NEWS

A prominent Kosovo Serb politician, Oliver Ivanovic, has been shot dead outside his party offices in the Serb-run north of Mitrovica.

Ivanovic, seen as a moderate Kosovo Serb leader, was shot four times in the chest and died later in hospital, his lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic said.

Serbian government negotiators walked out of EU-mediated talks with Kosovo Albanians in Brussels after the news.

Kosovo remains ethnically divided since unilaterally splitting from Serbia.

Mitrovica - in northern Kosovo - is split, with the south run by Kosovo Albanians.

Kosovo: Timeline of events
Serbia: Key dates and facts
'An act of terror'
Serbia has reacted furiously to the news of Ivanovic's violent murder, calling it an attack on the entire nation.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday that his country should join the investigation into the killing, adding that Serbia was also prepared to carry out its own inquiry.

"For Serbia this is an act of terrorism and we will treat it accordingly," Mr Vucic said.

Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci said his government "strongly" condemned the killing, and promised to "bring the perpetrators to justice".

The US ambassador to Kosovo, Greg Delawie, also condemned Ivanovic's murder.

"I call on all Kosovo's justice institutions ... to investigate this incident swiftly and professionally, and bring the perpetrators to justice," Mr Delawie said in a statement.

The EU's special representative for Kosovo, Natalya Apostolova, called on the country's citizens to remain calm and urged authorities to "punish" those responsible.

French Diplomat Bernard Kouchner, who was head of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (Unmik) in 1999, told the BBC he felt "sorrow" at the news and that Ivanovic's death would have an impact on efforts to heal divisions between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

"For him the future of Kosovo was something peaceful," Mr Kouchner said, adding that the "process put in place for reconciliation between the Serbs and the Kosovar was working".

Shadow of conflict
Ivanovic, 64, headed a Kosovo Serb party called Freedom, Democracy, Justice. He had played a leading role in negotiations with Nato and the EU.

He was facing a retrial for alleged war crimes against ethnic Albanians committed in 1999.

In January 2016, EU judges in Kosovo sentenced him to nine years, but the verdict was overturned by an appeals court a year later.

Ivanovic had denied all charges.


Kosovo and Serbia - key dates
1991: Start of the violent break-up of Yugoslavia

1996: Rebel Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) steps up attacks on Serbian authorities in Kosovo - met with a Serbian crackdown

1999: Nato bombs Serbian targets - Yugoslav and Serbian forces respond with attacks against Kosovo Albanians but withdraw from Kosovo after a peace agreement

2008: Kosovo unilaterally declares independence

2012: Group of countries overseeing Kosovo since 2008 ends its supervisory role. Nato-led peacekeepers and EU rule-of-law monitors remain

2013: Kosovo and Serbia reach a landmark agreement on normalising relations that grants a high degree of autonomy to Serb-majority areas in the north

2017: Row as Serbia launches train service between Belgrade and northern Kosovo with the slogan "Kosovo is Serbian" painted on it in twenty languages

Balkans war: a brief guide

Ivanovic rose to prominence in Kosovo Serb politics during the territory's conflict in 1999, when Serb forces battled Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrillas and committed war crimes against ethnic Albanian civilians.

A Nato air campaign forced Serbia to pull its troops out, but an EU law and order team remains in Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It has been recognised by 115 countries, but not by Serbia and its ally, Russia.

 

A California couple have been arrested after police found their 13 children allegedly held captive at home, some "shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks".

David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were held on charges of torture and child endangerment.

The couple's children - aged two to 29 - lived in Perris, 59 miles (95km) south-east of Los Angeles.

Officers were alerted by one of the victims, a 17-year-old girl.

The girl - who appeared to be "only 10 years old and slightly emaciated" - on Sunday managed to escape and call the emergency number using a mobile phone found inside the house, the Riverside Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

What did police find in the house?
Police officers later found "several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings".

The officers were "shocked" to discover that seven of them were actually adults aged between 18 and 29.

"The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty," the police said.

The 'happy family' at centre of allegations
They are now being treated in local hospitals.

