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  1. Sombre letter was written by man found in burnt out car - police
  2. Public asked for view on future of Haut de La Garenne
  3. Pay structure changes 'overwhelmingly' rejected in Jersey
  4. Inter-island ferries 'by mid-April'
  5. Teenagers rewarded for rescue in South Africa
  6. Fallaize heads newly elected Guernsey education committee
  7. Jersey Education Minister Rod Bryans steps aside for investigation
  8. Sheep rescued from cliff 'after being chased by dog'
  9. Updates from Monday 5 February 2018 until Friday 9 February 2018

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Weather: Milder and clear spells but remaining windy

BBC Weather

Tonight will be mainly dry with long clear spells, although cloud is likely to start to thicken from the west towards the end of the night.

Minimum Temperature: 2-5C (36-41F).

Weather map

Following a mainly fine start it will stay generally dry through Saturday morning with cloud will thicken.

Rain will then push in from the west through the afternoon. Windy and milder.

Maximum Temperature: 6-9C (43-48F).

Sunday will be cold and windy with periods of sunshine and localised snow flurries.

Information appeal after hay bales taken from field

BBC Radio Guernsey

Eight bales of hay were removed from a field in Ruette De La Tour, the Castel, without the owner's permission, say Guernsey Police.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them on 01481 725111 or anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Wonky traffic light 'still safe'

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

A traffic light damaged in a crash on Guernsey east coast last night is still safe, despite being "somewhat less than vertical," the States said.

Traffic and Highway Services said arrangements are being made to carry out repairs to the light near Admiral Park, but an engineer confirmed the light is currently safe, despite its wonkiness.

Damaged traffic light
States of Guernsey Traffic and Highway Services

Police appeal after cyclist hit by car

BBC Radio Guernsey

Guernsey Police are appealing for information after a cyclist was hit by a car on a St Martin road on Thursday morning.

The incident occurred about 07:30 at the junction next to the Fermain Tavern.

The cyclist was hit by a car described as a white Mitsubushi Evo with a white spoiler, tinted rear windows and silver rimmed wheels.

Police would like to speak to the driver of that vehicle, or anyone in the area who may have witnessed the incident.

You're asked to contact police or Crimestoppers, anonymously.

Mikus Alps: Forensic examination to take place next week

BBC Radio Guernsey

A further forensic examination is due to take place next week to try to determine how a Latvian man whose remains were found in a burnt out car, died.

Mr Alps' remains were identified last month and today it was confirmed a "sombre" letter handed to police which gave detailed instructions relating to his possessions, was written by Mr Alps.

Guernsey Police Chief Officer Patrick Rice said the examination is due to take place on 13 February.

"This was the earliest date this examination could be carried out, as the UK Home Office Pathologist requested the presence and input of an additional expert.

"It is hoped that we will have further information after that work has been completed."

Police chief re-iterates 'no evidence' of Ukraine link

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

Guernsey's chief police officer has re-iterated there is "no evidence" between dead man Mikus Alps' car being found burnt-out in Guernsey and his activity in Ukraine.

Mr Alps' remains were identified last month and today it was confirmed a "sombre" letter handed to police which gave detailed instructions relating to his possessions, was written by Mr Alps.

Mikus Alps
Facebook/8th Battalion of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army

Investigating officers previously said there was no evidence linking the incident and Mr Alps' involvement with an anti-Russian movement in Ukraine, something the force has re-affirmed today.

Guernsey Police Chief Officer Patrick Rice said: "Following the result of the handwriting examination, I would again repeat that at this stage there is no evidence linking Mr Alps’ activity in Ukraine with his car being found burnt-out in Guernsey."

Breaking'Sombre letter was written by Latvian man'

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

A "sombre and reflective" letter handed to Guernsey Police was written by Mikus Alps, officers have confirmed.

Mr Alps' remains were found in a burnt-out car last month.

Mikus Alps
Guernsey Police

Patrick Rice, Guernsey Police Chief Officer said: "We have received confirmation from a UK handwriting expert that the letter handed into police, which was sombre and reflective in nature and gave detailed instructions relating to Mr Alps’ possessions, was written by Mr Alps.

"A further forensic examination is due to take place on 13 February in the UK, to try and help determine cause of death," Mr Rice added.

Shelter rescues 'weak' birds covered in sticky substance

Sue Coryndon

Broadcast Journalist, BBC Radio Guernsey

A number of seabirds are being washed ashore in Guernsey covered in a clear sticky substance, animal welfare charity the GSPCA says.

