Middlesbrough 3-0 Leeds United

Patrick Bamford has now scored eight goals this season for Middlesbrough

Patrick Bamford scored the first hat-trick of his career as Middlesbrough comfortably beat Leeds to climb to sixth in the Championship table.

The forward, 24, flicked home Stewart Downing’s cross to put Boro in front.

He then ran onto Adama Traore’s through ball to slot the second under visiting keeper Felix Wiedwald.

Leeds created little in attack and Bamford added his third from inside the penalty area after a shot from Traore was blocked into his path.

The victory lifted Tony Pulis’ side into the play-off places, displacing Sheffield United by virtue of a superior goal difference, while Leeds remain 11th, six points outside the top six.

Having tasted victory for the first time as Leeds head coach when they beat Brentford 1-0 last Saturday, Paul Heckingbottom named an unchanged starting XI as they looked to build further momentum.

But after Bamford scored twice in five first-half minutes, Boro were in control, with Traore in particular causing major problems for the Leeds defence.

It took until the 86th minute for substitute Caleb Ekuban to produce the first shot on target by the visitors, which was saved by Darren Randolph.

By then, Bamford had snuffed out any chance of a comeback by slotting home his third goal, and he now has six in three games after scoring only once in his previous 22 appearances.



Louis Tomlinson in Twitter row with police over cannabis discovery

Louis on Radio 1 Image copyright BBC Radio 1
Image caption Former One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson has 33m Twitter followers

A pop star has questioned the police’s use of social media after officers posted a tweet about discovering a cannabis farm in a house.

Former One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson accused West Yorkshire officers of “gloating” over the raid.

In a Twitter post the Doncaster-born star said: “Surely as law enforcement you should be rising above ‘venting’ to your followers.”

Police discovered the Keighley cannabis farm due to a lack of snow on the roof.

More stories from around Yorkshire

The heat levels required to grow cannabis plants meant any settled snow had melted. A raid on the property off Arctic Street in Keighley led police to uncover 322 plants.

Following tweets by police officers showing the scene Mr Tomlinson asked his 33m followers; “Goes without saying the work the English police do is incredible but why the need for individual twitters?”

In response one of the officers PC Sam Hollins responded: “Because engagement breaks down barriers, more often than not it lets people feel the police are the people, not just anonymous uniforms.”

Image copyright PC CAROLINE FOSTER/twitter
Image caption Police posted images of the raid on social media



World Track Cycling: ‘Enormous crash’ affects Elinor Barker’s omnium bid

An “enormous crash” affects Elinor Barker’s bid for omnium success as Netherlands’ Kirsten Wild wins the elimination race.

Barker went on to finish the four-race event in sixth place.

WATCH MORE: GB’s Stewart wins men’s points race bronze

Available to UK users only.



‘Hard facts’ for both sides in Brexit talks – Theresa May

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Media captionTheresa May’s full Brexit speech where she said: “We chose to leave, we have a responsibility to help find a solution”

Theresa May has warned that “no-one will get everything they want” out of Brexit negotiations but she is confident a deal can be done.

Setting out UK hopes for a future EU economic partnership, Mrs May warned both sides had to accept “hard facts”.

Single market access would be “less than it is now” and the UK would have to pay into some EU agencies.

But she would not threaten to walk out of talks and in a message to the EU said: “Let’s get on with it.”

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 but it wants a transition period lasting around two years after to smooth the way for business.

Mrs May said she was confident remaining differences over a draft EU legal agreement could be resolved, allowing trade talks to get under way.

She said life would be different for the UK outside the EU’s single market: “In certain ways, our access to each other’s markets will be less than it is now.”

The UK could not expect to “enjoy all the benefits without all of the obligations” of membership.

Another “hard fact” would be that the UK would still continue to be affected by EU law and some decisions of the European Court of Justice – such as the ECJ rules on whether EU agreements are legal – but she stressed that the “jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK must end”.

The UK may choose to remain “in step” with EU regulations in areas like state aid and competition, in order to get “good access” to markets, she said.

The hard fact for the EU was that the UK would want its own bespoke trade deal, not an “off-the-shelf model”.

BBC political correspondent Alex Forsyth said “the real test will be whether this speech was enough to convince critics that Mrs May’s ambition for Brexit is credible and achievable without alienating her own MPs”.

