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.
Crystal Palace substitute Connor Wickham scored a late equaliser awarded by video assistant referee to deny bottom side Norwich a much-needed victory at Carrow Road.
Wickham’s strike after turning in Wilfried Zaha’s cross was initially disallowed for offside, but a check by VAR showed the striker was being played on by an outstretched Norwich boot.
Palace had struggled to create against a resolute Canaries defence – who remain without a clean sheet at home this season – after Todd Cantwell put the hosts in front after only four minutes.
But Norwich ultimately paid for not scoring a decisive second, having come close several times, with Emiliano Buendia drawing a fine save from Palace keeper Vicente Guaita and Kenny McLean hitting the underside of the crossbar.
A renewed Palace surged forward in search of a late winner but Norwich held firm to avoid further damage.
But the Canaries are now five points adrift at the bottom of the table following Watford’s win over Wolves earlier on Wednesday.
Zaha makes most of rare opening
Zaha was a frustrated figure for most of this game, failing to pick up the ball in space to take on his man and quickly swarmed by Norwich defenders when receiving it in a stationary position.
By cutting out his threat, Norwich seemed to have effectively prevented Palace from creating any clear chances, only for Zaha to prove his worth right at the end.
The Palace winger collected Brandon Pierrick’s neat pass, stole a yard on Max Aarons and fired in an excellent cross for Wickham to convert.
Although the linesman raised his flag for offside, referee Jon Moss quickly consulted VAR, with replays showing that as the ball left Zaha’s foot, Wickham was behind the boot of Norwich’s last man.
After VAR had overturned a goal for Palace against Southampton on Saturday for a marginal call and following other more contentious decisions in Wednesday’s games, this was an example of the technology working efficiently and well.
A point for Palace sees them remain ninth, eight points off the top four.
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.”
The streets of Westminster have some of the highest number of rough sleepers in the UK.
But, the borough council’s outreach team is out every night of the year finding those people and offering them support to get them off the street, hopefully for good
BBC London spent the evening with Robert White, who leads Westminster’s outreach team.
Naturalist and broadcaster David Bellamy has died aged 86, the Conservation Foundation he formed says.
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’s distinctive voice inspired comedian Sir Lenny Henry’s “grapple me grapenuts” catchphrase.
Comedy writer and fellow broadcaster Danny Baker called him 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.
Wolves are likely to recall defender Romain Saiss, who was banned for Sunday’s game against Sheffield United.
Ryan Bennett is again doubtful due to a groin problem, while Morgan Gibbs-White is out with an ongoing back issue.
West Ham are expected to stick with David Martin in goal following his impressive debut at Chelsea.
Jack Wilshere and Michail Antonio both face fitness tests but Issa Diop is available after suspension, while Sebastien Haller might be recalled.
MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
@alistairmann01: While some teams in the Europa League have seen their domestic form suffer in recent years, Wolves have been able to find the balance and can still boast a healthy league position in addition to qualification to the knockout stage in Europe.
Their steely resolve has been typified by the number of occasions on which they have successfully chased a game in which they’ve fallen behind – Sunday’s draw with Sheffield United being the latest example.
West Ham’s victory at Chelsea brought a seven-game winless run to an end; the challenge now will be to demonstrate whether that improved performance has signified a genuine upturn in form.
VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT
Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo on speculation linking him with Arsenal: “I still have a contract, for me it’s more important that I focus on what I have to do today. I’m focused on the game, it’s the most important moment. West Ham is our present.
“I live hour-by-hour. I know what I have to do next and I still have a lot of work to do.”
West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini: “The last season they [Wolves] did very well and this one they have repeated.
“There is no doubt it’s a tough game, away or at home, they have the same players, they don’t have many injured players but – as with any other game – we need to be aggressive and have concentration.”
Wolves are on a very good run and have not lost any of their past nine Premier League games – I would be surprised if they don’t make that 10.
- Wolves won both meetings last season – they’ve never beaten West Ham in three consecutive league games.
- West Ham have won just one of their last seven away league games against Wolves (D2, L4).
- Wolves are unbeaten in nine Premier League matches (W4, D5) – the last time they went 10 top-flight matches without defeat was in January 1972.
- Twenty points is their highest tally after 14 games of a top-flight season since 1979-80.
- Wolves have lost just one of their last 10 Premier League matches in December (W4, D5).
- They have scored in all 13 league games since a goalless draw in the opening day fixture at Leicester.
- They have drawn an unrivalled 17 Premier League matches since the start of last season.
- Wolves have lost only two of the nine league games when conceding first, drawing the other seven.
- Raul Jimenez has been involved in 12 goals in his last 10 league appearances, with seven goals and five assists.
West Ham United
- Victory at Chelsea on Saturday ended West Ham’s seven-game winless run.
- West Ham have won 15 away points from the last 27 available (W4, D3, L2) – 11 of those came against sides who started the day in the top 10.
- They are winless in their last nine Premier League away games played on a Wednesday (D2, L7) – they have failed to score in six of those games, including the last five.
- Sebastien Haller scored three goals in his first three league games this term but has scored only once in his subsequent 10 appearances.
- David Martin became the second oldest goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet on his Premier League debut last weekend (33 years, 312 days), behind only Bernard Lama, also of West Ham.
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.
New Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has promised to bring “passion” and “happiness” to the club.
The Portuguese, 56, was appointed on Wednesday morning, following the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday night.
Former Chelsea and Manchester United boss Mourinho praised the quality of Spurs’s squad and their “world class” stadium and training ground.
“I couldn’t be happier and look forward to the challenge,” he said.
In his interview with Spurs TV – his first since being appointed – Mourinho said: “What can I promise? Passion, real passion. Passion for my job, but also passion for my club, that’s the way I have been all my career and I want to try, obviously, everything to bring happiness to everyone who loves the club.”
