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Welsh morning headlines: News, Ukraine and sport as the UK gears up for the hottest day of the year so far

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We have put together a round-up of all the latest news, weather, and travel information for Friday, April 15, that will get you caught up and ready for the day as experts predict the bank holiday weekend begins. Good Friday is set to be the hottest day of the year so far, experts have predicted, ahead of “very pleasant” spring conditions over the Easter weekend.

Met Office meteorologist Steven Keates said highs of up to 23°C were expected in London, breaking the record of 20.8°C. from March. However, the warm weather will not be limited to the capital, with highs of 20°C. predicted in Wales. “It’s looking like Friday will be the warmest day of the year with highs of 22°C to 23°C, probably most likely in London,” the forecaster said.

“The current highest temperature is 20.8°C which was recorded in two places – St James Park in London on 23 March and Treknow in Cornwall on 25 March – so we should beat that tomorrow. Widely, it will be quite a warm day.” Mr Keates said although there may not be uninterrupted blue skies, most areas of the UK would enjoy sunny spells and high temperatures.

He urged beach-goers to “stick on the sunscreen” and drink plenty of water to protect against higher-than-average UV levels.

Wales news headlines

Ryanair chief explains the one thing they need from Cardiff Airport to introduce more holiday destinations there

The CEO of Ryanair, Eddie Wilson, has revealed what would make the airline choose Cardiff Airport as a base for more holiday destinations – and it’s all to do with cost. Mr Wilson spoke to WalesOnline at Funchal Airport in Madeira, where he was marking Ryanair’s new base.

In response to a question about whether there were anymore flights or destinations planned from Cardiff Airport, the CEO said: “Regional UK airports continue to be very strong for us. We’ve got a heavy presence in Bristol. We don’t yet have a base in Cardiff, but I would like to think that we could – I mean, I know we launched the destination to Dublin there last year – but I would like to think we’d expand there. But it’s all down to the cost.

“You look at it and say, ‘Why are they in Bristol, not in Cardiff?’ You can be sure it’s to do with cost and cost just translated to lower fares, which allows us to transport people, so we’ll do our best for Cardiff.” Currently, you can fly to Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, from Cardiff Airport with Ryanair, with flights from the end of March to the conclusion of October, 2022, on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays. You can also fly to Malaga from Cardiff with the airline during April and May on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Mr Wilson said Cardiff had the “infrastructure, the runway facilities, all that there” and that the airline had invested in the UK this year, opening a base in Newcastle and putting additional aircraft in airports including Stansted, Manchester, and Birmingham. “There’s still plenty of demand in the UK, and I’d like to think we’d do something with Cardiff, but tell them [the airport] to give us a call,” Mr Wilson added.

He said the main issue was lower airport costs. “We generally say, ‘We’ll bring more traffic, lower the costs,’ you know, a very simplistic way. Lower costs, they’ll have more passengers, they’ll make more money on the car parking, on the facilities at the airport.”

He added that more passengers would be “good for Ryanair, good for the airport, and good for people who are travelling at our legendary low fares”. Mr Wilson said Ryanair planned to fly 165 million passengers this year, and that he was “extremely happy” to be launching a base in Madeira.

Unions warn of strikes in Wales over Welsh Government changes to school day and term dates

Teachers are on a “collision course” with the Welsh Government over its plans to reform the times of the school day and changes to school dates. Teachers may strike or leave Wales to work in England if the plans go ahead, the incoming national president of the largest teaching union in Wales has warned.

Plans to change school term dates and school hours were announced last November as part of a three-year deal between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru to work together in the Senedd. A pilot of an extended school day got underway in 14 schools last term.

Angela Butler, the new national president of the Nasuwt, which has 300,000 members including 17,500 in Wales, said there had been a lack of consultation with teachers. She said there was also no research evidence showing the changes would benefit education. Headteachers’ representatives and unions have also said they are unhappy with the proposals.

Mrs Butler, who will continue to work as chemistry and SEN teacher at Newtown High during her presidency of the Nasuwt, claimed there had been no serious attempt to consider the views or effect on teachers and their pay, contracts and working conditions as a result of the reforms. In an open swipe at the Welsh Government she said ministers had shown a “lack of respect” for the profession that had filtered down to some members of the public.

Speaking ahead of the Nasuwt’s national conference, which starts on Friday, April 15 in Birmingham, Mrs Butler, who has spent 26 years in teaching, pulled no punches.

“I think that lack of respect starts with the government not holding the profession in esteem. I think they don’t value us as a profession,” she said. “I don’t think that’s a new thing. In Wales I thought we would be better served because we have a Labour government, but I feel they are paying lip service. They don’t understand teaching or the local management of schools.”

“The teaching profession is on a collision course with the Welsh Government over the changes to the school day and year. I don’t think they understand that. Teachers may strike over it,” she said.

She understood the problems some parents have juggling childcare and work over the summer holidays but ministers should be “honest” about the proposals being about childcare and not education. Mrs Butler said her union’s members were also angry at the way First Minister Mark Drakeford had apparently presented such major changes as a fait accompli during the Welsh Labour conference last month.

“He just dropped it in at the Welsh Labour conference saying “we will reform the school year and the school day”. That showed contempt for the teaching profession. Headteachers don’t want it, teachers don’t want it and supply teachers don’t want it. It is not backed by research that it helps education. Read more here.

