Tributes have been paid to three British nationals who died when a Ukrainian plane crashed in Iran.
Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, who owned a dry cleaners, BP engineer Sam Zokaei and PhD student and engineer Saeed Tahmasebi were all on board the flight.
They were among the 176 people from seven countries who died in the crash.
Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed just after taking off from Imam Khomeini airport at 06:12 local time (02:42 GMT).
The airline said the plane underwent scheduled maintenance on Monday.
A Downing Street spokesman said the UK was “working closely with the Ukrainian authorities and the Iranian authorities” over the crash, and there was “no indication” the plane was brought down by a missile.
Iran said it will not hand over black box flight recorders recovered from the plane. Under global aviation rules, Iran has the right to lead the investigation, but manufacturers are typically involved and experts say few countries are capable of analysing black boxes.
As well as the three Britons, the victims in the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians – including all of the crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans and three Germans, Ukraine foreign affairs minister Vadym Prystaiko said.
Rescue teams were sent to the crash site but the head of Iran’s Red Crescent told state media that it was “impossible” for anyone to have survived the crash.
Tributes were paid locally to Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh, 40, who ran a neighbourhood dry cleaners in Hassocks, West Sussex, and had a nine-year-old daughter.
Steve Edgington from the pet shop next door said he had known Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh for 14 years, and described him as a lovely, hardworking man who was good at his job and loved by staff.
Savvas Savvidis, 36, who rented a room in Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh’s home in Brighton, said he was a “super-nice person”.
“It’s so sad. Before he left we had a conversation, he told me that he spent all his life working, working really hard, and now finally he wants to start to enjoy life a bit more.”
Mr Savvidis described Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh as a humble man who loved his daughter very much.
The dry cleaners closed on Wednesday, with neighbouring businesses telling the BBC that staff were too upset to stay open.
Meanwhile, in a statement, BP said “with the deepest regret” that its employee Mr Zokaei, 42, from Twickenham, was among the passengers.
Mr Zokaei had been on holiday. He had worked for BP for 14 years and was based at the company’s site in Sunbury-on-Thames in Surrey.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic loss of our friend and colleague and all of our thoughts are with his family and friends,” BP said.
A friend of Mr Zokaei, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC they were “still in shock”.
“He was a highly accomplished person. Very clever and very friendly. Always smiling and full of positive energy. He will be sorely missed.
“He was always trying new adventures. He cycled and toured Europe on bikes a few times. He also loved travelling to interesting far out places.”
Also killed was Mr Tahmasebi, 35, who worked as an engineer for Laing O’Rourke in Dartford.
Last year, Mr Tahmasebi married his Iranian partner, Niloufar Ebrahim, who was also listed as a passenger on the plane.
“Everyone here is shocked and saddened by this very tragic news,” said Laing O’Rourke.
“Saeed was a popular and well respected engineer and will be missed by many of his colleagues. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult time and we will do all we can to support them through it.”
‘Humble and generous’
Mr Tahmasebi – whose full name was Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi – was also a part-time PhD student at Imperial College London’s Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation.
A spokeswoman for the university said: “We are deeply saddened at this tragic news. Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi was a brilliant engineer with a bright future.
“His contributions to systems engineering earned respect from everyone who dealt with him and will benefit society for years to come.
“He was a warm, humble and generous colleague and close friend to many in our community. Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Saeed’s family, friends and colleagues, as well as all those affected by this tragedy.”
At Prime Minister’s Questions earlier, Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn both said their thoughts were with the families of those killed.
A UK Foreign Office spokesman has said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in the plane crash in Iran overnight.”
They said it was “urgently seeking confirmation” about how many British nationals were on board and would be supporting any families affected.
Melinda Simmons, British ambassador to Ukraine, said her thoughts are with those affected.
Ukraine’s state aviation service has forbidden its national airlines from using Iranian airspace from Thursday, with the restrictions in place until an investigation into the cause of the crash has concluded.
Ukraine’s embassy in Tehran and Iranian state television both initially said technical issues caused the crash.
But the embassy later removed this statement and said any comment regarding the cause of the accident prior to a commission’s inquiry was not official.
Ukraine said its entire civilian aviation fleet would be checked for airworthiness and criminal proceedings would be opened into the disaster.
The country’s president warned against “speculation or unchecked theories regarding the catastrophe” until official reports were ready.
Ukrainian International Airlines said the flight disappeared from radar just a “few minutes” after take-off.
