Chelsea legends Lampard and Drogba would have been written off if they had to put up with Twitter abuse like players today – The Sun

NEITHER Didier Drogba nor Frank Lampard would have succeeded in their early playing days at Chelsea – had the current social media climate existed then.

Lampard joined Chelsea in 2001 and Didier Drogba first signed three years later. This was a time without‘Football Twitter’, a time when players only really faced criticism from the fans in the stadium, or via pundits and reporters.


Today, you often hear of footballers closing down their social media accounts, or at least switching off the comments, due to the amount of abuse and criticism.

You only have to look at any Premier League player's Twitter account after his team loses to witness just how bad it is.

Many supporters demand instant success and an immediate impact from new signings, and have no interest in showing them any patience to settle in.

When Lampard arrived from West Ham for £11million he was of course under some pressure to perform and prove his worth.

PRESSURE HEAPED ON

Although he stepped up to score eight goals in his first season, he certainly did not light up the Bridge and had a few shady performances, stuttering slightly at times as he tried to settle in off the back of a big-money move.

But of course he ended up becoming a Chelsea legend and the rest is history.

Drogba came in for an even larger fee of £24m and had even more pressure heaped on him.

Reportedly, Jose Mourinho was asked by Roman Abramovich if he wanted him to try and sign Ronaldinho, to which he replied: "No, get me Drogba".

Ivory Coast icon Drogba today is another Blues' all-time hero and even came back for a second spell. He is simply adored by supporters who rate him as one of their best players ever.

But it wasn’t always like that. Drogba actually had a poor couple of first seasons at Chelsea and looked like he could flop.

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How Mason Rudolph fits into wild NFL quarterback carousel

After all they have done to protect their marquee golden boys from angry predators, the NFL could not possibly have expected this kind of quarterback upheaval.

Mason Rudolph in for Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) for the rest of the Steelers season. Both Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill in for Drew Brees (thumb) for the next six weeks, at least, for the Saints. Kyle Allen in for Cam Newton (foot) on Sunday for the Panthers. Luke Falk in for Trevor Siemian, who was in for Sam Darnold, on Sunday for the Jets. Gardner “Mustache” Minshew in for Nick Foles (collarbone) this past Thursday night for the Jaguars.

Then there is Daniel Jones (the future) in for Eli Manning forever for the Giants. Dwayne Haskins (the future) waiting to replace Case Keenum with the Redskins. Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill waiting to replace Marcus Mariota (performance). Josh Rosen (tanks for nothing) in for Ryan Fitzpatrick for no-one-knows-how-long in Miami.

ESPN Stats & Info reports that Allen is the 40th different starting QB used by teams this season, the most through three weeks of a season in the Super Bowl era.

Hall of Famer Gil Brandt tweeted, “Officially this will be the first time in NFL history that 20 quarterbacks 26 years old or younger will start in the same week.”

The revolving door has been dizzying, and this game of musical quarterbacks has been unsettling for franchise power brokers and fantasy football owners alike.

Once upon a time, Bill Belichick had a backup named Tom Brady when Mo Lewis knocked Drew Bledsoe out into the Charles River the night of Sept. 23, 2001. Brady is somehow still quarterbacking the Patriots on Sunday, six Super Bowl championships later.

No one today has a Tom Brady riding in from the bench to save a season.

So coaches and GMs are forced to find a way to somehow keep hope alive and convince their fan base — and players — that expectations do not change, there are no excuses, Next Man Up and all that.

The Steelers are too proud an organization to roll over, but their fortunes are suddenly in the hands of Rudolph, a Big Ben clone drafted in the third round out of Oklahoma State in 2018.

He won’t be throwing to Antonio Brown, but he does have his favorite college receiver at Oklahoma State, James Washington, across from JuJu Smith-Schuster.

“I don’t think anything’s changed because everybody has faith in Mason right now,” Washington told The Post by phone. “You gotta give him at least a chance. I think everybody’s riding with him, and so are we.”

Washington — 16 catches, 217 yards and one touchdown as a rookie and 4-for-74 this season — was the 60th pick; Rudolph was the 76th pick.

“It feels like college is starting all over again,” Washington said.

Washington was 226-4,472-39 TDs at Stillwater. Rudolph threw 13,618 yards with 92 TD passes. Ah, memories.

“We were actually playing [the University of] Pittsburgh, and it was the first play of the game, we were like on the [9-yard] line,” Washington recalled. “I had an out route, and he gave me a post, and I’m like, ‘A post on the [9-yard] line, you’re backed up in the end zone, I don’t know.’ They were in Cover 4, so I could see what he was saying.”

