South Korean coastguard and navy divers resumed the search on Thursday for about 290 people still missing, many of them students from the same high school, after a ferry carrying 450 passengers capsized in sight of land.
Grieving family members gathered on the quay of the coastal city of Jindo, huddled in blankets against the spring cold as efforts to locate the missing went into a second day.
One parent, Park Yung-suk, said she had seen the body of her teenage daughter’s teacher brought ashore earlier in the morning.
“If I could teach myself to dive, I would jump in the water and try to find my daughter,” Park said.
Of some 450 passengers on board the ferry when it set sail from the port of Incheon late on Tuesday, nearly 340 were teenagers and teachers from the Danwon school, near the capital Seoul. They were on a field trip to Jeju island, about 100km (60 miles) south of the Korean peninsula.
So far 179 people have been rescued and six confirmed dead in what could be the country’s worst maritime accident in 20 years.
As coastguard officials arrived at Jindo on Thursday, waiting relatives jeered at them, shouting: “The weather’s nice, why aren’t you starting the rescue?”
It is not known why the 6,586-tonne vessel, built in Japan 20 years ago, sank.
As frustration grew with the lack of information, some parents of missing school children hired their own boat on Wednesday night. They appeared to blame the government of president Park Geun-hye and rescue officials for not making a big enough effort.
“Since the government refused to take us to the scene 11 parents chipped in 61,000 won ($60) each to hire a boat and took a reporter and a diver. But there was no rescue operation going on,” said one father who declined to give his name.
“I am extremely angry. Media is saying the rescue op is still going on. It’s all a lie,” he said.
It was not immediately clear why the Sewol ferry had listed heavily on to its side in apparently calm waters, but some survivors spoke of a loud noise before the disaster.
A member of the crew of a local government ship involved in the rescue, who said he had spoken to members of the sunken ferry’s crew, described the area as free of reefs or rocks and said the cause was likely to be some sort of malfunction on the vessel.
There were reports of the ferry having veered off course, but co-ordinates of the site of the accident provided by port authorities indicated it was not far off the regular shipping lane.
The ferry sent a distress signal early on Wednesday, the coastguard said, triggering a rescue operation that involved almost 100 coastguard and navy vessels and fishing boats, as well as 18 helicopters.
According to a coastguard official in Jindo, the waters where the ferry capsized have some of the strongest tides off South Korea’s coast, meaning divers were prevented from entering the mostly submerged ship for several hours.
• This story was amended on 17 April. It originally said a text message had been received from the submerged ferry, but the claim was subsequently retracted.
The defence teams for the accused 9/11 perpetrators have formally requested testimony from four officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, one of whom is a senior official, deepening a conflict that began with revelations that the FBI attempted to insert an informant into their ranks.
Defence lawyers said late on Wednesday that they had formally requested testimony from the two agents that approached a classification specialist assigned to the defence team, as well as an FBI special agent assigned to the 9/11 prosecution team.
But the defence also wants testimony from a senior FBI official detailed to the prosecution: Joanna Baltes, the chief of staff for the deputy FBI director, Mark Giuliano.
Baltes is not currently at Guantánamo. In court on Tuesday, defence lawyers openly speculated, without providing evidence, that she might have played a role in the FBI’s unexpected involvement in an apparent inquiry seeking the source of a media leak – an unclassified manifesto written by accused 9/11 architect Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
“There’s a real question about whether there’s a dual role [Baltes plays],” said Walter Ruiz, a lawyer for 9/11 co-defendant Mustafa Ahmed al-Hasawi.
“If there’s a dual role, there’s a huge question about a potential conflict of interest.”
The move to call Baltes to testify comes with several unknowns. Chief among them is if the military commissions have the power to compel her to testify. Army Colonel James Pohl, the judge in the 9/11 tribunal, appeared unsure on Tuesday if he possessed that authority.
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment about its willingness to allow Baltes or the three FBI agents to give testimony in the case.
Additionally, the military commission prosecution team is adding a Justice Department lawyer as a “special trial counsel” assigned to address any aspects of the FBI inquiry issue involving the prosecution. The lawyer, whose name was not immediately released, will not play any direct role in the 9/11 trial.
The defence lawyers said this week that their possible investigation as part of a leak inquiry potentially places them in a conflict of interest, pitting their need to defend themselves against their obligations to defend their clients. The prosecution has rejected that contention as premature.
Now the defence appears to be pointing to potential conflicts within the prosecution. Two sources said the FBI special agent assigned to the prosecution, Jim Fitzgerald, was the one who received the Mohammed document on 20 December from Brigadier General Mark Martins, the chief military commissions prosecutor who has prioritised making the commissions domestically and internationally respectable.
But the process has been called into question by the fact of the apparent FBI inquiry. On 6 April, two FBI agents approached a classification specialist at his home after church and got him to sign documents that indicated an ongoing informant role.
The existence of an ongoing inquiry into the defence, its basis, and the extent of the defence’s penetration has now crowded out proceedings in the pretrial stage of the 9/11 case, further delaying the actual trial, more than 12 years after the terrorist attacks.
