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.
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 have been 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.
Mikel Arteta earned his first win as Arsenal boss as the Gunners produced a powerful first-half performance to beat a lacklustre Manchester United.
The visitors, who were without the injured Paul Pogba, actually began brightly, but the game took a different turn on eight minutes when Nicolas Pepe steered in his fifth goal of the season after Sead Kolasinac’s cross was deflected to him.
That led to a first half in which the hosts were in control and Pepe hit the post before they doubled their lead when his corner was smashed in from close range by Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s side came into the game with one loss in their previous nine games, and although they improved after the break, they rarely tested Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
It was characteristic of a stop-start season in which they are yet to win three Premier League games in a row.
The defeat leaves they fifth in the table, five points behind Chelsea, who drew with Brighton earlier in the day.
Victory for Arsenal lifts them to 10th place, four points behind United.
More to follow.
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.”
London Victoria is “at a standstill” because of a “major signal failure” during rush-hour.
Part of the station, the country’s second busiest, is currently closed due to overcrowding fears. Services are facing delays and cancellations until the end of Wednesday.
Southern Rail, which operates many of the services, is advising passengers not to travel from Victoria.
About 75m passengers passed through London Victoria last year.
Images posted on social media showed hundreds of passengers held on the station concourse, unable to catch Southern, Southeastern and Gatwick Express trains.
Thameslink services out of London Bridge have also been affected by the problems.
Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove and Portslade, was caught up in the disruption. He described the central London hub as being “at a standstill”.
Mr Kyle, said the disruption means he may miss Christmas dinner with his staff.
He tweeted: “I’m sorry to every passenger, I know there’s a lot more that needs sorting on this service, I’m fighting for that. You have been let down badly this evening.”
“The woman next to me is in floods of tears as she’s missing her flight from Gatwick.”
Rob Broomby, a TV producer, stuck at Victoria said it was the “worst transport chaos” he had seen.
He added: “There was a lot of good humour in the bar as people settled in for a long wait, but when the platform indicators began flashing on and off it felt more like a Christmas tree with dodgy wiring.”
Network Rail apologised and advised people to find other routes if possible.
Botanist and broadcaster David Bellamy has died aged 86, the Conservation Foundation he formed has said.
London-born Bellamy, who became a household name as a TV personality, scientist and conservationist, died on Wednesday, according to the foundation.
His colleague, David Shreeve, described him as a “larger-than-life character” who “inspired a whole generation”.
In later life Bellamy, who lived in County Durham, attracted criticism for dismissing global warming.
In 2004 he described it as “poppycock” – a stance which he later said cost him his TV career.
Bellamy worked in a sweet factory and as a plumber before embarking on his broadcasting career.
His scientific career began when he got a job in the biology department of a technical college in Surrey, he told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs programme in 1978.
It was there that he met his future wife and mother of their five children, Rosemary.
But it was on a trip to Scotland where he discovered his love for plants, he told the programme.
“I got really turned on by plants and I found out that if somebody told me what a plant was, I just couldn’t forget it,” he said.
He gained public recognition for his work as an environmental consultant over the Torrey Canyon oil spill, when a tanker was shipwrecked off the coast of Cornwall in 1967.
He went on to present programmes such as Don’t Ask Me, Bellamy On Botany, Bellamy’s Britain, Bellamy’s Europe and Bellamy’s Backyard Safari.
And in 1979 he won Bafta’s Richard Dimbleby Award, for best presenter of factual programmes.
His distinctive voice also inspired comedian Sir Lenny Henry’s catchphrase “grapple me grapenuts”.
In more recent years, Bellamy was criticised for his views on global warming.
In 2003, he told BBC News that he was sceptical about mankind being responsible for rising temperatures and suggested that they might be part of the Earth’s natural cycles.
He said: “We have got to get this thing argued out in public properly and not just take one opinion.”
Ten years later, he told the Independent newspaper: “It (global warming) is not happening at all, but if you get the idea that people’s children will die because of CO2 they fall for it.”
Well-known figures have paid tribute to Bellamy, including comedy writer and fellow broadcaster Danny Baker, who described him as a “truly brilliant and canny broadcaster”.
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said Bellamy was a “brilliant naturalist, broadcaster & character”, in a tribute posted on Twitter.
The Walking Dead actor David Morrissey tweeted that Bellamy “cared about nature and our environment deeply.”
And former England footballer Stan Collymore called him a “childhood icon”, adding that he “learnt about botany and shrubs and trees as a kid because of this man’s love and infectious enthusiasm.”
Bellamy’s wife Rosemary, with whom he had five children, died last year.
A man accused of murdering a 14-year-old boy sold drugs for a London gang so he could “survive”, and would carry a knife for “safety”, a court has heard.
Jaden Moodie was knocked off a moped and stabbed to death in Leyton, north-east London, on 8 January.
Ayoub Majdouline, who is accused of being one of five men who carried out the attack, told the Old Bailey he had sold drugs since he was 16 years old.
The 19-year-old, from Wembley, denies murder and possession of a knife.
Jaden had been out drug dealing for the Beaumont gang when he was attacked by alleged members of rival drug gang the “Mali Boys”, the court heard.
The teen was hunted down and repeatedly stabbed to death in a 14 second attack.
The day before, Mr Majdouline was caught on CCTV at a Travelodge hotel in Walthamstow, with distinctive Nike Air Max trainers he was wearing during the knife attack on Jaden, jurors were told.