Touchdown.

“He bombed it,” Washington said. “It’s on YouTube.”

Then there was a game against Virginia Tech.

“We were talking before the game, I needed a certain amount of yards to become Oklahoma State’s leading receiver,” Washington said. “He had already became Oklahoma State’s leading passer, and he told me before the game, ‘I’m gonna help you get that, we’re gonna be all right.’ It was like beginning of the third or fourth quarter, and it was kind of the same deal, he gave me a post and I was in the slot that time. It was me one-on-one with … that nickel there, and he puts it out there again and with that post [route] made me Oklahoma State’s leading receiver.”

Five quarterbacks — Baker Mayfield, Darnold, Josh Allen, Rosen, Lamar Jackson — were drafted before Rudolph, who was 12-for-18 for 112 yards, two touchdowns and one interception last week in relief of Roethlisberger.

“He throws a tight spiral, and he puts some heat on it,” Washington said. “He’s got that strong arm that he just shows off, it seems, like every play. There’s times when you feel like, ‘I don’t think he can sneak it in there,’ he’ll sneak it between two linebackers closing, and it’s crazy.”

Washington believes the Steelers believe in Rudolph.

“He’s got the starting offensive line in his ear every single day, telling him, ‘No matter what, if it’s you or [Roethlisberger] back there, we’re gonna protect you,’ and us as receivers, we gotta make plays for him and keep his confidence high. I think this offense’ll be pretty good,” he said.

Bridgewater has thrown one TD pass since returning from a devastating knee injury in Minnesota before the 2016 season.

“It’s a good time for Teddy to be able to step up and be that presence in the huddle,” Saints running back Alvin Kamara said.

The uber-athletic Hill, who has played tight end and is a core special-teamer, has thrown seven passes as a gadget quarterback and rushed for 204 yards and two TDs.

“He’s got a live arm, quick release,” Saints coach Sean Payton said.

Allen, with his 31 career passes, was an undrafted free agent in 2018.

“We believe in him,” Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey said.

Jones, the sixth pick of the 2019 draft and new Giants franchise quarterback, and Falk, a sixth-round pick of the Titans in 2018 who threw for 14,481 yards and 119 TDs at Washington State, will be making their first NFL starts on Sunday.

Rosen replaces Ryan Fitzpatrick in Miami, and we should say a prayer for him.

The Eagles were fortunate when Foles became the savior who stepped in for Carson Wentz and won Super Bowl LII. The Rams were fortunate when Kurt Warner replaced Trent Green and led the Rams to the Super Bowl XXXIV championship.

The 1999 Jets were not as fortunate.

A warm, sun-splashed day that began with Super Bowl dreams ended in the shocking death of a season when Vinny Testaverde ruptured his Achilles tendon attempting to recover a Curtis Martin fumble. A devastated Bill Parcells would turn to Rick Mirer.

“I think our hopes were up so high that year that it seemed to take a lot of the air out of our sails,” Martin said. “It took us some time to regain that confidence.”

By the time Ray Lucas relieved Mirer and injected the Jets with confidence, it was too late for the playoffs.

“I think in these situations, your tendency is to allow your ability to shift to the mood of the team,”

Martin said, “and when the mood goes down, the playing goes down.”

Such is the battle that every team and every city that lost its starting quarterback or is turning its lonely new eyes to a replacement will be fighting.

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ALEXANDRA SHULMAN: No, you DON’T need to feel guilty about new dress

ALEXANDRA SHULMAN’S NOTEBOOK: No, you DON’T need to feel guilty about a new dress

New York. London. Paris. Milan. This month a well-dressed cavalcade of fashion editors and buyers hurtle around the world for what seems like weeks on end to watch ten catwalk shows a day with around 40 looks each show.

That’s an awful lot of fashion – even before you get to the countless static presentations.

At least a decade ago I thought it unimaginable that, by 2019, this practice would still exist. Even then, it all seemed too much.

The whole business is a mind-blowing extravagance that involves a ludicrous amount of air travel, clogs up the traffic with platoons of chauffeur-driven cars crawling from catwalk to catwalk, and demands a massive time commitment from those involved.

But I was wrong to think the twice-yearly circus would end and a new way for designers to show their work would be discovered.