The Ukrainian national carrier said according to preliminary data there were 167 passengers and nine crew members on board but its staff were “clarifying the exact number”.
“The airline expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the air crash and will do everything possible to support the relatives of the victims,” a statement said.
The airline, which is investigating the crash, said the aircraft – a Boeing 737-800 – was built in 2016 and had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday.
There was no sign of any problems with the plane before take-off and the airline’s president said it had an “excellent, reliable crew”.
A statement from Boeing said its “heartfelt thoughts” were with all those affected following the “tragic event”.
There are several thousand Boeing 737-800s in operation around the world which have completed tens of millions of flights. They have been involved in 10 incidents, including this crash, where at least one passenger was killed, aviation safety analyst Todd Curtis told the BBC.
This is the first time a Ukraine International Airlines plane has been involved in a fatal crash.
The psychologist behind the UK’s main deradicalisation programme for terror offenders says it can never be certain that attackers have been “cured”.
Christopher Dean told the BBC some terror offenders who take part in his Healthy Identity Intervention (HII) scheme appear to regress because of their uniquely complex identities.
Mr Dean spoke out after HII participant Usman Khan stabbed two people to death near London Bridge on 29 November.
Khan, 28, was shot dead by police.
He was jailed eight years ago for planning to set up a terrorism training camp – but appeared to be responding to rehabilitation by the time of his release in December 2018.
In the attack in November he killed Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, at a prisoner rehabilitation event in Fishmongers’ Hall in the City of London.
The HII scheme involves the offender attending repeated sessions with a psychologist who encourages them to talk about their motivations, beliefs, identity and relationships with both other extremists and the rest of society.
The aim, forensic psychologist Mr Dean said, is to find ways to get the offender to think deeply about what they really want from life – and this can lead them to voluntarily abandoning extremism and violence.
Speaking to BBC Radio Four’s Today programme in his first broadcast interview, Mr Dean said the work was complex because the offenders were different to almost all others in jail.
“The two main aims of healthy identity intervention are primarily to try and make individuals less willing or prepared to commit offenses on behalf of a violent extremist group cause or ideology,” he said.
“If we can reduce someone’s relationship or identification with a particular group, cause or ideology, that in itself may have an impact on whether they’re willing to offend or not.”
Mr Dean said some complex offenders he had worked with needed 20 or more sessions to show signs of positive change, because of the depth of their indoctrination.
“We see some individuals who may have been part of a group for many years or have been invested or identified with the cause for many years. [Leaving that group] is an incredibly difficult thing to do,” he said.
“Sometimes offenders will sit opposite you and say, ‘So you’re here to de-programme me?’
“It’s almost like a robotic term in that we’re going to simply download everything in your head, and we’re going to pump it full of something else. And I don’t think that’s what we’re doing,” he added.
“We’re asking people to kind of reconsider or re-examine the identity commitments in their life… why they may have bought into a particular cause and support in violence on behalf of that cause.
“This is something you can’t force people to do. It isn’t about telling someone you have to be this way, or this is how you have to be. Human behaviour doesn’t work like that.”
The inquests into the deaths of Khan’s victims are likely to hear evidence about how the killer was managed in prison and in the community after his release.
Mr Dean told the BBC the HII sessions were only one part of attempts to manage such offenders – and the results of the prison scheme should be clearly understood by the probation and police officers monitoring someone after their release.
“Sometimes people move up two rungs. Sometimes individuals may say… I’ve had my doubts… but equally, they may go down rungs as well,” he said.
“They may come into contact with individuals or they may go through a spell in life where they may begin to re-engage with groups or causes or ideologies associated with their offending behaviour.
“I think we have to be very careful about ever saying that somebody no longer presents a risk of committing an offence. I don’t think you can ever be sure. We have to be very careful about saying someone has totally changed or has been cured.”
The Ministry of Justice has not completed any work to test whether the HII scheme prevents reoffending or successfully tackles extremist behaviour – and there has been no similar exercise to test the effectiveness of the follow-on programme Khan joined after his release on licence.
However, Mr Dean said that when he and colleagues devised HII it was not rolled out until an external panel of experts assessed whether it was clearly based on the best-available evidence about challenging extremist mindsets.
HII could not currently be tested like other rehabilitation programmes, he said, because there were too few offenders to get a scientifically-robust assessment of what worked.
Mr Dean said it would also be unethical to exclude some offenders from the scheme because of the risk of them returning to terrorism when there had been an opportunity to intervene in their lives while in prison.
