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Home Secretary Suella Braverman has said she is “encouraged” by “constructive” discussions with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) about the injunction that halted migrant flights to Rwanda.

A government source said any change to the injunction “would remove a key barrier to getting flights off the ground”.

The ECHR, which granted an injunction via its Rule 39 in 2022, has not commented on any discussions.

As part of the talks with the Strasbourg court, the government has requested a higher legal threshold for any Rule 39 injunction that may be imposed on future deportation flights.

It also wants the ECHR to take into account that the UK High Court ruled the Rwanda scheme was lawful.

The government also wants to make legal representations if the court seeks another injunction in the future.

It comes after cabinet minister Oliver Dowden claimed the government was being “forced” to pursue the controversial policy because the number of people crossing the Channel in small boats had risen so dramatically.

He added he did not “relish” the prospect of families being deported to Rwanda, but insisted “evil people smugglers” would otherwise be putting them at risk of harm.

Read more:
Is the government’s new Illegal Migration Bill legal?
What you need to know about the Government’s Rwanda scheme

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‘We are being forced’ into Rwanda plan

Speaking from the Rwandan capital of Kigali, Ms Braverman said it was a “blessing” that people coming to the UK illegally would be deported to the African country.

“The government has been clear that the opaque Strasbourg process which led to the last-minute grounding of our Rwanda flight with a Rule 39 order last year was deeply flawed,” she said.

“That’s why we have measures in our bill that will address how the UK intends to comply with such orders in the future.

“But I’ve been encouraged by the government’s constructive recent discussions with Strasbourg, including around possible reforms to Rule 39 procedures, which is obviously something we’d like to see.”

A Home Office source previously said the government was aiming to have the first deportation flights set off this summer, but that this timeline was dependent on the upcoming legal battles.

No migrants have been deported to Rwanda since the deal was signed last April by Ms Braverman’s predecessor, Priti Patel.

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Labour’s Lisa Nandy criticised the government’s “unethical, unworkable” Rwanda policy and suggested money from the £140m deal should be used to aid the National Crime Agency’s efforts to tackle criminal gangs profiting from Channel crossings.

She told Sky News: “Everyone accepts this is a major problem, a crisis. We’ve got record numbers of boats arriving on the coast, criminal gangs profiting and an asylum system in chaos.

“But the question is, what is the government actually doing? So far, they’ve done several PR opportunities and photo ops. We’ve had £140m of cheques written to Rwanda in order to implement a scheme that hasn’t removed a single person.”

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Wayne Lineker thanks friend for taking him to hospital after Ibiza incident

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Wayne Lineker thanks friend for taking him to hospital after Ibiza incident

Wayne Lineker has thanked a friend for taking him to hospital after a “disturbing” incident in Ibiza earlier this week, which left him with “stitches and a swollen lip” after he tried “to protect a girl from being harassed”.

The 62-year-old, who is the younger brother of former England footballer Gary Lineker, shared an Instagram story praising his pal after a video circulated earlier this week, showing him in an altercation outside a bar on the Spanish island in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

He was reported to have been knocked out for several minutes after being punched in the jaw by another man following a confrontation.

Wayne re-shared a photo showing him drinking a couple of raw juices and gave “very special thanks” to his friend, cafe owner Daniel Onions.

Wayne thanked him “for looking after me for many hours after the event took place, taking me [to] hospital, and making sure I got home safe and ok”.

Onions re-shared his post, commenting: “What friends are for”.

The Celebs Go Dating star later shared a short video on Instagram, with two of his resort employees joking with him that “sometimes, you’ve just got to take it on the chin”.

Proving the blow hadn’t knocked his sense of humour, Wayne annotated the video, writing: “Hahaha gotta see the funny side. Take it on the chin.”

Earlier this week, Wayne shared a photo showing him in sunglasses, and with a cut to the right side of his chin, giving a thumbs up, at his friend’s wellness cafe.

Wayne has his own businesses in Ibiza, and owns the beach resort O Beach on the island, and has other resorts on the Spanish mainland and in Majorca.

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Wayne wrote: “I wanted to write this post to let everyone know that I’m doing ok… I have a few stitches and a swollen lip.

“It could have been much worse so I count myself very fortunate I wasn’t standing two yards further back, as my head would have impacted the wall.

“Obviously the video is very disturbing to see especially for my family.

“The papers were very accurate and it was a simple case of me just trying to protect a girl from being harassed.

“Thank you everyone for all your messages of concern the support has been really overwhelming.”

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His nephew, and son of Gary Lineker, commented: “LOL: “Lowest of the low”.

Wayne is understood to be estranged from his brother and has previously said they no longer talk.

It’s not known if anyone has been arrested over the incident.

Sky News has contacted Wayne for further comment.

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South Africa’s ANC reaches deal with opposition to form unity government

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South Africa's ANC reaches deal with opposition to form unity government

A unity government has been formed in South Africa with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and its largest rival, the Democratic Alliance (DA), signing a deal, an official has said.

The ANC, which lost its parliamentary majority in a May election, agreed to enter into a government of national unity
with parties including the DA, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Patriotic Alliance, public broadcaster SABC reported.