Today’s forecast

Fine and dry for most with some warm sunshine. A dry and fine start, cooler along the coast with mist perhaps lingering for much of the day in Pembrokeshire. Staying dry with some warm strong sunshine in the afternoon. Maximum temperature 20 °C.

Staying largely dry through the evening. Becoming murky in places overnight as low cloud along coasts pushes inland, bringing patches of drizzle. Some mist and fog patches developing as well. Minimum temperature 5 °C.

Here is how the roads and rail are affected at 8am

No incidents to report.

National news headlines

Zelensky: Ukrainians should be proud for surviving 50 days of Russian invasion

President Volodymyr Zelensky told Ukrainians on Thursday they should be proud of having survived 50 days under Russian attack when the Russians “gave us a maximum of five”. In his late-night video address to the nation, Mr Zelenskyy called it “an achievement of millions of Ukrainians, of everyone who on February 24 made the most important decision of their life – to fight”.

The president gave an extensive and almost poetic listing of the many ways in which Ukrainians have helped to fend off the Russian troops, including “those who showed that Russian warships can sail away, even if it’s to the bottom” of the sea. It was his only reference to the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, which sank while being towed to port.

Russia invaded on February 24 and has lost potentially thousands of fighters. The conflict has killed untold numbers of Ukrainian civilians and forced millions more to flee.

Mr Zelensky said he remembered the first day of the invasion when many world leaders, unsure whether Ukraine could survive, advised him to leave the country. He added: “But they didn’t know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom and the possibility to live the way we want.”

Harry and Meghan ‘offer an olive branch’ to Queen in surprise visit

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s surprise visit to the Queen and Prince of Wales has been viewed as an “olive branch” by royal commentators. The shock face-to-face meeting after considerable tension between the Sussexes and royal family was significant and would have been welcomed on all sides.

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, said yesterday’s visit would have made the Queen very happy despite the couple’s highly publicised criticism of the royals. Ms Seward told The Sun newspaper: “It is a wonderful opportunity to clear the air and offer an olive branch. After everything that has gone on it must have taken a lot for Harry and Meghan to go to Windsor.

“Also Maundy Thursday is a very special day for the Queen as it is about forgiveness. She is not one to hold grudges and I think she would have happily welcomed them with open arms.” Harry and Meghan’s unannounced return to the UK on Thursday comes as concerns continue to mount over the Queen’s health.

The monarch is expected to miss another traditional event of the Easter period on Sunday. Since recovering from Covid in February, which she admitted left her feeling “very tired and exhausted”, the Queen has also been experiencing mobility issues.

Harry and Meghan have not been in the UK together since they quit as senior working royals more than two years ago. Their trip to Britain, completed en route to the Invictus Games in The Hague, comes after the pair were absent from the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in London last month.

Sport headlines

Navidi back as Adams won’t be seen in Cardiff jersey again

Cardiff will welcome back Wales flanker Josh Navidi for their Challenge Cup clash with Saracens this weekend. The back-row ace was missing for their back-to-back derbies with the Scarlets after picking up a groin injury against Glasgow. However, he’ll be back for the trip across the border this Sunday – but hooker Kirby Myhill misses out.

“Josh will be fine for this week. We’re glad to have someone of Josh’s calibre back for a really big game,” said boss David Young. In less good news, Young also confirmed that winger Josh Adams won’t be seen in a Cardiff jersey again this season, although he will not need surgery for a knee ligament injury picked up in the first game against the Scarlets. While Adams’ chances of touring South Africa with Wales this summer seem slim now, Young said it’s not out of the question.

“We won’t see Josh in a Cardiff jersey this season. He’s in a splint, but there’s no operation required or anything like that,” said Young. “It’s a medial ligament injury. He’ll be out for at least six to eight weeks so we won’t be rushing him back.

“The first few weeks are always difficult to say whether it’ll be six weeks or eights weeks – we’re probably still no clearer on that. He’ll have a brace on for a couple of weeks and then we’ll see how we progress from there.

“He’s certainly not going to be seen in a Cardiff jersey this season. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to be available for the summer tour. That’s something they’d have to decide closer to the time.”

Dragon pens new deal and challenged to break into Wales squad

Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan has challenged Rhodri Williams to hit new heights after signing a contract extension with the region. Williams, who turns 29 next month, has signed a fresh two-year deal at Rodney Parade. Since joining the Dragons from Bristol in 2018, he’s become a mainstay of the side – with his form even putting him back on the radar of Welsh coaches after an eight-year exile.

His last cap came in 2014, but in the past 12 months, he’s been called into two Welsh squads. The first time saw him pull out injured ahead of the summer Tests against Canada and Argentina.

The second occasion was as injury cover for Wales’ Six Nations match against Italy this year. And while he’s yet to add to the three caps he won between 2013 and 2014, Ryan has challenged him to use the Dragons as a springboard to breaking up the established trio of Tomos Williams, Kieran Hardy and Gareth Davies.

“Rhodri has had those experiences of going into Wales camp but it’s not an accident that he has not stayed in the squad or got a place in the team,” said Ryan.

“He has to use the regional game to grow the areas that are useful in the international environment.

“He has had a taste of it and needs to challenge himself over the next couple of years to get himself in the mix.”

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