the Sir Anthony Galsworthy, the then-British ambassador to China just days after Mallory’s body was found in 1999.

Recounting how Duo had admitted to the camera being recovered, the email said: ‘We asked whether it had been possible to develop the film. I seem to recall that we were told there had been nothing on it.

‘I also recall that we were told that the camera was in the Mountaineering Association’s museum. Someone should speak with the Chinese Mountaineering Association.

‘This was all a long time ago and I could have got it wrong, although I don’t think so. And that meeting has always stuck in my memory.

‘If the film really was mucked up, I imagine it is quite possible that the association [CMA] would deny that the camera had ever been found.’

Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay continue to be credited with being the first climbers to reach the top of the Himalayan mountain - which straddles Nepal and China - in their 1953 expedition

Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay continue to be credited with being the first climbers to reach the top of the Himalayan mountain – which straddles Nepal and China – in their 1953 expedition 

Edmund Hillary (1919-2008) and Sherpa Tensing, 29 May 1953. Hillary and Tensing on their return to Camp IV, the advanced base, after their successful assault on Mount Everest

Edmund Hillary (1919-2008) and Sherpa Tensing, 29 May 1953. Hillary and Tensing on their return to Camp IV, the advanced base, after their successful assault on Mount Everest

Hillary and Norgay are seen drinking tea after their successful attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953

Hillary and Norgay are seen drinking tea after their successful attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953

Synnott added that it is ‘possible, if not likely’ that the film was developed successfully and showed Mallory and Irvine on top of Everest.

If true, this would mean the Chinese climbers were not the first to ascend the North Face. 

The claim that Mallory and Irvine might have made it to the top is hotly contested in mountaineering circles, with author Graham Hoyland claiming that the two never did because a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure meant they were walking into an ‘invisible death trap’.

Lower air pressure means fewer molecules of oxygen in the atmosphere, making hypoxia, which causes confusion and death, significantly more likely. 

Hoyland, 66, is a descendant of one of Mallory and Irvine fellow expeditioners, the meteorologist on the mission, Howard Somervell, who kept a detailed log in a handwritten diary.  

‘In thinking about my book I put together all the things I had personally researched and realised just how much Mallory had against him,’ he told The Times ahead of his forthcoming book ‘First on Everest’.

‘Irvine’s inexperience, the new route, heavy oxygen, insufficient clothing and finally the killer storm. Any one of these he could have overcome, but not the whole concatenation.’

The first confirmed summit of Mount Everest was conducted by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa climbing partner Tenzing Norgay who reached the top in 1953.

Hillary, who was a 33-year-old beekeeper at the time, was paired up with Norgay as part of a British expedition to reach the summit.

The British wanted to beat Sweden to the top of the mountain after Swiss climber Raymond Lambert – also accompanied by Norgay – reached 28,210 feet before turning back due to lack of supplies just a year earlier.

Hillary was selected out of the British Commonwealth and Norgay was chosen as one of the most experienced Sherpas in Nepal.

It took the duo seven weeks to reach the 29,032-foot summit of Everest.



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Candid new photos emerge of Brittany beaming at her lavish wedding as she shares a heartwarming six-word message for her groom David Sharaz

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Brittany Higgins and her new husband David Sharaz have shared heartfelt messages to each other online following their lavish wedding.

The couple tied the knot while joined by 80 friends and family members at luxury Gold Coast wedding venue, The Valley Estate in the Currumbin Valley, on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Sharaz shared six beautiful photos of the event, happy bride and wedding party on Sunday night.

‘The best day of my life,’ he captioned the post, alongside a red heart emoji.

Ms Higgins shared a similarly heartwarming message on Saturday with three photos of the ceremony.

‘Today I married my best friend,’ she wrote. 

David Sharaz shared a heartfelt message (pictured) alongside a series of candid photos of his wedding to Brittany Higgins on Saturday

David Sharaz shared a heartfelt message (pictured) alongside a series of candid photos of his wedding to Brittany Higgins on Saturday

Ms Higgins wore a long-sleeve, lace gown with a tulle skirt by South Australia  designer Paolo Sebastian, which cost up to $30,000, while the groom wore a black tuxedo.

Mr Sharaz was surrounded by entourage of groomsmen, security workers and venue staff, and shrouded by a sea of big black umbrellas to shield him from the media circus waiting beyond the gate.

Rain was forecast for the big day, but the skies remained clear.

No politician or celebrity guests were invited to the wedding, but in attendance was the former sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins, along with television producer Judi McCrossin who optioned the production rights to Ms Higgins’ unpublished memoir. 

The bride also shared a series of happy snaps from her wedding to Instagram on Saturday evening, with the caption ‘Mr & Mrs Sharaz’.

One person who watched the ceremony said the vows were ‘truly beautiful’.

‘I’m happy to say I cried happy tears while listening to them,’ he said. 

Speeches started at 6pm with an eruption of cheers that could be heard from well beyond the venue.

