A Ukrainian mother and her six children who fled Russian bombing have been handed the keys to their new home. Lilia Onopa, 43, and her children received an official welcome in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, on Friday. She tearfully described seeing her hometown destroyed, people killed, and wanting to save her sons. Having fled their home north of Dnipro, where military strikes began in early March, Ms Onopa and her boys travelled to Bucharest, Romania. This was after attacks on the port city of Odesa made other methods of travel impossible. They arrived in the Monmouthshire town last week after waiting five weeks for the British Embassy to approve their online application.
At the gathering, they were given the keys to a bungalow, a former caretaker’s property which has been refurbished by volunteers from St Mary’s RC Primary School and church with donations from across the area. Ms Onopa said she was keen to learn English and has already enrolled in classes.
Having been a keen cook and baker in Ukraine, she said she would like to start her own pastry business, and wants to volunteer to help other Ukrainian refugees settle. She said her sons, aged between five and 15, were looking forward to beginning school.
Presenting Ms Onopa with the keys, Archbishop of Cardiff George Stack said: “This is an opportunity to say to our new family croesi i Gymru, welcome to Wales. The land of sanctuary.https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-61535188
“And we hope and pray that you will be happy and fulfilled and content as you begin to understand what wonderful people live and work in Wales.” Chair of governors, Phil Cotterell said: “Lilia and her family will not be alone, there is an incredible network of support here in Chepstow.”
A group of history hunters who found an old Air Force Military Dog tag in a river have reunited it with the owner’s family in the United States.
The tag was discovered by Black Country-based Peaky Dippers in the River Soar, Leicestershire, and traced back to a family in Illinois. It belonged to Robert M Luetgert, who served in the American Air Force in the 1950s. Marie Collins, from the group, said it was “one of the best finds we’ve made”.
The historian found the owner’s family via social media and said she never dreamt she would hear anything back. But she had “goosebumps” when she received a reply from Mr Luetgert’s granddaughter. The shocked relative was “blown away” and sent Ms Collins documentation and photographs which showed that Mr Luetgert had been based at RAF Burtonwood in Cheshire in 1956 and returned home a year and three months later.
Ms Collins said soldiers used to wear two dog tags, so one could be sent back to the family and the other left on the body if they lost their lives. Mr Luetgert’s lost tag has now been sent back to the family and his widow has the second dog tag in America. Ms Collins said they did not know how the tag ended up in Leicestershire when Mr Luetgert was based in Cheshire, and said “it may have been fast-flowing water carrying it down the river”.https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-61495827
A man on crutches has reached Everest base camp – eight years after waking up paralysed. Jamie McAnsh, from Cwmbran, Torfaen, has complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) which causes persistent severe and debilitating pain. But after an 11-day trek, Jamie has realised his childhood dream and reached base camp at 5,364m (17,600ft).
“There were times on this challenge where I didn’t think I was going to make it,” he said. “I was absolutely exhausted. It’s been an emotional time,” Jamie told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast: “It didn’t really hit me that I had done it until the next day.”
On 6 January 2014, Jamie went to bed “as normal,” but woke up the next morning paralysed from the waist down after rupturing his spine in his sleep. It took another 13 months for Jamie to be diagnosed with CRPS, which has no cure but often gradually improves over time. He had to learn to walk again – and after a gruelling recovery he has regained some of his mobility but still relies on crutches to walk.
“One of the hardest things the team had to think about was where to put their feet, but I had to think about where to put my feet and my crutches,” he said after completing his Everest challenge.
Jamie already has his next challenge in his sights, but this one is a bit closer to home. “I’ve always loved Everest, but I’ve always loved Wales, so the 800-mile coastal path is definitely up there on my list,” he said.https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-61505710
The world’s only nonuplets – nine babies born at the same time – are “in perfect health” as they celebrate their first birthday, their father has told the BBC.
“They’re all crawling now. Some are sitting up and can even walk if they hold on to something,” said Abdelkader Arby, an officer in the Malian army. They are still in the care of the clinic in Morocco where they were born. He said their mother Halima Cissé, 26, was also doing well.
“It’s not easy but it’s great. Even if it’s tiring at times, when you look at all the babies in perfect health, [in a line] from right to left we’re relieved. We forget everything,” he told BBC Afrique. He has just returned to Morocco for the first time in six months, along with their elder daughter, Souda, aged three.
“I’m overwhelmed to be reunited with all my family – my wife, the children and me.” They will just have a small birthday celebration with the nurses and a few people from their apartment building, Mr Arby said.
“Nothing is better than the first year. We will remember this great moment we are going to experience.”
The babies broke the Guinness World Record for the most children delivered in a single birth to survive.https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-61318427
Ukrainian group Antytila have teamed up with Ed Sheeran, releasing a new song partly filmed and recorded while serving in the war against Russia. Antytila are one of the biggest musical acts in Ukraine but stopped working to join the military. Proceeds from the song, released on Monday, will go to help the people of Ukraine.
