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Oscar nominations: 6 things to look out for

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Sony/Entertainment One/Warner Bros

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Left-right: Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood, 1917 and Joker could be strong contenders

This year’s Oscar nominations will be announced later, with Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, 1917 and The Irishman expected to be among the frontrunners.

Other contenders are likely to include Joker, for which Joaquin Phoenix could win best actor, plus Netflix’s Marriage Story and South Korean hit Parasite.

All eyes will also be on how many minority actors, and female directors, make it onto the shortlists.

The nominations will be announced in LA from 05:18 local time (13:18 GMT).

Here are six things to look out for.

1. A female director

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Reuters

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Greta Gerwig (centre) with Little Women stars Saoirse Ronan (left) and Florence Pugh

Only five women have ever been nominated for best director, and only one since 2010.

That was Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird in 2018. Could she get another this year for her vivacious, acclaimed adaptation of Little Women?

It’s a very strong field. If the tipsters are to be believed, Hollywood heavyweights Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood), Sam Mendes (1917) are all locks, as is Bong Joon Ho (Parasite).

So that probably leaves a tight race between Gerwig and Joker’s Todd Phillips for the fifth and final spot. If Gerwig does get the nod, she’ll become the first women to be nominated twice for best director.

Lulu Wang (The Farewell) and Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) are the other women with an outside chance of sneaking in. If no women make it again, expect an outcry.

2. #OscarsSoWhite?

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Reuters

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Cynthia Erivo was nominated for Harriet at the Golden Globes

Last year, a record three of the four acting statuettes were won by non-white stars (Rami Malek, Regina King and Mahershala Ali).

This time, the Oscars are likely to be less diverse – although it shouldn’t quite repeat the Bafta nominations’ recent whitewash.

At the Golden Globes earlier this month, Asian-American star Awkwafina was the only non-white victor in the six movie acting categories, for The Farewell.

And it is the best actress category that is likely to be the most diverse when the Oscar nominations come out. British star Cynthia Erivo missed out on a Bafta nod but was shortlisted for a Golden Globe for playing slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman in Harriet. Lupita Nyong’o, who won in 2014, has won praise for Us.

Elsewhere, Eddie Murphy could be in the running for best actor for Dolemite Is My Name, 13 years after his last and only nomination (for Dreamgirls).

Zhao Shuzhen could be in with a shout for best supporting actress for The Farewell, while Parasite’s Song Kang Ho has a shot at best supporting actor.

3. British talent

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David Appleby/Paramount

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Taron Egerton won a Golden Globe for playing Sir Elton John in Rocketman

After Olivia Colman became the toast of Hollywood by winning best actress last year, a few more British stars will be hoping to fly the flag this time – led by Erivo.

We could also see Taron Egerton nominated for playing Sir Elton John, and it could be a particularly good year for the Welsh if he is joined by Jonathan Pryce and Sir Anthony Hopkins, who are in contention for playing the pair of pontiffs in The Two Popes.

Elsewhere, Florence Pugh, from Oxford, could really announce her arrival in Hollywood with a nomination for playing Amy in Little Women.

And if she is a relative newcomer at 24, it could be an even more meteoric rise for 10-year-old Roman Griffin Davis if he repeats his Golden Globes feat, where he was nominated for his performance in Jojo Rabbit.

If any of the above repeat Colman’s achievement and pull off a win, however, it will be a big shock.

4. Can Scarlett do the double?

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Netflix/20th Century Fox

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Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story (left) and Jojo Rabbit

Scarlett Johansson and Margot Robbie both received two Bafta nominations last week.

Unlike the Baftas, the Oscars have a rule saying the same person can’t be nominated in the same category twice – which pretty much rules out Margot’s chances of double dipping in the supporting actress category on Monday for Bombshell and Once Upon A Time…

Scarlett, however, could be nominated for best actress for Marriage Story and best supporting actress for Jojo Rabbit. It would be the first time any actor has been nominated twice in the same year since Cate Blanchett in 2008.