Brittany Higgins wore a long-sleeve, lace gown with a tulle skirt by South Australia designer Paolo Sebastian, which cost up to $30,000

Brittany and David Sharaz tied the knot on Saturday in front of 80 of their family and friends

Brittany and David Sharaz tied the knot on Saturday in front of 80 of their family and friends

Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz have tied the knot in a lavish ceremony at a luxury Gold Coast wedding venue (pictured, the former Ms Higgins with her father Matthew)

Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz have tied the knot in a lavish ceremony at a luxury Gold Coast wedding venue (pictured, the former Ms Higgins with her father Matthew)

Mr Sharaz was seen surrounded by an entourage of groomsmen and other assistants, as well as a sea of big black umbrellas, despite rain so far holding off for the big day

Mr Sharaz was seen surrounded by an entourage of groomsmen and other assistants, as well as a sea of big black umbrellas, despite rain so far holding off for the big day

Former Liberal staffer Ms Higgins is set to marry her long-term boyfriend at a lavish ceremony at The Valley Estate in the Currumbin Valley this afternoon

Former Liberal staffer Ms Higgins is set to marry her long-term boyfriend at a lavish ceremony at The Valley Estate in the Currumbin Valley this afternoon

Ms Higgins’ father Matthew spoke, standing next to his partner Kellie Jago.

Earlier, on Saturday morning, Ms Higgins was seen saying goodbye to her now-husband at their $260-a-night hotel before setting off to prepare for the ceremony with members of her bridal party, including her maid-of-honour Emma Webster.

The former Liberal staffer smiled as she left with a garment bag with the name of South Australian label Paolo Sebastian printed on the front.

The brand has designed outfits for the likes of Katy Perry and Kris Jenner.

Daily Mail Australia understands the couple’s wedding invitation referred to ‘The Sharazs’, but it is unclear if Ms Higgins will formally change her last name.

The groom did not respond to questions on Friday.

‘Join us in making unforgettable memories,’ the invitation said. ‘Come for the love, stay for the party.’ 

Ms Higgins' stepmother Kellie Jago is seen arriving at the ceremony

Ms Higgins’ stepmother Kellie Jago is seen arriving at the ceremony

Brittany Higgins (pictured) married David Sharaz at a Gold Coast hinterland estate on Saturday afternoon. It is understood she will take the name Sharaz

Brittany Higgins (pictured) married David Sharaz at a Gold Coast hinterland estate on Saturday afternoon. It is understood she will take the name Sharaz

David Sharaz arrives at the wedding venue shielded from the media by an umbrella and surrounded by other security personnel

David Sharaz arrives at the wedding venue shielded from the media by an umbrella and surrounded by other security personnel

Mr Sharaz was spotted arriving at The Valley Estate late on Saturday morning, where he was shielded from waiting media by an umbrella and surrounded by other security personnel. 

The couple hired their own security for the big day.

Staff could be seen ferrying trays of snacks down to the groomsmen, as crates of alcohol were taken to the kitchen.

A makeup artist, photographers and the wedding cake arrived at about 11.30am.

A staff member at The Valley Estate is seen during preparations for the wedding of Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz in the Gold Coast hinterland

A staff member at The Valley Estate is seen during preparations for the wedding of Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz in the Gold Coast hinterland

Staff are seen at The Valley Estate in Gold Coast's Currumbin Valley ahead of the wedding between Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz

Staff are seen at The Valley Estate in Gold Coast’s Currumbin Valley ahead of the wedding between Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz

Staff could be seen ferrying trays of snacks down to the groomsmen, as crates of alcohol were taken to the kitchen. A make up artist, photographers and the wedding cake arrived at about 11.30am

Staff could be seen ferrying trays of snacks down to the groomsmen, as crates of alcohol were taken to the kitchen. A make up artist, photographers and the wedding cake arrived at about 11.30am

Lisa Wilkinson was not seen at the wedding, but was spotted on Friday walking through Mosman on Sydney’s lower north shore to get a coffee and do some shopping in a casual $9,000 outfit – including $1,400 Dior sandals.

The TV host and Ms Higgins have been close since the former staffer divulged her rape allegations in an interview with Wilkinson on Network Ten program, The Project, in February 2021.

After Ms Higgins gave her evidence in Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation case in December, Wilkinson approached her in the courtroom and gave her a big hug.

At about 6.30am on Saturday morning, Mr Sharaz – undeterred by the grey skies and imminent rain circling over the Currumbin Valley – took to Instagram to reveal his first-ever text interaction with his future wife back in 2020.

Commenting on a photo of Ms Higgins by the famous ‘budget tree’ in a Parliament House courtyard in Canberra, where she worked as a Liberal staffer, he wrote: ‘Love this photo. But mainly the tree.’

