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Alex Duval Smith

Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
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About Alex
Alex Duval Smith is now in Dakar, Senegal. She is working for the BBC but happy to provide advice. 
 She is one of the most experienced journalists covering Africa, having reported from most countries on the continent in the past 15 years.
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Double killer battered neighbour to death while on licence, jury told

05 Dec 2023  |  www.bbc.co.uk
Lawrence Bierton, a convicted double murderer released on licence, is accused of murdering his neighbour, Pauline Quinn, 73, with a coffee table. Bierton, who was jailed in 1996 and released in 2020, denies the murder on grounds of diminished responsibility. The attack's brutality was evidenced by blood stains and skull fractures. Bierton admitted to killing Quinn but disputes the murder charge, claiming diminished responsibility. He also faces a theft charge for allegedly taking Quinn's Renault Clio. The trial is ongoing.

European judges reject appeal over ill baby's case

26 Oct 2023  |  bbc.co.uk
European judges have rejected an appeal by the parents of Indi Gregory, a critically ill baby with mitochondrial disease, to continue her life-support treatment. The High Court had previously allowed doctors to withdraw support, a decision upheld by the Court of Appeal. The parents, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, unsuccessfully sought to prevent the withdrawal of treatment at the European Court of Human Rights. Indi is being cared for at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre, where medics have stated they can do no more for her.

Roberto Saviano fined for insulting Italian PM Giorgia Meloni

12 Oct 2023  |  BBC
Italian journalist Roberto Saviano has been found guilty of libel and handed a suspended fine of 1,000 euros for using a swear word to describe Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during a television interview in December 2020. The verdict has raised concerns about press freedom, with Pen International calling it an alarming setback for free speech. Ms. Meloni's lawyer characterized Saviano's words as vulgar and aggressive, while Saviano accused the government of intimidation.

Former Stasi officer charged with 1974 Berlin Wall murder

12 Oct 2023  |  bbc.co.uk
A former Stasi secret police officer has been charged with the 1974 murder of a Polish man at the Berlin Wall. The man was shot in the back at a checkpoint after being allowed to cross into West Germany. The 79-year-old ex-officer, who was 31 at the time of the incident, followed orders to 'neutralize' the victim and now faces life imprisonment if convicted. The Berlin Wall, erected in 1961 to prevent East Germans from fleeing to the West, was heavily guarded until its fall in 1989 amid the collapse of the communist regime.

King Charles to acknowledge 'painful' Kenya history on state visit

11 Oct 2023  |  BBC News فارسی
King Charles will address the 'painful aspects' of the UK's colonial history with Kenya during a state visit, coinciding with Kenya's 60th anniversary of independence. The visit aims to deepen his understanding of the historical wrongs suffered by Kenyans, particularly during the Mau Mau rebellion. The King will meet with President William Ruto and attend various events, though he will not visit the Treetops hotel, a significant location for Queen Elizabeth II. The visit follows a 2013 compensation by the British government to Kenyans for human rights abuses during the colonial period.

King Charles to acknowledge 'painful' Kenya history on state visit

11 Oct 2023  |  BBC
King Charles will acknowledge the painful aspects of the UK's colonial history with Kenya during a state visit, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of Kenya's independence. The visit aims to deepen understanding of the historical wrongs suffered by Kenyans, particularly during the Mau Mau rebellion. The King will meet President William Ruto and attend a state banquet, but will not visit the Treetops hotel, where Queen Elizabeth II learned of her ascension to the throne. The visit seeks to strengthen the UK's partnership with Kenya, with hopes for a national apology from the UK government.

Cost of living: Nottinghamshire council to increase school meal prices

11 Oct 2023  |  BBC
Nottinghamshire County Council will increase the price of school meals by 40p, citing rising food, staff, and energy costs. The new price of £2.95 per meal will take effect from 16 October. Schools have the discretion to pass this increase on to parents. Councillor John Cottee highlighted the financial pressures faced by the council's catering service due to high inflation.

