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 Middlesex.
“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.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh said he has started 2020 “in the best way possible” after his spectacular overhead kick earned Brighton an unlikely point against Chelsea at the Amex Stadium.
The Iranian substitute, who scored his first goal for the club on Saturday, brought the home support to their feet in the 84th minute with an early contender for goal of the month.
“When I was about to go on, I had a feeling I could have an impact on the game,” he told Match of the Day.
“When I saw the ball, I just tried to hit it as hard as I could and the bicycle kick was the only option. I’m going to watch it a couple more times.
“It has been a really tough time for me. I have been training well and working hard to get my chance. Luckily, it has gone the way I wanted.
“2019 didn’t go as well as I wanted. I tried to end the year as well as I could and I’ve started 2020 in the best way possible.”
Cesar Azpilicueta gave the Blues the lead with his third goal of the season when he fired in from close range after Tammy Abraham’s shot was blocked by Aaron Mooy.
Brighton’s attacking threat was largely nullified by Chelsea’s defence, although aside from the goals they produced the clearest chances – both thwarted by the brilliance of keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The Spaniard produced a one-handed stop to deny Aaron Connolly and then saved Neal Maupay’s low drive with his feet.
The point extends fourth-placed Chelsea’s advantage over Manchester United in fifth to five points. Brighton move up a place to 13th, above Burnley on goal difference.
Big blow for Lampard’s side
This result is another setback for Frank Lampard and his side, who looked assured of an eighth league win on the road this season.
Prior to Jahanbakhsh’s goal his defence had suffocated Brighton’s attack.
Having been accused of being sloppy at times this season, Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger, Reece James and skipper Azpilicueta were at their dogged best – rarely allowing an opposition ball to find its way into the six-yard area.
Youth graduate James shone the brightest, and manager Lampard has a potential diamond. Aside from providing support for his centre-backs, the 20-year-old was exceptional as an attacking force down the right.
Brighton’s Dan Burn will not want to face him too soon having left the pitch with a fractured collarbone in the 22nd minute following a collision with the England Under-21 player.
The Blues, however, were as poor as Brighton in attack, and keeper Mat Ryan had less to do than his opposite number. The only time he was called into action in the second half was to make a routine low save from Christian Pulisic.
Jahanbakhsh steals the headlines again
Tears of joy to a look a disbelief – what a week it has been for Jahanbakhsh.
A lack of first-team opportunities had frustrated the Iranian since he made a £17m move from AZ Alkmaar in July 2018, so the outpouring of emotion when he opened his Brighton account against Bournemouth last weekend came as no surprise.
Manager Graham Potter did not reward the 26-year-old winger with another start, but having watched his other attackers fail to make much of a dent in the Chelsea defence he threw on Jahanbakhsh in the 68th minute.
Connolly came close to beating Arrizabalaga with a low drive before Jahanbakhsh tried the more unconventional method and, with his back to goal, he found the Chelsea bottom right with a superb acrobatic effort.
Man of the match – Reece James (Chelsea)
‘Lack of consistency is a concern’ – reaction
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard: “It was frustrating for different reasons.
“In the first half, the game was there to be won. We weren’t ruthless enough. We got the goal and we had the possession, but we just didn’t kill the game off.
“We allowed them to stay in the game. In the end it was a wonder goal but we were lucky not to lose the game.
“In the end, the tactics matched up for both teams but they were better than us. We have to take that on the chin.
“[The lack of consistency] is a concern. It’s something we absolutely have to look at.
“We have to look at the game today. It’s a point, but I’m not happy with the performance.”
Brighton manager Graham Potter: “I thought our play was really brave and we got our reward.
“Everyone is delighted for Jahanbakhsh. He’s worked so hard and waited so long, and to have his freshness off the bench was the thinking and he popped up with a great strike.
“He’s had to be patient, but he’s got qualities and he’s getting his reward.
“I’m really proud of the performance. We need to carry that forward and get some more points.”
Brighton’s super subs – the stats
- Brighton earned their first ever point in a league game against Chelsea in what was their 10th match against them.
- This was Chelsea’s first away Premier League draw this season – the Blues had won seven and lost three of their 10 previous games on the road this term.
- Chelsea have scored more goals in 11 Premier League away games this season (25) than they managed on the road in the whole of 2018-19 (24).
- Azpilicueta has scored three goals in his last 11 games in all competitions for Chelsea, as many as he had in his previous 118.
- Jahanbakhsh became the fifth different Brighton player to score a Premier League goal as a substitute this season, more than any other side in the competition.
- Despite only coming on as a 68th-minute substitute, no Brighton player had more shots (three) or created more chances (three) than goalscorer Jahanbakhsh.
Brighton are at home to Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup on Saturday (15:01 GMT) and the following day Chelsea host Nottingham Forest in the competition (14:01 GMT).
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.”
|Dubois v Fujimoto|
|Date: 21 December Venue: Copper Box Arena, London; Coverage: Live-text commentary on BBC Sport website|
Promoter Frank Warren says he would be confident in matching Daniel Dubois against unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua “today”.
Dubois, 22, is viewed as one of Britain’s bright heavyweight prospects and is seeking a 14th win against Japan’s Kyotaro Fujimoto on Saturday.
The London fighter has sparred Joshua during time with the GB amateur squad.
“If I could make him and Anthony Joshua today, I would make it,” said Warren, 67. “I am so confident.”
Warren added: “People say ‘it’s too soon’. I know who I would have my money on.”
Dubois is one of a small number of fighters to stagger Joshua in sparring.
