Firefighters battle nursery blaze as flames rip through roof

Several crews are tackling the fire at Lanark Road Nursery in Edinburgh.

Firefighters: Tackling early morning blaze in Edinburgh. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service via SFRS
Firefighters: Tackling early morning blaze in Edinburgh.

Firefighters are battling a well-developed blaze at a nursery school in Edinburgh.

Crews were called to Lanark Road Nursery after the fire was first reported at around 7.20am on Wednesday.

Six fire engines and a height vehicle were sent to the scene.

Thick black smoke could be seen for miles as flames took hold of the roof of the three-storey building near Dovecot Park in Kings Knowe.

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Officers said there are not believed to be any injuries as a result.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 7.19am on Wednesday, May 5 to reports of a building fire on Lanark Road, Edinburgh.

“Operations Control mobilised six appliances and a height vehicle to the scene to extinguish a well-developed fire affecting the roof space of a three-storey building.

“There are no reported casualties at this time.

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“Crews remain in attendance.”

Police Scotland are also in attendance assisting the fire service.

A spokesman for the force said: “Lanark Road is currently closed between Kingsknowe Drive and Kingsknowe South due to a fire.

“Motorists are asked to avoid the area.

“Thank you for your patience.”

Councillor Andrew Johnstone said: “There has been a fire at Lanark Road Nursery this morning but understand everyone is safe and well.

“Very sad news for an important local business and for the parents and children that attend.”


‘He had a knife… I thought I’d just have to be stabbed’

Victims of mass stabbings at a Glasgow hotel reflect on their suffering 12 months later.

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Three asylum seekers who were hurt in mass stabbings at a hotel are still suffering from flashbacks a year on.

Sudanese national Badreddin Abedlla Adam, 28, was shot dead by armed police after injuring six people in a knife attack at the Park Inn in Glasgow.

Police officer PC David Whyte and two hotel workers were also taken to hospital after the incident, which prompted a huge emergency response in the city centre.

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The Park Inn Hotel was housing asylum seekers.

Ahead of Saturday’s anniversary, the three asylum seekers spoke together for the first time and revealed they’re haunted by the memories every day.

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Max Aubin Glossoa and two other men – being named only as Mo and Mohamed – also told STV News they had no “bad feelings” towards their attacker.

‘I spend the days in my house’

Max, 21, from Ivory Coast, rarely ventures outside even 12 months on from the “worst day of my life”.

“To me now ‘safety’ is just a word,” he said. “I came here to be safe and I was stabbed, so it’s just a word. 

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“Physically I have a lot of scars on my body and there are a lot of things I still can’t do, like go to the gym and work out. Mentally it is difficult to forget as the flashbacks are still coming and coming.

“I feel alone. There can be ten people in the room but I still feel alone because I don’t trust anyone. 

“I don’t like to go outside in case someone will hurt me, so I spend all my days in my house, far from the city and from people.”

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Max Aubin Glossoa

‘I just have to be stabbed

Blood in the hotel lift was the first thing that alerted Mohamed, a teenager from Sierra Leone, to the danger, before he was confronted by the knifeman.

“He was keeping a knife behind his back,” the 18-year-old said. “He grabbed me and punched me and tried to reach for his knife. I was shouting for help, but no one was coming to my rescue.

“I thought ‘I’ll just have to be stabbed. I’ll just have to die’.”

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The teenager, who spent three days in hospital with severe bruising, managed to break free and ran outside, where he saw his friend Mo had been stabbed.

“He was crying and saying he was going to die,” Mohamed said. “As he was calling my name, I was just thinking how was I saved.”

‘Will I play football again?

Mo was going to get lunch when he was stabbed in the back.

“I tried to turn and he stabbed me again,” the 19-year-old said. “He was holding two knives and stabbing at my back and stomach. I was shouting and shouting. The place where I tried to run to was blocked.”

Mo spent ten days in hospital and still needs treatment for a liver problem.

“The first thing I asked my doctor was ‘will I play football again?’. The doctor said ‘yes’ and I was like ‘thank god’.

The incident prompted a huge emergency response.

It’s killing me slowly

The three men were moved into flats after being released from hospital and have had counselling, but still face an uncertain future as they wait to learn whether they can remain in Scotland.