Majdouline was also wearing yellow rubber gloves, one of which was later found to have traces of the victim’s blood and the defendant’s DNA, it is claimed.
Jurors heard the defendant had a troubled upbringing in Leyton and his parents had split up when he was seven.
While living with his mother, he was abused by his stepfather so went to live with his aunt, the court was told.
However, that relationship broke down and he ended up in foster care. His father also died in 2015.
The court was told he had been identified as a victim of modern slavery by the National Crime Agency (NCA) over concerns he was being exploited by older youths.
Giving evidence, Mr Majdouline said he sold drugs “for and with” the Mali Boys gang, including as part of county lines dealing in Basingstoke, Ipswich and Andover.
He told jurors he was previously jailed for drug and knife offences but went straight back to dealing “to survive”
“At the time I did not feel like I was being supported by social services and I never lived by myself before,” he said.
He added that he got “confused” sorting out jobseekers’ allowance when he turned 18 and dealing had been “the only way I knew how to make money”.
Explaining why he carried a knife, Mr Majdouline said he had been “sliced” on one occasion in Basingstoke so carried a blade “for my own safety”.
The trial continues.
A woman who was praised for intervening to stop anti-Semitic abuse said she hopes her story can inspire others.
Asma Shuweikh, was reunited with the father of the family that was racially abused while travelling on the London Underground.
“We spoke about our common ground,” she told the BBC “we should learn to get along in this multi-faith world.”
A man has been arrested and bailed on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence.
In a video shared on social media a man was filmed reading Bible passages which are interpreted as being anti-Semitic to two boys in skullcaps travelling on the Northern Line.
Ms Shuweikh, who was widely praised for confronting the man in the video, said she “wouldn’t hesitate to do it again” and wished more people had intervened.
“The kids looked terrified. I’m a mother and I couldn’t just stand by,” she said.
“As a practising Muslim I can’t see injustice and not intervene. It goes against what we are taught.”
Meeting with the father, who has chosen not to be named, was “really, really nice,” she said.
“We spent an hour talking. At the end of the day we all need to get along as we all live in this country.
“That’s what’s nice about Britain. it’s a multi-cultural society.”
“I hope that people see this story and realise when you go through these things we can come together and something good can come from it.”
Previously the father said that without her intervention, he thought the abuse might have escalated to physical violence.
He said: “We are certain that without her intervention and distraction, he would have continued his abuse.
A couple has reunited a much-loved children’s book with its owner after realising the name inside was that of the vicar that married them.
Steven Herring bought the 1964 Rupert the Bear annual at a jumble sale in Barking in the early 1980s.
He rediscovered it during a recent garage clear-out at his home in Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire, where he has lived since 2007.
“I flicked through and I couldn’t believe the name that I saw,” he said.
“[It was] that of our local vicar – who married us here four years ago.”
Retired engineer Mr Herring, 66, and his wife, Esther Harrod, 67, were married by Rev Peter Cunliffe in 2015.
“I asked Esther if she knew Peter’s middle name and that’s when she turned detective,” said Mr Herring.
“It’s an extraordinary coincidence. To go to that jumble sale – on that weekend – and buy that book. Peter was dumbfounded.”
Rev Cunliffe, who has been the vicar of St James’ Church for 17 years, wrote his name in the book in 1964 when he was 10 and living in London.
He said he loved the picture book because it told the story with few words.
“I remember it very clearly, Rupert was a favourite. It took until I was 30 to realise I was dyslexic but I followed the story in the annual really easily.
“I was really surprised. I had no idea when I had lost it – I had no memory of giving it away. It was very intriguing. It evokes that feeling of comfort and cosiness you have as a child.
“And it’s not in bad condition either.”
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is returning to football after he agreed to become Fifa’s new chief of global football development.
The move ends speculation linking the Frenchman, 70, with a return to management as Bayern Munich boss.
Wenger left the Gunners in May 2018, after 22 years in charge, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.
“I very much look forward to taking on this extremely important challenge,” he said.
Wenger’s new role at the world governing body will help to develop men’s and women’s football, as well as technical aspects of the sport.
He will now be a member of the technical panel of the International Football Association Board, and chairman of Fifa’s technical study group.
A second man has admitted trying to rob Arsenal footballers Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac in a moped ambush.
Jordan Northover, 26, pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to attempting to steal watches from the pair in Hampstead, north-west London.
His co-accused Ashley Smith, 30, of Archway in North London, admitted his role in the crime in October.
CCTV footage showed Bosnian defender Kolasinac chasing off the two masked attackers on 25 July
In the video, that circulated on social media, 26-year-old Kolasinac is seen fighting off two men who are wielding knives.
He can be seen jumping out of a vehicle to confront the masked men who had pulled alongside the car on mopeds.
In the footage, both carjackers were seen to be armed and were filmed brandishing knives at full-back Kolasinac.
World Cup winner Özil can also be seen in his black Mercedes G class jeep before he reportedly took refuge in a Turkish restaurant.
Kolasinac and Germany midfielder Özil were left out of the Arsenal side ahead of the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign after the incident.
Judge Rosa Dean said Smith would be sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday.
Northover will be sentenced at a later date.
Özil told the Athletic sports site that he was scared for his wife Amine as the attackers pursued his car.
“Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers,” he said.
“I tried to move the car, block them, escape, but each time they would be there. My wife was extremely scared.”