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Anniversary of MH17 plane crash marked

Anna Holligan

Reporter BBC News, The Hague

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the MH17 air disaster, in which two Newcastle United fans died.

Relatives of some of the 298 victims gathered at the national memorial site in Vijfhuizen, near Schiphol airport.

There were 10 Britons on board when the plane was shot down by a Russian-made BUK missile over eastern Ukraine in 2014. They included John Alder and Liam Sweeney (pictured below) who were travelling to New Zealand to watch Newcastle play in a pre-season tour.

The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte opened the ceremony laying flowers at the monument which consists of 298 trees.

The families read the names of the victims - and paused for a minute of silence at the exact moment the passenger jet was blown out of the sky on this day four years ago.

John Alder and Liam Sweeney

Fire crews kept busy after spate of fires and flooding

From one extreme to the other - fightfighters dealing with heatwave-fuelled small fires were also called out to floods after heavy rain!

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Sport hub to have football pitch on roof

Daniel Holland

Local Democracy Reporter

A sport and education hub close to Newcastle's St James' Park will include a rooftop football pitch.

Newcastle City Council planners have approved the development for the site of the disused Murray House site, in Diana Street.

The Newcastle United Foundation development will also include a sports hall, classrooms and a community meeting space.

Councillor Kim McGuinness, cabinet member for culture, sport, and public health, said: “What I particularly like is the five-a-side pitch that will be sited on the roof of the centre, which will give youngsters a view of St James’ Park while they play. Hopefully it will inspire the next generation of football stars for the city.”

Murray House was first built in the 1930s to offer leisure and training for men and boys left unemployed as shipbuilding started to move out of the region, before being rebuilt in 1973.

Magpies legend Shola Ameobi was among the hundreds of youngsters who played at the facility, which closed last year ahead of the football club’s charity taking it over.

As well as football, the site will also accommodate sports including futsal, walking football, badminton and cricket.

Artist's impression of the sport hub

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North East groups on new BBC One idents

Two North East groups star in the latest BBC One idents, which will be seen by TV viewers across the country.

A group from Newcastle and another from County Durham feature in the short segments, which will be shown on BBC One from Saturday.

Swing dancers Lindy Jazz were filmed at St Cuthbert’s Centre in Crook, while the dogs and their owners of Dachshunds North East UK were filmed on Newcastle’s Quayside Seaside on the banks of the Tyne.

The idents were filmed by celebrated documentary photographer Martin Parr.

Swing dancers
Sausage dogs

Car death pedestrian was 'much-loved'

A 90-year-old pedestrian who died when he was stuck by a car will be "much missed" his family says.

George Kenneth Brown was pronounced dead by paramedics called to the scene on Scott Street, Stanley, on 11 July.

In a statement, his family said: “It is with deepest regret that we announce the death of our much-loved husband, dad, grandad, great grandad and brother. He will be sadly missed."

Durham Police said an investigation into the crash, at about 11:00, was ongoing, and appealed for witnesses, or anyone with any dashcam footage of it to come forward.

George Kenneth Brown
Durham Police

Hundred of people in Newcastle Trump protest

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Newcastle yesterday evening to protest against Donald Trump's visit to the UK.

The demonstration called Together Against Trump started outside the Civic Centre before moving to the Monument for a rally.

Newcastle Trump protest

Man suffers life-threatening injuries in city centre assault

A man has been taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries after being assaulted in Newcastle city centre, police say.

The man was found on Bath Lane at 23:15 yesterday.

Northumbria Police say they are looking at CCTV as part of their investigations and a cordon has been set up.

Police are appealing for any witnesses

cordon in Bath Lane

Paralympian says cuts to university sport 'sad news'

Paralympian Stephen Miller has said that cuts to Northumbria University's elite sport programmes are "sad news".

He was tweeting in response to proposals which have seen all seven Team Northumbria national league teams withdrawn, and plans to remove 12 full-time jobs, with six more becoming part-time roles.

The university said it wants to focus on "participation rather than performance sport" and engage an extra 1,000 students and staff in sport.

