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Sept morts après qu’une voiture a percuté un groupe de migrants au Texas

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Au moins sept personnes ont été tuées dimanche dans le sud du Texas et plusieurs autres blessées lorsqu’une voiture a percuté un groupe qui attendait à un arrêt de bus devant un centre d’aide aux migrants, a annoncé la police.

Les forces de l’ordre ont déclaré qu’elles traitaient l’incident comme un accident pour le moment, bien qu’un témoin ait déclaré à l’AFP que le conducteur avait crié des insultes au groupe avant d’accélérer.

Le véhicule utilitaire sport gris “a grillé un feu rouge et a renversé plusieurs personnes” vers 08h30 (13h30 GMT) à Brownsville, une ville frontalière à l’extrémité sud de l’Etat, a indiqué à l’AFP le porte-parole de la police locale Martin Sandoval.

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Il a dit que sept personnes sont mortes et “près de 10” autres personnes ont été blessées.

Le témoin Luis Herrera, dont le bras a été blessé lors de l’incident, a déclaré à l’AFP que l’accident avait été “soudain”.

“Une femme est passée en voiture et nous a avertis de nous écarter”, a-t-il déclaré.

“C’était une question de moments. Le tueur est passé dans la voiture, nous a fait des gestes, nous a insultés”, a déclaré le Vénézuélien de 36 ans.

Herrera a ensuite décrit le conducteur comme accélérant la voiture à pleine puissance.

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L’automobiliste, qui, selon Sandoval, a également été emmené à l’hôpital, a été détenu par des témoins jusqu’à l’arrivée de la police. Il est pour l’instant accusé de conduite imprudente.

“Plus que probablement, il y aura d’autres frais à venir plus tard”, a déclaré Sandoval à un affilié local d’ABC, sans préciser quels pourraient être les frais supplémentaires.

Les autorités ont ouvert une enquête pour déterminer si l’accident mortel était accidentel ou intentionnel, a déclaré Sandoval.

“Nous examinons (cela)”, a-t-il déclaré à l’AFP.

‘Intense’

Les victimes faisaient partie d’une foule d’environ 25 personnes attendant à un arrêt de bus, selon Victor Maldonado, directeur exécutif du Centre Ozanam, un refuge pour sans-abri en face de l’accident.

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Le groupe, qui, selon lui, était composé uniquement de Vénézuéliens, venait de prendre son petit-déjeuner dans l’établissement.

Il a décrit une scène macabre, avec des parties du corps abandonnées le long de la rue.

Les témoins ont été “vraiment choqués”, a déclaré Maldonado à l’AFP. “C’était assez intense.”

Le centre pour sans-abri est ouvert 24 heures sur 24, a déclaré Maldonado, car “nous avons hébergé des personnes venant du Chili, de Colombie, d’Équateur, de Chine, d’Ukraine – et de plusieurs Vénézuéliens”, a-t-il ajouté.

Sandoval a déclaré qu’au moins certaines des victimes étaient des migrants, mais n’a pas pu confirmer si elles l’étaient toutes.

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“C’est quelque chose que nous enquêtons avec la police des frontières”, a-t-il déclaré.

La nouvelle de la tragédie survient alors que les autorités se préparent à la levée jeudi d’une politique fédérale de l’ère Donald Trump qui permet aux patrouilleurs des frontières d’expulser ou de refouler les migrants sans même accepter leurs demandes d’asile.

L’expiration imminente de la règle connue sous le nom de Titre 42 fait craindre aux autorités une augmentation du nombre de migrants sans papiers entrant aux États-Unis.

Cela survient également un jour après qu’un tireur a tué au moins huit personnes dans un centre commercial, également au Texas, lors de la dernière fusillade de masse qui a secoué le pays.

(AFP)

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Try buying into this GILTY pleasure to beat the taxman

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As the Government readies itself for a record tax haul on savings, clued-up investors have found a clever trick to shield their earnings from the taxman.

Seven million savers are expected to hand over an all-time high of £6.6 billion in tax on earnings they have made on their savings this year, the tax office estimates.

High interest rates on fixed savings accounts should be a boon for households but many are finding themselves caught in a tax trap and will face a hefty bill on the interest they make for the first time in years. Luckily, there’s a safe way to earn returns on your money without the taxman taking a slice.

Instead of piling into one-year bonds offered by banks, investing in British Government bonds – known as gilts – can have enormous tax advantages.

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Bella Caridade-Ferreira, the investment expert behind comparison website Compare & Invest, says investing in these bonds is a ‘no brainer’ this year. They will be especially useful for higher-rate taxpayers who have maxed out their £20,000 Isa allowance and £500 personal savings allowances this year.

Record haul: Seven million savers are expected to hand over an all-time high of £6.6 billion in tax on earnings they have made on their savings this year

Record haul: Seven million savers are expected to hand over an all-time high of £6.6 billion in tax on earnings they have made on their savings this year

Record haul: Seven million savers are expected to hand over an all-time high of £6.6 billion in tax on earnings they have made on their savings this year

Many investors have already wised up to the loophole. Half of the ten most popular investments in September at stockbroker AJ Bell were Government bonds. Meanwhile, at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown, conventional gilt purchases have increased by 538 per cent over the past 12 months.

Those who make the most of the little-known trick can bag returns above 5 per cent post tax. But to truly take advantage, you’ll need to pick the right gilts and hold them until the end of their term.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BUYING INTO GILTS?

Savers who have diligently built even modest nest eggs are now getting stung. This is because interest earned on savings is treated as income and taxed at your marginal rate of income tax.

For basic-rate taxpayers, the taxman takes 20 per cent on interest earned above £1,000 a year, for higher-rate it’s 40 per cent above £500 and additional rate pay 45 per cent on everything they earn. These allowances look increasingly miserly as interest rates shoot up.

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Investing in gilts has two big benefits. The first is that Government bonds are safe investments unlike some other types of bonds – namely issued by countries on the verge of bankruptcy. The second is that the returns you make on them are free from capital gains tax which applies to many other investments, such as shares, funds or investment trusts outside of an Isa.

Gilts are simply IOUs that you can buy off the Government. That money can be used to pay for anything from the NHS to Britain’s schools. In return for lending your cash to the Government, you receive a regular payment known as a ‘coupon’. At the end of the bond’s term, when it matures, you get back the original amount you paid for the bond – known as its ‘face value’. 

The only reason you might not get your money back is if the Government goes bankrupt and is unable to pay its debts. This means that investing in gilts – UK Government bonds – is as safe as putting your money into National Savings & Investments (NS&I) accounts, which are also guaranteed by the UK Government, says Laith Khalaf, head of investment analysis at investment platform AJ Bell.

While the interest you earn from gilts is subject to taxation like any other income, any capital gain you make from them is not.

And because gilts are often traded on the secondary market – for example with stockbrokers – at a discount, you can buy them for below the price you will get back when the gilt matures. This means you can make a guaranteed capital gain at the end of the term.

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Jason Hollands, of wealth manager Bestinvest, says that this makes investing in gilts more tax efficient than holding money in cash, particularly for those who have exhausted their Isa allowance and are holding money outside their pensions.

HOW TO UNLOCK RETURNS OF 5 PER CENT-PLUS

The key to success, Khalaf says, is being able to work out how much money you will save in not paying capital gains tax versus how much tax you will have to pay on interest you earn. Once you have mastered this, it is possible to achieve an after-tax yield of over 5 per cent.

His calculations show that a basic-rate taxpayer who has already exhausted his or her personal savings allowance of £1,000 a year could receive a post-tax return of 5.31 per cent on gilts maturing at the end of January 2024.

