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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 18, 2021 7:00pm-7:31pm BST

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this is bbc news. the headlines at seven. millions enjoy the first weekend since england's lockdown was eased, but concerns as health officials confirm 77 cases of the indian variant across the uk. the organisation representing nhs trusts in england says it will take five years for some hospitals to catch up with the backlog caused by the pandemic. two russians suspected of carrying out the salisbury nerve agent poisonings are now accused over a czech arms depot explosion in 2014. the czechs, for example, in the past until quite recently have been quite reticent about basically picking a fight with moscow. and it's quite interesting now the czechs have pivoted and they're being very, very robust in their response. the government says it will examine any recommendation made by the inquiry into the lobbying row involving david cameron. nasa is attempting to make history
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with the first powered flight on another planet with a helicopter mission on mars. and coming up at 7:45 in sportsday, angerfrom the premier league and uefa as reports suggest the �*big six�* in england have signed up to a new european super—league. hello, welcome to bbc news. on the first weekend since the government eased coronavirus lockdown restrictions in england, millions have taken the opportunity to get outdoors, and enjoy the sunny weather. but there are concerns over new variants of the coronavirus, with 77 cases discovered in england and scotland, of an indian mutation of covid—19. it comes as deaths from coronavirus continue to fall, with ten in the latest 24—hour period,
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though the figures are usually lower at the weekend. here's our health correspondent, catherine burns. as steps along the road map go, this one has made a big difference to streets up and down england. it's been the first weekend for nonessential shops to open. streets packed, and apart from masks and queues, it's almost like old times. just to see everybody out and about, because that's one thing i've missed, being able to be part of society again, i guess. i still, like, get a bit nervous, obviously, because i don't want to get the virus and stuff, but it is nice to have a bit of normality in life again. pubs and restaurants too have had their first weekend of real trade for months. only outside, but it's not putting people off. steve and his family are getting togetherfor a big occasion. it's really great to be able to come out and celebrate my birthday, meet with my daughter, who i haven't seen for a long time, and just be around
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other people as well. there's a buzz. it'sjust really lovely to see them and celebrate. it feels a bit more normal as well. it's nice to be able tojust do it now. i even if you have to be cold, it's worth it. - right now, it can feel like we've all got a lot to celebrate. infections across the uk have fallen by 90% since the start of the year. they're now at their lowest level since september. public health officials will keep a close eye on how easing up affects those numbers, but in the meantime, they're also studying a new variant that seems to have come from india. cases are spiking there, and 77 people in the uk have now tested positive for the new variant. the vast majority have been picked up in routine testing as people isolated after travelling from india, although a few have not been linked to travel. we have the variant under investigation. to escalate it up the ranking, we need to know if it has increased transmissibility, increased severity or
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vaccine—evading, and wejust don't know that yet, though we're looking at the data on a daily basis. but while they do that, here's another sight we've not seen for a while — 213 fans watching the world snooker championships at the crucible yesterday. it's the first part of a government pilot into how to hold big events safely. so far, england is the only part of the uk to ease up this much. outdoor hospitality is still not allowed anywhere else until close to the end of the month. catherine burns, bbc news. the latest government figures show there were 1,882 new coronavirus infections, recorded in the latest 24—hour period, which means on average the number of new cases reported per day in the last week is 2,555. the number of people in hospital in the uk with coronavirus stands atjust over 2,000. ten deaths were reported — that's of people who died within 28 days of a positive covid—i9 test — which means on average
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in the past week, 26 deaths were announced every day, taking the total to more than 127,000. nearly 140,000 people have had their first dose of a covid—19 vaccine in the latest 24 hour period, taking the overall number of people who've had their firstjab, to more than 32.8 million. while the number of people who've had their second dose of the vaccine in the latest 24 hour period is nearly half a million, which takes the overall number who've had their second jab to nearly 10 million. and we'll find out how this story and many others are covered in tomorrow's front pages at 10:30 and 11:30 this evening in the papers. our guestsjoining me tonight are the former leader of the scottish labour party, kezia dugdale, and the deputy political editor of the daily mail, john stevens. police in the czech republic say they want to question the two russian men suspected of carrying out the salisbury nerve agent attack after linking them to a fatal explosion four years earlier. 18 russian diplomats have been
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expelled from prague after the czech government said there was strong evidence moscow was involved in the blast. this comes as the foreign secretary dominic raab says the british government stands in full support of the czech republic. he's called the actions of russian intelligence services �*reckless and dangerous�*. our security correspondent gordon corera has the story. the aftermath of a deadly explosion. in october 2014, this arms depot in the czech countryside blew up. it took a month to find the remains of two men who worked there. it was widely assumed to have been an accident, until now. a key piece of evidence came when investigators found an e—mail requesting permission for two men to inspect the site. attached were scans of the men's passports, a copy of which the bbc has obtained. if you recognise them, this is why. they're the same two men wanted in connection with the salisbury poisoning in the uk.