Models on the catwalk during the On Off by Daniel Pascal Tanner at London Fashion Week at the BFC Show Space Show

Nowadays, there are even more collections being produced and shown at even more fashion weeks.

What I also did not predict was the paradox that, along with the spiralling number of fashion shows, would come an increasingly heated debate about whether we should be making – and buying – so many clothes at all.

Last week environmental protesters staged a London Fashion Week funeral, complete with black coffins.

Greta Thunberg is the cover girl of the moment and Oxfam has launched Second Hand September, an initiative whereby celebrities such as Kylie Minogue pledge not to buy anything new this month and donate items from their wardrobe.

Protesters from Extinction Rebellion demonstrate outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London ahead of the Victoria Beckham Spring/Summer 2020 London Fashion Week catwalk

When they asked me to participate, I told them I couldn’t sign up since I knew I’d fall at the first hurdle (and I was right, I just bought a heavenly new cardigan).

But I was happy to donate to their fundraiser. Off went a gorgeous Max Mara cashmere trench to a new home.

Recycled, rental, love-worn, these are the buzz words of the season. But new clothes should not be cast as the Antichrist.

Fashion is an industry that employs millions of workers worldwide, generates billions in revenue (the British industry alone contributes more than £32billion to our GDP) and, let us not forget, provides a great deal of pleasure to many people. No sensible person should want to kill it off. Nor should it be demonised.

Greta Thunberg is the cover girl of the moment and Oxfam has launched Second Hand September, an initiative whereby celebrities such as Kylie Minogue pledge not to buy anything new this month and donate items from their wardrobe

If fashion, let alone our planet, is going to flourish, those buzz words need to become so commonplace that they are no longer front row chatter but an unremarkable part of everyday life.

The answer is not to make us feel bad for buying new things, as a girlfriend of mine did at dinner last week when I complimented her on her very pretty, very cheap, H&M floral shirt, and she replied that she was feeling guilty for getting it.

Nor should we consider the only acceptable purchases to be expensive ‘heirloom’ pieces most people can’t afford.

But it certainly is acceptable to change a culture whereby a well-known music presenter I spoke to the other day said she felt in her professional capacity that she couldn’t be seen in the same outfit twice.

And we definitely could cut back on all those fashion shows.

 The ultimate snub – ‘disinvited’ to a party 

I was disinvited to a party last week. That surely is one step up (or down) from simply not being invited in the first place, which has happened on countless occasions, no doubt more often than I know.

But this is the first time I’ve actually been asked, then had my invitation withdrawn. I learnt of my disinvitation when the host gallantly asked someone else to phone and let me know they didn’t want me at their bash. Of course I immediately said I wouldn’t turn up – who on earth would? – but it did make me wonder whether it might be worth Paperless Post adding a disinvite option to their email service.

 I’ll never forget good old whatsisname…

Speaking of etiquette, how long is too long not to know somebody’s name? There are so many people I come across regularly – the guy in the dry cleaners, the junior who washes my hair – whose names I don’t know, usually because I have forgotten.

I did know what they were called once, for a few minutes. Then, when at the next meeting I couldn’t remember, I thought it would be fine, I’d just pick it up from someone else. But months go by, and in some cases years, and I still don’t know.

And now, it’s far too late to ask.

 A cure for our dying towns: Millennials! 

Hansard, the National Theatre’s excellent two hander set in Thatcher’s 1988 Britain, includes the line: ‘There’s something unutterably middle-class about them. Isn’t there? Towns.’ Thirty years on, towns, like the traditional middle class, have been suffering an identity crisis threatened by urban sprawl and internet shopping.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. These days many of our towns are being repopulated by a generation of talented and ambitious young people priced out of London.

Rather than moving to the bucolic pleasure of the countryside, they are plumping for places where there is more of a life they can identify with; a local arts scene, artisanal shops, a choice of restaurants. In other words, behaviour that is every bit as middle-class as the Crabtree & Evelyn shelf in the local chemist.

 Taking a leaf out of Dame Twiggy’s book 

Some people just get life right, and such a one is Twiggy, below. This year she was made a Dame and she’s a real inspiration for how not to get hidebound by a famous past. She even manages the not inconsiderable task of making it OK to be called something as silly as Twiggy even now she’s just reached 70.

The 1960s supermodel Twiggy at Buckingham Palace was made a Dame in March for her services to fashion, the arts and charity 

 Can someone write a washing-up song? 

One of those surveys, surely of use only to columnists like me in search of a subject to write about, has discovered that Springsteen’s Born To Run and The Killer’s Mr Brightside top the list of most dangerous songs to drive to.

