British PM to meet London fire survivors at Downing St amid protests

May, who has faced criticism of her response to the tragedy in which at least 30 people died, will meet victims, volunteers and community leaders, a Downing Street spokesman said.

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“The prime minister is this morning chairing a cross-government meeting to ensure everything possible is being done to support those affected by the Grenfell tragedy,” the spokesman said.

“Afterwards, she will meet a group of residents, victims, volunteers and community leaders in Number 10.”

Queen Elizabeth II said Saturday that Britain had been plunged into a sombre mood after the deadly London tower block inferno, as public anger swelled and dozens were still reported missing.

Furious residents heckled Prime Minister May and stormed the local authority headquarters on Friday, demanding justice for the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster which left at least 30 people dead.

There were angry scenes at the offices of the Kensington and Chelsea council, which was responsible for managing the 1970s social housing block in a working-class enclave of one of Britain’s richest areas.

“It was a death trap and they knew it,” one person shouted as demonstrators stormed inside the offices.

0:00 May pledges rehousing Share May pledges rehousing

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Some 19 patients are still being treated in hospital, of whom 10 are in a critical condition, the National Health Service said Saturday. The emergency services expect to find no more survivors.

More than 70 people reportedly remain unaccounted for and the area surrounding the tower has been plastered by distraught relatives with pictures of the missing, from grandparents to young children.

Resolve in adversity 

Queen Elizabeth and her grandson Prince William visited a community centre Friday where some of the survivors are being housed, and where volunteers have been inundated with donations of clothes and food.

The head of state said a saddened country was showing resolve in the face of adversity and a determination to rebuild wrecked lives.

She stood for a minute’s silence at the start of her birthday parade on Saturday.

“It is difficult to escape a very sombre national mood,” she said in a message marking the event.

“In recent months, the country has witnessed a succession of terrible tragedies,” the monarch said, referring to the fire and the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London.

“I have been profoundly struck by the immediate inclination of people throughout the country to offer comfort and support to those in desperate need.

“United in our sadness, we are equally determined, without fear or favour, to support all those rebuilding lives so horribly affected by injury and loss.”

0:00 Investigation launched into cause of blaze Share Investigation launched into cause of blaze

Anger at May 

But besides the drive to help survivors, the sense of anger was palpable on the streets.

May was criticised for avoiding locals when she visited the burnt-out shell of the 24-storey tower on Thursday and faced cries of “Shame on you” and “coward” when she returned the following day.

Dozens of police officers held back booing crowds and broke up scuffles as her car drove off from a local church, where she had met survivors, residents and volunteers.

In a television interview, she sidestepped questions over whether she had misread the public mood.

Protesters marched to the edge of the police cordon around the tower, shouting “no justice, no peace”, where a few young men tried unsuccessfully to break through.

Another demonstration took place outside May’s Downing Street office, while hundreds of mourners later gathered near the tower for a candlelight vigil.

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May has announced a judge-led inquiry into what happened, and on Friday promised £5 million ($6.4 million, 5.7 million euros) for emergency supplies, food and clothing. 

First Secretary of State Damian Green, May’s deputy, said the prime minister was “distraught” and shared “the same degree of sympathy and horror” as everyone else.

He told BBC radio that the inquiry would have interim reports and “we want the response to be as fast as possible”.

Green said the government would pay for residents’ legal representation at the inquiry and reiterated May’s promise to rehouse those displaced by the fire within three weeks as close as possible to home.

Protesters stand in the lobby of Kensington town hall in west London, the headquarters of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (AAP)AAP

Desperate survival attempts 

There are questions about why the block was not fitted with sprinklers or a central smoke alarm, and whether a recent refurbishment, including new external cladding, helped fuel the flames.

The fire forced residents to flee through black smoke down the single stairwell, jump out of windows or even drop their children from the 120-apartment building.

One of the victims was Mohammed Alhajali, a 23-year-old Syrian refugee who came to Britain in 2014 with his brother and was studying civil engineering.

A second victim named Friday was Khadija Saye, a 24-year-old photographer who had exhibited at the Venice Biennale.

Seven Moroccans are among the dead, the north African country’s foreign affairs ministry said.

Police have said the recovery process could take weeks, and warned some of the bodies may be too burned to be identified.

Pope Francis sent a message of “heartfelt condolences”, in which he invoked God’s blessings of “strength and peace” on the local community.

Syrian refugee victim

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Gatland ramps up rugby niggle as Lions win

The All Blacks and British and Irish Lions have both officially shown their hands, securing clinical victories within 24 hours as they gear up for next Saturday’s blockbuster first Test at Eden Park.