Mo said: “It’s killing me slowly. We are always thinking about one thing – is the Home Office going to do this or that? We are in total darkness and thinking about this every day is not good for my mental health.“ 

Their immigration lawyer Andrew Bradley said his clients’ cases deserved to be treated as a priority.

“These three men are going to have to live with what happened to them in Glasgow for the rest of their lives,” he said.

“They have been struggling over the last year and their recovery from this trauma is really poorly served by the ongoing delay.

“It is time the authorities involved and Home Office gave these cases the priority they deserve.”

Needs ‘were not met’

In the aftermath of the attack, serious questions were raised about the treatment of asylum seekers, who were placed in hotels by the Home Office – following a suggestion from housing contractor Mears Group – as Scotland went into lockdown.

Charities and politicians said the needs of vulnerable people – including children, pregnant women and trafficking survivors – were not being met.

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Six people were stabbed.

An agreed pause with the city council on asylum seekers being placed in Glasgow by the Home Office remains in place.

Mears said the victims of the Park Inn attacks had been offered counselling and other support, and that it aimed to move all asylum seekers out of hotels within the next month.

A statement read: “We are seeing the housing and lettings market open up and we are now able to procure additional dispersed accommodation in the community.    

“We have 170 service users currently and we are arranging moves out every day, with the aim of all service users being out of hotels by the end of July.”

What did the Home Office say?

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We take the welfare of those in our care extremely seriously. All asylum seekers in hotels are provided with full-board accommodation with three meals a day served as well as all other essentials.

“In the aftermath of the Glasgow incident, our accommodation provider offered trauma response services and had regular conversations with residents to ensure mental health needs were addressed.

“Our New Plan for Immigration will reform the broken asylum system, allowing us to welcome people through safe and legal routes, while preventing abuse and pressure on the system and the criminality associated with it.”

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Forensics investigators carry out work at the hotel.

Who was Badreddin Abedlla Adam?

The 28-year-old from Sudan had been living in Glasgow for six months before carrying out the attacks at lunchtime on Friday, June 26 last year.

He’d been struggling to get help with his mental health during the pandemic and fellow asylum seekers at the hotel were worried about his behaviour.

One person told STV News he had previously warned he was going to carry out an attack – which campaign group Refugees for Justice said was the culmination of a “tragic chain of events”.

A year later, Max said he had “no bad feelings” towards his attacker.

“Every day when I remember, I still feel guilty,” he added. “We were the same. We lived in the hotel and we were asylum seekers. We didn’t take the time to say ‘are you ok?’.” 

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Badreddin Abedlla Adam

Remembrance and unity’

A commemoration event will take place in Glasgow at 1pm on Saturday, when people are being asked to bring flowers, candles and poems to George Square.

Refugees for Justice coordinator Pinar Aksu said: “We want to mark the anniversary of what happened last year, by remembering our friends and all of the people seeking asylum in our city who lost their lives.

“We want June 26 to be a day when we all come together in a moment of remembrance and unity.”

Pensioner accused of killing toddler dies before court case

Criminal proceedings end following death of woman arrested in connection with killing Xander Irvine by dangerous driving.

Police Scotland
Xander Irvine died after being hit by a car in Edinburgh's Morningside area last year.

No one will stand trial over the death of a three-year-old boy in Edinburgh after the pensioner accused of killing him by dangerous driving passed away.

Xander Irvine was walking with his mother, Victoria, 37, when he was hit by a car on Morningside Road on June 30 last year.

The toddler was taken to hospital but suffered fatal injuries.

A 91-year-old woman was arrested in connection with the incident.

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But the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (Copfs) said on Friday the case is now closed after the pensioner died on May 16.

A Copfs spokesperson said: “As the accused is now deceased, criminal proceedings are at an end.”

The accused appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last October charged with causing death by dangerous driving and while uninsured.

She made no plea and she was released on bail. A trial was expected to take place next month.

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Meanwhile, a fundraiser to install a wood carving in Xander’s memory at Morningside Playpark has already raised almost £7500.

To donate, visit the GoFundMe page here.

Airport bosses call for ‘transparency’ over travel decisions

It comes after the latest travel green list arrangements were unveiled on Thursday evening.

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The latest travel list arrangements were set out on Thursday evening.

