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Koko Camden: Fire engulfs famous music venue

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Media captionOne third of the roof of Koko in Camden was on fire at one point, the London Fire Brigade says

One of London’s most famous music venues has been badly damaged in an overnight blaze.

The dome on the roof of Koko in Camden has been destroyed by fire, according to the London Fire Brigade.

Sixty firefighters helped fight the flames after the blaze broke out just before 21:00 GMT on Monday and no injuries have been reported.

The venue which began life as the Camden Theatre in 1900 has hosted stars including Madonna, Coldplay and Prince.

Station commander Jon Lewis said the fire was brought under control at about 02:30 on Tuesday, adding: “Firefighters’ quick action and hard work in the early stages meant the fire was contained to the roof and saved the rest of the building.”

Koko owner Olly Bengough said he was “deeply saddened” by the blaze, adding: “We’ll be doing our best to get the redevelopment of this iconic building back on track.”

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The fire in the building’s roof was brought under control in the early hours of Tuesday

Crews will remain at the scene throughout the day and have warned people to stay away from the area.

Koko which was closed for refurbishment, was also previously known as the Camden Palace and Camden Hippodrome and has been one of the capital’s most iconic live music venues for decades.

The Rolling Stones, The Clash and Ed Sheeran are among other star names to have performed at the venue, which is close to Mornington Crescent underground station.

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Oliver Cooper

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About 60 firefighters helped tackle a fire at Koko in Camden High Street

It was reportedly the last venue where AC/DC’s Bon Scott was seen drinking before his death from alcohol poisoning in 1980.

In the early 80s it served as a major venue for the punk and New Romantic scene, with singer Steve Strange of the band Visage holding club nights.

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Opening night at Camden Palace 1981 with Steve Strange (left)

Members of the public have been sharing their Koko memories on Twitter.

Marc Rustic was “absolutely gutted” having seen his first grime gig at Koko.

“MoStack was performing and it was honestly the best night of my life,” he added.

Veteran DJ Tony Blackburn who held his legendary soul nights Shakatak also tweeted about the fire.

Koko and the nearby Roundhouse effectively “bookended” Camden’s music scene, according to music writer Carl Allen.

In between the two are 60 music venues including the Dingwalls and Electric Ballroom, as well as restaurants and pubs.

On Twitter the Roundhouse said it was “really sad” to hear the news about our Camden neighbours.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said: “Heartbreaking watching the Camden Palace/Koko up in flames this evening, a building that holds so many memories and means so much to us in Camden.”

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan thanked the fire brigade for its quick response.

The venue was set to reopen in the spring after a “major state-of-the-art” refurbishment, after the purchase of two adjacent buildings.

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The venue hosted the BBC’s Electric Proms in 2007

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PA Media

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Koko has hosted some of music’s biggest names including Madonna, The Rolling Stones and Prince


Do you have memories of attending gigs at Koko? Share your experiences by emailing .

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Streatham Hill stabbing: Mother attacked in front of child

Downton Avenue sign

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The woman was stabbed while walking with her child in a pushchair on Downton Avenue in Streatham Hill

A mother was stabbed three times in front of her child in an unprovoked attack in south London.

The victim, 36, was pushing her child in a pram when a man attacked her from behind in Downton Avenue, Streatham Hill, on Monday.

The knifeman did not speak to the victim before he stabbed her at about 17:20 GMT then ran off.

Police said the woman’s injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. The child was not hurt.

No-one has been arrested. The Met said the suspect was a black man, about 6ft tall and wearing dark clothing.

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Croydon stabbing: Man, 60, found injured in street dies

Woodcroft Road

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The victim was found suffering from stab wounds outside a property in Woodcroft Road

A 60-year-old man has been stabbed to death in a residential street in south London.

Police and ambulance crews were called to reports of a stabbing in Woodcroft Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon, at 21:30 GMT on Monday.

The victim was found outside a property with knife injuries and was pronounced dead at 21:49, the Met Police said.