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in 2018, they were spotted on cctv and accused of smearing nerve agent on the front door of sergei skripal�*s house. the two denied any involvement, saying they visited salisbury to see the cathedral spire. the e—mail with the passport scans claimed the men were from the national guard of tajikistan, and gave false names. the pair arrived in prague in october 11th, using the same names as in salisbury. on october 13th, they went to stay in ostrava, near the arms depot, and they left the country on october 16th, the day of the explosion. but why was the depot targeted? the bbc has been told that a bulgarian arms dealer, emilian gebrev, stored weapons there. six months later in bulgaria, another team from russian military intelligence is believed to have tried to kill gebrev. this cctv shows an alleged member of the team moving around gebrev�*s car. it's alleged that poison
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was smeared on its door handle, leaving him fighting for his life, though he did survive. one expert says these incidents paint a picture of how this team operates. it actually seems to have been military intelligence�*s in—house team of miscellaneous throat—slitters and general saboteurs. there are probably about 20 operational staff and maybe 200 support personnel. the czech prime minister last night announced that 18 russian diplomats were to be expelled. moscow has responded that the allegations are absurd. the revelations about this explosion may not be the last. investigations into the activities of russian military intelligence are ongoing, and more cases may still be uncovered. gordon corera, bbc news. the environment secretary, george eustice, has told the bbc that the government will "look at" any recommendations to change the rules around lobbying. inquiries have begun into david cameron's contact with ministers, on behalf of the collapsed financial firm, greensill capital.
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it comes as a senior conservative mp warns borisjohnson he'll lose support among former labour voters, unless the lobbying row is resolved. here's our political correspondent, jonathan blake. letting light into parts of political life that often stay in the shadows. former prime minister david cameron's lobbying of ministers on behalf of a finance company has led to wider questions about links between government and business and possible conflicts of interest. one cabinet minister who used to work for mr cameron defended his actions and those of ministers today, but hinted that a government review could bring change. once it's concluded and once all those parliamentary committees that are now looking at this have concluded, i'm sure some of them will make policy recommendations, and of course the government will look at that. i'm not saying that things can't be tweaked or improved, but i am saying that it was changed about ten years ago and that fundamentally here, the question should be less about who spoke to who. the question is much more
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about how ministers acted after those conversations. conservatives are worried that some of this may be starting to stick and could spell trouble for borisjohnson with voters if he doesn't do something soon. boris defeated what he regarded and described as an out of touch elite in the 2016 referendum, and won a general election victory. he is seen as different from his predecessors, and has won a lot of support as a consequence. he will lose that support unless he acts decisively now. labour's rachel reeves faced questions about why her party's former welsh first minister took a job against independent advice, but there's no letup in the political attacks. what we have seen this week is that tory sleaze is back- and that it's bigger than ever. we need real change to restore trust in our democracy and in the very- essence of public service, - which matters to so many of us and matters to people in our country. there are now multiple
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investigations under way into the rules around contact between politicians in power and those who seek to influence them, including the government's own review. so, it's possible, indeed likely, that more details will emerge and be used by some to argue that there are just too many grey areas. what's less clear is whether any of this will lead to lasting change in the way westminster works. how to regulate access to politicians and ensure that they're not unduly influenced are not easy questions to answer. jonathan blake, bbc news. the foreign office says the uk is deeply concerned about the health of the jailed russia opposition activist, alexei navalny, and has called for his release. supporters of mr navalny, have said he could die within days. supporters of mr navalny have said he could die within days. doctors say blood tests indicate he's at risk of both kidney and heart failure. he's been on a hunger strike for more than two weeks because he's not being allowed
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access to his own medical team. speaking on the andrew marr show russia's ambassador to the uk, andrei kelin, was asked if mr navalny would be allowed to die in prison. he will not be allowed to die in prison but i can say that mr navalny behaves like a hooligan, absolutely, in trying to violate every rule that has been established. his purpose of doing that is to attract attention for him, also by saying that today his left hand is sick, tomorrow his leg is sick and all of that stuff... the european court of human rights has ruled that the charges against him for the money laundering are, they say, arbitrary and unfair. isn't the truth that he is in prison because he is a threat to president putin, for democratic reasons? no, not at all. he has violated his terms of parole and that is why he has been given a sentence and i have to say that julian assange here in britain was arrested by british police because he had also violated the terms of parole. our correspondent in moscow,