Several family members of the victims who had travelled to Guantánamo to attend the pretrial hearings expressed anger on Wednesday with the FBI and the Obama administration for potentially jeopardising the military trial outright.
It was unclear to attorneys late on Wednesday whether Pohl will hold a court hearing on Thursday morning.
Roberto Martínez refused to concede Arsenal have the advantage in the race for the fourth Champions League place despite Everton‘s surprise home defeat to Crystal Palace, a result Tony Pulis believes has now secured the visitors’ Premier League status.
Everton would have reclaimed fourth place at Arsenal’s expense with a point at Goodison Park but goals from the outstanding Jason Puncheon, Scott Dann and Cameron Jerome condemned Martínez’s side to a first home defeat since Boxing Day. The 3-2 reverse leaves Everton a point behind Arsène Wenger’s team with four matches remaining.
On paper, Everton also have a more difficult run-in. But Martínez insisted Arsenal will drop points before the end of the campaign and his side have the ability to capitalise, starting against David Moyes’ Manchester United on Sunday.
“I don’t think Arsenal will get full points from now until the end of the season,” the Everton manager said. “So one point and a better goal difference for us means we are still very much relying on what we do. The table looks like it [fourth place] is out of our hands but I believe it is still in our hands and will rest on the amount of points we get until the end of the season.
“We will give everything we’ve got to get as many points between now and the end of the season. It is a disappointment, but it is still a unique opportunity. I am encouraged we can turn the corner if we win on Sunday.”
Martínez admitted there was an element of fear in Everton’s approach to the game and uncharacteristic openness in their defence. He said: “The reaction is of disappointment. It is a hurtful defeat with the expectations and desire we had coming into the game.
“In the first half we wanted to play and attack so much that we forgot the basics of how to win a football game. The way we defended somehow carried a bit of fear and left us exposed.
“We change the approach in the second half. In every aspect the game played into Crystal Palace’s hands. They were the worst opposition we could have faced in the circumstances. To concede three goals from four shots on target is disappointing. We gave everything we had and were unfortunate not to get a draw. I would not say we played bad, but defensively we did not have our normal intensity.”
The Everton manager felt Palace’s second goal should have been disallowed for a block on John Stones that allowed Dann to convert a free header but Pulis was fulsome in his praise of a team that has effectively ensured Premier League survival with four matches to go. Palace had seven points from 12 matches when Pulis officially took over after the win at Hull City on 23 November but have risen to mid-table security after taking 33 points from his 22 matches at the helm.
“It is a remarkable achievement,” said the Palace manager. “I am very proud of the players. Without them buying into what we wanted to do it wouldn’t have worked.
“It is nice to say we are going to be a Premier League club next year. To say that with four games to go is remarkable. It is important to focus on those next four games to get as many points as we can. The supporters deserve that for sticking by us at the beginning.”
One in every 16 people treated at an NHS hospital fall ill with an infection, according to a government health agency report. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said the rate of infections, which are a “very real threat” to patients’ lives, was “unacceptably high”.
Infections can occur in healthy people, especially if they are undergoing invasive surgery or using catheters or tubes inserted into veins. Children, the elderly and the ill are even more susceptible.
Common types of infection include pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections.
While steps have been taken to reduce infection rates of hospital bugs such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, other infection rates are still too high, Nice said. A spokeswoman said that doctors and nurses must “redouble” hygiene efforts to bring the rates down.
Nice has set out new guidelines to address the problem, including advising healthcare workers to clean their hands thoroughly and often and to use catheters or vascular access devices safely and hygienically.
Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at Nice, said: “It is unacceptable that infection rates are still so high within the NHS. Infections are a costly and avoidable burden. They hinder a patient’s recovery, can make underlying conditions worse, and reduce quality of life.
“Although there have been major improvements within the NHS in infection control, particularly in relation to Clostridium difficile and MRSA bloodstream infections in the last few years, healthcare-associated infections are still a very real threat to patients, their families and carers and staff. This quality standard gives primary, community and secondary care services the most up-to-date advice on the best ways to minimise the risks of infections.”
The number of deaths from MRSA and Clostridium difficile has fallen in successive years. According to the ONS, the number of patients in hospitals in England and Wales who died from MRSA fell by 25%, from 485 in 2010 to 364 in 2011.
There were 2,053 deaths related to the C difficile infection, compared with 2,704 the year before. The number of patients who died after contracting C difficile represented 1% of all hospital deaths between 2009 and 2011.
Despite the fall in the two types of infection, health officials warn that excessive use of antibiotics has led to an increase in new strains of infections that are resistant to treatment.
The government revealed last month that 16 people have died in the Manchester area in the past four years from a highly resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase. Most were very ill and may have been colonised by the bacteria before admission to hospital. The infection is resistant to carbapenems – antibiotics that, in many cases, are regarded as the last effective defence against multi-resistant bacterial infections.