Lisa Wilkinson and Brittany Higgins (pictured together) have been close since 2021, but the TV host didn't score a wedding invite

Lisa Wilkinson and Brittany Higgins (pictured together) have been close since 2021, but the TV host didn’t score a wedding invite

Ms Higgins replied with a face palm emoji: ‘Rude but entirely justified hahah.’

He wrote: ‘To be honest. I went to show a girlfriend what you looked like and accidentally sent it to you. Have a good night.’

She said: ‘Hahahahah that’s amazing.’

In the caption of the post, Mr Sharaz wrote: ‘Accidentally sent a girl I had a crush on…photo of herself.’

‘Few years later and we’re getting married! Romcoms do exist.’

The couple will exchange vows at The Valley Estate in Currumbin Valley (pictured)

The couple will exchange vows at The Valley Estate in Currumbin Valley (pictured)

The venue is an old dairy nestled in the Gold Coast hinterland (pictured)

The venue is an old dairy nestled in the Gold Coast hinterland (pictured)

 

For a Saturday wedding in 2024, the venue charges a $47,750 minimum spend across the venue's many offerings

For a Saturday wedding in 2024, the venue charges a $47,750 minimum spend across the venue’s many offerings

Couples are granted exclusive access to the whole estate for wedding photos, and golf buggies to get around in, as well as a lawn games set up, security and a wedding coordinator, according to the venue's brochure

Couples are granted exclusive access to the whole estate for wedding photos, and golf buggies to get around in, as well as a lawn games set up, security and a wedding coordinator, according to the venue’s brochure

Set on nine acres of landscaped gardens, The Valley Estate is the ‘epitome of luxury’, according to its website. ‘A bespoke, one-off space crafted to inspire celebration and reflection with loved ones.’ 

For a Saturday wedding in 2024, the venue charges a $47,750 minimum spend across the venue’s many offerings. 

Under the current pricing list, packages start at $35,750 for 50 guests and go up to $52,000 for 100 guests.

This includes the ceremony location, reception space and basic food and beverage packages.

Couples are granted exclusive access to the whole estate for wedding photos, and golf buggies to get around in, as well as a lawn games set up, security and a wedding coordinator, according to the brochure.

The eye-watering cost does not include use of the guesthouse, which from Friday to Sunday costs $1300 a night. Couples can also add an oyster bar for an additional $28 per person, or a seafood grazing table for $60pp.

A champagne tower is charged at $650 for five tiers and $950 for six, while the top beverage package, which includes a selection of cocktails and spritzes, as well as premium spirits, costs an additional $200 per person.

The minimum spend does not include any outside spend, meaning the cost of a photographer, celebrant, flowers or outfits for the couple would need to be paid on top of the minimum $47,750.

The big occasion follows a tumultuous few years for the couple, after they were thrust into the spotlight when Ms Higgins went public with her rape allegations.

She said Lehrmann raped her in Parliament House when they were both junior political staffers in 2019. 

He had denied it, but in April a Federal Court judge found, on a balance of probabilities, that Ms Higgins was raped.

On Friday, one day before Ms Higgins ties the knot with Mr Sharaz, Lehrmann filed an appeal to overturn the judgement.

A security guard is seen at the venue ahead of the wedding between Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz

A security guard is seen at the venue ahead of the wedding between Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz

In December last year, the couple bought a chateau in southern France with the $2.4million she was awarded from the Commonwealth as compensation for the way her rape allegations were handled.

It is believed they permanently relocated to get away from their celebrity status in Australia. 

After the judgement in April, Ms Higgins released a statement on Instagram saying she felt vindicated: ‘I was raped. No judgment was ever going to change this truth.’

‘I lived with the shame, humiliation, and fear of what telling my story would mean for my life and career, like so many other victim-survivors.’



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Parents’ fears that trans ice hockey players pose a ‘danger’ to girls – as it emerges male-born competitors are entering women’s leagues and playing against females as young as 14

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Parents fear that trans ice hockey players pose a ‘danger’ to girls after it was revealed that male-born competitors are entering women’s leagues and playing against girls as young as 14.

One angry father told of how his 15-year-old daughter was in an amateur league game when a male-born trans player was penalised for hitting a female opponent around the head.

Under the ice hockey league’s current rules, female players can play with adult teams from the age of 14. 

But the whistleblower father, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his child’s identity, said teenage players were now being put in danger by the admission of male-born trans competitors.

‘I’m watching my 15-year-old daughter taking on fully grown men and thinking this isn’t right’, he told The Telegraph

One angry father told of how his 15-year-old daughter was in an amateur league game when a male-born trans player was penalised for hitting a female opponent around the head (stock image)

One angry father told of how his 15-year-old daughter was in an amateur league game when a male-born trans player was penalised for hitting a female opponent around the head (stock image)

But the whistleblower father, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his child's identity, said teenage players were now being put in danger by the admission of male-born trans competitors (stock image)

But the whistleblower father, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his child’s identity, said teenage players were now being put in danger by the admission of male-born trans competitors (stock image)

The father said watching the girl get hit had left him ‘seething’, as he branded the practice ‘dangerous’ and ‘unfair’ with ‘no good reason’ for it to happen.