Australian man rowing across Pacific Ocean rescued after capsizing

06 Oct 2023  |  BBC
Tom Robinson, a 24-year-old attempting to row across the Pacific Ocean in a homemade boat, was rescued by the P&O Pacific Explorer cruise ship after his boat capsized. Found 100 nautical miles southwest off the coast of Vanuatu, Robinson was treated for sunburn and dehydration but is otherwise in good health. His journey began in Peru last year, aiming to reach Cairns, Australia. The cause of the capsizing is unclear, but his emergency distress beacon alerted authorities, leading to his rescue. Robinson expressed gratitude to the ship's crew for their professionalism. He will fly home to Brisbane from Auckland.

American tourist arrested for smashing Jerusalem museum statues

06 Oct 2023  |  BBC
An American tourist was arrested for allegedly smashing two ancient Roman statues in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, claiming they were against the Torah. The statues, part of the museum's permanent exhibition, have been moved for restoration. The suspect, a 40-year-old US citizen, is being questioned by Israeli police. The museum condemned the act and remains open to the public.

Convicted double killer Lawrence Bierton found guilty of third murder

05 Oct 2023  |  BBC
Lawrence Bierton, previously convicted for the murders of two elderly sisters, has been found guilty of murdering his neighbour, Pauline Quinn, in Nottinghamshire. Bierton, who was on licence at the time, killed Quinn after she refused to give him money for alcohol. The court heard that Bierton, an alcoholic, had consumed vodka, rum, crack cocaine, and an opioid on the morning of the murder. The jury was informed of his previous offences and his repeated failures to address his behaviour, leading to his recall to prison in 2018. Bierton was convicted despite his plea of diminished responsibility.

Storm Gerrit: Disruption warning as storm hits on Wednesday

04 Oct 2023  |  BBC
Drivers are warned of hazardous conditions as Storm Gerrit hits the UK on Wednesday, with yellow wind and rain warnings in place across various regions. The Met Office forecasts gusts up to 70mph and heavy rain, particularly in Northern Ireland and Wales. The AA advises caution on the roads due to increased braking distances and sudden high winds. This is the seventh named storm of the current UK storm season, and it follows closely after Storm Pia, which caused significant disruption.

First-ever Nottinghamshire Day music festival set to begin

01 Oct 2023  |  BBC
The inaugural Nottinghamshire Day music festival is set to commence, celebrating the county's heritage, arts, culture, and sporting achievements. The event, hosted by local artist Rob Green, will feature performances from 15 local acts and aims to highlight the region's young and emerging talent. A flag-raising ceremony at Newark Castle marked the second Nottinghamshire Day, with the festival taking place at Sherwood Forest.

Sadness as fish and chip shop set to be demolished for development

01 Oct 2023  |  BBC
Gedling Borough Council has approved plans to demolish Blue Circle Fish Bar and three other units in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, to make way for nine apartments and a business space. Bambos Charalambous, the owner of the fish and chip shop, expressed his sadness and uncertainty about the future, thanking his customers for their support and hoping for relocation assistance from the council.

Nottingham bus firm increases fares due to operating costs

01 Oct 2023  |  BBC
Nottingham City Transport (NCT) is raising bus fares starting Sunday due to significantly increased operating costs, including a 50% rise in diesel prices and an 8.5% to 9.5% increase in driver pay rates to address a national driver shortage. The price of an adult all-day ticket in the Nottingham zone will increase from £4.40 to £4.70.

Riddings: Attempted murder charge after woman attacked

01 Oct 2023  |  BBC
A man has been charged with attempted murder after a woman in her 20s was critically injured in an attack in Greenhill Lane, Riddings, Derbyshire. The woman remains in critical condition in the hospital. A 30-year-old man from Riddings has been remanded in custody and is scheduled to appear before magistrates.

