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Over 250 traditional Boxing Day hunts meet up

More than 250 hunts across the UK have met for the traditional Boxing Day event following a U-turn o..

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  • More than 250 hunts across the UK have met for the traditional Boxing Day event following a U-turn on a vote
  • Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage was laughing as he walked to the hunt meeting point at Chiddingstone Castle
  • It comes after Theresa May said she would drop a House of Commons vote on overturning the Hunting Act

By Abe Hawken For Mailonline

Published: 06:40 EST, 26 December 2017 | Updated: 11:26 EST, 26 December 2017

Fox hunting protesters and supporters today clashed on the streets as more than 250 hunts met for the annual Boxing Day event after Theresa May U-turned over plans for a vote on scrapping the ban.

Tempers flared at the Tredegar Farmers Hunt in Bassaleg, near Newport, Wales, as the two groups squared up to each other and the police had to intervene in a bid to diffuse the situation.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage was seen laughing while he made his way to the hunt meeting point in Chiddingstone Castle, Kent.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people lined the streets in Elham in Kent and Ledbury in Herefordshire to watch the men and women, wearing their 'hunting pink', parade through the villages before taking part in the hunt.

It comes as Mrs May is set to abandon her Conservative general election manifesto pledge to give MPs a free vote on whether to overturn the fox hunting ban.

A man was riding his horse through Bassaleg, near Newport, Wales, when protesters and supporters clashed in the village 

A man was riding his horse through Bassaleg, near Newport, Wales, when protesters and supporters clashed in the village

Protesters and supporters clashed during the Tredegar Farmers Hunt as a woman on a horse went passed the Tredegar Arms in BassalegProtesters and supporters clashed during the Tredegar Farmers Hunt as a woman on a horse went passed the Tredegar Arms in Bassaleg

Protesters and supporters clashed during the Tredegar Farmers Hunt as a woman on a horse went passed the Tredegar Arms in Bassaleg

A police officer tried to diffuse the situation in Wales this afternoon after tempers flared between fox hunting supporters and protesters on Boxing DayA police officer tried to diffuse the situation in Wales this afternoon after tempers flared between fox hunting supporters and protesters on Boxing Day

A police officer tried to diffuse the situation in Wales this afternoon after tempers flared between fox hunting supporters and protesters on Boxing Day

A girl riding a horse went straight past protesters  who were holding up signs which read: 'The country cares. Ban hunting with dogs' A girl riding a horse went straight past protesters  who were holding up signs which read: 'The country cares. Ban hunting with dogs' 

A girl riding a horse went straight past protesters who were holding up signs which read: 'The country cares. Ban hunting with dogs'

According to the Bed & Bucks Hunt Sabs, this fox was killed during a hunt in Great Thurlow in Suffolk and it is believed police have made an arrest According to the Bed & Bucks Hunt Sabs, this fox was killed during a hunt in Great Thurlow in Suffolk and it is believed police have made an arrest 

According to the Bed & Bucks Hunt Sabs, this fox was killed during a hunt in Great Thurlow in Suffolk and it is believed police have made an arrest

The East Kent and West Street hunt set off for the traditional Boxing Day meet from the village of Elham in Kent on Monday The East Kent and West Street hunt set off for the traditional Boxing Day meet from the village of Elham in Kent on Monday 

The East Kent and West Street hunt set off for the traditional Boxing Day meet from the village of Elham in Kent on Monday

Hundreds of people gathered in Ledbury, Herefordshire, and spectators watched the men and women ride down the streetHundreds of people gathered in Ledbury, Herefordshire, and spectators watched the men and women ride down the street

Hundreds of people gathered in Ledbury, Herefordshire, and spectators watched the men and women ride down the street

The East Kent and West Street hunt set off for the traditional Boxing Day meet from the village of Elham in Kent on TuesdayThe East Kent and West Street hunt set off for the traditional Boxing Day meet from the village of Elham in Kent on Tuesday

The East Kent and West Street hunt set off for the traditional Boxing Day meet from the village of Elham in Kent on Tuesday

Nigel Farage was pictured laughing in Chiddingstone Castle, KentNigel Farage was pictured laughing in Chiddingstone Castle, KentHe had arrived for the Boxing Day huntHe had arrived for the Boxing Day hunt