Mourinho has signed a contract until the end of the 2022-23 season with a basic salary of £8m a year.
It is his first job since being sacked by United in December 2018.
He takes over a Spurs side that are without a win in their past five games and have slipped to 14th in the Premier League, 20 points behind leaders Liverpool after just 12 matches.
“Even as an opponent, there was always huge respect between me and the club,” added Mourinho. “I met you in cup finals, in semi-finals, in big matches and to keep that respect was probably in the back of my mind that one day I could be one of you.”
‘I really like this squad’
Speaking about the squad he has inherited, Mourinho praised the club for keeping their best players and said he was looking forward to working with the academy players.
“It’s a privilege when a manager goes to a club and feels that happiness in relation to the squad he is going to have,” he said.
“It didn’t happen many times. To be honest, the majority of the times we go to clubs and we always think ‘we like some, I don’t like enough’ and you think immediately about what to do to change, what to do to make an approach between your ideas and the profile of the players.
“This is a completely different case. I really like this squad.”
There was also praise for Spurs’ £1bn stadium that opened in March.
“I think you are too humble when you say, ‘beautiful stadium’, too humble,” added the former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto boss. “You have to say the best stadium in the world. That’s the reality.
“The training ground is second to none. It probably can only be compared with some American Football training grounds. You cannot compare it with European football at any level, and I’ve been in the majority of the best places.”
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.
Saracens have put rugby union “in a very dangerous place” after they were found to breach salary cap rules, says ex-England captain Chris Robshaw.
The Premiership champions face a 35-point deduction and a £5.36m fine after an inquiry into business dealings between owner Nigel Wray and players.
Robshaw said the European champions were “cheating to a certain extent”.
“It’s not great, the game we love is in the world eye and the pinnacle of English rugby is illegal,” he said.
Clubs cannot spend more than £7m on player salaries, although they are allowed two whose wages do not count towards the cap. Teams can also receive extra money for fielding home-grown players or to pay for injury cover.
It is claimed Premiership and European champions Saracens avoided the regulations by investing in companies co-owned by Wray and some of their star players, including England captain Owen Farrell and forwards Mako and Billy Vunipola.
Harlequins captain Robshaw said the game has “some damage control to do” as a result of the investigation.
“It will not be easy for our sport to move forward,” the 33-year-old added.
“We’re a sport that claims to be whiter than white, and we always look down on football, we look down on this and that and say how it is but we are like everyone else.”
The fine and points penalty, which Saracens are appealing, comes 10 years after another hugely controversial moment for the English game when Robshaw’s club, Quins, were embroiled in the Bloodgate scandal.
“As a sport, we have got to take the damage that comes with that now and I’m sure it will be like that for a while,” Robshaw said.
‘I’m confident we are squeaky clean’
Meanwhile, Leicester boss Geordan Murphy says he would now welcome a league-wide review of club accounts.
Asked if he feels there should be an investigation into all Premiership finances, Murphy said: “Yes, I think so.
“What we have seen at Saracens is the result of investigations that have gone on for a little while, but we are all expected to adhere to the same rules.”
The Tigers head coach told BBC East Midlands Today that he was “a little shocked” by the severity of the punishment from Premiership Rugby, but said he could not comment further without “the full facts available”.
He added that Tigers, a club put up for sale to try and ensure they remain a force in the Premiership, would be open to greater financial scrutiny.
“I wouldn’t want to talk about anyone else’s books, but I’m really confident that our books are squeaky clean,” he said.
“Every year we fill out forms and declare our information, so they have been looking into different teams and every team over the course of the last few years.”
Saracens won titles ‘unfairly’
Exeter boss Rob Baxter says Saracens will have won their last two titles unfairly if their appeal against breaching salary cap rules fails.
Baxter’s side lost the 2018 and 2019 Premiership finals to the London club.
“If this is upheld, it’s pretty obvious those titles have been won unfairly,” Exeter’s director of rugby said at this season’s Champions Cup launch in Cardiff, which Sarries avoided attending.
“If you’re asking me would I like to walk into Sandy Park and see three Premiership trophies there, I would love to.
“In reality do I see that happening? No. There are too many other factors that come into play.
“I believe the way we played in the final last year would have beaten any other team in the Premiership.”
The Chiefs were beaten 37-34 in a thrilling final in June as tries by Wales star Liam Williams, Scotland’s Sean Maitland and England’s Jamie George – who have all toured with the British and Irish lions – helped Saracens peg back a 27-16 deficit with 20 minutes to go.
But Baxter says that to suggest that his side would have won the title but for Saracens’ alleged extra financial muscle is not necessarily the case.
“The whole truth is if Saracens had been operating with a different group of players last season they may not have got to the final, and if a different team had been there they might have outperformed us on the day,” he continued.
“It would be ridiculous for me to say they were givens. How many results could have been different in the course of a season and the top four could have been created differently.
“Every one of the games, semi-finals and finals would have been different. To sit here and say ‘we should have been given the title’ is a little bit like a shortcut when the season is what you do as whole.”
‘Elephant in the room now out in the open’
And Baxter believes it is right that investments by club officials in firms that are owned or part-owned by players should count towards the cap.
“We’re supposed to be working within the salary cap to create a level of fairness and competition. That’s what we have signed up to and agreed to,” he added.
“If the first response is to say the payments, investments and inducements are outside the cap but are OK because the wording of the cap doesn’t catch them, the concern is they will move on by finding another way of doing it outside the wording of the salary cap.
“You shouldn’t be paying outside the salary cap and to dress it up in player welfare and developing the game sticks in the craw.
“There can’t be many people within rugby circles who don’t think this is just the elephant in the room finally coming out into the open, instead of being in the corner of the room.”