Stairway To Heaven, on the other hand, heads the music least likely to earn you points on your licence.

I always wonder who pays for this kind of research. But given that somebody does, I’d like to know what other things music might affect. Could someone investigate what songs make you want to eat too much, or lose your temper with your nearest and dearest? And which are most likely to make us more forgiving and inclined to volunteer for the washing up.

That might be worth funding.

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Mets’ wild-card hopes ending as quietly as possible

CINCINNATI — This is how it ends. Not with a thunderbolt but with a whimper.

The Mets went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, struck out 12 times, had a terrible miscue in the field by Todd Frazier in the first inning and managed only three hits.

The run that beat them came on a two-out Christian Colon single up the middle in the eighth off a 3-2 Seth Lugo curve ball, a simple slap up the middle by a player who was just called up Monday.

The Reds came away with the 3-2 victory Saturday at Great American Ball Park when closer Raisel Iglesias cut through the final three Mets hitters, striking out Robinson Cano swinging, Wilson Ramos on a called strike three then ending the day by catching Michael Conforto looking at another strike three to end the game.

The 2019 season essentially came to an end as well for the Mets as they fell four games behind the Brewers in the loss column with eight to play. This would take the Miracle of Miracles.

The Mets have been climbing out of the abyss. The climb is too steep, with no room for error. The only sound that could be heard in the clubhouse for the longest time was the sound of brushes, wielded by clubhouse attendants, removing dirt from the players’ cleats.

Players left quickly.

The severity of the loss was in the air. The Brewers would have to have a historic collapse and the collapsing Cubs would have to continue to falter while these flawed Mets would have to run the table.

In the end, in all baseball seasons, the toll must be paid. All the dreadful losses from earlier in the season have to be figured into this 80-74 mix.

“Today hurts,’’ said Zack Wheeler, who pitched seven strong innings, allowing two runs, one earned while walking one and striking out seven.

The Reds presented the Mets with plenty of chances to make up for a two-run first inning, in which Frazier committed an error then did not play through on a Aristides Aquino ground ball to third with the bases loaded that took him into foul territory. Frazier hesitated on his throw to first base as Aquino was safe and a run scored.

Frazier, as is his standup style, owned up to his mistake, but it was too late for this day, too late for this season, barring a miracle. There is never just one reason why a game is lost. There are 27 outs to get it right, but sometimes one big mistake can’t be fixed.

Sometimes a team can’t overtake the hole they’ve dug for themselves throughout the season.

“It’s a tough one, these are games we are supposed to win, Wheeler pitched a hell of a game,’’ Frazier said. “We had opportunities and just didn’t get it done.’’

As for the dagger of the Aquino ground ball, Frazier made a fatal flaw, fielding the ball behind the bag across the line, assuming the ball was foul. Third base umpire Mark Ripperger called it fair.

“You are not supposed to assume in baseball I made a bonehead mistake,’’ Frazier said. “I actually thought it was foul. I remember doing it one time when I was younger and I told myself always play through. I just hesitated for a second and I probably could have had the guy at home. Cost us one, maybe two runs. It’s the old story, you don’t think, you have to assume that is a fair ball and play it out.’’

Baseball is cruel, but it is fair when the umpire says its fair.

“He looked back at the umpire instead of just playing it out,’’ manager Mickey Callaway said of the Frazier mistake.

The eventual winning run got on base via an eighth-inning walk by lefty Justin Wilson.

“It hurts, we had multiple chances,’’ Callaway said. “The way we lost hurts, a couple of mistakes in the field and we had plenty of chances at the plate. We just didn’t come through. I think we struck out on almost every chance we had with runners in scoring position. We needed a sac fly here, just touch the ball there and we just didn’t get it done.’’

Sounds much like the Mets’ 2019 season.

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Terrifying extent of left-wing extremism in the Labour Party is laid bare by new poll – The Sun

THE terrifying extent of left-wing extremism in the Labour Party is laid bare today.

Marxist zealots have seized control at every level since Jeremy Corbyn became leader — and are poisoning the debate with their hardline views.


An exclusive poll of a broad range of grassroots members reveals how far the party has moved to the fringes, hours after a foiled plot to topple deputy leader Tom Watson.

Labour is now firmly in the grip of revolutionaries who want to get rid of the Royal Family, scrap Britain’s nuclear deterrent and take control of the media.

