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China may NEVER face trial for coronavirus as expert warns no way to hold them to account

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The US has been one of the biggest critics of the way China handled the virus but also its alleged lack of cooperation with other states in combating COVID-19. Donald Trump has stated the US has evidence the virus was started at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Although this theory has not been proven, there has been increasing pressure from several states for an independent investigation to be held in the country.

The US state of Missouri has become one of the first to file a lawsuit against China over the virus.

Writing for legal publication, the Jurist, Dr Abbas Poorhashemi President and Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute for International Law Expertise explained there is no legitimate way of taking the state to court.

Neither the International Criminal Court (ICC) or International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be able to bring forward a case, while China could trigger state immunity in US courts or even veto any move from the UN Security Council to move the case to the ICC.

However, he explained China is obliged to cooperate with international law.

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He said: “Judicial action against China is not an immediate response for the pandemic crises that are affecting all of humanity in the world.

“The principle of cooperation has been considered as one of the cornerstones of international law.

“According to this principle, all states have an obligation to cooperate in such a situation collectively.

“In this context, the World Health Organization (WHO) plays an essential role in the matter.”

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Deaths from the virus have now reached 337,013 at the time of writing.

The US has the highest number of cases with 1,632,629 with a further 97,102 deaths.

Last month, the US secretary of State, Mike Pompeo stated the Chinese government had information it was still not revealing to the rest of the world.

He said: “The mere fact that we don’t know the answers that China hasn’t shared the answers I think is very, very telling.”

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In tandem, Mr Trump added: “We’re going to see where it comes from.

“We have people looking at it very, very strongly.

“Scientific people, intelligence people, and others.

“We’re going to put it all together.

“I think we will have a very good answer eventually. And China might even tell us.”

In a further worsening of relations between the two countries, the US Senate passed a bill which could block some Chinese companies from selling shares on the US stock exchange.

The new legislation would require publicly traded companies to reveal whether they are owned or controlled by a foreign government.

If approved by the House of Representatives, it would require firms to follow US standards for audits and other financial regulations.

With Beijing set to impose a new security law on Hong Kong, Mr Trump said the US would address the legislation “very strongly”.

He said: “If it happens we’ll address that issue very strongly.”

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Locust plague warning: ‘Highly mobile’ swarm to spark biblical ’catastrophe’ in just DAYS

Swarms of devastating locusts, like those recorded in the Bible, have embarked on a path of destruction across East Africa and as far east as India – prompting fears millions of people could be left without food. According to the UN, the outbreak of crop eating locusts over recent months has been the biggest recorded in Ethiopia and Somalia for 25 years and Kenya for 70 years.

Experts fear the upcoming monsoon season will provide the ideal breeding ground for a second wave of locusts to strike essential vegetation across the continent.

According to the National Geographic, a desert locust swarm can contain anything between 40-80 million pests – which can travel up to 81 miles.

The species of short-horned grasshoppers can eat its entire body weight in a day – as a result such a swarm would decimate 423 million pounds of crops.

According to UN estimates a swarm of 40 million locusts is capable of digesting the same amount of food in a day as three million people.

Keith Cressman, senior locust forecaster at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, warned a potential disaster would hit East Africa hardest as he warned “20 million people are already considered acutely food insecure”.

He wrote in the Nikkei Asian Review: “The scale of the upsurge is difficult to imagine.

“Thousands of hectares of pastures and crops are being wiped out in communities where farmers need every gram of food to feed themselves and their families.

“Most of the countries hardest hit are those where millions of people are already vulnerable or in serious humanitarian need as they endure the impact of violence, drought and floods.

“In East Africa the situation is particularly alarming where nearly 20 million people are already considered acutely food insecure.”

Mr Cressman added it was vital authorities act now before the upcoming rainy season or risk a “full-blown catastrophe”.

Mr Cressman also warned the current swarm of locusts could be 400-times bigger in the peak season.

He added: “We have to bring this infestation under control before the rain and planting season begins.

“The swarms are highly mobile, the terrain is often difficult to reach and the logistical challenges are immense.

“But left unchecked, and with expected additional rains, locust numbers in East Africa alone could increase 400 times by June and we could see an invasion of northeast Africa and a resurgence in India and Pakistan as well.