The owners of Glasgow and Aberdeen airports has urged the UK and Scottish governments to be “more transparent” over their decisions on international travel.

AGS Airports, which also owns Southampton Airport, also warned that passenger confidence is at “an all-time low”.

It comes after the latest travel green list arrangements were unveiled on Thursday evening.

The Scottish Government said that Malta, Madeira and the Balearics would be amongst those to be added to the expanded list.

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Meanwhile, a number of other destinations, including Tunisia and Uganda, were added to the red list, meaning that people who go there will be required to isolate for ten days on their return.

The latest changes are due to come into effect at 4am on June 30.

In a statement released by AGS Airports, it said that its airports are “virtually empty”.

It read: “We have repeatedly highlighted that aviation is not an industry that can just be simply switched on or off at short notice, so there will likely be no swell in travel from Scottish airports following [Thursday’s] announcement.

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“Passenger confidence is at an all-time low and our airline partners are understandably finding it impossible to operate schedules given the unpredictability of the current situation.

“The UK and Scottish governments must be more transparent about the decisions they are making regarding international travel.

“This weekend should be the start of the peak summer holiday season and we’d normally welcome thousands of people each day through our doors and the terminals would be buzzing with excitement.

“Instead our airports are virtually empty for the second summer in a row.”

It added that the Travel Day of Action, held earlier this week, demonstrated the “strength of feeling amongst the 1.6 million hard working and dedicated people employed across our industry”.

Following the update on Thursday, Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson said the Government would continue to work closely with the other home nations.

“From the outset we have said caution is required regarding international travel and people should think very carefully about travelling abroad as situations can suddenly change,” he said.

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“We continue to work closely with the other home nations and are cautiously supportive of exploring options for the easing of restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers arriving from countries on the amber list – but only if the clinical advice supports it and if systems are in place to ensure the wider safety of the Scottish population.”


Man dies after two fall overboard from fishing vessel

Police say 61-year-old man pronounced dead after falling into sea in the Sound of Rum on Thursday evening.

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A Coastguard helicopter went to the scene.

One man has died after he and another crew member went overboard from a fishing vessel.

The pair were recovered from the water by the third member of the crew after they fell into the sea in the Sound of Rum.

Police said that one of the men, a 61-year-old, was pronounced dead.

A rescue operation was launched after the Coastguard received a Mayday call from the vessel just before 7.10pm on Thursday.

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The Mayday stated that two of the three crew had entered the water, two nautical miles north-west of the island of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides.

Mayday relay broadcasts were issued to vessels in the area and the Coastguard helicopter from Stornoway and RNLI lifeboats from Mallaig and Tobermory were sent to the scene.

The Coastguard said the crew member still on the fishing vessel managed to get both men back on board, where the helicopter’s winch paramedic attended to them.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Police were called to a report of two men having fallen into the sea from a fishing vessel in the Sound of Rum.

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“Emergency services attended, including the RNLI lifeboat from Mallaig and HMCG helicopter from Stornoway.

“Both men were recovered from the water but one, a 61-year-old man, was sadly pronounced dead.

“There are no suspicious circumstances. A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

The other man suffered a minor injury and did not need any hospital treatment.

An HM Coastguard spokeswoman said: “Mallaig RNLI lifeboat escorted the fishing vessel to Mallaig Harbour, where they were met by Police Scotland and Mallaig Coastguard Rescue Team.”

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Matt Hancock accused of having affair with adviser

Pictures published by The Sun appear to show the UK health secretary kissing an adviser to his department.

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There are calls for an investigation into the appointment of the adviser.

UK health secretary Matt Hancock has been accused of having an affair with an adviser to his department.

The Sun published pictures of the married Cabinet minister appearing to kiss Gina Coladangelo, who the newspaper said was hired by Hancock last year.

The images, which appear to be captured from CCTV footage, were taken on May 6 from the headquarters of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the newspaper adds.

It said the minister hired Coladangelo as an unpaid adviser on a six-month contract in March last year, before appointing her as a non-executive director at the department.

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Hancock, who is said to have met Coladangelo at university, has been married to his wife Martha for 15 years and they have three children together.

Coladangelo is the marketing and communications director at Oliver Bonas, a British retailer founded by her husband Oliver Tress.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said on Friday morning that he would not be commenting on the “entirely personal” matter following the reports about his Cabinet colleague.

