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Downing Street has urged football fans to be respectful of England players who choose to take the knee in a stand against racial injustice.

Boris Johnson‘s official spokesperson called on football fans to “get behind” the team at the upcoming European Football Championships which kick off on Friday and to support “individuals’ rights to protest”.

But he did, however, refuse to explicitly condemn supporters who booed members of the England team making the gesture in a friendly game against Romania on Sunday.

England's Jack Grealish and Kalvin Phillips take a knee before the international friendly match at Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough on Sunday June 6, 2021
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England’s Jack Grealish and Kalvin Phillips take a knee before the international friendly match against Romania on Sunday

Asked whether the Prime Minister was refusing to criticise fans who boo the gesture, the spokesperson said: “No… the Prime Minister is supporting the England football team and wants them to succeed, and he wants the whole country to get behind them in that endeavour in this tournament.”

“I would want all England fans to be respectful in any football match and, as I have said, he respects the right of those who want to peacefully protest in this way,” he said.

Asked whether that means Mr Johnson does not want people to boo the players for taking the knee, the spokesman said: “I want all England fans to be respectful in any sort of football match.

“As I’ve said, he respects the rights of those who want to peacefully protest in this way.”

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It comes after one Conservative MP, in a post on social media on Sunday, drew parallels between taking the knee and performing the Nazi salute.

In a controversial Facebook post, Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw, said: “Whilst the intention may be admirable and we all want to put a stop to racism in football and wider society, it now comes across as little more than habitual tokenism and has lost its effect.”

Mr Clarke-Smith then compared the gesture to when England’s team were ordered to perform a Nazi salute at a game in Germany in 1938, describing it as a “propaganda exercise”.

The majority of players performed the salute, purportedly believing it was a cultural gesture, but those who refused were removed from the squad.

Mr Clarke-Smith joins fellow backbench Tory MP Lee Anderson, who last week threatened to boycott watching his “beloved England” at the upcoming football tournament over players choosing to take the knee before matches.

Conservative MP for Ipswich, Tom Hunt, posted on social media: “Euros [a] great opportunity for country to come together behind team. Harder when they insist on divisive political gestures.”

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England manager Gareth Southgate said at the weekend his players were ‘more determined than ever to take the knee’.

A minority of fans jeered England’s players for taking a knee before the 1-0 friendly win over Romania at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on Sunday.

England manager Gareth Southgate said at the weekend that his players were “more determined than ever to take the knee”.

The PM’s official spokesperson said Mr Johnson respected the right of people to “peacefully protest” amid the ongoing row.

Asked whether Boris Johnson believed that taking a knee showed support for the political aims of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister’s spoken on the record on this issue before.

“On taking the knee, specifically, the Prime Minister is more focused on action rather than gestures.

England's Marcus Rashford (centre) and Romania's Vlad Chiriches battle for the ball during the international friendly match at Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, on Sunday June 6, 2021
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Some fans booed England’s players as they took the knee before Sunday’s match

“We have taken action with things like the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities and that’s what he’s focused on delivering.

“But… he fully respects the right of those who do choose to peacefully protest to make their feelings known.”

He added: “I would want all England fans to be respectful in any football match and, as I have said, he respects the right of those who want to peacefully protest in this way.”

The act of taking the knee rose to prominence in 2016 when NFL player Colin Kaepernick sat and later knelt during the US national anthem, in a gesture that became a common form of protest over racism and police brutality against black people.

Premier League and England players began doing it before matches in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis in 2020, which prompted a wave of protests across the world over systemic discrimination faced by black people.

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Teenage neo-Nazi who planned suicide bomb attack on synagogue jailed for eight years

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Teenage neo-Nazi who planned suicide bomb attack on synagogue jailed for eight years

A sixth form student from Brighton who drew up plans for a suicide bomb attack on a local synagogue has been jailed for eight years for terrorism offences.

Mason Reynolds, 19, from Moulscoomb was a student studying bricklaying and roofing and doing part-time labouring work on the side.

He lived with his parents and was described as leading “in many ways, a not untypical existence of a young man in his late teens”.

However, Naomi Parsons, prosecuting, told Winchester Crown Court that Reynolds was a neo-Nazi who believed the white race was “destined to dominate the rest of mankind”.

She said Reynolds “does not find himself here because he has political, racial or ideological views that some may find distasteful or indeed abhorrent”.

“He is here because he has not just held those political, racial and ideological views, he has acted on them.”

