NEWS

Ukip leader Henry Bolton has ended his romantic relationship with his controversial model girlfriend, but still faced a backlash from senior figures within his party.

Mr Bolton admitted that the relationship with Jo Marney was "obviously quite incompatible" with his position as party chief, after it was reported she made racist remarks about Meghan Markle.


But he resisted calls to quit, insisted that he would "stand by" Ms Marney and claimed the controversial messages did not reflect her "core beliefs".

Mr Bolton also alleged that his critics within the party had used his girlfriend as a way of attacking his position.

West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge quit as Ukip's sport spokesman in protest at Mr Bolton's refusal to stand down and urged party members to oust the leader.

The Mail On Sunday printed texts it said had been sent by Ms Marney about Prince Harry's fiancee, including use of the word "Negro" and a message reading "This is Britain, not Africa", during a discussion about the royal engagement.

In an interview with ITV's Good Morning Britain, Mr Bolton said: "I don't defend these comments whatsoever and indeed Jo has been suspended pending an investigation under the normal rules of the party for such things, and it is against the constitution for the party to be racist in any way.

"As of last night the romantic side of our relationship is ended."

Mr Bolton has faced widespread calls for his resignation, but he made it clear he wanted to stay in place as the party leader, saying "there are a great many people who fully support me".

Asked if his position as leader had become untenable, he added: "First of all, I am not intending to resign - at all.

"This will be a question for the party so it's up to the party what happens in relation to my leadership, I'm not going to resign."

Mr Bolton admitted he had talked about immigration with Ms Marney but claimed it was about "straightforward, mild things" such as points systems, but "nothing of this sort".

"One of the worrying aspects about this on a political level is that people have used Jo - and they have been able to, of course, because of her comments - in order to attack me," he told the BBC.

"These are people who have tried in the past to attack me, have found no way of doing it, so now they are going at it through this."

Mr Etheridge called on party members to contact Ukip's national executive committee to call for Mr Bolton to be sacked.

He said: "I am resigning as a spokesman for Ukip and focusing in pursuing Brexit through public meetings and rallies.

"I also urge members to contact the NEC to call for the removal of Henry Bolton before his ego finally drags the party down.

"Making sure we get a proper Brexit is the most important thing of all.

"Ukip cannot allow distractions like this to take our attention off the thing that is most important to our country."

 

A teenager who attacked his girlfriend when she refused his demands for sex has avoided going to jail.

Ryan Guy carried out a campaign of controlling behaviour on the woman during their relationship and she even lost her job as he told her when she could and couldn’t go to work.


The victim was subjected to “emotional and physical violence” and her weight plummeted to just over six stone due to the stress she suffered.

Guy, 19, of London Road, Whitley, pleaded guilty to two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and controlling behaviour at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court - the city in which the offences took place - and was handed a suspended prison sentence.

What did the prosecution say?
Prosecutor Peter McCartney said Guy began a relationship with the woman in November 2014 and she ended it after six months because he accused her of cheating, the Stoke Sentinel reports.

But they soon got back together and Guy started his campaign of emotional and physical violence. Mr McCartney said: “She did not tell anyone. She thought he would change.”

On April 12, 2017, he told her where she could and could not go. Mr McCartney said he then attempted to strangle her.

“On June 4, they argued again over sex. He punched her repeatedly causing red marks and pain to her legs,” he added.

“He grabbed her neck. When it stopped, she texted her dad and asked him to pick her up.

"She told the defendant the relationship was over and left.”

The court was told the controlling behaviour included Guy telling the woman:

- Who she could have as a friend;

- When she could go to work - she lost her job because of absences;

- When she could go out and when she had to come back.

Mr McCartney added: “He had control over money and made threats about exposing pictures he had of her.”

In a victim statement, the woman said she now rarely goes out, has lost a lot of weight and it has knocked her confidence.

What sentence was given?
Guy pleaded guilty in court to two offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and controlling behaviour between December 29, 2015, and June 5, 2017.

He was sentenced to nine months of detention in a young offenders’ institution, suspended for two years, with a rehabilitation activity requirement for 25 days.

Guy was also made the subject of an indefinite restraining order, which prevents him having any contact with his victim.

Arif Hussain, mitigating for Guy, said: “With the right guidance in life, he can mend his ways and lead a more law-abiding life.

“He has asked me to apologise to the court and the victim. He is sorry for what has gone on.”

What did the judge say?
Judge Paul Glenn told Guy: “There was a series of incidents of emotional and physical violence. There was a pattern, you would apologise, she would forgive you thinking you would change.

“You played on her emotions, but she was scared of you and felt controlled by you. You became angry and violent when she denied you sex.

“You were controlling, telling her what time she should be in for. She had to ask if she could go and see her parents.

“You isolated her from her friends. Your actions caused her to lose her job.

“Your behaviour was appalling. No woman should ever have to go through that and be treated the way you treated her.”

 

Romania has lost its second prime minister in seven months after Mihai Tudose's own political party withdrew its backing.

The Social Democrat (PSD) prime minister said he was resigning "with his head high".

The party has been riven by a power struggle which also claimed his predecessor, Sorin Grindeanu, in June.

It has struggled to win public confidence after ballot-rigging and other corruption scandals.

