Tributes have been paid to three British nationals who died when a Ukrainian plane crashed in Iran.
Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, who owned a dry cleaners, BP engineer Sam Zokaei and PhD student and engineer Saeed Tahmasebi were all on board the flight.
They were among the 176 people from seven countries who died in the crash.
Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed just after taking off from Imam Khomeini airport at 06:12 local time (02:42 GMT).
The airline said the plane underwent scheduled maintenance on Monday.
A Downing Street spokesman said the UK was “working closely with the Ukrainian authorities and the Iranian authorities” over the crash, and there was “no indication” the plane was brought down by a missile.
Iran said it will not hand over black box flight recorders recovered from the plane. Under global aviation rules, Iran has the right to lead the investigation, but manufacturers are typically involved and experts say few countries are capable of analysing black boxes.
As well as the three Britons, the victims in the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians – including all of the crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans and three Germans, Ukraine foreign affairs minister Vadym Prystaiko said.
Rescue teams were sent to the crash site but the head of Iran’s Red Crescent told state media that it was “impossible” for anyone to have survived the crash.
Tributes were paid locally to Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh, 40, who ran a neighbourhood dry cleaners in Hassocks, West Sussex, and had a nine-year-old daughter.
Steve Edgington from the pet shop next door said he had known Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh for 14 years, and described him as a lovely, hardworking man who was good at his job and loved by staff.
Savvas Savvidis, 36, who rented a room in Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh’s home in Brighton, said he was a “super-nice person”.
“It’s so sad. Before he left we had a conversation, he told me that he spent all his life working, working really hard, and now finally he wants to start to enjoy life a bit more.”
Mr Savvidis described Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh as a humble man who loved his daughter very much.
The dry cleaners closed on Wednesday, with neighbouring businesses telling the BBC that staff were too upset to stay open.
Meanwhile, in a statement, BP said “with the deepest regret” that its employee Mr Zokaei, 42, from Twickenham, was among the passengers.
Mr Zokaei had been on holiday. He had worked for BP for 14 years and was based at the company’s site in Sunbury-on-Thames in Surrey.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic loss of our friend and colleague and all of our thoughts are with his family and friends,” BP said.
A friend of Mr Zokaei, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC they were “still in shock”.
“He was a highly accomplished person. Very clever and very friendly. Always smiling and full of positive energy. He will be sorely missed.
“He was always trying new adventures. He cycled and toured Europe on bikes a few times. He also loved travelling to interesting far out places.”
Also killed was Mr Tahmasebi, 35, who worked as an engineer for Laing O’Rourke in Dartford.
Last year, Mr Tahmasebi married his Iranian partner, Niloufar Ebrahim, who was also listed as a passenger on the plane.
“Everyone here is shocked and saddened by this very tragic news,” said Laing O’Rourke.
“Saeed was a popular and well respected engineer and will be missed by many of his colleagues. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult time and we will do all we can to support them through it.”
‘Humble and generous’
Mr Tahmasebi – whose full name was Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi – was also a part-time PhD student at Imperial College London’s Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation.
A spokeswoman for the university said: “We are deeply saddened at this tragic news. Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi was a brilliant engineer with a bright future.
“His contributions to systems engineering earned respect from everyone who dealt with him and will benefit society for years to come.
“He was a warm, humble and generous colleague and close friend to many in our community. Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Saeed’s family, friends and colleagues, as well as all those affected by this tragedy.”
At Prime Minister’s Questions earlier, Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn both said their thoughts were with the families of those killed.
A UK Foreign Office spokesman has said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in the plane crash in Iran overnight.”
They said it was “urgently seeking confirmation” about how many British nationals were on board and would be supporting any families affected.
Melinda Simmons, British ambassador to Ukraine, said her thoughts are with those affected.
Ukraine’s state aviation service has forbidden its national airlines from using Iranian airspace from Thursday, with the restrictions in place until an investigation into the cause of the crash has concluded.
Ukraine’s embassy in Tehran and Iranian state television both initially said technical issues caused the crash.
But the embassy later removed this statement and said any comment regarding the cause of the accident prior to a commission’s inquiry was not official.
Ukraine said its entire civilian aviation fleet would be checked for airworthiness and criminal proceedings would be opened into the disaster.
The country’s president warned against “speculation or unchecked theories regarding the catastrophe” until official reports were ready.
Ukrainian International Airlines said the flight disappeared from radar just a “few minutes” after take-off.
The Ukrainian national carrier said according to preliminary data there were 167 passengers and nine crew members on board but its staff were “clarifying the exact number”.
“The airline expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the air crash and will do everything possible to support the relatives of the victims,” a statement said.
