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  1. Brexit 'transparency talks' should be taken 'seriously'
  2. Property fire sparked by water dispenser
  3. Increasing number of people 'living with HIV' in Jersey
  4. Gales forecast for the Channel Islands
  5. More news, sport, travel and weather from 07:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Rob England

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for the Channel Islands have finished for the day, but we'll be back at 07:00 on Friday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Don't forget Spotlight for the Channel Islands on BBC One later. There will also be news through the night on your BBC Local Radio station.

Public sector union 'could strike' due to changes

BBC Radio Jersey

Members of Jersey's public sector unions could walk out if the States does not renegotiate changes to pay, pensions and working conditions.

More than 200 people were at a meeting last night to discuss how members should respond to the proposed offer.

The States is changing the way civil servants and other employees work under what is called a "workforce modernisation programme", which looks to make the way the States pays its employees more "fair" and "consistent".

Bob King from the Prospect Union says there is "no reason" for some of the changes.

We've got members who've got moved down pay grades simply on an averaging exercise, there's no reason rhyme or method to this. We're hopeful the new chief executive may have a slightly better view of that but if they're going to reject it, we're not going to allow this to go through. Members will be balloting for industrial action."

Bob KingProspect Union

Insurance for travellers between Guernsey and UK proposed

BBC Radio Guernsey

Islanders who are unable to afford health cover when travelling to the UK could benefit from insurance provided by the States by the end of this year.

President of Health and Social Care, Michelle Le Clerc, says her committee has been working with a private provider after putting the contract out to tender.

Deputy Le Clerc says she will present more information to the States in March, and if approved the changes could be in place by the end of the year.

Final member of St Helier roads committee elected

Rob England

BBC News Online

Barry Le Feuvre was duly elected to the St Helier parish roads committee last night as two candidates fought to fill the committee's final vacancy.

St Helier Parish Assembly

St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft held a hustings at the town hall for candidates Amanda Brown and Barry Le Feuvre, with both speaking about their priorities and plans for the parish.

Ms Brown, supported by Reform Jersey, said she wanted to promote "environmental sustainability", improved living standards and discuss devolving more powers to the committee from the government.

Mr Le Feuvre emphasised the importance of public safety and a need for more pedestrian road crossings and protection for residents around the new hospital development.

Of the 97 ballot papers cast in the vote Mr Le Feuvre received 61 votes and Ms Brown received 36.

Pet owners urged to keep up vaccinations

Freddie Miller

Broadcast Journalist BBC Radio Jersey

A number of family pets in Jersey spent Christmas in quarantine because their owners did not follow the pet travel rules, the States Veterinary department has said.

cat behind bars
Getty Images

Four dogs and a cat were held in quarantine over the Christmas and New Year period because they had been taken out of the island without a valid rabies vaccination.

Animals must get these vaccinations at least 21 days before they travel, and they need regular boosters to ensure they remain up to date.

The States have said the consequences of getting something wrong can be both financially and emotionally costly - as quarantine facilities are expensive and pets can be separated from their families for up to three weeks.

Last year, 93 pets were refused entry to Jersey.

The most common reason was dogs not having a valid tapeworm treatment, while many without an up to date rabies vaccination were also rejected.

Columnist suggests 'giving' Channel Islands to France

Rob England

BBC News Online

An article in the Times has prompted Guernsey's Chief Minister to reassure the world the island remains "steadfastly loyal to the crown".

In the article, regarding the display of the Bayeux Tapestry in the UK, columnist David Aaronovitch concluded it may be time for the UK to return the favour by lending France historical or culturally significant artefacts.

In finishing the piece he suggested "alternatively we could just let them have Guernsey."

Deputy Gavin St Pier responded to the article on social media, saying the island enjoyed "close relations" with France, but was not "owned by or in the gift of the UK".

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The Times columnist then suggested a counter proposal, to give them Jersey.

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To which Deputy St Pier responded that he "couldn't possibly comment".

Jersey's Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, has not responded to the exchange.

Millennium Town Park to be extended

BBC Radio Jersey

The largest provider of social housing in Jersey has been given the go ahead to develop a plan to extend the Millennium Town Park.

Andium Homes bought the Jersey Gas site last year and announced it would build fewer homes than planned there and provide more parking and extend the park.

It will still need planning permission, but the States gave its support to the scheme.

St Helier Constable, Simon Crowcroft, said although there were few details on cost, the scheme would benefit that part of town.

The constable said: "I defer to the expertise of Andium who say they can achieve housing, they can achieve the open space, and they can make the sums work."