5. Returning Oscar favourites

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Netflix

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The Two Popes could give Sir Anthony Hopkins (left) his fifth nomination and Jonathan Pryce his first

A number of past Oscar favourites could be welcomed back into the fold.

Sir Anthony Hopkins has been nominated four times (including a win for The Silence of the Lambs) – but none have come since 1998.

Tom Hanks has won twice, but remarkably has not been nominated since 2001 (for Cast Away). He’s in with a chance for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

And Al Pacino has eight career nominations – the last coming when he was up twice in 1993 (winning for Scent of a Woman). This time, he could return for The Irishman.

Renee Zellweger had three nominations in a row from 2002-04, but has not been listed since winning for Cold Mountain. This year, she’s favourite to scoop best actress for playing Judy Garland in Judy.

If Charlize Theron is nominated for Bombshell, it would be her first nod since North Country in 2006.

6. Can J-Lo hustle a nomination?

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STX Films

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Left-right: Lili Reinhart, Jennifer Lopez, Keke Palmer and Constance Wu in Hustlers

Cruelly, Jennifer Lopez has 10 Golden Raspberry nominations to her name, including worst actress of the decade in the 2000s.

What a story it would be if she now received an Oscar nomination. It could happen – there has been buzz around her role as the mastermind of a ring of women who drug and swindle rich men at strip clubs in Hustlers.

Let’s hope it does happen – even among Hollywood’s finest, she would surely have the highest star wattage on the red carpet on Oscars night on 9 February.

Listen to BBC Radio 5 Live’s analysis of the Oscar nominations on Nihal Arthanayake’s show from 14:00-15:00 GMT.

Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email .

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Iran plane downing: Pressure mounts on officials amid protests

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Protesters have vented their anger at officials over how the plane crash has been handled

Iran’s leaders are facing growing calls to dismiss senior officials after a Ukrainian passenger plane was shot down killing all 176 people on board.

Thousands of protesters demanded accountability on Saturday after the military said it had mistakenly downed the jet, having earlier denied it.

Riot police have been deployed and there are reports that protesters have gathered for a second day of action.

The plane was shot down amid rising tensions with the US.

It happened shortly after Iran launched missiles at two airbases housing US forces in Iraq. Those strikes were a response to the US killing of senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on 3 January.

Dozens of Iranians and Canadians, as well as nationals from Ukraine, the UK, Afghanistan and Sweden died on the plane.

It was en route to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, but came down near Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran shortly after take-off.

What’s the latest?

Riot police have been mobilised on the streets of Tehran in an effort to deter more demonstrations.

Despite this, videos circulating online appear to show demonstrators gathering for renewed protests on Sunday morning. In some of the clips, protesters can be heard chanting anti-government slogans.

Demonstrators have gathered in other cities as well as in the capital, reports say.

A number of Iranian newspapers have covered the vigils for the victims of the disaster alongside headlines such as “Shame” and “Unforgivable”.

But there has also been praise for what one pro-government newspaper called Iran’s “honest” admission of error.

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Media captionA crowd gathered outside Amir Kabir university, calling for resignations and accusing officials of lying

Those who decide to continue demonstrating will be mindful of the violence with which the security forces have dealt with protest movements in the past. the BBC’s Arab affairs editor Sebastian Usher says.

On Saturday, students gathered outside two universities. They initially did so to pay respect to the victims, but angry protests erupted later in the evening.

The students called for those responsible for the downing the plane, and those they said had covered up the action, to be prosecuted.

Social media users also vented anger at the government’s actions.

What has the international reaction been?

US President Donald Trump tweeted in both English and Farsi, saying: “To the brave and suffering Iranian people: I have stood with you since the beginning of my presidency and my government will continue to stand with you.

“We are following your protests closely. Your courage is inspiring.”