“Ed feels that pain, compassion and sympathy for Ukrainian people,” lead singer Taras Topolya told the BBC. He said the lyrics were created while he was serving as a medic on the front line in Borodyanka.
Borodyanka, just west of the capital, Kyiv, was occupied by the Russians, who left the town badly damaged. Ukrainian troops have since regained the area. After writing the lyrics, members of the group were also able to film while on the frontline in Kharkiv.
“We just stopped in the middle of the road and were singing there in the middle of nowhere,” he said.https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61308809
A woman who took up running after she lost her left leg to cancer has passed the Guinness World Record for most consecutive marathons. Jacky Hunt-Broersma, 46, has run 26.2-miles every day since mid-January, normally taking around five hours. On Saturday, she completed her 104th consecutive marathon in as many days – an achievement she expects to be certified by Guinness World Records. A spokesperson said certifying the record would take around three months.
Waking up on Sunday – a day off at long last – was a bizarre experience for Jacky. “Part of me was really happy to be done,” she tells the BBC from her home in Arizona. “And the other part kept thinking I need to go running.” Her body is also recovering from the record-chasing effort, despite having stopped. “I feel tighter than I have the whole 104 marathons,” she admits. But Jacky – who was born and raised in South Africa, and has also lived in England and the Netherlands – is grateful. Because running has given her the confidence she was afraid she would never regain.https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-61299527
A hospital in Bristol is believed to be the first in the world to implant a device into a brain to reverse the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Southmead Hospital surgeons used a tiny deep brain stimulation (DBS) device to override abnormal brain-cell firing patterns caused by Parkinson’s. Tony Howells, the first person to receive the treatment as part of a trial, said the impact was “amazing”.
The new DBS system, the smallest ever created, involves a tiny battery system for the device implanted into the skull. It then delivers electrical impulses directly to targeted areas of the brain. To do so, electric probes are put through the skull and deep into the centre of the brain, into the subthalamic nuclei. It takes just three hours to carry out the new operation, about half the time it used to with the larger battery.https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-61215241
A 16-year-old boy has set off across Ireland to see how accessible it is for wheelchair users to travel. James Casserly, who has cerebral palsy, has set himself the challenge to travel to all 32 counties on public transport. He reviews everything from wheelchair ramp availability to disabled toilet provisions in all the places he visits.
“I want wheelchair users to be able to go wherever they please and not have to worry about checking all that stuff themselves beforehand,” James said.
The Dublin teenager has already ticked off counties Westmeath, Kildare and Galway in the Republic of Ireland and has also visited County Antrim in Northern Ireland on his checklist so far. He is hoping to make trips across all the counties, north and south, with friends and family by either bus, train or tram by November this year.
James, who only started his travel reviews earlier this month, has already amassed over 3,500 followers on Twitter. James hopes his online reviews can go some way in helping to provide other wheelchair users with all the information they may need when they go to plan their own trips across the Emerald Isle. He also hopes it will help highlight to companies the potential issues that someone who uses a wheelchair may have when utilising public transport services.https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61213625
Prisoners in the central jail in the Indian union territory of Puducherry briefly forget their worries when they start dancing.
The “dance therapy” is part of a rehabilitation programme offered to them by prison authorities.
It’s an unconventional option – many Indian prisons are grim, overcrowded and violent spaces that offer few opportunities for inmates to rebuild their lives. But Puducherry prison officials say the programme is a hit with prisoners – who are all serving life sentences – and that there is a visible reduction in their stress levels.
Ravideep Singh Chahar, Inspector General of prisons in Puducherry, says they now hope to make dance therapy an integral part of the prison reform programme.https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-india-61188529
Two young indigenous boys rescued after almost four weeks lost in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest have been found and taken to hospital. Glauco and Gleison Ferreira, eight and six, got lost trying to catch small birds in the jungle near Manicoré, Amazonas state, on 18 February. A local tree cutter found them by chance on Tuesday. They are expected to make a full recovery after being treated in hospital for malnourishment.
After the boys disappeared, hundreds of residents spent weeks looking for them. But lost during the rainy season of the Amazon – a time which makes walking and moving in the jungle even more difficult than usual – they were nowhere to be found. Emergency services decided to call off the search on 24 February, but locals continued to search for the boys, according to local media outlet Amazônia Real.
Almost four weeks later, the boys were found by a man cutting wood 6 km (3.7 miles) from the village of Palmeira in the Lago Capanã protected land reserve where the boys live with their parents, One of the boys shouted for help when he heard the local man hitting the trees nearby. Following the calls, the man found the two boys lying on the rainforest floor, hungry and weak, with many skin abrasions.
According to local media, the two boys told their parents they had eaten nothing while lost and had only rainwater to drink.https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-60789542
Upon their discovery, Glauco and Gleison were sent to a regional hospital in Manicoré, before being transported by helicopter to another hospital in Manaus on Thursday morning, Globo reports.