The airline, which is investigating the crash, said the aircraft – a Boeing 737-800 – was built in 2016 and had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday.
There was no sign of any problems with the plane before take-off and the airline’s president said it had an “excellent, reliable crew”.
A statement from Boeing said its “heartfelt thoughts” were with all those affected following the “tragic event”.
There are several thousand Boeing 737-800s in operation around the world which have completed tens of millions of flights. They have been involved in 10 incidents, including this crash, where at least one passenger was killed, aviation safety analyst Todd Curtis told the BBC.
This is the first time a Ukraine International Airlines plane has been involved in a fatal crash.
Mikel Arteta earned his first win as Arsenal boss as the Gunners produced a powerful first-half performance to beat a lacklustre Manchester United.
The visitors, who were without the injured Paul Pogba, actually began brightly, but the game took a different turn on eight minutes when Nicolas Pepe steered in his fifth goal of the season after Sead Kolasinac’s cross was deflected to him.
That led to a first half in which the hosts were in control and Pepe hit the post before they doubled their lead when his corner was smashed in from close range by Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s side came into the game with one loss in their previous nine games, and although they improved after the break, they rarely tested Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
It was characteristic of a stop-start season in which they are yet to win three Premier League games in a row.
The defeat leaves them fifth in the table, five points behind Chelsea, who drew with Brighton earlier in the day.
Victory for Arsenal ended a run of seven home games without a win in all competitions and lifted them to 10th place, four points behind United.
But they remain closer to the relegation zone than the top four.
Pepe peps up Arsenal
There has been evidence of a lift in Arsenal’s three performances since Arteta was appointed, but without a win, questions remained as to whether he was the right man to take over from former boss Unai Emery, given his lack of experience as a manager.
Arteta was just an onlooker in the stands for the lifeless draw at Everton, but that was followed by a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on Boxing Day and a crushing late defeat by Chelsea at home last Sunday.
This was a different game altogether, though, as Arsenal put the pieces together. With Granit Xhaka, who has been linked with a move to Hertha Berlin, restored to the midfield, the Swiss and Lucas Torreira were quicker to the tackle than their opponents.
Mesut Ozil covered 11.54km, more distance than any other Arsenal player.
While record £72m signing Pepe was at the heart of Arsenal’s attacking endeavour as they were roared on by their fans.
After scoring early on, he sent United left-back Luke Shaw halfway down the Holloway Road with a sharp turn before setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who sliced a volley over.
The Ivorian then fed Alexandre Lacazette, who somehow hit his shot out for a throw-in from about six yards out, before Torreira went close from another Pepe pass.
The hosts had to withstand greater pressure from Solskjaer’s side in the second period but in contrast to the Chelsea defeat, when they conceded twice in the last seven minutes, Arteta’s side managed the game well.
Their only concerns were injuries to Kolasinac and Lacazette, who were both taken off in the second half.
Pogba-less United show further cause for concern
Manchester United improved after the break, but it would have been hard not to do so after a poor first half.
Marcus Rashford had tested Bernd Leno in the first minute, but once they went behind to Pepe’s opener, they struggled to match Arsenal’s superior energy in midfield.
Jesse Lingard, who returned to the starting line-up, was hardly involved while Nemanja Matic could not get to grips with Ozil, Torreira or Xhaka, who were often one step ahead.
It was another game where Solskjaer’s team missed the influence of Pogba, who has not started a game in three months. After the game, the United boss said the French midfielder had picked up an ankle injury which would need an operation, keeping him out for “three or four weeks”.
Prior to the game, it had been hinted that Pogba would be fit to play.
United did lift their game once Lingard was substituted, with his replacement Andreas Pereira almost making an instant impact as he hit the side netting.
There were also chances for Fred and substitute Mason Greenwood, but without the injured Scott McTominay, and the ongoing problems with Pogba, United looked short on creativity in midfield and need to find solutions quickly should they want to maintain a top-four challenge.
Man of the Match – Nicolas Pepe
Arsenal finally beat top half team – the best stats
- This was Arsenal’s first Premier League win this season against a team currently in the top half of the Premier League (P10 W1 D4 L5).
- Nicolas Pepe has scored all his five goals for Arsenal in all competitions in London – four at the Emirates and one at London Stadium.
- Arsenal have scored eight goals via corners in the Premier League this season, two more than any other team.
- Manchester United have now lost four of their past five away Premier League visits to Arsenal (W1).
Arsenal host Leeds on Monday, 6 January in the FA Cup third round (kick-off 19:56 GMT), while Manchester United travel to Wolves on Saturday, 4 January (kick-off 17:31) in a repeat of their quarter-final defeat last season.
Christmas dinners have been served to Londoners who are reliant on the city’s homelessness services.
