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MPs debate future of local papers

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PARLIAMENT’s back benchers will debate the future of local newspapers in Westminster next week. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called for local newspapers to encourage their local MPs to attend the debate and ‘argue for their local paper’.

In a letter to local journals the NUJ state the case that cuts to jobs and closures to local newspapers have resulted in a loss of 5,000 editorial roles in local and regional press. The union state clearly that they see this as a threat to local democracy, as local politicians are then not being held to account and voters, as a result, are not being given a range of views, resulting in a deprivation of information required to make informed judgements when voting in elections.

They go on to say that, ‘digital newsrooms are transforming the way journalists are expected to work. Despite taking on many changes, journalists have not seen their pay improve and are experiencing heavy workloads because they are expected to bring in stories, cover events, produce videos and podcasts and use social media’.

A spokesperson for the NUJ said: “Local newspapers and their websites are the most trusted form of the media, read by more than 30 million people each week. Readers expect their local newspaper to be their watchdog, keeping tabs on the decisions made by local politicians, defending local services, supporting the local football team and giving a voice to the community.”

As a result the NUJ have called for: A short, sharp national inquiry into the state of local news; local papers to become community assets to prevent newspaper titles closing overnight and to give potential new owners, including local co-operatives, the time to put together a bid for the paper; action to stem the job cuts and attacks on quality journalism and research into new models for local journalism, levies, tax breaks and other measures to fund community journalism.

Nia Griffith, Labour MP for Llanelli, told The Herald: “Local newspapers make a very valuable contribution to our communities and are a vital part of our democracy. They keep people informed of what is happening in their locality and provide an excellent means for people from all sections of the community to have a voice. Good local reporters keep our local public bodies on their toes, asking pertinent questions about how they are spending our money, and making sure they know what local people think of them. I for one certainly value our local papers, even when they take me to task – that’s part and parcel of their role!”

Member of Parliament for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Simon Hart, also stated: “Our local papers in this area have always provided high quality information and news coverage and have adapted incredibly well to changing technology, as well as the evolving tastes and requirements of readers. Being married to a former local news journalist I am always keen to support our local papers and respect their independence.”

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Tenby: Air Ambulance medivac patient with suspected broken leg

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PARAMEDICS asked for assistance, and the Wales Air Ambulance were subsequently tasked with tending to an incident at Tenby harbour on Sunday (Oct 2).

A male required assistance due to a fall around the beach area, and suffered a suspected broken leg.

A spokesperson for the air ambulance said: “Our overnight crew arrived on scene at 8.12 pm.

“Following treatment at the scene from our on-board medics, we airlifted the patient to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. Our involvement concluded at 10.31 pm.”

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Cleddau Bridge was closed due to concerns over person in distress

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THE CLEDDAU BRIDGE was closed just after midnight on Sunday morning after reports of concern over a person in distress.

A number of police units attended the incident, and an ambulance was put on standby, but thankfully was not needed. The bridge was closed for around a hour, with a diversion put in place.

Nearby residents noted the flashing lights from multiple emergency services on the bridge and posted statuses on Facebook wishing for the person’s safety.

Some other witnesses on the Pembroke Dock side of the estuary noted activity in the water from small vessels in the area under the bridge, which they believed may have been boats put on standby.

In a statement a spokesperson from the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We were called in the early hours of Sunday morning at 12:43am to reports of an incident on the A477, Cleddau Bridge.

“We sent one emergency ambulance but were subsequently stood down.”

At just after 1am Sunday the police posted the following on their official Facebook page, confirming that the incident was over: “Cleddau Bridge has now reopened. Thank you for your patience.”

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Thirty bags of cocaine – worth £90m – wash up on west Wales beach

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE has confirmed that what is expected to be a large quantity of the class A drug cocaine has washed up on on a west Wales beach this weekend.

The Herald understands that a man walking on Tan-y-Bwlch beach, south of Aberystwyth, made the discovery early on Saturday morning – which at street value could be sold for as much as £90m.

The beach walker found 30 black bags on the sand which had been tied together with a rope and empty gallon jerry cans for buoyancy.

Inside each black bag were 30 x1kg blocks, labelled with the name of fashion brand Dior – the mark of a Latin-American cartel – indicating 100% purity.

A similar brick of cocaine confiscated in Australia (File)

Thinking the package was suspicious, the man called the police.

When the police arrived, one of the bags was cut open and inside was what appeared to be cocaine.

The suspected cocaine was then taken away by officers, and it has now been confirmed that the white powder inside the bags is believed to be cocaine.

A spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police said: “We are investigating the discovery of a significant quantity of what is thought to be cocaine, spotted along the Ceredigion coast this weekend.

“Enquiries are being undertaken to establish how such an unusually large amount of the controlled drug came to wash up on the Welsh shore, following recent storms.

“The precise quantity is still being established and at this time no-one has been arrested in relation to this matter. Officers have thanked those who found the packages and their sensible actions in reporting the matter immediately.”

No arrests have been made.

The UK’s cocaine market is estimated to be worth more than £25.7 million daily, according to the National Crime Agency’s latest strategic threat assessment.

Figures released by the agency earlier this year revealed how cocaine seizures nationwide have soared by 161 per cent between early 2020 and early last year.

A suspected £90million haul of cocaine was found on beach
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