Fanatics are so dominant that Mr Corbyn will be free to renationalise public services, wage class war and drive out dissenters.

Last night Labour moderates reacted with dismay after a YouGov poll of over 1,100 members showed:

  • HALF would feel bored, embarrassed or angry about singing the National Anthem;
  • MORE blame the British Government and Army for the Troubles in Northern Ireland than say it was the fault of the IRA;
  • SIX in ten want to abolish the royals for a republic;
  • NEARLY seven in ten think it would be legitimate for unions to stage a general strike to bring down a Tory government;
  • TWO THIRDS believe the party doesn’t have a problem with anti-Semitism, and 54 per cent believe the crisis is the fault of the media or Corbyn’s opponents;
  • AND 56 per cent would be opposed to doing post-Brexit trade deals with Israel.

FEWER THAN 30 PER CENT OF LABOUR MEMBERS BLAME ISLAMIC TERROR GROUPS FOR ATTACKS IN UK

The survey was commissioned by Ian Austin. He quit Labour to be an independent MP in February over the “culture of extremism and intolerance” created by Mr Corbyn.

Today Mr Austin launches cross-party campaign group Mainstream, aimed at combating extremism in public life.

He said: “I grew up listening to my father, a Holocaust refugee, warning of the dangers of prejudice and hatred.

“I joined Labour as a teenager and campaigned for it all my adult life.

“But the party of today is not the one I grew up in.



“Under Jeremy Corbyn it has been poisoned by a culture of extremism and intolerance. It is the responsibility of everyone who opposes extremism in all its forms to stand up against this destructive force.”

The poll found 15 per cent are proud of Britain’s history over the past 300 years, with 43 per cent “ashamed”.

Only 29 per cent believe in retaining the monarchy while 62 per cent want a republic.

MORE MEMBERS BLAME UK GOVERNMENT FOR TROUBLES THAN THE IRA

Twenty per cent would be “happy” or “proud” to sing the anthem but half would be “bored, embarrassed or angry”.

More members, 32 per cent, blame the Government for the atrocities of the Troubles than blame Republican terrorists like the IRA (27 per cent).

Just 29 per cent think groups like al-Qaeda are the most to blame for Islamist terrorist attacks in the UK. A total of 28 per cent think the UK and its allies are most to blame, while 40 per cent blame both sides equally.

Meanwhile 69 per cent support using strikes to overthrow a Conservative government.

A huge 70 per cent agree with getting rid of Britain’s nuclear weapons. Almost half, 48 per cent, want to abolish our country’s borders.

A total of 79 per cent support new laws limiting who owns national newspapers. And 51 per cent say a Labour government should take more control of broadcast media.


IT'S A POISON TEARING MY PARTY APART

By Ian Austin, MP for Dudley North

BRITISH people expect their governments to uphold the decent, mainstream values that make this a country to be proud of: freedom, fairness and playing by the rules.

We stand up to extremism, racism and prejudice. That’s the British way.

Sun readers expect their government to defend their country abroad, maintain their security at home and keep their streets safe. They certainly don’t expect a party which might be in power in just a few weeks to tear itself to pieces in the way Labour has done in the last 48 hours.

Tom Watson has given the party he loves decades of service. But because the extremists who now control Labour don’t trust him to bow to all of their demands, they tried to abolish his job while he was at home looking after his son.

Mainstream is a new campaign to stand up for these values and warn people of the dangers of extremism.

We will promote respectable and responsible politics wherever we can, and we will oppose extremism – wherever it comes from.

We’ll oppose extremism on the far left or the hard right, and today we are highlighting the impact of a government led by Jeremy Corbyn and the hard left.

I thought I knew how badly Jeremy Corbyn had poisoned the Labour Party.

I quit after 35 years as a member to shine a spotlight on the extremism and racism.

But even I was shocked by this new poll showing what Labour members now actually think.

Under Corbyn, half say they would be bored, embarrassed or angry if asked to sing the National Anthem.

Just 15 per cent are proud of our country’s history. Almost three times as many are ashamed.

More than six out of ten want to abolish the monarchy and more of them blame the British Government and our brave army than the IRA and other republican terrorists for the violent troubles in Northern Ireland.

Almost half want to abolish our country’s borders and nearly seven out of ten members think it would be ok for trade unions to hold a general strike to remove a Conservative Government.

More than half either blame the media or Jeremy Corbyn’s political opponents for the allegations of racism against Jewish people instead of the members responsible or the leadership that has allowed it to happen.