Hairdressers and opticians were also made available at City Hall before guests were given a three-course meal.
Last year, 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London, an 18% increase since last year, and more than double the number in 2010.
“Events like this help bring a sense of community back in to London,” Claire, a former rough sleeper, told the BBC.
Claire, who spent 30 years either living on the streets or in prison, said: “It’s the type of event that does matter. It forms partnerships and builds bonds.
“If it wasn’t for the support of St Mungo’s, I’d either be dead or doing what I was before.”
Guests were chosen from the thousands of Londoners that currently receive assistance from services funded by City Hall and delivered by charities St Mungo’s and Thames Reach.
But Claire said services were still “hit and miss”.
“Where I live I’m still waiting for support with my mental health,” she added.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “St Mungo’s and Thames Reach are struggling with finances.
“Since I became mayor we’ve more than doubled the amount of money we’ve spent on rough sleeping and the size of our outreach team.
“But we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve not got the money or the resources to do much more – as it is I’m criticised for going outside my remit and my power.
“It is both heartbreaking and shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do.”
Last year 15,470 people were accepted as being homeless by London councils.
There were 55,000 families living in temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and hostels.
Hundreds more people are estimated to be sleeping on London’s night buses.
Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper Services at St Mungo’s, said: “It’s wonderful that the Mayor has opened the doors of City Hall for this festive event.
“Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for clients in our services and our staff work hard to support those who stay with us over the holiday period.”
Sue Peart is preparing to be on the phone for Samaritans on Christmas Day.
It comes after her life quickly changed in 2017, when she left her job as a national magazine editor to look after her sick mother, who died only months later.
As a result, Sue’s mental health suffered – but two years later she is lending an ear to those in need.
Video Journalist: Paul Murphy-Kasp
Botanist and broadcaster David Bellamy has died aged 86, the Conservation Foundation he formed has said.
London-born Bellamy, who became a household name as a TV personality, scientist and conservationist, died on Wednesday, according to the foundation.
His colleague, David Shreeve, described him as a “larger-than-life character” who “inspired a whole generation”.
In later life Bellamy, who lived in County Durham, attracted criticism for dismissing global warming.
In 2004 he described it as “poppycock” – a stance which he later said cost him his TV career.
Bellamy worked in a sweet factory and as a plumber before embarking on his broadcasting career.
His scientific career began when he got a job in the biology department of a technical college in Surrey, he told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs programme in 1978.
It was there that he met his future wife, Rosemary.
But it was on a trip to Scotland where he discovered his love for plants, he told the programme.
“I got really turned on by plants and I found out that if somebody told me what a plant was, I just couldn’t forget it,” he said.
He gained public recognition for his work as an environmental consultant over the Torrey Canyon oil spill, when a tanker was shipwrecked off the coast of Cornwall in 1967.
He went on to present programmes such as Don’t Ask Me, Bellamy On Botany, Bellamy’s Britain, Bellamy’s Europe and Bellamy’s Backyard Safari.
And in 1979 he won Bafta’s Richard Dimbleby Award, for best presenter of factual programmes.
His distinctive voice also inspired comedian Sir Lenny Henry’s catchphrase “grapple me grapenuts”.
BBC arts correspondent David Sillito described Bellamy as “the enthusiastic face of botany on television” for more than 30 years.
In 2003, he told BBC News that he was sceptical about mankind being responsible for rising temperatures and suggested that they might be part of the Earth’s natural cycles.
He said: “We have got to get this thing argued out in public properly and not just take one opinion.”
Ten years later, he told the Independent newspaper: “It (global warming) is not happening at all, but if you get the idea that people’s children will die because of CO2 they fall for it.”
Well-known figures have paid tribute to Bellamy, including fellow naturalist and broadcaster Bill Oddie who described him as a “first-class naturalist, with boundless skills to convey his enthusiasm”.
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said Bellamy was a “brilliant naturalist, broadcaster and character”, in a tribute posted on Twitter.
Comedy writer and broadcaster Danny Baker, who described him as a “truly brilliant and canny broadcaster”.
The Walking Dead actor David Morrissey tweeted that Bellamy “cared about nature and our environment deeply.”
And former England footballer Stan Collymore called him a “childhood icon”, adding that he “learnt about botany and shrubs and trees as a kid because of this man’s love and infectious enthusiasm.”
Bellamy’s wife Rosemary died last year.
Manchester United moved up to sixth in the Premier League as Tottenham suffered their first defeat under Jose Mourinho on his return to Old Trafford.
The result, almost a year on from Mourinho’s last home game as United manager, sees his former club move back into the top six for first time since September, while Tottenham drop to eighth.
Marcus Rashford opened the scoring for the hosts with a low drive that beat Tottenham goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, at his near post.