Carol Pellowe, senior lecturer at Guy’s St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and member of the committee that developed the standards, added: “This quality standard will promote best practice in infection prevention and control and by providing key areas for action, encourage organisations to sustain their efforts in ensuring patient safety.”
An Australian customs ship entered far deeper into Indonesian waters than has previously been disclosed despite having digital navigational charts that displayed the correct boundaries of Indonesia’s territorial baselines, casting doubt on some of the findings of a review commissioned to investigate the incursions.
The Ocean Protector entered Indonesia’s internal waters – placing it nine kilometres inside the country’s territorial seas and just 27 kilometres from Indonesia’s shore – on 14 January in Pelabuhan Ratu bay, according to digital navigational maps from the vessel, seen by Guardian Australia and published here.
Archipelagic states have territorial waters that extend 12 nautical miles from a state’s baselines. The water inside those baselines is described as a state’s internal waters.
The digital map Guardian Australia has published shows, based on historical data, the ship crossing a red line that marks Indonesia’s baselines.
Guardian Australia has spoken to a number of mapping and law-of-the-sea experts who have all said the red line on the map represents Indonesia’s baseline. The co-ordinates of the Ocean Protector have been replotted on a separate map using the UN baselines to verify that the vessel was inside Indonesia’s internal waters.
A publicly released version of a commissioned review of the incursions – led by a panel made up of two customs officers and three defence officers – found they had occurred as a result of “incorrect calculation of the boundaries of Indonesian waters”, rather than navigational error or an intentional act.
The redacted version of the classified report, obtained by the Australian Associated Press under freedom of information laws, said: “Entry to Indonesian waters was inadvertent, arising from miscalculation of the maritime boundaries, in that the calculation did not take into account archipelagic baselines.”
Crucially, the report adds: “Territorial seas declared by foreign nations are generally not depicted on Australian hydrographic charts.”
But the digital map from the vessel casts doubt on these findings, and clearly shows the Australian ship crossing the red line that marks the point of Indonesia’s baselines and entering its waters past the headlands near Pelabuhan Ratu bay. Indonesia’s territorial seas are 12 nautical miles further out from where the baselines are marked in red. It is not known whether the digital mapping device was operational at the time the Ocean Protector entered Indonesian waters.
Guardian Australia put detailed questions to Australian Customs and Border Protection (ACBPS), the Department of Defence, the immigration minister and the defence minister more than 24 hours before publication. On request, Guardian Australia also provided ACBPS an image of the map.
ACBPS was the only agency to respond to questions, and confirmed for the first time that the Ocean Protector had been involved in the incursions.
An ACBPS spokesman said: “No evidence presented to the review indicated officers on the ACV Ocean Protector knew the correct location of archipelagic baselines. The review found substantial evidence indicating that the calculations used by the crews to determine the position of Indonesian archipelagic baselines were incorrect.
“The review recommended further, more detailed investigations be undertaken including into professional conduct. These investigations are currently under way. As a consequence it would be inappropriate to respond to the questions forwarded.
“The image provided appears to be screenshot of a navigational instrument, however, has no identifying detail enabling an assessment of its origin or relativity.”
Paul Barratt, a former secretary of the Department of Defence, said that, assuming the navigational systems were operational at the time, it was difficult to comprehend how the captains of the vessels involved in the incursions were not aware they were entering Indonesian waters.
“Knowing how the Indonesian baselines are set out is navigation 101,” he said. “It should be marked on the maps, it should be in the systems, they should know.”
“The minister said they had taken great steps to make sure they had not violated Indonesian territory so you’d think they would go to some length to find out where that territory is.”
Chris Rizos, a professor of navigation at the school of civil and environmental engineering at the University of New South Wales, said: “The red line on this map shows one of Indonesia’s closing baselines. Travelling beyond that line would place a vessel inside Indonesia’s internal waters. Those lines have been lodged with the United Nations and are widely available.”
He added: “Customs and military should be very well-versed about where the baselines are. They should know exactly where they are for Australia and they should know exactly where they are for neighbouring countries.”
Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell, who oversees Operation Sovereign Borders, said: “I would like to make it very clear that, as I understand it, the personnel on these vessels believed they were at all times operating outside Indonesian waters.”
A review was announced by the immigration minister to investigate how the incursions happened. In a later Senate inquiry the chief executive officer of ACBPS, Mike Pezzullo, said inquiries were under way into the conduct of officers involved in the operations.
But Guardian Australia can also reveal that no interview transcripts or recordings were taken for the purposes of the investigation from any members of the private contractors who crew the Ocean Protector, raising further concerns about the extent of the review.
Freedom of information requests to ACBPS for interview transcripts and recordings arising from any interviews with the crew were denied on the basis that no such documents existed.
“ACBPS has undertaken reasonable search in relation to your request. No documents were in the possession of ACBPS on 3 March 2014 when your FoI request was valid,” the decision maker said.
According to the redacted final report the review team conducted an “audit-like assessment” of each incursion as well as a “broader review of instructions and reports”.