“I think we need to be careful about suggesting that interventions in themselves are the solution,” he added.
Christmas dinners have been served to Londoners who are reliant on the city’s homelessness services.
Hairdressers and opticians were also made available at City Hall before guests were given a three-course meal.
Last year, 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London, an 18% increase since last year, and more than double the number in 2010.
“Events like this help bring a sense of community back in to London,” Claire, a former rough sleeper, told the BBC.
Claire, who spent 30 years either living on the streets or in prison, said: “It’s the type of event that does matter. It forms partnerships and builds bonds.
“If it wasn’t for the support of St Mungo’s, I’d either be dead or doing what I was before.”
Guests were chosen from the thousands of Londoners that currently receive assistance from services funded by City Hall and delivered by charities St Mungo’s and Thames Reach.
But Claire said services were still “hit and miss”.
“Where I live I’m still waiting for support with my mental health,” she added.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “St Mungo’s and Thames Reach are struggling with finances.
“Since I became mayor we’ve more than doubled the amount of money we’ve spent on rough sleeping and the size of our outreach team.
“But we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve not got the money or the resources to do much more – as it is I’m criticised for going outside my remit and my power.
“It is both heartbreaking and shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do.”
Last year 15,470 people were accepted as being homeless by London councils.
There were 55,000 families living in temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and hostels.
Hundreds more people are estimated to be sleeping on London’s night buses.
Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper Services at St Mungo’s, said: “It’s wonderful that the Mayor has opened the doors of City Hall for this festive event.
“Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for clients in our services and our staff work hard to support those who stay with us over the holiday period.”
Sue Peart is preparing to be on the phone for Samaritans on Christmas Day.
It comes after her life quickly changed in 2017, when she left her job as a national magazine editor to look after her sick mother, who died only months later.
As a result, Sue’s mental health suffered – but two years later she is lending an ear to those in need.
Video Journalist: Paul Murphy-Kasp
Voting is under way to decide who will represent London’s 73 parliamentary seats.
Londoners will decide the fate of hundreds of parliamentary candidates including the prime minister and leader of the Labour Party.
Registered voters will be able to cast their ballots from 07:00 to 22:00 GMT.
Labour represented 46 seats in the city going into the 2019 General Election. The Conservative had 20 London MPs while Liberal Democrats had four.
The BBC, like other broadcasters, is not allowed to report details of campaigning while the polls are open. More details around electoral law and our BBC code of practice is explained here.
Croydon. Famous for concrete, Boxpark, Stormzy and Kate Moss.
The south London borough is home to some 387,000 people, with the highest number of under-18s in the capital.
Croydon North, Croydon South and Croydon Central are its three parliamentary constituencies. The latter is a marginal, bellwether seat and since 1979 its winner has belonged to the party that forms the next government.
On a wet, grey day, residents shared their views on the election issues that mattered most to them.
Gemma, 33, is a council officer who moved to the area five years ago and lives in Shirley.
She said she “loves Croydon” and it had improved in her time there with the opening of places such as Boxpark – a pop up mall next to East Croydon station that serves a variety of cuisines from converted shipping containers.
The election however, is causing her some consternation. “I just feel like we’re on the precipice of something awful and there just needs to be a massive change.”
The environment and education are her top priorities.
“As I have two young children, my son just started school and I love his school but I’d be devastated if cuts affected it,” she said.
Waiting for a tram Courtney Robinson, a software engineer in his 20s, said Brexit was his bugbear.
“I feel the people are being sold isolation as independence and it is my generation and those after us who will pay the consequences,” he said.
He is not entirely convinced by any of the main party leaders.
He said he was disappointed with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn not taking a stance over Europe and believed the Tories have “screwed over the country”.
According to the council, about 7,000 people are employed in Croydon’s tech-associated industries, with a further 7,000 in engineering.
As a millennial working in tech, Mr Robinson said housing costs were less of a problem for him, despite the “ludicrous” prices.
He rents a flat in New Addington that only takes up 15% of his salary but said the price of commuting was a big concern.
His views on Brexit and transport were shared by 50-year-old Daisy Nahrulla, who has lived in her own home in Thornton Heath for the past 18 years.
She has been training to be a business coach after years working in the City in transport financing.
Ms Nahrulla has previously voted Labour but said she wanted to move away from the “mess that is Brexit” and would either vote Liberal Democrat or Green.
“We need more stations in south London. Transport has been under-invested for years,” she said.
