Welsh morning headlines: News, Ukraine, Covid, sport, weather and road updates as PM to move ‘faster and harder’ against Putin


We have put together a round-up of all the latest news, weather and travel information for Monday, March 7, that will get you caught up and ready for the day.

Boris Johnson is set to embark on a week of intense diplomatic efforts with foreign leaders to build a united front against Vladimir Putin, while at home ministers scramble to go “faster and harder” with sanctions levelled against the Kremlin.

The Prime Minister will host Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at Downing Street today.

Mr Johnson is expected to put more pressure on international leaders to take further action to remove Russia from the Swift payment system, while pushing them to back his six-point plan to tackle Russian aggression.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said amendments to the Economic Crime Bill – which is set to be fast-tracked through all stages in the Commons on Monday – would “give us the chance to bring even more crippling sanctions against Putin and his regime”.

In Ukraine, a second temporary ceasefire designed to allow citizens to escape two cities failed to hold, as fresh photographs showed the desperation of those trying to escape the war.

People fleeing war-torn Ukraine receive food, clothing and toiletries at a train station in Berlin

Wales news headlines

Man suffers ‘significant and permanent injury’ after town centre assault

A man suffered a “significant and permanent injury” after a late-night assault in a town centre that was seen by a number of people.

The incident happened in Pontypridd on Saturday (March 5) just after midnight, and police have said a “crowd of people” watched.

They are now appealing for those people to get in touch.

The incident occurred outside the Food 4 You restaurant on High Street just after midnight.

Two men arrested in connection with the assault have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Police are now appealing for anyone who saw the incident or has mobile phone or dashcam footage to now come forward. More details on the appeal are here.

Tributes after sudden death of rugby club stalwart

Tributes have been paid to a rugby club stalwart following his ” sudden” death at the age of 49.

Mark Pritchard was described as a “rugby man” by those who knew him who captained his beloved Tonyrefail RFC for many years.

The former second-rower and back-rower became involved in coaching the junior and youth set ups, and was deeply admired by those in the club.

Mark Pritchard was a former club captain

In a Facebook post, a spokesman from Tonyrefail RFC said: “Both Tonyrefail RFC and Gilfach RFC are extremely saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Mark Pritchard.

“Mark played for Tonyrefail for many years before hanging his boots up and then dedicating his time to the development of junior and youth rugby.

“Most recently Mark followed his youngest son Isaac to Gilfach and threw himself 100% into coaching the youth side.

“All our thoughts from both clubs are with Janette, Harrison, Issac and Mollie at this very sad time.”

Today’s forecast

It is going to be dry and windy with sunny spells.

The Met Office forecast for Wales says: “After a cold start Monday will be a dry and bright day with best of the sunshine will be in sheltered parts of the north and west. It will become breezy in the afternoon, especially in the south. Maximum temperature 10°C

“Cloudy at times this evening, but it will stay day and skies will clear again during the early hours. Turning chilly by morning with a frost for many. Minimum temperature -2°C.”

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

  • Dyfed-Powys Police have advised motorists that the B4333 between Cynwyl Elfed and Maudlands is currently closed due to a collision. The incident occurred in the early hours and the road was closed around 1.50am today.

National news headlines

Russia becomes more isolated

Further companies from the West have cut ties with Russia making the country even more isolated.

On Sunday, Tiktok blocked its Russian users from posting new videos and Netflix said it was suspending its service in Russia.

Earlier in the day, American Express said it would suspend services in the country, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is separating its firm in Russia – which has a staff of around 3,700 – from the rest of its global network as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

The UK Government said it would pump an extra £74 million into Ukraine to support the country’s “indomitable people” through the humanitarian crisis being faced on the ground.

The aid, provided through the World Bank, could go towards supporting public sector salaries, allowing vital state functions to keep operating, or supporting social safety nets and pensions for the Ukrainian people.

A woman offers accommodation for people fleeing war-torn Ukraine

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel wrote to Interpol requesting the suspension of Russia’s access to its systems.

Mr Johnson said: “While only Putin can fully end the suffering in Ukraine, today’s new funding will continue to help those facing the deteriorating humanitarian situation.”

However, the Government will likely come under criticism for the speed of moves made at home.

The Home Office revealed on Sunday that only “around 50” visas had been granted under the Ukraine Family Scheme as of 10am on Sunday.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper tweeted: “This is too slow. Too many hoops for desperate families to have to jump through. Home Office completely failing to understand urgency of crisis.”

But Ms Patel said the UK was “doing everything possible” to speed up efforts to grant visas to Ukrainians fleeing the conflict, and told The Sun she was examining a “humanitarian route” to allow all Ukrainian refugees who want to come to the UK to do so. Read a Cardiff lecturers’ worries about her family in Ukraine here.

UK employment recovers to pre-pandemic levels for first time

The strength of the UK’s labour market has recovered to pre-pandemic levels for the first time, according to new research.

The latest business trends report from business advisory firm BDO revealed the employment conditions improved for the fourth consecutive month in February.

BDO’s monthly employment index in the report increased to a reading of 110.75 for the month, representing a 0.77 point increase against the previous month.

The reading represents the highest level on the index since February 2020, before the pandemic full struck the UK.

It also sits significantly above the 95 point level which indicates growth in the UK labour market.

This jump in the employment index was riven by the lifting of Covid restrictions and the associated improving economic outlook.

Consumer demand has rebounded significantly in recent months, stoking a need for more staff across many sectors.

A shortage of workers due to Brexit and the pandemic has also made competition for employees fierce, the report also said.

The lifting of the remaining coronavirus restrictions has also led to a rise in BDO’s optimism index, which increased 0.9 points to 105.81 in February, marking a second consecutive month of improvement following December’s Omicron-related dip.

Kaley Crossthwaite, partner at BDO, said: “Propped up by the government’s furlough scheme, the UK jobs market was largely resilient throughout the pandemic.

“As we emerge from a series of lockdowns and return to normality, the jobs market is now moving from resilience to growth, reflected in February’s buoyant figures.

“While it’s promising to see growth in business optimism throughout February, this could be short-lived as inflation continues to rise at a faster rate than wages.

“Inflationary pressures are set to mount further over the coming months, with energy and fuel prices key drivers of this increase.”

Sport headlines

The most likely Wales team to play France

Wales’ Six Nations title hopes are all but over after a second defeat to England.

Of course, while disappointing that hopes of retaining their crown are effectively impossible at this stage, it does perhaps open things up selection-wise for Wayne Pivac.

Throw in the fact that a Six Nations fallow week has seen a number of Welsh internationals in action for their clubs and there’s the potential for changes – with several arguably auditioning for a spot against France this weekend.

With that in mind, what’s the likely XV going to be to take on France on Friday night?

Our rugby writer Ben James has had a look and come up with some of the most likely scenarios. Take a look here.

Joe Perry takes Welsh Open title

World number 42 Joe Perry has won the Welsh Open for the first time, beating world number three Judd Trump 9-5 in the final in Newport last night.

It is Perry’s second ranking title, his last was back in 2015. With the win Perry, who turned professional in 1992, now jumps up to 23rd in the world.

Joe Perry lifts the Ray Reardon Trophy after he beats Judd Trump

“This is the absolutely highlight of my career by a country mile,” said the 47-year-old. “I thought it was coming to an end but now I’ve had the best moment of my snooker career – to do it against a great champion like Trump is the icing on the cake.”

Perry had a difficult route to the final, beating seeds Mark Allen, Kyren Wilson, Ricky Walden and Jack Lisowski and came through three final frame deciders on his way to lift the Ray Reardon Trophy and claim the £70,000 first prize.

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