The report specifically said enforcement commanders and contracted vessel masters “did not have the requisite professional training to be aware of the operational implications of UNCLOS [United Nations convention on the law of the sea] archipelagic baseline provisions in the calculation of Indonesian maritime boundaries”.
Guardian Australia asked the immigration minister, ACBPS and the defence department how these findings could be established without taking interview transcripts or recordings from all customs officers and private contractors on board, and also asked how many people in total were interviewed on each of the vessels.
An ACBPS spokesman said: “The joint review of positioning of vessels engaged in Operation Sovereign Borders was a comprehensive review intended to rapidly determine what occurred and to identify any immediate actions required to prevent further incursions.
“It involved a full analysis of all patrols as well as causal factors including operational orders, instructions, protocols and procedures observed by assigned assets, and the briefing, training and mission preparation of personnel involved in operations, including information regarding maritime borders.”
While the government has acknowledged the vessels knew where they were at the time of the incursions and did not make positioning errors, there is some question as to whether anyone at any of the command headquarters involved in Operation Sovereign Borders knew the location of the Ocean Protector at the time.
Separate images obtained by Guardian Australia show the vessel had a differential global positioning system (DGPS), which, if active, would allow the captain and officers on board to monitor the location of the vessel. It is not clear whether the DGPS signal from the Ocean Protector was being transmitted to a command headquarters at the time.
Rear Admiral Michael Noonan, the defence commander in charge of Operation Sovereign Borders, told Senate estimates the location capabilities of ships involved in asylum seeker operations varied in how frequently they transmit data, but would not speak on the specific vessels and their capabilities, or what was transmitted during the incursions.
David Shackleton, a former vice admiral and former chief of the Australian navy, said it was likely that DGPS updates on navy and customs ships would be periodic rather than continuous.
“Differential GPS is very accurate. For those that do have it their positional accuracy is very high, down to metres,” he said.
“If they have a system on board which reports their position back to either a commercial or military command centre that would not necessarily be continuous, it would be periodic.”
No responses were received to questions about GPS capabilities.
Strong currents and bad visibility have hampered rescuers in the search for 287 passengers missing more than 24 hours after their ferry capsized off the southern coast of South Korea, as furious families waited for news.
Nine were confirmed dead, but many expect that number will rise sharply because the missing have now spent more than a day either trapped in the ferry or in the cold seawater.
There were 475 people aboard, mostly school students. Frantic parents gathered at Danwon high school in Ansan, near Seoul, and in Mokpo, in the south of the country, not far from where the ferry slipped beneath the surface until only the blue-tipped, forward edge of the keel was visible.
Relatives of three high school students confirmed dead wailed and sobbed as ambulances took the students’ bodies from Mokpo to Ansan. The families, who spent a mostly sleepless night at the hospital, followed the ambulances in their cars.
The family of one victim, 24-year-old teacher Choi Hye-jung, spoke about a young woman who loved her students and was excited about her first school trip to Jeju island. There were 325 students on board, headed to Jeju for a four-day trip.
“She was very active and wanted to be a good leader,” her father, Choi Jae-kyu, 53, said at Mokpo Jung-Ang Hospital while waiting for the arrival of his daughter’s body. Choi’s mother, sitting on a bench at the hospital, sobbed quietly.
Twenty divers tried to get inside the ship’s wreckage but the current prevented access, the coast guard said. More than 400 rescuers searched nearby waters overnight and into Thursday morning.
The coast guard said it found two more bodies in the sea on Thursday morning, pushing the death toll to nine. The two were believed to be men in their 30s and 20s and authorities were trying to confirm their identity, according to an official from the coast guard’s press team who would not give her name because she did not have permission to speak to the media.
Coast guard officials put the number of survivors early on Thursday at 179.
It was still unknown why the ferry sank, but coast guard officials were interviewing the captain and crew. The Sewol, a 146-metre (480-ft) vessel that can hold more than 900 people, set sail on Tuesday from Incheon, in northwestern South Korea, on an overnight, 14-hour journey to the tourist island of Jeju.
The ferry was three hours from its destination when it sent a distress call after it began listing to one side, according to the ministry of security and public administration.
One passenger, Kim Seong-mok, told the broadcaster YTN that after having breakfast he felt the ferry tilt and then heard it crash into something. He said he was certain that many people were trapped inside the ferry as water rushed in and the severe tilt of the vessel kept them from reaching the exits.
Koo Bon-hee, 36, told the Associated Press that many people were trapped inside by windows that were too hard to break.
“The rescue wasn’t done well. We were wearing life jackets. We had time,” Koo, who was on a business trip to Jeju with a co-worker, said from a hospital bed in Mokpo where he was treated for minor injuries.
“If people had jumped into the water … they could have been rescued. But we were told not to go out.”
Oh Yong-seok, a 58-year-old crew member who escaped with about a dozen others, including the captain, told AP that rescue efforts were hampered by the ferry’s severe tilt. “We couldn’t even move one step. The slope was too big,” Oh said.
