Insurers in post-Brexit talks to ditch European court ruling forcing them to pay for accidents on private land

Insurers are in post-Brexit talks with the Government to ditch a European court ruling that forces them to pay for motor accidents on private land.

Industry bosses said the rules, which also make insurance compulsory for off-road vehicles such as Segways and quad bikes, increase costs and that these end up being passed on to drivers through higher insurance premiums.

Insurers may find that the Government is receptive to their pleas for change. Boris Johnson previously branded the ruling of Europe’s highest court as “insane” and a “pointless and expensive burden on millions of people”.

“The kiddie quad bike insurance law is a perfect example of both the over-regulation that has sapped the competitiveness of the EU and burdened it with low growth and high unemployment,” he wrote for The Telegraph in 2017.

The requirement was introduced after a Slovenian man took his claim all the way to the European Court of Justice over an insurer’s refusal to pay out when his ladder was hit by a tractor.

Dominic Clayden, chief executive of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, said: “The … ruling means premium-paying motorists will end up footing the bill for claims involving a bizarre range of vehicles, such as e-scooters, lawnmowers and golf carts, as well as for accidents on private land.

“Now that we have left the European Union, the UK has the opportunity to change our laws to remove this unnecessary cost for motorists.”

Mr Clayden confirmed that the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, the industry-funded body which pays compensation for accidents caused by uninsured drivers, is in “constructive dialogue” with the Government over the issue.

The UK’s departure from the EU could also open the door for a review of the 2012 directive that forced insurers to charge men and women the same price for cover.

The ban on price discrimination resulted in higher premiums for female drivers but smaller price reductions for men, who pose a statistically higher risk for insurers.    

Britain will be able to vaccinate nation against new Covid strains within months after new super-factory opens 

Britain will be able to vaccinate the entire nation against dangerous new Covid strains within four months after a £158m super-factory opens later this year, The Telegraph can disclose.

Dr Matthew Duchars, chief executive of the Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC), revealed the Oxfordshire facility will be capable of producing 70m doses of an emergency vaccine manufactured entirely on British soil.

The news comes amid fears that a new Covid strain from Brazil may prove resistant to current vaccines. All travel corridors into the UK were scrapped this week to prevent new variants entering the country.

“We’ll be able to make 70 million doses within a four to five month period, enough for everyone in the country, when we open late this year,” Dr Duchars told The Telegraph.

“New Covid variants are absolutely part of the thinking. We probably will need to make seasonal vaccine variants because there may well be mutations in the virus, as well as vaccines for other diseases. You never know what’s coming next.”

Currently under construction at the Harwell Science & Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire, the VMIC was first conceived in 2018 and originally planned to open in 2022. When the Covid pandemic struck, the UK government pumped a further £131 million into the not-for-profit company to bring the project forward by a year.

The centre is already helping to manufacture the Oxford vaccine by lending expertise and giant bioreactors to the AstraZeneca team and its partners.

This week Sir Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals research and development at AstraZeneca, told MPs that the UK’s lack of manufacturing capacity had been a major stumbling block in the development of the Oxford vaccine, and urged ministers to “urgently address” the issue.

Much of the Pfizer and Oxford vaccine doses currently being rolled out in the UK are made in factories in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Dr Duchars said the VMIC would be equipped to produce different types of vaccines including MRNA varieties like the Pfizer jab and adenovirus-based technology like the Oxford AstraZeneca jab.

“Covid came a year early for us, unfortunately,” he said.

“But when we open we’ll have a sovereign capability to manufacture different types of vaccines and still be able to make a large number of doses.

“It is a challenge. But that’s what we’re shooting for. If you don’t set yourself a tough target, then there’s no chance you can reach it.”

He added how the company and its new super-factory could also be used to help developers of numerous other vaccines — not just those targeting Covid-19 — from private and public organisations, whether academic institutions or foundations or private laboratories.

Explaining how he believes it is “absolutely remarkable” the vaccine has been developed so quickly, he said: “We may not have a facility that’s built and ready to go. But we do have people who understand how to develop and manufacture vaccines.

“So, we’ve essentially lent them out to organisations to help them with the scale up and manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccine.”

“And we’ve been working with lots of those different organisations to help really accelerate and speed up and provide surety and expertise around how to get this vaccine made quickly.”

He said the new centre is “technology agnostic”, meaning it can be adapted to different methods for different types of vaccine and viruses.