The ANC won just 40% of the vote, forcing Nelson Mandela’s legacy liberation movement to negotiate a power-sharing agreement with rival parties for the first time in 30 years.

Senior DA negotiator Helen Zille on Friday confirmed her party and the ANC had signed a deal for a unity government.

Read more:
South Africa’s ANC will invite other parties to join
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After spearheading talks of an alliance with opposition parties, Cyril Ramaphosa, 71, was on Friday set to be elected for a second five-year term as president of Africa’s most industrialised economy.

The ANC losing supporters in the last vote meant it needed MPs from parties that were once its main political foes to now support Mr Ramaphosa and continue the ANC’s three-decade hold on the presidency.

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ANC supporters dance outside a polling station during the election. Pic: Reuters
Image:
ANC supporters dance outside a polling station during the election. Pic: Reuters

‘A new era’

The deal marks the start of a new era in South African politics as the ANC has been in power since the election of Mandela back in 1994.

Following two weeks of intensive talks with opposition parties, Sihle Zikalala, a member of the ANC’s governing body, said in a post on X: “Today marks the beginning of a new era where we put our differences aside and unite for the betterment of all South Africans.”

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The newly elected National Assembly – where the ANC holds 159 of its 400 seats, while the DA has 87 – began proceedings with the swearing-in of MPs.

The chamber was then due to elect its speaker and deputy speaker before the country’s president is nominated.

The ANC’s main reservation about joining forces with the pro-business DA had been that while the party is liked by investors because of its free-market policies, it is unpopular with its own voters who see it as a defender of the privileged white minority’s interests.

The ANC has over the last decade seen its support dwindle amid widespread poverty, a stagnating economy, rising unemployment, and power and water shortages.

The poverty disproportionately affects black people, who make up 80% of the population and have been the core of the ANC’s support for years.

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Scots party in Munich ahead of Euro 2024’s opening game against Germany

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Scots party in Munich ahead of Euro 2024's opening game against Germany

Even before Euro 2024 kicks off, Scotland fans think they have won something – the partying.

The bagpipes in Bavaria signalled the Tartan Army are back.

Thousands of Scots – many in kilts carrying crates of beer – packed into Munich’s Marienplatz on the eve of the curtain-raiser against Germany.

Not that you’d realise the hosts were at their own party, with few Germany shirts and flags in sight here.

Scotland fans in Munich ahead of tomorrow's match against Germany REUTERS/Leonhard Simon
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Pic: Reuters

But they were making the visitors feel welcome, particularly the placid police allowing beer to be downed through the centre late into the night.

This is the start of Germany’s biggest-ever policing deployment for a major sporting event.

But in Munich, officers kept their distance as melodies of “Flower of Scotland” and “We’ve got McGinn. Super John McGinn” boomed through the packed side-street of the main square.

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Scotland fans in Munich ahead of tomorrow's match against Germany REUTERS/Leonhard Simon
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Pic: Reuters

The sound of glass crunching could be heard as midnight approached – the detritus of a day’s drinking.

Scots soaking in the atmosphere, drinking it all in.

It’s been 26 years – at the France 98 World Cup – since Scotsmen competed overseas at a major football tournament.

Scotland fans in Munich ahead of tomorrow's match against Germany REUTERS/Leonhard Simon
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Pic: Reuters

“It’s amazing – we see all the videos, we see everyone landing into Munich in their numbers,” Scotland captain Andy Robertson said last night.

“We made a big point, the manager, when he first came in, to try and get them back onside because the home support maybe nosedived a little bit because of performances on the pitch.

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John McGinn swaps the Highland Fling for the ‘Schuhplattler’ as Scotland prepare for the Euros.

“But the away support was always incredible. The away ends were always sold out and they always like a trip abroad.

“And there’s a lot of them over here and we hope to make them proud. We know all of them can’t get into the stadium, we wish they could, it would help us.”

Scotland fans in Munich ahead of tomorrow's match against Germany REUTERS/Leonhard Simon
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Pic: Reuters

After decades living in the shadow of England, the stage is Scotland’s before the Three Lions campaign begins on Sunday against Serbia.

Read more:
Security ramped up for ‘high-risk’ England game
Poll reveals whether England fans are optimistic about Euros

Steve Clarke is the first manager of Scotland to secure consecutive qualification to European Championships.

The last one, held in 2021, was a more muted affair, with games only in Britain and pandemic-curtailed crowds.

Scotland lost both games at Hampden Park, but they did celebrate a draw against England at Wembley.

Scottish pipers walking from Odeonsplatz to Marienplatz, Munich.
Pic: PA
Image:
Pic: PA

So it doesn’t seem as daunting facing Germany at Bayern Munich’s stadium as Scotland try to make it out of the group stage for the first time at a major tournament.

But Germany haven’t won a knockout stage game since Euro 2016.

“One of the mantras we’ve always had is to respect everyone and fear no one,” Clarke said.

“So we come here with a lot of respect for the host nation. We know that they are a good team, but hopefully on the night we can show that we are a good team as well.”

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