The head of one of the hospitals, Mark Uffer, told Reuters news agency: "It's actually heartbreaking for the staff and it's unbelievable what you see."

Mr and Mrs Turpin are now being held in jail with bail set at $9m (£6.5m) each.


How did they hide their secret?
James Cook, BBC News, Perris

On Muir Woods Road there is no hint of the horror inside number 160.

This is a smart suburban home with three cars and a people carrier gleaming in the driveway. The curtains are drawn but a decorative Christmas star can be seen hanging in one window.

The estate is neat and the houses on the road are spacious but they are close together. It is difficult to imagine how a family could hide such an enormous dark secret here.

And yet that is exactly what seems to have happened.

Neighbours are now engaged in soul-searching about whether they should have spotted that something was awry.

No-one seems to know how long the siblings may have been held captive and, of course, no-one can answer the hardest question of all - why?


What do we know about the family?
According to public records, the couple lived in Texas for many years before moving to California in 2010.

Mr Turpin has twice been declared bankrupt. At the time of his second bankruptcy he is said to have had a relatively well-paid job as an engineer at aeronautics and defence technology company Northrop Grumman.

However, with so many children and his wife not working, records suggest his expenses exceeded his income.

The children's grandparents said that they had not seen the family for four or five years.

James and Betty Turpin told ABC they were considered a good Christian family in their community and that "God called on them" to have so many children.

The family's Facebook page shows numerous photos and videos of them, apparently happy and smiling. Many posts contain comments from family or friends.

They appear to have renewed their wedding vows several times in recent years, often with their children present.

In one video series, the couple are seen renewing their vows at the Elvis Chapel in Las Vegas.

Repeating after an Elvis impersonator, Mr Turpin tells his wife: "I offer you this ring as a symbol of my love, baby, baby."

The children laugh along with the impersonator, and clap as the couple kisses.

What about the children's education?
The grandparents said their grandchildren were home-schooled, but it is not entirely clear what that means.

On the California Department of Education website, Mr Turpin is listed as the principal of Sandcastle Day School - a private school operated out of his home.

The school was opened in March 2011, the website says. Six pupils are enrolled there, all in different grades.

In California, private schools operate outside the jurisdiction of the education department and most regulations. They are directly accountable to students and their parents or guardians, and the state has no authority to monitor or evaluate them.

Teachers at private schools in California also do not need to hold a valid state teaching qualification.

What do the neighbours say?
One neighbour told Reuters that the Turpin family "were the type that you didn't really get to know anything about them".

"Why don't we ever see the kids?" neighbour Kimberly Milligan asked.

"In hindsight, we would have never thought this, but there were red flags. You never don't hear or see nine kids."

She recalls on one occasion saying hello to the children as they erected a Christmas nativity scene, but they stopped to stand frozen still, as if by doing so they would become invisible.

She described them looking at her "like a child who wants to make themselves invisible".


Recent cases of abduction, confinement and enslavement
Argentinian Domingo Bulacio was jailed for 12 years in 2017 for repeatedly, over 20 years, raping his daughter, who says he kept her as a sex slave from the age of 11
Cleveland abductor Ariel Castro held three women and a girl in captivity. He was found dead in September 2013 in his cell after being jailed for life the previous month for kidnap, rape and assault
California couple Philip and Nancy Garrido kidnapped 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard and held her captive for 18 years. She was raped. They were jailed for life in 2011
Krzysztof Bartoszuk held his daughter captive for six years, raping her and fathering two children with her. He was jailed for 10 years by a Polish court in 2010
Austria's Josef Fritzl fathered seven children with his daughter who he kept locked in a cellar for 24 years. He was found guilty of charges including rape, incest, murder of one of the children and enslavement, and jailed for life in 2009

 

 

Temperatures are expected to creep upwards as a blanket of cloud moves across the UK bringing a brief respite to the clear, cold weather.

As cold weather continues during the early stages of 2018, local residents will be keen to 'warm up' their car engines before work.


This obviously has its benefits - from saving time waiting inside a freezing cold car to ensuring you spend a little bit longer inside eating your cornflakes.

