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Tottenham 0-1 Ajax, Champions League: Donny van de Beek scores only goal

Ajax had eliminated Real Madrid and Juventus in the past two rounds of the Champions League

Tottenham need to overturn a one-goal deficit to reach the Champions League final after losing at home to Ajax in the first leg of their semi-final.

The Dutch side gained a valuable away goal when Donny van de Beek collected Hakim Ziyech’s pass and calmly shot past Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Fernando Llorente and Toby Alderweireld both wasted good chances for the hosts by heading off target when unmarked.

Ajax’s David Neres nearly added a second but his shot hit the post.

Tottenham have never reached the final of the Champions League or European Cup and need to score in the second leg in Amsterdam on Wednesday, 8 May to have any chance.

Spurs could be without defender Jan Vertonghen for that match after he suffered a suspected broken nose when involved in an accidental collision with team-mate Alderweireld and Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana.

Vertonghen, who also appeared to be suffering from concussion, was briefly allowed to come back on to the pitch, before he had to be helped down the tunnel by the Spurs’ medical team.

The winners of the tie will meet either Barcelona or Liverpool in the final in Madrid on 1 June.

More to follow.

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Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito succeeds father Akihito

Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan attends the closing ceremony on the day nine of the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Crown Prince Naruhito is Japan’s 126th emperor

Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito is set to formally mark his ascension to the Chrysanthemum throne on Wednesday, a day after his father became the first emperor to abdicate in two centuries.

In his first act as emperor, he will inherit Japan’s Imperial Treasures in a deeply symbolic ceremony.

The emperor in Japan holds no political power but serves as a national symbol.

Emperor Akihito, 85, who chose to abdicate due to his age and failing health, stepped down on Tuesday.

“I hereby pray for the well-being and happiness of our country and people of the world,” he said in his final address.

The new imperial era “Reiwa”, whose name signifies order and harmony, began at midnight local time, and will last as long as Naruhito’s reign.

What will happen at the ceremony?

The Kenji-to-Shokei-no-gi – or Ceremony for Inheriting the Imperial Regalia and Seals – will begin at 10:15 local time (01:15 GMT).

Naruhito, 59, will receive three objects – a mirror, sword and gem – which are passed down through generations of emperors and are seen as the symbols of imperial power.

  • Japan’s powerful unseen Imperial Treasures

He will then give his first address as new emperor.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Like Emperor Akihito’s abdication, the ascension of a new emperor will be highly ceremonial

“In 1989 when Akihito [ascended the throne], he spoke about social welfare and peace,” Ken Ruoff, director at the Centre for Japanese Studies at Portland State University, told the BBC.

These were goals that Emperor Akihito worked towards during his Heisei era, and his interactions with those stricken by disease or disaster endeared him to many Japanese.

“I think from Naruhito’s first words, we’ll have a good sense of what the new emperor’s plans will be. I think it will set the tone [of the new era],” Professor Ruoff said.

Emperor Akihito took up the role of a diplomat during his reign, becoming an unofficial ambassador for Japan and travelling extensively to other countries, – something Naruhito is expected to continue.

What do we know about the new emperor?

Naruhito is Japan’s 126th emperor. He attended Oxford University, and became crown prince at the age of 28.

In 1986, he reportedly met his wife, Crown Princess Masako Owada. at a tea party. They married in 1993.

Image copyright AFP PHOTO / IMPERIAL HOUSEHOLD AGENCY
Image caption Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako in their Japanese Imperial wedding costumes in 1993

Princess Masako later told reporters that she had accepted Naruhito’s proposal after he said: “You might have fears and worries about joining the imperial household. But I will protect you for my entire life.”

  • The prince taking Japan into a new era

The princess, who reportedly suffers from a stress disorder, admitted in December that she felt “insecure” about becoming empress, but pledged to do her best to serve the people of Japan.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Princess Masako, the new empress, speaks several languages and was a diplomat before her marriage

Masako was educated at Harvard and Oxford, and had a promising career as a diplomat before her marriage.

The couple’s only child, Princess Aiko, was born in 2001. However, Japan’s current law restricts females from inheriting the throne so she is not her father’s heir.

Naruhito’s brother Prince Fumihito will be next in line to the throne, followed by the new emperor’s nephew, 12-year-old Prince Hisahito.

Why is the Japanese monarchy important?