The Northumbria University graduate said: "Yes, participation is important but there also has to be a pathway for progression."

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North East officers drafted in to cover anti-Trump protests

BBC Tees

Officers from Durham Police are among thousands drafted in from across the UK to cover anti-Donald Trump protests.

The US president is on the second day of his visit to the UK.

Durham is just one of our local forces sending officers to maintain order at major protests taking place in London, along with demonstrations in other parts of the country.

Durham Police Federation has told BBC Tees it has meant last minute shift changes and cancelled rest days.

Durham Constabulary said: "A number of officers have been sent to contribute to the policing operation surrounding the visit of President Trump but the local policing response is not affected and officers will be back in time for events taking place in County Durham at the weekend."

NHS still reliant on 'archaic' fax machines

Hospitals are still reliant on "archaic" fax machines with thousands still in use, a survey shows.

Senior doctors said the continued use of the outdated technology was "ludicrous", and modern forms of communication were urgently needed.

The poll, by the Royal College of Surgeons using freedom of information laws, revealed nearly 9,000 fax machines were in use across England.

Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust topped the list, relying on 603 machines.

Doctor with fax machine
Getty Images

'Impeccable' England fans praised

Northumbria Police said there were call outs but no major disorder following last night's England match.

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Police praise behaviour of 'cheesed off' fan

Football fans across County Durham and Darlington have been praised by Durham Police after no major incidents were reported, despite England losing.

Supt Colin Williamson said: "We want to thank everyone for their fantastic behaviour last night.

"Fans were obviously cheesed off that England didn't make it through to Sunday's final.

"However, most people behaved impeccably and we had no major football-related disorder.

He added: "We've got another busy weekend coming up with Durham Miners' Gala and Seaham Carnival.

"Whatever you're doing, our officers will be out and about keeping you safe and we hope you all have a fantastic time."

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Fans heartbroken as England exit World Cup

So it wasn't to be and England are out of the World Cup after a fantastic run which took them to the semi-final.

Millions of fans up and down the country packed into pubs, parks, castles and caravans to cheer on Gareth Southgate's men against Croatia.

Look North's Nisha Joshi was at the big screen in Newcastle's Times Square and captured the fans' journey from England taking the lead in the fifth minute through to Croatia equalising and then scoring the winner in extra time.

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England fans gear up for Croatia semi-final

World Cup fever is set to bring the country to a standstill as fans brace themselves for England's biggest game in 28 years.

Workplaces across the nation are poised for an early exodus of staff, with supporters aiming to be ready for the Croatia clash with time to spare.

Streets will be deserted as people cram into pubs, gather around big screens or cheer on the team at home.

Kick-off is at 19:00, with the winner facing France in Sunday's final.

England are in the last four for the first time since losing to West Germany in 1990.

Commuters travelling on a service from Newcastle to London King's Cross earlier faced an interesting diversion...

Departure board at Newcastke Central Station

Paramedics plead for England fans to enjoy match responsibly

BBC Tees

The England football team will attempt tonight to reach the World Cup final, for the first time since they went on to lift the trophy in 1966.

They will face Croatia, cheered on by thousands of fans in Moscow - and millions more back home.

But emergency crews across the region are pleading with fans to enjoy tonight's the World Cup Semi Final responsibly - after a significant increase in the number of calls.

The North East Ambulance Service answered more than than 2,000 calls in the hours after the last England match kicked off - more than on New Year's Eve.

Darren Green from the service said: "There is alcohol provision at some of these events and we're experiencing fantastic weather at the moment which can have an adverse effect on us as an emergency service.

"There's more people in the public consuming alcohol, it does have an adverse affect for us."

Boyfriend of ex-Love Island star dies

The boyfriend of Sophie Gradon, a former Love Island contestant who died last month, has been found dead.

Aaron Armstrong, 25, was discovered on Tuesday at a property in Northumberland.

The day before, he posted an emotional tribute to his late girlfriend online saying: "Just wish I could cuddle you all day miss you so much."

Gradon, 32, a former Miss Great Britain, was found dead at her family house on 20 June.