Higher-rate taxpayers, who only have a £500 savings allowance, will find their return is 5.24 per cent, and additional rate taxpayers 5.25 per cent. In contrast, the best-buy, one-year bond from Metro Bank, which pays 5.8 per cent, would give basic-rate taxpayers a post-tax return of 4.68 per cent, higher rate taxpayers 3.51 per cent and additional rate taxpayers 3.22 per cent.

WHAT ARE THE BEST GILTS TO BUY – AND WHY?

Every gilt will have a different price, coupon and maturity date, which means that you will have to pick carefully.

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Fortunately, the maturity date and the coupon are in the name of the gilt, so it is easy to find out this information.

Some examples of gilts with low yields and relatively imminent maturity dates are: Treasury 0.25% 31/01/2025 or Treasury 0.125% 31/01/2028.

To work out the post-tax return you will get, you also need to know the current price of the gilt. For example, the gilt maturing on January 31, 2025 is currently available at £95.15. This will return £100 at the end of the term.

That means you would receive a capital gain of £4.87 for every £95.15 you spent on this gilt now, or 5.1 per cent of your investment. You would also receive a yield of 0.26 per cent, or 26p for every £100 you invest – on which you would have to pay tax.

According to AJ Bell, the average gilt buyer purchased £129,000 worth of gilts in September.

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If you want to tuck your money away for longer, the sums look slightly different. The gilt maturing on January 31, 2028, is currently available at a price of £85.31.

On January 31, 2028, it will return you £100, so you will receive a capital gain of 17 per cent of your original investment over a period of just over three years. You will also receive a taxable coupon payment.

DAUNTED? HERE’S HOW – AND WHERE – TO BUY

If you have never bought gilts before, the process can seem daunting. You will need to account for the charges for both buying and holding the gilts.

You can buy Government bonds directly through the Debt Management Office, which is the Government’s debt issuer.

It offers a gilt purchase and sale service, meaning that you can buy and sell gilts that are already in the market.

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To use it you must become a member of an ‘approved group’ of investors, and you will be charged 0.7 per cent of the value of the gilts to buy them and the same to sell them, with some reductions if you are dealing with more than £10,000 of gilts at a time.

There is more information about this service at dmo.gov.uk.

Alternatively, you can buy and sell gilts through a stockbroker or online trading platform. Many of them only allow you to buy gilts over the phone although some have a select number that can be bought online.

MAKE SURE YOU USE UP YOUR ALLOWANCES FIRST

While gilts can offer significant tax advantages, not everyone should use this loophole.

Make sure you first use up all your personal savings allowance. If you don’t pay tax on your savings interest, it may be cheaper to use a high interest savings account.

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The same goes if you still have some of your £20,000 Isa allowance to use up. Virgin Money has a one-year Isa at 5.65 per cent.

If you are saving for retirement you may be better off using a pension – the tax relief benefits are too great to miss.

And if the calculations on gilts are too complex, don’t take the risk. Use savings instead.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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Fascinating map reveals the 16 most in-demand tourist attractions in the world, with a fairytale castle in Germany and the Harry Potter studio tour trumping Walt Disney World

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A fairytale-like castle located in the south of Germany and Machu Picchu in Peru have been named the two most in-demand attractions in the world.

They come top of a ranking of the 16 most in-demand tourist attractions, drawn up by Premier Inn after data was collated from over 100 official online booking systems that revealed how far in advance travellers must book their tickets for top experiences around the world.

The ‘captivating’ Neuschwanstein Castle and the 15th-century Inca citadel must be booked 37 days in advance, according to the British hotel chain. 

This graphic shows the world's most in-demand tourist attractions, according to data collated by Premier Inn

This graphic shows the world's most in-demand tourist attractions, according to data collated by Premier Inn

This graphic shows the world’s most in-demand tourist attractions, according to data collated by Premier Inn

The Harry Potter Studio Tour is the UK’s most desired experience, and comes second globally. While European attractions dominate the ranking – filling 11 slots.

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Scroll down to see the list in full – ranked in reverse order.

 10= Statue of Liberty, U.S

Standing tall on Liberty Island, this copper statue draws intrigue from tourists all over the globe. But Lonely Planet notes: ‘Visiting the Statue of Liberty is not just a case of turning up on the day.’

The Statue of Liberty, located on Liberty Island in New York, ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn's list of the world's most in-demand attractions

The Statue of Liberty, located on Liberty Island in New York, ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn's list of the world's most in-demand attractions

The Statue of Liberty, located on Liberty Island in New York, ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn’s list of the world’s most in-demand attractions

Access is by ferry from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, the website says, and ‘most visitors visit on a loop that also takes in Ellis Island’. 

Ranking in joint 10th position, Premier Inn suggests tourists should pre-book tickets three days in advance.  

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10= The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

The Sistine Chapel ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn's list - visitors should book three days in advance. Above is Michelangelo's famous ceiling fresco

The Sistine Chapel ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn's list - visitors should book three days in advance. Above is Michelangelo's famous ceiling fresco

The Sistine Chapel ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn’s list – visitors should book three days in advance. Above is Michelangelo’s famous ceiling fresco 

This world-famous artistic treasure is one of the chapels of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City, where the pope’s official residence is located.

Its crowning glory is the ceiling, adorned with Michelangelo’s famous fresco, which was painted between 1508 and 1512. 

The Sistine Chapel ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn’s list – and visitors should book three days in advance. When purchasing tickets, Museums Rome recommends purchasing skip-the-line tickets for stress-free enjoyment of the masterpiece. 

9. Walt Disney World, U.S

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In ninth place is Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Premier Inn says visitors should book their tickets at least four days in advance

In ninth place is Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Premier Inn says visitors should book their tickets at least four days in advance

In ninth place is Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Premier Inn says visitors should book their tickets at least four days in advance

Perhaps the most famous amusement park in the world, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, places ninth on Premier Inn’s list of in-demand attractions.

The enormous resort has four main parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios – each one filled with rides and attractions. 

Tourists should book their tickets at least four days in advance, according to Premier Inn. To make the most of your time at the theme park, Walt Disney World suggests booking ‘Lightning Lane’ entrances to bypass the queue. 

8= Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, Netherlands

In joint eighth on Premier Inn's ranking is the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which attracts millions of people per year

In joint eighth on Premier Inn's ranking is the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which attracts millions of people per year

In joint eighth on Premier Inn’s ranking is the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which attracts millions of people per year

Located by the Prinsengracht Canal in central Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House is a must-see attraction for most visitors. Ranking eighth on Premier Inn’s list – tourists should book six days in advance. 

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Visitors will learn the story of Anne Frank and have the chance to view the original diary, in a museum that attracts millions of people per year. 

They’ll see the Secret Annex, where Anne Frank hid for over two years during World War II, its website notes. 

 8= The Catacombs, Paris, France

The Catacombs, an underground ossuary in Paris, places joint eighth on Premier Inn's list. If visitors want to see the skull-lined tunnels they should book six days in advance

The Catacombs, an underground ossuary in Paris, places joint eighth on Premier Inn's list. If visitors want to see the skull-lined tunnels they should book six days in advance

The Catacombs, an underground ossuary in Paris, places joint eighth on Premier Inn’s list. If visitors want to see the skull-lined tunnels they should book six days in advance

Beneath the streets of Paris, lies an ossuary holding the remains of more than six million people. Lonely Planet notes: ‘It’s gruesome, ghoulish and downright spooky, but it never fails to captivate visitors.’

The travel guide says the skull-lined tunnels became a resting place for the city’s unburied corpses that could no longer fit in the overcrowded cemeteries in the 18th century – and it’s now one of Paris’s most popular sites. 