He points out that the men could play in mixed teams, but they insist on playing in the ladies’ team.

The concerned father points out that ice hockey is a physical game and argues the ‘obvious strength difference’ and levels of aggression in the male game mean the games should be separate.

Meanwhile an adult female player who competes in an amateur women’s ice hockey league raised further concerns about the issue of trans competitors sharing girls’s changing rooms.

The woman, who again spoke to the paper on condition of not being named for fear of losing her place in her team, said she has heard of parents not bringing their children to ice hockey games if there is a biological male on the opposite team.

England Ice Hockey is responsible for the rules of the leagues and the players who play in them. 

Meanwhile Ice Hockey UK is responsible for the GB national team, but also plays a role in coordinating a cohesive approach amongst the various associations and leagues for important subject matters such as transgender policy.

However the official policy on transgender players is currently unclear with both England Ice Hockey and Ice Hockey UK currently reviewing their transgender policies.

But in December the chairman of Ice Hockey UK, Conservative Lord Clifton Wrottesley, branded trans players who were born male being allowed to compete in female sports as ‘tantamount to doping’.

In December the chairman of Ice Hockey UK, Conservative Lord Clifton Wrottesley (pictured), branded trans players who were born male being allowed to compete in female sports as 'tantamount to doping'

In December the chairman of Ice Hockey UK, Conservative Lord Clifton Wrottesley (pictured), branded trans players who were born male being allowed to compete in female sports as ‘tantamount to doping’

The official policy on transgender players is currently unclear with both England Ice Hockey and Ice Hockey UK currently reviewing their transgender policies (stock image)

The official policy on transgender players is currently unclear with both England Ice Hockey and Ice Hockey UK currently reviewing their transgender policies (stock image)

Responding to claims by trans activists that objections against transgender women being permitted to play in female sporting events was transphobic, he told the House of Lords: ‘My clear response to that, in the performance environment, is that trying to exploit ambiguities within classification in sport is tantamount to doping. It is a form of cheating. 

‘A person who is born a male, even if they transition pre or post-puberty, will always have a physiological advantage over a biological female. No amount of reassignment will change that.

‘There will always be differences that lead to unfair advantages. Allowing a biologically male trans person to play alongside natal females, unless all players consent, or allowing that person access to female changing facilities, are not safe practices.’

Lord Wrottesley, 55, who previously represented Ireland in skeleton at the Winter Olympics, was appointed as the director and chair of Ice Hockey UK in April 2021.

The peer, who inherited the Wrottesley titles in 1977 on the death of his grandfather, said it was also ‘unfair’ and ‘unsafe’ to allow biological males to compete against women or girls even at the amateur level.

He added: ‘Consider when a male trans athlete causes a life-changing injury to a female player because of their vastly differing physiologies. Ask females what they feel about intact males entering intimate spaces such as changing rooms. 

Lord Wrottesley, 55, who previously represented Ireland in skeleton at the Winter Olympics aged 35 (pictured), was appointed as the director and chair of Ice Hockey UK in April 2021

Lord Wrottesley, 55, who previously represented Ireland in skeleton at the Winter Olympics aged 35 (pictured), was appointed as the director and chair of Ice Hockey UK in April 2021

‘They feel extremely vulnerable and possibly violated, and I suggest that if anyone allows this to happen, they are in clear breach of safeguarding and are promoting harm. 

The Eton and Edinburgh educated man, who trained at Sandhurst before serving in the Grenadier Guards, added: ‘I am liberal-minded enough to believe that people should be able to express themselves in ways they see fit, as long as it does not have an adverse impact on other people’s enjoyment of life or, in this case, an activity in the educational or recreational setting. 

‘The key issue here is consent. People who are affected by an accommodation to allow a trans athlete to compete need to consent and not have it imposed upon them against their will by an ill-equipped governing body, or have the issue hijacked by extreme gender ideology and people with aberrant or criminal intent.’

Ice Hockey chief executive Henry Staelens said: ‘Ice Hockey UK is currently coordinating discussions between the governing bodies and leagues to deliver a transgender policy that brings the sport together and prioritises player safety above all else.

‘The extensive process also includes consulting with players, coaches, external agencies across government, the international federation and relevant groups.

‘This will be concluded in the coming weeks with the view to release the policy in July.’



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UK’s ‘slug invasion’: Pesky slugs and snails are awash in sodden gardens and stripping plants bare after weeks of downpours – as expert reveals how frogs and toads can help

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  • Do YOU have a slug and snail problem in your garden? Email: Edward.Holt@mailonline.co.uk 

After weeks of rainy weather Britain’s sodden gardens are awash with pesky slugs and snails as an expert reveals how frogs and toads can help deal with the pests.

The damp summer showers are likely to only bring more annoyance to the nation’s gardeners – as the rain combined with the mild temperatures provides the perfect breeding conditions for gastropods. 