Melissa Brooks, 33, is a single mother of two who was born in Croydon. Retail accounts for a large proportion of the local economy and for the past 16 years Ms Brooks has worked part-time at Next.
She said violence and drugs were her worry, having witnessed people “sniffing things off bin lids” outside her home.
Her eldest son starts high school next year and she has chosen a school nearest to their home.
“He’s so quiet and you don’t have to be part of a gang now. They’re targeting random innocent people and that really scares me,” she said.
She did not vote in the 2017 election but did take part in the EU referendum.
Essentially though she has lost faith. “I don’t know if it makes a difference really,” she said.
- Drug crime in the year to September in Croydon was twice England’s national average, according to Croydon Council data
- Violent crime was also higher, with 17.3 crimes per every 1,000 of the population compared to 11.3 across England
- Croydon University Hospital’s most recent CQC report found it needed to improve overall but that outpatient waiting times were good and within national standards for many conditions, including cancer
- Croydon Council and the Home Office have been the town’s largest employers with more than 41,000 people working in these offices
- Retail and logistics employed more than 16,000 people respectively in 2017
Her friend Ann Charles, 69, lives in South Norwood and is a mother of three.
She is a carer for her eldest daughter and volunteers at a lunch club.
Ms Charles said normally she voted Labour but would not be doing so as she did not trust Mr Corbyn but she said she was “not sure about Boris either”.
She recently spent more than eight hours waiting on a regular trip to a hospital with her daughter and said the main problem for her was immigration.
“We need some of it but schools and hospitals are inundated with people, they’re struggling to cope,” she said.
Milo, 18, is studying mechanics at Croydon College. His mum and dad have always voted in the election and he said he planned to vote Labour.
He wanted politicians to “look out for the youth” and speak to young people, especially those in areas of “higher gang activity”.
“Ask them what they’re into and make the changes,” he added.
Tom Magrath has been working on a stall at the town’s Surrey Street market since he was 14.
He shared Milo’s concerns about knife crime but said he could not vote for Mr Corbyn and would be voting for the Conservative Party on 12 December.
Mr Magrath added: “They’ve got to… get us out of the EU because we voted for that.
“I know what we’re going to get though – the best of a bad bunch.”
Arsenal have identified Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo as a potential replacement for Unai Emery if the Gunners decide to sack the Spaniard.
Head coach Emery is under pressure after a winless run of six matches across all competitions.
Arsenal have only won four of 13 Premier League games this season.
BBC Sport understands that if Emery is sacked and Nuno is allowed to speak to Arsenal, then the Portuguese would be a strong contender to take over.
Nuno said it would be “disrespectful” to talk about being linked with Arsenal when asked in a news conference before his side’s Europa League tie against Braga on Thursday.
“I wouldn’t ever mention an issue which is not a reality,” he said. “Speaking about a job which has a manager would be disrespectful and I will not do so.”
Emery said he still has the full support of the club, having been warned results must improve while being offered public backing by the Arsenal hierarchy earlier this month.
“Really the club is supporting me,” he said. “I feel the club, everyone responsible in that area, is backing me. Really I appreciate it a lot.
“I feel strong with that support and know my responsibility to come back and change that situation.”
The former Sevilla and Paris St-Germain boss added he is only focused on “today and tomorrow” as he prepares for his side’s Europa League match at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.
“My job is to prepare for the match, to show the best performance in front of our supporters,” he said.
Arsenal go into Thursday’s game top of Group F, four points clear of both their German opponents and Standard Liege.
On Sunday, a number of Arsenal fan groups called for “urgent action” over the “state of things” at the club.
“My focus is only today and tomorrow, to do all the things that we have worked on here at the training ground,” Emery added.
“We know our supporters were disappointed by the draw against Southampton, but we have the perfect chance to reconnect with our supporters.
“Our wish is that every supporter tomorrow helps the team, we need them.”
Arsenal are also eight points adrift of the top four and 19 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.
Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced he is to join forces with ticket resellers Twickets in a bid to beat the touts.
The theatrical grandee’s LW playhouses, which include The London Palladium the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, hope the move will bring “consumer-friendly ticket resale to the West End”.
Fans have often found themselves ripped off on secondary ticketing platforms.
Unwanted tickets bought at the box office will now be able to be resold for no more than the original price.
Rebecca Kane Burton, CEO at LW Theatres said: “We continue to strive to not only offer our customers an incredible experience, but also help them when things don’t go to plan.
