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Patisserie Valerie warns on brink of collapse

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The owner of Patisserie Valerie has said the chain needs "an immediate injection of capital" to continue trading in its current form.

The stark statement to investors comes after the firm uncovered "significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities".

It also belatedly discovered HMRC filed a winding-up petition against one of its principal subsidiaries a month ago and is seeking £1.14m in taxes.

The firm has more than 2,500 staff.

The company announced earlier this week that finance director Chris Marsh had been suspended.

Patisserie Holdings

  • It has five brands: Patisserie Valerie, Druckers – Vienna Patisserie, Philpotts, Baker & Spice and Flour Power City.
  • Now, there are 206 stores across the chain and more than 2,500 staff as of May 2018.
  • It was floated on the AIM stock market, for smaller companies, in 2014.
  • The first first Patisserie Valerie café was opened on Frith Street in London's Soho district in 1926.
  • In 1987 the Scalzo family bought the Old Compton Street store and ran the business.
  • In 2006, Luke Johnson's Risk Capital Partners bought a majority stake when it had eight stores.

It its statement on Thursday, the firm said that over the past 24 hours it had "undertaken further investigation into the financial status of the company".

The board found "a material shortfall between the reported financial status and the current financial status of the business".

"Without an immediate injection of capital, the directors are of the view that that is no scope for the business to continue trading in its current form," it continued.

The company said its "professional advisers are assessing all options available to the business to keep it trading and will update the market in due course".

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New York witches place hex on Brett Kavanaugh

Image copyright Catland Books/Facebook
Image caption Catland Books used a fiery image of Brett Kavanaugh to promote their event

The occult turned partisan on Saturday as a coven of New York witches placed a hex on US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Dozens attended the event at Brooklyn's Catland Books, which was also streamed online.

Organisers said the event was "an act of resistance and resilience".

A Catholic priest and exorcist in California, Father Gary Thomas, planned to counter the spell by saying prayers for the justice at Mass.

"This is a conjuring of evil – not about free speech," Father Thomas told the National Catholic Register.

  • Witches cast 'mass spell' against Trump

Dakota Bracciale, co-owner of Catland Books and one of the organisers of the event, said they would not share details or specifics of "the spells", but told the BBC the hex was "aimed at exposing Brett Kavanaugh for what he truly is, to cause him harm and see him undone".

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Mr Kavanaugh's appointment to America's top court was confirmed despite him facing sexual assault allegations, something he denies.

Asked when the spells were expected to take effect or when they anticipated seeing the results, the organisers said "as soon as possible", adding: "There's not a firm timeline on these things."

They went on to say that part of its purpose was to provide "camaraderie, fellowship and support during tumultuous times".

Half of the proceeds are to be donated to charities, including the women's health group Planned Parenthood, the organisers' event page says.

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Hex on Kavanaugh!

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Last year, Catland hosted "three consecutive rituals to hex Trump", with tickets to each of the events selling out, the owners said.

They added that press coverage of the rituals sparked a backlash, but that it was "nothing" compared with the scale of abuse following the announcement of their latest event focusing on Mr Kavanaugh.

"We have experienced a pretty severe amount of backlash in the form of hate mail and death threats," Dakota said.

However the previous rituals aimed at Mr Trump, they say, have proved successful.

"We feel the rituals were a success as they sought to expose Trump for what he is, and that has happened on many levels; from the Russia probe to the exposé on his finances to Stormy Daniels [the porn actress who says she had a sexual affair with Mr Trump in 2006]."

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Media captionUS woman casts a spell to curb President Trump

"Witchcraft is a practice, not a religion," Ms Bracciale explained. "It's what one does, not what one believes."

She said that followers of witchcraft see motivation in its history: "It has always been practiced by the most downtrodden, disenfranchised and oppressed peoples who have used it as a tool for survival… to be the arbiter of their own justice since it would be denied by the powers that be.

"[We see] the witch as a political figure who threatens and works to take down the patriarchy. This has been seen throughout history, but more recently in American society.

"We uphold this legacy which merges art, political theatre, religious iconology and socio-political resistance."

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Harrow fire: Person missing in suspected gas blast

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Image caption Those rescued were on the first floor of the property in Fulbeck Way, Harrow

A man, woman and baby have been rescued, but one person remains missing, following a suspected gas explosion in north-west London.

A first-floor flat was destroyed in the explosion in Fulbeck Way, Harrow, just before 01:00.