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Ranking eighth on Premier Inn’s list, tourists should pre-book tickets six days in advance. 

8= Borghese Gallery, Rome, Italy 

In joint eighth place is the Borghese Gallery in Rome, which is surrounded by 'astonishing' green gardens

In joint eighth place is the Borghese Gallery in Rome, which is surrounded by 'astonishing' green gardens

In joint eighth place is the Borghese Gallery in Rome, which is surrounded by ‘astonishing’ green gardens

Ranking joint eighth on the list of the world’s most in-demand attractions is the Borghese Gallery in Italy, which its website describes as ‘one of the must-visit places during your trip to Rome’.

The ‘elegant palace’ is home to world-renowned artworks, featuring the likes of Caravaggio, Canova and Raphael.

The gallery attracts thousands of visitors a year and is surrounded by ‘astonishing’ green gardens – to secure tickets, visitors are advised to book six days in advance. 

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7= Big Ben, UK

Big Ben ranks joint seventh on Premier Inn's list of most in-demand attractions. Visitors should book their tickets to see the clock eight days in advance

Big Ben ranks joint seventh on Premier Inn's list of most in-demand attractions. Visitors should book their tickets to see the clock eight days in advance

Big Ben ranks joint seventh on Premier Inn’s list of most in-demand attractions. Visitors should book their tickets to see the clock eight days in advance

The Elizabeth Tower, the clock tower known as ‘Big Ben’, is located in Westminster and stands 316 feet (96 metres) tall.

You can visit Big Ben – a name originally appointed to the largest of the clock’s bells – by booking a 90-minute guided tour up 334 stairs to see the clock mechanism room and the Belfry, where the famous bell is located, Visit London says. 

Ranking joint seventh on Premier Inn’s list of most in-demand attractions, visitors should book their tickets eight days in advance.  

 7= The Forbidden City, China

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The Forbidden City in China is the joint seventh most in-demand attraction in the world, according to Premier Inn

The Forbidden City in China is the joint seventh most in-demand attraction in the world, according to Premier Inn

The Forbidden City in China is the joint seventh most in-demand attraction in the world, according to Premier Inn

Lonely Planet says the Unesco-listed Forbidden City ‘is China’s largest and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings’. 

Enclosed by 3.5km (2.17 miles) of walls, it notes: ‘This otherworldly palace was the reclusive home to two dynasties of imperial rule, sharing 900-plus buildings with a retinue of eunuchs, servants and concubines until the Republic overthrew the last Qing emperor in 1911.’

Located in the heart of Beijing, it attracts 16million annual visitors, Lonely Planet notes. Placing it in joint sixth on its ranking, Premier Inn says visitors should book just over a week (eight days) in advance. 

6= The Van Gogh Museum, Netherlands 

The Van Gogh Museum, located in Amsterdam's museum quarter, places joint sixth

The Van Gogh Museum, located in Amsterdam's museum quarter, places joint sixth

The Van Gogh Museum, located in Amsterdam’s museum quarter, places joint sixth

This museum houses the largest Van Gogh collection in the world, featuring masterpieces such as Sunflowers, Almond Blossom, The Bedroom and more. 

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It holds 200 paintings, 400 drawings and 700 letters by the Post-Impressionist artist. This year, the museum celebrated its 50th anniversary with special art festivals and exhibitions. 

Situated in Amsterdam’s museum quarter, it is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Ranking joint sixth on Premier Inn’s list of in-demand attractions, visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the famed artworks will have to book 10 days in advance. 

6= Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy

The Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper, comes joint sixth

The Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper, comes joint sixth

The Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, comes joint sixth 

There’s plenty to marvel at on the outside of the Santa Maria delle Grazie (‘Holy Mary of Grace’), but inside is where the true treasure lies. 

Listed as a Unesco World Heritage site, tourists from all over the globe flock to the convent in Milan to take a glimpse at Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, a masterpiece created between 1495 and 1497.

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To visit the classic painting, tourists will have to pre-book their tickets at least 10 days in advance. 

5. Mount Fuji, Japan 

Fancy summiting this world-famous volcano? Climbing slots are limited so pre-booking is crucial

Fancy summiting this world-famous volcano? Climbing slots are limited so pre-booking is crucial

Fancy summiting this world-famous volcano? Climbing slots are limited so pre-booking is crucial

An iconic symbol of Japan, Mount Fuji’s perfect cone is a sight to behold.

To embark on the exhilarating hike to the volcano’s summit or simply admire its beauty from afar, visitors should plan their trip and secure necessary permits at least two weeks (16 days) in advance. 

The climbing season is short, and spots are limited, making pre-booking crucial to experience the awe-inspiring wonder of Mount Fuji. 

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4. Sky Garden, London, UK 

The Sky Garden has quickly become one of London's most popular attractions. Visitors should pre-book tickets 22 days ahead

The Sky Garden has quickly become one of London's most popular attractions. Visitors should pre-book tickets 22 days ahead

The Sky Garden has quickly become one of London’s most popular attractions. Visitors should pre-book tickets 22 days ahead

Behold London’s highest public garden and the fourth most in-demand attraction globally.

Sky Garden – at the top of the 525ft- (160m) tall 20 Fenchurch Street skyscraper, aka the ‘Walkie Talkie’ – offers stunning views of some of London’s iconic landmarks and, what’s more, is free to visit.

However, the secret is well and truly out and visitors need to pre-book at least 22 days ahead of their planned visit.

3. Ghibli Museum, Tokyo, Japan

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The Ghibli Museum in Japan, located in Mitaka, ranks third on the list - tourists wanting to visit the animation museum must book their ticket 30 days before

The Ghibli Museum in Japan, located in Mitaka, ranks third on the list - tourists wanting to visit the animation museum must book their ticket 30 days before

The Ghibli Museum in Japan, located in Mitaka, ranks third on the list – tourists wanting to visit the animation museum must book their ticket 30 days before 

For admirers of Studio Ghibli’s animated masterpieces, the Ghibli Museum in Japan is a dream come true. 

Located in Mitaka, suburban Tokyo, the museum itself is a piece of art, with its architecture and exhibits exuding charm and magic. 

From original sketches to life-sized replicas of Ghibli characters, every corner of the museum is brimming with wonder and this appeal is reflected by how far in advance visitors must secure their entry: to embark on a heartwarming journey through the world of Ghibli’s extraordinary storytelling, booking a ticket must be done a month (30 days) in advance. 

2. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter, UK

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter is the UK's most in-demand attraction and No.2 globally

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter is the UK's most in-demand attraction and No.2 globally

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter is the UK’s most in-demand attraction and No.2 globally 

The Harry Potter Studio Tour is a dream come true for fans of the famous wizarding world. 

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The behind-the-scenes tour is crammed with the actual sets, props and costumes that the filmmakers used in the making of the eight Harry Potter movies. And they’re housed on hallowed ground – Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, where much of the filming took place.

Even if you’re not the biggest Harry Potter fan, you are guaranteed to be impressed by the jaw-dropping efforts the production team went to in their bid to bring J K Rowling’s timeless stories to life on the silver screen.

The attraction wows from the off, with visitors greeted in the entrance hall by a 64ft-wide model of the menacing Gringotts dragon, which hangs from the ceiling.

Features also include the sets for Diagon Alley, Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, Harry’s four-poster-bed-festooned quarters and the potions classroom.

Visitors will also explore the Forbidden Forest and climb aboard the actual Hogwarts Express.

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Due to its immense popularity, booking well in advance is essential, with visitors advised to secure their tickets at least 34 days ahead of their planned trip.