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Following on from the All Blacks’ 78-0 demolition of Samoa, the Lions turned the second-half screws on Saturday to down the Maori All Blacks 32-10.

Holding a slender 15-10 lead early in the second half, the Lions were handed a major shot in the arm through the controversial sin-binning of Maori halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow – who hit a slipping Leigh Halfpenny high with his shoulder.

Down a man, the Maori struggled to compete with the Lions’ set-piece and were 29-10 behind when Kerr-Barlow returned to the field 10 minutes later.

The Lions surprised no one with their tactics for the Rotorua encounter, sticking to the brawny “Warrenball” style that served them so well against the Crusaders – even allowing for an improved performance from Johnny Sexton.

The unerring Halfpenny put away six penalty goals, with a penalty try and a Maro Itoje close-range effort during Kerr-Barlow’s absence enough for victory.

Coach Warren Gatland labelled the match another step in the right direction for Saturday’s opening Kiwi Test – and took his first shot in anger at All Blacks boss Steve Hansen, labelling him “worried” about the Lions’ potential.

Hansen spent part of his side’s build-up to the Samoa clash goading Gatland on his side’s ‘dull’ style and correctly predicting he’d bring in new players.

Welshmen Cory Hill, Kristian Dacey, Gareth Davis and Tomas Francis joined the side on Saturday. Scots Allan Dell and Finn Russell will link up with the team on Sunday in Hamilton – all to play as reserves in mid-week matches.

“Normally, he’s pretty calm and stuff – he’s been doing a lot of press conferences in the last couple of weeks, (and) I can only take that as a sign of respect in that, potentially, he’s a little bit worried,” Gatland told reporters.

“Some of the stuff people have been saying puts a bit of a dampener on the tour – but that’s professional sport now – you’ve got to live with that.

“It’s not anything that’s been worrying for us (and) all I’ve taken from it is, you know, maybe he’s a little more worried than he normally is.”

Regardless of Gatland’s fighting talk, Hansen would have seen nothing unexpected from the Lions, who outmuscled the Maori at the set-piece and kicked strategically via five-eighth Sexton and Conor Murray at the base of the ruck.

The Maori ran the ball with less abandon than expected and couldn’t get their attack going, bar a breakaway try for Liam Messam.

Gatland scoffed at suggestions his side were divided on Test and non-Test grounds, insisting they were as united as ever.

They move on to Hamilton to play the Chiefs on Tuesday, with a squad made up mostly of players who will skip the All Blacks game.

“I look back at 2013 and we made, between the first and third Tests, nine different selections, so the players who – for whatever reason – may not be involved in the first Test, they have to stay alive – they have to stay in it,” Gatland said.

Tiger wins battle, Swans claim AFL war

Alex Rance took the honours in his much-anticipated battle with Lance Franklin but Sydney won the war at the MCG.

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The Swans came from 36 points down in the second quarter to break Richmond’s hearts with a stunning 12.8 (80) to 10.11 (71) win on Saturday.

The tantalising match-up between the two superstars delivered as promised after a week of hype, with Rance keeping Franklin to one goal.

The Sydney forward had 16 possessions, took six marks and was involved in several heated scuffles with Rance, who gathered 21 disposals and took five marks.

“I thought Rance was outstanding … but Buddy certainly had some (good) periods,” Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said.

“It was interesting in that last quarter they moved him up the ground to get him into the game but Rance was having a significant impact at various stages.

“The fact of the matter is you can look at individual achievements or you can look at who won the four points – Sydney walk away happy and we walk away disappointed.”

For pure football theatre, the engrossing duel was hard to beat.

The pair went toe-to-toe after Franklin was reported for a high bump on Connor Menadue in the second quarter and they got into a push and shove in the third term as the Swans stormed back.

When Sydney kept coming in the last quarter, Rance stood tall time and again as he repelled repeated Swans forward forays.

“That’s the strength of him as a player – his ability to win one-on-ones and control the contest,” Hardwick said.

“When the game asked for someone to stand up I thought he did that pretty well.”

The loss was Richmond’s fourth this season by nine points or less and put them back into the pack of team’s jostling for a top-four finish.

“I think that’s what our side has to get used to,” Hardwick replied when asked if the close losses could become an issue in tight games in the back end of the season.

“We’re very competitive, we’ll keep games close but we’re not going to win games by 10 goals and we’re not going to lose games (hopefully) by 10 goals either.

“It’s always going to be an arm wrestle.

“You look at the Bulldogs last year and we’re probably similar. We’re probably under-sized up forward so we compete hard – that’s what’s going to win us games and that’s what’s going to keep it close in games as well.”