“What we didn’t want to do was make a facility that would be great for making the AstraZeneca vaccine, for example, but then next year a different MERS [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome] or SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome] comes along.” he added.

“That’s a different type of platform and a different vaccine. So we’ve got to have a flexible facility that is able to make in an emergency a large amount of doses from different types of processes.”

Wentworth hacked and personal details of entire member list stolen

The personal details of wealthy tycoons, sports stars and celebrities have been stolen in a cyber attack on England’s most prestigious golf club.

Wentworth’s membership database was stolen by “an unauthorised third party”, the golf club has admitted in an email sent out last week and seen by The Telegraph. The club has offered “our profuse apologies” for any worry or inconvenience.

It is thought personal details of the entire list of 2,000 members have been stolen. High-profile members of the club include Sir Michael Parkinson, the former chat show host, Strictly Come Dancing’s Anton du Beke, and the ex-England football and cricket captains John Terry and Kevin Pietersen, as well as financiers and captains of industry.

A Russian tycoon, whose life has been under threat, is also thought to be on the list, as well as Sky Sports golf presenters Nick Dougherty and Di Dougherty.

The theft occurred after cyber hackers infiltrated the Wentworth IT system and sent out a post to members, seemingly demanding a payment in bitcoins, a cyber currency, to “recover files”.

Membership details were subsequently downloaded by the hackers and stolen. The details include the names of members, their dates of birth, home addresses, email addresses and landline telephone numbers. It also contained the last four digits of bank accounts provided for direct debit payments.

The data hack will do little to ease tensions between members and Wentworth’s new owners – a China-based conglomerate that bought the club six years ago for £135 million – over its management of the club. Wentworth was purchased by Reignwood Group, a company owned by Dr Chanchai Ruayrungruang, a Chinese/Thai billionaire, who installed his daughter as interim chief executive of the exclusive club on a private estate in Virginia Water, Surrey, two years ago.

Dr Chanchai Ruayrungruang, owner of The Wentworth Club, playing in The Pro-Am BMW PGA Championship in 2018

Credit: Hugh Routledge/REX 

It has switched to a “limited” debenture model, requiring new members to pay £150,000 up front in a bid to transform Wentworth into the “world’s premier private golf and country club”. Reignwood has also ploughed money into improving its three golf courses.

Wentworth’s members first became aware of a problem when a hacked message appeared on January 4 on the “Wentworth at Home” internet page for members, entitled “your personal files are encrypted!” and demanding payment in bitcoins for the purchase of a “private key” to have them unlocked.

Shortly after, members received an email from the Wentworth IT team that said the internet site had “contained some unexpected graphics”, which was being investigated.

A week later on January 11, Neil Coulson, Wentworth’s general manager, wrote to members telling them that its IT provider had “confirmed to us that our ClubHouse Online was accessed by an unauthorised third party on January 4 and an export file was downloaded”. Mr Coulson wrote: “The export file in question contains your personal details including your name, gender, home address, email address, landline number, and date of birth.

“I fully appreciate this will be concerning for you but we have taken third-party specialist advice and have been assured there is not enough personal information in the file to enable improper access to your private account and therefore it is considered a low risk.”

He said the club had taken “immediate steps to reset access to all our IT systems” and requested members “to remain vigilant to any unusual or unexpected approaches by phone, email or through social media”.

He added: “It is prudent to be aware that limited information may be used to try to persuade you to give out more confidential information. Please accept our profuse apologies for any worry and inconvenience this will cause you.”

The club – as required by law – has referred the data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

One member claimed that the club’s head of IT had been put on furlough during the Covid-19 pandemic and later made redundant.

The club declined to comment. Wentworth has been accused of taking hundreds of thousands of pounds in taxpayers’ money to furlough staff even though the club is owned by a billionaire. The club has declined to say if IT staff were furloughed along with other employees.

One member said: “Obviously, this is a major data breach due to the Club’s failing to have adequate security measures in place to prevent this type of cyber attack. This loss of personal data will cause anxiety and distress for members due to concerns about how their personal info can now be used and abused by criminals. We now have the worry and inconvenience of trying to mitigate the risks of potential fraud, identity theft and financial loss. Many members are furious at being put in jeopardy.”

Another member said: “I am absolutely livid. This is a fantastic list for a potential gang of burglars.”

A Wentworth spokesperson said: “We were made aware by our long-standing IT provider that some limited personal information may have been downloaded from our members’ online portal by an unauthorised third party.  