TV stations broadcast pictures onWednesday of the listing Sewol as passengers clambered over the side, jumped into the sea or were hoisted up by helicopters. At least 87 vessels and 18 aircraft swarmed around the stricken ferry.
The water temperature in the area was about 12C, cold enough to cause signs of hypothermia after about one and a half hours of exposure, according to an emergency official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Sewol’s wreckage lies just north of Byeongpung island, not far from the mainland.
“We cannot give up,” said South Korea’s president, Park Geun-hye, after a briefing in Seoul. “We have to do our best to rescue even one passenger.”
The survivors, wet, stunned and many without shoes, were brought to nearby Jindo island, where medical teams wrapped them in blankets and checked for injuries before taking them to a cavernous gymnasium.
As the search dragged on, families of the missing gathered at a nearby dock, some crying and holding each other. Boats circled the sunken ferry into the night, illuminated by red flares.
Angry shouts could be heard when prime minister Chung Hong-won visited a shelter where relatives of the missing passengers waited for news. Some yelled that the government should have sent more divers to search the wreckage.
The numbers of passengers, as well as the dead and missing, fluctuated throughout the day. As of early Thursday, South Korean authorities estimated 475 people were on the ferry. Of that total, there were 325 students and 15 teachers from Danwon high, according to a relief team set up by Gyeonggi province.
Many South Korean high schools organise trips for first- or second-year students, and Jeju is a popular destination. The students on the ferry were in their second year, which would make most of them 16 or 17.
The Sewol, which travels twice a week between Incheon and Jeju, was built in Japan in 1994 and could carry a maximum of 921 people, 180 vehicles and 152 shipping containers, according to the Yonhap news agency.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the US and its 7th Fleet stood ready to assist, including the USS Bonhomme Richard, which was in the region.
The last major ferry disaster in South Korea was in 1993, when 292 people were killed.
Good evening. Dedicated
remember that these two fixtures were meant to be played in
February, only for the Guardian’s intrepid Manchester reporter, Jamie
Jackson, to force their postponement after he went feral and headbutted a programme stand outside the Etihad Stadium,
his reign of terror only ending after a Man Conversation with Pep
Guardiola the other week Mother Nature to intervene with high winds
and torrential rain. Luckily it’s April now and the weather outside
is delightful rather than frightful, meaning there’s no chance of
more mischief occurring, unless Action Jackson nuts a hotdog stand.
Anyway with only two games from world’s
most exciting league to report on, there’s probably no need for a
long preamble. In fact, I could end it right here, right now, and
nobody would bat an eyelid, not you, not me and not even the guys who
pay me the medium-sized bucks for this drivel. But to hell with it,
it’s not as if you or I have anything better to do – protest all
you want but the fact you’ve been caught reading this in the first
place would provide conclusive evidence of your guilt in a court of
law – and, as such, this preamble is going to go on and on and on
and on and on and on and on and on and on, until the time comes when
you have lost the will to live and you’re wondering why you aren’t
reading the Copa del Rey final like all the other self-respecting
football hipsters, not that it really matters, because when it’s all
stripped down we’re just passing time until the final series of Mad
Men starts at 10pm. Your silence speaks volumes.
Still, it could be worse – at least
we’ve got two hugely significant games on our hands this evening. Manchester City need a win to kickstart their title challenge after the agonising defeat to Liverpool at an emotionally-charged Anfield on Sunday. Sunderland need a win (they’re not going to get a win, are they) to ensure Gus Poyet doesn’t break into uncontrollable tears at 9.30pm, tears which will turn into uncontrollable rage once he remembers he forgot to record Mad Men. Everton need a win to maintain their push for the top four. And Crystal Palace need … well, actually, they don’t really need anything now that they’re more or less safe. But – and the following point will explain why the Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize – a win sure would be nice!
For City, nothing but three points will do after the disappointment of Anfield. Trailing 2-0 after a traumatic first half, looked the more likely winners after David Silva found his touch in the second half, but ultimately lost after the mere presence of Martin Demichelis led to a Kompany Kalamity which allowed Phillipe Coutinho to win it for Liverpool. It means that City are now reliant on Liverpool dropping points if Manuel Pellegrini’s first season in England is not to end in anti-climax.
City are a strange side in many ways. The easy trap to fall into would be to assume that theirs is a squad comprised of millionaire mercenaries with no real connection to the club, who would disappear into hiding when the going gets tough and count their money instead, laughing all the way to the bank, but more often than not, the opposite is true. As they proved by winning the title in such extraordinary fashion in 2012, City do not lack spirit, togetherness or characters for the biggest occasions and few sides are as exhilarating or intimidating when they get into their stride, as Liverpool discovered, almost to their cost. Perhaps, despite all that oil, City’s problem is the exact opposite of a lack of identity. Perhaps their problem is that they are Manchester City and there’s not enough money in the world for them to find a cure to fully eradicate the last vestiges of Cityitis. It might not be enough to make neutrals warm to them, but the manner of their defeat to Liverpool was Typical City.