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage was photographed laughing and smiling as he arrived at the hunt meeting point at Chiddingstone Castle in Kent

Hundreds of people attended the Essex Hunt meeting at Matching Green and gathered outside the Chequers pub for the traditional Boxing Day meetHundreds of people attended the Essex Hunt meeting at Matching Green and gathered outside the Chequers pub for the traditional Boxing Day meet

Hundreds of people attended the Essex Hunt meeting at Matching Green and gathered outside the Chequers pub for the traditional Boxing Day meet

People gathered in Chiddingstone, Kent, for the traditional Boxing Day hunt and Mr Farage was pictured heading there this morning People gathered in Chiddingstone, Kent, for the traditional Boxing Day hunt and Mr Farage was pictured heading there this morning 

People gathered in Chiddingstone, Kent, for the traditional Boxing Day hunt and Mr Farage was pictured heading there this morning

A little girl was seen laughing in Elham this morning when one of the dogs taking part in the traditional hunt jumped up on to the fence A little girl was seen laughing in Elham this morning when one of the dogs taking part in the traditional hunt jumped up on to the fence 

A little girl was seen laughing in Elham this morning when one of the dogs taking part in the traditional hunt jumped up on to the fence

The hunt in Chiddingstone, Kent, started on Tuesday morning and the former Ukip leader was seen laughing when he arrived  The hunt in Chiddingstone, Kent, started on Tuesday morning and the former Ukip leader was seen laughing when he arrived  

The hunt in Chiddingstone, Kent, started on Tuesday morning and the former Ukip leader was seen laughing when he arrived

Riders and hounds took part in the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day Hunt at Didmarton in Gloucestershire on Tuesday morning Riders and hounds took part in the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day Hunt at Didmarton in Gloucestershire on Tuesday morning 

Riders and hounds took part in the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day Hunt at Didmarton in Gloucestershire on Tuesday morning

A member of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt crashes as she jumps a fence during the annual Boxing Day hunt in ChiddingstoneA member of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt crashes as she jumps a fence during the annual Boxing Day hunt in Chiddingstone

A member of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt crashes as she jumps a fence during the annual Boxing Day hunt in Chiddingstone

Members of the crowd react after a rider of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt was injured after she rode through fieldsMembers of the crowd react after a rider of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt was injured after she rode through fields

Members of the crowd react after a rider of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt was injured after she rode through fields

The Hunting Act was introduced by the Labour Party in 2004 which outlawed the hunting of animals including foxes and deer with dogs.

A recent survey found 85 per cent do not think hunting should be made legal again and Mrs May is set to announce next year that she will not go ahead with the vote.

It comes as the Countryside Alliance said hunting was younger and more diverse than it had ever been.

A survey of registered hunts showed more women and young people were taking part in legal hunts such as 'trail' hunting than 10 years ago.

Baroness Ann Mallalieu, president of the Countryside Alliance, said the hunting ban 'has little to do with animals or their welfare', adding the anti-hunting lobby is about a 'hatred of people'.

But polling for the League Against Cruel Sports showed continued widespread opposition to repealing the Hunting Act.

Hunting returned to the headlines during the snap general election, when Mrs May promised a free vote on repealing the ban to the consternation of campaigners, but failed to win a parliamentary majority.

But according to the Sunday Times, she will announce plans to permanently drop the commitment to a House of Commons vote, in a move which would risk infuriating rural Tories.

A Downing Street source described the report as 'pure speculation', but reiterated the Government's position: 'There is no vote that could change the current policy on fox hunting scheduled in this session of Parliament', which ends in 2019.

Baroness Mallalieu wrote in the Telegraph: 'There can be no logical justification for such a ridiculous law, so what was the real motivation for the ban?

'If that was not already obvious, the admission of one MP, as soon as the law was passed, that it was 'class war', and the subsequent continuing campaigns against hunts that are no longer hunting foxes, can leave only one conclusion.

'The anti-hunting movement is not really about the welfare of animals, it is about a hatred of people, and so it continues its obsessive pursuit of hunts.'

The National Trust has brought in new measures for licensing legal hunts on its land, including forbidding laying fox-based scents which can lead to foxes being accidentally hunted.