“We must act now to avoid a full-blown catastrophe.”

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The Food and Agriculture Organisation has made significant progress in the battle against the pests and more than $100million has been raised to help Government’s control the outbreak.

The organisation is hoping to raise a further $50million in order to supply vital resources.

The UN has already deployed 15 locust experts and other personnel to support Government’s with control activities, technical advice, ground and aerial equipment.

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Chinese police officers violently shut down ‘illegal’ church service – shocking video

Early in the morning dozens of security personnel are accused of bursting into the house, rounding up worshippers from Xingguang Church. Authorities are claimed to have designated the gathering as ‘illegal’. In the video, police can be seen pressing members’ heads down to the ground.

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Others yelled, “Stop filming!” to church members.

Six men were detained after the raid and were only released twelve hours later.

Gina Goh, International Christian Concern’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said: “Once the threat posed by the pandemic has reduced, China has resumed its crackdown against Christianity, whether the victims are in house churches or not.

“In recent weeks, we have seen an increased number of church demolitions and cross removals on state-sanctioned churches across China, as house church gatherings continue to face interruption and harassment.

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“It is deplorable that the local authorities not only conducted this raid without proper procedure but deployed excessive use of force against church members and bystanders.

“The ICC calls on the international community and the US government to condemn China’s constant human rights abuse.”

In China, the 2018 regulations on religion have been strictly applied.

This crackdown increasingly spread throughout the country and has limited freedom.

The pressure to fall in line with the prevailing ideology of praising the achievements of the Communist Party has become much stronger and poses arguably one of the greatest risks for Christians in the long term.

It used to be said that the government would crackdown on churches perceived as too large, too political, or too connected to foreign interests.

But now that is only a guideline and many churches are being monitored and closed down.

They have closed down not only independent house churches, but also some government-sanctioned churches.

The government even banned the online sale of Bibles in 2018.

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Spain sees huge reduction in coronavirus death toll – as millions hit streets

Figures released this morning from the Ministry of Health show 164 deaths in the last day, bringing the total to 25,264. The total number of positive cases is now 217,466 (up 833) and the number cured is 118,902 (up 1,654). The considerable decrease in the death tally was reported by Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez who is conducting a video conference with the leaders of all the autonomous regions in Spain to explain measures being taken to ease the lockdown imposed on March 14.

One of the major changes will be to allow up to 10 people to mix together for the first time.

The government says they don’t have to be members of the same family so neighbours and friends can meet for social occasions in either their homes or gardens. They can also share the same vehicle if they sit apart.

From Monday, the Ministry of Health says everyone using public transport must also wear a mask and 14.7 million will be distributed at transport hubs.

It will be the first time in nearly two months that group reunions will be allowed and signals the start of what Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez describes as the path to the “new normality”.

It adds to the new freedom rules for adults, children and pensioners who can now go out to walk, exercise or play at different times of the day.

The group reunions will be allowed from the start of phase one which most of Spain will enter from May 11. The Canary islands of El Hierro, La Gomera and La Graciosa will jump straight to this phase on May 4th because of their low incidence of coronavirus and no deaths, together with Forementera in the Balearics.

During the social gatherings, the ten or less people will still have to practise social distancing and follow strict hygiene rules such as hand washing.

Vulnerable groups such as people with immune suppressed diseases, pregnant women or diabetics will be excluded from these meetings.

The Spanish government has also bowed to criticism and will allow the terraces of bars and restaurants to open in this first phase with 50 per capacity, not 30 percent as before. Interior spaces can be used at later phase, again with reduced capacity and screens.

In a major address last night, Mr Sanchez said: “We have stopped the epidemic. We have limited the spread of the virus in record time. And now comes a stage in which we will gradually recover spaces of mobility and social activity, of social relationship while keeping the virus at bay. 

“We are winning the battle against the epidemic, but with a very high cost in lives and sacrifices. The virus has not gone away. The virus is still there, on the prowl, and consequently we have to be prepared to be able to react, and logically, to be able to govern this transition towards that new normality.”