“The amount of information in the file was well below that required to access any private account and therefore is considered low risk. Immediate action was taken to notify the ICO, we have reached out to all members and have disabled the portal.”

The club said no ransomware request had been made.

An ICO spokesperson said: “People have the right to expect that their personal information is handled securely by any organisation.

 “Anyone concerned about their personal information should contact Wentworth Golf Club, if they are not satisfied with the Club’s response, they can bring their concerns to us.”

"We received a data breach report from Wentworth Golf Club and will be assessing the information provided.”

MPs urge Boris Johnson to radically reform student unions and champion free speech

“Activist” student unions do not have enough support among their peers to force their “narrow social justice” agendas, MPs have said as they urge the Prime Minister to overhaul them.

Radical reform is needed to ensure that political campaigning by student unions is not funded by the taxpayer, according to a letter to Boris Johnson signed by 21 Tory MPs.

The letter, whose signatories include former ministers Sir John Hayes and Esther McVey, says reforming student unions is crucial to delivering on the Conservative manifesto commitment to strengthening free speech in universities.

This is because student unions are at the "forefront of efforts to limit freedom of speech variously by censoring poetry and publications, barring speakers or insisting on approving their speeches in advance”.

On Saturday night, ministers issued a stark warning, saying that both university and student union leaders must do much more to champion free speech, adding: “If universities are not prepared to, the Government will.”

The letter also says that student unions have blocked the registration of student societies, prevented certain groups from participating in freshers’ fairs, and imposed excessive red tape to make it difficult to invite “speakers they don’t like”.

MPs told Mr Johnson that the vast majority of students do not vote in student union elections and that – like trade unions – they should be subject to minimum election turnout requirements.

The same principles that have been applied to trade union reform should also be applied to student unions, they said. For example, there should be a membership threshold – similar to the strike ballot threshold – which they would have to reach to be involved in university governance.

They also called for direct funding by universities of student unions to be limited to supporting social and sports activities, as well as academic representation.

“Funding of political activities should be voluntary and from students’ own pockets, not those of the taxpayer,” they said.

“For too long a tiny minority of leftist activists have imposed their will on the student body. Your Government needs to rescue students from student unions and we urge you to take action.”

The letter was organised by Andrew Lewer, MP for Northampton South and founder of the all party parliamentary group for independent education.

He said that he recognises that student unions are useful organisations but added that “some student unions are more effective and less over-politicised than others”.

Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, said free speech on campus was one of the Government's top priorities

Credit: Will Wintercross 

Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, said: “As set out in the manifesto, this Government is committed to strengthening free speech in higher education, and is considering measures to do this, including legislation.

“It is vital students have a voice but issues have been raised around the extent to which student unions represent student cohorts and their needs.

“University and student union leaders must do much more to champion free speech and if universities are not prepared to, the Government will.”

Larissa Kennedy, NUS National President, said: "This poorly researched letter is filled with outright lies and fundamental errors from its outset about the funding of Students’ Unions and the role they play in students’ lives and in society. Neither students’ unions nor NUS are funded by taxpayers’ money. 

“Students’ unions are not only the very home of rigorous debate and new ideas they are also the home of student welfare and advice, sport, student leadership and representation. Especially during the pandemic they have proven to be a lifeline for students subjected to a disastrous return to campus and series of accommodation lockdowns, those struggling to access food and basic necessities and the ever growing number of students suffering from poor mental health. These are all the result of a litany of policy failures from this Tory government; this letter is a clear diversion tactic.

“At a time when students are facing untold hardship MPs would be much better advised to focus on providing the practical support that students desperately need, through rent rebates, no detriment policies and funding to eradicate digital poverty, rather than attacking the very institutions that have stepped up to fill the gaps in support being offered. These aren’t new attacks on students and students’ unions. People deserve better than this – especially from high profile politicians.”  

DOJ ‘deeply disappointed’ Mexico closed probe of ex-defense minister | Reuters

3 Min Read

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said it is “deeply disappointed” by Mexico’s decision to close its investigation of ex-Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos, after the Mexican attorney general decided to not press charges.

FILE PHOTO: Mexico’s then defense minister, General Salvador Cienfuegos, addresses an audience during the 50th anniversary of the Plan of Assistance to the Population in case of Disaster (Plan DN-III-E) in Mexico City, Mexico July 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/File Photo

The decision, which Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador publicly backed on Friday, threatens to strain strategic U.S.-Mexico security ties.