1= Machu Picchu, Peru 

Machu Picchu in Peru takes joint first place as the world's most in-demand attraction - visitors should secure their tickets over a month in advance

Machu Picchu in Peru takes joint first place as the world's most in-demand attraction - visitors should secure their tickets over a month in advance

Machu Picchu in Peru takes joint first place as the world’s most in-demand attraction – visitors should secure their tickets over a month in advance

Perched high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, Machu Picchu takes joint first place as the world’s most in-demand attraction. 

The marvel of ancient Incan engineering and an archaeological wonder has a limited daily quota for visitors, making timely booking crucial. 

To explore the mystical ruins and experience the magic of this Unesco World Heritage Site, visitors must secure their entry tickets at least 37 days ahead of their desired visit date. 

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1= Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany 

In joint first position is Neuschwanstein Castle in the very south of Germany. Visitors must book tickets to the fairytale-like attraction at least 37 days in advance

In joint first position is Neuschwanstein Castle in the very south of Germany. Visitors must book tickets to the fairytale-like attraction at least 37 days in advance

In joint first position is Neuschwanstein Castle in the very south of Germany. Visitors must book tickets to the fairytale-like attraction at least 37 days in advance

Straight out of a fairytale, joint No.1 Neuschwanstein Castle rises elegantly above the Bavarian landscape, captivating visitors with its romantic allure. 

To wander through the halls of this enchanting castle, reminiscent of a bygone era, travellers must book their tickets at least 37 days in advance. 

The popularity of this architectural masterpiece demands early planning to secure a spot on the guided tours that immerse visitors in its captivating history. 

Sharing tips for travellers to make the most of their experiences, a spokesperson for Premier Inn said: ‘Planning a holiday to visit iconic landmarks can be a rewarding experience, but it requires careful consideration to ensure you don’t miss out on the most beautiful sights. 

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‘To make the most of your experiences, our expert recommendation is that you plan your visit during off-peak seasons when tourist numbers are lower. This can increase your chances of securing tickets and offer a more relaxed experience. If that’s not possible, but your visit timing is flexible, try different schedules to find the days and the times of day with greater availability. 

‘Securing visits during weekdays and in the early morning is often easier. And always plan ahead. Research the attractions you wish to visit before you head there so you can make the most of your time and return from your travels satisfied.’

For more visit www.premierinn.com/gb/en/news/2023/easiest-to-book-attractions.html  

THE MOST IN-DEMAND ATTRACTIONS IN THE WORLD

The world’s most in-demand attractions according to Premier Inn

1= Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany (days needed to pre-book ahead of visit: 37)

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1= Machu Picchu, Peru (37)

2. Harry Potter Studio Tour, UK (34)

3. Ghibli Museum, Japan (30)

4. Sky Garden, UK (22)

5. Mount Fuji, Japan (16)

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6= Santa Maria delle Grazie, Italy (10)

6= The Van Gogh Museum, Netherlands (10)

7= The Forbidden City, China (8)

7= Big Ben, UK (8)

8= Borghese Galleria, Italy (6) 

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8= The Catacombs, France (6)

8= Anne Frank House, Netherlands (6)

9. Walt Disney World, U.S (4)

10= The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City (3)

10= Statue of Liberty, U.S (3)

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The UK’s most in-demand attractions according to Premier Inn

1. Harry Potter Studio Tour, Watford (days needed to pre-book ahead of visit: 34)

2. Sky Garden, London (22)

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3. Big Ben, London (8)

4. Palace of Westminster Tour, London (4)

5= Buckingham Palace, London (2)

5= Windsor Castle, Windsor (2)

6= Westminster Abbey, London (1)

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6= Eden Project, Cornwall (1)

6= Chester Zoo, Chester (1)

6= Churchill War Rooms, London (1)

6= The National Gallery, London (1)

Source: Premier Inn

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Saying ‘good morning’ to strangers and chatting with people you don’t know gives you a major happiness boost, study finds

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Proving the old adage that to give is to receive, it turns out that greeting strangers with a simple ‘Good morning’ and chatting to those we don’t know can boost our own happiness.

Following a study of 60,000 people, including 40,000 Britons, researchers said: ‘Momentary interactions, greeting and thanking, can increase wellbeing.’ They suggest it works by increasing a sense of belonging.

The team analysed data from two groups who had been asked about their interactions with people they didn’t know.

A study of 60,000 people, including 40,000 Britons, showed that those who had more conversations with strangers enjoyed greater life satisfaction

A study of 60,000 people, including 40,000 Britons, showed that those who had more conversations with strangers enjoyed greater life satisfaction

A study of 60,000 people, including 40,000 Britons, showed that those who had more conversations with strangers enjoyed greater life satisfaction

The results, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, showed that those who had more conversations with strangers enjoyed greater life satisfaction.

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Study leader Dr Esra Ascigil, of Sabanci University in Turkey, said: ‘Having a sense of belonging involves feeling like you are accepted and valued by other people – it is often considered a fundamental human need.’

Kate Jopling, an adviser to the Campaign To End Loneliness, said: ‘These things help to make us feel like we belong. They cost so little, but are worth a lot.’

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Deadly knife attack in central Paris, assailant arrested

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One person died and two others were injured after an assailant stabbed passers-by in central Paris near the Eiffel Tower on Saturday evening, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said, confirming police sources.

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Speaking moments after his first tweet, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin confirmed the suspect attacked tourists, killing one and injuring two others.

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“The police have just courageously arrested an assailant attacking passers-by in Paris, around the Quai de Grenelle. One person dead and one wounded treated by the Paris firefighters. Please avoid the area,” the minister first wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter


The suspect had shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) before being arrested, Darmanin said, confirming an AFP information. The suspect was known for radical Islamism and to have psychiatric problems, and said he could not bear the situation in Gaza, Darmanin added.

The attacker was born in France and is French, the Paris public prosecutor’s office said.

The anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said it had not yet put in charge of an investigation.

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“The assailant was neutralised very quickly by police. We tried to save the life of this man. It’s a man who died and they (the people who were attacked) were tourists,” Dr Patrick Pelloux told BFM TV.

French Interior Minister said the man who died was of German nationality.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP & Reuters)

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Drivers warned to use fog lights properly or risk £50 fine – as UK faces -10C freeze this weekend

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  •  Drivers who have their fog lights on during clear weather could be fined £50

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Drivers have been warned to use their fog lights properly or risk a £50 fine, as the UK faces a -10C freeze this weekend.

Motoring company Driving Experience has warned drivers to brush up on their knowledge of when to use their fog lights.

The company said that drivers who have their lights on during clear weather could be issued with fines.

The warning comes as snow and ice cause widespread disruption across the UK this morning with trains and flights cancelled and events postponed due to the weather. 

Flurries of snow fell in Scotland along with the southeast and southwest of England, with icy rails causing a power failure in Kent. 

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Drivers braved the misty weather in Richmond Park, south-west London last week

Drivers braved the misty weather in Richmond Park, south-west London last week

Drivers braved the misty weather in Richmond Park, south-west London last week

Pictured: Ploughed fields shrouded in fog in Keele, Staffordshire

Pictured: Ploughed fields shrouded in fog in Keele, Staffordshire

Pictured: Ploughed fields shrouded in fog in Keele, Staffordshire

A commuter waits in a frozen over bus stop in Low Fell, Gateshead ths morning

A commuter waits in a frozen over bus stop in Low Fell, Gateshead ths morning

A commuter waits in a frozen over bus stop in Low Fell, Gateshead ths morning

Operations manager Dan Jones told the Express: ‘Sometimes it is easy to forget you have put your fog lights on as you can’t see them when driving in lighter conditions.