Key trade proposals

The speech contained a lot of detail on the kind of trading relationship Mrs May wants with the EU after Brexit.

  • Banks located in the City of London will lose the right to trade across EU without country-by-country approval, so-called passporting. A new system will be brought in to allow “the same regulatory outcomes over time”
  • Associate membership of EU medicines, chemical and aviation agencies, accepting their rules and making “appropriate” financial contributions
  • Parliament would reserve the right to pass its own regulations in these areas but in the knowledge it could threaten co-operation with those bodies
  • Continued participation in EU science, education and cultural programmes, close relationship with Euratom
  • UK to explore continued participation in EU’s internal energy market while protecting single energy market on the island of Ireland
  • Independent arbitration mechanism for trade disputes to replace role currently played the European Court of Justice
  • Fairer deal for UK fishermen based on reciprocal access to waters and shared stocks management
  • Mutual recognition of broadcasting rules to allow UK channels to continue to be seen in Europe
  • Ensure continuity of rail, maritime and aviation services and of hauliers’ access to European markets
  • Keeping UK regulatory standards “as high as the EU’s” to ensure smooth trade and while UK law may not be “identical” to EU law “it should achieve the same outcomes”

Labour reaction

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Media captionCorbyn: Speech offered “no clarity and no real sense of priorities”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “After 20 wasted months, Theresa May has once again failed to bring real clarity to the negotiations – and worryingly, she admitted that her approach will reduce our access to European markets.

“She read out a long list of problems but failed to provide solutions, particularly on the urgent question of preventing a hard border in Northern Ireland.”

Attacking Mrs May’s suggestion the UK could stick closely to EU state aid rules, he added: “Theresa May’s only clear priority today seemed to be to tie the UK permanently to EU rules which are used to drive privatisation and block support for British industry.”


By BBC Brussels Correspondent Adam Fleming

Image copyright Getty Images

A European civil servant said to me recently that Brexit was a fascinating intellectual exercise in rebuilding the existing elements of the UK/EU relationship but with Britain out of the club.

Is that the same thing the prime minister proposed today, with the UK retaining associate membership of many of the EU’s agencies, choosing to follow the rulings of the European Court of Justice where needed, trading freely and maintaining broadly similar economic and social models?

One geeky-sounding proposal in particular demonstrates how ambitious – and potentially tricky – this could be.

Mrs May said she wanted a bespoke deal for sharing data that went beyond the EU’s usual tool of judging third countries’ laws to be of equivalent status to Europe’s. Yesterday Michel Barnier rejected this idea in advance.

The EU chief negotiator tweeted some lukewarm praise today (lukewarm will be more than enough for Downing Street).

But the EU’s formal reaction will come next week the European Council President Donald Tusk publishes his first draft of guidelines for the phase of Brexit talks where all of this will be tackled.

Neither Norway nor Canada

The prime minister called for a free trade agreement covering most sectors of the economy, going further than the deal signed between Canada and the EU but stopping short of Norway which is a member of the European Economic Area.

“We need to strike a new balance. but we will not accept the rights of Canada and the obligations of Norway,” she said.

The Irish border

She again said a hard Irish border or a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK would be “unacceptable” and said it was for the UK and EU to “work together” on a solution.

She suggested this could be either a customs partnership, where the UK “mirrors” EU requirements on goods from around the world, or a streamlined customs arrangement, using technology and “trusted trader” schemes to do away with the need for customs checks.


Amid criticism from the EU that the UK was attempting to “cherry-pick” the best parts of the bloc’s rules, she said: “The fact is that every free trade agreement has varying market access depending on the respective interests of the countries involved.

“If this is cherry-picking, then every trade arrangement is cherry-picking.”

Conservative reaction

The speech got a positive reaction from Brexit-backing cabinet ministers, with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tweeting: “We will remain extremely close to our EU friends and partners – but able to innovate, to set our own agenda, to make our own laws and to do ambitious free trade deals around the world.”

But pro-European Tory rebel Anna Soubry told the BBC that Leave voters would be right to question what was in it for them.

“The Brexit we are heading towards is very, very different to the one we were promised,” she said.

Reaction from Brussels

Image copyright Reuters

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier welcomed the speech, saying it provided “clarity” about the UK leaving the single market and customs union and a “recognition” that trade-offs will inform future talks on a deal.