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Royal Navy deploys ships with US in show of strength to thwart Putin’s Arctic ambitions

UK forces joined forces with the US to practise operations in the icy waters to ensure the two nations were prepared for future global threats. The main UK ship involved was called the HMS Kent. Commander Matt Sykes, Commanding Officer of HMS Kent, said: “I am delighted for HMS Kent to have this opportunity to work with our US allies.

“Conducting an exercise in the Arctic Circle is a new challenge for the ship’s company whose dedication and professionalism in preparing for this exercise have been impressive.

“The challenges of working in this extreme environment should not be underestimated but HMS Kent’s presence here continues to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to the north Atlantic and high north.

“Finally, I would like to thank the friends and families of HMS Kent for their unswerving support throughout this period.”

HMS Kent joined two American destroyers, a nuclear submarine, a support ship, and a long-range maritime patrol aircraft above the Arctic Circle performing their actions in challenging environmental conditions.

The British ship linked up with the US Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the USS Donald Cook, and the USS Porter.

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The Royal Navy maneuvers also involved simulated actions wit the fast combat support ship USNS Supply.

Other craft in the operation were the American P8-A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and a US nuclear-powered submarine.

The Portsmouth-based frigate HMS Kent was joined by her Merlin helicopter from 814 Naval Air Squadron.

The Arctic exercise comes on the back of Anglo-US anti-submarine warfare training in UK waters just a few weeks ago.

Arctic sea ice is melting at a more rapid rate than other ice sheets in the world over.

The seabed of the region has been scanned and has revealed large chambers of natural gas.

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Both the UK and the US are committed to ensuring no nation dominates the Arctic region, which is assuming growing importance in the face of increased activity and melting polar ice.

In 2019 a Russian navy expedition chartered islands that used to be covered in the ice sheet, a forerunner in making use of the changing Arctic landscape.

According to the Russian Geographical Society, between 2015 and 2018, more than 30 new islands, capes and bays have been discovered in the region.

The latest discovery includes an island as large as 54,500 square metres – an area equivalent to the size of more than seven football pitches.

The Arctic is a region of global political and economic importance, its ocean connects Asia, Europe, and North America.

Around ninety percent of international trade takes place within these three continents.

The region hosts massive stores of untapped resources, including a large portion of the world’s buried petroleum.

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Ford wants to restart U.S. car plants shut by coronavirus, if it can convince union

DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co (F.N) on Thursday outlined the safety measures it will institute to restart its most profitable U.S. plants amid the coronavirus pandemic, expanding on similar efforts by General Motors Co (GM.N) and Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI)(FCAU.N) to convince leaders of the United Auto Workers union to send members back to work.

The UAW so far has not agreed to endorse reopening U.S. auto plants, even as workers in Europe and Asia are going back to their jobs. Virtually all U.S. automotive production ground to a halt in March as the number of COVID-19 infections grew rapidly.

Billions of dollars in revenue and profits are riding on how quickly Ford and its U.S. rivals can convince the UAW and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer that it is safe to return to work. The UAW declared that early May was too soon to reopen, and since then has not agreed to a date.

Without Michigan, the Detroit Three and other automakers operating in the United States cannot build vehicles. Ford executives highlighted that the U.S. auto sector accounts for 6% of U.S. economic output.

Ford has the largest unionized workforce in the United States with about 56,000 UAW members. The F-series pickup trucks UAW workers build account for $50 billion in annual revenue, Ford said.

“It’s just really now getting the clarity from our government leaders because we’re ready,” Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley said on a conference call with reporters.

Farley added he would “absolutely” be comfortable having his family work in a Ford plant given the steps the company has taken to ensure employee safety.

UAW President Rory Gamble said the union is negotiating with the Detroit automakers about safely reopening their U.S. plants. Among the issues on the table are what types of protective gear workers should have, how fast assembly lines should move and how much testing should be done.

“The UAW is asking for as much testing as is possible to prevent exposure to the virus,” Gamble said in a Thursday statement.

Ford’s human resources chief Kiersten Robinson said the automaker will not have a “reliable and scalable testing solution” for COVID-19 for several weeks if not months and the company was forming a task force to see how it can move faster to achieve that.

“Longer term, we think it will be critical,” she said. “Hopefully, in coming weeks or months, it will be part of our protocol.”

Ford manufacturing chief Gary Johnson said any worker who worried they had been exposed would be sent to a hospital for testing and the UAW had agreed to that process.