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sarah rainsford, gave us this update on mr navalny�*s condition. it's impossible to get independent information. the prison aren't talking — information. the prison aren't talking directly and the main source of information is coming from alexei navalny's _ of information is coming from alexei navalny's team and from him himself. they've _ navalny's team and from him himself. they've been sounding the alarm over this weekend. they've been putting out very— this weekend. they've been putting out very strong statements that morning _ out very strong statements that morning that his health— his life, in fact- _ morning that his health— his life, in faci- is — morning that his health— his life, in fact— is hanging by a thread. they— in fact— is hanging by a thread. they say— in fact— is hanging by a thread. they say he's been killed before peoriie's— they say he's been killed before people's eyes and they're morning very much— people's eyes and they're morning very much that this is a critical moment _ very much that this is a critical moment. they published a blood test result_ moment. they published a blood test result which points to particularly hi-h result which points to particularly high potassium levels, which doctors allied _ high potassium levels, which doctors allied to _ high potassium levels, which doctors allied to mr navalny means these are at risk— allied to mr navalny means these are at risk of— allied to mr navalny means these are at risk of cardiac arrest. sounding the alarm, — at risk of cardiac arrest. sounding the alarm, concerned about mr navalny's — the alarm, concerned about mr navalny's health, and that's why they're _ navalny's health, and that's why they're holding supporters to take to the _ they're holding supporters to take to the street on wednesday to demand
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his release, _ to the street on wednesday to demand his release, to demand that this criticai— his release, to demand that this critical situation doesn't come to pass _ critical situation doesn't come to pass he — critical situation doesn't come to pass he is— critical situation doesn't come to pass. he is on a hunger strike. it's been _ pass. he is on a hunger strike. it's been 90 _ pass. he is on a hunger strike. it's been 90 days now since alexei navalny — been 90 days now since alexei navalny has been refusing all food and only— navalny has been refusing all food and only drinking water. the family of an elderly woman from south wales who was taken home from hospital by ambulance staff to the wrong address say she was "frightened" by what happened. elizabeth mahoney�*s son has been told she was also put to bed in the stranger's home, before anyone realised what had happened. the welsh ambulance service has apologised. nicola smith reports. treasured photos of elizabeth mahoney in healthier times. two years on after treatment for covid in hospital, she was ready to be discharged. but instead of taking her home, the nonemergency patient transport service took her to a house in newport several miles away. it's not clear how it happened, but her family believe she may have been mistaken for another patient with dementia. she was telling them apparently that her name wasn't — i won't say the lady's name — but she said, "that isn't my name,
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my name is betty," she's known as. she said, "this isn't my house." mum was frightened, i think, then. officially, we heard from the ambulance service that they had put her to bed because before that, we didn't really know whether they put her in a chair, in a bed, whether it was upstairs, downstairs, whatever. it was a bungalow, apparently, and the gentleman pointed to the bedroom she had to go in. we didn't realise till after they'd gone that this is not my sister. once the error was discovered, she was taken back to hospital several hours later. the welsh ambulance service has apologised to both families and says it's working with the health board to fully understand the chain of events. the health board has been asked to comment. we don't want anybody... nothing to happen to anybody in the nhs or anything else, because we've all supported the nhs. but we just feel that something should be in place to make sure this never happens again. tonight, investigations are continuing to what happened and why.
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nicola smith with that report. the headlines on bbc news... millions enjoy the first weekend since england's lockdown was eased — but concerns as health officials confirm 77 cases of the indian variant across the uk. the organisation representing nhs trusts in england says it will take five years for some hospitals to catch up with the backlog caused by the pandemic two russians suspected of carrying out the salisbury nerve agent poisonings are now accused over a czech arms depot explosion in 2014. back to the pandemic, and the global number of covid—19 deaths has now passed 3 million. in brazil, more than 370,000 people have now died, yet the president there refuses to lock down despite a sharp rise in infections. mark lowen sent us this from sao paolo. every day, the faces of despair multiply. the food lines in sao paulo's
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largest favela go on and on. with most here working in the grey economy, covid has destroyed jobs. queues have more than tripled in recent months, as the pandemic takes lives and livelihoods of brazil's poorest. for luciana firmino and herfamily, this is now their only meal of the day. she lost herjob in a manicure studio with the pandemic and they're unable to pay the rent. translation: i've lost hope. we will have to live on the street or under a bridge soon. sometimes, i think i should give my children away to social services. she sobs. with the pandemic, six out of ten brazilian households now lack sufficient access to food. government hand—outs last year helped, but they've been reduced as money ran scarce.