But the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt was not impressed.

He said: “Theresa May needed to move beyond vague aspirations, we can only hope that serious proposals have been put in the post.

While I welcome the call for a deep and special partnership, this cannot be achieved by putting a few extra cherries on the Brexit cake. “

The DUP, Irish government, SNP, business and unions

The DUP, whom Mrs May relies on for key Commons votes, welcomed Mrs May’s “clear commitment that she will not countenance any new border being created in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom”.

Leader Arlene Foster said she had “set forward the basis upon which it would be possible to move forward.”

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he remained “concerned that some of the constraints of leaving the customs union and the single market are still not fully recognised”.

He added: “We will now need to see more detailed and realistic proposals from the UK. Brexit is due to happen in a little over 12 months, so time is short.”

Business group the CBI tweeted: “Excellent news if UK can stay in key agencies like EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) – glad PM has focused on them.”

The TUC said there was “still a chasm between the prime minister’s rhetoric and reality”.



Young deaf actress unfazed by Oscars

Maisie Sly is enjoying her trip to Hollywood before the awards ceremony on Sunday.



Trump steel tariffs: Trading partners threaten retaliation

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Media captionTrump on new tariffs: ‘We haven’t been treated fairly’

The main trading partners of the US have reacted angrily after President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

Canada and the EU said they would bring forward their own countermeasures to the steep new tarrifs.

Mexico, China and Brazil have also said they are weighing up retaliatory steps.

Mr Trump tweeted that the US had been “decimated by unfair trade and bad policy”. He said steel imports would face a 25% tariff and aluminium 10%.

However, critics argue that the tariffs would fail to protect American jobs and would ultimately put up prices for consumers.

The news sent shares in Asia down on Friday, with Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 losing more than 2% by mid-morning.

Shares in Japan’s car-making giant Toyota were down more than 2% and Nippon Steel stocks down more than 4%.

Toyota said the US decision would “adversely impact automakers, the automotive supplier community and consumers”.

  • What would China do in a US trade war?
  • Where Trump stands on world trade

What has the political reaction been?

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the tariffs would put thousands of European jobs at risk.

“We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures,” he said. “The EU will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption European steel factories, like this one in Germany, could be hit by the US tariffs

In Canada, the largest supplier of steel and aluminium to the US, trade minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said any tariffs would be “unacceptable”.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said Canada would take “responsive measures” if restrictions were imposed but did not give details.

Brazil, also a large steel exporter to the US, threatened “multilateral or bilateral” action to protect its interests.

Germany’s steel industry federation, WV Stahl, said the US measures violated the rules of the World Trade Organization and would have a major impact on Germany’s steel market.

How has China reacted?

The country which produces more than half the world’s steel gave no immediate official response but there had already been indications it would consider some sort of retaliation.

Little Chinese steel directly reaches US ports, Reuters news agency notes, because of previous anti-dumping duties, designed to prevent countries from selling their products at prices deemed unfairly low.

But US steel industry executives say Chinese steel is still widely shipped to the US through third countries.

President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, Liu He, met the Trump administration on Thursday for “frank and constructive” talks, a White House official said.

How did other markets respond?

In South Korea, America’s third largest source of steel, shares in steelmaking giant Posco were down more than 3.5%. The benchmark Kospi index was down close to 1.5%.

In China, investors seemed less concerned about the new tariffs. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 1.7%, while the Shanghai Composite was down 0.7%.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index had lost 1% by midday trade, dragged down by losses in commodities. Stocks in mining giant BHP Billiton were down more than 1.5%.

What did Trump say?

Mr Trump pledged to rebuild the US steel and aluminium industries which he said had suffered “disgraceful” treatment from other countries, in particular China, for decades.

“When our country can’t make aluminium and steel… you almost don’t have much of a country,” he said.

“We need great steel makers, great aluminium makers for defence.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The US is reliant on steel imports from more than 100 nations

Mr Trump’s announcement was slightly delayed amid reports of disagreement among his aides.

More than a dozen metals executives, including representatives from US Steel Corp and Arcelor Mittal, stood alongside him as he made the announcement.

During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump said that foreign countries were “dumping vast amounts of steel all over the United States, which essentially is killing our steelworkers and steel companies”.

