Welsh morning headlines: News, Ukraine, coronavirus and sport as EDF blasted for energy price rises

We have put together a round-up of all the latest news, weather, and travel information for Thursday, April 7, that will get you caught up and ready for the day as EDF raised its energy prices in France by just 4%, compared to the 54% increase consumers in UK have now been hit with.

While it is largely owned by the French state, EDF – which stands for Électricité de France – is one of the largest electricity suppliers in the UK. The UK’s regional electricity companies were privatised in 1990, following the privatisation of British Gas in 1986.

Like all other energy suppliers in the UK, EDF has raised its prices on this side of The Channel after the UK price cap was increased by £693 – or 54% per cent – due to the record increase in global gas prices. However, in France, EDF has been forced to take a £7billion pound hit to protect French households from the price rises.

READ MORE:How much Universal Credit rates will rise

France’s Government capped the domestic price rises at just 4%. French president Emmanuel Macron – who faces elections later this month – also cut tax on electricity and has pledged to subsidise petrol by 15c a litre.

Ofgem, Britain’s independent energy regulator, announced the 54% energy price cap rise back in February. It said that the increase, that came into force on April 1, saw an increase of £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year for UK customer’s on default tariffs paying by direct debit. Prepayment customers saw an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.

Meanwhile, The UK has announced that all imports of Russian coal and oil to this country will end by the close of 2022. There will be a similar stoppage of gas imports “as soon as possible thereafter”, the Foreign Office said. Read the morning briefing here.

In the latest raft of punitive sanctions against Russia, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also announced a full asset freeze on the country’s biggest bank, Sberbank, reports MirrorOnline. Imports of Russian steel to the UK were also banned, less than a week after the Mirror revealed 3,700 tonnes of Russian “strip mill” had been brought to Britain since the war began on February 24.

Wales news headlines

Dad drowned after he was thrown from kayak in rough seas off Welsh coast

A dad was thrown “four feet in the air” shortly before he drowned in rough seas. Experienced kayaker John Robert Slack, 34, a “happy-go-lucky” from Birmingham travelled to Gwynedd last May for the first time since lockdown restrictions were lifted, to paddle in water off Tywyn beach.

Before he set out to paddle in the water off Tywyn beach, a beach warden warned him not to go into the water, an inquest in Caernarfon was told today. But Mr Slack, 34, ignored the advice, got into difficulty shortly afterwards and had to be recovered from the water by the Aberdyfi coastguard team

The “loving” dad-of-two died en route to Ysbyty Bronglais, Aberystwyth on May 9. The inquest was told he would frequently visit the region in his campervan and would often camp out near the sea.

Beach warden George Watson told the hearing he had been patrolling Tywyn that morning and noted the high tide and strong winds. Mr Watson said he saw Mr Slack paddling out to sea in a “controlled manner” but when he saw him again he was sitting on the tideline near the slipway.

Mr Watson said: “I approached him and he told me he had been thrown out about 4ft in the air but said he was going to go out again. I told him that although i couldn’t stop him I strongly advised that he did not but he said he was a strong paddler and went out again.”

Mr Watson then saw Mr Slack come off the kayak and go into the water. He then noticed that Mr Slack was “waving and shouting” so he made the decision to call 999.

Mr Slack was in the water for around 15 minutes before he was recovered by Aberdyfi coastguard team. He was showing signs of life when he was initially pulled from the water but sadly died on the way to Bronglais, where he was officially pronounced dead. The full details of the inquest can be found here.

Met Office issues weather warning for parts of Wales as 70mph winds batter the country

The Met Office has issued a weather warning for winds of up to 70mph affecting parts of Wales. The forecasting agency says that winds will increase during Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.

The winds are expected to peak in the early hours of Thursday, will ease for a time before before getting stronger.

The Met Office warning says: “Winds will increase this evening across parts of Northern Ireland, with gusts to 50 or 55mph likely in places, perhaps 60 mph in a few exposed spots, before easing beyond midnight.

“Across North Wales and northwest England, winds are expected to peak during the early hours, when gusts will widely reach 50 to 60mph, and possibly around 70mph close to some coasts. Here winds will ease somewhat by daybreak, and then more markedly during the morning.” The full forecast can be found here.

Today’s forecast

It will be an unsettled forecast for Wales today according to the Met Office with sunny spells and blustery showers expected.

Today: “Windy today with sunny spells. Blustery showers will arrive in the afternoon. Showers could be heavy at times with hail. Feeling rather cold today in the blustery northerly wind. Maximum temperature 12 °C.”