Sixty-nine per cent of Labour members now blame Western Governments instead of Terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS for Islamist terrorist attacks on the streets of Britain or think they are equally to blame as groups like Al Qaeda or ISIS!

You would never have got results like that under previous Labour leaders, but the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn and the hard left is completely outside Britain’s mainstream political traditions. They can’t be trusted to uphold our country’s values or safeguard the institutions on which our democracy depends.

Corbyn’s supporters claim he is returning the party to its socialist roots, but it’s just not true.

Clement Attlee’s great post-war government established the NHS and the Welfare State, but he was a proud British patriot who set up NATO, insisted on Britain having nuclear weapons and booted communists out of the party.

There are still decent people in the Labour Party, fighting for common-sense, but good MPs have been targeted, smeared or driven out and all sorts of people from the fringes of politics have joined to support Jeremy Corbyn.

All this explains why we are setting up Mainstream, a new campaign – led by a group of people from different political backgrounds – to encourage a return to respectable and responsible politics, and to banish extremism from British politics once and for all.

To lead Britain, you must love this country, but Jeremy Corbyn is the opposite of a patriot. He could not be trusted with our national security or to defend our country. At every available opportunity, he has backed Britain’s enemies, whether that’s the IRA at the height of the Troubles or groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

No previous Labour leadership would have supported dictatorships in Cuba or Venezuela or have sided with the Russian dictator’s line on Ukraine or when his killers used chemical weapons to bring death to Salisbury. The hard-left think that wealth is the problem and the people who create it the enemy. A government led by Jeremy Corbyn would see John McDonnell in the Treasury, but our economy has never before been run by someone who says he wants to overthrow capitalism or says Marx, Lenin and Trotsky are his most significant influences.

Jeremy Corbyn surrounds himself and works with people from the far-left fringes of politics and they could not be trusted to respect and uphold the independence of our civil service, the impartiality and fairness of our broadcasters or the freedom of the press.

It is a disgrace that he and the people around him have allowed a party with a fine tradition of fighting for fairness and equality to be poisoned by racism against Jewish people.

Under Corbyn, mainstream ideas are being replaced by views that are wildly out of step with the views of the general public. Extremism is rearing its way back into the public discourse in a way that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

We encourage everyone who wants to support our country’s mainstream values in political and public life to join us.

  • You can sign up at: www.mainstreamuk.org

JEZ'S 40,000 ARMY

JON Lansman, the man behind the failedmove to oust Tom Watson, founded the pro-Corbyn group Momentum in 2015.

 

The left-wing grassroots body — set up just weeks after Corbyn won his 2015 leadership contest — now has 40,000 members. It was based on the Syriza movement in Greece and Podemos in Spain, both of which  also fought against austerity measures.

Cambridge graduate Lansman, 62, tried to run the party machine last year by mounting a failed bid to replace  out- going Iain McNicol as general secretary. But he does sit on the party’s ruling executive.

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Iran threat: Elite SAS squad head to Gulf to guard Royal Navy base from Tehran attack

The order was given after intelligence reports warned that saboteurs aligned to Tehran have listed as targets the Royal Navy’s command base in Bahrain and the UK’s embassy. It follows an increase of US forces in the region in reaction to last week’s attack on Saudi Arabia, which knocked out almost half its oil supplies. A few thousand extra US troops will take on a “defensive role” at both Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s request. 

The USS Nitze, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will be positioned off the coast of Saudi Arabia to plug the gap in that country’s air defences which allowed almost 30 drones and cruise missiles to hit the Abqaiq oil facility and the Khurais oil field. 

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen originally claimed responsibility, but US intelligence points to Tehran as being behind the attacks. 

Last week’s incidents, combined with an Iranian attack on an American spy drone in June, represented a “dramatic escalation of Iranian aggression,” US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has said. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it “an act of war”. 

During a visit to the White House by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison this weekend, US President Donald Trump declared it would be easy to knock out 15 major targets 
in Iran. 

“I could do it right here,” he said, speaking from the Oval Office. “It’s all set to go. I could do it right here and then you’d have a nice big story to report. 

“We all hope, and Scott hopes, we all pray that we never have to use nuclear.” 

However, he added, “the thing that does show strength would be showing a little bit of restraint.” 

The commander of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Qasem Soleimani, responded by saying any country which attacks the Islamic Republic will see its territory become the “main battlefield”. 