Johnson said the company was not planning to provide workers with N95 respiratory masks, which are designed to filter 95% of airborne particles, as the regular face masks and shields were good enough.

Slowing the speed of production lines in plants would be too complex, he added. Some union leaders have suggested lines could be slowed to allow for greater physical separation between workers.

What Ford will do in its plants is no-touch doors, require use of personal protective equipment like face masks and shields, install barriers where employees must work closely together, use thermal scanning to screen employees for fevers and do heavy sanitizing of work areas.

Ford executives said they have been using the same safety protocols already in China, where production restarted in late February.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based company did not provide a date for restarting U.S. factories. Ford did say white-collar workers would likely return to their offices in late June or early July.

Officials in Whitmer’s office could not immediately be reached to comment on Thursday. She extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15 but has lifted restrictions for some businesses other than manufacturing. Neighboring Ohio is allowing manufacturing to resume on Monday.

In its restart playbook, GM’s strategy relies heavily on many of the same approaches as Ford, but does not address assembly line workstations. The No. 1 U.S. automaker has not provided a target for a U.S. restart.

FCA has retreated from its plan to restart North American operations on May 3 given Michigan’s extended stay-at-home order. It is using similar measures to Ford. Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk was highly critical on Wednesday of the various states’ stay-at-home orders, which have idled the electric carmaker’s California plant. He called the policies “fascist.”

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World War 3 fears: US sends warships through disputed region – alarm bells ring in Beijing

Two US-flagged vessels have sailed through the contested Spratly Islands in the past 48 hours as part of a series of naval freedom of navigation operations. On Tuesday, the USS Barry guided-missile destroyer travelled near the disputed Paracel Islands, this was followed on Wednesday by the USS Bunker Hill aircraft carrier.

The increased presence of US forces in the region is seen as a direct threat to China which claims vast areas of the energy-rich South China Sea.

Earlier this month China’s Global Television Network reported China’s Sansha city had established control over the Paracel Islands and the Spratly islands – two disputed archipelagos in the South China Sea.

China has also established military outposts on the artificial islands.

China’s sovereignly over territory is disputed by claims from neighbouring Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

In a statement on the People’s Liberation Army website, the Chinese military accused the US of venturing into its occupied waters.

The Chinese military accused the US of “provocative acts” that “seriously violated international law and China’s sovereignty and security interests.”

US Naval Commander Reann Mommsen disputes the claims and warned the stability of the region is under threat.

Commander Mommsen said: “Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas.

“Including the freedoms of navigation and overflight and the right of innocent passage of all ships.”

The South China Sea is also one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

A 2015 US Department of Defence report found an estimated $5.3 trillion (£4 million) worth of goods are shuttled through the region every year.

Under international law, a large part of the South China Sea comes under Vietnamese sovereignty.

However, Beijing disagrees and says that the entire waterway up to the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan belongs to China – a claim rejected by an international court of arbitration in 2016.

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Tensions between the two nations were escalated last night after US President Donald Trump accused China of meddling in the upcoming US elections – a claim Beijing denies.

Mr Trump claimed China would try to prevent him from getting re-elected when he goes up against expected Democrat nominee and former vice-president Joe Biden.

Mr Trump said: “China will do anything they can to have me lose this race.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “The US presidential election is an internal affair, we have no interest in interfering in it.”

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Barron Trump: Lavish party youngest Trump could enjoy if father wins election exposed

Mr Trump is hoping to be elected for a second term this year, facing off against the likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who was previously Barack Obama’s Vice-President. Barron and Mr Obama’s daughter Malia were both 10 at the start of their fathers’ first term ‒ and Malia turned 18 in the final year of the Obama administration. Malia’s birthday is on July 4, when the US celebrates Independence Day, so her birthday celebrations coincided with a national holiday.

Mr Obama’s elder daughter enjoyed the party of her life in the White House to celebrate both events, which featured Kendrick Lamar and Janelle Monae among other famous faces.

At Malia’s 18th birthday party, she was serenaded by the musicians and her father, who sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her.

If President Trump makes a second term, Barron will also turn 18 while in the White House, and will likely enjoy a lavish party of his own, although the Trump and Obama tastes are quite different.