About 70 firefighters tackled the flames overnight and 40 neighbours were evacuated from their homes.

A search is under way for the missing person, London Fire Brigade said, and those rescued are in hospital.

Image copyright @rahmanalanezi
Image caption The roof of the two-storey building has collapsed

They were saved from the first floor by firefighters on a ladder platform.

The fire brigade said: "The first floor is currently alight and has partially collapsed.

"The cause of the explosion is not known at this time but a gas explosion is suspected.

"One person is unaccounted for and a search is under way."

Ten fire engines were sent to the scene and a 20m cordon was put in place.

Image copyright @rahmanalanezi
Image caption Fire crews from Harrow, Northolt, Stanmore and surrounding fire stations attended the blaze

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Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani Kiss Dressed As Sailor & Sally From ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ — Pics

Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton are scary cute together! The couple kissed in the sweetest pic, showing off their Halloween costumes. See it here!

It is plain, as anyone can see. That Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani were simply meant to be! The couple got in an early Halloween celebration together, sneaking away sans-kids on October 19 — and in full costume. Gwen went all out this year, dressed as an absolutely perfect Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. Blake… kind of phoned it in this year. Sorry, but it’s true! He looked handsome as hell, though, dressed as a sailor, complete with the little hat. Gwen definitely approved. The happy couple kissed deeply at the event, and it was too cute for words!

You know this is true love, because Blake risked getting a ton of white paint all over his face — and Gwen was okay with him potentially ruining her perfect makeup! We’re seriously impressed by that dedication to detail. You would think, though, that out of all the famous couples in Hollywood, these two would be the cutesy ones to do a couple’s costume. Blake totally could have been Jack Skellington! There’s always next year!

This is actually Blake and Gwen’s second Halloween bash of the month and the second dose of spooky PDA. Gwen had a Halloween-themed birthday party! Gwen showed off the cool decorations and venue on Instagram Live before cuddling up to her boyfriend of almost three years. They shared a sweet kiss, but didn’t get too rowdy — her four-year-old son, Apollo Rossdale, wedged himself into the shot. So cute!

Courtesy of Instagram

We can’t wait to see what they come up for Halloween itself! Gwen’s costume is going to be hard to beat. We actually may have years of costumes to compare. The two are seriously considering marriage! They’re in no rush to get married, though, a source told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “They are very happy with where things stand now and will get married when they feel it’s best for both of them.”

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‘My memory is foggy’: Selma Blair reveals MS diagnosis

Selma Blair has revealed she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Selma Blair has revealed she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

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Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson & Jordin Sparks Slay Classic ‘Hocus Pocus’ Tune During Special

Talk about an iconic trio! Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, and Jordin Sparks channeled their inner Sanderson sisters to perform ‘I Put A Spell On You’ during the ‘Hocus Pocus’ special! Watch now!

If there’s ever going to be a Hocus Pocus remake, then Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, and Jordin Sparks should play the Sanderson sisters, without a doubt. This singing trio proved that during Freeform’s Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash. The talented ladies performed “I Put A Spell On You” that Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy sang in the 1993 film. It. Was. Awesome.

Dove, Sofia, and Jordin absolutely killed it. Their voices sounded amazing — as usual — and their tribute performance was legendary from start to finish. They just cast a spell on us all, and we are so here for it. Seriously, their costumes were so on point! Dove dazzled in a green velvet gown, giving off total Winifred vibes. Sofia channeled her inner Sarah in a stunning purple ensemble, and Jordin stunned in an orange dress reminiscent of Mary Sanderson’s look. Obsessed is an understatement!

.@DoveCameron, @SofiaCarson, and @JordinSparks are sure to put a spell on you.

Watch the #HocusPocus25thAnniversary Halloween Bash TONIGHT at 8:15pm/7:15c on Freeform. pic.twitter.com/KBZkbwTeuf

— Freeform (@FreeformTV) October 20, 2018

The legendary Sanderson sisters, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, director Kenny Ortega, and more of the original cast members took part in the reunion special, which is part of Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween. Jordan Fisher and Vanessa Hudgens hosted the epic event that took place at the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. What an epic night! Hocus Pocus will continuing airing on Freeform all month long and will be shown all day on Halloween!

Disney Channel revealed plans to remake Hocus Pocus as a TV movie in 2017 with a new cast and director. Take notice of this performance, DC! Speaking of Disney Channel, Dove and Sofia’s Descendants 3 will premiere in summer 2019.

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