Live news stream
The outlook for jobs has been given an unexpected boost by the floods as extra staff are taken on to deal with damage caused by the atrocious weather, according to a new report.
Employment firm Manpower said demand for builders and other tradesmen and women had increased, boosting the industry by an estimated £250 million.
Energy firms have also had to recruit more engineers in the past few weeks to help restore power to thousands of homes, as well as more customer service workers to handle compensation claims.
Labour has accused the Government of neglecting the NHS' first responsibility to clinical care and instead, having a financial focus when making changes to hospitals.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said:
– Andy Burnham
Jeremy Hunt wants to ride roughshod over local communities and have carte blanche to break up the NHS without anyone else having a say.
With more and more hospitals in financial difficulty, this move could hit every community in the land and leave them voiceless in the face of changes to their services.
Labour is clear: changes to hospitals should be driven by clinical, not financial, reasons with local people involved every step of the way.
That is why we believe these plans are dangerous and wrong. It is time for Parliament to stop an arrogant Secretary of State from overstepping the mark.
Colorado made roughly $2 million (£1.2 million) in taxes on marijuana in January, state revenue officials reported in the world's first accounting of the recreational pot business.
Colorado legalised pot in 2012, but commercial sale did not begin until January. Washington state sales begin in coming months.
The tax total reported by the state Department of Revenue indicates $14.02 million (£8.4 million) of recreational pot was sold from 59 businesses. The state collected roughly $2.01 million in taxes.
Russia says it is drafting counter-proposals to a US plan for a negotiated solution to the Ukraine crisis, claiming that Russian-leaning parts of the country have been plunged into lawlessness.
In a televised briefing with president Vladimir Putin, Russia's foreign minister said proposals made by the US are "not suitable" because they take "the situation created by the coup as a starting point", referring to the removal of Ukraine's pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovych.
Mr Lavrov said US Secretary of State John Kerry delayed a visit to Moscow to discuss the situation, and Russia had decided to prepare new proposals of its own, though he did not say what they were.
Parents and new technologies have "a vital role to play" in making sure children develop their ability to read, a literacy charity has said.
NLT director Jonathan Douglas, warned reading, either on a tablet or physical book, was more beneficial to pre-school children if it was done with an adult.
– NLT director Jonathan Douglas
Technology is playing an increasingly crucial role in all our lives and the ways in which children are learning are changing fast.
It is important that we keep abreast of these changes and their impact on children's education.
When parents read with their children, whatever the medium, they increase their child's enjoyment of reading which brings life-long benefits.
Both practitioners and parents have a vital role to play in supporting children to read from an early age whether they use books or a touch screen.
A Chilean woman has been shot dead while clearing a barricade put up by anti-government protesters, the first foreign fatality during a month of civil unrest in Venezuela.
The death of Gisela Rubilar, 47, who was studying in the western Venezuelan city of Merida, brought to at least 21 the number of fatalities in five weeks of demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro's government.
"She was ambushed by extreme right-wing groups ... She was vilely murdered with a shot in the eye," Alexis Ramirez, the governor of Merida state, told reporters, blaming the killing on unidentified demonstrators in the Andean city.
Just over a quarter of children (26%) use a touch screen at home to read stories, a literacy charity has found.
The National Literacy Trust (NLT) found pre-school children were more likely to read every day if they had access to smartphones and tablets, as well as physical books.
- The study also found children were still more likely to read using a physical book, with almost all (95.2%) looking at print-based stories on a typical week.
- Children were more likely to enjoy reading if they used both books and a touch screen than reading books alone (77.4% compared to 70.8%).
- Parents were keen to give their youngsters a head start in understanding modern technology. Nearly three quarters (73.7%) agreed it was important for their child to learn to use technology from an early age.
Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney will meet with the Treasury Select Committee to answer questions on the "economics of currency unions" amid debate over the possible implications of a Scottish vote for independence.
Chancellor George Osborne has already ruled out a currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK.
First Minister Alex Salmond's Scottish Government wants to create a "sterling zone" with the rest of the UK if there is a Yes vote in the break-away referendum.
Mr Carney said in a speech in January that an effective currency union would force a newly-independent Scotland to hand over some national sovereignty in a similar way to how this is done in the eurozone.
"Any arrangement to retain sterling in an independent Scotland would need to be negotiated between the Westminster and Scottish parliaments," he said. "The Bank of England would implement whatever monetary arrangements were put in place."
Poor children under the age of five were twice as likely to read every day if they had access to a smartphone or tablet, a report has found.
Youngsters are more likely to enjoy looking at a book and be reading at the right level for their age if they have access to the new technology, according to the study.
Research carried out by the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and education firm Pearson pointed to growing literacy among three to five-year-olds who used both touch screen and basic print technologies.
The findings, based on a poll of around 1,000 parents, found pre-schoolers from lower socio-economic backgrounds are twice as likely to look at stories using touch screen technology on a daily basis than those from more privileged homes (16% compared to 7.2%).
The study concludes: "Technology offers a route into reading for disadvantaged three to five-year-old children. Of children who have a touch screen at home, children of lower socio-economic status are twice as likely to look at stories daily."
Labour is appealing for Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs to help block measures it says will give ministers sweeping powers to close hospitals.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said clause 119 of the Care Bill - due to be debated in the Commons today - would allow Jeremy Hunt to "ride roughshod" over local residents' concerns.