The England forward then struck the bar as United missed a succession of chances to extend their lead.
While Dele Alli drew Spurs level with a clipped finish, after he had flicked the ball away from Fred and Ashley Young, the hosts were good value for their win.
And that was confirmed by Rashford, who rolled in a second-half penalty to register his ninth goal in his last 10 appearances for the club.
More to follow.
Middlesex have re-signed Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman for next season’s Twenty20 Blast campaign.
The 18-year-old took seven wickets in 10 games last season and will be available for all 14 of their group stage matches in 2020.
Mujeeb made his debut for his country at the age of 16 and featured in this year’s World Cup.
“I enjoyed my time at Middlesex so much, so I am very pleased to be coming back,” he said.
Meanwhile, the club have awarded England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan a testimonial year in 2020.
The 33-year-old made his debut for the county’s first XI in 2005.
A man was stabbed to death in a fight outside a block of east London flats in a “particularly vicious attack”.
The 19-year-old was found by police responding to reports of a disturbance outside Owen Waters House, in Fullwell Avenue, Ilford, on Tuesday night.
The victim died at the scene and his next of kin have been informed.
No arrests have been made but the Met said “the possibility that the murder is gang-related is a very strong line of inquiry”.
Police are establishing if the stabbing is linked to a fire at some nearby garages where a car was found burnt out.
The Met said fire crews had been called to the blaze at about 22:20 GMT while traces of blood had also been found around the vehicle.
Det Ch Insp Chris Soole described the killing as a “particularly vicious attack” and appealed for witnesses.
A Section 60 Order – giving police stop-and-search powers – was put in place for the whole of the Redbridge borough until 06:30.
There have been five murder investigations in the borough in 2019 – three of which have been as a result of fatal stabbings.
Homicides in London since 2008
Annual homicides in the Met Police area
So far this year, almost 130 murder investigations have been launched in the capital.
Three investigations have been carried out by British Transport Police and 124 have been investigated by the Met.
At the scene – Greg McKenzie, BBC London
A forensic tent is outside the tower block marking the spot where the teenager died.
Residents have been telling me about rising tensions in the last few weeks. The block – just off a main road in Ilford – is known as a meeting point for drug dealers and people said the issue is “rampant”.
They have also described a lot of “youth disturbance and violence” in the area and expressed their fear, anger and shock.
Officers have been coming in and out of the flats and they are trying to work out whether a burnt-out car is linked to the fatal stabbing.
Images of 10 people the Met want to find after violence broke out at a “Free Tommy Robinson” demonstration in central London have been released.
More than 20 officers and members of the public were injured as protesters blocked roads and threw missiles during the march in Whitehall on 9 June, 2018.
Detectives had to trawl through hundreds of hours of CCTV and videos to identify those involved.
Fourteen people have already been jailed over the violent disorder.
Referring to the incident where scaffolding and glass bottles were thrown at police, Det Sgt Matt Hearing said: “We are extremely keen to identify these individuals, who were involved in serious disorder which resulted in a number of police officers getting injured.
“Whilst we will always facilitate lawful protest, the actions of some individuals on that day showed a total disregard for the law and it is important that all those involved are brought to justice.”
Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson in currently serving a nine month sentence after being found guilty of interfering with the trial of a sexual grooming gang at Leeds Crown Court in May 2018.
The nine month sentence includes six months for the Leeds Crown Court offence last year and another three months for contempt of court, following a suspended sentence given at Canterbury Crown Court in May 2017.
A second man has admitted trying to rob Arsenal footballers Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac in a moped ambush.
Jordan Northover, 26, pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to attempting to steal watches from the pair in Hampstead, north-west London.
His co-accused Ashley Smith, 30, of Archway in North London, admitted his role in the crime in October.
CCTV footage showed Bosnian defender Kolasinac chasing off the two masked attackers on 25 July
In the video, that circulated on social media, 26-year-old Kolasinac is seen fighting off two men who are wielding knives.
He can be seen jumping out of a vehicle to confront the masked men who had pulled alongside the car on mopeds.
In the footage, both carjackers were seen to be armed and were filmed brandishing knives at full-back Kolasinac.
World Cup winner Özil can also be seen in his black Mercedes G class jeep before he reportedly took refuge in a Turkish restaurant.
Kolasinac and Germany midfielder Özil were left out of the Arsenal side ahead of the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign after the incident.
Judge Rosa Dean said Smith would be sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday.
Northover will be sentenced at a later date.
Özil told the Athletic sports site that he was scared for his wife Amine as the attackers pursued his car.
“Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers,” he said.
“I tried to move the car, block them, escape, but each time they would be there. My wife was extremely scared.”