Thursday evening UK news briefing: Today's top headlines from The … – The Telegraph

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Liverpool shooting | The family of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel, who was shot in her home in Liverpool, have appealed for people to "do the right thing" to help find out "who took our baby away from us". Detectives investigating the murder of Olivia Pratt-Korbel have told the killer "we will not rest until we find you and we will find you", as they confirmed they had now identified the second man targeted in Monday’s shooting. Watch as Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen continued to appeal for the person responsible for the murder to hand himself in and said the fast moving investigation had a number of "very positive lines of inquiry".
These were the first grades for 16-year-olds who had actually sat exams since before anyone had ever heard of Covid-19. 
Yet GCSE results have remained close to their pandemic highs despite a government pledge to clamp down on grade inflation. 
More than half a million pupils collected their results this morning after sitting the first exams in three years. 
Schools were expecting a huge drop in top grades after exam boards were told to set grade boundaries at a "midpoint" between results in 2019 and in 2021. 
However, top grades have fallen by only 2.6 percentage points this year, despite the Government bringing an end to teacher assessments, which have inflated grades to record levels over the past two years. 
The decline was steeper in private schools compared to state schools. This graph shows how different kinds of school fared.
A pensioner has become the oldest person in Britain to ever pass a GCSE exam at the age of 92. 
Derek Skipper took his Maths GCSE in May and has passed with flying colours after he achieved a grade five – equivalent to a high B or low C – the highest possible on the foundation paper he took. 
What next then, for the pupils who have just found out their grades? 
Some will have done better than expected, and others will have received results worse than they had hoped. 
Read on for expert advice on retakes, re-marks and dealing with disappointment.
Pupils will also be looking at what they can achieve even further ahead. 
While university students must pay through the nose for their degrees – and get saddled with debt for decades – apprentices can make tens of thousands while learning on the job. 
The average apprentice makes £16,673 a year, according to CV-Library, but some pay much higher. Here are the apprenticeships that pay the highest salaries
A university degree has traditionally led to better earnings but a tight labour market means employers are offering increasingly generous pay packets to non-graduates.
Read on for the highest paying jobs without a degree.
Amid complaints that record numbers of privately educated British students are being snubbed for top universities, new stats have revealed that one in five teenagers educated in the private sector are exploring the opportunity of studying in the USA
However, the experience is not merely open to the elite. 
Numbers of British students studying abroad are soaring across the board, with a 45 per cent increase in students applying to study in the US between 2008 and 2018. 
According to 2021 stats from UNESCO there are currently around 10,000 British students at American universities. 
In 2016, Emma Hickson (now 24) from Poulton, Lancashire, travelled to South Carolina to begin her four-year degree. 
She looks back on her experience of frat houses and study halls.
Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian army to recruit an extra 137,000 soldiers to boost it to more than 1.15 million – roughly 15 times larger than the British Army. This is the first formal increase to Russia’s army since 2014. It comes as Russian units have lost an area of captured land larger than Denmark since Moscow’s deepest advance into Ukraine as they struggle to turn territorial gains into operation successes, according to military analysts. The Kremlin’s invasion has made little progress in recent months, after its troops were forced back from Kyiv in the early weeks of the war. Read how the situation has changed. Meanwhile, the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has been disconnected from the national power supply, according to the state energy operator, after fires broke out in the ash pits of a coal plant nearby.
The UK’s cleanest beaches to visit now (and those to avoid)
Sun, sea and sewage? With a pollution crisis affecting our shores, Emma Beaumont reveals how to pick a clean beach this bank holiday
Read the full story
Jimmy Anderson took two wickets in two balls after lunch in his 100th home Test as England’s bowlers turned on the style against South Africa on day one of the second Test. Follow the action live. Find out who will play who in the Champions League following the group stage draw. Meanwhile, the legal row surrounding golf’s bitter split has further escalated after Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were served notice of a subpoena to reveal details of a PGA Tour players’ meeting last week. In tennis, Novak Djokovic has failed in his bid to play in next week’s US Open due to ongoing travel restrictions, meaning he will miss his second major of the year due to his refusal to get vaccinated against Covid.
Lidl says it will sell "stunted" fruit and vegetables affected by the drought to support farmers and ensure food does not go to waste. The discount supermarket chain said it wrote to its British fresh produce suppliers in the face of the record heat and the driest summer for half a century to ask how it could help. Where possible, it will now accommodate products hit by the drought, including those which are a different sizes. Meanwhile, Royal Mail is facing a national security investigation over concerns Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky is set to increase his stake.
Wine time | There should be plenty more chances to barbecue over the next few weeks, and for many that means revisiting one of the most enduring food and wine pairings of recent times: grilled steak and Argentinian malbec. It is a blissful marriage – the ripe fruit and smooth, rounded texture of the wine chiming in with the juicy meat. If the malbec is oak-aged, all the better, as its wood spice picks up nicely on the smoky, slightly charred edges of barbecued steak. Susy Atkins has this guide to the best malbecs under £10 for a late-summer barbecue.
Plant intelligence | A Spanish researcher claims certain flora are effectively sentient agents of their own destiny – but sceptics think he is out of his tree. Charlotte Lytton meets the scientist who says plants can make decisions and engage with their surroundings.
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