Brunt, Charlotte Edwards, Lauren Bell & Georgia Adams' memories

27 Aug 2023  |  bbc.com
Anya Shrubsole, who retired from England duty in 2022, will have her swansong at Lord's, the venue of her World Cup-winning performance in 2017. BBC Sport interviewed four individuals close to Shrubsole to gain insights into her personality, legacy, and future. Charlotte Edwards, her first England captain, praises her knowledge and role as a mentor. Georgia Adams, a university teammate, highlights her rare but memorable social appearances. Katherine Sciver-Brunt, a long-time teammate, admires her unmatched in-swing bowling skills. Lauren Bell, Shrubsole's successor, appreciates the guidance and support she received. Shrubsole is celebrated for her loyalty, passion, and tactical acumen, with her final match being a fitting tribute to her illustrious career.

Anya Shrubsole retirement: Katherine Sciver-Brunt, Charlotte Edwards, Lauren Bell & Georgia Adams' memories

25 Aug 2023  |  BBC
Anya Shrubsole, a celebrated cricketer, will retire after leading Southern Brave in The Hundred final. Known for her exceptional in-swing bowling and leadership, Shrubsole's career highlights include a World Cup-winning performance at Lord's in 2017. Colleagues Charlotte Edwards, Georgia Adams, Katherine Sciver-Brunt, and Lauren Bell share personal anecdotes and praise her tactical acumen, loyalty, and mentorship. Shrubsole's legacy is marked by her significant contributions to England's cricket and her role as a mentor and coach for future generations.

Four arrests after violence at kabaddi match

21 Aug 2023  |  BBC
Four men have been arrested following a large-scale disturbance at a kabaddi match in Derby, resulting in four injuries, one of which is serious. The men, aged 24, 28, 30, and 38, are in custody on suspicion of possession of a firearm and violent disorder. Derbyshire Police are investigating the incident, urging anyone with footage to come forward. A significant police presence remains in the area to reassure the community.

Leicester: Work to begin on road where car crashed into house

19 Aug 2023  |  BBC
Leicester City Council is set to begin work on Hungarton Boulevard to implement a new safety scheme aimed at reducing traffic speeds and the risk of crashes. This decision follows a 2021 incident where a car crashed into a house, seriously injuring a woman and causing minor injuries to her family. The road will be closed for seven days during the works, which include changing road markings, installing speed limit signs, and resurfacing. Despite limitations due to the road's use by emergency vehicles, the council plans to improve signage and lane marking to slow down traffic in the busy residential area.

Nottingham cyclist who sexually assaulted women jailed

19 Jul 2023  |  BBC News فارسی
Junaid Zaman, a 25-year-old cyclist, was jailed for 12 months after sexually assaulting two women in Nottingham. The assaults occurred on 28 and 29 May in the Lenton area. Zaman was arrested a week later and identified by the victims. He pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court. Nottinghamshire Police described the offences as predatory and premeditated, highlighting the distress caused to the victims.

Loughborough: Cyclist who died in hit-and-run crash named by police

11 Jul 2023  |  BBC
Anthony Smith, a 47-year-old cyclist, was killed in a hit-and-run incident in Loughborough. The car involved, a silver Audi S3, was later found on fire. Leicestershire Police arrested a 29-year-old man on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and two others on suspicion of assisting an offender. Smith, known as Tony, was remembered by his family for his love of the outdoors and his efforts to help others with addiction. Police are appealing for witnesses.

Loughborough: Cyclist who died in hit-and-run crash named by police

11 Jul 2023  |  BBC News فارسی
Anthony Smith, a 47-year-old cyclist, was killed in a hit-and-run incident in Loughborough. The collision occurred on Ling Road, involving a silver Audi S3. Despite emergency services' efforts, Smith died at the scene. His family remembered him as someone who overcame addiction and enjoyed outdoor activities. Leicestershire Police found the suspected vehicle on fire and arrested three individuals in connection with the incident. The investigation is ongoing, with police appealing for witnesses.