It’s the oldest continuing hereditary monarchy in the world. Legends date it back to about 600 BC.

In fact, Japanese emperors used to be seen as gods, but the country’s wartime emperor Hirohito – Naruhito’s grandfather – publicly renounced his divinity at the end of World War Two, as part of Japan’s surrender.

The role was redefined by Emperor Akihito, who helped repair the damage to Japan’s reputation after the war.

  • The life and reign of Akihito
  • The emperor with a human touch

In 1991, two years after he ascended the throne, Akihito and the empress broke with convention and knelt down to speak to people affected by a volcanic eruption in Nagasaki. After the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown which killed thousands in eastern Japan, the former emperor and his wife Michiko were praised for reaching out to comfort survivors.

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Media captionPrincess Aiko, the only child of Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito, will not ascend the throne because she is female

Their interactions with people suffering chronic diseases like leprosy, who have been marginalised in Japan, were also a sharp departure from the past.

Akihito will now be known as “Joko”, which means “grand emperor”, and by the English title “Emperor Emeritus”, while Michiko will be “Empress Emerita”.

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Venezuela’s Guaidó accused of coup attempt by government

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Media captionOpposition leader Juan Guaidó is appealing to the military for support

Venezuelan authorities say they are putting down a small coup attempt after opposition leader Juan Guaidó announced he was in the “final phase” of ending President Nicolás Maduro’s rule.

He appeared in a video with uniformed men, saying he had military support.

Mr Guaidó, who declared himself interim president in January, called for more members of the military to help him end Mr Maduro’s “usurpation” of power.

But military leaders appeared to be standing behind Mr Maduro.

Venezuela’s defence minister appeared on television to stress the point. However, photos from Caracas show some soldiers aligning themselves with Mr Guaidó’s supporters.

Mr Maduro’s detractors hope the military will change its allegiance as resentment grows following years of hyperinflation, power cuts, food and medicine shortages.

So far, the armed forces have stood by Mr Maduro – despite dozens of countries, including the UK, the US and most of Latin America, recognising Mr Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful leader.

As a result, John Bolton, the US national security adviser, said what was taking place in Venezuela was not a coup, but a legitimate leader trying to take control.

What is the latest?

Protesters supporting both sides have gathered at different points in the capital, Caracas.

There are running clashes between Mr Guaidó’s supporters and armed military vehicles. Protesters were also seen throwing rocks, but being repelled by tear gas and water cannon.

Television cameras also caught the moment armoured vehicles drove into a crowd but it is unclear if there were any injuries.

El Universal newspaper said that at least 37 people had been injured across Caracas.

The BBC’s Guillermo Olmo, in Caracas, said Tuesday marked the most violent episode of the Venezuelan political crisis so far.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Juan Guaidó’s supporters from the Bolivarian National Guard repel forces loyal to Nicolás Maduro

Meanwhile, Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino said the uprising by some members of the military had been “partly defeated”, but warned of possible bloodshed.

“The weapons of the republic are here to defend the nation’s sovereignty and independence,” he warned.

He also revealed one soldier had suffered a bullet wound.

What sparked the protests?

A three-minute video by Mr Guaidó was published in the early hours of Tuesday. In it, he announced he had the support of “brave soldiers” in Caracas.

“The National Armed Forces have taken the correct decision… they are guaranteed to be on the right side of history,” he said.

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How the story unfolded

He was filmed alongside another opposition leader, Leopoldo López, who has been under house arrest since being found guilty of inciting violence during anti-government protests in 2014.

Mr López, who leads the Popular Will party of which Mr Guaidó is a member, said he had been freed by members of the military.

He went on to urge Venezuelans to join them on the streets.

But later in the day, Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed he, his wife Lilian Tintori and their daughter had entered Chile’s embassy in Caracas to seek protection.

  • A timeline of Venezuela’s leadership clash
  • The bus driver who became president

Mr Guaidó, the president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, has been calling on the military to back him ever since he declared himself interim president.

He argues that President Maduro is a “usurper” because he was re-elected in polls that had been widely disputed.

The video appeared to have been recorded at dawn in or near La Carlota air force base in Caracas.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionVenezuela blackout crisis: “It’s like living in the apocalypse”

The most dramatic moment yet

Analysis by BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus

Events in Venezuela are uncertain and unclear but Mr Guaidó has seemingly gambled heavily in his latest bid for power.