A DOJ spokesperson said late on Friday that the department “fully stands by its investigation and charges in this matter.”

Cienfuegos, who was minister from 2012 to 2018 during the government of former President Enrique Pena Nieto, was arrested in October at Los Angeles airport on charges he worked with a powerful drug cartel.

U.S. prosecutors later dropped the case and returned him to Mexico to be prosecuted, with Lopez Obrador’s administration vowing a thorough investigation of the case.

But on Thursday, less than two months after his return from the United States, Mexico’s attorney general office concluded that Cienfuegos had no contact with members of the criminal organization and said it will not pursue criminal charges.

Then on Friday, on Lopez Obrador’s instructions, the foreign ministry published a 751-page document showing the U.S. evidence against Cienfuegos, including detailed logs of alleged Blackberry communications.

The DOJ said is also “deeply disappointed” the decision to publicize information shared with Mexico in confidence.

“Publicizing such information violates the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance between Mexico and the United States, and calls into question whether the United States can continue to share information to support Mexico’s own criminal investigations,” said the DOJ spokesperson.

The DOJ said the documents released in fact showed the case against Cienfuegos was not fabricated and that the information was lawfully gathered in the United States through a proper U.S. court order and in full respect of Mexico’s sovereignty.

“A U.S. federal grand jury analyzed that material and other evidence and concluded that criminal charges against Cienfuegos were supported by the evidence.”

Reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Alistair Bell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Sherpas successfully complete first winter summit of K2; Spanish climber killed | Reuters

3 Min Read

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) — A team of climbers from Nepal on Saturday become the first mountaineers to successfully complete a winter attempt on the summit of K2, the world’s second tallest peak.

FILE PHOTO: K2 (backdrop) and Broad Peak (right side), are illuminated by the moon at Concordia, the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers, in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan September 7, 2014. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

The group of sherpas had paused at a point 70 metres short of the 8,611 metres (28,251 feet) peak to wait for each other before climbing into the world’s history books together at 4:56 p.m.

Located on the Pakistan China border, K2 is the only mountain over 8,000 metres that had not been summitted in the winter.

The group were named as Nirmal Purja, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma G, Sona Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Pem Chhiri Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Kili Pemba Sherpa, and Dawa Tenjing Sherpa.

Their success was marred by the death on the mountain of renowned Spanish climber Sergio Mingote, who fell down a crevasse as he attempted to make his way down to Base Camp, Karrar Haidri, secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, told Reuters. Around 49 climbers in several teams are on K2 making attempts on the summit, weather permitting.

“Dismayed by the news of the accident that has ended the life of a magnificent athlete,” Spain’s Minister of Health Salvador Illa wrote on Twitter, describing Mingote as “a personal friend.”

Mingote, 49, had climbed seven mountains over 8,000 meters without supplemental oxygen in less than two years.

First climbed in 1954 by Italian Achille Compagnoni, K2 is notorious for its sleep slopes and high winds, and in winter its surface becomes slick ice.

Of the 367 people that had completed its ascent by 2018, 86 had died. The Pakistani military is regularly called in to rescue climbers using helicopters, but the weather often makes that difficult.

The previous highest altitude achieved on K2 in winter was 7,750 meters by Denis Urubko and Marcin Kaczkan, set nearly two decades ago.

The coronavirus pandemic had meant restrictions on travel severely impacted the traditional summer mountaineering season in the Karakoram range and Pakistan in particular, which is home to five of the world’s 14 peaks over 8,000 metres.

Reporting by Umar Farooq; Editing by Mike Harrison

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Remember to blink, specialist says, as home workers staring at screens blamed for rise in eye issues

Home workers have been urged to remember to blink amid concerns about the impact of lockdown on Britons’ eye health.

The overuse of screens can affect a person’s blink rate by up to two-thirds, experts have said, which causes the tear film to evaporate and leads to stress and discomfort.

More time spent outdoors has been linked to improved eyesight by scientists at Cambridge, but current lockdown restrictions around leaving home make this less feasible.

Daniel Ezra, a consultant surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital who also has a private Harley Street clinic, said he has seen an increase in patients with eye discomfort as a result of working from home.

“People are coming in feeling that their eyes aren’t functioning as well as they have in the past,” he said. “We have seen an uptick in sore eyes.

“There are very well described links between screen use and dry eyes, people are susceptible with getting problems with their eyes that will get worse if they’re on screens for longer.”