When asked if the health secretary had been ignoring social distancing rules when the images were taken, Shapps told LBC he is “quite sure that whatever the rules were at the time were followed”.

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However, the UK Government’s road map out of lockdown said people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble until May 17.

Asked about the rules around appointing friends to Government positions, Shapps told Sky News: “First of all, I think the actual issue is entirely personal for Matt Hancock.

“In terms of rules, anyone who has been appointed has to go through an incredibly rigorous process in Government, so whatever the rules are, the rules will have to be followed.

“There are no short cuts to that, as anyone who has had anything to do with the appointments system in the Civil Service knows.

“There are very strict rules in place.”

Labour said the Government needs to answer whether the health secretary had broken any rules or there had been “conflicts of interest” in the appointment of his closest adviser.

An opposition party spokesman said: “Ministers, like everyone, are entitled to a private life.

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“However, when taxpayers’ money is involved or jobs are being offered to close friends who are in a personal relationship with a minister, then that needs to be looked into.

“The Government needs to be open and transparent about whether there are any conflicts of interests or rules that have been broken.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said on Twitter: “The reason Matt Hancock should resign is that he is a terrible health secretary, not because of his private life.

“From the PPE scandal, the crisis in our care service and the unbelievably poor test and trace system, he has utterly failed.”

Hancock was not at his north London home on Friday morning. The DHSC was also contacted for comment.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said that there must be an investigation into the appointment of Coladangelo.

“Private matters are just that but public appointments are another matter entirely and they warrant proper scrutiny and full transparency,” he said.

“There must be an investigation into this appointment and a full public inquiry into the Tory cronyism scandal engulfing Westminster, which is out of control.

“The public deserve answers as to why so many Tory friends and donors have been handed jobs, peerages, public contracts and many millions of pounds in taxpayers’ money.”


Brother and sister with rare genetic disorder seek match

Five-year-old Lily and three-year-old Benjamin are so unique their condition doesn’t even have a name.

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A brother and sister thought to be the only people in the world with the rarest of genetic conditions are joining an international search to help find other families who could be like theirs.

Lily and Benjamin Arnott, from Penicuik, Midlothian, are so unique their condition doesn’t even have a name.

Their parents, Kenny and Crystal, have signed up to a world-leading database in the hope of finding support.

“It can be quite lonely sometimes being parents of children with additional support needs,” said Mr Arnott.

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“Being a parent is hard full stop. It’s hard. But it’s quite hard to explain to other parents what you go through every so often.

“So I guess that’s going to start being really important to us.”

The Arnotts are among 684 families in Scotland who have signed up with Surrey-based charity Unique, whose world-leading database helps to track down and pair families with extremely rare chromosome and gene disorders in the UK or overseas.

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Home: Benjamin Arnott has a rare genetic condition.

Children, who were thought to be the only one with a specific rare chromosome or gene disorder (RCD), are being paired with others and given a lifeline to share experiences and information.

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“Our hopes with being on Unique is to be part of this ever-growing database and hopefully reaching out to other families that may have the same rare chromosome and then being able to support each other,” said Mrs Arnott.

There are no set milestones for Lily and Benjamin’s development because there are no other confirmed cases exactly like theirs.

Genetic testing after Lily was born showed that she had an extra chromosome strand.

Her younger brother, Benjamin, has the same unusual arrangement which has so far not been identified in other patients whose details are logged with UK or international databases.

Finding other families offers the family not just emotional support, but also an opportunity to share information that could help answer questions about the children’s future.

If a match were to be found with an older child or even adult, it would provide valuable information to the family and their doctors.

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Search: The Arnotts have signed up to Unique.

“Having a child with a rare or unique condition can be a very lonely place but this incredible application of science is leading to new discoveries every day, so we have been able to put families in touch with similarly ‘unique’ families across the world,” said Dr Beverly Searle, CEO of Unique.

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“Many of our families have been told that their child may be the only one in the world with their specific disorder so discovering someone else like them and sharing their journeys can be life-changing.”


Whisky worth £10,000 stolen from distillery visitor centre

Tullibardine Distillery in Perthshire was broken into late on Thursday night.

© Google Maps 2020
Tullibardine Distillery: Police were called on Thursday night.