The loyalty of the military to President Nicolás Maduro’s regime has been the central factor that has kept him in power. Barring a fundamental change in their allegiance or at the very least a significant split in their ranks, no amount of outside diplomatic pressure is going to push Mr Maduro from office.

Image copyright Reuters

So are we seeing this split now? Mr Guaidó and his supporters claim parts of the military across the country have backed him, but so far there is little evidence of this.

For Mr Guaidó the stakes are huge. The Venezuelan government says it is putting down a coup attempt. This is perhaps the most dramatic moment yet in Venezuela’s current political saga.

Read more about Venezuela’s crisis:

How has the government reacted?

The Venezuelan Information Minister, Jorge Rodríguez, wrote on Twitter that the government was confronting a small group of “military traitors” who, according to him, were promoting a coup.

Mr Maduro, meanwhile, said he had spoken to the leaders of the armed forces who had “expressed their total loyalty to the People, the Constitution and the Fatherland”.

A senior member of the governing socialist party, Diosdado Cabello, called on supporters of President Maduro to take to the streets around the presidential palace to defend him from “the right-wing conspiracy”.

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told Reuters news agency the “coup attempt” had been “directly planned in Washington, in the Pentagon and Department of State, and by [National Security Advisor John] Bolton”.

What is the international community saying?

  • UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appealed for both sides to avoid violence
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a tweet backing Mr Guaidó. “The U.S. Government fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy,” he wrote
  • Mr Bolton warned Mr Maduro not to use force against civilians
  • Spain warned against bloodshed and said was “not supporting any military coup”.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro – who backs Mr Guaidó – has called an emergency meeting with his defence minister, foreign minister and vice-president.
  • Colombian President Iván Duque called on the Venezuelan army to back Mr Guaidó
  • Bolivia’s President Evo Morales and Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez have sent messages of support to their ally Mr Maduro, condemning what they called the “coup d’etat” in Venezuela.

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British Steel loaned £100m for carbon bill

View of Scunthorpe steel plant Image copyright British Steel
Image caption British Steel’s Scunthorpe plant

British Steel has secured a £100m loan from the government to pay its EU carbon bill, a source close to the company has said.

The money means the private equity-owned firm will avoid a steep EU fine.

The firm said earlier this month it needed the funds to settle its 2018 pollution bill due at the end of April.

Sky News said the government money was used to pay for the company’s carbon credits – and that British Steel would repay the money on commercial terms.

The firm has been hit by a European Union decision to suspend UK firms’ access to free carbon permits until a Brexit withdrawal deal is ratified.

The EU’s emissions trading system’s rules allow industrial polluters to use carbon credits to pay for the previous year’s emissions, or trade them to raise money.

Each free permit gives a firm the right to emit a ton (1,000kg) of carbon dioxide (CO2).

‘Responsive and supportive’

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) declined to comment on British Steel specifically, but said it was in “regular conversation with a wide range of companies”.

Beis is expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday.

British Steel has previously said ministers and officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy had “been responsive and supportive”.

Private equity firm Greybull Capital rescued Tata Steel’s long products business – which makes steel for the rail and construction sectors – during the depths of the steel crisis in 2016, saving more than 4,000 jobs.

It paid a nominal £1 fee for the assets, but pledged to plough up to £400m into the business which it rebranded British Steel.

Workers had to take pay cuts and reductions in their pensions in return, but the company has since returned to profit.

The company employs 4,000 people at its Scunthorpe plant and has sites in Teesside, Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

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‘End a shameful period for our sport’ – Wawrinka calls for response to Gimelstob case

Stan Wawrinka is one of the first big-name players to speak out about Justin Gimelstob’s case

Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka has called on the ATP player council to act after Justin Gimelstob’s sentencing for assault and end “a shameful period” for the sport.

Gimelstob, 42, is one of three player representatives on the ATP board.

The American, also a former player, received three years probation and 60 days community service after pleading “no contest” to a battery charge.

Swiss Wawrinka, 33, says players “need to speak out” about the subject.

The player council, led by 15-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia, has the power to remove Gimelstob, but would need the consent of at least six of its 10 members.

“It simply cannot be possible for anyone to condone this type of behaviour and, worse, support it,” Wawrinka, who has won Australian Open, French Open and US Open titles, posted on social media.