Three children injured after battery explosion causes fire

10 Jul 2023  |  BBC
Three children were injured in a house fire in Bulwell, Nottingham, caused by a faulty lithium-ion battery. The Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service responded to the incident, which occurred at 17:46 BST on Monday. A neighbor rescued the children, one of whom suffered severe burns and was taken to the hospital. Investigators are still determining the battery's use, considering possibilities like a quad bike or another vehicle.

Leicester river searched in Malgorzata Wnuczek inquiry

06 Jun 2023  |  BBC News فارسی
Police are conducting a search of the River Soar in Leicester as part of a renewed investigation into the disappearance of Malgorzata Wnuczek, who went missing 17 years ago. A 39-year-old man has been arrested in Greater Manchester on suspicion of assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice. Despite extensive inquiries and cooperation with Polish authorities, Ms. Wnuczek's whereabouts remain unknown. Detective Inspector Jenni Higgs emphasized the ongoing efforts to find answers for Ms. Wnuczek's family.

A5 in Leicestershire: Two men killed in car crash with lorry

30 Mar 2023  |  bbc.co.uk
Two men in their 20s were killed in a collision between their grey Audi S4 and a parked lorry on the A5 near Hinckley, Leicestershire. The incident occurred at 20:20 GMT on Tuesday, and the men were pronounced dead at the scene. The lorry driver was unharmed. Leicestershire Police, who have reopened the roads after an initial closure, are seeking witnesses and dashcam footage, with Det Con Maddie Hayes leading the appeal for information.

Banksy: Artist confirms new London tree mural is his own work

18 Mar 2023  |  BBC
Banksy has verified a new mural in north London's Finsbury Park as his creation. The artwork, featuring a tree and a stencil of a person with a sprayer, has attracted local attention and praise. Islington Council has stated it will not remove the mural, and the building owner, Alex Georgiou, intends to preserve it. Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn expressed delight at the addition of greenery in his densely populated constituency. The mural is seen as adding culture and intrigue to the area, particularly in a socially and economically challenged part of the borough.

Police make motorcycle helmet appeal in murder investigation

14 Mar 2023  |  BBC News فارسی
Detectives in Leicester are seeking to identify the owner of a motorcycle helmet in connection with the murder of 79-year-old Gerald Wickes. Emergency services responded to a stabbing incident on 22 February, where Wickes was pronounced dead. A 17-year-old boy has been charged with murder, possession of an offensive weapon, and assaulting an emergency worker. Leicestershire Police emphasize that the helmet owner is considered a witness. A 44-year-old woman and a 36-year-old man, arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder, have been released under investigation. Wickes was remembered as a loving family man in a tribute from his family.

Former soldier gets payout of £350k over hearing loss

06 Feb 2023  |  bbc.co.uk
Vance Bacon-Sharratt, a former soldier from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, who suffered hearing loss during a firepower demonstration in 2016, has won a £350,000 settlement from the Ministry of Defence. Bacon-Sharratt, who served in the Army's Mercian Regiment, experienced an 'instant reduction' in hearing following an explosion at the demonstration. He left the Army in 2018 due to his injuries and now works as a driving instructor. His lawyers, Irwin Mitchell, stated the settlement would help him access therapies and support for his hearing loss. The MoD emphasized their commitment to the health and wellbeing of their personnel and the measures they take to protect against noise levels.

Sadness as fish and chip shop set to be demolished for development

02 Dec 2022  |  BBC News فارسی
Councillors have approved plans to demolish the Blue Circle Fish Bar and three other units in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, to make way for nine apartments and a business space. Owner Bambos Charalambous expressed sadness and uncertainty about the future, thanking customers for their support. The decision was made by Gedling Borough Council, with Councillor Paul Wilkinson expressing sympathy for the affected businesses but supporting the redevelopment as a positive change for the area.

Beeston: U-turn on plans to ban vehicles from road welcomed

30 Nov 2022  |  BBC
A U-turn on plans to ban vehicles from using Dovecote Lane and surrounding roads in Beeston has been welcomed after Nottinghamshire County Council decided to run a consultation following opposition. Only 22% of respondents supported the proposal, leading the council to scrap the plans and explore other potential schemes with the Department for Transport. Resident Janet Aitken expressed relief at the decision, though she suggested speed humps to address fast driving on the road.