The 'Old Surrey and West Kent Boxing Day Hunt' arrives for the meet at Chiddingstone Castle on December 26 (pictured) The 'Old Surrey and West Kent Boxing Day Hunt' arrives for the meet at Chiddingstone Castle on December 26 (pictured) 

The 'Old Surrey and West Kent Boxing Day Hunt' arrives for the meet at Chiddingstone Castle on December 26 (pictured)

Participants ride to Worcester Lodge during the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day Hunt at Didmarton in GloucestershireParticipants ride to Worcester Lodge during the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day Hunt at Didmarton in Gloucestershire

Participants ride to Worcester Lodge during the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day Hunt at Didmarton in Gloucestershire

A large group of at least 25 hounds were seen running together during the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day hunt in Gloucestershire A large group of at least 25 hounds were seen running together during the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day hunt in Gloucestershire 

A large group of at least 25 hounds were seen running together during the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day hunt in Gloucestershire

Hundreds of people lined the streets in Ledbury High Street for the annual festive meet of the Boxing Day Ledbury HuntHundreds of people lined the streets in Ledbury High Street for the annual festive meet of the Boxing Day Ledbury Hunt

Hundreds of people lined the streets in Ledbury High Street for the annual festive meet of the Boxing Day Ledbury Hunt

Spectators watched as hunt members, in their 'pink' hunting coats, gathered outside the Feathers Hotel, just as they have done for generations in Ledbury, HerefordshireSpectators watched as hunt members, in their 'pink' hunting coats, gathered outside the Feathers Hotel, just as they have done for generations in Ledbury, Herefordshire

Spectators watched as hunt members, in their 'pink' hunting coats, gathered outside the Feathers Hotel, just as they have done for generations in Ledbury, Herefordshire

Blood hound dogs wait with members of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt as they gather at Chiddingstone Castle during their annual Boxing Day huntBlood hound dogs wait with members of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt as they gather at Chiddingstone Castle during their annual Boxing Day hunt

Blood hound dogs wait with members of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt as they gather at Chiddingstone Castle during their annual Boxing Day hunt

Hundreds of people lined the market square in the village of Elham, Kent, and started playing with the dogs before they went out on the huntHundreds of people lined the market square in the village of Elham, Kent, and started playing with the dogs before they went out on the hunt

Hundreds of people lined the market square in the village of Elham, Kent, and started playing with the dogs before they went out on the hunt

Men, women and children were seen riding horses through the streets of Ledbury on Tuesday morning to take part in the annual hunt Men, women and children were seen riding horses through the streets of Ledbury on Tuesday morning to take part in the annual hunt 

Men, women and children were seen riding horses through the streets of Ledbury on Tuesday morning to take part in the annual hunt

Hounds at the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day Hunt were photographed waiting for the event to start in Didmarton, GloucestershireHounds at the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day Hunt were photographed waiting for the event to start in Didmarton, Gloucestershire

Hounds at the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day Hunt were photographed waiting for the event to start in Didmarton, Gloucestershire

Spectators lined the streets and watched the annual Boxing Day hunt, in Aberford, near Leeds, West Yorkshire, on TuesdaySpectators lined the streets and watched the annual Boxing Day hunt, in Aberford, near Leeds, West Yorkshire, on Tuesday

Spectators lined the streets and watched the annual Boxing Day hunt, in Aberford, near Leeds, West Yorkshire, on Tuesday

The Essex Hunt (pictured) has met regularly in Matching Green since the early 19th century, although since 2005 it has not been allowed to use dogs to chase and kill foxesThe Essex Hunt (pictured) has met regularly in Matching Green since the early 19th century, although since 2005 it has not been allowed to use dogs to chase and kill foxes

The Essex Hunt (pictured) has met regularly in Matching Green since the early 19th century, although since 2005 it has not been allowed to use dogs to chase and kill foxes

Spectators had to use umbrellas as they watched the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day Hunt  at Didmarton in GloucestershireSpectators had to use umbrellas as they watched the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day Hunt  at Didmarton in Gloucestershire

Spectators had to use umbrellas as they watched the Duke of Beaufort's Boxing Day Hunt at Didmarton in Gloucestershire

The Countryside Alliance said a survey of hunts found 70 per cent of hunts had more women hunting and 54 per cent had more young people than they did 10 years ago.