“In any other business or sport we would not be discussing this.

“The ATP council needs to do something about this and finally end this conversation and shameful period in our great sport.”

Wawrinka’s comments come after Britain’s Andy Murray became the first leading player to call on Gimelstob to quit his role on the ATP board.

Gimelstob, who has also worked as a coach and TV commentator, was sentenced in Los Angeles last week.

Former friend Randall Kaplan alleged that early in the evening of 31 October, Gimelstob “punched him in the head and face more than 50 times” in front of Kaplan’s pregnant wife Madison and two-year-old daughter.

Mrs Kaplan went on to have a miscarriage, which the couple believe was a result of the stress of the attack.

“I don’t see, with everything that has gone on, how it’s possible for him to remain in a position of authority or management at the ATP right now,” Murray told The Telegraph.

Following Gimelstob’s sentencing, the ATP said his future was a “subject for review by the board and/or the player council”.

It added: “The election for the role of the next Americas player representative on the ATP board – the position currently held by Gimelstob – will take place as scheduled on Tuesday, 14 May in Rome.”

Justin Gimelstob partnered Venus Williams to victory in the 1998 Australian and French Opens mixed doubles and twice reached the men’s doubles quarter-finals at Wimbledon

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Tavis Spencer-Aitkens: YouTube rappers jailed over stab death

Three gang rappers, along with two other men, have been jailed for killing a teenager in Ipswich.

A rivalry between two gangs, played out in music videos posted on YouTube, resulted in the murder of 17-year-old Tavis Spencer-Aitkens.

He was stabbed 15 times on 2 June in retaliation for a clash between the Neno and J-Block gangs earlier that day.

Passing sentence at Ipswich Crown Court, judge Martyn Levett said: “When they identified their target, they chased him, hunted him down as a pack and set upon him in a pitiless attack.”

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Is plant burger firm Beyond Meat really worth $1.5bn?

Beyond Burger Image copyright Beyond Meat

Beyond Meat has lifted its share price range ahead of its US flotation on Wednesday, valuing the plant-based meat-maker at nearly $1.5bn (£1.1bn).

The US firm, which counts actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio among its investors, will now offer its shares at between $23 and $25.

The decision to increase the price from the original range of $19 and $21 indicates strong demand for the shares.

But Beyond Meat is loss-making and does not know when it will report a profit.

For its most recent financial results for 2018, Beyond Meat said losses hit $29.9m, slightly below the previous year but above a $25.1m loss in 2016.

Beyond Meat said it has reported losses since it was founded in 2009 due to its investment in “innovation and growth”.

In its flotation document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it said: “We may be unable to achieve or sustain profitability.

“We have experienced net losses in each year since our inception and we may therefore not be able to achieve or sustain profitability in the future.”

Beyond delicious?

By Dearbail Jordan

First a disclaimer: I haven’t eaten meat for 30 years which makes me either the worst person possible or the ideal candidate to try a meatless Beyond Burger.

I find one on the menu at TGI Fridays in Manhattan where, interestingly, the waitress who takes my order makes sure I realise that the beef-like patty is plant-based and not made of meat.

Her question flies in the face of Beyond Meat’s strategy – the company that makes the burger – which asks retailers to stock its products alongside real meat so it is seen as an option for all consumers, not just vegans and vegetarians.

Also striking is the calorie count.

A Beyond Burger with cheese in a bun with all the trimmings is a gut-busting 890 calories, just below TGI Friday’s traditional cheeseburger which is 1,110 calories, proving that just because something is meat-free doesn’t mean it’s virtuous.

The Beyond Burger itself does look like meat – it is slightly pink in the middle and actually has char marks on the outside, like it has been sizzling on a grill.

It’s also surprisingly tasty and filling. The texture is fine and it doesn’t have that rubbery consistency that other non-meat alternatives have.

Afterwards, however, I feel slightly bilious. It could be because the burger is so meat-like it makes me feel odd. Yet it doesn’t put me off trying its other products which include beef-like mince, to perhaps recreate my Mum’s legendary spaghetti Bolognese.

But whether there are enough people out there ready to try Beyond Meat’s products to justify that $1.5bn market valuation ahead of its stock market flotation on Wednesday remains to be seen.

Beyond Meat is one of a number of so-called “unicorn” companies – which are privately-backed firms worth $1bn or more – to sell their shares to public investors this year.