Guernesiais speakers to celebrate language revival

BBC Radio Guernsey

Guernsey French speakers will gather for the first ever Metivier night later this month at Torteval Church.

The event is a celebration of Guernsey language in poetry, spoken word and song and is named after local poet George Metivier.

James Dumbelton from the Guernsey Language Commission says Metivier was influential in the 1800s.

Because he was writing in Guernesiais, a form of Norman French, he helped start a revival of Norman French on the mainland. So he's very important to the Normans as well. We've got lots to be proud of."

James Dumbelton

Guernsey education debate: The story so far

BBC Radio Guernsey

States members in Guernsey are debating whether to adopt the government's three-school model for secondary and post 16 education, or alternative proposals to have one school across two sites:

  • Deputy Jan Kuttelwascher said he would be supporting the two-school model, which he says is the better of the two, despite the fact he did not "particularly like either"
  • Deputy Heidi Soulsby said she believes members should have been presented with a single set of proposals rather than two models, both of which have flaws, and the debate was causing "uncertainty" among teachers, parents and children
  • Castel Deputy Chris Green says he cannot support the alternative model, despite being able to see the benefits, as he thinks the plans need more work
  • But Deputy Charles Parkinson has said whilst he shares Deputy Green's concerns the government's plans have too many failings
  • Policy and Resources Committee member Lyndon Trott has asked whether enough thought has been given to closing schools under the two-school, alternative, plans - which he says needs more details

Plans outlined for road connecting three schools

BBC Radio Jersey

Reducing traffic congestion and improving pedestrian safety on a Jersey road is the subject of a public meeting to be held later this month.

Chasse Brunet in St Saviour leads to Grainville, FCJ and St Saviour's schools.

Chasse Brunet

Officers will be taking comments and questions from the public at St Saviour's Primary School at about 16:45 on Wednesday 24 January.

Winning the war on flu: Number of cases halved

Jersey Evening Post

Offering flu jabs in pharmacies and a nasal vaccine to all primary school pupils has helped cut the number of reported cases of the virus by nearly half compared to last year, health experts have said.

Jiu-jitsu club looks for more female members

BBC Radio Jersey

Getty Images

A martial arts club in St Helier has said it is keen to attract more women this year.

The club, Gracie Barra Channel Islands, has been teaching islanders jiu-jitsu since 2001 - and its members have won medals at tournaments in places like Paris and Abu Dhabi.

One of the club's instructors, Matthew Norris, said the "close contact" nature of the sport makes it "very good for self defence".

Deputy calls for education committee to resign

Simon Fairclough

Guernsey Political Reporter

A former member of Guernsey's Committee for Education, Sport and Culture has urged its current members to resign.

David de Lisle made the suggestion earlier in the first speech on the future of secondary and post-16 education.

Members are debating whether to adopt the government's three-school model, or alternative plans for one school across two sites.

Deputy De Lisle resigned from the committee in mid December saying he was "uncomfortable" with the direction it was taking and urged his former colleagues to follow suit.

He said the committee was "unsure of its position" and was having to "issue amendments" in order to gain support.

Adding a "new committee" should be formed to but forward "the best educational strategy" for the future. The committee is yet to comment.

Airline policy on carrying instruments 'has improved'

BBC Radio Guernsey

Musicians in Guernsey are working with States-owned airline Aurigny to "iron out issues" over the carrying of musical instruments on flights.

The airline said talks have been "positive".

In December Dr Andrew Lawrence-King, a Guernsey musician who travels the world with harps of various size, raised concerns about a change in policy that meant all larger instruments must be retrieved from the baggage reclaim with other items stored in the hold, rather than being carried on as hand luggage.

Dr Lawrence-King now says he has a new understanding of why the rules are in place, and work is being done to alleviate some of the original concerns.

cello players
Getty Images

They have clarified and improved their allowances for smaller instruments that are violin size that will go in the overhead lockers. They've been able to be more flexible about their requirements for larger instruments - guitar or cello size - that would go in an extra seat."

Dr Andrew Lawrence-King

Changes to driving offences approved

BBC Radio Jersey

Drivers who cause injury through careless driving will no longer automatically lose their driver's licence after changes to Jersey's road laws.

Police car
Getty Images

The offence had carried a mandatory year-long disqualification penalty, but now the ban will be made at a magistrate's discretion.

The courts will also be given the power to order a disqualified driver to pass a new driving test before regaining their licence.