Britain, meanwhile, has condemned the arrest of the UK ambassador to Iran in Tehran as a “flagrant violation of international law”.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Rob Macaire was detained after attending a vigil where he was paying respects to victims of the crash, some of whom were British.

Mr Macaire said he left the vigil when some people started chanting and had played no part in the demonstration.

Iran on Sunday summoned the ambassador to complain about “his unconventional behaviour of attending an illegal rally”, the foreign ministry website said.

How did the Iranian admission unfold?

For three days, Iran denied reports its missiles had brought down the plane, with one spokesman accusing Western nations of “lying and engaging in psychological warfare”.

But on Saturday morning, a statement read on state TV accepted the plane had been shot down.

Brig-Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace commander, explained what happened.

He said a missile operator had acted independently and alone, mistaking the plane for a “cruise missile”.

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Media captionFootage shows missile strike on Ukrainian plane in Iran

“He had 10 seconds to decide. He could have decided to strike or not to strike and under such circumstances he took the wrong decision,” Gen Hajizadeh said.

Gen Hajizadeh said the military would upgrade its systems to prevent such “mistakes” in the future.

He also said he had informed the authorities about what had happened on Wednesday, raising questions about why Iran had denied involvement for so long.

Both Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have demanded accountability from Iran.

Mr Trudeau said on Saturday there must be a full investigation with “full clarity on how such a horrific tragedy could have occurred”.

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Media captionTrudeau: “We need full clarity on how such a horrific tragedy could have occurred”

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Serena Williams wins Auckland Classic for first title in three years

Serena Williams is in her fourth decade on the WTA Tour

Serena Williams won her first title in three years and first since becoming a mother with victory over Jessica Pegula at the Auckland Classic.

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion beat her fellow American 6-3 6-4.

It is the 38-year-old’s first singles title since she won the Australian Open in 2017 and her 73rd WTA title overall.

Williams, in her fourth decade on the WTA Tour, lost the Wimbledon and US Open finals in 2018 and 2019 and retired from the 2019 Rogers Cup final.

She said after her victory that she would donate her prize money in Auckland and a dress she had worn to the Australian bushfire appeal.

“I have been playing for so long and been through so much and I’m happy to be doing something I love,” Williams said.

“I feel fortunate and blessed to be out here and to be healthy and to play.”

The Australian Open begins on 20 January, with Williams bidding to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.

Williams won her first WTA title in February 1999, when she beat France’s Amelie Mauresmo on carpet at the Open Gaz de France.

She made a slow start in Auckland, with Pegula taking a 3-1 lead in the first set, before recovering to win the next five games and close out the opening set.

Williams broke the unseeded Pegula’s serve early in the second set and converted her fourth match point to ensure victory.

She celebrated on court with her daughter, Olympia, with whom she was eight weeks pregnant when she won her last Grand Slam title in Melbourne.

Williams was also in the doubles final with Caroline Wozniacki, but the two were beaten 6-4 6-4 by Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend in the doubles final.

In Brisbane, Karolina Pliskova successfully defended her title with a 6-4 4-6 7-5 win over American Madison Keys.

Singles world number one Ashleigh Barty – who is donating all her prize money to the bushfire appeal – and her doubles partner Kiki Bertens lost their final against Barbora Strycova and Hsieh Su-wei 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 10-8.

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Tennessee Titans shock Baltimore Ravens; San Francisco 49ers beat Vikings

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry celebrates with fans

The Tennessee Titans shocked the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers also advanced in the NFL divisional play-offs.

Ryan Tannehill passed for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Titans beat the AFC top seeds 28-12.

They will meet the winners of Sunday’s Kansas City Chiefs-Houston Texans game for the AFC title on 19 January.

The 49ers beat the Minnesota Vikings 27-10 with Tevin Coleman rushing for 105 yards and two touchdowns.

San Francisco will now host the Green Bay Packers or the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC title, also on 19 January.

