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Hospital staff 'abused' vulnerable patients in Durham, BBC's Panorama reveals
Undercover BBC filming shows staff swearing, mocking and taunting patients with learning disabilities.

Welcome to our live coverage

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage.

We've got all the news, sport, travel and weather through the day.

If you want to get in touch with any news or send us photos you can tweet us, contact us via our Facebook page or email us.

Sinkhole causes A689 closure

Drivers on a route between County Durham and Cumbria are facing diversions this morning, after a sinkhole closed the main road through upper Weardale.

It appeared in the A689 at Wearhead, between St John's Chapel and Nenthead, yesterday, and is thought to be the result of a collapsed culvert from old mine workings.

A shorter local diversion is in place within Wearhead for residents and emergency services, but this is not suitable for HGVs or coaches.

However, pedestrians, and dismounted cyclists are able to pass the subsidence.

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Sinkhole closes road in Weardale

An emergency road closure is in place in Upper Weardale after a sinkhole emerged.

Durham County Council has closed the A689 at Wearhead in the interests of safety.

Road Closed on A689
Durham County Council

Temporary diversions will be in place tomorrow morning to allow for further investigations and repairs.

The footpath remains open for pedestrians, while cyclists can pass through by dismounting and proceeding on foot.

Durham County Council

Residents worry about being trapped by cycling event

James Harrison

Local Democracy Reporter

Ten-hour road closures for a mayor cycle event are leaving families and business worried they might end up trapped.

People living and working along the route of the 100-mile Vélo North are to meet organisers and Durham County Council.

Road closures for the event on Sunday 1 September are due to be in place in phases from midnight the night before until 19:00 on the day, from Fishburn in the east to Forest-in-Teesdale to the west.

There is particular concern about sections that encompass tourist attractions like High Force waterfall or which affect farmers in rural areas.

HIgh Force
Getty Images

Council strategic traffic manager Dave Wafer said the event "offers riders of all abilities the chance to cycle on closed roads".

“Unlike professional races where riders are grouped close together, rolling road closures are not possible for a mass participation event like Vélo North," he said.

“However, the closures will be implemented in stages to minimise disruption.”

May duty for County Durham gritting teams

We may be well into spring, but the weather seems to be stuck in winter mode, with frost reported overnight.

However, Durham County Council's gritting team was ready to makes sure roads were clear for early-morning travellers.

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Steph Houghton named in England squad

Durham's very own Steph Houghton has been named in the England squad for the World Cup in France.

She's already played more than 100 times for the Lionesses.

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Exeter academic jailed for spying filing formal complaint

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

An academic from Exeter who was jailed for spying in the United Arab Emirates is filing a formal complaint against the British government over the way it handled his case.

Durham University PhD student Matthew Hedges was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Gulf state last year after being accused of working for MI6.

He was pardoned in November, although officials continued to call him a spy, which he denies.

He said the Foreign Office did not take "effective and timely" action to secure his release.

His wife, Daniela Tejada, explained to BBC Devon why they felt they needed to make the formal complaint...

Matthew Hedges was sentenced to life imprisonment after being accused of spying

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the government has taken the situation seriously and has been "very effective".

Stroke treatment trialed in the North East

Sharon Barbour

BBC Look North

A new treatment that could potentially help hundreds of thousands of people left disabled by stroke is being trialed in the North East.

It involves implanting a device which then sends electrical pulses into the brain in the hope of "rewiring" it.

One of the first patients to have the treatment, Colin Clough from Durham (pictured), said he "jumped at the opportunity".

"I'd just become used to using this right hand for everything," he said.

"The prospect of bringing my left hand back to life was great - I jumped at the chance."

Colin Clough

Results reflect national picture, as big two lose out

Laura Kuenssberg

BBC political editor

It's not over - it's far, far from over.

Many hundreds of seats are yet to declare. Many individual political stories yet to be told. So be very aware - the final shape of wins and losses for the government and the main opposition is unclear.

But at this stage of the morning, there is one message to both of the main parties at Westminster from this enormous set of elections - it's not us, it's both of you.

Polling station in country

Local elections are about different issues in our villages, towns and cities. But at count after count, Tory and Labour candidates have been paying the price for Westminster's failure so far to settle the Brexit question. Council leaders from both parties saying openly that voters can't trust them any more because of how they have dealt with the issue - whether that is a sentiment among Leave voters in Sunderland who don't trust that we'll ever leave, or Remain voters in Bath who are furious that we likely will.

Or more simply maybe, now we are nearly three years on from the referendum itself, this is a verdict on the competence of Westminster's biggest parties, on the mess of handling Brexit.

The beneficiaries? A Lib Dem recovery of sorts, a marked pick-up for the Greens, and independent councillors gobbling up seats in different pockets of the country. By traditional measures at this early stage, Labour is far from making the strides of a party marching towards Number 10. The Tories have so far escaped the worst. But their divisions over Brexit have cost them both - and neither of them have an obvious way out.

But as I say, many more results are yet to come in, and you can keep up with them here throughout the day.