“Providing a safe, secure and easy way to resell tickets is best practice and yet another step LW Theatres is taking to innovate and improve theatre-going.”
Lord Lloyd Webber has produced best-selling and long-running musicals including Cats and Jesus Christ Supsterstar.
Twickets launched in 2015 as a more ethical ticketing company, helping fans get into concerts by the likes of Adele and Arctic Monkeys, but this is their first official tie-in with a UK theatre group.
“The UK is in the midst of a market shift away from rip-off secondary ticketing platforms and towards capped consumer-friendly resale services,” added Twickets’ founder Richard Davies.
“I am proud Twickets is at the forefront of this change, and delighted we can extend our service to theatre lovers via this groundbreaking partnership with LW Theatres.”
London blogger The Gentle Author has been photographing the changing face of London, focusing on what is known as “facadism”, the practice of destroying everything apart from the front wall and constructing a new building behind it.
Here, we present a few pictures from the series and the story of the buildings that once stood.
National Provincial Bank, Threadneedle Street, City of London, EC2
This Grade I listed building was designed by John Gibson as London’s largest banking hall, in 1863-65, with figures along the roofline representing locations where the bank did business including:
Above the arched windows, eight sculpted panels of heroic allegorical scenes represent the achievements of mankind:
- the arts
The Cock & Hoop, Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, E1
Thomas Lloyd is recorded as this pub’s first landlord, in 1805.
After it closed for good, in 1908, the building was incorporated into the Providence Row Night Refuge and, in 2006, converted into student housing for the London School of Economics.
London Fruit & Wool Exchange, Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, E1
This building was designed by Sydney Perks, in 1927, as a state-of-the-art auction room with a roof that simulated sunlight on cloudy days, parquet floors, careful detailing and significant craft elements throughout.
Since the fruit and vegetable market left Spitalfields, in 1991, it has housed many small independent local businesses.
The tenant of the new development is an international legal corporation.
465 Caledonian Road, Islington, N7
Mallett, Porter & Dowd built this handsome warehouse for their business, in 1874.
Redevelopment by University College London for student housing was turned down by Islington Council, citing inadequate daylight, due to the windows of the new building not aligning with those in the facade.
But this judgement was later overturned by the Planning Inspectorate.
And the development won Building Design’s Carbuncle Cup for 2013.
College East, Toynbee Hall, Wentworth Street, Spitalfields, E1
Designed by Elijah Hoole, this part of the Toynbee Hall campus, built in 1884-85, was demolished and facaded for the construction of Attlee House, which was completed in 1971 but itself demolished in 2016.
It will next front Gatsby Apartments, a development of flats for the commercial market.
Former Unitarian Chapel, Stamford Street, Blackfriars, SE1
Designed in 1821 by Charles Parker, the architect of Hoare’s Bank, in the Strand, this chapel was demolished in the 1960s apart from the portico and part of the ground floor, which stood in front of a car park for many years.
The Grade II listed Doric hexastyle portico is topped by a triglyph frieze and a pediment.
Its central door has a shouldered architrave and iron gates.
The Spotted Dog, 38 High Road, Willesden, NW10
The Spotted Dog was described as “a well accustomed public house” in 1792, by which time it was at least 30 years old.
In the 19th Century, it was famous for its pleasure gardens and in the 1920s housed a dancehall.
18 Broadwick Street, Soho, W1
Decorative brick inlay on the Berwick Street elevation declares this facade was built in 1886.
Originally a bakery, it became Central Chemists in 1950 when the ground floor and basement premises were acquired by Gertrude Kramer.
Michael Moss acquired the pharmacy and freehold to the building from Mrs Kramer in the 1970s and enlarged it to include 85-86 Berwick Street in the late 1980s, naming it Broadwick Pharmacy.
Richard Piercy bought the shop in 1990 and ran it as Zest Pharmacy until 2016.
In recent memory, the upper parts of the building were used as offices by music, film and voice-over businesses.
All photographs © The Gentle Author from the book The Creeping Plague of Ghastly Facadism.
Imperial College London and the Royal Brompton Hospital have found a way to make ventilators more precise for individual intensive care patients.
The trial involves a monitor next to a patient’s bed that will collect data showing their breathing patterns and lung capacity.
Doctors and nurses will use the data to better understand how to treat a patient and individually tailor their ventilator oxygen levels and pressure.
If successful, it could prove to be the future of critical care medicine, according to the research team.
Video by Gem O’Reilly.