But it turns out starting your car and letting it idle to heat up the engine does not do your vehicle any good.

In fact, this actually prolongs the warm-up period, according to Road&Track .

Our sister title the M.E.N. reports how conventional wisdom that you should idle your car up to operating temperature comes from the days of carburetors.

Back then, you needed several minutes of idling to get to an operating temperature where they'd run smoothly.

Generally, cars do not have this any more.

Why you don't need to idle your engine
Engines are now fuel injected and a better approach is to simply drive away immediately.

Gentle driving warms the engine quickly without putting too much load on it before reaching operating temperature.

Can idling cause damage?
Yes, idling for too long on a cold day can cause engine oil dilution.

While you might have thought that letting your car slowly warm up was reducing the strain on the engine, all that idling time leads to raw gasoline seeping into the oil, breaking down the oil's lubrication properties and increasing the wear.

Here's how you can safely de-ice your car on a horrid morning
1. Turn on the engine.

It sounds obvious, but before you do anything get your engine on. The most effective way of de-icing your car is to flick on the air-conditioning and let it circulate in the car.

2. Do not leave the car unattended.

Owners who leave their engines running while they run inside to grab something they’ve forgotten are a car thief’s dream - and also breaking the law. Drivers have to be ‘in control’ of their vehicle at all times. If you need to go back into the house you should turn off the engine, lock the car and head in. Car insurers rarely pay out if the keys are left in the car.

3. Get rid of any snow.

Use a brush to wipe off all the snow from the car, making sure the front grille is clear.

4. Start de-icing the outside.

Make sure you keep a scraper and some de-icer in the car for mornings when you are stuck. As the engine warms the car from the inside get scraping from the outside. Don’t wipe windows with your hands - your mitts will leave greasy smudges.

5. Never use boiling water on glass.

The rapid expansion and contraction of the ice can cause the screen to crack.

6. Wait until all the glass is clear before you drive off

It’s worth waiting an extra few minutes to make sure your car is safe to drive before you head out in the icy weather.

 

It had to come to an end at some point, and it was Liverpool who finally put a stop to Manchester City's unbeaten run with a classic 4-3 win at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

It was also a good weekend for my old club Tottenham in the chase for a top-four place, their resounding 4-0 win over Everton coming as rivals Chelsea and Arsenal both dropped points.

Arsenal were poor again in losing at Bournemouth, while Chelsea looked short of ideas in a goalless draw with Leicester.

At the bottom there were much needed wins for West Brom, Crystal Palace and West Ham.

You can read the thinking behind my team below but, first, have a go at picking your own team of the week.

Choose your XI from the shortlist selected by BBC Sport journalists and share it with your friends.

Pick your Team of the Week
Pick your XI from our list and share with your friends.

Goalkeeper - Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace)

This was a very interesting week for goalkeepers. Arsenal's Petr Cech and Manchester City's Ederson both conceded goals that cost their teams dearly. Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois and West Brom's Ben Foster both kept clean sheets but it was the performance by Wayne Hennessey against a dangerous Burnley that impressed me the most.

The Wales international's form over the past few weeks has been impressive at a very difficult time under Roy Hodgson. The Eagles were in desperate need of points and low in confidence. Hennessey has shown tremendous courage throughout that period and kept goal during a very nervy time for Palace. He now looks like he's becoming part of a solid unit again, keeping the occasional clean sheet.

Defender - Andreas Christensen (Chelsea)

Andreas Christensen came on for Gary Cahill at a time when the Blues were being run ragged by a Leicester side who seem to have found their mojo again under Claude Puel.

He adjusted brilliantly to the tempo of the game and was incredibly astute not to impede Riyad Mahrez in the box. The Algerian international, on the other hand, tried to deceive referee Mike Jones by going to ground having received no contact from Christensen at all. In fact it was Mahrez who used his leg to make contact with Christensen. Referee Jones was, quite rightly, having none of it, while Christensen told Mahrez what he thought of his opponent's antics in no uncertain terms.

I can understand a player going to ground having received contact or even exaggerating the incident in order to try and bring it to the referee's attention. Goodness knows I've done it myself, but it is unforgivable to dive when no contact has been made at all. In fact it is simply cheating and it's about time his manager told him so.