Since taking office he has said cheap imports from China are harming the viability of industry in the US.

What shape is the US steel industry in?

The US imports four times more steel than it exports and is reliant on steel from more than 100 nations.

The US Department of Energy says the steel industry is recovering after a slump following the 2008 financial crisis.

But it is an industry significantly weaker than it was at the turn of the millennium. In 2000 the US produced 112m tons of steel – a figure that had fallen to 86.5m tons in 2016.

In 2000, 135,000 people were employed in the industry – a figure that fell to 83,600 in 2016.



Italy general election vote: Who’s who and why it matters

Italian Senate chamber Image copyright Getty Images

Italians are choosing a new parliament on 4 March. Who is standing, what are they proposing and does the outcome matter? Here’s a brief guide.

Italy has been run by a caretaker cabinet since December 2016, when Matteo Renzi resigned after staking his leadership on a referendum to overhaul the election and functioning of the houses of parliament.

New or old faces?

The search for a new prime minister involves some familiar names – and some very familiar faces, indeed.

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, 81, is back and leading his centre-right Forza Italia (FI) with unbounded energy.

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Media captionBerlusconi’s handshake advice for BBC reporter

He has teamed up with Matteo Salvini, 44, of the right-wing, Eurosceptic Lega (League – formerly the Northern League).

  • Silvio Berlusconi: Italy’s perpetual powerbroker

On the centre-left is Mr Renzi, 43, leader of the Democratic Party (PD), and challenging both camps is the leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S) Luigi Di Maio, who, at 31, would be Europe’s youngest prime minister if he prevailed.

What are they saying?

Migration: Like elsewhere in Europe, the arrival of migrants has spawned extremism, and even mainstream politicians have hardened their rhetoric.

Mr Berlusconi, for instance, has spoken of “a time bomb”. He wants to deport some 600,000 illegal migrants. His coalition ally, Mr Salvini, is more than pleased. He told an election Italy was “a racist country”.

The Five Star Movement is also anti-immigration – “Italy first” is one of Mr Di Maio’s favourite phrases. The centre-left has followed suit, too: the PD wants to cut aid to countries that refuse to accept migrants.

Read more:

  • Italian town at centre of bitter race debate
  • ‘White race’ remark sparks row in Italy
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Migrants were targeted by an Italian gunman this month in a racist attack

Economy: Italy has experienced a sharp decline since the financial crisis of 2007-08. It has returned to sluggish growth, but unemployment at 11% is the highest in the eurozone and Italy has the second worst debt burden after Greece.

Young Italians complain of lack of opportunities worsened by an entrenched system of favours and cronyism and, consequently, seek work abroad. Observers say they have heard more about pensioners than the youth during the campaign – and the reason may be young voters’ high vote abstention rates.

Europe: Contenders have lined up to blame EU budget rules for hampering recovery. Five Star and the League had promised to hold a referendum to leave the euro. But that rhetoric has now been dropped.

AOB [Any Other Business]: Vaccines. The Five Star Movement wants to scrap a law on compulsory vaccination, despite evidence of a resurgence of measles.

Read more: Italy makes child vaccinations compulsory

Where they stand
Parties/coalitions Migration Europe Economy
Centre-right Deport illegal migrants, take control of borders, Marshall Plan for Africa Revise treaties, refuse overregulation, no more austerity policies from Europe, protect “Made in Italy” products Facilitate credit lines for small- and medium-sized enterprises, help young people access labour market
Democratic Party No to Dublin regulation, stop aid for countries refusing to share burden More European political and social integration Reduce unemployment to under 9%, youth unemployment below 22%, guaranteed minimum wage, equal pay for women
Five Star Movement Revise Dublin regulation, distribute asylum seekers across EU Find alternatives to the euro, strike alliances with Southern European countries, oppose austerity policies, protect “Made in Italy” products Free trade union representation, worker participation in decision-making, shorten working day, incentivise party-time work

Basic facts for the day:

  • The vote is for 630 members of the lower chamber (Camera dei Deputati), and 315 in the Senate
  • Some are elected in constituencies directly, the others picked from set party lists
  • You need to be 18 to vote for the lower chamber, 25 for the Senate. Italians overseas have their own constituencies
  • Voting times are 07:00-23:00 (06:00-22:00 GMT). Exit polls are expected soon afterwards, with final result the following day

Who’s likely to become PM?