Despite that, it is unlikely we’ll be uttering that phrase tonight. City should thoroughly wallop Sunderland, who have completely unravelled since losing to Pellegrini’s side in the League Cup final at the end of February. Poyet has been tearing his hair out in exasperation at Sunderland’s inertia and, without wishing to be cruel, they increasingly feel like a club who could do with a relegation in order to get rid of the cobwebs. It’s all grown very stale at Sunderland, constant managerial changes and an incoherent transfer strategy leading to them into this mess. They are bottom of the league, have not won since the start of February and there will be plenty of blame to go around if (when) they don’t survive. This has been a commendable team effort, an acute demonstration of how not to run a football club.
At the other end of the scale, we have Everton, whose scrappy win over Sunderland on Saturday moved them closer to their first top-four finish since 2005. Those of us who always were huge Roger Espinoza and Jordi Gomez fans were already confirmed Roberto Martinez acolytes when he was at Wigan and weren’t about to let the fact he got relegated at a club where he always had to sell his best players affect our opinion of a manager WHO WON THE FA CUP WITH WIGAN, but it has been great to see his ideas have such an invigorating effect on Everton, who have been far more attacking than they ever were under David Moyes. Everton have a difficult run-in, with games against both Manchester clubs to come, but we know Martinez well enough by now that they will not be fazed. But first, they’ve got to get past Tony Pulis’s Palace. They’re almost safe but – Pulitzer Prize-winning media organisation over here! – they could do with another win just to make sure!
Please be in your seats by:
7.45pm. We can’t guarantee they won’t be empty if you try to take them after 7.45pm! That’s: 7.45pm!
Andy Coulson admitted at the Old Bailey that he listened to intimate voicemails left by the former home secretary David Blunkett to his lover.
The former editor of the News of the World told the phone-hacking trial that he did not know the hacked messages had been obtained illegally and that when confronted with them in 2004 he was “shocked” and “angry” that one of his staff had collected them in that way.
In a dramatic session of evidence, Coulson said that the tabloid’s former chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, played the voicemails to him in his office as part of an attempt to persuade him that Blunkett was having an affair with a married woman, Kimberley Fortier.
Thurlbeck had initially told Coulson about the voicemails a week or so earlier in a late night telephone call while Coulson was on holiday in Italy. Coulson told jurors he could not believe what he was hearing and ordered the journalist to end his investigation into the affair immediately. “Neville told me that he had a tip that David Blunkett was having an affair with Kimberly Fortier,” said Coulson, referring to the then publisher of the Spectator magazine. “He said he believed the story was true because he had heard some voicemails.”.
The former editor, who subsequently went on to work for David Cameron, said that Thurlbeck had told him “he had heard some voicemails and I was shocked that he was telling me this and because it was in relation to David Blunkett, the home secretary”. He said he had replied to Thurlbeck by using “some colourful language to the effect of ‘what on earth do you think you are doing?’.”
Coulson, who was editing Rupert Murdoch’s now defunct Sunday tabloid at the time, is on trial for conspiring to hack into voicemail messages. He denies the charge.
He was giving evidence for the third day in the long-running trial and a day after he told the jury that he did not know hacking was a crime in 2002, when messages left for missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler were intercepted by Glenn Mulcaire on behalf of the paper.
Speaking before a hushed and packed Old Bailey on Wednesday, Coulson said he told Thurlbeck to stop what he was doing immediately but his chief reporter had attempted to justify it as a story because they made politically uncomfortable bedfellows – Blunkett was a senior Labour cabinet minister and Fortier was publisher of a “Tory magazine”.
“I was very clear that I wanted any investigation that was taking place to stop,” said Coulson.
At that point his concern was about a breach of privacy, he said, and especially a breach of the privacy of Blunkett because the senior minister was “broadly supportive” of the paper. But when Coulson returned from holiday Thurlbeck came to his office to pitch the story again, this time with the support of the voicemails. Coulson said: “Neville came to my office. He said he wanted to argue for the story again. He believed it was in the public interest and he wanted to play the voicemails to demonstrate that.”
Coulson then told the jury for the first time that he had listened to some voicemails. Asked by his defence counsel, Timothy Langdale QC, if Thurlbeck did in fact play any messages to him, Coulson replied: “Yes, he did.”
He continued: “I remember a message in which David Blunkett was effectively declaring his love but that he was also saying that he was thinking of making the relationship public. I remember a phrase ‘going to blow this apart’ – something along those lines.”
Coulson said one of the voicemails also referred to terrorism and a trip that Blunkett was making to or from GCHQ.
Jurors have previously heard that more than 330 recordings and transcripts of messages taken from the phone of Kimberly Fortier – now Kimberley Quinn – were discovered by police investigating phone hacking.
Thurlbeck went on to tell him that there was also an issue with the possible paternity of one of Fortier’s children. Coulson said “it wasn’t clear from the discussion” where Thurlbeck had got the voicemails but his assumption was that “Neville had done this himself”.
