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News in brief: Doris Day online auction raises £2.4m for charity

A SALE of film memorabilia, artwork and jewellery owned by Doris Day has raised £2,444,325 for her animal foundation. More than 1,100 items owned by the late Hollywood star went under the hammer during the two-day online sale by Julien’s Auctions, which displayed the lots on YouTube. The top-selling item was Day’s 1930 Ford Model A car, named ‘Buttercup’ (pictured), used on her show Best Friends. It went for £78,145. US-born actress Day died in May last year at the age of 97.

Bird brains! Egrets catch fish using bread as bait

BIRDS are adopting extraordinary hunting tactics to survive climate change, research reveals. These include attracting fish by ‘baiting’ the water with bread, waiting for trains to flush prey out of tunnels and using boats as jumping-off points to catch a meal at sea. Others have been seen opening packets of sugar outside cafes and dropping mussels on to rocks to break the shell. A team led by Dr Simon Ducatez, of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, studied more than 8,600 species worldwide. He said: ‘Some of these remarkable observations were made in the UK. For instance, great egrets have been seen using bread or insects as fishing bait.’

Lawyer struck off after leaving files on train

A SOLICITOR who left confidential files on a train and then lied in an attempt to cover her tracks has been struck off. Claire Matthews, 31, told bosses the sensitive papers were at her house in Cheltenham when in fact she had lost them after falling asleep on the trip home from her new firm Capsticks in Birmingham. She was hoping train staff would come to her rescue by finding the files but they vanished without trace in May 2018. The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard Matthews, who was ordered to pay £10,000 in costs, had ‘resorted to drinking bleach in an attempt to end her life’ after the incident. She now works in a £9-an-hour call centre.

Court win for UK drivers in VW ‘dieselgate’ battle

VOLKSWAGEN has lost the opening round of a High Court battle with about 90,000 UK drivers seeking payouts over the 2015 ‘dieselgate’ scandal. Software installed in VW, Audi, Seat and Škoda vehicles meets the definition of a ‘defeat device’, judges have ruled. It allowed cars to pass emissions tests by making them perform differently to how they would on the road. Volkswagen, which intends to appeal, said the preliminary ruling did not mean the court agreed owners of affected cars had suffered any losses or deserved compensation. But law firm Slater and Gordon said the ‘damning’ verdict showed the company should accept defeat.


Radiation surges near Chernobyl as fires rage

TWO forest fires have sprung up near the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine. Radiation levels were much higher than normal at the sites, which spread to about 250 acres, said Yehor Firsov of the state ecological inspection service. The fires began in the 1,000sq- mile exclusion zone established after the 1986 explosion at the plant, which sent radioactive fall-out over Europe. The zone is largely unpopulated. One of the fires has been localised — but yesterday firefighters were still battling to contain the other.

Peace deal with US in danger, says Taliban

THE Taliban said its peace deal with the US was nearing breaking point, accusing Washington of violations including drone attacks on civilians. The group, which also claims the Afghan government has reneged on its promise to free 5,000 of its members from jail, warned of more violence if the alleged breaches continue. On Twitter, the US military’s Col Sonny Leggett said its forces have ‘upheld and continue to uphold the military terms of the US-Taliban agreement; any assertion otherwise is baseless’

Indians light up homes to ‘challenge the darkness’

MILLIONS of Indians have turned off their lights and lit up balconies and doorsteps with lamps, candles and torches to ‘challenge the darkness’ spread by the coronavirus crisis. They were answering a call by prime minister Narendra Modi to turn out their lights for nine minutes on Sunday. Power consumption in India, which was placed in a three-week lockdown on March 25, plunged more than a quarter. It came as coronavirus cases in the country rose to 3,577, with 83 deaths.

Sweden seeks power to shut rail and airports

SWEDEN’S government is seeking powers to shut airports and train stations without parliament’s approval. Unlike most of Europe, the country is not in lockdown. Gyms, restaurants and schools remain open but meetings of more than 50 people are banned. There have been 401 deaths and 6,830 confirmed cases. Health minister Lena Hallengren said: ‘We have seen how quickly the situation can change and need to be able to react quickly.’

Japan politely asks: Stay home a month

JAPAN is to impose a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other regions to halt the spread of coronavirus, as the government prepares to deliver an £805billion stimulus package. After more than 4,000 Covid-19 cases and 93 deaths, prime minister Shinzo Abe called for businesses to close and people to stay home a month. Trains and supermarkets will stay open and, with no penalties, enforcement will rely more on peer pressure and respect for authority.