Eight bottles of whisky worth more than £10,000 have been stolen from a distillery visitor centre in Perthshire.

Police were called to Tullibardine Distillery in Blackford at around 11.25pm on Thursday after the visitor centre’s doors were found to be damaged.

Investigating officers said two display cabinets had been tampered with.

Four 70cl bottles of 1964 Custodian whisky, retailing at £2000 each, and four 70cl bottles of Highland Queen 46-year-old whisky, retailing at £600 each, were missing.

Inspector Craig Stephen said: “We are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area between 10.20pm and the discovery of the break-in at 11.25pm.

“In particular we are keen to speak to anyone driving on the A9 and local roads who may have dashcam footage that could help with our enquiries.

“It is possible that those responsible made off on foot in the direction of Stirling Street so I would also appeal to anyone in Blackford with private CCTV footage to get in touch.”

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If you have any information, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Galleries celebrate centenary year of artist Joan Eardley

Joan Eardley is famous for her expressive depictions of children from Glasgow slums and Aberdeenshire coast landscapes.

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Galleries across Scotland are celebrating the centenary of one of Scotland’s most respected and popular artists.

Joan Eardley is famous for her expressive depictions of children from Glasgow slums and Aberdeenshire coast landscapes.

Her paintings have stood the test of time and are as powerful now as they were in the 1950’s and 60’s.

She died aged just 43 in 1963.

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Many believe if it had not been for her untimely death, she would have won worldwide acclaim

One hundred years since her birth, she remains one of Scotland’s favourite artists.

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Aberdeen Art Gallery: Eardley’s paintings are on display.

Aberdeen Art Gallery is among many around the country celebrating her artistic legacy with centenary events throughout this year.

Her most popular paintings in their permanent collection are accompanied online with rarely seen drawings.

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Curator Griffin Coe says she’s an incredibly popular artist in the gallery.

He said: “She’s very much loved by the local and international visitors.

“You can’t call her just a figurative artist or a landscape artist, she just excels in both fields.”

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Artwork: Eardley depicted children from Glasgow slums.

Eardley spent time in Catterline, Aberdeenshire, where she is still remembered to this day. It’s there where she produced many of her famous paintings.

She remains the village’s most famous resident.

Today her studio beside the clifftops is used by artist Stuart Buchanan, who said her paintings still look fresh.

“You can sense the spray in her seascapes, you can see grass seeds in the fieldscapes.

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“You come out here on a winter’s day and you think you are standing in a Joan Eardley painting.

“She’s more beloved than ever,” said Mr Buchanan who lives in what was once her cottage.

Exhibitions, displays and talks are taking place all over Scotland in celebration of Eardley’s centenary.

Her admirers hope it will introduce her work to a wider audience and bring her even greater recognition.


Watchdog probes Amazon and Google over fake reviews

Officials to examine whether people and businesses have been able to post fake reviews online with too much impunity.

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Competition and Markets Authority have opened formal probe into fake reviews.

Competition officials are to examine whether people and businesses have been able to post fake reviews online with too much impunity.

The Competition and Markets Authority has opened a formal investigation into whether Amazon and Google have done enough to crack down on the practice.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “Our worry is that millions of online shoppers could be misled by reading fake reviews and then spending their money based on those recommendations.

“Equally, it’s simply not fair if some businesses can fake five-star reviews to give their products or services the most prominence, while law-abiding businesses lose out.”

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The watchdog said that over the past year it has become concerned that the two technology giants are not doing enough to detect fake and misleading reviews or suspicious behaviour.

In some cases users might have reviewed the same range of products or businesses, or at times reviews suggest that the writer was paid or given another incentive to write the post.

It questioned whether the two are doing enough to investigate and promptly remove fake and misleading reviews from their platforms, and impose adequate sanctions on reviewers or businesses engaged in the practice.

“It’s important that these tech platforms take responsibility and we stand ready to take action if we find that they are not doing enough,” Mr Coscelli said.

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The CMA said its concerns have been prompted by a year-long initial inquiry, which caused it to launch this formal investigation.

If it finds that the two companies are not doing enough, the CMA could force them to change how they work.

But officials stressed that they have not yet reached a view on whether either has broken the law.

Last year Facebook, Instagram and eBay removed groups and banned individuals for buying or selling fake reviews on their sites.

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