Despite the rhetoric and attempts to gather an international “coalition of the willing” against the Islamic Republic, Mr Trump remains deeply reluctant to engage militarily with Iran. 

The president has sacked hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton, who sought a harder approach against Iran, proclaiming his former appointee had made some “very big mistakes”. 

At the time Mr Trump said he was keen to meet with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly. 

While the attack on Saudi Arabia has ended any prospect of that meeting, the United States’s main thrust has been to increase its “maximum pressure” by levying more sanctions against Tehran. 

Speaking during the same meeting with Mr Morrison, Mr Trump said: “We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank”, adding that he preferred an economic solution to a military one. 

US Treasury Secretary Steven Munchin told reporters the bank was Tehran’s last source of funds, saying: “We have now cut off all funds to Iran”. 

While the US claims the tactic is working, experts last night questioned why an economically weak regime should continue to act so belligerently.

Trump’s failure to back military rhetoric with action has hurt his credibility, according to regional expert Dr Albert Wolf, dean of the College of International Studies, American University of Kurdistan. 

In Bahrain the SAS team arrived in the capital Manama last week and will work with Bahrain’s Special Security Force Command, their elite counter-terror forces, whose officers were trained in the UK. 

The team joined 25 soldiers from the 1st Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, sent to the kingdom to replace the Royal Anglian Regiment in protection duties. 

Their task will be to defend the Royal Naval base, HMS Jufair, which is home to 300 naval personnel as well as a high readiness Marine Commando unit. 

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Premature baby born with ‘see-through body’ saved by plastic bag

A baby born so prematurely his body was see-through survived after being wrapped in a plastic bag and bubble wrap.

Shocked mum Emma Hope could count her son’s ribs through his translucent skin after he arrived more than four months early.

Little Arlo looked “red raw” as she could see the blood pumping around his tiny body.

But the fighter was swaddled in plastic and bubble wrap to keep his body at the right temperature and enable him to begin a long fight for life.

Amazingly, Arlo pulled through and is finally at home with his family.

Emma, 28, said: “I couldn’t believe that someone so tiny could possibly survive. He could literally fit in the palm of my hand but he was a fighter and so I named him Arlo, which means warrior.

“I could see through his skin and see the blood going round his little body and count his ribs.”

Shopworker Emma was hysterical when her waters broke at 21 weeks.

  • Angry drunk wasps are invading our homes as baby is stung 12 times

Doctors warned her to “prepare for the worst” as they believed her son was too premature to survive.

She said: “They kept referring to the baby as a foetus because it was so early in my pregnancy. I told them to stop calling him that as he was my baby – he was my son.

“But the medical staff explained that babies aren’t considered viable until 24 weeks, when it’s possible for them to survive.”

Arlo suffered a further blow when the umbilical cord supplying his oxygen moved out of place.

Emma was rushed into theatre for an emergency Caesarean and, minutes later, Arlo was taken away to intensive care, wrapped in a plastic bag.

Emma said: “It was to keep his temperature stable, and whenever it dropped they wrapped him in bubble wrap to stabilise it.

“It looked weird but I would have done anything to keep my little boy alive.”

Things took another turn for the worse when X-rays showed Arlo’s bloated tummy was hiding a severe inflammation.

Emma said: “The surgeon came to see us and said that there was a chance Arlo wouldn’t make it through the night.

“My legs went from under me. I was so scared I couldn’t talk. I was allowed to kiss Arlo before he was taken for surgery. That kiss was the first time I’d been able to touch him. I just hoped it wasn’t the last.”

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During surgery to remove 20% of Arlo’s bowel he lost 83% of his blood and needed a transfusion.

Nurses used Manuka honey to help heal his wound.

The tot then needed a further operation to close an opening between the two major blood vessels leading from his heart, and to treat a hernia.

Amazingly he survived. Arlo was 10 days old when Emma, from Glasgow, was finally allowed to cuddle him for the first time.

She said: “He was the tiniest person, I just couldn’t believe it. He fitted into my hand and it felt like I was holding a bag of crisps as he was so light.

“I was nervous to hold him as he was so small but he snuggled straight into me.”

Almost five months after he was born – and three weeks after his original due date – Arlo was allowed home.

He now weighs 9lb 3oz, and even though he is seven months old he wears clothes for newborns.

Emma, who also has a two-year-old daughter Olivia with partner David Aitken, 36, said: “‘He’s an inquisitive little boy and I’m so lucky he never gave up and kept fighting to survive.”