A 50-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and taken into custody.

The suspect became unwell while in custody and was transferred to hospital where he is in a stable condition, police said.

Det Ch Insp Simon Harding said: “The victim was found injured in a residential street. While it is not a heavy footfall location, there may have been members of the public travelling through Woodcroft Road who saw something.

“I urge those people to come forward and speak to my officers without delay.

“No matter how insignificant you think it may be please do make the call.

“We are building the sequence of events leading up to and immediately following this attack which has led to a man’s death, your call could complete the picture.”

Inquiries into the circumstances continue.

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Love Island host Caroline Flack to stand down

Caroline Flack

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Caroline Flack is due to appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on 23 December

Love Island host Caroline Flack has stood down from the show after being charged with assault by beating.

“I feel the best thing I can do is stand down for series six,” she said, describing ITV2’s Love Island as “the best show on telly”.

Police were called to the 40-year-old’s home in Islington, London, last week, where she lives with her partner, tennis player Lewis Burton.

She was bailed and will appear before magistrates on Monday.

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“There have been a significant number of media reports and allegations into my personal life,” she said in her Instagram story on Tuesday.

“While matters were not as have been reported, I am committed to working with the authorities and I can’t comment further on these matters until the legal process is over.”

The star, who was due to present the forthcoming winter edition of the popular ITV2 show – which is expected to start on 12 January – added: “However, Love Island has been my world for the last five years, it’s the best show on telly.

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PA

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Love Island won a TV Bafta award last year

“In order not to detract attention from the upcoming series I feel the best thing I can do is stand down for series six. I want to wish the incredible team working on the show a fantastic series in Cape Town.”

Flack began presenting Love Island in summer 2015, having fronted the 12th series of The X Factor alongside Olly Murs, and winning Strictly Come Dancing in 2014.

An ITV spokesperson said: “ITV has a long-standing relationship with Caroline and we understand and accept her decision.

“We will remain in contact with her over the coming months about future series of Love Island.”

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She won Strictly Come Dancing in 2014

On Monday, Burton wrote on Instagram that his girlfriend had been subject to a “witch hunt” since being charged, describing her as “the most lovely girl”.

“I’m tired of the lies and abuse aimed at my girlfriend. This is not a witch hunt, this is someone’s life,” he wrote.

The TV star mentioned him personally online, writing: “My boyfriend Lewis… I love you.”

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Flack and boyfriend Lewis Burton


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Cyclist creates festive reindeer on map app

Virtual reindeer created by cyclist using app

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Anthony Hoyte/Strava

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The reindeer’s outline is created by using an exercise and route sharing app

A cyclist has created a virtual reindeer on the streets of London after completing a 79-mile route, plotted out on an online map.

Anthony Hoyte, from Cheltenham, used the exercise and route-sharing app Strava to make the image.

In 2017 he cycled to create the outline of a snowman, and last year he made a picture of Father Christmas.

Mr Hoyte said: “I’ve made a rod for my own back in that it’s become a tradition.”

He added: “Everyone is saying, ‘what’s it going to be this year?’

“I just spend a lot of time looking at maps, and…. waiting for things to jump out at you.”

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Anthony Hoyte

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Anthony Hoyte cycled a 79-mile route to make the image

Mr Hoyte’s route started in Hammersmith in west London, and went north to Edgware before heading south again and east through Hampstead Heath and Wood Green.

Finally he returned south through Kilburn and Maida Vale before finishing along Euston Road in central London, completing the journey in nine hours.

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Donald Trump on UK election: ‘I can work with any prime minister’

Donald Trump

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US President Donald Trump has said he could “work with anybody” in No 10 – nine days ahead of a general election.

Speaking on a three-day visit to the UK, Mr Trump said he would “stay out of the election”, that he was a “fan of Brexit” and he thought PM Boris Johnson was “very capable”.

Mr Trump is in the UK for a Nato summit being held in Watford on Wednesday.