Defender - Harry Maguire (Leicester)

We don't often get excellent 0-0 draws but Chelsea versus Leicester was certainly one of them. This was a Premier League fixture played like an FA Cup tie from start to finish. Harry Maguire was immense throughout the match at the back for Leicester and he had Alvaro Morata in one pocket and Eden Hazard in the other.

In the post-match news conference interest once again centred on the war of words between Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. Although no names were mentioned, Mourinho's earlier veiled remark about 'contempt', which seemed to be pointed in Conte's direction, clearly grated with the Italian. However the Chelsea manager did well to ignore the questions posed by journalists. He has spent far too much time responding to Mourinho and his mind games. It is becoming clearer by the day that Mourinho is doing this deliberately.

The former Chelsea boss has been irritatingly astute at taking the attention away from the fact that his team have failed to lay a glove on Manchester City and he is using Conte as the diversion. Every time Conte bites back it diminishes the former Itay international who, having played the game at the highest level, respects its customs and traditions. Mourinho on the other hand shows no respect to either of those conventions because he is a mere beneficiary of the game and gives nothing back in return.

Defender - Jonny Evans (West Brom)

Considering the speculation surrounding the future of Jonny Evans his goal celebration against Brighton seemed to suggest that the Northern Ireland international is quite happy where he is. It may be that Alan Pardew has to sell him before he is allowed to buy in the transfer window but it strikes me that the defender's response to his brilliant header was so joyous that it would take an awful lot for him to leave. He clearly has a tremendous amount of affection for the club.

It is also clear to me that Pardew is developing a team again at The Hawthorns. The camaraderie and spirit displayed after both goals was there for all to see. The Baggies are also starting to play a brand of football that belongs in the 21st Century again and their players look like they are enjoying it.

Whatever happens to Evans in the future, he has been a model professional and he deserves the game's gratitude.

Midfielder - Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

Son Heung-min scored one, assisted another and hit the post against Everton but his performance was about more than that. The South Korean is renowned for his energy and covers the ground with enormous alacrity. What I like most about him is that he genuinely plays the game with a smile on his face. I've never really had any time for the expression myself, largely due to the fact that trying to win a football match was always such hard work. Playing the game and looking like you were enjoying it when in fact you were trying to win didn't make any sense to me.

Son, on the other hand, has a smile that would light up Wembley stadium all on its own. I get the impression sometimes when he plays for Spurs that he is so grateful to be playing at Tottenham at all. I have said before that I think Son is one of the most improved players in the Premier League and against Everton he proved it once again.

As for Everton, Sam Allardyce will not be happy conceding four goals. Training will not be enjoyable this week.

Midfielder - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool)

I'm delighted to see this player finally starting to settle down in his new role at Liverpool. I was a big admirer of this young emerging talent when he was at Southampton and expected even bigger things from him at Arsenal. However what I saw in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's performance against Manchester City was a player who believed in himself again. So much so that the England international went toe to toe with Kevin de Bruyne and came out on top.

I've no doubt his glorious strike that put Liverpool ahead went a long way to calming the nerves and sharpening the focus. The big question now is can Oxlade-Chamberlain step into Philippe Coutinho's shoes? With Steven Gerrard retired and Coutinho now playing for Barcelona, Anfield demands another midfield star. Oxlade-Chamberlain has the ability and now the stage to be that star in a way he never had at Arsenal. I wonder if he will seize the opportunity.

Midfielder - James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

If looks could kill, Marco Silva would be in big trouble. The stare the Watford boss gave his players when they went 2-0 down to Southampton in the first half was chilling. He had every right to be furious about the way his team was defending. Ever since Silva was touted to take over from Ronald Koeman at Everton, Watford seem to have fallen apart.

This time it was Southampton's James Ward-Prowse who was intent on embarrassing the Hornets and had it not been for an error by referee Roger East, in allowing a goal by Abdoulaye Doucoure, he would have done. To be fair to Mr East he couldn't possibly have seen the handball by Doucoure from his position and he was let down by his assistant. So here we are again flung headlong into the debate about video technology assisting the officials.