‘Failing to do so could mean that not only could you dazzle an oncoming driver and cause an accident, you could also be hit with a £50 fine due to breaking the Highway Code.’

According to the Highway Code, drivers should use their headlights when visibility is below 100 metres. 

The website reads: ‘You may also use front or rear fog lights but you must switch them off when visibility improves.’

Mr Jones added that using fog lights can reduce the vision of other drivers in some circumstances.

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He said that 6,000 collisions were caused by ‘external factors’ last year, which includes dazzling lights.

While fog lights are generally switched on and off manually by the driver, some modern cars have automated systems to do this.

With these vehicles, it’s easy to forget the lights are on or to think they’ve automatically switched off when needed. 

The Met Office issued yellow weather warnings for parts of the country this morning as temperatures dropped as low as -10C overnight.

Parts of Britain even experienced snow last night – with heavy snow in Scotland causing Glasgow Airport to suspend all flights.

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Flurries of snow also fell in the southeast and southwest of England, with icy rails causing a power failure in Kent.

This led to the Southeastern service between Dover Priory and Ramsgate to be suspended.

A homeless man was found dead in a car yesterday in Beeston, Nottinghamshire after freezing temperatures swept the country, with the fire brigade called to free his body from the vehicle.

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Backpacker warns against travelling to these ‘expensive and overrated’ popular holiday destinations – but does she have a point?

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An Australian backpacker has revealed the two popular travel destinations she believes are overrated.

Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok, is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media.

She told viewers: ‘These are the most overrated travel destinations. I’m so sorry if this ruins your travel plans but I’m just here to help’.

Read on to find out the places the TikToker thinks are overhyped and where you should go instead. 

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Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok , is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media

Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok , is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media

Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok , is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media

El Nido, Philippines

Alex explained: ‘The first one is El Nido in the Philippines. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Philippines.

‘It’s beautiful, it’s got some blue a** water but it is crowded and honestly, it all kinda [sic] looks the same.

‘It’s also expensive, I think people going to the Philippines are like ‘oh my God’, it’s going to be this super cheap holiday just because it’s in south east Asia.’

The Australian added: ‘Every person that I have spoken to that have travelled south east Asia has said that the Philippines minus Singapore is the most expensive south east Asian country they have ever travelled to.

‘I’m so happy that the Philippines was the first one I did, like a long trip back in March, because I was like zdamn these prices are kinda [sic] wild for what you’re getting.’

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But if you do go, she recommends exploring Coron over El Nido and is ‘really excited to go to Sirgoa’: ‘I have heard that it is just the most incredible place ever so I’m definitely down to go there.’

Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok , is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media

Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok , is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media

Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok , is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media

One viewer commented: ‘How different are the prices compared to Thailand, like in food activities bike rental, etc?’ to which she replies: ‘Thailand is way cheaper!’

Another added: ‘Currently in Siargao and unfortunately feel it’s super overrated’.

Meanwhile, someone else penned: ‘I personally liked El Nido a lot. Prices were okay too’.

Paris, France  

In the second video, Alex talks about the city of love – Paris.

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She told viewers: ‘Now, I actually used to live in Paris and this place still has a weird, wholesome place in my heart.

‘But it is not this beautiful, idyllic, romanticized place that a lot of people make it out to be.

‘During the winter it is grey, it is cold, it is windy and during the summer I would say it is really beautiful, however it is completely packed.’

She added: ‘There is no air conditioning so have fun on the Metro – there are gonna be some interesting aromas in the air and yes of course it’s dirty, it’s a big city.

‘I would say that Paris, similar to London, is going to give you a very different experience based on how much money you have.

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‘Like I said, I still love Paris and I definitely recommend going. If you’re gonna go, go in like September, October.

‘It’s not too cold, it’s not too hot, it’s not as crowded. It’s really pretty so definitely go but do not be disappointed if it is not everything you made it out to be in your head.’

It comes just after Paris placed near the bottom of the table in the Which? survey of the UK’s favourite European city breaks.

The consumer champion asked more than 1,600 of its members to rate their experiences of 31 popular cities across Europe to create the list.

Each location was rated out of five on seven criteria – food and drink, accommodation, cultural sights and attractions, shopping, ease of getting around, lack of crowds and value for money. An overall customer score was calculated based on overall satisfaction and likeliness to recommend.

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Paris ranks low down in the table, garnering 79 per cent in joint 12th with Athens, meanwhile Krakow, Poland, and Valencia, Spain share the crown with their ‘impressive’ 92 per cent scores.

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Guinea-Bissau president calls deadly violence ‘attempted coup’, as soldiers ordered back to barracks

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Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo on Saturday said this week’s deadly violence involving members of the National Guard was an “attempted coup” as the army ordered them back to barracks.

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The unrest between members of the National Guard and special forces of the presidential guard on Thursday night in the capital Bissau left at least two people dead.

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Embalo, who was in Dubai attending the COP28 climate conference, arrived in Bissau on Saturday and said an “attempted coup d’etat” had prevented him from returning.

“I must tell you this act will have serious consequences,” he added.

Embalo said the coup attempt was prepared before celebrations on November 16 commemorating the anniversary of the armed forces.

Since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974, the small West African nation has seen a series of coups and coup attempts.

Embalo, who was elected to a five-year term in December 2019, survived a failed overthrow in February 2022.

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A military official, speaking anonymously due to the sensitive nature of the situation, said six soldiers were injured in the fighting and evacuated to neighbouring Senegal.

Calm had returned by noon on Friday to the small nation with a history of instability, following the announcement that the army had captured Colonel Victor Tchongo, commander of the National Guard.

On Saturday the security presence in Bissau was reduced, but soldiers were still visible around certain strategic buildings such as the presidential palace, the judicial police headquarters and some ministries.

Some National Guard officers and soldiers fled into the interior of the country, the army said in a statement Saturday, without specifying numbers.

“The General Staff of the armed forces hereby informs them that they must return to their place of assignment,” the statement continued.

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ECOWAS expresses ‘full solidarity’

Regional bloc the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said it “strongly condemns the violence and all attempts to disrupt the constitutional order and rule of law in Guinea-Bissau”.

“ECOWAS further calls for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the incident in accordance with the law,” the Abuja-based organisation added in its statement on Saturday.

The regional bloc also expressed “its full solidarity with the people and constitutional authorities of Guinea-Bissau”.

A spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres, Stephane Dujarric, had called Friday for calm and urged the security forces and the army “to continue refraining from interference in national politics”.

Members of the National Guard Thursday evening stormed a police station to extract Finance Minister Souleiman Seidi and Treasury Secretary Antonio Monteiro, according to army and intelligence officers.

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The two government members were being questioned about the withdrawal of $10 million from state accounts. They had been detained under orders of state prosecutors, who are named by the president.

Embalo said someone sent Tchongo to remove Seidi from detention and announced that an investigatory commission would be formed on Monday.

The National Guard is under the control of the interior ministry, which, like most ministries in the country, is dominated by the PAIGC party whose coalition won the June 2023 elections.

The two government members were detained again after the army removed them from National Guard control.

Government spokesman Francisco Muniro Conte said Saturday: “We have always opted for the application of the law. A president who is elected must complete his term of office.”

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“We cannot obstruct people who are facing justice, if the law is really respected,” he added.

(AFP)

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Mom in Ohio tells Daily Mail her son, 14, was hospitalized with same pneumonia causing ‘white lung’ outbreak in China and Europe: ‘He was crying and couldn’t breathe’

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An Ohio mom has revealed how her healthy teenage son was ‘hours away from  brain damage’ after being struck down by the same pneumonia rising in China.