Romania country profile
At the same time, Romania, one of the EU's poorest member-states, is enjoying strong economic growth.

Romania's 2018 budget plan envisions economic growth of 5.5% and a deficit just below the EU's ceiling of 3% of gross domestic product, Reuters news agency reports.

What's going on?
The PSD leadership voted overwhelmingly to withdraw its support, an unnamed member told Reuters by telephone.

Reports say Mr Tudose fell out with his party's powerful president, Liviu Dragnea, after sparring with a Dragnea ally, Interior Minister Carmen Dan.

Last week, he called for Ms Dan's resignation, accusing her of publicly lying to him. Now he is resigning himself.

"I did not want to break the party," Mr Tudose said on Monday. "They named me, they removed me. I take responsibility for my deeds and I do not regret anything in my actions [as prime minister]."

Deputy Prime Minister Paul Stanescu will replace him temporarily after he formally submits his resignation to the country's president, Klaus Iohannis - perhaps as early as Monday night.

Who is Mr Dragnea?

In politics for more than two decades, he has served as a cabinet minister but was barred from becoming prime minister in 2015 because of a conviction for ballot-rigging during a 2012 referendum.

He was given a one-year suspended prison sentence, later increased to two years.

Romanian prosecutors are also investigating allegations that he illicitly obtained EU funds during his time in local politics in Teleorman, in 2000-2012. He denies wrongdoing, saying the allegations are politically motivated.

Now speaker of the Romanian parliament, he is regarded as the power behind the PSD throne.

He was instrumental in forcing out Mr Tudose's predecessor, Mr Grindeanu. The mood between the two men had soured after the government was forced in February by mass protests to scrap a decree that would have shielded many politicians from prosecution for corruption.

Last year, the EU's executive warned the country's fight against corruption was under serious threat from political and media attack.

A rape case has collapsed after images emerged of the accused and his alleged victim "cuddling" in bed together.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) offered no evidence against Samson Makele at Snaresbrook Crown Court, 17 months after he was arrested.

The photos were discovered on his phone by a defence expert but had not been disclosed by police or prosecutors.

The CPS said it was not a failure of disclosure and it stopped the prosecution once the pictures emerged.

Lawyers for Mr Makele said at least four photos taken on the day of the alleged rape showed the pair together, apparently naked under bedsheets.

'No evidence'
In July 2017, the 28-year-old ,who is originally from Eritrea, was charged with raping the woman after the Notting Hill Carnival in west London in August 2016.

According to his lawyers, the CPS said after he had been charged that apart from text messages between the pair, there was nothing else of relevance on the phone.

The defence commissioned its own expert to examine the device and a report containing details of the images was sent to the CPS on 5 January.

Earlier in court prosecutors offered "no evidence" against Mr Makele, a fortnight before his trial was due to begin.

The Metropolitan Police said it was "the responsibility of the investigating officer to pursue all reasonable lines of enquiry in an investigation" which "involves making complex decisions based on the evidence available and disclosures made".

It added: "In this case it is apparent that the police investigation did not find the images."

A spokesperson for the CPS said they had received "material we were not previously aware of" from the defence.

"The case was reviewed and it was concluded there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction. We made the decision to offer no evidence and did so at a hearing today."

Rats were not to blame for the spread of plague during the Black Death, according to a study.

The rodents and their fleas were thought to have spread a series of outbreaks in 14th-19th Century Europe.

But a team from the universities of Oslo and Ferrara now says the first, the Black Death, can be "largely ascribed to human fleas and body lice".

The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, uses records of its pattern and scale.

The Black Death claimed an estimated 25 million lives, more than a third of Europe's population, between 1347 and 1351.

 

 

"We have good mortality data from outbreaks in nine cities in Europe," Prof Nils Stenseth, from the University of Oslo, told BBC News.

"So we could construct models of the disease dynamics [there]."

He and his colleagues then simulated disease outbreaks in each of these cities, creating three models where the disease was spread by:

rats
airborne transmission
fleas and lice that live on humans and their clothes
In seven out of the nine cities studied, the "human parasite model" was a much better match for the pattern of the outbreak.

It mirrored how quickly it spread and how many people it affected.

"The conclusion was very clear," said Prof Stenseth. "The lice model fits best."

"It would be unlikely to spread as fast as it did if it was transmitted by rats.

"It would have to go through this extra loop of the rats, rather than being spread from person to person."

'Stay at home'
Prof Stenseth said the study was primarily of historical interest - using modern understanding of disease to unpick what had happened during one of the most devastating pandemics in human history.

But, he pointed out, "understanding as much as possible about what goes on during an epidemic is always good if you are to reduce mortality [in the future]".

Plague is still endemic in some countries of Asia, Africa and the Americas, where it persists in "reservoirs" of infected rodents.

According to the World Health Organization, from 2010 to 2015 there were 3,248 cases reported worldwide, including 584 deaths.

And, in 2001, a study that decoded the plague genome used a bacterium that had come from a vet in the US who had died in 1992 after a plague-infested cat sneezed on him as he had been trying to rescue it from underneath a house.

"Our study suggests that to prevent future spread hygiene is most important," said Prof Stenseth.

"It also suggests that if you're ill, you shouldn't come into contact with too many people. So if you're sick, stay at home."

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