More than 94 per cent of hunts had members in every age category, while three-quarters of hunts (74 per cent) had at least one female master of foxhounds, the organisation said.

Countryside Alliance's head of hunting, Polly Portwin, said: 'Hunting has always been the most accessible of activities and these figures show exactly how diverse it is.

'There is certainly more equality in the hunting field than in most walks of life.

'Many hunts now have more female subscribers than men and it is wonderful to see new generations taking up hunting.

'The future of hunting is secure when so many young people are joining the hunting field.'

A survey of 2,003 people by Ipsos MORI for the League Against Cruel Sports found that 85 per cent did not think fox hunting should be made legal again, while opposition to legalising deer hunting stood at 87 per cent, and hare hunting and coursing at 90 per cent.

Opposition to legalising fox hunting had risen from 73 per cent in 2008 to 85 per cent this year, the animal welfare organisation said.

Director of policy, communications and campaigns for the League Against Cruel Sports Chris Luffingham criticised the portrayal of Boxing Day hunts as a 'celebration of a great tradition with huge public support'.

And he said: 'With 85 per cent of the public saying they do not want fox hunting made legal again, there has never been a better time to strengthen the Hunting Act and bring an end to the illegal persecution of wildlife still going on under the guise of 'trail' hunting.'

League Against Cruel Sports chief executive Eduardo Goncalves said: 'It's nearly 2018, not 1818, so it's a little strange we're celebrating because a government has renounced fox hunting. But yet, this is still good news.

'There's been a shift this year, as the government has realised quite how important it is to recognise the compassionate nature of the British public.

'The cynical will say that this statement won't hold in the future when the pro hunting lobby exerts its influence once more, so we shall have to see if an anti-hunting stance is indeed the future of the Conservative party, or a tactical move at a politically sensitive time.

'For the sake of our animals we hope it's the former.'

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Australia

Australia resists calls for tougher climate targets

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Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has resisted pressure to set more ambitious carbon emission targets while other major nations vowed deeper reductions to tackle climate change.

Addressing a global climate summit, Mr Morrison said Australia was on a path to net zero emissions.

But he stopped short of setting a timeline, saying the country would get there “as soon as possible”.

It came as the US, Canada and Japan set new commitments for steeper cuts.

US President Joe Biden, who chaired the virtual summit, pledged to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the year 2030. This new target essentially doubles the previous US promise.

By contrast, Australia will stick with its existing pledge of cutting carbon emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels, by 2030. That’s in line with the Paris climate agreement, though Mr Morrison said Australia was on a pathway to net zero emissions.

“Our goal is to get there as soon as we possibly can, through technology that enables and transforms our industries, not taxes that eliminate them and the jobs and livelihoods they support and create,” he told the summit.

“Future generations… will thank us not for what we have promised, but what we deliver.”

Australia is one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters on a per capita basis. Mr Morrison, who has faced sustained criticism over climate policy, said action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would focus on technology.

The prime minister said Australia is deploying renewable energy 10 times faster than the global average per person, and has the highest uptake of rooftop solar panels in the world.

Mr Morrison added Australia would invest $20bn ($15.4bn; 11.1bn) “to achieve ambitious goals that will bring the cost of clean hydrogen, green steel, energy storage and carbon capture to commercial parity”.

“You can always be sure that the commitments Australia makes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are bankable.”

Australia has seen growing international pressure to step up its efforts to cut emissions and tackle global warming. The country has warmed on average by 1.4 degrees C since national records began in 1910, according to its science and weather agencies. That’s led to an increase in the number of extreme heat events, as well as increased fire danger days.

Ahead of the summit, President Biden’s team urged countries that have been slow to embrace action on climate change to raise their ambition. While many nations heeded the call, big emitters China and India also made no new commitments.

“Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade – this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” President Biden said at the summit’s opening address.

Referring to America’s new carbon-cutting pledge, President Biden added: “The signs are unmistakable, the science is undeniable, and the cost of inaction keeps mounting.”

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-56854558

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Australia

Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms

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The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128

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Australia

Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official

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Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581

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