It is the first election under a new electoral law which encourages parties to form pre-election coalitions. Five Star has refused to join forces and Mr Di Maio’s chances of becoming prime minister appear distant, even though his party may well come top in the share of the vote.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini – top row – lead the race; Matteo Renzi hopes the centre-left will win and Luigi Di Maio wants them all out

The centre-right coalition is likely to emerge the overall winner – but short of a majority. Mr Berlusconi is barred from running because of a criminal conviction. He has mooted the possibility of Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, becoming prime minister.

Likewise, the centre-left is unlikely to receive a majority. Mr Renzi has refused to say whether he will be the coalition’s choice for PM, whilst refusing to support the incumbent at the same time.

So a grand coalition bringing the centre-right and centre-left together remains a possibility. A combination of the PD and Five Star will also cross the 50% threshold, but Mr Renzi has ruled out coalitions with “extremists”.

What’s at stake and should I care?

Yes – and no, for the time being.

Italy changes governments very often. However, a semblance of stability has been reigning in the past two decades, and Italians are getting used to regular voting intervals.

After Brexit, Italy will be the EU’s third largest economy and its strength matters beyond its borders. After all, Greece’s bailout quagmire haunts Europe. An unstable government in Italy will mean little or no growth – and a continued brain drain.

Is Italy likely to leave the eurozone? No, that issue has gone for the time being. It could be revived should the Eurosceptics of the League and the Five Star Movement somehow form a cabinet.

A final passing thought: Russia. Nato and the EU have not failed to notice that Mr Berlusconi remains close to President Vladimir Putin. The League is also pro-Russia, as is M5S.

Observers are wondering how a potential coalition of pro-Russia parties would affect EU consensus in, say, issues like sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in Ukraine.



‘My hero is a bald referee’

Isaac holds up his yellow card

Isaac Gborlee is a 14-year-old Liberian whose hero – of all people – is the former British football referee, Howard Webb. Adrian Chiles tells the story of how a boy from a poor one-parent family ended up refereeing matches with a yellow card his idol used in the World Cup final.

I often fall into despair about football, invariably when my team is going through one of its many bad patches. At these times all the depressing things about the global game float to the surface of my thinking: the money, the corruption, the World Cups held in the wrong places, the same old clubs winning the same old trophies. You know the kind of thing.

Feeling very much like this recently I texted an old friend of mine, with whom I shared much football back in the last century at university together. Ged’s a big Newcastle fan from Consett, County Durham, who is now an aid worker in West Africa.

“Do you still like football?” I wrote. “I don’t.”

He replied at once: “I love it. Despite everything. On one hand, even in Liberia I get Johnny-come-lately Chelsea fans taking the mickey out of me. On the other hand, I met a 14-year-old kid who wants to be Howard Webb, so that balances things up.”

Howard Webb shows a yellow card to Van Bronckhorst in the 2010 World Cup Final in South Africa, between the Netherlands and Spain. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Howard Webb shows a yellow card to Van Bronckhorst in the 2010 World Cup Final

Find out more

  • Listen to Isaac’s story on Chiles on Friday on Radio 5 live from 10:00 on 2 March
  • Or listen via the BBC iPlayer
  • Adrian Chiles has presented sports programmes on the BBC and ITV and is a lifelong fan of West Bromwich Albion football club

I asked for more information and Ged told me that he had met Isaac in the town of Gbarnga, four hours’ drive north of the Liberian capital, Monrovia.

The charity Ged works for, Mary’s Meals, provides school meals to children in poor communities and Isaac is one of those who benefit. As they chatted in Isaac’s home, Isaac told him about a football coach called Timothy “Gapsi” Kromah, who has had a huge effect on his life.

Gapsi and Isaac
Image caption Football coach Timothy “Gapsi” Kromah has taken Isaac Gborlee under his wing

Isaac was nine years old when Gapsi came across him sitting on the grass watching some footballers preparing for a training match. And when Gapsi blew his whistle for the game to start, he saw Isaac jump up, attach some plastic to a stick, and start holding it like a linesman.

“Every time the ball go out, he would put the plastic up,” says Gapsi, who started reacting to Isaac’s signals.

