Welsh morning headlines: News, Covid, sport, weather and roads updates as FAW joins boycott of games against Russia


We have put together a round-up of all the latest news, weather and travel information for Monday, February 28, that will get you caught up and ready for the day.

In the latest news from the Ukraine, Boris Johnson has said Britain will do all it can to get more arms to the beleaguered Ukrainian military as Russian forces continue to threaten Kyiv.

The Prime Minister spoke again on Sunday evening to President Volodymyr Zelensky who told him the next 24 hours would a “crucial period” for his country.

A Ukrainian delegation is due to meet the Russians “without precondition” on Monday on the border with Belarus, although Mr Zelensky has indicated he sees little prospect of any meaningful dialogue.

In the meantime, Russian and Ukrainian forces have again been engaged in heavy fighting ahead of the widely expected assault on the capital.

Earlier, Mr Johnson dismissed a dramatic announcement by Vladimir Putin that he was putting Russia’s nuclear forces on heightened alert as a “distraction” from the failure of his troops to breakthrough in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Football Association of Wales has become the latest to announce its teams would refuse to play against Russia. Read the full statement here.

Wales news headlines

Rule on face masks changes today

The law has today changed in Wales meaning you no longer need to wear face coverings in all indoor places.

From Monday, February 28, Welsh Government has withdrawn the legal requirement for masks to be worn indoors due to Coronavirus.

It means you no longer need to wear a face covering in cinemas, theatres, community centres, museums and gyms but face coverings will continue to be a legal requirement for adults and children aged 11 and over, unless exempt, in all retail settings, on public transport and in health and care settings.

The legal requirement to wear masks in hospitality settings has already been removed but the Welsh Government “strongly advise” people to wear them voluntarily.

Speaking ahead of today’s rule change, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We have worked hard to make sure the protections we have in place are proportionate to the public health situation and the risk of coronavirus.

“Thanks to everyone’s hard work and all their sacrifices, cases of coronavirus are falling across Wales. Now is the right time to relax the general requirement to wear a face covering in many indoor public places but we will keep the legal requirement in place in retail, public transport and health and social care, which are widely used and essential sectors. This is part of our cautious and careful response to the pandemic. We will continue to consider the latest scientific and medical evidence to inform our approach.

“Later this week I will be setting our longer term plans to manage the pandemic, as we carry out the regular three-week review of the regulations.” You can read what we expect to learn in that review here.

As schools return after the half-term break, they will be able to make their own decisions about rules. You can see how life in schools will look after half-term here.

Support for Welsh footballing legend

Messages of support have been widespread for Welsh football legend John Toshack as he battles pneumonia brought on by Covid in intensive care.

The 72-year-old was admitted last weekend with breathing difficulties and has been on a ventilation machine in Barcelona.

Toshack, who lives in Spain after spells in management with Real Sociedad and two stints with European giants Real Madrid in the 1980s and 1990s, is believed to be in a serious condition.

John Toshack

He was last employed in football by Tractor in 2018, who operate in the Persian Gulf Pro League.

The former striker was also Wales manager briefly in 1994 and then from 2004 to 2010.

He kickstarted the youth revolution which saw the likes of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen make their Wales debuts as teenagers and eventually go on to march to the Euros semi-finals.

He has also worked all over Europe, with jobs in Turkey, France and Macedonia over the course of a 40-year managerial career

Concern for missing 96-year-old woman grows

A desperate search is continuing for a pensioner who has been reported missing from Brecon.

Rita, 96, was last seen at 10.20am on Saturday, February 26, and is It is understood she is travelling on foot.

On Sunday, officers said enquiries to find Rita were ongoing and said residents could expect to see an increased police presence in Brecon town centre.

Dyfed-Powys Police are appealing for information to help to find Rita, who they said may be wearing a fleece jumper with a leaf design. Officers have not given her surname but have released a photograph of her.

They said that they are concerned for her welfare.

In a social media appeal, Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Have you seen 96-year-old Rita, from Brecon? We’re concerned for her welfare. She was last seen at 10.20am today (February 26), and may be wearing a fleece jumper with a leaf design. She’s thought to be travelling on foot. Do you have info that might help us find her? Please, let us know.”

Today’s forecast

All change today after the springlike weekend as it turns cloudy with heavy rain spreading in from the west.

The full Met Office forecast for Wales says: “Starting cloudy with occasional drizzle, especially in the west and southwest. More persistent and locally heavy rain will spread from the west during the morning and will linger through the afternoon, with low cloud bringing fog over higher ground. Maximum temperature 12 °C.

“Outbreaks of rain will ease and clear eastwards during the evening, with clearing skies following. Turning cold by morning with a touch of frost some patchy fog in rural areas. Minimum temperature -1 °C.”