Under the proposals, jail terms for driving over the alcohol limit, or failing to provide a specimen to determine whether you are over the limit, have been increased to 12 months.

This makes the punishment for the offence the same as those convicted of driving "whilst unfit" through drink or drugs.

The changes were unanimously approved by the States on 16 January, with 36 members voting.

Public workshop planned for waterfront development

Freddie Miller

Broadcast Journalist BBC Radio Jersey

Islanders interested in the planning and design of Jersey's esplanade quarter have been invited to a workshop on the 31 January, the States has said.

Esplanade Quarter
States of Jersey

A similar event took place in November last year, following a recommendation by an independent planning inspector and politicians on a States scrutiny panel.

At that meeting, issues such as connectivity, accessibility and the importance of creating an area that reflects Jersey's character were discussed.

Officials say the workshops will help them to develop an interim plan for the site, with fully updated proposals to follow "in due course".

The government hopes the development will "integrate" St Helier's waterfront area with the old town, provide more offices for the financial services industry and new homes for local residents.

UK health cover in place soon

Guernsey Press

A medical insurance scheme to protect islanders from large bills if they fall ill while in the UK will be launched this year.

Missing Latvian man's Facebook page still active

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

The Facebook profile page of a missing Latvian man has remained active since he disappeared, it has emerged.

Mikus Alps, 33, was last seen in the early hours of Monday 8 January at a residential address in Guernsey. The same day, police discovered his burnt out car containing human bones and a shotgun.

Police said they also received a "sombre" letter purporting to be from Mr Alps since investigating his disappearance.

Mr Alps is an administrator on the public page "Help Ukrainian Defenders C.I." a group with more than 200 members which aims to raise awareness of the conflict in Ukraine and to raise funds to anti-Russian groups operating in the conflict, to which Mr Alps has been linked.

Screenshot of Help Ukrainian Defenders C.I. group showing members being added by missing man Mikus Alps
Facebook/Help Ukrainian Defenders C.I.

Four days after Mr Alps was last seen, his Facebook account accepted a request to join the group, and has since accepted seven requests in total, the latest as recent as today.

It's not known if anyone else has access to Mr Alps' profile, but one of his two fellow group administrators claimed he did not when approached by the BBC. The missing man's Facebook profile has not otherwise been active.

The BBC has approached Guernsey Police to find out if they are aware of Mr Alps' whereabouts in light of these posts.

Simon Geall playing for Guernsey

Captain Simon Geall tells Guernsey FC's players to "rally together" after Wednesday's 5-0 loss to Thamesmead Town.

Read more

Property fire sparked by water dispenser

Rob England

BBC News Online

water dispenser
Jersey Fire and Rescue Service

A water dispenser caught fire at a business in St Helier this morning, fire crews have said.

The burning dispenser "filled the ground floor with acrid smoke", crews said, and people had to be evacuated from the building.

Officers were called to the property on Broad Street at about 09:30.

The smoke was quickly cleared, and staff were able to re-enter.

broad street property
Jersey Fire and Rescue Service

Charity 'not surprised' at marriage law changes

BBC Radio Jersey

An equality charity has said it has not come across any businesses that would refuse to serve same-sex couples getting married in Jersey.

But Liberate says it is "not surprised" politicians have suggested protecting companies from prosecution if they refuse to serve gay people on faith grounds.

The charity has called the changes, which will be debated on the 30 January, "discriminatory".

Vic Tanner Davy says businesses that open their doors for payment have to leave their beliefs behind.

The moment you start carving out bits and chunks of that legislation you start to undermine it, you start to water down those protections, and you then get 'well yes it's equal but... a part for this little bit' or 'yes these people can have equality but only to a point', and then it falls away."

Vic Tanner Davy

States meetings resume

Rob England

BBC News Online

States Assembly meetings in Jersey and Guernsey have resumed.

You can listen to live commentary on BBC Radio Jersey and BBC Radio Guernsey.

Coming up in Guernsey States today, the debate on the future of secondary and post-16 education rumbles on after beginning yesterday.

View more on twitter

In the States of Jersey, members will first discuss whether further work is needed to tackle bad smells coming from the Bellozanne sewage treatment facility.

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Water charges to rise 2.8% this year in line with inflation

Guernsey Press

Water and waste water charges will increase in line with inflation this year.

Missing cat reunited with its owners – after eight years

Jersey Evening Post

A cat that went missing after its owners moved house has been reunited with its family – eight years after disappearing.

Charity blasts 'discriminatory' changes to marriage law

BBC Channel Islands News

A suggested change to Jersey's new marriage law has been branded as "discrimination" by the head of an equality charity.