These conditions means the survival rate for slugs and snails has increased and they are also more likely to reproduce earlier too.  

Gardeners have seemingly noticed the increased presence of the slimy beasts – who are only more visible during wet weather as they spend even more time in gardens. 

According The Sunday Times, the Royal Horticultural Society said it had been inundated with inquiries about slugs and snails, including on the gardening advice desk at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

According The Sunday Times , the Royal Horticultural Society said it had been inundated with inquiries about slugs and snails, including on the gardening advice desk at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

According The Sunday Times , the Royal Horticultural Society said it had been inundated with inquiries about slugs and snails, including on the gardening advice desk at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The damp summer showers are likely to only bring more annoyance to the nation's gardeners - as the rain combined with the mild temperatures provides the perfect breeding conditions for gastropods

The damp summer showers are likely to only bring more annoyance to the nation’s gardeners – as the rain combined with the mild temperatures provides the perfect breeding conditions for gastropods

As the RHS no longer classes slugs and snails as pest, they are now encouraging humans and gastropods to learn to peacefully coexist

As the RHS no longer classes slugs and snails as pest, they are now encouraging humans and gastropods to learn to peacefully coexist

A frog on a lilypad in a pond. Dr Jones, speaking to The Times, advised gardeners to install a small wildlife pond if they can to encourage frogs and toads to move there

A frog on a lilypad in a pond. Dr Jones, speaking to The Times, advised gardeners to install a small wildlife pond if they can to encourage frogs and toads to move there

As gardeners complain they are munching on their plants and lawns. 

To keep your green space as snail and slug free as possible Dr Hayley Jones, the RHS’s principal entomologist, has some helpful advice. 

Dr Jones, speaking to The Times, advised gardeners to install a small wildlife pond if they can to encourage frogs and toads to move there. She said: ‘These are some of the many predators that can help keep slug and snail populations in balance in a wildlife friendly garden.’ 

She also advise moving growing plantlets under glass or on benches until it is bigger. 

The RHS does not advice the use of slug pellets or similar products. This is because even the organic version can negatively impact other wildlife. 

As the RHS no longer classes slugs and snails as pest, they are now encouraging humans and gastropods to learn to peacefully coexist. 

It says on its website: ‘It’s much better to learn to live with slugs and snails, especially if you have a garden that has the right conditions for them.

‘They will always be present and are a normal part of the garden ecosystem.’

And as a crucial part of the ecosystem, with both creatures playing a role in the composting process of dead leaves, it could benefit both if we learn to live together.  



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Furious residents of picture-perfect Menorcan village dubbed the ‘Spanish Mykonos’ have denied declaring ‘war’ on tourists by chaining up their streets at night in latest battle with Brit holidaymakers

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The residents of a Menorcan village dubbed the ‘Spanish Mykonos’ have denied declaring ‘war’ on tourists by chaining up their streets at night – as British holidaymakers said the ‘anti-tourist’ measures made them feel unwelcome and would make them think twice about visiting the Balearics again.

Since May 1, locals in a picture-perfect fishing village nestled in southern Menorca, in the Balearic islands, have said they do not want any visitors before 11am or after 8pm in a bid to stop selfie-hunting tourists trampling through their private properties.

Outside these hours, residents chain off the 22 entrances to their private community, which is iconic for its narrow cobbled alleys meandering through its whitewashed houses.

Locals insist tourists who visit the village do so in silence – as seen on the many signs dotted throughout the pretty enclave.

There are even chains to stop tourists sitting on certain walls and signs in the flower beds ordering visitors not to touch.

The residents of a Menorcan village dubbed the 'Spanish Mykonos' have denied declaring 'war' on tourists by chaining up their streets at night. A caretaker fixing the chains across the lanes

The residents of a Menorcan village dubbed the ‘Spanish Mykonos’ have denied declaring ‘war’ on tourists by chaining up their streets at night. A caretaker fixing the chains across the lanes

A hoard of tourists are pictured crowding a small alley in the village to take photos in front of the quaint white stone houses

A hoard of tourists are pictured crowding a small alley in the village to take photos in front of the quaint white stone houses

Tourists Fred and Hannah Preddle with their son George by a restricted lane

Tourists Fred and Hannah Preddle with their son George by a restricted lane

Jhonathan and Jessica with sons Samual and Jonathan by a chain installed in the village

Jhonathan and Jessica with sons Samual and Jonathan by a chain installed in the village

British holidaymakers said the 'anti-tourist' measures made them feel unwelcome and would make them think twice about visiting the Balearics again

British holidaymakers said the ‘anti-tourist’ measures made them feel unwelcome and would make them think twice about visiting the Balearics again

Since May 1, locals in the picture-perfect fishing village nestled in southern Menorca have said they do not want any visitors before 11am or after 8pm