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no such concerns for the wealthiest food producers and backers of the president. it's corn harvest time on frederico da vila's 1,300 hectares. but with the president's anti—lockdown stance, slow vaccine purchase, and more than 365,000 dead here, his critics call his handling genocidal. the president bolsonaro is not focused on killing anyone, he want to preserve the liberties of the people. he want people to get... to get out, to get work. with the public health disaster, economic woes, and a divisive leader, brazil is facing a perfect storm. it urgently needs a way out from the darkness of the pandemic. mark lowen, bbc news, sao paulo. the duke of edinburgh's funeral was watched by more than 13 million television viewers in the uk. the 50—minute service was viewed
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by 11 million people on the bbc, 2.1 million on itv, and around 450,000 on sky. the figures are the official overnight averages for between 3 and 4pm yesterday. the billionaire issa brothers who own asda have bought the british fast food chain, lyon. more than 70 lyon restaurants across the uk and europe have been sold to the brothers�* giant petrol forecourt business, eg group. the deal is believed to be worth around 100 million pounds. a section of brighton beach has been cordoned off after a possible unexploded mortar shell was found this afternoon. a section of the beach west of the palace pier has been made safe while police wait for the arrival of bomb disposal teams. people are currently being advised to stay away from the area. what was the biggest iceberg in the world has completely broken up. a68, as it was known, measured around 2,300 square
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miles when it broke away from antarctica in 2017. a warning, victoria gill�*s report contains some flashing images. a1 billion tonne block of ice. when iceberg a68 broke away from antarctica back in 2017, it measured more than 2,300 square miles, a quarter the size of wales. it was only by imaging it from space that scientists could actually follow the massive iceberg�*s journey as it inched its way north. at one point, it was on a direct collision course with the antarctic island of south georgia, potentially threatening to cut off vast populations of penguins and seals. but it was off that coast in the open ocean swell that the world�*s largest iceberg broke apart. it lasted for years like that, as it moved around, but eventually broke in two, four, five pieces and then those broke up again. but the end point for some of these fragments was quite interesting because just very suddenly overnight, theyjust fragmented
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into millions of little tiny pieces. and you could see that on the satellite data. and that process, i think, is something that needs studying a little bit more because it might tell us a little bit about how ice shelves break up in the future. a68 being the size of a small country made it the focus of global media attention. but the breaking away, or calving, of these giant icebergs is a natural part of the ebb and flow of the dynamic ice shelf. what we're looking at is the regularity of these events — are they becoming more frequent? and iceberg calving is a big factor in ice loss from antarctica. so, if these iceberg calving events are becoming more frequent, then it's a really important factor that we need to be looking at and researching. while a68 will be remembered as a social media star that was visible from space, scientists will now be turning their attention to the newest chasm on the edge of the vast ice sheet and the next giant berg to set off on its own epicjourney.
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victoria gill, bbc news. nasa is attempting to make history with the first powered flight on another planet. it will launch a small helicopter, called ingenuity, from the surface of mars. on board is a small piece of history from earth — a tiny square of material from the wright brothers plane that first flew over a century ago. as our science correspondent rebecca morelle reports, it�*s a trial of technology that could transform how we explore distant worlds the parachute has deployed... this mission has already revealed mars as never seen before with the first—ever footage of a thrilling dissent as the rover is lowered down to the martian surface. now nasa is ready to make history again. this time, it will try to launch a helicopter. the first attempt at powered flight on another planet, this animation reveals how it might look. but with the extreme conditions on mars and the fact that there�*s barely any atmosphere,
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it won�*t be easy. it feels absolutely nuts, of course. i mean, we�*ve been flying on earth forjust over a hundred years and now, yeah, we�*re going to go to another planet. it�*s crazy, right? but that�*s the beauty of exploration and the beauty of engineering. nasa�*s helicopter is a feat of engineering. it weighsjust 1.8 kilograms — that�*s four lbs — and it has two long rotors which spin in opposite directions at up to two and a half thousand revolutions per minute. this is much faster than a helicopter on earth, but it needs this speed to lift off in the extremely thin martian atmosphere. its first test flight takes it three metres above the ground for 30 seconds before rotating and finally landing. then for the next 30 days, it will begin to fly much further afield. the helicopter has been lowered from where it was stored beneath the rover onto a carefully selected strip of terrain, free of boulders. it will catch a footage as it
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flies, looking down on the rover and the rover�*s camera will film the helicopter, providing multiple views for the scientists to study. one of the things that a helicopter is very well suited for isjust looking around, scouting. it can traverse places without being hindered by the terrain. it could dojust kind of scouting missions for our future rovers, perhaps, or even for astronauts. the helicopter is part of nasa�*s most ambitious mars mission to date. these are all images taken in the last few weeks. on the ground, the rover will be searching for signs of life, but the helicopter will add an airborne dimension to how we explore other planets, opening up new frontiers in flight. rebecca morelle, bbc news. this weekend marks 70 years since the peak district became a national park. it was the first in britain, allowing people to walk on moorland without being prosecuted. judy hobson has the story.