A bird covered in a sticky substance
A guillemot and razorbill were found unable to swim or fly and were "thin and weak"

Manager Steve Byrne says recent stormy weather may have stirred substances from the seabed to the surface.

Islanders are being asked to look out for more injured birds and to bring them to the GSPCA's animal shelter or the nearest vet, if possible.

Mr Byrne says it's important to avoid touching the substance, described as being like "clear glue or oily".

The best way to catch a bird is to throw a towel or something similar over it's head and keep it in darkness until you can get professional help, he says.

States pay deal 'about fairness'

BBC Radio Jersey

Pay reforms put forward by the States of Jersey will see £37m invested to create a fairer and more consistent pay structure, the chairman of the States Employment Board says.

Members of Unite, which represents manual workers and other staff, overwhelmingly rejected new pay and conditions, describing the government as "austerity-obsessed".

But Senator Andrew Green says it's a fair deal, which will see only 200 public sector staff taking pay cuts after 2020.

Senator Andrew Green

I'm aware of the anger, but I think we need to get real. In the world that we're working in now, all staff need to treated equally - and that's one of the main drivers for me on the workforce modernisation."

Senator Andrew GreenChairman of the States Employment Board

Romance your valentine in Guernsey French

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

Romantic phrases have been added to an app for people wanting to expand their Guernsey French vocabulary.

Fairy Ring
Guernsey Museum
Why not take a wander to the Fairy Ring with your romantic interest?

Why not try this one out?

T'es mon solael, ma leune et toute mes eteiles.

In English: You are my sun, my moon and all of my stars.

Or if that's a bit tricky, just shorten to: T'es mon solael.

If you'd like to expand your repertoire to include an invitation to cuddle, or perhaps slip in a reference to a fairy ring, details on how to download the app are available here.

'Austerity-obsessed States should recognise worker anger'

BBC Radio Jersey

Jersey could be heading for a spring of industrial action, as States employees react angrily to their latest pay deals.

Members of Unite, which represents manual workers and other staff, overwhelmingly rejected new pay and conditions while some teachers say it's outrageous they have been forced to accept a 2% pay rise.

Unite regional secretary Peter Hughes said the government was "austerity-obsessed" and was making its workers suffer.

He said: "Unite members have had enough and sent a clear message that they will not accept plans which could lead to pay freezes and pay cuts alongside detrimental effects to their pensions and collective bargaining arrangements."

The chairman of the States Employment Board says the pay deal is about fairness, with only 200 public sector staff taking pay cuts after 2020.

Jersey business activity 'up 5%'

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

Jersey businesses are reporting a largely positive picture for the final three months of 2017, according to figures released today.

The Jersey Business Tendency Survey shows business activity increased 5% in the three months to December.

Six out of the eight current indicators were positive, with only profitability and input costs negative.

New business and optimism indicators also improved on the previous quarter.

Alderney changes 'will strengthen' wildlife protection

BBC Radio Guernsey

Major planning policy changes to Alderney's greenbelt have been amended to further protect the island's heritage sites.

The Alderney Wildlife Trust, the Alderney Bird Observatory, and the Alderney Society have welcomed revisions to the island's Land Use Plan, which they say will strengthen the protection of natural history and heritage sites.

Alderney tourist sign

The island is home to two nature reserves, an internationally important wetlands site, and many former World War Two sites, including the only concentration camp on British soil.

But Roland Gauvain from the wildlife trust said he would be pushing to see if the island's government is able to enforce conservation protection on privately owned sites of "national or international importance".

"We're looking to push that little bit harder and see if the States are willing to tie themselves to something that really shows the island to be a showcase for the natural and heritage world."

The changes are still subject to political approval.

New EU committee 'will probe blacklisting process'

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

A German MEP says a special committee launched by the EU Parliament will look into whether some countries or jurisdictions received "unjustified special treatment" as part of the EU's first ever consolidated tax blacklist, drawn up in December.

Jersey and Guernsey were omitted from the first ever consolidated list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, or tax havens, but warned to make changes within a year.

Governments in the Channel Islands said the omission was the result of their commitment to tax transparency.

Union flags fly in Brussels

German MEP Sven Geigold said the new tax blacklist "lacks credibility and transparency" and the committee would demand full access to all documents.

The European Council, which drew up the list, said it was already proving its worth.

Mr Geigold said: "We will assess whether some countries or jurisdictions received unjustified special treatment.

"The mistakes of the tax haven blacklist may not be repeated. It is totally unacceptable that the EU’s blacklists do not include the most important places in the world of shadow finance.