The Packers host the Seahawks at 23:40 GMT on Sunday after the Chiefs play the Texans (20:05 GMT).

The winners of the AFC and NFC Championship games will advance to Super Bowl 54 in Miami on 2 February.

Running back Derrick Henry rushed for a franchise post-season-record 195 yards on 30 carries and also passed for a touchdown as the Titans brushed aside their hosts.

“We’re just going to work and believe in each other. That’s our mentality, to come out here and work. That’s our mindset, focus on business,” said Henry.

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson, tipped to be the league’s Most Valuable Player, was intercepted twice and lost a fumble.

The 49ers never trailed, with their defence holding the Vikings to 21 yards rushing and 147 total yards.

Minnesota had only seven first downs as Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins could not get on track and was sacked six times.

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Iran plane crash: Missile struck underneath cockpit – Ukraine

Ukraine’s top security official, Oleksiy Danilov, has told the BBC that his country’s investigators had already gathered evidence that a missile brought down a Ukrainian passenger jet, before Iran changed its position.

After initially denying responsibility, Tehran has admitted that Ukraine International Airlines flight PS-752 crashed as a result of “human error” when it was misidentified as a cruise missile.

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John Baldessari: The artist who cremated his own paintings

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Getty Images

One day in 1970, the Californian artist John Baldessari looked back over the paintings he had done over a period of almost two decades.

And he decided to burn them all.

Baldessari had begun his career in the 1950s by sticking to tradition. He was in his twenties, and he was still figuring out who he was as an artist and, most importantly, who he wanted to be. The result was an inventory of relatively traditional semi-abstract paintings.

Rather than doing what most artists do and simply storing them away, he gathered them up, took them to a crematorium in nearby San Diego, and had the entire lot destroyed.

The ashes filled 10 large boxes – some of which were stored in a book-shaped urn, engraved with his name, which then lived on his bookshelf for the rest of his life. Baldessari combined some of the other ashes with cookie dough, and the resulting cookies were exhibited at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

“To be creative you have to have destruction quite often too,” Baldessari would tell an interviewer years later. “It’s like the idea of a phoenix rising from the ashes.”

In honour of the old artworks, he placed a death notice in a local newspaper.

Just a year later, he declared to the world: “I will not make any more boring art.”

John Baldessari died on 2 January, aged 88, having kept that promise.

Baldessari was born on 17 June 1931 in National City, California, just a few miles from Tijuana on the Mexican border.

He studied art and art education in San Diego, and was almost immediately drawn to teaching – taking up teaching posts at a junior high school, a community college, and then University of California, San Diego. He even spent a summer teaching art to teenagers at a camp for juvenile offenders run by the local authority.

Baldessari had already begun experimenting with new art forms before the cremation in 1970 – including paintings that were text-based, or combined text and image.

For example, he printed an intentionally bad photograph on to a canvas, with nothing but the word “WRONG” written underneath it.

In another work, Tips For Artists Who Want to Sell, he painted his deadpan advice for creating commercially appealing artwork – including tips such as, “paintings with light colours sell more quickly than paintings with dark colours”.

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In summer 1970, after the cremation day, he began teaching a course at CalArts on “post-studio art” – that is, art beyond the studio.

As well as teaching, it was there that he started making experimental videos – including the now-famous short film of himself writing “I will not make any more boring art” over and over again on a ruled notebook.

But as conceptual art developed a reputation for being cerebral (that is, code for impenetrable), Baldessari injected humour into his work – sometimes by riffing off other conceptual artists, such as Sol LeWitt.

“The first thing you would say about John is that he was hilarious,” curator Kate Fowle tells the BBC.

“He took his job as an artist very seriously – but he didn’t take art seriously. He didn’t take the art world seriously. He understood what it was, of course, but his joy was… well, he used to say to people, ‘just go out and look at art – it doesn’t matter if you don’t like it, just go and look, something will resonate in the end’.”

As well as being hilarious, she adds, he was tall. Very tall.