William McCarren, 14, was rushed to hospital Wednesday after he came home from school ‘crying and grabbing his chest’ saying he could ‘barely breathe.’

‘He was very pale and he could barely stay awake, he was acting like he was going to pass out,’ his mother, Mollee Campbell, told DailyMail.com.

When he arrived at the ER, the doctors told her William’s lungs were so full of fluid it was starving his body and organs of oxygen. 

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‘They said that if he went much lower it could have caused brain damage in some way,’ said Mollee, holding back tears. ‘He was extremely scared. We got really lucky.’

William was diagnosed with mycoplasma, the bacterial infection at the center of pneumonia outbreaks in China and several European countries.

He is one of more than 140 children in the Warren County area of Ohio to fall ill with the lung condition, where doctors say cases are so high they ‘meet the definition of an outbreak’.

William McCarren, 14 and from Middletown, was rushed to hospital on Wednesday after he came home from school crying and saying he was struggling to breathe. He is pictured above in hospital

William McCarren, 14 and from Middletown, was rushed to hospital on Wednesday after he came home from school crying and saying he was struggling to breathe. He is pictured above in hospital

William McCarren, 14 and from Middletown, was rushed to hospital on Wednesday after he came home from school crying and saying he was struggling to breathe. He is pictured above in hospital

William is pictured above with his mother Mollee before he suffered from pneumonia

William is pictured above with his mother Mollee before he suffered from pneumonia

William is pictured above with his mother Mollee before he suffered from pneumonia

Mollee said: ‘They [the pediatricians] said they were overloaded with it [pneumonia] in the last two or three days that that was all they had been seeing and they were just trying to make sure they had all the medicine they needed for al the kids.’ 

‘They did say almost the whole floor was nothing but children with pneumonia.’

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Warren County health officials said Thursday that it has treated an ‘extremely high’ number of children with pneumonia – 145 cases since August.

The average patient is around 8 years old and no deaths have been reported, but the volume of patients is unusual. 

Mycoplasma is a bacterial infection that causes outbreaks every five or so years — but it rarely makes headlines because cases are mild and deaths extremely rare.

The difference this time, experts told DailyMail.com, is that children’s immunity is low following lockdowns, school closures and mask mandates.

The bacterial infection is also believed to be driving the outbreak in China that has overwhelmed pediatric hospitals in the North. 

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It is also driving cases and deaths in parts of Europe, including the Netherlands and Denmark.

But doctors have stressed the outbreaks are not the result of infections being transferred from country to country.

Will is pictured above during happier times

Will is pictured above during happier times
Will is pictured above while in hospital

Will is pictured above while in hospital

Will (left before the illness and right in hospital) had fluid in both of his lungs, doctors said

The above highlights the two locations where rises in pneumonia cases in children have been reported in the US so far. They are Warren County, Ohio, and East Longmeadow, in Massachusetts

The above highlights the two locations where rises in pneumonia cases in children have been reported in the US so far. They are Warren County, Ohio, and East Longmeadow, in Massachusetts

The above highlights the two locations where rises in pneumonia cases in children have been reported in the US so far. They are Warren County, Ohio, and East Longmeadow, in Massachusetts

Clad in hazmat suits, gloves and masks, the staff are shown walking between desks in classrooms, hallways and even outdoors while releasing a mist of sterilising liquid

Clad in hazmat suits, gloves and masks, the staff are shown walking between desks in classrooms, hallways and even outdoors while releasing a mist of sterilising liquid

Clad in hazmat suits, gloves and masks, the staff are shown walking between desks in classrooms, hallways and even outdoors while releasing a mist of sterilising liquid

This cycle of mycoplasma is happening at a time when children’s immunity is weak because they were robbed of vital immunity during Covid lockdowns.

What is causing the ‘white lung’ pneumonia outbreak? Everything we know so far 

What is the current situation? 

The WHO has placed an additional request to China for more information on its outbreak and data showed the country is experiencing an increased number of children sick with mycoplasma pneumoniae – bacteria that causes mild infections of the respiratory system – since May.

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And in signs eerily reminiscent of Covid, Chinese officials have called for masks and social distancing.

While China continues to deal with its own overrun hospitals and children out sick from school, outbreaks have begun to crop up in Europe.

On Thursday, Danish health officials said they were also dealing with a surge in the same type of pneumonia afflicting China.

What is causing the spike in pneumonia cases?

The outbreaks in the US, like China, are not being caused by a novel pathogen and not all of the pneumonia cases are being caused by the same infection.

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Experts say a mixture of several seasonal bacterial and viral bugs are hitting at once, putting pressure on hospitals.

Many patients with respiratory symptoms are testing positive for a bacterium called mycoplasma pneumoniae, a pathogen that causes mild pneumonia.

Positive tests have also returned for adenovirus, a normally benign respiratory infection, and strep.

Dr Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, told DailyMail.com he believes the pneumonia outbreaks cropping up around the world could be due to the ‘cyclical’ nature of mycoplasma.

What is mycoplasma pneumoniae? 

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Mycoplasma pneumonia is caused by a very small, ‘atypical’ bacterium called mycoplasma pneumoniae, which can lead to upper respiratory tract infections and pneumonia.

It causes illness by damaging the lining of the respiratory tract, including the throat, lungs and windpipe and is one of the most common causes of community-acquired pneumonia in the US.

The bacterium causes people with the lung infection to present with ‘atypical’ characteristics compared to those people experience with ‘typical’ pneumonia caused by germs or complications from another illness.

The bacterium spreads through droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It can linger in the nose and throat without making a person sick, but if it spreads to the lungs, people can develop mycoplasma pneumonia.

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Mollee, talking about when Will was rushed to hospital, said: ‘I started crying my eyes out, I was so frantic. Neither one of my kids have ever had a serious illness.’

It came as a major shock after her boy — who ‘loves fishing, wrestling and the outdoors’ — saw his cough develop into an infection leaving him struggling to breathe.

Fighting back tears in an interview, she said: ‘He is always the first one to help you if you need it and he always sticks up for someone who is in trouble or anything like that.

‘He excels in school, is extremely smart and loves history. The Titanic and the Civil War, those are his favorite topics.’

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He came back from school on Wednesday pale, struggling to breathe and coughing up a lot of mucus, his mother said.

Mollee immediately rushed him to hospital where, once she told the receptionist her son ‘couldn’t breathe’, they automatically rushed him through to be seen by doctors.

Tests showed his blood oxygen level had fallen to about 75 percent. At 70 percent, it is considered life threatening.

Mollee added: ‘He was extremely scared. 

‘He kept telling me how thankful he was that I was there by his side and that he was just glad that it wasn’t worse. 

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William was discharged from hospital on Friday, but doctors have told his mother to keep a close eye on him and bring him back if he starts struggling to breathe again.

Giving advice to other mothers, Mollee said: ‘Even when your kid just has a little cough and it doesn’t seem like a normal one, just to go ahead and take them no  matter what even if it is just to check.

‘Like with me, we waited about a day or two when I should have took him earlier. 

‘It was a nightmare and I wish I would have taken him a little bit sooner than waiting a day, but these days you can never tell with kids. If your child doesn’t feel right, just contact somebody.’ 

DailyMail.com revealed Warren County’s pediatric pneumonia outbreak Thursday.

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Parts of Western Massachusetts are also seeing unusually high levels of mycoplasma, sometimes described as ‘walking pneumonia’ because it causes mild illness so patients are still mobile.

But respiratory illnesses across the board are up – as is the case in China. 

Dr Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, told DailyMail.com it was a ‘global’ phenomenon.