"In the context of Brexit the committee will give particular attention to the British Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories," he added.

EU tax committee 'will focus on Crown Dependencies'

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

A newly-formed EU committee set up in the wake of the Paradise Papers will give "particular attention" to the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.

The European Parliament yesterday launched Taxe 3, a year-long inquiry into financial crime, tax evasion and avoidance.

Paradise Papers logo

The inquiry has been set up with the intention of building on the work of prior committees set up following other high profile leaks such as the Panama Papers, and will consider the application of EU VAT rules, national schemes providing tax privileges, and the digital economy.

German MEP Sven Giegold, who negotiated its mandate, said the committee will give "particular attention" to the Crown Dependencies in the context of Brexit.

Low-tax jurisdictions Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man were not included in a list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, or tax havens, drawn up by EU finance ministers in December. Channel Island governments said the omission was "fully justified".

The EU committee's mandate will be to "analyse and assess the third-country dimension in financial crimes, tax avoidance and tax evasion practices", including probing the exchange of information.

Guernsey house prices: The stats

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

Despite house prices recovering in the final six months of 2017, the average value of Guernsey's local market properties fluctuated significantly in the space of a year, figures released show.

Guernsey house price table
States of Guernsey

House prices up again

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

House prices in Guernsey rose again in the final three months of 2017, taking the average price to £424,524.

Prices were up 0.3%, after a growth of 1.2% in the three months to September.

In the space of a year house prices have risen more than £10,000.

The figures, based on local market sales, have been released by the States, along with data on the island's open market, which showed 18 transactions in the final three months of the year.

‘Reasons to be cheerful’ about economic outlook

Guernsey Press

Guernsey could enjoy a Brexit bonus if Theresa May’s government provides more "dynamic" support for the City of London, a visiting economist has said.

Scrutiny call for higher education funding plans

Jersey Evening Post

Proposals for higher education funding should be lodged next week to avoid the issue dragging on while the education minister has stepped aside from his ministerial duties, a scrutiny panel chairman has said.

EU bass decision 'vindicates' Jersey's tough stance

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

Jersey's government claims the EU's decision to introduce similar measures to the island to protect bass stocks is a vindication of the approach taken a year ago.

Sea bass
States of Jersey

In December, the EU decided on catch-and-release only for recreational fishermen, a stance adopted by Environment Minister Steve Luce in February 2017.

Guernsey - also subject to EU measures under the Common Fisheries Policy - has followed suit, but anglers have questioned whether they can be enforced from the shore.

Deputy Luce said: "We made some difficult decisions this time last year but did so based on the best evidence available.

"Whilst there have been some reports of more positive bass stocks locally, the wider outlook remains poor and in many ways vindicates the tough choices that we made.

"The rest of the EU is now coming in line with our bold management measures from 12 months ago."

Details on free university tuition fees expected later

BBC Radio Jersey

Details of how Jersey's government will pay the university tuition fees of local students should emerge later.

Free tuition fees for students whose parents earn less than £150,000-a-year were agreed last November, but a delay in announcing detailed proposals has caused unease for students starting in 2018 trying to arrange funding.

A draft version of ministers' proposal has been produced, and is expected to be debated on 10 April - the final States sitting before islanders go to the polls in May.

Sunny intervals, showers and a brisk wind

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

Some sunny intervals today, but also a mix of hail and rain showers.

There will be brisk northwesterly winds.

Temperatures will reach 9C (48F).

Alex Osborne presents the Channel Islands weather forecast

Business owner 'wants decision' on Haut de La Garenne

Chris Rayner

BBC Radio Jersey Political Reporter

Accommodation and activity centre sign

A director of a company based at Haut de la Garenne says he can help to change the legacy of the site as people create happy memories there.

A consultation has been launched considering the future of the former children's home, after the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry report suggested demolishing the former children’s home in St Martin, where abuse and neglect was perpetrated against children.

The Jersey Accommodation and Activity Centre, a residential adventure and activity centre, is based at the site.

John Fox

We'd like to see some sort of closure on this. We would encourage people to air their views through the consultation process, so the government of Jersey can make the right decision for Jersey based upon the views of people of the island."

John FoxJersey Accommodation and Activity Centre

Minister: Inter-island ferries 'by mid-April'

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

The new inter-island ferry service operated by French company Manche Iles could be up and running by mid-April, Jersey's economic development minister has said.

Manche-Iles Express boat

The company already operates a summer service to the islands, but additional sailings will be added.