The more he listened to Thurlbeck’s arguments for the story, the more he started to think there was “some public interest justification” for a story.
“I remained shocked. This was the first and only time voicemails were played to me,” Coulson added.
He told the jury that he took legal advice and there was “no mention made of illegality” but that the lawyer was concerned about Blunkett’s privacy.”I was advised that one approach I could take was remove Kimberly Fortier’s name from the story, that could minimise a privacy case,” said Coulson. “Rightly or wrongly, [I thought] if I suggested to David Blunkett that we would not name Kimberly Fortier he would be more likely to confirm.”
Coulson decided the best thing was to confront Blunkett directly and paid a visit to him at his Sheffield constituency office on Friday 13 August 2004, two days before the paper exposed the home secretary.
Jurors heard a tape of the conversation in which Coulson said he did not want to damage the home secretary in any way.
Two days later, the News of the World published a front-page story, headlined “Blunkett’s affair with a married woman”. It withheld Fortier’s name, but she was identified later by the Sun.
Coulson told the jury he wished, with hindsight, that he had gone with his initial instinct and closed the story down altogether. “It is easy to say now that what we were laying out in front of him was the product of an illegal act. My view is that I kind of wish I had. It would have brought the whole thing to a head and I would have at least been able to argue my point.
“I did not know it was illegal. How it would have ended I have no idea. It could have ended in legal action. It could have ended in police action. I sincerely wish I had followed that course of action at that moment.”
The jury heard that before going to Sheffield Coulson discussed the “next steps” with a News International executive, who cannot be named for legal reasons. But he said he took entire responsibility for the decision to run the story about Blunkett’s affair.
“Can I make clear this conversation [with the executive] was not me seeking authorisation, or signoff or approval,” said Coulson.
In separate testimony Coulson has denied that an email he sent at the News of the World instructing one of his staff to “do his phone” was in any way linked to phone hacking.
He told the jury in the hacking trial that the email was an instruction to get the phone billing data of a journalist, Rav Singh, on the paper who senior staff suspected was leaking stories to rivals.
A victory created in south-east London, cherished in north London. Crystal Palace shattered Everton‘s seven-game winning streak, their run of nine successive victories at Goodison Park and quite possibly their Champions League aspirations with a model away performance effectively to secure their Premier League status. Tony Pulis’s rescue act is complete. Arsène Wenger can sense a reprieve of his own.
Everton would have reclaimed fourth place from Arsenal with just a point but Champions League qualification is out of their hands after Palace recorded a fourth successive victory and arguably their finest of the campaign at Goodison. Jason Puncheon and Yannick Bolasie were inspired down the visiting flanks, Scott Dann and Damien Delaney rocks in defence, and Puncheon, Dann and Cameron Jerome scored the goals that took Palace to the 40-point mark. Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, looked on. He will know there are no guarantees when his league leaders head to Selhurst Park for their penultimate game of the season.
Roberto Martínez had described Palace as the “best defensive set-up in the league” since Pulis replaced Ian Holloway and Everton’s starting XI reflected their manager’s concern, with the strength and solidity of James McCarthy sacrificed for even greater flair than usual. The deployment of Ross Barkley behind a four-man attack led by Romelu Lukaku, however, struggled to find a way through two solid banks of four and the visitors showed resilience was not their only forte when they took the lead midway through the first half. Anxiety consumed Goodison Park when Puncheon scored his fourth goal in three games and was transmitted into Everton’s performance.
The 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster was marked before kick-off by a minute’s applause from both sets of supporters and some nice touches from Liverpool’s local rivals. Children held a row of entwined blue and red scarves the length of the pitch, reviving memories of a similar show of unity at Goodison before Liverpool’s first competitive fixture after the tragedy in 1989. Martínez, who delivered an emotive speech at the memorial service at Anfield on Tuesday, turned to face Margaret Aspinall and other invited members of the Hillsborough Family Support Group in the Goodison directors’ box during the applause.
His side quickly settled into a confident passing rhythm with the marauding runs and accuracy of John Stones out of central defence a prominent feature. Gareth Barry headed over from an early Aiden McGeady corner while Gerard Deulofeu’s individual duel with the Palace left-back Joel Ward offered promise – but little end product – for the home side.
Palace were content to absorb Everton pressure and strike on the counter, and did so to devastating effect when the impressive Bolasie burst past Leighton Baines inside the area. His cross deflected to Marouane Chamakh on the penalty spot and he teed up Puncheon for a confident low finish into the bottom corner of Tim Howard’s goal. It could have been much worse for Everton shortly afterwards when Bolasie again provided an unexpected threat. Controlling a high ball on his chest, the midfielder cut inside Seamus Coleman and struck a venomous shot against the base of the post from 25 yards. Cameron Jerome steered an awkward rebound wide.
All Everton had to show for dominant first half possession was half-chances for Kevin Mirallas and Lukaku, the latter forcing a fine save from Julián Speroni at his near post, and their night did deteriorate when Palace scored a second moments after the restart.