He believes the pneumonia outbreaks cropping up around the world could be due to the ‘cyclical’ nature of mycoplasma.

Bacterial respiratory infections usually flare up every five years, normally as people are recovering from a wave of flu or other viral illnesses. 

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Global immunity against seasonal illnesses is also low because pandemic restrictions robbed people of immunity against the infections – especially China, which locked down harder and longer.

‘So what’s happening in China makes sense’, Dr Adalja said, adding: ‘Last year we [the US] was dominated by so much Covid, flu and RSV when we opened up.’

Children are particularly vulnerable because social interaction during people’s early developmental years is crucial.

‘When children are born they haven’t experienced any infectious diseases, so the more of them you have in the population so lower threshold for an outbreak to start.

‘The pandemic allowed the number of these susceptible people to build up over years.’

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Will, who is pictured above on his 14th birthday in October, has now been discharged - but doctors have said he should be brought back if he begins to struggle to breathe again

Will, who is pictured above on his 14th birthday in October, has now been discharged - but doctors have said he should be brought back if he begins to struggle to breathe again

Will, who is pictured above on his 14th birthday in October, has now been discharged – but doctors have said he should be brought back if he begins to struggle to breathe again

Will (middle) is the eldest of three children. He is pictured above with his brother Bryce, 11, and sister Corrah, 3

Will (middle) is the eldest of three children. He is pictured above with his brother Bryce, 11, and sister Corrah, 3

Will (middle) is the eldest of three children. He is pictured above with his brother Bryce, 11, and sister Corrah, 3

His mother Mollee posted about her child's illness on Facebook

His mother Mollee posted about her child's illness on Facebook

His mother Mollee posted about her child’s illness on Facebook

The above graph shows deaths from pneumonia and flu among children aged under 18 years old since the 2019 to 2020 flu season. It shows that despite reports the current season nationwide is ‘not out of the ordinary’

Despite Beijing’s outbreak being linked to mycoplasma, Republican senators are calling on the Biden administration to ban travel from China ‘immediately’ as the outbreak there overwhelms hospitals.

Florida senator Marco Rubio said President Joe Biden ‘must take the necessary steps to protect the health of Americans’. 

He added: ‘That means we should immediately restrict travel between the United States and China until we know more about the dangers posed by this new illness.’ 

But the CDC and World Health Organization say they’ve seen data from China that has been corroborated in other countries – showing the culprit is not a new virus. 

The CDC said it is seeing ‘nothing unusual’ in figures for pneumonia hospitalizations at this time of year.

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The agency is keeping close tabs on the data to look for any spikes in the states.

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Ukraine blocks ex-president from leaving country amid alleged plan to meet pro-Putin Hungary’s Orban

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Ukraine’s security service said on Saturday it had prevented former president Petro Poroshenko from leaving the country on grounds that Russia planned to exploit a planned meeting with Hungary’s prime minister to hurt Ukrainian interests.

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Poroshenko’s political party, European Solidarity, said the former president had scheduled only meetings in Poland and the United States and warned the SBU security service against becoming involved in politics.

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Poroshenko was turned away at a border post on Friday.

The SBU said he had planned to meet Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who maintains ties with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin and opposes opening talks on European Union membership with Ukraine.

An SBU statement said Russia was preparing a series of “provocations” to discredit Ukraine among its foreign allies as the war against Russia stretches beyond 21 months.

It provided no evidence to support the allegations.

Of the possible meeting with Orban, the SBU said: “Russia planned to use this meeting (like other ‘working meetings with … representative of countries voicing pro-Russian narratives) in psychological operations against Ukraine.”

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The SBU said Orban “systematically holds an anti-Ukrainian position”, was a “friend of Putin” and sought the removal of sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Orban, who is open about his friendly ties with Putin, opposes the start of EU membership talks with Ukraine, to be considered at the bloc’s forthcoming summit. He called this week for the creation instead of a “strategic partnership” with Kyiv.

Orban has frequently been at odds with Zelenskiy on several issues related to Ukraine’s EU membership bid. European Solidarity, in its statement, called for dialogue with Orban who, it said, had a veto right over accession talks.

Under martial law, Ukrainian officials must secure approval to travel abroad. Parliament’s deputy speaker, Oleksandr Korniyenko, said Poroshenko’s permission had been cancelled after he had received a letter, which he could not comment on.

Read moreUkraine accuses Russia of poisoning military intelligence chief’s wife

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Zelenskiy’s office has made no comment and Orban’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Poroshenko, president from 2014 to 2019, accused Zelenskiy’s administration on Friday of cancelling the permission and playing politics ahead of elections.

The dispute comes amid slowly growing tensions between government and opposition – mostly over internal matters such as budgets and appointments – in contrast to the near-total unity at the start of the conflict.

Zelenskiy and Poroshenko fought a bitter, often deeply personal battle in the 2019 presidential election, when Zelenskiy defeated the incumbent Poroshenko in a landslide.

Zelenskiy said last month that it was “not the time” to hold a presidential election, which under normal circumstances would be scheduled for March 2024 but is prohibited under martial law.

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(REUTERS)

Read moreThe Dnipro River, a new key front line for Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia

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Newcastle vs Man United – Premier League: Live score, team news and updates as Erik ten Hag keeps faith in Andre Onana while Kobbie Mainoo is trusted in midfield

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United trying to counter-attack (0-0)

That’s a lot better from Rashford as he wins a race to the ball and tries to play through Garnacho who is outmuscled during a challenge. United have a free kick in a decent position.

Rashford just can’t get going (0-0)

Marcus Rashford is struggling so far with nothing seeming to work for the England international. He is being marshalled out of the game by Newcastle’s defenders so far but keeps trying to find a way through.

Good tracking back by Fernandes (0-0)

Newcastle break and have a 3v3 against United’s defence and it’s Fernandes to the rescue as he makes a crucial interception. That was very much required.

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Huge save by Onana denies Almiron (0-0)

Onana gets down well to react to Almiron’s shot and is helped out by his defenders who clear the remaining danger. That will give him some confidence while the Newcastle fans boo.

Great defending from Luke Shaw (0-0)

Shaw has to deal with Isak who shows quick-feet in the box, but the United defender wins the duel.

United beginning to find their feet (0-0)

It’s better from the visitors as United work the ball around the edge of the box well through Garnacho and Fernandes, with Wan-Bissaka also attempting a shot from range. Good game developing.

Garnacho forces a save from Pope (0-0)

Fernandes plays a beautiful ball for Garnacho to chase and he does just that before firing a shot on target that Pope saves well with his feet.

Dalot almost scores an own goal (0-0)

What is going on there from Diogo Dalot as he looks to pass back to Onana but kicks it up against his arm with the ball then heading towards goal before he clears at the second time of asking. This start won’t being giving United supporters much confidence.

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Almiron creating early problems (0-0)

Newcastle’s passing has been supremely accurate so far and Miguel Almiron is making a nuisance of himself that United are struggling to deal with Wan-Bissaka erratically clears a cross while Luke Shaw isn’t looking comfortable at centre-back so far.

Newcastle are knocking at the door (0-0)

Livramento wins Newcastle their first corner of the match after skinning Marcus Rashford on the wing before seeing his cross cleared behind by Scott McTominay. The set-piece delivery is good, Onana flaps at it and Dalot eventually clears.

United defending nervously (0-0)

The hosts are continuing to work the ball around the pitch well and United’s defence is struggling to cope. It’s a bit last-ditch from the likes of Diogo Dalot, but there is space to counter-attack.

Newcastle looking to build pressure (0-0)

Newcastle are trying to get everyone a touch on the ball as they work around both halves in the opening exchanges. United’s defence has to be alert to the early ball in behind.