According to artist David Salle, one of Baldessari’s friends and CalArts students in the 1970s, he was 6’7″ – something that, for a long time, earned him “the distinction of being the tallest serious artist in the world”.

In the 1980s, he began working with photo collages – in particular, old Hollywood movie stills and photographs from newspapers.

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One such photograph, Ms Fowle recalls, was a film noir still. In it, a beautiful woman reclined on the beach, calmly reading a book. Baldessari’s text caption beneath this serene image? “Learn to read.”

He would also often obscure the people in these photographs with coloured stickers, which turned out to be old price tags. As he told NPR years later: “I just got so tired of looking at these faces.”

“John didn’t make work that demanded that you know something before you could enjoy it,” Ms Fowle says. “He would mix in words and images, but it wasn’t like, if you worked really hard you would get to the bottom of the puzzle. He wasn’t trying to test people.”

‘We arrived in time for the birthing’

Imparting the joy of art to others through teaching was Baldessari’s passion – as much as making his own art.

His gallerist, Marian Goodman, tells the BBC: “He gave a great deal to his students – a great deal. He really helped them become significant artists. People came from all over to study with him, and were beholden to him for all that he taught.”

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Getty Images

Salle, writing in Interview magazine in 2013, described taking Baldessari’s post-studio art class was “legendary”.

“[It] bestowed on those of us with enough brains to notice, a feeling of unbelievable luck of being in exactly the right place at the right time for the new freedoms in art – we arrived in time for the birthing, so to speak.”

He remained a prolific creator, too – even into his 80s.

In late 2009, Tate Modern in London staged a retrospective of his work – often a signal that an artist is entering the autumn of their career.

Baldessari, however, spent the next two years creating an entirely new collection of work. These were shown at an exhibition at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow in 2013.

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Getty Images

Two years later, in 2015, the man who began his career by burning his own “boring” paintings to a crisp was awarded the National Medal of Arts by then-US President Barack Obama.

As Salle wrote: “Collectors who, a few decades ago, might have considered ‘conceptual’ art something they probably didn’t have time for are now lining up for a chance to own a Baldessari.

“Despite – or perhaps because of – John’s contrarian nature, he is firmly in the canon.”

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Iran plane crash: Protesters condemn ‘lies’ on downed jet

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Media captionA crowd gathered outside Amir Kabir university, calling for resignations and accusing officials of lying

Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in Iran’s capital, Tehran, to vent anger at officials, calling them liars for having denied shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane.

Protests took place outside at least two universities, with tear gas reportedly fired.

US President Donald Trump tweeted support for the “inspiring” protests.

Iran on Saturday admitted downing the jet “unintentionally”, three days after the crash that killed 176 people.

Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, en route to Kyiv, was shot down on Wednesday near Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran shortly after take-off, and only hours after Iran had fired missiles at two air bases housing US forces in Iraq.

Those attacks were Iran’s response to the US killing of senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on 3 January.

Dozens of Iranians and Canadians, as well as nationals from Ukraine, the UK, Afghanistan and Germany died on the plane.

What happened at the protests?

Students gathered outside at least two universities, Sharif and Amir Kabir, reports said, initially to pay respect to the victims. Protests turned angry in the evening.

The semi-official Fars news agency carried a rare report of the unrest, saying up to 1,000 people had chanted slogans against leaders and tore up pictures of Soleimani.

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AFP

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Students had gathered outside Amir Kabir university to pay tribute to the victims

The students called for those responsible for the downing the plane, and those they said had covered up the action, to be prosecuted.

Chants included “commander-in-chief resign”, referring to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and “death to liars”.

Fars said police had “dispersed” the protesters, who were blocking roads. Social media footage appeared to show tear gas being fired.

Social media users also vented anger at the government’s actions.

One wrote on Twitter: “I will never forgive the authorities in my country, the people who were on the scene and lying.”