Isaac's hero is the British referee Howard Webb

This, in Gapsi’s words, is what happened next:

I decided to follow him, and would blow. Any foul he would put the flag up, and I would blow. After the practice, I called him. I said, ‘What’s your name?’

He said, ‘My name is Isaac’.

So I said, ‘Where do you live?’

He showed the area he lives. So then I asked him, ‘Where’s your father?’ As soon as I said this he began to cry.

He was like an abandoned child in the community because his father died and his mother was disabled. She can’t walk for even five minutes, when she goes out.

Isaac with his mum
Image caption Isaac with his mum

I told him to come for practice the next day. He came. So I called the children on the practice ground. I told them, ‘This man you see, he will be your head from today. Anybody disrespect him, you disrespect me. So everything he tells you to do, do it, or you will not play on the team,'” says Gapsi.

Over time, Isaac came to be known as Isaac Popo because of the sound his whistle makes. And Gapsi saw him improve to such an extent that he decided to try him out refereeing adult football.

I took him one morning to the old-timers, practising one Sunday. I told these guys, ‘Let the little kid ref our practice.’

You know, they got vexed, so they say, ‘Why, Gapsi? Don’t play fun out of us. A small little boy like this, what does he know about reffing?’

I said, ‘I beg you guys, just give him 10 minutes, please.’ So they said, ‘All right, no problem.'”

Isaac mediates

Gapsi was delighted to see his protégé pass the test.

After 10 minutes, just to observe these guys, to see whether they enjoy Isaac, I said, ‘Cut the practice off and give the whistle to the next guy.’

The guys got angry. They said No, I should not do it. They saw that the little kid was good. So we started entrusting him with some games. Big, big games. He reffed the biggest high school game, which is Gboveh and St Martin’s.

You know the only reason why he’s he’s not reffing far is because of his age. According to the football association, you’ve got to reach 18 before you can do this. We tried going and registering him to the Liberia Football Association, but no help.

If he has the support, I see him go far, like Howard Webb, the great Howard Webb of England. I see him maybe exceeding Howard Webb, because that’s his role model. He said he wants to be like Howard Webb, or even more than Howard Webb.

Now I’ve never met Howard Webb but I did have a number for him so I dropped him a text.

“You had to go a long way to find a fan of mine,” he replied.

Then Ged and I sent Howard Isaac’s story and some photos.

“This is an amazing story and I was pretty moved,” he wrote back. “I spent a few weeks in Nigeria working for Fifa in 2009 and I know about the obsession with Premier League football in West Africa, but it’s unbelievable that somebody like Isaac has even heard of me, never mind holding me as his role model.”

Howard works in the US now, but when he was home for Christmas he sent Ged a package for Isaac. In it was one of Howard’s Fifa kits, a copy of his book, and a note wishing Isaac all the best for his refereeing career.

He also sent the actual yellow card he used in the 2010 World Cup Final in South Africa, between the Netherlands and Spain.

Isaac marches out to referee a game, wearing Howard Webb's shirt
Image caption Isaac Gborlee marches out to referee a game, wearing Howard Webb’s shirt

Ged’s just made the journey to Gbarnga to give it all to Isaac. Half the town seemed to be there for the presentation. It’s fair to say Isaac is extremely happy.

“I prayed by Almighty God today, when I received these gifts, that I will be standing with Howard Webb one day and that we two can interact,” he said. “I will tell him thank you for his gifts, and I would like to take some advice from him for the rules of the game.”

The next job of course, is to get Howard out there. Leave that one with me. But in the meantime Isaac “Popo” Gborlee is to be found in Liberia refereeing football matches. The five dollars he earns every game helps to support his family. He wears a Fifa kit several sizes too big for him, and books players with the very yellow card his hero used 14 times in a World Cup Final.

Football, honestly, what’s not to love?

Photographs by Ged Naughton

Listen to Isaac’s story on Radio 5 Live

Join the conversation – find us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter



US housing boss cancels order for $31,000 dining room set

Ben Carson Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Housing Secretary allegedly spent thousands of dollars on a dining room office set

US Housing Secretary Ben Carson has reportedly cancelled an order for an office dining room set that cost about $31,000 (£23,000), US media report.

A spokesman for the Department of House and Urban Development (HUD) said it was working to “rescind the order”.