Here is how the roads and rail are affected at 7am:

  • An accident on the A4139 The Green, near Golden Hill Road, Pembroke, has been cleared.

  • Buses run instead of trains on Transport for Wales between Shrewsbury and Newtown, Powys, due to flooding.

National news headlines

Lack of British success at 28th annual SAG awards

There was a notable lack of British success at this year’s Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards, with UK talent being snubbed in almost every category.

British heavyweights including Benedict Cumberbatch and Olivia Colman, lost out in their respective categories, as did Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film Belfast.

Cumberbatch lost out to Will Smith for best male actor in a leading role, who won for his performance in King Richard, and Colman was beaten by Jessica Chastain, who took best female actor in a leading role for The Eyes Of Tammy Faye.

Michael Douglas showing his support for Ukraine at the awards

Belfast cast members Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Ciaran Hinds and Jude Hill took to the stage to introduce a clip from film, set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, but lost out to CODA for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture.

Balfe also lost out to Ariana DeBose in the female actor in a supporting role category.

Apple TV’s Richmond-based comedy Ted Lasso provided the only relief of the night, with it’s largely British cast receiving best ensemble in a comedy series.

But Brett Goldstein was beaten to the top prize of best male actor in a comedy series by US co-star Ted Lasso, who scooped the prize for the second year running for his portrayal of the amateur football coach.

Hannah Waddingham and Juno Temple, who were both nominated for best female actor in a comedy series, lost out to Jean Smart, who won the award for her role in US sitcom Hacks.

However one of the evening’s highlights came from British screen veteran Dame Helen Mirren who was given the SAG lifetime achievement award at the 28th annual ceremony.

Dame Helen, who is SAG’s most decorated recipient of the accolade, attributed her years of success to her mantra of “be on time and don’t be an ass”.

Peaky Blinders episode dedicated to late actress

Peaky Blinders has dedicated the first episode of its sixth and final series to the late Helen McCrory.

McCrory, who starred as Shelby family matriarch Polly Gray in the hit crime drama in the previous five seasons, died from cancer aged 52 last April.

The programme, which returned to BBC One on Sunday evening, also addressed her absence by writing her death into the plotline which causes members of the Shelby family to subsequently spiral.

A collage of scenes recapping the previous action was shown before the new episode where McCrory can be seen portraying her role as Polly.

The infamous Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy, dramatically opens the first scene and soon has to come to terms with the consequences of his actions as a cart of dead bodies is delivered to his door.

After opening the body bags whilst crying, the scene cuts to a portrait of Polly, implying that she is among the victims.

While watching the bodies burn in a memorial service, Polly’s son Michael, played by Finn Cole, says: “Mum, it was the ambitions and strategies of one man that caused this.

“And I swear on the devil of the almighty God, no matter what it takes, no matter how many lies I have to tell, I will take revenge on Tommy Shelby.”

The rest of the episode sees various members of the Shelby family spiralling as they come to terms with Polly’s death.

Sport headlines

Wales Six Nations controversy erupts

Wales are coming under increased scrutiny over the circumstances that allowed Tomas Francis to return to the field at Twickenham despite suffering what appeared to be a serious head injury.

In an open letter to the Welsh Rugby Union, World Rugby and Six Nations bosses, lobby group Progressive Rugby, which is made up of a number of former and current players, as well as medical experts, described what unfolded as “a clear and flagrant breach of HIA protocol”.

TV footage captured Francis staggering near his own try line in the 20th minute after a clash of heads with team-mate Owen Watkin, appearing to have to use the pads of the posts to hold himself up.

Read next:All the fallout from England v Wales

He initially remained on the pitch after being checked by a medic before being removed to undergo a HIA, which he duly passed before returning to the pitch around 10 minutes later.

But, under World Rugby laws, any player who shows visible signs of balance disturbance/ataxia after a head blow should be removed immediately and permanently from a match without a HIA.

Francis continued to play before being replaced by Leon Brown in the 56th minute. Read more here.

What changes could be made for France game

Wales’ performance in the Guinness Six Nations clash against England at Twickenham attracted what theatre critics refer to as ‘mixed reviews’.

Many were impressed by the second-half rally that saw Wayne Pivac’s team out-score their opponents three tries to one.

More still were dismayed by the lamentable opening 44 minutes from the visitors which allowed England to build a 17-0 lead without touching any great heights themselves.

So the head coach faces a tricky selection for the game with Grand Slam-chasing France in Cardiff a week on Friday.

The assumption is Pivac will not be satisfied with all aspects of the team effort, but would changing personnel bring about an improvement or would it risk the element of continuity every side needs to prosper?

Are there any players who might come into Pivac’s squad?

Rugby writer Mark Orders assesses how the coach’s options and how his selection might go. Read here.

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