Mr Trump is unlikely to sing to his son, but could easily create an event with just as many celebrities.

Malia and her younger sister Sasha also started attending more official White House events as they grew older.

In March 2016 they both attended the White House State Dinner for the first time and were famously photographed ‘fan-girling’ over actor Ryan Reynolds.

Malia was pictured giving the thumbs up to Sasha as she chatted with the ‘Deadpool’ actor, a moment labelled “so darn cute” on social media.

State dinners are held to honour a visiting head of government or reigning monarch and is one of the grandest, most glamorous of White House events.

Hollywood stars and DC elites alike attend the dinner to honour the visiting head of state and their spouse.

In March 2016, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophia Gregoire-Trudeau visited the US and were treated to one of these star-studded dinners, with the teenage girls attended.

Currently, Barron attends St Andrews’ Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, which is a break from presidential tradition of the last 35 years which saw all other presidents’ children attend Sidwell Friends School.

Both Malia and Sasha attended Sidwell Friends, with Sasha continuing her education there after President Obama left office, after the family decided to stay in Washington DC to allow her to finish school there.

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As the First Daughters got older, they also became more involved with charity work ‒ in June and July 2016 they went with their mother Michelle Obama and grandmother Marian Robinson to Liberia to promote the Let Girls Learn Peace initiative, for which the US funded $27million (£21.7m) in aid for expansion.

They met with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa.

They then moved to Morocco where they had a panel with Freida Pinto and Meryl Street in Marrakesh and delivered a substantive amount of money to support 62 million girls lacking access to formal education.

First Lady Melania Trump and First Daughter Ivanka Trump have also been keen to promote women’s empowerment.

For example Ivanka, in her role as senior adviser to the President on womens’ issues, has championed her Women’s Global Development Prosperity Initiative, which she claimed has reached an estimated 12 million women worldwide since its launch.

Now, a bipartisan group of senators have proposed legislation to turn components of the initiative into law, while establishing an Office of Women’s Empowerment in the State Department.

However, as promoting female empowerment is often left to the women in the First Family, it is unclear what Barron might be involved with ‒ if anything ‒ as he gets older.

After graduating from school, Malia went on an 83-day trip to Bolivia and Peru before starting an internship for Harvey Weinstein in February 2017, and then attending Harvard later that year.

Malia graduated school in 2019 and now attends the University of Michigan.

It is unknown what Barron intends to do after he graduates school, but one of his main interests right now is “sports”, according to his mother.

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China zoo SHAME: Heartbreaking video shows caged tiger walking in endless tiny circles

The repetitive walking, which has etched a deep track into the ground of its enclosure, is believed to be a psychological response from to not being able to roam freely. The white tiger’s actions have horrified Chinese web users who raised concerns over the health state of the big cat after the video footage went viral. One commenter on social media platform Weibo wrote: “There is no enough room for the tiger.

“It’s ill, mentally ill.”

Another one said: “The tiger looks depressed.”

Zoos in China are not for the faint-hearted.

According to Doctor Sun Quanhui, a senior scientific adviser at World Animal Protection China, a non-profit organisation, the living conditions of creatures inside China’s animal facilities are a cause for concern.

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Speaking to the South China Morning Post, he said while zoos, which are usually run by local governments, tend to be better supervised than private wildlife parks, the animals’ living conditions are still worrisome.

He said: “Let’s just give the example of how beasts of prey are kept.

“In almost every Chinese zoo, we see them in cement cages or behind steel bars, which to some extent is considered maltreatment.

“Some are species that naturally live in groups, but they’re often isolated, which also causes them huge psychological distress.”

He blames China’s lack of laws to adequately address the issue.

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The country has a wildlife protection law that classifies wildlife according to their scarcity, but it there is no legislation to ensure the rights of other animals.

What happens inside China’s zoos is pretty much unsupervised, mainly due to overlaps between different government agencies.

While the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development oversees government-owned zoos, wildlife parks come under the remit of the State Forestry Bureau, while the fishery bureau under the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for aquariums

A spate of news stories about poor conditions at zoos across the country has ignited a debate over the rights of animals within China.

One shocking video, that surfaced in 2017 showed an incident that has remains emblazoned on the minds of whoever has viewed it.