Mr Ezra has recommended lots of natural breaks for those struggling with strained sight while away from offices and forced to conduct meetings and social activities virtually.

Artificial tear drops can help those whose vision has become particularly bad, he added, because they promote surface healing and flush out potentially infectious particles.

Eye conditions are remarkable common GHS

“We weren’t designed to work in this kind of way. We look at bright things and concentrate on them and the blink rate decreases,” Mr Ezra said.

“The more time you spend outdoors the less likely you are to develop shortsightedness. Now we’ve got children spending lots of time on screens and indoors, there’s a population question — are we going to see an epidemic of children with shortsightedness?”

A poll by YouGov commissioned by the charity Fight For Sight this week found that 50 per cent of students and 42 per cent of working adults felt their eyesight has negatively been affected during the pandemic.

Melanie Hingorani, chair of professional standards at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said she is concerned about the risk of people “slipping through the net” as their sight deteriorates amid lockdown.

“When nurses have been taken away to do Covid care, it has a knock-on effect on people losing their vision who need treatment,” she said. “The consequences of this and treatment delays are that people lose sight or go blind. It cannot be recovered in these diseases.”  

Royal Parks row as walkers claim cyclists are using car ban to race through Richmond Park

It should be a place of calm, beautiful vistas and being at one with nature — but cyclists, walkers and motorists are at loggerheads over the use of one of the country’s most popular Royal Parks. 

Walkers and motorists claim a growing number of people cycling at high speeds in Richmond Park are putting other park users at risk.

It comes as the Royal Parks prepares to roll out a permanent ban on through traffic in many of London’s green spaces.

Hundreds of cyclists flock to Richmond Park, particularly at weekend, with some travelling at high speeds, leading to reports of riders narrowly missing or even colliding with pedestrians.

The row has seen angry arguments on social media between cyclists and other park users.

One walker, Gary Matharu, complained on Twitter about “cyclists racing as if there life depends on it”, while another complained that “every road and path on Richmond Park is dangerous due to the high number of idiots who think they’re elite athletes . . . and then try to break some imaginary cycling land speed record regardless of conditions or pedestrians”.

A London Taxi driver said: “I’ve lived near Richmond Park for most of my life. It’s now been basically taken over by sports cyclists training who regard anyone else on the road in there as an unwelcome irritant.”

Even cyclists have expressed some embarrassment at the behaviour of some of their fellow riders. 

Richmond Park user Tom Bradley said: “Sadly, aggression and carelessness are not confined to car drivers. I’m a cyclist and I’ve witnessed some appalling road behaviour from other cyclists particularly in Richmond park. The roads are for all, more education and mutual respect are badly needed.”

But many park users have welcomed moves to limit cars and other vehicles using them as a cut through.

Ian Beable, the winner of the Ironman Switzerland 2017, wrote on twitter: “The traffic jams in Richmond Park recently have been insane. Richmond Park could be the one place in London the roads are for cyclists only!”

Royal Parks says it will “eliminate cycling in non-permitted areas and reduce conflicts between cyclists and walkers” by promoting the priority of pedestrian users and working with Parks Police to reinforce signage and target “negative behaviours” by cyclists.

A cyclist riding along a frost-covered Richmond Park, in south west London, during a cold start to the day in the capital

Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Simon Richards, Park Manager of Richmond Park, told The Telegraph: “The majority of road users are respectful, however there are a small minority who don’t respect the rules. The Metropolitan Police enforce park regulations.

He denied local reports that a deer had been killed in a collision with a cyclist, but added: “The park is home to herds of wild deer which can be unpredictable so we urge all road users to be aware that deer can cross the road suddenly at speed.”

The Royal Parks charity says its proposed ban on motorists being able to drive through them will increase safety for all park users, reduce the impact of vehicle-based traffic and "reduce conflict between different users”.

But there are  fears that traffic bans will force drivers to take long detours around the parks rather than being able to use them as a cut through, and that people who rely on cars will find it harder to visit some of London’s most popular open spaces.

Motorists groups say there need to be “viable alternatives” for drivers if through routes are closed.

Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation said: “Some of these restrictions could be quite problematic for people routinely used to nipping through Park roads as part of their everyday journeys.

“Many of the roads within the Parks have already been subject to trial closures and restrictions over recent months and we will be keenly interested to see the results early next year, in particular on the impact those restrictions have had in diverting traffic onto the surrounding streets.”