N-Dubz cancel show 'at the last minute' after support acts perform

23 Nov 2022  |  BBC News فارسی
N-Dubz cancelled their concert at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham at the last minute after support acts had performed, citing singer Dappy's health issues. Fans expressed anger and disappointment, with some calling for refunds. Despite initial reports of disturbances, the venue and police confirmed that the crowd remained largely calm. The concert has been rescheduled for 7 December.

N-Dubz cancel show 'at the last minute' after support acts perform

23 Nov 2022  |  BBC News
N-Dubz cancelled their concert at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham at the last minute, citing health advice for singer Dappy to rest. The announcement came after support acts had performed, leading to fan frustration and calls for refunds. Despite reports of disturbances, the venue stated there was no major disorder, and the police did not report any incidents. The concert has been rescheduled for 7 December.

Demolition to take place around car that crashed into library

01 Nov 2022  |  BBC News فارسی
Demolition of part of Sandiacre Library, damaged by a car crash, will proceed with the vehicle still inside due to safety concerns. Derbyshire County Council confirmed the building remains closed, with structural engineers working on-site. A 34-year-old man arrested on suspicion of driving offences has been released under investigation.

'Extremely rare' 500-year-old textiles stun Antiques Roadshow expert

31 Oct 2022  |  BBC News فارسی
An Antiques Roadshow expert was astonished by the discovery of a 500-year-old Elizabethan textiles collection, including a rare ivory silk satin sleeve and sleeve support, at Wollaton Hall in Nottingham. The items, believed to be worth at least £100,000, belonged to the Willoughby family and were in exceptional condition. Textile historian Ninya Mikhaila highlighted the historical significance of the farthingale sleeve, made from fustian and baleen, as a rare example of 16th-century English dress.

Nuclear fusion plant to be built at West Burton A power station

03 Oct 2022  |  BBC
The UK government has selected the West Burton A power station in Nottinghamshire as the site for the world's first prototype commercial nuclear fusion reactor, expected to be operational by the early 2040s. The project, part of the STEP programme led by the UK Atomic Energy Authority, aims to demonstrate the commercial viability of fusion energy. Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg announced the decision, emphasizing the UK's pioneering role in fusion science. While fusion is seen as a potential source of limitless clean energy, critics argue that existing renewable technologies may be more practical for addressing climate change.

Whitwick: Arrests after man found seriously injured in street

28 Sep 2022  |  BBC News فارسی
A 43-year-old man is in critical but stable condition after being found with a serious head injury in Whitwick, Leicestershire. Police have arrested three individuals on suspicion of assault and are conducting an investigation, urging anyone with information or relevant footage to come forward. Det Insp Esther Scott emphasized the importance of any potential evidence from the public.

Whitwick: Arrests after man found seriously injured in street

28 Sep 2022  |  bbc.co.uk
A 43-year-old man is in a critical but stable condition after being found with a serious head injury on City of Dan street in Whitwick, Leicestershire. The incident occurred on 22 September at 20:10 BST. Three individuals have been arrested on suspicion of assault and released on bail. Leicestershire Police, with Det Insp Esther Scott leading the investigation, are seeking information from the public, including CCTV and dashcam footage, to determine how the man was injured.

Leicester: Further arrests after disturbances in city

10 Sep 2022  |  BBC News فارسی
Police in Leicester have made further arrests in connection with recent disturbances in the city, including incidents following an India and Pakistan cricket match. Three men were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder, and four more were detained over separate incidents in East Leicester. Dispersal and stop search powers were authorized overnight. The police have been actively patrolling and responding quickly to incidents, with ongoing investigations and appeals for information.

