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Public inquiry into Russian spy death to open

A public inquiry into the death of spy Alexander Litvinenko - who was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 - will be formally opened today.

Alexander Litvinenko died after drinking tea laced with polonium.
Alexander Litvinenko died after drinking tea laced with polonium. Credit: PA

The current inquest into the Russian spy's death will be suspended by coroner Sir Robert Owen before the inquiry is opened.

The 43-year-old fled to Britain in 2000 and was poisoned six years later while drinking tea with two Russian men, one a former KGB officer, at the Millennium Hotel in London's Grosvenor Square.

Mr Litvinenko's family believes he was working for MI6 at the time he was killed on the orders of the Kremlin.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced the inquiry last week after the Government had previously insisted it would "wait and see" what a judge-led inquest found.

Stricter mortgage rules slow house price rises

House prices have risen by just 0.1 per cent in July, making it the smallest increase in 15 months, according to Nationwide.

Stricter mortgage rules fuels house price slow down
Stricter mortgage rules are said to have fuelled the house price slow down. Credit: Press Association

The building society blamed the slowdown on stricter mortgage lending rules.

On a year-on-year basis, growth remained in double figures for the fourth month in a row but the pace of the annual uplift dropped from 11.8 per cent in June to 10.6 per cent in July.

The average house price across the UK now stands at £188,949, the building society reported.

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Nato summit 'perfect place' for UK to urge Russia action

The Nato summit in Wales this September is "the perfect place" for the UK to urge allied forces to step up their response to military aggression from Russia, a member of the defence committee said.

Labour's Gisela Stuart admitted "state on state action was unlikely" but urged Nato to be ready to respond to threats like cyber attacks, "which may be coming from countries like Russia."

Centrica pre-tax profits down by 40%

British Gas owner Centrica has reported pre-tax profits of £890 million for the first half of 2014, a drop of 40% from 2013.

The company said the fall reflected a changing market environment and the effects of mild weather in the UK and the polar vortex in North America.

ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills tweeted:

Dinjyj4d_normal

Mild weather in UK and polar vortex in US dents Centrica's profits. Owner of British Gas made H1 pre-tax profit of £890m - down 40%.

NSPCC: Victims of historical abuse want 'to be believed'

Rolf Harris' victims see his guilty verdict and being believed as a form of justice after the Attorney General decided not to contest the disgraced entertainer's sentence, a child protection expert told Good Morning Britain.

Head of Child Protection Operations for the NSPCC, John Cameron, said despite the controversial sentence Rolf Harris received, his victims had some hope of closure because they had been believed.

'Woman in Black's' mysterious journey comes to an end

A woman wearing black robes who has been walking across America has ended her journey - but the reason behind her trip remains a mystery, NBC News reports.

The reason behind the 'Woman in Black's' journey remains a mystery.
The reason behind the 'Woman in Black's' journey remains a mystery. Credit: Where is the Mysterious Woman in Black?/Facebook

The woman was reportedly spotted in US states Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia, where her journey finished. She arrived in Winchester yesterday and police decided to escort her to an unknown location after dozens of fans were waiting for her.

Police told News4 the woman wants to remain in the city and be part of the community but now wants to be left alone.

The reason for her trip is still unknown although police reportedly said her journey was related to faith and religion.

Earlier this week, a man called Raymond Poles told Reuters he was the woman's brother and claimed the woman in black was Elizabeth Potts - a 54-year-old army veteran, mother-of-two and widow.

Read: Mysterious 'Woman in Black' seen wandering US highways

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Govt: 'We don't know the scale' of slavery in UK

The Government needs the public to become more aware of the plight facing modern day slaves so they can be freed and the perpetrators brought to justice, a Home Office minister told Good Morning Britain.

Karen Bradley admitted the Government did not "know the scale" of slavery in the UK and urged the public to "learn what to look for" via the Home Office awareness campaign.

Red Cross: 'Aid workers are just about coping' in Gaza

Aid workers in Gaza "are coping just about" with civilian casualties, a senior member of the Red Cross told Good Morning Britain.

Head of Communications for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Sean Maguire, said they were sending in extra doctors but warned that the conflict was now in its fourth week and "things will start to run out".

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