Senator Lyndon Farnham said: "We've got a good lead time into the summer and Manche Iles Express are prepared, and have in actual fact just completed works to one of their ferries which increased the capacity, so its good timing for them.

"The new inter-island service will be in operation by the beginning of May, I'm hoping we'll start to see the first ferries going by mid-April."

Senator Farnham also confirmed return fares would be less than £40.

Pay structure changes 'overwhelmingly' rejected by union

BBC Radio Jersey

A union representing some of Jersey's public sector workers is warning there could be industrial action, after members voted "overwhelmingly" to reject plans to overhaul their terms and conditions.

Unite says the government needs to "get its head out of the sand and recognise the depth of anger" resulting from its workforce modernisation programme.

Another union, Prospect, has questioned the rationale behind some of the pay grade changes.

The States is aiming to reduce the number of pay grades available to staff to create a more consistent pay structure, but 87% of public sector workers who are Unite members and who voted in a ballot said no to the deal.

A States spokesperson says the government has offered everything it can while sticking to the financial limits set by the States Assembly.

Alcohol remains main concern for drug charity

Gareth Owen

BBC Radio Guernsey

Guernsey charity Drug Concern's 2017 annual report shows alcohol continues to be the main substance people come to them for help with, accounting for 54% of cases, while cannabis-related abuse amounted to 39%.

Passing a cannabis spliff
Getty Images

Pharmaceutical opiates such as codeine, morphine and heroin accounted for 32%, with some of the people the charity helped using more than one substance.

Overall, there was a slight increase in numbers for 2017, with a total of 187 individual assessments for substance specific work compared to 177 in 2016.

The majority originated from the island's prison.

Teacher pay negotiations 'outrageous'

Naomi Dunning

BBC Radio Jersey, Reporter

Union leaders representing Jersey teachers say the States has behaved disgracefully by imposing a pay deal on staff, and are now considering industrial action.

The National Education Union has disputed a pay deal for 14 months, arguing for a rise close to the rate of inflation.

It offered to settle for 2% for last year, and 3.1% for 2018.

NEU South West Regional Secretary Andy Woolley said Jersey's government rejected that, and said any rise for this year depended on them agreeing to the workforce modernisation programme, which still hasn't been resolved.

Mr Wooley said: "For an employer to refuse to pay a rise on the due date or even to negotiate about it is outrageous”.

A spokesperson for the States said the government had offered all it could but had to keep any pay rises affordable and sustainable.

Drug charity withdraws children's service

Gareth Owen

BBC Radio Guernsey

A programme which helps children of drug users in the Bailiwick has closed.

Drug Concern's 2017 annual report says the Moving Parents and Children Together Programme (MPACT) suffered a decline in referrals, despite the overall number of drug users coming to them for help increasing slightly compared to 2016.

In 2013, BBC Children in Need gave £105,000 over a three-year period for MPACT.

But Drug Concern says the programme suffered from a continued pattern of declining referrals meant it had to be withdrawn.

The charity says the decision wasn't taken lightly but the funders felt the attendance rate didn't justify the investment.

'Out of control' car gets wedged between walls

Ben Chapple

BBC News Online

Car wedged between walls
Jersey Fire & Rescue

A driver lost control and their car ended up wedged between two walls, Jersey Fire and Rescue Service says.

Four firefighters attended the scene after the crash at about 10:15 in St Lawrence.

The service said the driver was transported to hospital suffering with minor injuries, a concrete pillar was destroyed and the car suffered significant damage.

Car wedged between walls
Jersey Fire & Rescue

Weather: More rain overnight and early on Friday

BBC Weather

Feeling milder and mostly cloudy through tonight with spells of rain pushing eastwards, mainly after midnight.

The rain will be heavy and persistent for a time.

Minimum Temperature: 4-7C (39-45F).

Weather map 8 February

Early rain will clear on Friday to leave sunny spells, but also the risk of some wintry showers.

Turning drier and sunnier later. Feeling colder.

Maximum Temperature: 4-7C (39-45F).

Nine expressions of interest in inter-island service

Ben Chapple

BBC News Online

There were nine expressions of interest in running the inter-island ferry service and two formal tenders were submitted, Jersey's Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture Department has said.

Earlier it was confirmed to the BBC French ferry firm Manche Iles was the preferred bidder.

In a statement the department said the panel included officers from Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney.

It said: "The submission received by the preferred bidder did not fully meet the scheduling requirements set out in the Invitation to Tender, but does represent about 25,000 extra seats."