Politicians scrutinising the draft law - due to be debated in the States Assembly on 30 January - say a "tolerance clause" should be included which could allow some businesses to refuse to serve same-sex couples who are getting married.

LGBT+ flag with two people holding hands
Getty Images

Vic Tanner Davy, chair of Liberate, a charity that campaigns for equal rights for LGBT+ people in the Channel Islands, said the proposals come from "a very prejudicial place".

He said the changes were suggested out of "fear" an incident where a bakery was taken to court in Northern Ireland for refusing to make a cake with a "gay marriage" slogan would happen.

"It doesn't matter what your background is for why you hold the beliefs that you do, whether it's a religious conviction or whether you hold the belief that marriage should be for a man or a woman, it is prejudice, and you are then going to behave in a discriminatory way," he added.

Mr Davy said the suggested change would be "very disappointing" for the LGBT+ community in Jersey.

"I think they will feel yet again this is another area which they are less than, and not seen as equal to, the rest of society."

Increasing number of people 'living with HIV' in Jersey

Rob England

BBC News Online

The number of cases of people living and receiving treatment for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Jersey rose in the period between 2010-2016, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

In 2016 the number of people recorded as living with HIV was 91 - 39 more than in 2010.

Meanwhile, the number of people receiving treatment for HIV increased to 83 in 2016 - 34 more than 2010.

However, the number of people newly diagnosed with the virus fell from 11 in 2015 to seven in 2016, the total number of new diagnoses was 56 between 2010-2016.

The figures show the total cost of treatment for HIV was £545,582 in 2016, based on drug costs.

States members force government into benefits U-turn

Chris Rayner

BBC Radio Jersey Political Reporter

Jersey's government has been told by States members it must bring back financial support for single parents on low incomes that was cut two years ago

The extra benefit, worth £40 a week, was removed as part of savings to Social Security's budget.

But States members have voted to re-instate the payments to single parents receiving income support.

During the debate, the Treasury Minister, Senator Alan Maclean, warned members that bringing it back would be unfair on others receiving financial support.

He said: "Where is the evidence to support that? The minister has already said to us that an extra £5 per week is going to be made available to all who fall within the category. Not just single parents but the much larger group that are couples with children."

alan mclean
Senator Alan Maclean thinks it would be "unfair" on others receiving financial support

Longer sentences approved for drink-drivers

Jersey Evening Post

Longer jail sentences for drink-drivers and those who refuse a breathalyser test are to be introduced, after members approved changes to the law.

Brexit 'transparency talks' should be taken 'seriously'

BBC Radio Guernsey

Jersey and Guernsey should take any attempts by the EU to force the islands to sign up to more transparency and openness in the Brexit talks "seriously", a UK columnist has said.

Brexit - union flag mixed with EU flag
Getty Images

An article in the Independent suggests the European Commission could force the British Crown and Overseas Territories to open up their finance industries to greater scrutiny, when the UK leaves the EU.

One of article's authors, Andrew Grice, says Guernsey's States should not dismiss this development.

"I don't think this is just sabre-rattling by the EU" he said, "this is part of a much wider picture where they are trying to use their leverage".

"The EU gives a lot of money to countries around the world, the threat is, if you're on Brussels' black list you could lose some funds, and there will be enormous pressure."

Vice President of the Policy and Resources Committee, Deputy Lyndon Trott, said the States would not comment on this type of story, and "doesn't believe it to be true."

Gales forecast for the Channel Islands

Rob England

BBC News Online

The Jersey Met Department has forecast severe gales for the Channel Islands this morning, with wind speeds of up to 60 knots (69 mph).

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A tide alert remains in place for today in Guernsey, with warnings there may be some spillage over sea walls and debris on roads.

Millennium Town Park extension passed by States

Jersey Evening Post

Proposals to significantly increase a Jersey park and build dozens of homes on a neighbouring utilities site have been given the go-ahead by the States.

Sunny intervals with scattered showers

BBC Weather

After last night's rain, Thursday should see sunny intervals and scattered showers across the Channel Islands.

Very windy with gales at first, especially across Les Landes and St Ouen's Bay in Jersey and Rocquaine and Vazon Bays in Guernsey.

Winds should slowly ease during the day.





News, sport, weather and travel for Thursday

Rob England

BBC News Online

Good morning from BBC Local Live. We'll be bringing you the news, sport, travel and weather for the Channel Islands today.

If you want to get in touch, please email us.