She added: “I’ve decided our family is complete now and won’t be having any more children. I have my little girl and now Arlo. He’s my little warrior.”

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Granada 2-0 Barcelona: Hosts stun champions to move top of La Liga

Promoted Granada stunned champions Barcelona to move top of La Liga.

Ramon Azeez headed in at the back post with less than two minutes played.

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde introduced Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati at half-time, but Alvaro Vadillo added the hosts’ second from the penalty spot after Arturo Vidal handled in the area.

The result leaves Barcelona three points behind Granada in seventh and they have now failed to score in six of their last seven La Liga away matches.

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Valverde made four changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday, as a returning Messi started on the bench once more.

Summer signing Junior Firpo was handed a first start after Jordi Alba picked up an injury in midweek, but it was his defensive slip that led to Granada taking the lead after just one minute and five seconds.

The early advantage proved no fluke, as the hosts pressed on and could have added to their advantage before the interval – Manchester City loanee Yangel Herrera shooting narrowly over from outside the box.

Barcelona’s best opportunity fell to Luis Suarez in first-half stoppage time, but the Uruguay forward’s goal-bound attempt was – typically of the hosts’ defensive performance – blocked on the line.

Messi and 16-year-old superstar Fati saw plenty of the ball in the second half, but despite their best efforts, neither could achieve a breakthrough before fellow substitute Vidal’s costly error allowed Vadillo to sweep home from the penalty spot.

The visitors never looked like getting back into the contest after that, as a resilient, dogged Granada recorded a famous victory.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Granada

Substitutes

Barcelona

Substitutes

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Granada CF 2, Barcelona 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Granada CF 2, Barcelona 0.

Arturo Vidal (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Maxime Gonalons (Granada CF).

Attempt missed. Álvaro Vadillo (Granada CF) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right from a direct free kick.

Foul by Clément Lenglet (Barcelona).

Álvaro Vadillo (Granada CF) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Offside, Barcelona. Arturo Vidal tries a through ball, but Luis Suárez is caught offside.

Booking

Carlos Fernández (Granada CF) is shown the yellow card.

Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Carlos Fernández (Granada CF).

Foul by Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona).

Álvaro Vadillo (Granada CF) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Hand ball by Nélson Semedo (Barcelona).

Substitution

Substitution, Granada CF. Maxime Gonalons replaces Yangel Herrera.

Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Anssumane Fati.

Attempt blocked. Arturo Vidal (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

Attempt saved. Antonio Puertas (Granada CF) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Foul by Luis Suárez (Barcelona).

Ángel Montoro (Granada CF) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Antonio Puertas.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Yangel Herrera.

Attempt blocked. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

Corner, Granada CF. Conceded by Gerard Piqué.

Attempt missed. Clément Lenglet (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Frenkie de Jong.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Víctor Díaz.

Luis Suárez (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Domingos Duarte (Granada CF).

Goal!

Goal! Granada CF 2, Barcelona 0. Álvaro Vadillo (Granada CF) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

VAR Decision: Penalty Granada CF.

Penalty conceded by Arturo Vidal (Barcelona) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

Foul by Nélson Semedo (Barcelona).

Carlos Fernández (Granada CF) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Arturo Vidal replaces Ivan Rakitic.

Substitution

Substitution, Granada CF. Álvaro Vadillo replaces Darwin Machís.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ramón Azeez (Granada CF).

Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ángel Montoro (Granada CF).

Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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White Rock Pier officially reopens nine months after devastating storm

White Rock’s iconic pier was officially reopened with a public ceremony on Saturday.

The event, which kicked off at noon, featured live music, food and information about the century-old structure’s history.

The pier was partially reopened in late August after suffering major damage in a destructive windstorm last December.

Winds of up to 91 kilometres per hour sent sailboats crashing into the structure, severing it mid-span and forcing a helicopter rescue of one man trapped on the other side.

Repairs to the structure, including fixing the 30-metre gap in the pier, cost the city an estimated $4 million.

White Rock is working to secure an additional $11 million to complete the pier and buttress it to withstand future storms and the effects of climate change.

The city is hoping some of that will come from provincial and federal grants, while fundraising efforts, such as a chance to buy planks salvaged from the old pier, are hoping to raise about $2 million.

The closure of the pier for most of the summer season has been stressful for White Rock’s seaside businesses, and the city says it is also looking at ways to help support them.

The 470-metre pier was originally built in 1914-1915 and restored in 1977. The city says it is the longest pier in Canada.

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