He will attend a reception hosted by the Queen later at Buckingham Palace later, where protests are expected.

Scotland Yard has said road closures will be in place in central London during the Nato summit.

President Trump is due to have separate talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

And he will attend a working lunch with representatives from Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria and the UK.

It is unclear whether there will be a one-on-one meeting between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Mr Trump.

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Lansdale said the Conservatives’ HQ wanted to avoid such a meeting “to avoid pictures that could be used by his (Boris Johnson’s) opponents” in the upcoming general election.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab – who will meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later – said arrangements for such bilateral meetings were “always quite fluid”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The role of this leaders’ summit – and we’re hosting it – is for the prime minister to bring all of our north American and European partners together and show, through Nato, we can be bigger than the sum of our parts.”

Mr Johnson and Mr Trump did speak on Saturday, when Mr Trump expressed his condolences after the London Bridge attack.

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AFP

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US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania disembark from Air Force One at Stansted airport

In a recent radio interview, Mr Johnson warned the US president against getting involved in the general election on 12 December. He has previously been criticised for voicing his opinions of British political leaders.

Mr Trump later said he was “absolutely cognisant” of the importance of not interfering in other countries’ elections.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for Mr Trump to be treated with “with respect and politeness” during his visit.

Mr Corbyn has written to Mr Trump, demanding assurances that the NHS will be “off the table” in any post-Brexit US-UK trade talks. However, Mr Johnson said the claims were “nonsense” and the NHS would not be part of any such trade discussions.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has told the Sun newspaper that Mr Corbyn wants to “disband” Nato and accused the Labour leader of being “naive” to the risk of terrorism.

In response, a Labour spokesman said that Mr Corbyn “will do whatever is necessary and effective to keep the British people safe”.

Leaders including Mr Trump and Mr Corbyn will gather for a reception at Buckingham Palace later.

Protesters are expected to gather outside the palace ahead of the event on Tuesday evening.

The family of Harry Dunn – the teenage motorcyclist, whose death has led to a diplomatic row with the US – will be among those demonstrating, a family spokesman has said.

Mr Dunn died after a collision with a car driven by a US diplomat’s wife, who has since left the UK claiming diplomatic immunity.

Radd Seiger said Mr Dunn’s parents and friends will “make our feelings known” to Mr Trump.

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Coldplay prove they’re not fossils as they play Natural History Museum gig

Coldplay at the Natural History Museum

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Coldplay

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Coldplay performed the one-off show for the charity ClimateEarth

Coldplay may have put their touring plans on hold, but a select group of fans were treated to a one-off show amid the fossils at London’s Natural History Museum on Monday.

It was a spectacular setting, with the museum’s great hall bathed in pastel lights as the band played beneath Hope, a giant 128-year-old skeleton of a blue whale.

“I said, when we launch our album can we play a gig near Wales, and look what happened,” joked Chris Martin, as he took to the stage.

“It’s so hard, as a British person, not to come up with Natural History Museum puns for the whole show,” he added. “But the last artist who tried that was Dodo and you know what happened to her.”

His jokes may have prompted groans but, when it came to the songs, Martin was drowned out by the 1,000-strong audience singing along to hits like Sky Full Of Stars and Viva La Vida.

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Getty Images

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A four-piece gospel choir embellished several of the songs

For the most part, though, the set concentrated on Coldplay’s latest record, Everyday Life – a playful and probing double album that cautiously ventures away from their lighters-out pop template.

They were joined on stage by Afrobeat scion Femi Kuti and his brass section for the limber and funky Arabesque, while Norah Shaqur added a beautiful Arabic verse to Church.

And some moments that fall flat on the new record – notably the anti-firearm anthem Guns – gained a little bite on the stage, with Martin spitting invectives at gun rights activists as he thrashed his acoustic guitar.