When Reynolds was arrested, police found a note on his phone created on 7 May 2023 entitled “Enough Larping” – a call to action that referred to ending his “live action role play”.

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The note included a 13-second video from Google Maps showing the exterior of Hove Synagogue, and Reynolds had listed its address and the CCTV cameras and fire exits.

He added: “Possible buzzer to get into the building, 1 camera on left side (side entrance locked by gate).”

On another image he had marked “quickest and efficient way in”, adding: “Could be good for surprise attack.”

Hove Hebrew Congregation Synagogue in Holland Road.
Pic: Wikimedia
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Hove Hebrew Congregation Synagogue. Pic: Wikimedia

Reynolds had attached images of synagogues in Missouri and Washington in the US and in Edinburgh as “examples of what to expect inside”.

Underneath he had written: “The Jewish holidays that tend to have the most people in synagogues are Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover.”

In June, Reynolds produced an image on a video app called CapCut with the words “Make Jews Afraid Again”.

Later on the same day, a discussion took place on Telegram with another teenager using the sign-on AR15 – a reference to an assault rifle.

Reynolds told him: “I wanna strap multiple pipe [bombs] to my chest and blow myself up inside a synagogue… I have a plan.”

Without identifying his target, he told the other user: “They won’t let me through the buzzer door if suspicious, like Stephan Balliet” – a reference to a German-born neo-Nazi who used homemade weapons to kill two people, after failing to get into a synagogue in Halle, Germany, in October 2019.

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Police also discovered Reynolds had copies of the Mujahideen’s Explosives Handbook, the Terrorist’s Handbook, and the Anarchist Cookbook on his computer, along with files used to make a 3D printed assault rifle called the FGC-9.

Reynolds was one of two administrators for the “Far-Right Sigmas” channel on the Telegram app, a neo-Nazi propaganda channel which was set up in late November 2022 by “AR15” in Poland.

The channel promoted the view that society was in decay and the fault lay with Jewish people who controlled the financial institutions, the media and encouraged immigration, resulting in the “dilution” of the white race.

The channel had nearly 350 subscribers and produced content that glorified Nazis including Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler, leader of the Waffen SS, as well as far-right killers including Anders Breivik, Brenton Tarrant, and Dylann Roof, who killed nine black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

“It hoped, it seems, to create neo-Nazis of the future,” Ms Parsons said.

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One of the clips circulated by Reynolds featured Stephan Balliet, who livestreamed his attempted attack with homemade rifles and bombs.

Speaking of Tarrant, who livestreamed an attack that killed 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Reynolds commented: “It’d be 10x better seeing Jews get killed.”

In the channel’s chatroom, Reynolds also distributed videos of the Christchurch attack, and Breivik’s attack in Norway in 2011, which killed 67 people.

Much of the material on the channel was edited from propaganda produced by an organisation called Atomwaffen Division, a US based terrorist organisation banned by the UK government in July 2021.

Reynolds pleaded guilty to four offences of possessing material useful for terrorism and five offences of distributing material likely to encourage terrorism. He was found guilty of possessing an article for terrorist purposes.

After his arrest, Reynolds told police he was hurt that his friends viewed him as someone who was “all talk and no action” and wanted them to stop calling him a “LARP” – live action role player.

He had written the note in 15 minutes, forgot to delete it and thought no more about it, he said.

Jailing Reynolds for eight years with an extended licence of five years, Mrs Justice May accepted that he did nothing to carry his plan and that his “secret life” was now out in the open.

But she said she considered him “dangerous” and added: “These ideas are immensely attractive, to young men in particular, and while only a small fraction of those who hold these beliefs act on them, the consequences are catastrophic as history has shown.”

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Anglesey: Plane crash-landed in back garden after ‘engine failure’

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Anglesey: Plane crash-landed in back garden after 'engine failure'

A plane was “destroyed” in a crash-landing in a back garden after it suffered “engine failure”, according to a report into the accident.

The 50-year-old pilot was taken to hospital by air ambulance following the incident where the aircraft ended up on a housing estate in Anglesey.

The Aerosport Scamp had recently undergone a major restoration and it was the pilot’s fourth journey in the aircraft, the Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) said.

He fractured his wrist and suffered some minor injuries, including a minor head injury, despite wearing a helmet for protection.

No one else was injured in the incident earlier this year.