I am no fan of VAR in football (it might work in other sports) but I have no doubt that it would have cleared up this particular incident.

Midfielder - Manuel Lanzini (West Ham)

Manuel Lanzini has been promising to take over the mantle of Dimitri Payet - remember him? - for some time and his performance against Huddersfield was as close as he has come. The skilful Argentine was like a sorcerer's apprentice weaving his magic and left the John Smith's stadium with the Terriers still under his spell. What was so impressive was the way Lanzini, with West Ham already 3-1 up, raced 40 yards to support Marko Arnautovic in order to administer Huddersfield's last rites.

The finish was equal to the work and endeavour the player put in throughout the match. The only problem I can foresee is that if Lanzini keeps playing like this, how long before Chelsea come knocking on the door? Cesc Fabregas is not getting any younger you know.

Forward - Marko Arnautovic (West Ham)
 

Mark Hughes must be seething. The fomer Stoke boss will know better than most what Marko Arnautovic is capable of. It was, after all, the Austrian who drove a dagger through Hughes' heart by leaving the Potteries in an acrimonious split in the summer only to return with West Ham and hasten the departure of Hughes with a starring display in a Hammers win, with a goal just to stick the boot in.

In recent weeks at West Ham the forward has discovered a new lease of life and seems to get better with every performance. He absolutely destroyed Huddersfield, who have been praised this season but are starting to run out of gas. When your defence fails to win the first ball that's bad enough but when you don't get the second and even fail to get the third, in one phase of play, then immediate surgery is required.

Manager David Wagner has performed wonders at Huddersfield but they need reinforcements now. As for Arnautovic, well if you can get Andy Carroll, Lanzini and him on the pitch and playing well all at the same time then the Hammers suddenly become a serious proposition. In the meantime it looks like West Ham and David Moyes are back in business.

Forward - Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

When a close team-mate leaves a club it can feel like you've sustained an injury and it can take a little time to recover. Roberto Firmino would have been devastated to see Coutinho leave Liverpool for Barcelona, and said as much. But you wouldn't have known it looking at his performance against Manchester City.

In fact I think I saw the Brazilian assume far more responsibility in the absence of his former team-mate than I have seen before. With Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Firmino in the side all that is required is for Oxlade-Chamberlain to start hitting the back of the net on a regular basis and a new fab four will be born.

Forward - Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Sadio Mane's strike was glorious and it should have put the game way beyond Manchester City's reach - but this was no ordinary game and Manchester City are no ordinary team. Five minutes longer on the clock and City would have equalised.

Sadio Mane may not be having the same goal return as last season but he is working incredibly hard to make up for it. In fact I can't remember seeing Mane work as hard. Of course manager Jurgen Klopp built his reputation on such endeavours at Dortmund, but he had a defence then.

Once again Liverpool went perilously close to blowing a great victory over City because of suspect defending. I know injuries to players are unfortunate but Liverpool need Virgil van Dijk fit and back in the team sharpish otherwise there will be many more games finishing 4-3, and not necessarily in Liverpool's favour.
 

 

 

 

 

Police are appealing for information after ‘suspicious behaviour’ has been reported around Tamworth.

Officers from Staffordshire Police are urging people to come forward with information after four people wearing black masks were believed to be following residents across Stonydelph.


Sightings of those believed to be wearing the masks have been reported in Ellerback and the cycle lane leading from the shops and officers are calling people to be on their guard.

A spokesman from the force said: “There have been reports of suspicious behaviour in Stonydelph.

“We have just been informed by several Stonydelph residents that four people wearing black masks have been following residents and acting suspiciously.

“So far we have been told that the locations have been by the Ellerbeck shops and the cycle lane leading from the shops.

“We shall provide more information as soon as we can, but please be careful if travelling around Stonydelph.”

Anyone who has seen anything suspicious should contact the police on 101.

Alternatively people can call Crimestoppers, which is an anonymous and free service, on 0800 555 111.

A reward is sometimes offered if information leads to a successful outcome.

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