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Coldplay

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Bassist Guy Berryman shone, providing surprisingly supple grooves on songs like Orphans and Arabesque

In some respects, Coldplay have always felt like a church worship band, with their earnest goofiness and hand-on-heart positivity. It’s an instinct they embraced on Monday night, handing out badges declaring “love”, while supporting musicians wore T-shirts emblazoned with the Bible verse “Do everything in love”.

They were even joined by a four-piece gospel choir, who embellished the harmonies (while politely declining to show up Martin’s vocals) on tracks like BrokEn and Cry Cry Cry.

Martin was so enraptured by their presence that he asked them to reprise the final chorus of Fix You a capella, “so we can hear what our band would sound like if we had really good singers”.

“Just imagine,” he added. “We’d be playing much bigger venues than this place.”

It was a knowing nod to the band’s more usual habitat, playing to tens of thousands of fans in open-air stadiums. It’s a mode of touring they have decided they can no longer pursue in good conscience – citing the environmental impact of taking a full-production rock concert on the road for 18 months or more.

“The hardest thing is the flying side of things,” Martin told the BBC last week. “But, for example, our dream is to have a show with no single-use plastic, to have it largely solar powered. We’ve done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it’s not so much taking as giving?”

In that respect, playing the Natural History Museum felt like a recalibration, with the band exploring whether their music could work in smaller venues, with a minimal production. Proceeds went to the non-profit organisation ClimateEarth (regrettably, though, the beer cups on the night were all single-use plastic).

Songs like Daddy and Sparks felt more intimate, while the big-tent anthems like Orphans lost none of their impact. And no-one missed the flashing wristbands or pyrotechnics of Coldplay’s bigger shows.

Well, no-one except the frontman.

“Normally we have some fireworks at this point,” he observed during Sky Full Of Stars. “But they said this building was too precious.”

After 23 years, Coldplay might be rock dinosaurs, but they’re not fossils yet.

See the set list below (Sky Full Of Stars was a last-minute addition to the encore, just before Guns).

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Getty Images

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Coldplay

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Rape-accused Joseph McCann ‘caught on CCTV at hotel’

Joseph McCann

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CCTV images allegedly showed Joseph McCann at the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on 25 April

A man accused of rape was caught on camera at a hotel just before one of his alleged victims smashed him over the head and escaped, a court heard.

Joseph McCann went into the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on 25 April, leaving two women in a car outside, the Old Bailey was told.

He was allegedly captured on CCTV entering the hotel wearing a tracksuit and a baseball cap.

Mr McCann, 34, from Harrow, denies 37 offences against 11 victims.

After going into the hotel, he held the front door open and glanced repeatedly outside while rapping on the window of the reception desk to speak to staff, the court was told.

He then told his alleged captives to get out of the car and smile as he put his arms around them.

Instead, one of them, a 25-year-old woman, grabbed a bottle of vodka and hit him over the head with it before running for help, jurors heard.

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Met Police

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Joseph McCann is accused of 37 offences against 11 alleged victims, including children

The trial continues.

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World Para-Athletics Championships: Vanessa Wallace wins shot put bronze for Britain

Vanessa Wallace won the European F34 shot put title in Berlin in 2018

Britain’s Vanessa Wallace has won her first World Championship medal with bronze in the F34 shot put in Dubai.

Wallace, 42, threw a personal best effort of 7.66m, with China’s Zou Lijuan winning gold with a championship record of 8.76m.

Wallace, who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, was fifth at the Rio 2016 Paralympics and 2018 European champion.

“I’m a little bit shocked. It’s been a long time coming but it feels so good. I’m really proud of myself,” she said.

“My coach told me to get [the others] a little bit worried early on. I did my best and it came through.

“The event has moved on so much since the last Worlds in 2017. It was an amazing competition.

“[The Tokyo Paralympics] can be my time, and it definitely will be. We’re doing really good.”

Elsewhere in Tuesday’s morning session in Dubai, Zak Skinner placed fifth in the T13 long jump.

The visually impaired 21-year-old, who won European silver last year, recorded a best jump of 6.86m.