Tonight : “Showers fading away overnight to leave clear skies. Wind also easing, allowing temperatures to fall away quickly with a widespread frost. Minimum temperature -3 °C.”

Here is how the roads and rail are affected at 7am

  • M48 Severn Bridge in both directions closed due to strong winds between J1 A403 ( Aust ) and J2 A466 Wye Valley Link Road (Chepstow). Diversion – M4 Prince of Wales Bridge.

  • Several bridges across Wales including the M4 Prince of Wales bridge and the M4 Briton Ferry bridge are operating at speed restrictions due to high winds.

National news headlines

PM says Russian actions close to ‘genocide’ over reported atrocities

The UK Prime Minister has stated that the actions of invading Russian forces in Ukraine appear close to “genocide”. Boris Johnson was talking following an international wave of revulsion over reported atrocities committed by Russian forces in Bucha and other towns around Kyiv.

The towns have been recaptured by the Ukrainians as the Russians pull back. Ukrainian officials have reported that they found the bodies of at least 410 civilians, some reported shot with their hands tied behind their backs. There have also been reports of women being raped by Russian soldiers in front of their children.

Speaking during a visit to a hospital in Welwyn Garden City, Mr Johnson said: “I’m afraid, when you look at what’s happening in Bucha, the revelations that we are seeing from what Putin has done in Ukraine, which doesn’t look far short of genocide to me, it is no wonder people are responding in the way that they are.”

Thieves reportedly steal £250,000 of fuel from Royal Navy base

More than £250,000 worth of diesel has reportedly been stolen from a naval base in Devon. The thefts are believed to have taken place over the course of several weeks at the Royal Navy’s HMNB Devonport base in Plymouth.

It is understood that the fuel was intended for generators that power up HMS Bulwark, which is one of the Royal Navy’s two amphibious landing transport docks – the other is HMS Albion. The Sun has reported that the value of the stolen diesel was in excess of £250,000 but that figure is yet to be confirmed officially and, contrary to the national newspaper’s story, a HMNB Devonport so
urce told PlymouthLive that the fuel was not taken directly from HMS Bulwark.

Devon and Cornwall Police will not be investigating the thefts, as they occurred on Ministry of Defence land, while Babcock International, who work in partnership with the MoD at the base, have declined to comment on the matter. HMS Bulwark is used to land Royal Marines and their trucks and tanks ashore by air or sea, but it has been mothballed and not seen active service for a number of years.

Sport headlines

Lions prop Tom Smith dies aged 50

Scotland and Lions prop Tom Smith has died at the age of 50. The Scottish rugby legend was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2019. He featured in all three Tests against South Africa in 1997 and against Australia in 2001. Smith also won the Five Nations with Scotland in 1999.

Scottish Rugby tweeted: “Scotland and Lions prop Tom Smith sadly passed away earlier today aged 50.

“A hugely respected player, Tom will be greatly missed by everyone associated with rugby in Scotland and throughout the game. All our thoughts are with Tom’s family and friends at this time.”

Smith made 61 appearances for Scotland and six for the Lions, who said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tom Smith.

“Tom made an incredible impact for the Lions, touring in 1997 as well as 2001 and was one of the great props to play the game. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time. RIP Tom.”

Smith’s cancer had spread to his liver and brain. He is survived by wife Zoe and his three children, Angus, Amelie and Teddy. Tributes can be found here.

Ukranian rugby captain killed

The former captain of the Ukraine rugby team has been killed by Russian troops, it has been confirmed

Oleksi Tsibko, 55, died defending his people from Vladimir Putin’s invasion near the town of Bucha on March 31. News of his death has now been officially announced by Rugby Europe president Octavian Morariu.

He said: “Even though I hoped that this news would not be confirmed, unfortunately I can now sadly say that Oleksi Tsibko, former captain of the Ukrainian national team, former president of the Ukrainian Rugby Union and also Mayor of Smela City. died defending his town and his country.”

After his playing career, Tsibko became president of the Ukrainian Rugby Federation between 2003-2005, before serving as mayor of Smela from 2015-2018.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont tweeted: “On @UN #SportsDay, our thoughts are with the Ukraine rugby family who are facing such incredible challenges at present.

“We also remember those who have been victims of the recent violence, including the former union president Oleksii Tsibko.

“We stand with Ukraine in condemning this needless violence & will continue offer solidarity & friendship.”