Despite attracting high valuations, the majority of unicorn companies that have floated this year, or intend to, have yet to make a profit.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio is backer of Beyond Meat

This week, the We Company, owner of shared office provider WeWork, filed paperwork with the SEC to enable it to float. It has a private valuation of around $47bn but its most recent losses doubled to $1.9bn.

Uber, the ride-sharing and food delivery business, is currently on a road show to visit potential investors and drum up support for its flotation in May. It has set its share price range at between $44 and $50 each, valuing it at as much as $90bn but it is also yet to make a profit.

Beyond Meat, which makes burgers and plant-based minced meat like products, is counting on both meat eaters as well as vegetarians and vegans to grow its business.

It estimates that the global meat industry is worth as much as $1.4 trillion.

Sales rose to $87.9m last year from $32.6m in the previous 12 months and $16.2m in 2016.

As well as Mr DiCaprio, Beyond Meat also counts Microsoft founder Bill Gates among its backers. The company will sell its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Facebook boss reveals changes in response to criticism

Mark Zuckerberg Image copyright Facebook

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has revealed a series of changes to the firm’s portfolio of social platforms, including Instagram and Whatsapp.

The new designs and features for its apps are a direct response to widespread criticism of how the firm protects user data.

Mr Zuckerberg said the company plans to put privacy first.

He acknowledged that there was much to do to rebuild trust.

In a speech to developers, Mr Zuckerberg described the firm’s new focus on privacy as “a major shift” in how the company is run.

Some of the more visible changes to those who use the firm’s products will include:

  • Messages sent via Messenger will be end-to-end encrypted by default, meaning Facebook itself won’t see the contents, and the platform will be fully integrated with WhatsApp
  • Instagram is trialling a “private like counts” feature which would hide the “likes” a post attracts from viewers, but not the account owner
  • There will be more “ephemeral” ways to share content in messages – meaning there will not be a permanent record of them
  • A WhatsApp secure payment service trialled in India is to be rolled out to other countries later this year.
  • The Facebook app is being redesigned to make community groups central to the newsfeed – and the distinctive blue branding is going. The redesign is rolling out in the US and then more widely straight away.
  • Instagram posts will no longer have to start with a photo or a video, it will be possible to share content using just text, stickers or drawings thanks to a new “create” camera mode.
Image copyright facebook
Image caption WhatsApp’s payment service

“The future is private,” Mr Zuckerberg said – adding, in a nod to the tech giant’s stream of privacy scandals: “I know we don’t have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly”.

He said Facebook was focused on looking at ways to encode privacy across the firm’s entire infrastructure.

“It’s not going to happen overnight and to be clear we don’t have all the answers,” he said.

He has previously said that he believes that people will want to talk privately in small groups and communities in the future.

However he will have to convince the public that Facebook is the place to do this, some commentators noted.

“The big question is how it will perform in a regulated social media world in 2019 and beyond,” said social media consultant Matt Navarra.

“My verdict: it will go the distance and bounce back, but its reputation will remain in tatters for years to come.”

Analysis: Dave Lee, BBC North America technology reporter

Private private private – that’s the future of Facebook, as Mark Zuckerberg has said before, but offered more details on here.

The design changes are the biggest refresh in around five years. It puts greater emphasis on groups and private interactions, encrypted messages that Facebook itself won’t be able to access.

And, here’s the big news… it will no longer be blue. The desktop apps show Zuckerberg has things like Apple’s iMessage in his sights.

But Facebook needs to prove this is more than just a paint job if it’s to get out of its current troubles.

Mark Zuckerberg made a brief mention about the company not having a good reputation on privacy right now – almost smirking as he said it. The company is working to regain trust, he insists.

At the same time it must show it continues to innovate even with all its bigger distractions. That’s perhaps the bigger risk to Facebook here: while it’s fixing its problems, competitors are working hard to gain ground.

Secret Crush

Other announcements included a new feature called Secret Crush, part of Facebook Dating, which will let Facebook members in some countries tag up to nine of their friends to whom they are attracted.

If the recipient of the crush is also using the feature and nominates them as well, then both parties will receive a message to say they have matched.

Facebook Dating will roll out in 14 new countries including the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore. It is not currently available in Europe or the US.