The plane crash-landed in the back garden of a property on the Cae Bach Aur Estate in Bodffordd, near Llangefni, on Saturday 10 February and was “destroyed”.

North Wales Fire and Rescue was called to the scene at 1.44pm as well as North Wales Police.

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Steve Davies, who lives next door to the house, said at the time he heard a noise “like an engine misfiring and cutting out”.

The report into the incident found there had been a partial loss of power shortly after the plane took off from RAF Mona in Anglesey.

Full power was briefly regained before the aircraft stalled and then the engine stopped, with the cause of the power loss not identified.

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The pilot, unable to reach the airfield or a field he could land in, carried out a forced landing into some trees at the back of a housing estate.

The plane slid down from the trees and came to rest on its right side in a garden.

The pilot’s “prompt recognition and response to the aircraft’s stall” meant there was a “less severe outcome”.

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In its conclusion, the report could not determine the cause of the engine failure.

Contributory factors to the accident were given as “a challenging decision-making process” and “the pilot’s inexperience” with the type of aircraft.

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Dr Michael Mosley’s last interview before his death released

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Dr Michael Mosley's last interview before his death released

Dr Michael Mosley’s last interview before his death in a mountainous area of the Greek island of Symi last week has been released.

The interview was recorded less than two weeks before the TV doctor went missing while on holiday with his wife Clare on 5 June.

His body was found five days later in a rocky area of the island.

Doctor and broadcaster Chris van Tulleken described Dr Mosley as “one of the most important broadcasters of recent decades” as he introduced the last interview conducted by the late TV doctor.

Dr Van Tulleken said he wanted audiences “to reflect on his style, dryly witty, modest, humble”.

In the interview, recorded at Hay Festival in Wales on 25 May, Dr Mosley asked psychology professor Paul Bloom for his top tips to be happy.

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The mayor of Symi told Sky News that the body showed no signs of injury

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Michael Mosley’s most famous diets

Dr Mosley, known for appearing on programmes like This Morning and The One Show, talked about the benefits of doing uncomfortable things such as taking cold showers.

“I cannot say it is a moment of bliss,” the presenter said in the interview, broadcast in “There’s Only One Michael Mosley”, a special episode of his regular BBC Radio 4 programme.

“It’s normally followed by a lot of screaming… actually what I do is I sing really loudly which my wife really hates but it gets me through it and then afterwards I sort of feel good about it.

Dr Michael Mosley with wife Clare. Pic: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock
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Dr Mosley with wife Clare. Pic: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

“But despite the fact that I know I’m going to feel better afterwards, it is still every time a challenge to turn it on to full cold because I know it’s going to hurt.”

Dr Mosley is credited with popularising the 5:2 diet, a form of intermittent fasting, through his book The Fast Diet which he co-authored with journalist Mimi Spencer, and later advocating for The Fast 800 diet, which follows a “moderately low-carb, Mediterranean-style diet”.

In 2002, he was nominated for an Emmy for his executive producer role on BBC science documentary The Human Face, and he also ingested tapeworms for six weeks for a 2014 documentary called Infested! Living With Parasites on BBC Four.

In the interview, Dr Mosley also discussed with Professor Bloom the benefits of finding “some way where you’re not constantly thinking about the past, present and future”.

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The mayor of Symi told Sky News that the body showed no signs of injury

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Dr Mosley also discussed how he once filled in a personality test which involved both self-reporting and a brain scan.

Once the results of the scan came in, he said he was told he was “a bit of a psychopath. Is that a good insight, is that going to help me in any way to lead a richer and fuller life?,” Dr Mosley asked.

The professor replied quoting author Jon Ronson as saying “if you’re worried that you’re a psychopath, you’re not a psychopath”.

Dr Mosley first trained as a doctor before moving into the world of broadcasting, presenting a host of science programmes and films on the BBC including the series Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, which looked at healthcare in Britain.

A second special will look at how he transformed people’s lives and was an executive producer following him working on the shows Pompeii – The Last Day; Krakatoa Revealed; Life Before Birth, and Supervolcano.

It will air on BBC One on Friday at 8pm.

Dr Mosley’s wife, Dr Clare Bailey Mosley, paid tribute to her husband last week, describing him as a “wonderful, funny, kind and brilliant husband” and saying it was a comfort to the family he “very nearly made it” to safety.

She said he appeared to have undertaken an “incredible climb, took the wrong route, and collapsed where he couldn’t be easily seen” by search and rescue teams.

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