HUD officials say the expensive purchase was made without Secretary Carson’s knowledge.

The move came a day after a congressional oversight panel opened an inquiry into his agency’s renovation.

HUD spokesman Raffi Williams said on Thursday that “the agency is working to rescind the order for the dining room set” at Mr Carson’s request.

“I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered”, Mr Carson said in a statement.

The former Republican presidential candidate was reportedly only aware of the purchase of blinds for his office, which cost less that $5,000, according to the agency.

He tweeted on Wednesday that “there has been no dishonesty or wrongdoing by us”.

The furniture order was cancelled after the head of the US House of Representatives Oversight Committee, Republican Trey Gowdy, sent a letter to Mr Carson’s office asking it to produce documents related to the purchase to deterimine “whether HUD adhered to the applicable spending limitations”.

The dining room set included a mahogany table, sideboard, breakfront and 10 chairs with a blue velvet finish, CNN reported, citing purchase documents.

The revelations about HUD’s renovations came to light after a former employee filed a complaint alleging she was demoted for refusing to approve furnishings to redecorate Mr Carson’s office.

Helen Foster, who worked as the agency’s chief administrative officer during the Trump administration transition, filed a complaint in November to the Office of Special Counsel that she was told to approve funds for the renovations even though they exceeded the $5,000 limit for decorating expenses.

The agency has said it did not spend more than the legal limit for the renovations.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionBen Carson wanted Katty Kay’s mic turned off during a tense interview

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed the department would not go forward with the purchase in a news briefing on Thursday.

She added the agency was looking for “another option that is much more responsible with tax payers’ dollars”.

She dismissed reports that President Donald Trump was looking to fire Mr Carson or other members of his cabinet involved in recent spending scandals.

“If you’re asking if he’s getting rid of anyone on the cabinet, I’m not aware that’s taking place”, said Ms Sanders.

  • Trump official’s Wimbledon trip ‘corrupt’
  • US Veterans aide retires amid ethics row

Five other Trump cabinet officials have faced ethics probes related to travel costs while conducting official business for the White House. Others include:

  • US Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin earlier this month said he would reimburse the treasury department after an internal watchdog found he used tax dollars to fund a European trip
  • Tom Price resigned as Health and Human Services secretary in September 2017 amid a row over more than $400,000 in tax dollars spent on charter and luxury flights
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was criticised by his agency’s inspector general for not properly documenting his travel on private planes with his wife
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin faced an investigation after he was accused of spending more than $800,000 in tax dollars on military aircraft for leisure purposes
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is currently being probed for his use of private planes and luxury airliners



Public at risk from ‘daily cocktail of pollution’

Traffic jam in central London Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Pollution must be recognised as a health risk, Prof Dame Sally Davies says

People are being exposed to a daily cocktail of pollution that may be having a significant impact on their health, England’s chief medical officer says.

Prof Dame Sally Davies said the impact of air, light and noise pollution was well recognised in the environment.

But she said its role in terms of health was yet to be fully understood.

Dame Sally added there was enough evidence to suggest action had to be taken.

And, in her annual report, she said the NHS could lead the way in cutting pollution levels.

She said one in 20 vehicle journeys was linked to the NHS, either from patients or staff travelling.

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And making sure services were brought out of hospitals and closer to people’s homes could help reduce that burden.

Dame Sally also pointed to the attempts being made to phase out ambulances run on diesel, a key source of nitrogen dioxide, which is linked to respiratory disease.

And she said the NHS could cut its use of disposable plastics, landfill and incineration.

Image copyright Wavebreakmedia
Image caption Air pollution has been linked to conditions such as asthma and heart disease

While air pollution does not kill people directly, it can shorten their lives by undermining the health of people with lung problems and heart disease.

Previous research has suggested it may be a factor in one in 12 deaths and is the ninth leading factor for mortality in the UK – tobacco, diet and high blood pressure are the top three.

But Dame Sally said there was also a question about how air, light and noise could coincide to have an impact on long-term health.

“With factors like air, light and noise, the public is exposed to a daily cocktail of pollutants,” she said.

“Some of these can be linked to chronic conditions like heart disease and asthma.

“This increases the risk for some of the most vulnerable members of our society and places a huge burden on our health service.”