Since May 1, locals in the picture-perfect fishing village nestled in southern Menorca have said they do not want any visitors before 11am or after 8pm

Signs tell visitors to be quiet and only visit in certain hours

Signs tell visitors to be quiet and only visit in certain hours

Local resident Maita, 63, who splits her time between the village and Barcelona, told MailOnline how big groups of noisy tourists have caused chaos in the village

Local resident Maita, 63, who splits her time between the village and Barcelona, told MailOnline how big groups of noisy tourists have caused chaos in the village

Pictured is the village of Binibeca Vell, dubbed the 'Spanish Mykonos'

Pictured is the village of Binibeca Vell, dubbed the ‘Spanish Mykonos’

Residents have long complained how hordes of rowdy tourists overrun the village during the summer season and ruin their peace and privacy in search of an Instagram-worthy holiday snap.

On the village website, fed-up locals have taken to sharing photographs of tourists disrespecting their private homes, with one shown splayed out on a stairwell and another having scaled a balcony.

Online, visitors are urged to ‘avoid uncivic attitudes’ by refraining from ‘entering the houses or climbing stairs or balconies’ and to help keep the village clean by ‘using the bins and keeping the walls white’.

In August, its 195 homeowners are set to vote on whether to continue the same regime or completely ban all tourists from the village, which is visited by around 800,000 holidaymakers a year.

But worried business owners warn a total ban would be disastrous for them as they rely heavily on the trade from tourists visiting the village.

Oscar Monge, President of the Community of Property Owners in Binibeca Vell, has insisted tourists are welcome in the village and the new rules are not designed to wreck anyone’s livelihood.

Residents have long complained how hordes of rowdy tourists overrun the village

Residents have long complained how hordes of rowdy tourists overrun the village

In August, its 195 homeowners are set to vote on whether to continue the same regime or completely ban all tourists from the village, which is visited by 800,000 holidaymakers a year

In August, its 195 homeowners are set to vote on whether to continue the same regime or completely ban all tourists from the village, which is visited by 800,000 holidaymakers a year

A young woman poses for a photograph on private property in the village

A young woman poses for a photograph on private property in the village

Pictured is a broken restriction chain across a path in the village

Pictured is a broken restriction chain across a path in the village

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, he said most villagers backed the new rules as a ‘question of common sense’.

He claimed that last year there was a municipal deal in place that allowed tourists into Binibeca Vell from midday to 9pm but accused the island council of scuppering it by failing to properly regulate the bus loads of tourists arriving in the village and withdrawing a €15,000 subsidy to help clean up rubbish left by holidaymakers .

Mr Monge added: ‘I think the measures are having the desired effects as far as homeowners here are concerned with regards to the amount of people during the hours of rest.

‘The regulation of the tourist coaches is improving and there seems to be a better understanding of the situation among tour operators who operate them.

‘We are really happy that tourists come to Binibeca Vell.

‘But it’s not normal that the island council is charging [up to €4 per person for tourist tax] and doesn’t want to help an iconic tourist destination like our village, where five of the photos you see from Menorca are from here and then takes away the €15,000 grant we were getting to pay a private company to remove visitors’ rubbish.

‘Things reach a stage where people say ‘enough is enough’ and that’s what’s happened.

‘Tourists are welcome during the permitted timetable, they can visit Binibeca Vell free of charge and outside of that timetable they can visit the restaurants which are all outside the area that’s chained off after 8pm.

‘We don’t get any help to keep our community looking the way it is.

‘It costs us around €100,000 a year to keep the houses as white as they are because the facades get blackened with people putting their hands on the walls.

‘If we weren’t getting 800,000 visitors a year, we’d probably have to paint only every two or possibly every three years.

Visitors are urged to 'avoid uncivic attitudes' by refraining from 'entering the houses or climbing stairs or balconies' and to help keep the village clean by 'using the bins and keeping the walls white'

Visitors are urged to ‘avoid uncivic attitudes’ by refraining from ‘entering the houses or climbing stairs or balconies’ and to help keep the village clean by ‘using the bins and keeping the walls white’

A woman sits on a bench beneath a sign on the wall asking for silence

A woman sits on a bench beneath a sign on the wall asking for silence

Worried business owners warn a total ban would be disastrous for them as they rely heavily on the trade from tourists visiting the village

Worried business owners warn a total ban would be disastrous for them as they rely heavily on the trade from tourists visiting the village

Local woman Maita told MailOnline 'the streets are very close together and we like the silence'

Local woman Maita told MailOnline ‘the streets are very close together and we like the silence’

‘If we’re not getting any help from anyone, the homeowners eventually put their hands up and say what benefits are we receiving?’

When MailOnline visited the village this week, small groups of tourists arrived in the village ahead of the 11am opening time before a worker was seen removing the chains off the streets shortly after 11.15am.

It was not long before a group of tourists was seen posing for photographs on the steps of a private home while its occupants were trying to enjoy a quiet breakfast on their balcony.