The protests were, however, far smaller than the mass demonstrations across Iran in support of Soleimani after he was killed.

What has been the reaction?

President Trump tweeted in both English and Farsi, saying: “To the brave and suffering Iranian people: I have stood with you since the beginning of my presidency and my government will continue to stand with you.

“We are following your protests closely. Your courage is inspiring.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted video of the protests in Iran, saying: “The voice of the Iranian people is clear. They are fed up with the regime’s lies, corruption, ineptitude, and brutality of the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] under Khamenei’s kleptocracy. We stand with the Iranian people who deserve a better future.”

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Media captionUkraine’s Oleksiy Danilov: “We already had enough to show…what really happened here”

The UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab issued an angry statement after British ambassador Rob Macaire was arrested “without grounds or explanation” in a “flagrant violation of international law” at one of the protests in Tehran.

Mr Macaire was detained at the demonstration outside Amir Kabir and was later released.

Mr Raab said Iran could “continue its march towards pariah status… or take steps to de-escalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards”.

How did the Iranian admission unfold?

For three days, Iran had denied reports its missiles had brought down the plane, with one spokesman accusing Western nations of “lying and engaging in psychological warfare”.

But on Saturday morning, a statement read on state TV accepted the plane had been shot down.

Brig-Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace commander, explained what happened.

He said a missile operator had acted independently and alone, mistaking the plane for a “cruise missile” as there had been reports that such missiles had been fired at Iran.

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Media captionFootage shows missile strike on Ukrainian plane in Iran

“He had 10 seconds to decide. He could have decided to strike or not to strike and under such circumstances he took the wrong decision,” Gen Hajizadeh said.

“He was obliged to make contact and get verification. But apparently, his communications system had some disruptions.”

Gen Hajizadeh said the military would upgrade its systems to prevent such “mistakes” in the future.

He said he had “wished he was dead” after being told of the missile strike.

Gen Hajizadeh said he had informed the authorities about what had happened on Wednesday, raising questions about why Iran had denied involvement for so long.

Ayatollah Khamenei said there was “proof of human error”, while President Hassan Rouhani said Iran “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake”.

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif laid part of the blame on the US. “Human error at a time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to [this] disaster,” he said.

How have Canada and Ukraine reacted?

Both Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Mr Rouhani on Saturday.

Mr Trudeau said he was “outraged and furious” and had told Mr Rouhani that there must be a full investigation with “full clarity on how such a horrific tragedy could have occurred”.

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Media captionTrudeau: “We need full clarity on how such a horrific tragedy could have occurred”

Mr Trudeau said: “Canada will not rest until we get the accountability, justice and closure the families deserve… they are hurt, angry and grieving and they want answers.”

Mr Zelensky, who has demanded compensation and an apology, said Mr Rouhani had assured him that “all persons involved in this air disaster will be brought to justice”.

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Alamy

In the Canadian city of Edmonton, Pegah Salari is helping to organise a memorial service for the victims from the city on Sunday.

She says the latest admission by Iran means “now it’s more than grief”, first felt in the Iranian-Canadian community there.

“It’s anger, frustration,” she said.

Many on the plane were living there, including 10 people – faculty members, students, and alumni – from the University of Alberta.

Ms Salari is openly critical and distrustful of the Iranian government and is watching news of the protests in Iran with both trepidation and hope.

There are some in the Iranian diaspora in Canada who support the government in Tehran, which can cause tension, she said.

For the moment, that has been set aside, Ms Salari says.

“It’s not a political matter, it has nothing to do with economics. This for the first time is a human tragedy and all those lost lives has brought people closer and opened some eyes.”

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US storms: At least eight killed in severe weather

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Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office

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A tornado killed two people and left major damage in its wake in Bossier Parish, Louisiana

At least eight people have died as a result of severe storms sweeping across parts of the southern US, bringing high winds and heavy rain.

Deaths were reported in the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Texas.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by power cuts as a result of the storms, while homes have been destroyed and roads flooded.

