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Alexis Tsipras: 'The vicious cycle of austerity is over'

The head of Greece's Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, appeared confident this morning as his country went to the polls. Syriza remained head of conservative prime minister Antonis Samaras' New Democracy party in opinion polls leading up to vote, which is being held nearly two years ahead of time.

Tsipras has run on a campaign of renegotiating the country's 240 billion euro international bailout deal, and has pledged to reverse many of the unpopular reforms Greece agreed to in order to qualify for the package that has kept the country financially afloat. Speaking this morning as he was mobbed by reporters he said his message for Europe was simple: The "vicious cycle of austerity is over".

Farage: Ukip was increasingly alarmed over Bashir

Nigel Farage speaking on the Andrew Marr Show today. Credit: BBC/Andrew Marr Show

Nigel Farage says Ukip was becoming "increasingly alarmed" by MEP Amjad Bashir's behaviour in the months leading up to his defection to the Conservatives.

Speaking on BBC's The Andrew Marr Show, the Ukip leader said there was "quite strong documentary evidence" relating to what the party calls "unanswered questions" over employment practices at his business.

He also accused the MEP of "continuing associations with political extremists from Pakistan despite us saying please, please keep away", and said he was surprised that the Conservatives had accepted him

Bashir has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the allegations, and says Ukip's claims are a "desperate attempt" to smear him.

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Father of Japanese hostage reportedly killed still hopeful

Shoichi Yukawa, father of the Japanese hostage purportedly killed by Islamic State (IS) has said he is "hoping deep in his heart that the news is not true".

Shoichi Yukawa said he is hoping his son is still alive. Credit: APTN

Shoichi Yukawa, father of Haruna Yukawa, said he is praying his son is alive, and that he wishes to hug him.

Speaking to Japanese media, he said he could barely stay calm after the release of the video, which claimed to show a picture of the body of his son.

Japan's prime minister said early today that the video was probably real, and that he was left speechless by it.

Sarah Palin 'seriously interested' in running for President

Sarah Palin says she is 'seriously interested' in running for President. Credit: Reuters

Republican Sarah Palin has hinted at a bid for the party's Presidential nomination in a television interview.

Asked by ABC News whether she would consider putting her name forward, the former vice-presidential candidate said "of course", and later told the Washington Post that she was "seriously interested".

Palin - who was serving up bowls of wild boar chilli to the homeless in Las Vegas at the time - told the reporter: “We definitely had enough of seeing that -- America has had enough of seeing that -- sign on the Oval Office door saying, 'No Girls Allowed.' I know that.”

Meanwhile, businessman and TV personality Donald Trump also appeared to hint at an attempt to run this weekend.

After a speech in Iowa, CNN quoted Trump as telling reporters: "I'm the one person who can make this country great again, that's all I know."

Trump had also hinted at running for the 2012 nomination, but eventually ruled himself out due to business and contractual obligations.

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Greek Prime Minister Samaras votes in historic poll

Prime Minister of Greece, Antonis Samaras, arrives to vote in the election he is expected to lose. Credit: APTN

Prime Minister Antonia Samaras has cast his first thing this morning as polls opened in Greece's election.

Anti-austerity party of the left, Syriza, had extended its lead to six points in the latest polls.

Samaras arrives to vote first thing this morning. Credit: APTN

Samara has warned of economic catastrophe is Greece's 9.8 million voters deliver a victory to Syriza.

Prime Minister of Greece, Antonis Samaras. Credit: APTN

Syriza has threatened to 'cancel austerity', and stop interest payments on Athens' debt.

Baroness Warsi says Government is 'suspicious of Muslims'

The Government views growing numbers of Muslim organisations and individuals with suspicion, Baroness Warsi has said Credit: PA

Baroness Warsi has accused the Government of having a policy of "non-engagement" towards Muslims and claimed that it views Muslim organisations and individuals with suspicion.

The former Conservative Party Chair told The Observer that a "failure" to develop a friendship with the three-million strong community in Britain has led to a very real lack of trust.

She addressed the controversial letter sent to mosques across England earlier this month urging Muslim leaders to prevent young people becoming radicalised in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

"It's no surprise there is a trust deficit, a questioning of motive to a letter sent with the best of intentions," she said. "For too many, the hand of friendship felt like an admonitory finger that was once again pointing at Britain's Muslims."

Polls open in Greece's critical snap general election

A polling station in Athens this morning Credit: APTN

Greeks are beginning to vote in a make-or-break snap general election for the economically fragile country.

The radical left Syriza party, led by Alexis Tsipras, is tipped as the favourite to win - although that may not be with a large enough majority to form a government.

The leftwing party has been leading the polls ahead of conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' New Democracy party, but two days ago polls also showed a significant number of voters were undecided.

The election is being held nearly two years ahead of time.

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