Elsewhere, a young man was seen perching on the steps of a home as his female companion posed for the camera.

At the entrance to Binibeca Vell, a sign showing a map of the village and the previous visiting hours appeared to have been defaced, but it was unclear why or by whom.

Resident Maita, 63, who splits her time between the village and Barcelona, told MailOnline how big groups of noisy tourists have caused chaos in the village and disrespected locals’ homes.

She said: ‘The town is very small, the streets are very close together and we really like the silence.

‘If a few people come, there is no problem because the people are very respectful.

‘But when there are many people there is a lot of noise, a lot of dirt, and they don’t respect our houses.

‘They sit at our tables…and it bothers them that you kick them out.

‘Last week, there was a couple sitting here [at my table] and I came down from upstairs and said ‘hey, what are you doing?’

‘But nothing happens afterwards.’

British holidaymakers greeted the measures with a mixture of understanding and indignation

British holidaymakers greeted the measures with a mixture of understanding and indignation

Pictured are visitors exploring restricted lanes in the village

Pictured are visitors exploring restricted lanes in the village

Tourists flock to the beautiful village for the views, landscape and buildings

Tourists flock to the beautiful village for the views, landscape and buildings

Pictured is a defaced sign indicating restricted access to the lanes

Pictured is a defaced sign indicating restricted access to the lanes

Some told Mailonline the new measures did not make them feel very welcome in the village

Some told Mailonline the new measures did not make them feel very welcome in the village

And British holidaymakers greeted the new measures with a mixture of understanding and indignation.

Married couple Hannah and Fred Priddle, both 45, from East Surrey, who were visiting Menorca for the first time, with their son, George, 7, said they understood the need for the new visiting rules but that there needed to be a balance between ‘tolerance’ for tourists and respect for locals’ peace and quiet.

Mr Priddle, who works in logistics, told MailOnline the situation was a ‘double-edged sword’, adding: ‘It’s understandable, but the problem is this village was built as a replica of a fishing village, as a tourist attraction, so now it’s kind of turning against the tourists a bit.

‘It’s understandable because people who have moved in over the years and made it their home, they want a bit of peace and quiet.’

‘But I think the natural reaction is, ‘Well, it’s a tourist attraction, share it’.

‘It [the restrictions] doesn’t make me feel welcome, but you have to see it from their [the residents’] perspective as well.’

He said they had researched the new rules before visiting but that tour operators should warn holidaymakers about them ahead of time ‘so people are aware of it before they come out and it sets their expectations’ to avoid any disappointment.

The couple said they took a land train, costing roughly €4.00-a-head, from their nearby hotel to Binibeca Vell, but said there was little to no information about the village and the new rules.

‘Quite a few people got off the same train as us and said ‘what do we do’ when it all seemed quite blocked off,’ Mrs Priddle, who works in design, added.

She said the behaviour of selfie-hunting tourists was ‘not respectful’ to homeowners but called for clarity over whether tourists are welcome: ‘Do they want tourists or not? Don’t put on buses and day trips here if they don’t want people to visit.’

Asked if more tourist restrictions in the Balearics would put them off visiting, most said yes

Asked if more tourist restrictions in the Balearics would put them off visiting, most said yes

The village's business owners were reluctant to speak out publicly about their views on the new rules for fear of upsetting the 'sensitive' situation with residents

The village’s business owners were reluctant to speak out publicly about their views on the new rules for fear of upsetting the ‘sensitive’ situation with residents

Twins Tom and Joe Harvey, 17, were visiting the village for the second time with mother Lisa, 54, and grandmother, Carol, 76, and said they were 'sad' to see the chained-up streets

Twins Tom and Joe Harvey, 17, were visiting the village for the second time with mother Lisa, 54, and grandmother, Carol, 76, and said they were ‘sad’ to see the chained-up streets 

One shop owner, who declined to be identified, warned her business faced total ruin if the village banned tourists completely. Pictured, are visitors exploring the streets

One shop owner, who declined to be identified, warned her business faced total ruin if the village banned tourists completely. Pictured, are visitors exploring the streets

Twins Tom and Joe Harvey, 17, from Oxford were visiting the idyllic village for the second time with their mother Lisa, 54, and grandmother, Carol, 76, and said they were ‘sad’ to see the chained-up streets.

The youngsters told MailOnline the new measures did not make them feel very welcome in the village, adding: ‘It’s just a bit sad really, as you kind of want to have a look around because the Old Town is so beautiful, and see how they all live.’

Asked if more tourist restrictions in the Balearics would put them off visiting, they said: ‘Yes, it does as it means you can’t really have the full experience because you can’t actually access everything, or you can’t see what you’re hoping to see, so it really kind of restricts what you can do, see and learn on your holiday.’

The teenagers said they were sympathetic to the residents’ plight, adding: ‘…But if we’re just coming over and taking over the town a bit, you can see why they want to keep it as traditional as they can without trying to annoy us too much or stopping us from doing things.’