Police surprise four-year-old boy who lost toys in grassland fire

25 Aug 2022  |  www.bbc.co.uk
A four-year-old boy named Harrison, who lost his toys in a Nottinghamshire grassland fire on 13 August, was surprised by police officers with a van full of toys. The Mansfield neighbourhood policing team, led by PC Colin Bland, rallied support from several businesses to help after the fire, which also damaged a house and vehicles. Two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of arson. Harrison's mother, Claire Smith, expressed her gratitude for the police's ongoing support and the unexpected gift.

Nottingham maternity review team to be 'bigger than Shropshire'

19 Aug 2022  |  www.bbc.co.uk
Donna Ockenden will lead an inquiry into Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust's maternity services, which have been rated inadequate and linked to numerous baby deaths and injuries. The review, starting in September, will be larger than the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust inquiry, which found failures contributing to over 200 baby deaths. The Care Quality Commission has also rated the trust's maternity units as inadequate and the trust overall as requiring improvement. Sharon Wallis, the trust's director of midwifery, expressed commitment to offering the best care and supporting the review team.

Interview room for sex abuse victims opens in Nottingham hospital

28 Jun 2022  |  BBC
A new video interview suite for children and young people who have been sexually assaulted or abused is opening at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham. Funded largely by a Nottingham Hospitals Charity grant, the suite is part of the East Midlands Children and Young People's Sexual Assault Service. It aims to provide a safe and comforting environment for police interviews, reducing the trauma of multiple interviews in different locations. Dr. Fiona Straw and Det Ch Insp Mark Dickson emphasize the importance of this development in improving the quality of evidence and the overall experience for young victims.

Broughton Astley: Woman sentenced for framing ex-partner

24 Jun 2022  |  BBC News
Lucinda Woodward was sentenced to an 18-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, after being found guilty of four counts of perverting the cause of justice for framing her ex-partner for crimes he did not commit, including an arson at her home in 2017. The investigation by Leicestershire Police took over five years to complete, leading to her conviction at Leicester Crown Court.

Poles eye up Ireland after Brexit vote

20 Oct 2016  |  the Guardian
Following the Brexit vote, Poles in the UK are considering Ireland as a more secure and welcoming destination. Wojciech Białek, who runs a charity in Cork, has noticed increased interest from Poles in the UK and Ireland. Economic growth in Ireland and cultural affinity, as reflected in a popular Polish song, make it an attractive option. The number of Poles in Ireland is expected to rise as Britain becomes less appealing post-Brexit, with Ireland's friendliness and job opportunities being key factors. Work Service's survey indicates a shift in preferred destinations among Poles, with Ireland ranking high.

Syrian refugees find a welcome and some familiar fragility in Mali

01 Jun 2016  |  the Guardian
Syrian refugees, fleeing the Mediterranean crossing and European lockdowns, are seeking safety in Mali, despite its own severe security and humanitarian challenges. Abdulhamid Daher, a former taxi driver from Idlib, is among those who have found refuge in Bamako, where the UNHCR has registered 92 Syrians. Many refugees, including Daher, hope to join relatives in Europe but face slow paperwork and difficult living conditions. Mali, known for emigration rather than hosting refugees, is struggling with poverty, malnutrition, and attacks by groups linked to al-Qaida. Aid from international charities and the UNHCR is limited, and some refugees may attempt dangerous journeys across the desert to Algeria or Libya.

Poland gets official warning from EU over constitutional court changes

01 Jun 2016  |  the Guardian
The European Commission has issued an official warning to Poland, stating that changes to its constitutional court pose a systemic risk to the rule of law. This could potentially lead to sanctions, including the loss of EU voting rights, although unanimous agreement among member states is required for such action. Poland's government, led by the Law and Justice Party, has been accused of attempting to control the judiciary and has been defiant in the face of EU and US pressure. The Polish justice minister has accused the EU of using the rule of law as leverage to force Poland to accept more refugees. Hungary's prime minister has expressed support for Poland, vowing to block any attempt to strip Poland of its voting rights.

and here's my Guardian profile page. It indicates I am based in Poland. I was in Warsaw from October 2015 - Sept 2016

My Tumblr page provides access to a range of my work in print, audio and television


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