Port sink Brisbane by 40 points in AFL

Despite yet another AFL loss, Brisbane coach Chris Fagan feels the tide turning.

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The Lions were sunk by Port Adelaide by 40 points on Saturday and remain last on the ladder.

But Fagan senses a shift at Brisbane.

“It feels like the tide is turning,” the first-year head coach said after Port’s 18.13 (121) to 12.9 (81) win at Adelaide Oval.

“I have only been there for a short time but that is the feeling around. There’s a lot of belief around the young boys that they can see some blue sky at the end of it all.”

The Lions were plucky yet outclassed by Port, who took fourth spot on the ladder with the victory.

But Brisbane’s stoic effort – they could have crept within three goals midway through the last quarter – heartened their coach.

“We are on a growth pattern,” Fagan said.

“At this point of time last year, the team had suffered somewhere around seven or eight losses by more than 10 goals.

“At this point of time for us, it’s two. So they’re little things we look at.”

Dayne Zorko inspired the Lions with 32 disposals, a dozen tackles and two goals.

But Brisbane ultimately couldn’t counter Port’s upper-class – Ollie Wines was superb with two goals and 29 disposals, Chad Wingard kicked three majors.

Port’s Brad Ebert (24 disposals) and Sam Powell-Pepper (two goals, 16 touches) impressed but the Power lost winger Jared Polec to a hamstring injury in the last quarter.

“It looks like a pretty natural hamstring injury … if it is, he’ll miss two to three weeks. That is just the way it goes in footy,” Port coach Ken Hinkley said.

Hinkley was satisfied with the victory, noting Port weren’t in peak form.

“We found a way to win by 40 points against a side that has improved a fair bit,” he said.

“We are just in that patch where we are not quite at our absolute best.

“Sometimes that is opposition-driven, sometimes that is certainly us and at the moment we are just a tiny bit off sharp.”

Port started brightly, kicking the initial three goals of the game.

Yet they couldn’t shake the Lions, who were three points down late in the second quarter.

Port then went on a match-defining scoring burst, booting seven of the next nine goals but only landed knockout blows on Brisbane late in the game.

Sunshine Coast win Super Netball title

Sunshine Coast Lightning coach Noeline Taurua has hailed her defensive stars after a crushing victory over the Giants in the inaugural Super Netball grand final in Brisbane.

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The battle between the two new franchises saw the hosts recover from a quarter-time deficit to control the rest of the contest and run-out 65-48 victors in front of 8,999 fans.

Geva Mentor, Laura Langman and Karla Mostert were imperious in defence for the Lightning with the least-heralded of the international trio, Mostert, picking up a deserved MVP award.

Former Silver Ferns coach Taurua said the award was deserved for the “quiet achiever” who racked up three interceptions and two deflections.

“She’s always a Trojan, I always see in the fourth quarter she comes out to play and gets turnovers.

“This week I said to her can she do it a wee bit earlier. She’s got very good movement, really light on her feet. Like a springbok.”

The NSW outfit began better with Bec Bulley and Sam Poolman blocking the path to goal shooter Caitlin Bassett as the Giants established an early 8-3 lead before the Lightning restricted access to their shooter, Kristina Brice.

“We’d have liked to have settled a lot faster but we put a lot of pressure on to force the changes,” Taurua said.

“Previously its been very difficult to be able to contest the ball against (Brice).

“Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been working on that quietly. They did that beautifully and they forced turnovers. Credit also to (Lauras) Langman and Scherian who put pressure on the outside.

Giants skipper Jo Harden agreed the defensive pressure of the Lightning was key.

“They had a really good defensive game against us tonight – especially in the second quarter – and when they grasped that lead it was just too hard to get it back.

“They put pressure on us, me to shoot longer than I have been and more pressure on the ball into KB.

“That really told in the end. It’s about retaining composure and we didn’t do that well enough.”

The Lightning whittled the Giants’ lead down to 15-13 at the first break.

A10-3 scoring run in the second quarter then set up a five-point half-time advantage that never looked threatened.

In the second half, the Giants found it impossible to stop the feed through to Bassett (49 goals from 51 shots), with Stephanie Wood also providing 20 assists and scoring 17 from 21.

At the other end Brice managed 24 from 29 and Harten 20 from 25.

The lead was extended to 10 goals by three-quarter time and Sunshine Coast visibly relaxed as they romped to victory.

It’s the third straight year the Brisbane Entertainment Centre arena has witnessed a Queensland grand final triumph after the Firebirds’ back-to-back wins in the Trans-Tasman tournament.