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this landscape has been protected for 70 years for all of us. 555 square miles of natural beauty. so, this is heading up grindsbrook, up to the top of kinder scout... and it�*s the job of rangers like anna to help us appreciate it. so, we�*re kind of the link between the landscape and visitors and residents, i guess, so it�*s about advising people that are coming out, making sure they�*re having a good time and not doing any damage. the first ranger, i think, had a horse, so, i don�*t have a horse — that�*s changed quite a bit. although i do have a pick—up truck, so i can�*t complain! i would say they were all men at the start, and now it�*s kind of 50—50.
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so, why was the national park created? this is one of the most popular areas of the peak district, butjust imagine, before the national park was formed, you were not allowed to walk across fantastic open moorland like this. file: the cpre are now fighting for great tracts of land to be - used as national parks. other countries have their national parks, like america's yosemite. workers in cities like manchester and sheffield needed access to the countryside, but the moors were strictly preserved for grouse shooting. the mass trespass on kinder scout in 1932 showed the strength of feeling that people should have access to this landscape. the same year, the rights of way act was passed. our town parks have to be cramped, so let us have the great, open country. 19 years later, the peak district becomes britain�*s first national park — walkers can now stray off footpaths without fear of prosecution. it was hugely important -
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for the public to be able to roam, to be able to enjoy the countryside on their doorstep. _ it was a green lung for those people. i the peak district is britain�*s most accessible national park. more than 13 million people visit it every year, 20 million live within an hour�*s travel. and while here, they can enjoy 1600 miles of public rights of way. the peak district national park is probably, in my view, - more relevant today than it has been over the entirety- of its 70 years of existence. i�*m really grateful to be able to have these places to explore and see wildlife and get off the beaten track. this is the legacy of those who campaigned for the right to roam, so all of us can appreciate this precious landscape. judy hobson, bbc news. now for the tale of a dog
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who refused to let a disability hinder his exercise regime. a car accident when he was just a year old left dexter with two injured front legs. but he�*s learned to adapt and thrive, as russell trott reports. putting his best feet forward, dexter the dog has amazed medical experts. his owner kentee was faced with having to put him to sleep when he was just a year old, after he had injured his front legs in a car accident. but although he was feeling a little "ruff", she recognised something in dexter — that he was a fighter, and so she put him through surgery and therapy sessions, and effectively taught him to run on his hind legs. we didn�*t think he�*d make it. his front legs got caught underneath the wheel. i couldn�*t put another dog down without giving him a chance. he�*s become something of a celebrity in his hometown of ouray, colorado, and he�*s put a smile on the faces of his family and the locals.
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kentee describes dexter as goofy, sweet and smart, and she credits the dog�*s upbeat demeanour of helping them all paw through the pandemic, especially after she lost herjob. dexter, for his part, seems to be taking it all in his stride. russell trott, bbc news. a great site! now it�*s time for a look at the weather with nick miller. some areas have been vaccine in warm april sunshine but not everywhere —— been basking. producing more cloud than england and wales. and a little bit of patchy rain as well, whereas in england and wales, there have been plenty of sunshine. here�*s this weather system to the west, and overnight it will take the rain away from scotland before bringing back in later on monday and into tuesday.
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overnight, despite the cloud, it will become mainly dry. parts of eastern scotland will turn clearer, whereas for england and wales, plenty of clear skies. where you are clear, it�*s another night with the chance of a touch of frost for going into the morning. temperatures well above freezing, and that will be northwest scotland tomorrow. there will be some rain into the western aisles, but many fringes into the west of the mainland, western counties and northern ireland. the best of any sunshine will be in eastern counties. england and wales, any low cloud and mist and fog clears away and plenty of sunshine, just a small chance of an isolated shower, and it will feel warm and that sunshine. as we go monday night and into tuesday, we start to bring outbreaks of rain just further east into scotland, through northern ireland. still mainly dry and england and wales, so low cloud pushing back into parts of eastern england. generally, those temperatures are higher into tuesday morning, sojust an isolated
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temperatures are higher into tuesday morning, so just an isolated frost

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