Aaron Armstrong and Sophie Gradon

Poundworld announces store closures in the North East

Poundworld has named 25 stores which will go, including two in the North East.

Shops in Wallsend and North Shields are to close by Sunday.

The latest closures will result in 242 job losses nationwide.

Getty Images

See the full list here.

Northumbria Police pooches take first steps in specially-made shoes

Crime-fighting pooches are learning to tread carefully in their career as a police dog after being fitted with specially-made shoes.

The new uniform addition will keep their paws safe from hazards such as broken glass and needles.

Police dog learns to walk in special shoes
Northumbria Police

Vinny, Oakley, Pike, Rab, Q and Quinn pulled on their new kicks this week.

Most of the dogs have tried them on before but for newly-qualified PD Quinn - alongside puppies Q and Pike - it was a first and his handler Hayley said it took a bit of getting used to.She said: "We have all seen those videos where dogs have had shoes on and walked a bit funny and Quinn was no different at the beginning."I don't think he really knew what was going on but he got used to them eventually and that is really important for his development."There will be times that he has to pull them on in the future so these types of training sessions are valuable to prepare him for the real thing."

Northumbria Police dogs pose in their new kicks
Northumbria Police
George Ormond: Jail term for sex attacker 'not enough'
Two men abused by ex-football coach George Ormond have spoken out after he was jailed.

Thugs slashed tyres and smashed windscreen of parked car in Newcastle

Thugs have slashed the tyres and smashed the windscreen of a parked car in Newcastle.

Smashed window
Northumbria Police

The damage happened at about 03:50 on Saturday, June 16.

Police have released images of two men they want to speak to in connection with the incident on Avolon Walk in the Arthur's Hill area.

Two men officers would like to speak to
Northumbria Police

Plans for sports and education hub in Newcastle move a step closer

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Plans for a state-of-the-art sport and education hub close to St James’ Park could move a step closer this week.

The Newcastle United Foundation unveiled plans last year to create a new multi-million pound base on the site of a former community centre.

Sport and Education Hub
Newcastle United Foundation

Murray House, in Diana Street, was the place where hundreds of youngsters in the city fell in love with football – including Magpies legend Shola Ameobi – and has been closed since a deal was struck last year for the football club’s charity to take it over.

Newcastle City Council’s planning committee will decide on Friday whether or not to give the plans the green light.

The multi-million pound development will include a sports hall and football pitch, classrooms and learning suites to deliver education and training, plus meeting space for the wider community.

Geese slaughtered and decapitated at animal rescue centre

Twenty-five geese have been killed at an animal rescue centre in Barnard Castle.

A keeper discovered the birds at Wetheriggs Animal Rescue Centre this morning - some were decapitated, others stomped on and some died from the stress of the incident.

Sally Bowes, Assistant Director at Wetheriggs Animal Rescue

Sally Bowes is the assistant director and head keeper of the centre, she said:

"It couldn't be an animal attack, it had to be people, we don't know why someone has done this it's just horrific really.

"Why would you harm animals in this way, we're totally out of the way of people so someone must've had to come here specifically to do this."

Durham Police say an investigation has been launched and is ongoing.

Football fans angry after ticket prices to watch World Cup increase

Football fans have expressed anger after a venue in the city hiked up ticket prices to watch the World Cup final and semi-finals.

The Chronicle says Times Square, which is hosting a giant outdoor fan zone with a beer garden, has increased admission for the remaining games.

Many fans have taken to Twitter to express their annoyance, including Mark:

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Punters paid £5 plus a booking fee for standing to watch England's group stage games, and this price included a drink.

But general admission to Wednesday's game has been priced at £22 online, but despite the hike tickets have sold out.

Tickets for the final now stand at £27.50 including a booking fee.

Future of Bigg Market toilets still in the pipeline

The future of Newcastle's famous Bigg Market loos is still in the pipeline.

Newcastle City council was expected to make a decision on whether the 19th Century toilets could be turned into a wine bar tomorrow, but again has cancelled a licensing hearing for the proposed venue.