Stabbed man saved by roadside heart surgery

Man stabbed in County Durham saved by roadside heart surgery
Footage of life-saving open heart surgery performed on the street to save the life of a young man is being used to help train other medical teams.

The man was stabbed in County Durham and had gone into cardiac arrest by the time a Great North Air Ambulance Service helicopter arrived.

Dear Zoo cancels all shows after tour van theft

The production company behind children's play Dear Zoo has had to cancel all its UK shows - including at Durham's Gala Theatre and Darlington Hippodrome - after its tour van was stolen.

The heavily-branded van containing £50,000 worth of props and staging was stolen in Peterborough on Saturday.

Producer Chris Davis said "thousands of children will be disappointed" as all 56 remaining shows had been cancelled.

He said five actors and the stage manager would have to be made redundant because of the cancellations.

Dear Zoo van

'Please mend my broken heart'

BBC Newcastle

A County Durham woman is appealing to the NHS to fund a vital operation.

Jessica Sadler was born with a hole in her heart, which was only found when she collapsed with a stroke on her 24th birthday.

Jessica, of Sedgefield, says she's been told NHS England won't pay for her operation even though it's available in other parts of the UK. Without it, there's a risk she could have another stroke.

The organisation says it's consulting on whether there's enough evidence to offer this type of operation in the future.

Welcome to our live coverage

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage.

We've got all the news, sport, travel and weather through the day.

If you want to get in touch with any news or send us photos you can tweet us, contact us via our Facebook page or email us.

Animal charity sees rise in exotic pets calls

Colin Briggs

Look North

More than 500 calls were made to the RSPCA by people worried about exotic pets in the North East last year.

The animal welfare charity also rescued more than 100 animals in the region in 2018.

Those included two terrapins that were being kept in a tub in Sunderland as well as bearded dragons and a wallaby in County Durham.

Nationally the RSPCA took almost 16,000 calls last year with concerns about pets like snakes, turtles and lizards.

Durham Cathedral stars in Avengers: Endgame

A scene from Avengers
Marvel Studios

If you are going to watch Avengers: Endgame tonight, stay extra focused, because Durham Cathedral is in the film.

But spotting it might not be easy - the building was changed to keep with he context of the movie.

The Russo brothers, who directed the film, said: "Durham Cathedral is stunning and one of the great cathedrals of Europe. It’s beautiful.

"The movie is of an incredible scale and we need locations like Durham Cathedral to satisfy that level of scale.

"It won’t be represented as what it is, it is standing in for something else in the film, but there will be a significant amount of it in the film."

The Dean of Durham with the Russo brothers, who directed the film
Chapter of Durham Cathedral

The directors even found the time to talk to the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham.

He said: "Throughout the filming period, the crew firmly respected our core purpose of worship as a living church, as we allowed them to use this special space to bring the age-old story of good versus evil to life.

"My colleagues and I are extremely excited to see the final product and how our beautiful cathedral will appear on screen."

Endgame will see the superheroes preparing to fight Thanos for the final time.

The film got warm reviews from critics, who have called it "glorious" and "masterful".

Scattered showers and some bright spells

Owain Wyn Evans

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

A bright start for many, but cloud will become rather extensive later with some showers, perhaps lengthy, spreading their way northwards.

These showers will turn more scattered as the day goes on, with a better chance of some sunny spells.

Maximum temperatures should reach about 13C (55F).

Weather map

Welcome to our live coverage

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage.

We've got all the news, sport, travel and weather through the day.

If you want to get in touch with any news or send us photos you can tweet us, contact us via our Facebook page or email us.

Local elections: What are they all about?

The local elections are taking place on 2 May.

We'll get to choose who decides on things like where houses get built, who runs the buses and which pubs get late licences.

But last year only one in three people went to the polls. So what is the vote all about?

Reporter Jennifer Meierhans explains

Local elections: What are they all about?

Mostly dry but the chance of heavy showers later

Lisa Gallagher

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

It will be dry for most of the region for most of the day.

However, a fair bit of cloud will develop meaning any spells of sunshine will be shortlived.

Later there could be some heavy showers and even the odd thunderstorm.

Maximum temperatures should reach about 15C (59F).

Weather map

Online course focuses on Durham University Scottish POW research

Durham University is launching a free online course to give people across the world the chance to learn about one of its most captivating research projects, relating to the fate of the prisoners from the Battle of Dunbar in 1650.

The Scottish Soldiers Archaeology Project identified human remains found in the city in 2013 as those of soldiers captured at the battle and held prisoner in Durham.

The six-week course will use content including videos, sound files, music and animated film to guide learners through the discovery of the remains and the research that led to their identification.

It will also explore the history and archaeology surrounding their imprisonment, and the fate of the survivors.

The course will open on 29 April, although learners can start at any time up to 21 July 2019.

Skeleton 22
Face Lab Liverpool John Moores University

Prof David Cowling, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Arts and Humanities at Durham University, said: "The Scottish Soldiers Project has solved a near 400-year mystery about where the remains of these soldiers were buried, and brought history to life for the thousands of people who have been so intrigued by the research findings.

“Now we are opening up a new way for people to enjoy and benefit from the fascinating findings of our research, through a modern, digital way of learning.”