In the footage, from a Zoo in southern China, a group of men are seen hauling a live donkey from a truck and pushing it off a wooden ramp into a moat around a tiger’s enclosure.

One of the big cats quickly pounced on the stricken beast as another clawed at its back and head.

The horrific ordeal lasted about half an hour before the donkey died.

The zoo has yet to face any penalty for the incident.

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UK hot weather forecast: Red-hot 25C temperatures to strike again this week– latest charts

Britain has been basking in warm spring weather this April with temperatures over the Easter weekend reaching highs of 26C. Now, thermometers are expected to rise once again with conditions likely to reach near 25C this week, forecasters claim. According to the latest weather charts, the red-hot temperatures will grip the country for much of the week, with Britons able to enjoy “wall to wall sunshine” on balconies and in their gardens.

Some reports have suggested the UK could near over 300-year-old records. BBC Weather forecaster, Simon King, responded to reports that this month could go down as the ‘Hottest April since 1659’.

He wrote on Twitter: “Some tabloids this morning report it being the ‘Hottest April since 1659’. Central England Temperature is a series that goes all the way back to 1659.

“April 2020 currently running at fifth in this record. Warm week to come so could definitely be one of the warmest.”

Speaking to Express.co.uk, the Met Office added the UK would likely see “wall to wall sunshine” for much of this week.

The Met Office’s Bonnie Diamond said: “It’s going to be a week of wall to wall sunshine for much of the country, very little rainfall. Temperatures warming up day on day.

“I wouldn’t rule out the likes of Greater London areas and southern regions even reaching 25C.”

Asked whether this week could see the hottest day of the year, beating the 26.0C recorded in Treknow, Cornwall on April 10, Ms Diamond said: “Although 26C might be a bit of a push – it’s not impossible with light winds and sun-traps.”

She added: “Likely Friday is going to be a similarly warm day but as we head towards the weekend, we are likely to lose the southwesterly wind and a return to less warm temperatures and more in the way of unsettled conditions.”

Thursday could be the warmest day of the week for some, with 23C, 24C or maybe 25C in the south

BBC Weather forecaster Carol Kirkwood

Looking at the week ahead, BBC Weather forecaster, Carol Kirkwood, said: “For many of us for the next couple of days we are going to be looking at blue skies, but there is also a keen easterly wind – that’s taking the edge off the temperatures, particularly on the east coast. That won’t ease until mid-week.

“We also have a weather front which has been coming out of France, which has been producing all this cloud across the Channel Islands and South West England, bringing some rain, but as we go through the afternoon that will continue to move away, so lots of us seeing blue skies, gusty winds as well.”

Looking at Tuesday the weather forecaster claimed much of the UK would wake up to sunshine – which would remain for much of the day.

She added: “As we move from Tuesday into Wednesday the high pressure dominating our weather starts to weaken. The isobars slacking so it’s not going to be as windy – it won’t feel as cold.

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“What we have got through the course of Wednesday is a lot of sunshine. A cold start – but that won’t last very long and with the lighter winds, it is going to feel better.”

Ms Kirkwood said on Thursday there would be “a lot of dry weather” for much of the country.

She added: “Thursday could be the warmest day of the week for some, with 23C, 24C or maybe 25C in the south.”

The Met Office’s long-range forecast from Friday, April 24 to Sunday, May 3, suggests the warm and dry conditions are likely to continue, with an added “risk of thunder and lightning”.

It reads: “It is expected to be largely fine and dry with plenty of sunshine to start this period, with any risk of showery conditions confined to the south of England.

“When, at times, unsettled conditions reach the south, it may also carry a risk of thunder and lightning.

“Temperatures are expected to be rather warm for most, but perhaps cool along eastern coastline.”

Moving forward into spring, the long-range forecast claims temperatures will move nearer towards average for this time of year, with “overnight frosts isolated to sheltered northern regions”.

The forecast added: “The largely sunny, settled conditions with light winds are expected to continue until the end of April, when showery, unsettled conditions may become more widespread and extend further north.”

Leading bookmakers have even slashed odds on this week to see the hottest day of the year, so far.

Jessica O’Reilly of Ladbrokes said: “The forecast looks stunning this week, and the scorching weather looks set to see the hottest day of the year.”

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