Virtual Reality

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionWATCH: Dave Lee tries out the new Oculus Quest

The firm also revealed the launch date for its new stand-alone, wireless VR headset, Oculus Quest – which does not require a connection to a PC, smartphone or games console.

Mark Zuckerberg announced that everyone attending the conference would be given one as a gift.

It will go on general sale on 21 May.

“Facebook remains deeply committed to its vision for VR as the next computing platform despite a slow start,” commented analyst Geoff Blaber from CCS Insight.

“New Oculus products will further refine the VR experience but there remains a disconnect between Facebook’s vision and the reality which is dominated by gaming rather than social interaction.”

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Amputee on ‘top of the world’ after walking again

Sean in hospital Image copyright Sean Dougherty
Image caption “Just because they chopped my leg off doesn’t mean I can’t put a smile on my face”, he says

A US Navy sailor who has been documenting his recovery online after having his leg amputated has said he is on “top of the world” after taking his first steps using a prosthetic limb.

Sean Dougherty filmed the “game-changing” moment at the Walter Reed Medical Centre in Maryland.

Posting on his Instagram account, Sean wrote: “It’s not much but my first few steps are now out of the way. With a little practice, I’ll be back to my old self in no time.”

He told BBC News: “Standing on two feet again, I feel like myself again. I feel like I’ve regained that part of my life.”

When his leg was amputated below the knee in January, Sean posted his first defiant message on social media, which read: “Just had my leg amputated. Whatever, I didn’t want it anyway.”

The message and accompanying photograph received more than 80,000 upvotes on Reddit.

One Reddit user who had just had surgery on a broken leg thanked Sean for encouraging them to “look on the bright side”.

He replied: “Don’t be scared. I’m sure you’ll recover but even if you don’t, I will happily be your amputee buddy.”

And when someone else said he was handling losing his leg better than they would, he replied: “I lost my leg, not my personality.”

Sean said chats such as these motivated him to post about his recovery as he adjusted to his new life.

The third-class petty officer’s leg was crushed in 2017 as he was unloading hazardous materials from his ship.

Despite 10 operations to save his leg, he said, the pain caused by the permanent nerve damage was “too much to stomach” and he eventually opted for an amputation.

“My leg… has caused me nothing but pain and agony for over a year,” he said.

“Being an amputee isn’t a bad thing. I’m awesome and so is my cyborg leg.”


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To keep people updated on his progress, the 23-year-old posted a video of him putting on his stump for the first time.

It included a section of a sentimental tattoo lost during the amputation, which quoted a saying his mother used when he was young.

“The fact that I was able to keep this tattoo means so much to me,” he said.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionSean Dougherty takes part in a mirror therapy session.

As part of his recuperation, Sean underwent a form of therapy called mirror visual feedback, which involves using a mirror to reflect the remaining limb, creating the impression of having both legs.

Exercising or moving the remaining limb can help remove pain from a phantom limb, according to the NHS.

“Seeing my left leg magically come back was incredible but too much to handle,” Sean said.

In another video, he showed his first uphill wheelchair training session.

‘Going downhill’

Sean suffered a setback in March when he had to return to hospital because of an infection, which ultimately resulted in further surgery.

The impact left him feeling like he was “going downhill mentally”.

He said: “My positivity started to run out and I had to admit I was depressed.

“I let myself be sad for about a week and now I feel a lot better.”

In recent weeks, both physiotherapy and counselling helped him get back on track.

Image copyright Sean Dougherty
Image caption Sean was given a bear by a fan but it was a while before he realised it’s left paw was missing

Throughout his battle to stand on two feet again Sean has received support from his online following, which he said had made “all the difference in the world”.

“I’ve actually met some of the people I’ve been talking to online and they’ve given me advice.,” he said.

“They have kept me going and my faith has been restored in humanity.”

Image copyright Sean Dougherty
Image caption Sean’s next goal is to run a mile

Sean’s next goal is to run a mile in August. Ultimately, he wants to complete his navy contract then go to college to “experience the world, meet new people, and enjoy life”.

His advice to anyone who wants to know what having a leg amputated feels like, is simple: “If you’ve ever lost a family member, you know what it’s like to lose a leg.

“There are ups and downs and how you look at them depends on your perspective.”

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Brexit: Labour supports a referendum with caveats

People's Vote supporters Image copyright Getty Images

Labour’s governing body has agreed to support a further referendum on Brexit under certain circumstances.