Several tornado warnings were in place on Saturday, with Alabama said to be most at risk.

The storms have also brought the threat of ice and snow to parts of the Midwest. Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Saturday at Chicago’s two main airports.

The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana said an elderly couple died on Friday, when a tornado destroyed their mobile home, carrying it some 200ft (61m) from its foundations. The couple’s three dogs remained unaccounted for.

Another man in the state was killed on Friday when a tree fell on his home, officials said.

The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed that three people were killed in Pickens County, Alabama. Details were not immediately clear, but local media reported that they died as a result of an apparent tornado.

“Please take these warnings seriously,” the NWS in Birmingham, Alabama, said on Twitter when announcing the fatalities.

In Texas, one person died on Friday night when a car flipped into a creek in the city of Dallas. A 44-year-old man in the state’s Nacogdoches County also died when a tree fell onto his home, officials said.

Authorities say buildings have been damaged in the extreme weather, while there were widespread reports of trees and power lines being felled.

The states of Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas suffered property damage on Friday but reported no injuries.

People affected by the storms were urged on Saturday to seek shelter and avoid flooded roads.

You might be interested in watching:

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Media captionTornadoes leave buildings flattened in US south in December 2019

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Harry Dunn: Anne Sacoolas extradition bid inappropriate, says US

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Justice4Harry19

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Harry Dunn died in hospital after his motorbike was involved in a crash outside RAF Croughton

The United States has criticised the UK’s request to extradite an American accused of killing motorcyclist Harry Dunn, calling it “highly inappropriate”.

Mr Dunn, 19, died after being hit by a car allegedly driven by suspect Anne Sacoolas, who left the country for the US claiming diplomatic immunity.

The Home Office submitted a request on Friday to extradite her to the UK.

Dunn family spokesman Radd Seiger said she will “100% be coming back”.

“I have no doubt in my mind, the only thing I can’t tell you is when,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“This campaign won’t stop until Anne Sacoolas is back in the UK facing the justice system. There is no celebration and until she is back, we won’t rest.

“This lady is accused of taking Harry’s life, then fleeing the country. No-one is above the law in modern society. You don’t get to move to a country, break a law in that country and then leave.”

Mr Seiger said that under the circumstances, the family was “really pleased” the UK authorities had taken the “huge step towards justice”, but if the Trump administration was to ignore or reject the request, it would be re-presented should another administration come into power.

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Media captionRadd Seiger: Anne Sacoolas will “100% be coming back…the only thing I can’t tell you is when”

Can Anne Sacoolas be extradited?

The extradition request is sent via the British Embassy to the US State Department.

A lawyer will then decide whether it falls under the dual-criminality treaty, where the alleged offence is a crime in both countries and carries a prison sentence of at least a year.

The maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years’ imprisonment, although this is usually reserved for the most serious cases.

The US may reject the request for extradition, arguing that Mrs Sacoolas is still entitled to diplomatic immunity.

Is extraditing Anne Sacoolas a realistic prospect?

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Aiken Standard Archive

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Anne Sacoolas pictured on her wedding day in 2003

The crash happened outside RAF Croughton, where Mrs Sacoolas’ husband Jonathan worked as an intelligence officer. Mr Dunn died after his motorbike was in collision with a car owned by Mrs Sacoolas.

The 42-year-old left the UK shortly after the crash on 27 August and returned to the US, prompting a justice campaign by the teenager’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn.

Mrs Sacoolas was charged in December by the Crown Prosecution Service with causing death by dangerous driving and the Home Office submitted its extradition request to the US Department of Justice.

A spokeswoman for the US State Department said: “It is the position of the United States government that a request to extradite an individual under these circumstances would be an abuse.

“The use of an extradition treaty to attempt to return the spouse of a former diplomat by force would establish an extraordinarily troubling precedent.”

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Charlotte Charles told reporters the charging decision was a “huge step”