The past few weeks have seen one of the biggest consultation exercises in the history of the Royal Parks over the proposals.

Under the plans, which have been trialed since the summer, through-traffic would be permanently banned from Bushy Park, Richmond Park and Greenwich Park.

The Mall and Constitution Hill, going through St James’s and The Green Park past Buckingham Palace, would be closed to traffic on Saturdays until dusk, on top of existing regular Sunday closures.

In Hyde Park, North Carriage Drive would be permanently closed to vehicles, with South Carriage Drive closed on Saturdays in addition to the regular Sunday closures.

Royal Parks defends its decision to introduce widespread road closures, stating: “We believe that most vehicles using the park roads are not stopping within the park but are simply using the park road network as a shortcut. By reducing this traffic, we will enhance the park environment and the visitor experience, by creating a park with lower vehicle emissions and more space for park visitors.”

Uganda’s Museveni wins sixth term, rival alleges fraud | Reuters

5 Min Read

KAMPALA (Reuters) — Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has scored a decisive election victory to win a sixth term, the country’s election commission said on Saturday, but his main rival Bobi Wine denounced the results as fraudulent and urged citizens to reject them.

Polling agents from the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party celebrate the victory of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni in the concluded general elections in Kampala, Uganda January 16, 2021. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The 76-year-old Museveni, in power since 1986 and one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, won 5.85 million votes, or 58.6% in Thursday’s election. Wine had 3.48 million votes (34.8%), the Electoral Commission said in announcing the final results.

The campaign was marked by a deadly crackdown by security forces on Wine, other opposition candidates and their supporters. In the run-up to the vote local civil society groups and foreign governments questioned its credibility and transparency, after scores of requests for accreditation to monitor the election were denied.

The United States and an African election monitoring group complained of election irregularities and Wine, a 38-year-old singer-turned-lawmaker who had rallied young Ugandans behind his call for political change, called the results a “complete fraud”.

“It’s an election that was taken over by the military and the police,” he said in a phone interview from inside his home in the capital, Kampala, which was surrounded by soldiers who he said had forbidden him from leaving.

“It further exposes how dictatorial the Museveni regime is,” added Wine, who campaigned to end what he called widespread corruption. “It’s a mockery of democracy.”

Army deputy spokesman Deo Akiiki told Reuters that security officers at Wine’s house were assessing threats he could face: “So they might be preventing him in the interest of his own safety.”

Museveni argued in the campaign that his long experience makes him a good leader and promised to keep delivering stability and progress. By 7 p.m. (1600 GMT), four hours after results were announced, the president had not issued a statement.

The government ordered the internet shut off the day before the vote and has not yet restored it. [L1N2JO2G4]


After the results were announced, many neighbourhoods in normally bustling Kampala were unusually quiet as nightfall approached. Soldiers and police who had patrolled throughout the day remained on the streets in large numbers, witnesses said.

Slideshow ( 4 images )

“These gunmen are all over and they are ready to kill,” said Innocent Mutambi, 26, a welder. “I am sure what they announced is false, but right now we can’t take them on, they will kill us.”

Hundreds of the president’s supporters rode motorcycles from the election tallying centre to downtown, where people danced with posters bearing the president’s face.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has said he has video proof of voting fraud that he will share once internet connections are restored.

He told Reuters on Saturday that his campaign has evidence that the military forced people at gunpoint to vote for Museveni and engaged in ballot stuffing and other rigging.

The electoral commission said on Friday that under Ugandan law, the burden of proof rested with Wine.

Reuters has not independently verified Wine’s claims.


The Africa Elections Watch coalition, which deployed 2,000 observers in 146 districts, said in a statement that they had observed irregularities, including the late opening of most polling stations, missing ballot papers, and illegally opened ballot boxes.

The African Union also sent an observer mission but had no comment yet on the vote.

The U.S. State Department’s top diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, said in a tweet on Saturday that the “electoral process has been fundamentally flawed”. He cited fraud reports, denial of accreditation to observers, violence and harassment of opposition members, and the arrest of civil society activists.

In addition to shutting off the internet, the government on Tuesday banned all social media and messaging apps. Wine and his supporters often used Facebook to relay live coverage of his campaign.

In the parliamentary election, where candidates were vying for 529 seats, at least 18 ministers from the ruling party lost their seats, Ugandan media reported. The country’s vice president, Edward Ssekandi, also lost his race.