Inside Bigg Market Toilets
NCJ Media

A previous hearing last month was postponed for further negotiations with the potential developer after both the council and Northumbria Police lodged objections against the plans.

Both criticised a lack of detail on how the bar would operate, especially in an area where high numbers of bars and clubs provide a major challenge for police.

Applicant WC Newcastle Ltd argued that the size, operating hours, and style of wine bar would be "very unlikely" to contribute to issues of noise and drunken behaviour around Bigg Market.

The toilets, which opened in 1898, were closed to the public six years ago after problems with funding.

Motorcyclist airlifted to hospital following Bishop Auckland crash

A motorcyclist has been seriously injured in a crash in Bishop Auckland.

Road Cordon
Durham Constabulary

The driver of a Suzuki MV1000 motorcycle was airlifted to The James Cook University Hospital after hitting a grey Seat Leon.

The incident happened at about 16:40 yesterday evening on the A689 near Rose Hill Farm, Eastgate.

The driver of the car also received minor injuries.

Northumberland firefighters recruiting for the first time in eight years

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The search for new firefighters in Northumberland is heating up.

For the first time in eight years the service is taking in applications for new crew members.

Northumberland Firefighters
Press Association

Positions within County Durham and Darlington, and Tyne and Wear fire and rescue services are also being sought.

Over the last three weeks taster sessions have been available to help candidates understand the demands of the role and the physical challenges faced.

The registration period is open now for five days until Friday.

More details can be found here.

Police appeal for sightings of missing woman

Police say they're concerned about Natalie Knighting, who has been missing since 30 June.

Natalie Knighting
Family photo

Natalie, 38, is from Newcastle but had been staying in Warwick Bridge, just outside Carlisle.

She is 5ft 7in and slim. Officers say she may still be in the Carlisle area, or have travelled back to Newcastle.

Police looking to trace Darlington biker

Durham Police have issued an appeal on twitter to find a biker who was involved in an incident on Thursday in Darlington.

It's all part of Operation Endurance a campaigned aimed at tackling off road nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

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Sunderland graduate follows in mother's footsteps

A Sunderland University student is following in the footsteps of her mother after graduating with a degree in primary education.

Alexandra Bowey, 23, secured the University of Sunderland's Sir Tom Cowie Scholarship in order to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.

Alex and mum Joanne
University of Sunderlandd

In 2006 her mum Joanne graduated from the university with a degree in early childhood studies.

Alexandra said it was her mother who inspired her to follow a career in teaching.

She said: "Mum always says her job is not like going to work, it's just something she loves doing.

"That was really inspiring, just seeing the passion she had.

"Now, I feel the same, I love being able to see the difference you are making to someone's life."

North East 'could see reduction in train services'

The North East risks losing some train services on the East Coast route as operator CrossCountry looks to renew its franchise, civic leaders have warned.

The Department for Transport is looking to cut one of the two services an hour it runs north of Northallerton to Newcastle.

A consultation is asking if it would be appropriate to end one of the current services further south at Leeds, Doncaster or York.

Councillors across the region have called for services to be kept at the same standard.

Newcastle City Council's leader, councillor Nick Forbes said: "We've been warning for some time that there is an urgent need to increase capacity on the East Coast rail route to cope with growing demand.

"But instead of investing in our railways the Government is now consulting on the idea of cutting direct services used by 2.5 million passengers a year between the North East and some of England's biggest cities.

"CrossCountry provides the only direct services from the North East towards Sheffield, Birmingham and Bristol, as well as helping ensure there are enough trains to meet demand between Newcastle and Leeds.

"People shouldn't be forced to waste time changing trains to complete these journeys and we shall be making that point strongly in our consultation response to the Department for Transport, as well as renewing our call for more investment."

People have until 30 August to respond to the consultation.

Register for the 2019 FA People's Cup


Have you been blown over by the World Cup? Fancy yourself as the next Harry Kane?

Enjoy some of the best moments from the 2018 FA People's Cup and register to play in the 2019 FA People's Cup, the biggest five-a-side tournament in the country...

FA People's Cup 2019: Registration open for biggest five-a-side tournament in the country