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BREAKING: Newcastle shortlisted to host Eurovision 2023



Eurovision - England Ukraine

It has been announced this morning that Newcastle is amongst the 7 cities shortlisted to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023.


Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield have also been shortlisted to battle it out.


This is a great opportunity for Newcastle.


NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) is delivering the bid on behalf of Newcastle City Council. Ian Thomas, Destination Director at NGI, whom delivered the bid to host on behalf of Newcastle City Council, said:

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to welcome a huge number of international visitors, performers and media to the North East of England and to showcase our world-class culture, rich heritage and vibrant region to the world…


“The potential impact of Newcastle hosting Eurovision 2023 is phenomenal. Eurovision will play a significant role in rejuvenating and sustaining our visitor economy, supporting our businesses and creating an even better place for our residents.”


This will be the UK’s ninth time hosting the Eurovision, and its first in 25 years, taking on hosting duties form Ukraine who are unable to host due to their war with Russia. The BBC however have assured fans that the 2023 competition will be a “true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity.”


The shortlisted cities will now go through to a second stage to discover which city scores the highest against the BBC’s criteria. The final decision is set to be revealed in Autumn.


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We investigate into Newcastle Town Moor being one of the biggest witch trials in England’s history back in 1650! Did you know Newcastle’s Town Moor used to be home to the cities infamous gallows?

At the time of the Newcastle witchcraft trials, there was a time of social, political, and religious upheaval. The defeat of the Scottish army in the Second English Civil War and the rise to power of the radical Kirk party in Scotland—which sought to establish a “godly society,” a puritan society that exterminated witches and other criminals—both contributed to political and theological unrest. In 1649, they enacted a new Witchcraft Act and urged neighbourhood presbyteries to look for witches. While mostly limited to the Lowlands, particularly Lothian and Fife, the intensive witch hunts that started in 1649 and persisted into 1650 also spread into northern England, where Scottish witch prickers were active. When Cromwell led an army, the Kirk party’s reign came to an end.

In Scotland and Northern England in the years 1649 and 1650, there are approximately 612 records of witchcraft allegations, and more than 300 witches were put to death during the witch trials. The majority of these were in informal courts with a substantially greater execution rate than those presided over by attorneys with training. The majority of witches were female and belonged to relatively low social classes. Some of the witchcraft trials included references to the Devil, although they mostly focused on alleged harm caused by witchcraft.

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North-East True Crime – Mary Ann Cotton; One Of The Most Notorious Serial Killers In The World



Mary Ann Cotton, an Englishwoman whose killing spree included her own husbands, a lover, and many children, must be mentioned in any discussion of the most infamous serial killers in history. Her overall number of fatalities during her 21-year reign of terror is the same. Her weapon of choice was poison, specifically arsenic, which caused symptoms resembling an upset stomach and allowed her to remain hidden from law enforcement for 20 years. She had several marriages during her life and killed primarily for insurance payouts. She attracted men with her beauty and charm, marrying primarily the wealthy. When she was done with them, she would subtly inject poison into their

Watch this chilling video below! 

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Newcastle Clean Air Zone explained: Where it is, when tolls start, and who has to pay



Daily charges for some vehicles entering Newcastle city centre are not a tax-raising scheme for the council, its leader has said.

Launching on 30 January, the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will cover most of the city centre.

Private cars will be exempt but older taxis will be charged £12.50 per day and non-compliant lorries, buses and coaches will have to pay £50 each day.

Opponents warn it could deter people from visiting the city. They also claim recently-installed signs advertising the zone are confusing as they do not specify who could be charged.

Vans and light goods vehicles will not face charges until July to allow extra time for vehicle replacements, which are currently affected by a national supply shortage.

Who has to pay a toll?

Under the CAZ, only some older, more polluting vehicles will be subject to daily fees to drive into Newcastle city centre. All private cars have been made exempt from the tolls, but other vehicles that do not comply with modern emissions standards will face charges.

Non-compliant lorries, buses and coaches will be hit with £50-a-day tolls, while the worst polluting vans and taxis will be charged £12.50 per day.

Petrol vans and taxis that meet ‘Euro 4’ standards are exempt, as are ‘Euro 6’ diesels, so it is important to check what class your vehicle is in. All HGVs, buses and coaches must be of ‘Euro 6’ standard to avoid the toll.