The National Executive Committee met to decide the wording of its manifesto for May’s European elections.

It rejected the idea of campaigning for a referendum under all circumstances – as supported by deputy leader Tom Watson and many ordinary members.

But the party will demand a public vote if it cannot get changes to the government’s deal or an election.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) oversees the overall direction of the party and is made up of representatives including shadow cabinet members, MPs, councillors and trade unions.

A Labour source said: “The NEC agreed the manifesto which will be fully in line with Labour’s existing policy to support Labour’s alternative plan and if we can’t get the necessary changes to the government’s deal, or a general election, to back the option of a public vote.”

The decision was sufficiently nuanced, though, that MPs have interpreted it in different ways.

Wes Streeting, who favours another referendum, tweeted that the NEC had “made the right call and confirmed that a public vote will be in our manifesto for the European elections”.

Fellow pro-referendum MP Bridget Phillipson said Labour had “done the bare minimum needed” and she could “only hope” it would be enough to win over voters who want another say on Brexit.

On the other side of the party, Gloria De Piero, who is against another vote, also welcomed the decision, arguing it meant the manifesto would “not contain a pledge” to hold a referendum – only keeping it as “an option” if a general election could not be engineered.

Conference policy

The UK will have to take part in European Parliamentary elections on 23 May unless a Brexit deal is accepted by MPs before then.

Labour agreed a policy at its last conference that if Parliament voted down the government’s withdrawal deal with the EU – which it has effectively done three times – or talks ended in no-deal, there should be a general election.

But if it could not force one, conference agreed that the party “must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”.

Since then, though, Labour has entered into cross-party talks with the Conservatives to see if they can reach a consensus on how to get a Brexit deal through Parliament so that Britain can leave.

Many Labour members wanted the party to make its agreement to any deal conditional on it being put to a public vote – what Labour calls a “confirmatory ballot”.

Labour have not yet made clear what their proposed referendum would be on, but a party briefing paper to MPs published earlier this year said it would need to have “a credible Leave option and Remain” on the ballot paper.

Where is Labour now?

On the surface it doesn’t look like Labour’s position has changed – but it has a little bit.

Tom Watson, along with some trade unions and some party members, wanted a full-throated commitment to a referendum under all circumstances. What they have ended up with instead is a compromise or a fudge. Labour will call for a referendum if the Conservatives don’t make changes to their Brexit deal.

Some pro-referendum MPs aren’t too disappointed because they believe the Conservatives won’t move far enough and that leaves the door open to a referendum in the end anyway.

Others, though, are disappointed because they think this is a way of avoiding a clear commitment in the run-up to the European elections.

In truth, it puts the ball back into the Tories’ court when it comes to those cross-party Brexit talks.

Jeremy Corbyn is saying to Theresa May “if you can compromise with us, we can hold back the tide of demands in our own party for a referendum.”

That’s the bargain he’s offering.

Speaking ahead of the NEC’s decision, Tom Watson, the party’s deputy leader, said “the context has changed” since the 2018 party conference and Labour should now throw its full support behind a second referendum “to heal the divide in the country”.

Afterwards, he described the party’s agreed manifesto as “very good” and insisted he was not “disappointed” with the outcome – although he said would say more when the document was published next week.

Manuel Cortes, secretary of the TSSA union which has a seat on the NEC, said he was disappointed that Labour had missed the opportunity to commit to giving voters another say.

The latest talks between the government and Labour on Monday were described as “positive” and “productive” by the two sides.

Labour’s position on Brexit

June 2017 – Labour’s general election manifesto accepts referendum result

28 September 2018 – Labour agrees if a general election cannot be achieved it “must support all options… including campaigning for a public vote”

November 2018 – Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says Labour will “inevitably” back a second referendum if unable to secure general election

16 January 2019 – 71 Labour MPs say they support a public vote

6 February 2019 – Mr Corbyn writes a letter to Mrs May seeking five changes to her Brexit policy with no mention of a “People’s Vote”

25 February 2019 – Labour says it will back a public vote if its proposed Brexit deal is rejected

14 March 2019 – Labour orders its MPs to abstain on an amendment calling for a second referendum

27 March 2019 – The party instructs its MPs to support Margaret Beckett’s amendment which calls for a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal

30 April 2019 – NEC agrees that the European election manifesto will commit to a further referendum under certain circumstances

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