Martínez’s patience with Deulofeu lasted until the interval but his replacement, the in-form Steven Naismith, barely had time to break into a run before he was helping to chase a two-goal deficit. Only a commanding save from Howard prevented Joe Ledley scoring from 12 yards but, from the resulting corner by the influential Bolasie, there was no reprieve for Everton as Scott Dann escaped the attention of Stones and steered a textbook header into the roof of the net.
Goodison could see its Champions League dream disappearing over the horizon of the Emirates and Martínez acted, introducing McCarthy and Leon Osman. The impact was immediate on Everton’s balance, control and composure. Within two minutes Barkley sprayed the ball out to Mirallas wide on the right. His deep, searching cross was headed back across goal by Baines of all people and there was Naismith to prod home his third goal in four matches from a yard out.
Mirallas volleyed over from a Baines cross and Speroni saved superbly from Osman as Everton stirred. But they were punctured by Puncheon yet again with 17 minutes remaining when the on-loan Southampton midfielder cut across the Everton defence and picked out Jerome inside the area. The striker made himself a yard of space and swept an emphatic finish into the far corner. Mirallas converted Barkley’s deflected pass in the 86th minute but, despite six minutes of added time, the draw was beyond Everton. Advantage Arsenal.
This was a shock result that will hardly be believed on Merseyside and in west London. Manchester City‘s title challenge is in tatters while Chelsea’s has been handed a massive fillip to make their meeting with Liverpool at Anfield in 11 days a potential championship showdown.
By dropping two points City have put Chelsea’s destiny back in their hands. Before tonight only Liverpool had this advantage.
While Liverpool or Chelsea each now know that win all four remaining matches and the Premier League title is claimed, City’s hopes appear blown due to two second half Connor Wickham goals with Samir Nasri’s late equaliser not enough.
Precisely one minute and 52 seconds were required for City to clear their heads of any hangover from Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Liverpool.
Lee Cattermole, who had already hooked one clumsy ball out wide, dallied in possession and was pickpocketed by Álvaro Negredo.
The Spaniard passed infield to Sergio Agüero and when his strike partner returned the ball Negredo allowed it to run beyond him into Fernandinho’s path. The Brazilian was one on one with Vito Mannone and made no mistake for a fifth of his debut season.
Fernandinho should have had a sixth before 10 minutes were played. When Agüero let fly from 25 yards Mannone’s weak parry fell to Pablo Zabaleta but after the ball was turned to the midfielder he could only blast over.
Before this City had a scare with the type of chance that cost them at Anfield. Adam Johnson floated in a free-kick from the right and Vincent Kompany, as he had done against Liverpool, marked air and John O’Shea should have equalised with a free header he steered wide of Joe Hart’s goal.
A carbon copy of this then came from a Sebastian Larsson corner, O’Shea again beating the City captain to the ball and again missing badly.
Apparently these warnings were not enough for the home team. From open play this time, Johnson was allowed to find Fabio Borini in yards of space behind City lines before the sight of Gus Poyet wheeling away with disgust in the technical area told of the Italian’s inability to at least force Hart to save.
All of this epitomised a half that had unfolded into an open, breathless affair that lacked any consistent composure. From Sunderland, who arrived as the league’s bottom side, this would be expected. For City, one of three serious challengers for the championship, it was puzzling.
Basic mistakes were being made as Fernandinho, Aleksandar Kolarov, James Milner and Zabaleta all joined Kompany as culprits guilty of failing to execute supposedly regulation duties.
Zabaleta, though, at least demonstrated his thirst for the contest when, after taking a full-blooded Marcos Alonso hack to his leg, returned to the field following treatment.
The standout City team news had been David Silva not even being on the bench and Agüero making a first start since 12 March, as Manuel Pellegrini made five changes from Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Liverpool.
The other changes were the injured Yaya Touré, plus Jesús Navas, Edin Dzeko and Gaël Clichy being replaced by Javi García, Milner, Negredo and Kolarov.
City had their 26-goal man back in Agüero in the XI but Silva’s ankle injury had taken the chief orchestrator from the attack. When half-time arrived the loss of Silva could be identified as the prime factor in City’s lack of direction and identity. Yet Nasri, who can work so well in harness with the Spaniard, would have been disappointed to have exerted little influence.
Perhaps Pellegrini had a particular word with Nasri as he started the second half by sliding a deft ball to Agüero inside the area that, for a moment, threatened to allow the latter to double City’s lead.
Yet for an opponent seven points from safety Pellegrini’s side were being posed too many problems. City continued to allow Sunderland space and when Johnson zipped in a cross from the right the “oohs” of the Etihad’s capacity crowd showed the danger this carried.
The sight of Agüero being replaced by Jovetic on 55 minutes was also hardly ideal with the forward perhaps feeling the effect of a first-half Wes Brown challenge.
City, though, despite spend more time camped near to Mannone’s goal, were about to suffer a far more resonant pain when Wickham popped up to shock them with an unlikely strike seven minutes from time.