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Family of 'Lady al Qaida' urge IS to free hostages

An FBI photo release of Aafia Siddiqui from 2004. Credit: Reuters

The family of a jailed Pakistani scientist nicknamed Lady al Qaida, whose release has been demanded by Islamic State (IS) extremists, has urged the militant group to free two British hostages.

Dr Aafia Siddiqui's sister, neurologist Dr Fowzia Siddiqui, pleaded for IS to spare British aid worker Alan Henning and photojournalist John Cantlie along with others they are holding.

She told the Daily Telegraph: "She (Aafia) would be distraught if she knew that there are people bragging about murder and mayhem and using her name to justify it.

Risk of further heavy, thundery downpours

By Amanda Houston, ITV Weather presenter.

Further heavy thunderstorms are expected in southern areas this afternoon, with the risk of localised flooding.

Elsewhere it's a mixture of isolated showers and bright spells. The best of the sunshine will be in Scotland, Northern Ireland and north-western areas.

It will feel cooler than recent days, maximum temperature 20C.

Rain will clear the south throughout tonight with clear spells developing in many places.

It should be much cooler than last night with temperatures falling down to 5C in some rural areas.

A much quieter, fresher but brighter day follows on Sunday.


Lightning strikes hospital building sparking roof fire

Lightning strikes sparked a fire in the roof of St Michael's Hospital, Rayne Road, Braintree amid storms that swept across the south east, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said.

Crews were called in after lightning struck the roof of a hospital building this morning. The lightning strike caused a fire in the roof.

On arrival the incident commander reported that there was a fire in the roof and that the entire building - which measures 16 by six metres - was completely smoke logged.

Wearing breathing apparatus and using two hose reel jets firefighters had extinguished the fire by 09:12hrs.

– Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Hotel roof collapses amid storm flooding

Part of a hotel roof has collapsed after a blocked drain caused water to pool, the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said.

Crews were called in after the roof of the hotel partly collapsed causing problems with the electrics.

On arrival the incident commander reported that a blocked drain in the roof had caused water to pool and part if the roof had collapsed.

Firefighters isolated the electrics and pumped water from the drain.

– Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Brown: 'There's a time to fight and a time to unite'

Former Prime Minster Gordon Brown has said that there is a "time to fight and a time to unite" as he called on Scotland to look to the future.

I think this is where the country stands now.

There's a time to fight, but there is a time to unite, and this is the time for Scotland to unite and see if we can find common purpose, and move from the battleground and move to common ground, and let us seek to find high ground in trying to find a way forward for the future.

– Gordon Brown

Alice Gross: Police appeal for help from businesses

Police investigating the disappearance of teenager Alice Gross are urging local businesses with CCTV cameras to come forward with any footage that may help with the search.

ITV News reporter Sejal Karia is following the latest developments.


Miliband hints constitutional change not a top priority

Ed Miliband said changing the lives of working people 'matters even more' than constitutional change.

Ed Miliband has hinted that constitutional change for England is not among his top priorities.

He said changing the way Britain works for ordinary families matters "even more" than constitutional reforms.

Speaking outside the Labour party conference, Mr Miliband said: "Constitutional change matters, but we know something else matters even more - this country doesn't work for most working people and we the Labour party are going to change it."

The Labour leader is under pressure to set out his stance on whether or not further devolution to Scotland will mean Scottish MPs no longer vote on matters affecting England.

Brown 'absolutely sure' on devolution timetable

Gordon Brown has said he is "absolutely sure" that the timetable he has set out for devolution will be honoured.

He said that a resolution signed by all three main Westminster party leaders has been issued today and will be placed in the House of Commons on Monday.

It sets out a timetable for reform as follows:

  • a Command Paper to published by the end of October
  • the 'heads of agreement' to be published by November
  • Draft legislation that will form a new Scotland Act ready by the end of January

Brown: Salmond a 'fierce and formidable' opponent

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has thanked 'fierce and formidable' opponent Alex Salmond for his contribution to politics.

I would like to thank Alex Salmond for his years of service as both First Minister of Scotland and as a member of the Scottish Parliament and the Parliament in Westminster.

And though he has been a fierce and formidable opponent I think we owe him a debt of gratitude for all that he has tried to do on behalf of Scotland, and I want to wish him and his wife, and I hope everybody here will join in applauding him and his wife, and wish them a happy retirement.

– Gordon Brown

Mr Brown added that he would not be returning to frontline politics: "I am not making a comeback to frontline politics. I am too old to be the come back kid, and I am too young to be an elder statesman."

Brown: The eyes of the world are on party leaders

Gordon Brown speaking in Fife.

Gordon Brown has said "the eyes of the world" are on the leaders of the main Westminster parties to make sure they keep their promises on Scottish devolution.

Speaking in Fife today, the former Prime Minister said: "These are men who have been promise-makers and they will not be promise breakers and I will ensure that as a promise-keeper that these promises that have been made are upheld."

Mr Brown said the civil service had already begun working on proposals for further devolution to Scotland, and that new laws on the country's future would be ready in time for Burns' Night in January.

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