Improving the connectivity between the Islands remains our focus and the proposal under consideration is a clear improvement on the options available in 2017."

Senator Lyndon FarnhamMinister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture

The department said "no formal award has been made yet", discussions were continuing and the aim is to have the service in operation by 1 May 2018.

Inter-island ferry operator 'looking at Alderney link'

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

Alderney is still be considered as a possible destination for an inter-island ferry link, Guernsey's economic development president has said.

Earlier, Deputy Charles Parkinson told the BBC French ferry operator Manche Iles was the preferred bidder for the route between Jersey and Guernsey.

Manche Iles boat

It's not entirely clear if Alderney will be included on the route, but the operator does currently serve the island from Dielette, a 55-minute crossing from the Cherbourg peninsula.

This afternoon he added: "We will be working hard with the preferred supplier to maximise this opportunity if at all possible – which includes the feasibility of providing additional services to Alderney."

'Respect sensitivities' of former children's home

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

Jersey's chief minister is encouraging islanders to share their views on the site of the former children's home at Haut de La Garenne.

But Senator Ian Gorst asked islanders to listen to each other and respect the sensitivities associated with the site - past and present when contributing to a 10-week consultation, beginning today.

The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry recommended the States of Jersey considers demolishing the former children’s home, where abuse and neglect was perpetrated against children.

The site is currently used as a hostel and activity centre, something Senator Gorst said islanders need to respect.

Senator Ian Gorst
Senator Ian Gorst

I would like to encourage every member of the community to actively engage with this process and to listen to one another, respecting the sensitivities associated with the site, its history and current use as a hostel and outdoor activity centre."

Senator Ian GorstJersey Chief Minister

No financial support from States for Manche Iles

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

There will be no financial support from Jersey and Guernsey's governments for Manche Iles, the French ferry company chosen to run an inter-island service from May.

Earlier, Guernsey's Economic Development Minister Charles Parkinson confirmed to the BBC the company was the preferred bidder.

The island's governments had agreed to provide financial support to whoever was chosen to run the service, however this afternoon, the States of Guernsey confirmed the proposal does "not require financial support or underwriting" at present.

Decision on Haut de La Garenne 'later this year'

Rob Byrne

BBC News Online

A 10-week consultation beginning today on the former Haut de La Garenne children's home will begin a process that will see a final decision on the site taken "later this year".

Haut de La Garenne

The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry recommended the States of Jersey considers demolishing the former children’s home, where abuse and neglect was perpetrated against children.

Survivors of abuse and care leavers were contacted before the public consultation, the States of Jersey said.

Senator Ian Gorst added: “We have asked that the consultation report should be presented to the new Council of Ministers at the start of their term of office, so that a final decision can be reached later this year.”

Ferry tender criticism 'not accepted'

John Fernandez

BBC Radio Guernsey

Guernsey's economic development president has defended the process that resulted in Manche Iles being appointed to run an inter-island ferry service.

Bidder Bumblebee's managing director Dan Meinke criticised the States for taking so long to appoint a company to run the service, due to begin this summer, saying it limited who it could appoint to run the service.

Channel ferry operator Condor pulled out its bid for the service - backed by Jersey and Guernsey governments - saying it was unable to secure the two vessels it required because the process had taken so long.

Another bidder, Bachmann Marine, also pulled out.

Deputy Charles Parkinson

The tender process has to be rigorous, and of course involving two different islands it was more complicated than most procurement exercises but it has resulted in the nomination of a preferred tenderer and we're taking the work forward."

Deputy Charles ParkinsonPresident, Economic Development Committee

Consultation on Haut de La Garenne launched

BBC Radio Jersey

A 10-week public consultation on the future of the former Haut de La Garenne children’s home has been launched.

The Island-wide consultation, which will run until 22 April, invites islanders to have their say on the future of the building.

The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry recommended demolishing the home, where much of the island's historic abuse took place.

In a statement today, Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst said: “Today’s launch of the Haut de la Garenne consultation marks the start of an important further step in our response to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.

“Recommendation 8c of the care inquiry challenged us to consider carefully how the site of the former Haut de la Garenne children’s home should be “redeemed”. I fully acknowledge and apologise for the history of abuse and neglect perpetrated against children living at the home. This should never happen again.

“Before we determine the future of this building, it is vital that all members of our community have the opportunity to share their views. Understandably, many Islanders already have a clear view about what we should do."

Care Inquiry: Francis Oldham QC delivers scathing report