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Weather: Winds ease after yesterday's severe gales

The most severe winds have eased overnight but it will be another blustery day across the UK.

Winds are easing across Britain after yesterday's severe conditions. Credit: Met Office

Chilly west northwesterly winds will blow across all parts during the rest of the day with speeds of 20 to 30 miles per hour and gusts of up to 45 miles per hour.

Sunshine and wintry showers will continue across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England this morning with sleet and snow over hills and perhaps to low levels in the far north.

Brighter skies to begin with further south but it will turn cloudy this afternoon as a spell of persistent rain spreads into Northern Ireland, Wales and the west of England.

The odd spot of rain will make it across to the east of England but many places will stay dry for now.

Highs of 11 Celsius in London, 7C in Glasgow and Belfast.

Osborne: Business leaders' intervention 'unprecedented'

Chancellor George Osborne has hailed an "unprecedented" intervention from business leaders praising the Tories' economic plans.

Chancellor George Osborne. Credit: PA Wire

"An intervention on this scale and with this clarity from Britain's business leaders is unprecedented in any recent general election," Mr Osborne said.

"Over 100 business leaders, heading up some of our largest companies and most famous brands, and employing over half a million people, have spoken out.

"And the warning from Britain's business leaders couldn't be clearer: a change of course will threaten jobs, deter investment, send a negative signal about our country and put the recovery at risk."

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Buhari: Nigeria has officially 'embraced democracy'

Nigerian election winner Muhammadu Buhari says his country proved it has "embraced democracy" after his historic victory.

Muhammadu Buhari won an historic election in Nigeria yesterday. Credit: Reuters

Buhari, 72, became the first politician to unseat a sitting leader at the ballot box yesterday.

"We have proven to the world that we are people who have embraced democracy - we have put one-party state behind us," he said.

Mr Buhari also paid tribute to outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan for relinquishing power, telling journalists: "President Jonathan was a worthy opponent and I extend the hand of fellowship to him."

Tories: Business leaders sent 'clear message' with letter

The Conservatives say business leaders have sent a "clear message" about the "risk" Labour poses to Britain's economic recovery with their open letter.

Labour: Business leaders' letter 'nothing new'

Chuka Umunna, Labour's shadow business secretary, has dismissed a letter from business leaders declaring support for a Tory-led government as "nothing new".

Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna. Credit: PA Wire

"No one will be surprised that some business people are calling for low taxes for big businesses," Mr Umunna said.

"That's nothing new and under Labour Britain will have the most competitive corporation tax rate in the G7.

"But whilst the recovery may have reached some firms it hasn't reached many others which is why we will prioritise tax cuts for the smallest firms with an immediate cut in business rates for 1.5 million small business premises.

"We don't believe, as David Cameron does, in more tax cuts for the richest in society - the priority is tax cuts for small firms, working people and saving our NHS."

Osborne rules out income tax or national insurance rise

The Conservatives will not raise income tax or national insurance if they gain power again in May, Chancellor George Osborne has said.

Chancellor George Osborne said the Tories will not raise income tax or national insurance contributions. Credit: PA Wire

The pledge comes a week after David Cameron ruled out a rise in VAT at the final Prime Minister's Questions before the general election.

Mr Osborne told The Sun: "You have a very clear commitment from us that we are not going to increase VAT, national insurance or income tax. That is our commitment to working people, that we are there to help them."

In a joint interview by Mr Osborne and David Cameron, the Prime Minister also confirmed that he wanted to keep Osborne as Chancellor if the Tories return to Number 10.

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Andrew Getty: Oil fortune heir found dead at LA home

Andrew Getty - the heir to the Getty oil fortune - has been found dead at his Los Angeles home, his family have said.

Police outside the Los Angeles home of Andrew Getty. Credit: Reuters

Getty, 47, was found dead in a bathroom after a woman called police to the home.

A statement from the Getty family confirmed his death but provided no further details.

His parents, Ann and Gordon Getty, said they would issue a further statement once more information becomes available at this "extremely difficult time".

Getty is the grandson of J Paul Getty, who founded the Getty oil company, and one of four sons of multibillionaire Gordon Getty, who is considered one of the richest men in the US.

Joni Mitchell: Iconic singer 'rushed to hospital'

Joni Mitchell - the iconic singer-songwriter - has been hospitalised, according to reports.

Joni Mitchell is reportedly in hospital after being found unconscious. Credit: Reuters

A statement on the singer's verified Twitter account said: "Joni has been hospitalised. We are awaiting official word on her condition and will post it here as soon as we know."

According to celebrity gossip website TMZ, the 71-year-old was rushed to hospital after being found unconscious at her home in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon.

The Canadian-born singer, best known for hits such as Big Yellow Taxi, has won eight Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame in 1997.

Lib Dems: New fathers to get six weeks paternity leave

New fathers will receive six weeks of paternity leave - more than triple the current amount, under plans by the Liberal Democrats.

Nick Clegg will speak out his pledge to give all new fathers six weeks paternity leave today. Credit: PA Wire

Currently fathers receive two weeks of paternity leave, but Nick Clegg has said he wants to "tear down barriers" and extend it to six weeks.

Fathers will be entitled to ordinary paternity pay at the prevailing statutory rate, which is currently £138.18 a week.

The increased leave would be available on a "use it or lose it basis" to fathers in all parts of the UK except Northern Ireland, which has separate employment laws.

The party acknowledged the policy may not be popular with businesses, but said it will help balance childcare effectively between men and women.

Mr Clegg said: "For too long, mums have been told their place is at home with their child, while dads return to work. I want parents to choose for themselves how to balance work and family."

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