Asked if he agreed with Warren’s view he could compete with the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight champion if they were matched today, Dubois replied: “Definitely. This is what I have been dreaming of since the day I started, being in massive fights.”
Dubois beat Nathan Gorman to capture the British heavyweight title in July and Warren hopes to keep his winning run going deep into 2020 when he believes a world-title shot could present itself.
Fujimoto will be Dubois’ fifth opponent of 2019. The 33-year-old former kick-boxer has a record of 21 wins and one defeat but Saturday’s bout at London’s Copper Box Arena is his first outside of his homeland.
“It’s been an amazing year so we are moving on past this one and on to an even better one next year,” added Dubois.
“I’m young, with a lot of ability and I’m ready to be pushed on now. It’s a matter of getting the right fights and for Frank to map out the route.”
The number of killings in London has topped last year’s total and is the highest annual number for more than a decade, police figures show.
The fatal stabbing of 47-year-old James O’Keefe in Hornsey on Monday took the capital’s 2019’s homicide rate to 142.
The figure, which includes murders and manslaughters, is the highest number since 2008, a year when the Met investigated 154 deaths.
The force said a total of 133 homicides were recorded in 2018.
This year’s figure includes 137 homicide investigations by the Met, two by British Transport Police and the two fatal stabbings at London Bridge last month, investigated by City of London Police.
More than half of 2019’s victims were stabbed to death and 23 were teenagers – the highest number of such victims for more than a decade – figures collated by the BBC shows.
“Each one of these cases is a tragedy, not just for the victims, their families and friends, but also for our wider communities who are left reeling by these acts of senseless violence,” a police spokesman said.
“Tackling violence is the number one priority for the Metropolitan Police Service. One homicide, one stabbing, one violent incident, is simply one too many.”
Jaden Moodie, 14, was the youngest person to be killed in the capital, in 2019.
Ayoub Majdouline, 19 and from Wembley, is currently on trial for his murder.
Jodie Chesney, who was stabbed to death in east London, was another teenager to die this year.
The 17-year-old was knifed in the back as she sat with friends in Harold Hill, on 1 March.
Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and Arron Isaacs, 17, of Barking, were both convicted last month of her murder, following an eight-week trial at the Old Bailey.
Danny Shaw, BBC Home Affairs correspondent
When Dame Cressida Dick took over as Metropolitan Police Commissioner in 2017, she said her priority was to tackle violent crime.
But the number of cases of murder and manslaughter in London has continued to rise.
With almost three weeks of the year remaining, there have already been 142 killings, nine more than last year and the highest number since 154 people died in 2008.
Most of the cases are being investigated by the Met. The force said it was working “tirelessly” to help bring offenders to justice and take weapons off the streets.
Lib Peck, Director of the Violence Reduction Unit at City Hall, says the number of those aged in their 20s, who are injured by knives, is beginning to drop.
“We are really determined to route out the causes this terrible phenomenon and the importance is that we are really investing in preventative measures.”
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.
The court has been told Jaden was selling drugs for the Beaumont Crew, also known as Let’s Get Rich, when he was attacked by a group of men who were looking for a rival gang member to attack.
Jurors heard Mr Majdouline 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.
Middlesex have re-signed Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman for next season’s Twenty20 Blast campaign.
The 18-year-old took seven wickets in 10 games last season and will be available for all 14 of their group stage matches in 2020.
Mujeeb made his debut for his country at the age of 16 and featured in this year’s World Cup.
“I enjoyed my time at Middlesex so much, so I am very pleased to be coming back,” he said.
Meanwhile, the club have awarded England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan a testimonial year in 2020.
The 33-year-old made his debut for the county’s first XI in 2005.
A security guard who raped and sexually assaulted girls stopped for shoplifting has been jailed for 14 years.
Zia Uddin, 27, of Manor Park, Newham, east London, attacked four 15-year-old girls at the Kingston Primark in 2017.
He threatened to call the police and inform their parents if they did not perform sexual acts on him in the control room of the store.
Uddin was convicted of rape and four counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
He has also been banned from working with children.
During his trial, Kingston Crown Court heard his colleagues had noticed his strange behaviour, which included making requests to delete CCTV and not properly completing paperwork on shoplifting.
He was also known to keep condoms in the control room where he attacked his victims, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
He threatened to call the police if they did not comply with his demands, it added.
Prosecutors said one girl only did as he asked because “there was no other choice” and it was the only way out of the situation.
Graham Partridge, of the CPS, said Uddin “preyed on young girls in a vulnerable situation”.
“Having worked in security, Uddin was also well aware of the CCTV camera ‘blind spots’ and took advantage of these in order to carry out his offending.”
After the sentencing a Primark spokeswoman said: “This has been a horrendous ordeal for the victims and their families and we are truly sorry for what they have suffered. Our thoughts are very much with them.”
An “angry pig” confronted engineers in a London street, delaying their repair of a burst water main before it was led away with a bag of crisps.
The pipe burst on Lamberts Road, Surbiton, damaging nearby railway equipment, which caused train delays.
Thames Water said their efforts to reach a valve to cut the water were initially hindered by “a large pig” which was “acting aggressively”.
It is not known what flavour crisps were used to lead it away.
Damage caused by the flooding of tracks and signalling equipment meant limited trains have been able to run along the line.
Disruption is currently expected to last until 16:00 GMT although Network Rail said engineers were carrying out inspections.
Thames Water said engineers “were quickly on site” to deal with the burst 120cm (48 in) pipe, but they had been unable to initially carry out the work because of the pig, which is thought to be someone’s pet.
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.”