Team-mate Ola Abidogun, a London 2012 Paralympic silver medallist earning his first British vest since 2014 at these championships, reached the T47 100m final, qualifying from the semi-finals with the fifth-quickest time, while defending champion Sophie Kamlish is into the T64 100m final with a season’s best time of 13.26 seconds.

In the T54 400m, Rich Chiassaro reached Tuesday night’s final after placing second in his semi-final, but Nathan Maguire could not follow, finishing seventh in the other semi.

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Cervical screening: DIY alternative to smear test ‘promising’

Clinician transferring cells from a scraper to a vial of preservative solution.

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Science Photo Library

A DIY home urine or swab test could potentially help more women discover whether they are at risk of cervical cancer, researchers say.

The new method could be used as an alternative to the smear test and would not require a visit to the doctor.

Scientists at Queen Mary University of London asked 600 women to provide self-collected samples for screening.

Although larger trials are needed, the work has been called “promising” and a potential “game-changer” by charities.

The findings, being presented at the NCRI cancer conference in Glasgow, suggest the method is feasible and popular.

However, larger trials may still be needed before the NHS could decide whether to offer it to patients, say experts.

Even then, it would only be one option for women – as the researchers believe smear tests would continue in their current form.

But the researchers say that in the future, some women could order the test kits online, use them at home and then send their sample by post to be analysed.

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Media captionChloe Delevingne had a smear test live on the Victoria Derbyshire programme

The 25% who do not attend

Screening aims to pick up early warning signs of cancer – known as pre-cancers – that can be treated to prevent the disease.

All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 in the UK are invited for NHS cervical screening, but the number of women attending cervical screening in the UK has been falling.

Around one in four UK women do not attend when invited, figures suggest.

Experts have put the low uptake rates down to embarrassment, a lack of awareness or just putting it off.

Dr Belinda Nedjai and colleagues have developed an alternative screening method that does not rely on smear tests.

The S5 test measures chemical changes that are detectable in urine or self-collected vaginal fluid samples to gauge a woman’s cancer risk.

A high score suggests there is an increased risk of a pre-cancer lesion being present.

In the study, the S5 test was good at distinguishing which women had pre-cancerous growths diagnosed following conventional screening.

‘Potential to revolutionise’

Dr Nedjai said the self-sampling was “pretty accurate”, but was not as quite as effective as the UK’s current smear testing programme.

“It will be soon. With improvement we’ll get there,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Dr Nedjaj said the S5 test needed to be tried on more than 10,000 women before it could be offered on the NHS.

She predicted the at-home tests could be available via the health service in five years.

Researchers say the test could also be used alongside conventional cervical screening to help improve detection and spare some women from unnecessary investigations.

The NHS is currently moving to primary human papillomavirus (HPV) screening of smears – testing for the presence of this virus in samples before looking for abnormal cell changes. Almost all cases of cervical cancer are linked to HPV.

Dr Manuel Rodriguez-Justo, from University College London, said: “This is exciting research that shows it’s possible to detect cervical pre-cancer that is at high risk of developing into invasive cancer in urine and vaginal samples collected by women in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.

“This has the potential to revolutionise the way a positive HPV test is followed up, as well as making it easier for women in countries with no cervical cancer screening programme to be tested.”

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Getty Images

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Researchers have developed a way to identify pre-cancer lesions by analysing urine and vaginal samples

Sophia Lowes, Cancer Research UK’s health information manager, said: “The results look promising for detecting women with advanced cell changes. But we need to know if this test picks up all changes and if it’s as successful when testing a wider group of people.”

Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said although more research was needed, DIY checks could be a “game-changer”.

“For women who find the current methods of cervical screening difficult, including those with a physical disability or who have experienced trauma, it could mean they can access screening in a far more acceptable and accessible way.”

“It could mean those requiring treatment are identified faster and reduce the number of women having to go for potentially unnecessary investigations at colposcopy.”

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