KICK OFF: Newcastle get us underway (0-0)

We’re underway in the north east!

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Here come the players!

The teams are ready to go and are walking out into what is an electric St James’ Park, the early task for United is to make sure they don’t let Newcastle get off to a start that further boosts this wild home support.

Kick-off is just moments away and we will be bringing you all the key moments from the match.

The teenagers taking centre stage

There are so many narratives to go over heading into tongiht’s game, and what a moment this is for two teenagers, Newcastle’s Lewis Miley and Man United’s Kobbie Mainoo.

17-year-old Miley is making his fourth consecutive start for Eddie Howe’s side having impressend in recent performances, while Mainoo is making just his second Premier League start.

This will be a huge midfield battle to keep an eye on, both probably met each other in academy matches and now they are doing it in the English top-flight. This game can be won or lost in midfield and both with bee pivotal to their team’s success tonight.

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PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 28:  Lewis Miley of Newcastle United during the UEFA Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United FC at Parc des Princes on November 28, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Kobbie Mainoo of Manchester United warms up ahead of the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on December 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag expects ‘different’ Newcastle test

Erik ten Hag has just been speaking pre-match and explained Newcastle will provide his Man United side with a ‘different’ test than what they experienced midweek in the Champions League.

Victory for his team today would be a huge welcome boost to travelling supporters and he’s decided to start Luke Shaw at centre-back tonight in a tactical adjustment.

‘It’s a different game when you play Premier League and especially Newcastle. We have to adjust and we will do,’ Ten Hag told TNT Sports.

‘It’s a tactical change [Shaw] but also rotation part of it, we have to load the management of all players but for Luke at centre-half he has to run less.’

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is seen prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on December 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

Tonight’s post-game permutations

Neither of tonight’s teams will be able to force their way into the Premier League’s top four with three points tonight, but they can move very close!

United are currently sixth in the league standings with 24 points while Newcastle are a point and position worse off.

A win for the home side would see them leapfrog Erik ten Hag’s side and into fifth, while the visitors can move just a point shy of Spurs and only six adrift of leaders Arsenal.

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It’s tight at the top and both teams are desperate to get there.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United is seen prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on December 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Antony of Manchester United is seen prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on December 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

Anthony Gordon insists Newcastle won’t harness a ‘victim mindset’

Newcastle supporters might still be irked from their midweek Champions League draw against PSG that saw them denied a famous win via a late penalty that was awarded by VAR.

The former Everton forward explained Newcastle feel good heading into tonight’s clash and explained there is no grieving over their performance in Europe.

‘I think we feel quite well and can take pride in how we performed. We deserved to win and don’t want to have a victim mindset when things go wrong,’ Gordon told TNT Sports.

Newcastle United's Anthony Gordon arrives at the ground ahead of the Premier League match at St. James' Park, Newcastle. Picture date: Saturday December 2, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Newcastle. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA WireRESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or

ICYMI: England, Scotland and Wales find out Euro 2024 opponents

There was the small-matter of the group draw for next year’s European Championship in Germany prior to tonight’s Premier League clash, with England, Scotland and Wales finding out who they will face first.

READ THE FULL STORY BELOW

Stern-faced United ready for Newcastle test

There were very few smiles amongst United’s ranks as they arrived at the stadium and you wonder what type of reaction they will produce after their erroneous midweek trip to Turkey.

Fortunately, United’s Premier League form has been tight, but Newcastle away is one of the toughest tests in the top-flight.

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Ten Hag keeps faith in Andre Onana

He backed him in Friday’s pre-match press conference and has followed up his words of encouragment with action as Erik ten Hag picks Andre Onana to start tonight.

The United goalkeeper is under pressure after a midweek howler in the Champions League, but is strangely also one of the top three performing keepers in the Premier League by recent statistics.

Onana will need to be at his best tonight against a fearsome Newcastle attack and you feel anymore errors could give Ten Hag a seriously tough choice to make over whether he is the club’s best shot-stopper.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Andre Onana of Manchester United arrives ahead of the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on December 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)
File photo dated 01-11-2023 of Andre Onana. Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has defended under-fire Andre Onana and insisted the Cameroon international is among the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. Issue date: Friday December 1, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

MANCHESTER UNITED TEAM NEWS

Kobbie Mainoo starts his second consecutive Premier League start in midfield for Manchester United after starring in their impressive 3-0 win over Everton last weekend.

Anthony Martial is a surprise start in attack with Rasmus Hojlund instead placed on the bench by Erik ten Hag.

Alejandro Garnacho keeps his place on the left-wing for United having scored twice in his last two appearances including a wondergoal against Everton, meaning Marcus Rashford is likely to start on the right-wing for United.

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NEWCASTLE TEAM NEWS

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe names and unhanged team from the side that started in last week’s 4-1 win over Chelsea at St James’ Park.

Here come the visitors

They had to take the long route to get to Newcastle after United’s plane was cancelled and onto the coaches it was, but Erik ten Hag’s side have arrived.

Ten Hag was al smiles as he walked down into the away dressing room at St James’ Park, while there were more steely expressions etched across the faces of Andre Onana, Rasmus Hojlund and Diogo Dalot.

Team news coming shortly.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Newcastle United v Manchester United - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - December 2, 2023 Manchester United's Andre Onana arrives at the stadium before the match Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.
Soccer Football - Premier League - Newcastle United v Manchester United - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - December 2, 2023 Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag arrives at the stadium before the match Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Diogo Dalot of Manchester United arrives ahead of the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on December 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Rasmus Hojlund of Manchester United arrives ahead of the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on December 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Newcastle players arrive at St James’ Park

It’s going to get noisy in Newcastle tonight as we edge closer to kick off and home players have arrived at St James’ Park.

The hosts are just a single point adrift of United in the Premier League standings and you sense the home advantage could be a huge deciding factor tonight.

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Erik ten Hag’s side have crumbled here before and they will have to find a way to not do so again.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United (39) arrives for the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on December 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Emil Krafth of Newcastle United (17) arrives for the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on December 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Tino Livramento of Newcastle United (21) arrives for the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on December 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Early team news

Tonight’s starting teams will be with us in around 15 minutes time, but we have some early selection regarding injuries and the players that are unavailable for tonight’s match.

Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff remains out with an ankle injury while forward Joe Willock is also unavailable but showing good signs of recovery from his injury.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hall is available for selection having missed last weekend’s win against his parent club Chelsea.

Marcus Rashford is available after serving a one-game suspension in the Champions League, but Mason Mount, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen remain out.

2.12.23......A nightmare start to Saturday for Manchester United as their 11.00am flight to Newcastle is cancelled due to weather and technical problems. The team arrived to drop their cars off at Manchester Airport from 10.00am but were told they were driving to Newcastle on two coached which will take over 3 hours.......Marcus Rashford.

Good evening and welcome to St James’ Park

Good evening and thanks for joining us for tonight’s Saturday evening Premier League encounter between Newcastle and Manchester United.

It’s cold and windy in the north east and the visitors have previously struggled at St James’ Park, tonight could be another difficult away trip as they travel further north while still reeling from a midweek draw in Turkey that left their Champions League ambitions in tatters.

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Kick off is at 8pm and we have plenty to get through before then.

Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes (left) and Joelinton arrive at the ground ahead of the Premier League match at St. James' Park, Newcastle. Picture date: Saturday December 2, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Newcastle. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA WireRESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or
Soccer Football - Premier League - Newcastle United v Manchester United - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - December 2, 2023 General view outside the stadium before the match Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.
Erik ten HagPremier League

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