Newcastle and Gateshead councils say that, as a general rule, the following vehicles should meet the minimum standard, therefore be exempt from tolls:

  • Taxis – Diesels registered after September 2015, petrol cars registered after 2005;
  • Vans – Diesels registered after September 2016, petrol after January 2006;
  • HGVs, buses and coaches registered after 2014.

When do the tolls start?

You may have seen signs popping up around the city centre warning road users about the new CAZ charges, stating that “charges apply, pay online”.

The first set of tolls will begin on January 30, 2023 and will apply only to taxis, private hire vehicles, buses, coaches and HGVs. Vans and light goods vehicles will not face charges until July 2023, with extra time having been afforded due to a national shortage of vans making it harder for people to upgrade to newer, cleaner models.

Originally, the CAZ was supposed to come into force in January 2021, but was pushed back amid delays caused by a High Court battle and the Covid-19 pandemic. It was then expected to start in July this year, before being pushed back again amid concerns over the financial impact it could have on struggling residents and small businesses in the middle of a cost of living crisis.

What area does the CAZ cover?

The toll zone is in Newcastle city centre only, including the routes in over the Tyne, Swing, High Level and Redheugh bridges. Earlier versions of the plans included a much larger CAZ that would have also included parts of Gateshead, a stretch of the Coast Road, and up to Gosforth, but the scheme was scaled back. Councils also ditched the idea of halving the number of lanes on the Tyne Bridge in order to deter car journeys.

Why has the CAZ been introduced?

This project has been years in the making and is a result of local councils being issued with a legal order from the Government to reduce illegal levels of air pollution in emissions hotspots, which has been linked to more than 300 deaths on Tyneside each year. Charging CAZ areas are the Government’s chosen means of improving air quality in the shortest possible time and there are versions already in operation in places like Birmingham, with the aim of reducing the number of high-polluting vehicles on the road.

Where can I pay my toll and how quickly do I need to pay?

Once the charges begin on January 30, 2023, affected drivers will be able to pay online via the Government website. You will also be able to pay using an online contact form or by calling a hotline on 0300 029 888, open from Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm and Saturday 8am to 2pm. Taxi owners licenced by Newcastle, Gateshead, or North Tyneside councils can also apply for a seven-day permit at a cost of £50, instead of the standard charge of £12.50 per day.

Once the charges launch, drivers will be able to pay up to six days before their journey or six days after. Payments cannot be made before January 30, 2023.

What if I don’t pay the charge on time?

Owners of non-compliant vehicles that do not pay their toll will be issued with a penalty charge notice set at £120, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

Are there any more exemptions, aside from private cars?

Yes, there will be. These include:

  • Disabled tax class or disabled passenger tax class;
  • Certain types of agricultural vehicles;
  • Historic vehicles;
  • Military vehicles;
  • Ultra low emission vehicles;
  • Vehicles retrofitted with technology accredited by the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS);
  • Specialist agricultural and similar vehicles such as tractors, gritters, snow ploughs, mowing machines digging machines, road-rollers, mobile cranes, mobile pumping vehicles and steam-powered vehicles.
  • Emergency services;
  • Showmen’s vehicles registered to the business of travelling showmen that have been specifically modified or constructed to be used to provide the performance and are permanently fitted with a special type of body or superstructure forming part of the equipment of the show, and are used solely by that person for the purposes of their business;
  • Non-commercial vintage buses aged between 20 and 39 years;
  • Vehicles awaiting replacement or retrofitting, where evidence is supplied that a compliant vehicle has been ordered or proof that the vehicle has been accepted for retrofitting by an approved supplier and is awaiting work to take place;
  • Taxis and private hire vehicles subject to an ongoing finance agreement;
  • Wheelchair accessible taxis/private hire vehicles;
  • Motor Caravans;
  • Community Transport Vehicles;
  • Vehicles registered to businesses located within the CAZ;
  • Emergency rail replacement buses and coaches;
  • Bus and HGV driver training vehicles;
  • Breakdown recovery vehicles;
  • Hybrid vehicles;
  • Taxis and vans belonging to people living within the CAZ.

You can check if your vehicle is compliant or not by entering your registration number at

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