They accepted British tourists ‘have a bit of a reputation for drinking ourselves under the table, so I can see why, at night, they would want to keep people away from there, cause I can see how you could have a few pints and get drawn into going all in there and all about.’

Spanish couple Jhonathan, 37, and wife Jessica, 35 were visiting Binibeca with sons Samuel, three and Jonathan, five.

Jhonathan told MailOnline: ‘It seems like a very nice town to me, and I understand that some people have no respect for the people who live here, so they have taken these measures recently.’

But the village’s business owners were reluctant to speak out publicly about their views on the new rules for fear of upsetting the ‘sensitive’ situation with residents.

One shop owner, who declined to be identified, warned her business faced total ruin if the village banned tourists completely.

She told MailOnline: ‘People come here to see the village, if they cannot see village, they will not come here, I mean, it would be our death for sure.

‘But I actually think it’s worse for restaurants. People come here during the day, they buy something here, but when they visit the town, they visit until 9, and then they go to have dinner, so if they cannot visit until 9, what do the restaurants do.’

Maita said she even found tourists sitting at the table outside of her home

Maita said she even found tourists sitting at the table outside of her home 

The aim of chaining up the streets was to stop masses of tourists flooding into residents' private homes outside the new visiting hours, locals say

The aim of chaining up the streets was to stop masses of tourists flooding into residents’ private homes outside the new visiting hours, locals say

Tourists crowd into the narrow streets to take photographs for social media

Tourists crowd into the narrow streets to take photographs for social media

She added: ‘On the one hand, we understand them [the new rules], we have known these families for years, they are good friends of ours.

‘Here, during the months of June, July and August, it’s awful. There are so many tourists.

‘They are so impolite, they get inside the peoples’ houses to make pictures because they are so ‘cute’.

‘It’s obvious they had to take measures, we understand it, but at the same time, we hope they don’t close permanently because it would be a disaster for us.’

A restaurant worker, who did not want to be named, warned the restrictions ‘will affect us a lot’.

She added: ‘The people who used to come late in the evening will stop coming.

‘If people are banned from the main attraction [the village] people will not come here.’

Mr Monge said as restaurants sit outside ‘what would be called the village’ in a public street, tourists would still be able to access restaurants while the private community is closed.

‘We have no intention of ruining anyone’s livelihood,’ he insisted.

The 51-year-old, who has restaurants in Menorca and in Catalunya on the Spanish mainland is involved in real estate said the village will resist calls from the authorities to start charging tourists to visit.

He added: ‘It’s impossible. We have 22 entrances. What are we going to do? Police 22 entrances?

‘And it’s not our objective. The homeowners here don’t want to do that.’

Mr Monge called on the island council to do more to control the number of tourist buses arriving at certain times to ‘reduce tourist overcrowding’ and ensure guides ‘know they’re bringing holidaymakers into a private residential area and know those visits should take place in silence or with the least amount of noise possible’.

One of the signs in the village pleading with visitors to be quiet

One of the signs in the village pleading with visitors to be quiet

A group of tourists stop to take photographs in front of a private property sign

A group of tourists stop to take photographs in front of a private property sign

Chains have been introduced across pathways to stop visitors intruding in private spaces

Chains have been introduced across pathways to stop visitors intruding in private spaces

‘I don’t think we’re asking for that much,’ he said.

On the issue of tourist overcrowding in Menorca and protests of the sort that have occurred in Majorca and Ibiza, he said: ‘In an island where 90 per cent of people live from tourism, do you think we can enjoy that sort of luxury!! It’s absurd.’Menorca, thank God, is not Majorca or Ibiza. Here we have a more family-orientated tourism which is more interested in natural spaces.

‘We don’t have that tourist massification they have in Ibiza and Majorca but politicians are encouraging the protests with their inaction and their failure to address issues like the one we have in Binibeca Vell.’

In a message to British tourists visiting Binibeca Vell, he said: ‘Keep on coming within the permitted timetables, respect our community when you come and enjoy.

‘You will always be welcome.’

Mr Monge insisted the aim of chaining up the streets was to stop masses of tourists flooding into residents’ private homes outside the new visiting hours.

‘What this definitely isn’t though is a war between us and the tourists,’ he added.

Begoña Mercadal, head of tourism for Menorca previously told the El Diario newspaper that residents would be able to close their village to tourists if they wished.

She said: ‘We fully acknowledge that it is private property and, therefore, if they want to close it, that is their right.’

The move in the village comes after major anti-tourist protests elsewhere in the Balearics, with locals pushing back against soaring numbers of holidaymakers and their impact on the housing market.

On Saturday, scores of people attended a protest in the capital of Majorca, Palma, organised by the group Banc de Temps de Sencelles.

Last week, a group under the slogan ‘Més turisme, menys vida’, which translates to ‘More tourism, less life’ said it intended to cause chaos at Palma Airport over the coming weekend.



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