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Lorry driver arrested over fatal M26 crash

A lorry driver has been arrested following a five-vehicle pile-up which killed two French nationals.

The 45-year-old was held in connection with the crash on the M26 near Kemsing, Kent, just after 9.30am yesterday.

Two people - a 22-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl, both from France - died in the collision which blocked both carriageways

Seven other people were taken to London hospitals in a "serious condition" by South East Coast Ambulance Service following the crash.

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Russian 'ghost car' causes accident at junction

A 'ghost car' apparently appearing from nowhere and causing a crash at a junction in Russia has left observers baffled.

The incident was captured on a Russian dashboard camera and shows a black car strangely appearing at the front of the vehicle in front before driving off.

The driver who filmed the episode then hit the car glanced by the first vehicle.

The video, uploaded two weeks ago, has amassed over 1 million views, with many people unsure how the car appeared there.

Vladimir Putin 'hopes not to use force in Ukraine'

Vladimir Putin has said he "hopes" he will not have to use force in eastern Ukraine, although he once more claimed Russia has the right "to defend Russian-speakers" in the area.

Vladimir Putin on a live phone-in on Russian television Credit: RTV

"I remind you that the Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) granted the president the right to use military force in Ukraine," he said.

"I really hope that I do not have to exercise this right and that we are able to resolve all today's pressing issues diplomatically."

Speaking during a televised phone-in, the Russian president also criticised the United States over the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, saying it was "an illusion" that force can resolve international problems.

Putin: 'God knows' why Donetsk is part of Ukraine

Vladimir Putin has expressed disbelief that areas of eastern Ukraine were ever ceded from Russia.

Mr Putin said Russian-speaking cities such as Donetsk and Kharkiv were historically part of 'Novorossiya' [New Russia] during the Tsarist era and "God knows" why they became part of Ukraine.

The area in question was transferred to Ukraine during the Soviet era.

Read: Foreign ministers to meet in Geneva for Ukraine crisis talks

Rutland tremors '100,000 times smaller' than Chile quake

A map from the British Geological Survey shows the point of impact.
A map from the British Geological Survey shows the point of impact. Credit: BGS

The earthquake felt in Rutland this morning was not powerful enough to have caused any significant damage, according to the British Geological Survey (BGS).

A spokesman for the organisation said earth movement measured this morning was around 100,000 times smaller than a recent 8.2 magnitude Chile earthquake.

In terms of energy release, the Rutland quake was 33-and-a-half-million times smaller.

The BGS says it has had 265 reports from members of the public who say they have felt the quake, with the furthest away coming from Wellingborough, 45 kilometres (27 miles) to the south.

Read: Rutland rocked by 3.2 magnitude earthquake

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Prosecution case starts today against Abu Hamza

Abu Hamza, the one-eyed Muslim cleric with a hook for a hand, goes on trial in New York on charges that he provided support for al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Hamza faces 11 terrorism related counts, some of these include:

  • Trying to start a terrorist training camp in Oregon in 1999
  • Charges that he aided militants who kidnapped a group of tourists in Yemen in 1998
  • Gathering funds from UK venues for the Taliban and to support training for jihad in Afghanistan.

The Egyptian-born preacher, who faces life in prison if convicted, told a judge at a pretrial hearing on Wednesday that he is innocent.

More: Home Secretary signing Qatada treaty with Jordan

Putin: Russian forces were in Crimea 'supporting locals'

Vladimir Putin today admitted Russian troops had been in Crimea ahead of the referendum which saw the peninsula annexed by the Kremlin.

Speaking on a televised phone-in this morning, Mr Putin said his forces had been in Crimea to "support Crimean self-defence forces".

Read: Putin: 'No Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine'

Kerry meets foreign ministers ahead of talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry has met his Ukrainian and Russian counterparts ahead of four-way talks between representatives of the US, Ukraine, Russia and the EU.

John Kerry with Ukraine's foreign minister, Andriy Deshchytsia Credit: US State Department

Mr Kerry met Russia's Sergei Lavrov and Ukraine's Andriy Deshchytsia, having earlier held bilateral talks with EU foreign affairs chief Baroness Ashton.

John Kerry with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov Credit: US State Department

Co-op boss outlines cause of 'disastrous' 2013 results

The interim chief executive of the Co-operative said the group's losses arose principally from three causes.

Firstly, the continuing losses reported by the Bank as a result of the impairment of corporate loans, conduct issues and failed computer development projects.

Secondly, the write-off of our accumulated 115 year investment in the Bank following its emergency recapitalisation, in which we participated but in the process saw our shareholding fall from 100% to 30%.

And thirdly, a partial write-off of the goodwill created on the 2009 acquisition of the Somerfield food business following a strategic review of that business.

– Richard Pennycook chief executive of the Co-operative group

The final results for The Co-operative Group highlighted heavy losses that reflected:

  • Significant losses at The Co-operative Bank (“the Bank”)
  • Loss on reduction in Group’s shareholding in the Bank
  • Impairment of goodwill which arose on the Somerfield acquisition
  • Reduced sales in Food, impacted by disposal programme designed to focus business on its core convenience store chain
  • Increased central corporate costs

Read: Co-operative Group's £2.5bn loss is worst in its history

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