With results still coming in, local media reported that 56 candidates from Wine’s National Unity Platform (NUP) had won their races.

Reporting by Nairobi newsroom; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Frances Kerry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Pilot’s widow fights for £200k claiming mid-air collision was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning

An experienced Vietnamese Army officer was one of four people killed in a horrific mid-air collision after a training instructor suffered the effects of carbon monoxide, it is being claimed in papers lodged with the High Court. 

Captain Trung Thanh Nguyen, 32, a qualified helicopter instructor and member of the Vietnamese People’s Armed Forces, was killed when his Gumal Cabri G2 helicopter and a Cessna 152 collided 1,500ft above Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury.

His widow claims in court documents that an instructor in the Cessna plane was still suffering the effects of carbon monoxide fumes in the cockpit from his previous flight.

She is now suing flying school Booker Aviation for more than £200,000 in damages for herself and the couple’s two young children, accusing the company of negligence leading to her husband’s death. Booker Aviation denies the claims.

The two aircraft had taken off from High Wycombe Air Park on November 17, 2017, in good visibility, but collided less than twenty minutes later, when the Cessna flew into the helicopter from behind.

Papers lodged with the High Court claim the Cessna negligently failed to see the helicopter or take evasive action.

Mapped: Aylesbury mid-air crash

Because of its design the Cessna allegedly had a blind spot obscuring the pilots’ view and should therefore have been carrying out clearing turns to view the busy airspace in what is known as the Brize-Norton-Heathrow-Luton Gap.

Captain Nguyen’s widow, Hoang Thi Puong Mai, 25, claims the Cessna instructor, Jaspal Bahra, 27, from Wembley, is likely to have been suffering impaired judgement as a result of alleged carbon monoxide poisoning.

There has been concern over carbon monoxide levels in aircraft cockpits, with pilots unions warning of the dangers.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report found that carbon monoxide poisoning played a part in the death of footballer Emiliano Sala when the plane he was in crashed into the sea off the coast of Guernsey, in 2019.

Toxicology reports show that Mr Bahra had marked levels of carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) at 24 per cent in his blood, caused by inhaling carbon monoxide allegedly during a training flight in the same aircraft an hour and half earlier.

The court will hear the Cessna was fitted with an out-of-date carbon monoxide detector and levels of COHb in his blood would probably have been 30 per cent at the end of the earlier flight. Symptoms include impaired judgment, bad headache, blurred vision, drowsiness and dizziness.

Also killed in the crash were Mr Bahra’s student pilot, Saavan Mundae, 18, from Richmond, south west London, and Captain Michael Green, 74, from Newbury, who was instructing Captain Nguyen.

Mrs Mai, who described her husband as a “perfect military officer” and devoted father, claims Booker Aviation failed to set out the need for clearing turns, failed to train both men in the technique, failed to have adequate regard for the blind spot or that it might encounter other aircraft when flying in busy airspace.

Her alternative case is that the crash was caused by levels of carbon monoxide in Mr Bahra’s blood, and that he failed to recognize the symptoms indicating that he was not fit to fly.

Captain Nguyen, who was in the UK on a two-month training programme, died as a result of multiple and severe blunt force injuries.

Mrs Mai, who was pregnant with her second child at the time of the accident, said: “My young children (now aged four and two) and I have lost a father and a husband in what was a cruel and fatal crash from behind. 

“I repeatedly think about what my husband must have felt in his last moments, and my children ask about their father the whole time. My husband had so much to give his children and me and now we are left alone.”

Mrs Mai claims the Cessna instructor is likely to have been suffering impaired judgement as a result of alleged carbon monoxide poisoning

She added: “Booker Aviation and their insurers have refused to accept liability in what is a clear collision from behind, and have failed to make any settlement offer.

“This has forced me, a widow with two young children based in Vietnam, to have to commence proceedings in the UK, in the midst of a pandemic. I do want to see justice for my husband – I owe it to him and to my children.”

Following the 2019 inquest into the crash a coroner called for collision avoidance and carbon monoxide devices to be fitted to such aircraft.

Coroner Crispin Butler said that although there was no evidence that exposure to carbon monoxide before or during the flight played a part, it should be mandatory for light aircraft to carry monitors or warning devices.

Booker Aviation said it could not comment on ongoing legal proceedings, but added: “Consistent with the outcome of the Coroner’s Inquest, which identified no shortcomings in Booker Aviation’s activities, it is defending the proceedings vigorously."