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EC President: Sunday marks 'final deadline' for Greece

Tsipras, second from left, in discussions including Angela Merkel, Jean-Claude Juncker and Francois Hollande. Credit: Sandra Steins/DPA

European Council President Donald Tusk has warned Greece that this week's deadline for a reform-for-loans deal is "final", after the country's Prime Minister was told to come up with new proposals by Sunday.

Speaking after today's summit of European leaders, Tusk said: "The stark reality is that we have only five days left... Until now I have avoided talking about deadlines, but tonight I have to say loud and clear that the final deadline ends this week."

Tsipras told reporters talks at the summit "took place in a positive climate" and said the process for a new Greek offer would be "extremely fast".

Harman: Welfare cuts must not hurt low earners

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman has called on the Conservatives to lower welfare spending by reducing the amount of housing benefit paid to landlords and by taking measures to boost pay and employment.

Speaking ahead of the first Budget since the Tories won a majority at the General Election, Harman said her party would not challenge departmental spending cuts as their own manifesto had also pledged deep reductions.

However, she said George Osborne's planned welfare reductions of £12 billion must be made in a way that protects low earners.

"Yes, we need to be paying down the deficit - it's seven years after the global financial crisis and there's still debt that needs to be paid down," she said.

"But there are important ways to do it which are better than hitting people who are working hard."

Osborne's planned £12bn welfare cuts to be 'slowed down'

George Osborne will spread £12 billion of planned welfare cuts over a longer period than originally planned, ITV News understands.

Political Editor Chris Ship reports that the promised reductions in spending will now be spread a year further than by 2017-18 - as was initially promised in the Conservative manifesto.

It is believed that the Chancellor has been given some room for manoeuvre as tax revenues are around £15 billion higher than projected in March's Budget.

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Two killed in Barnsley house fire

Two people have died following a serious house fire in Barnsley.

Firefighters rescued a man and a woman from the blaze on Cherry Tree Street, Elsecar.

However, despite the considerable efforts of firefighters and ambulance crews, both passed away at the scene.

Firefighters were called to the incident at around 6.50pm on Tuesday evening.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is now underway.

Greeks to submit 'socially just' financial proposals

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras says the Greek government is to submit a proposal that aims for a socially just and economically viable agreement.

The proposal includes "credible reforms" in return for a commitment to "adequate funding", he said, adding that he wants the process to conclude by the end of the week - with a "final exit to the crisis".

"The discussion was held in a positive atmosphere. The process will be fast, it starts in the coming hours with the aim of concluding it by the end of the week, at the latest," Tsipras told reporters after an emergency summit of euro zone leaders.

"The Greek side will continue the effort, having the strong weapon of the Greek people's verdict ... the vast majority's will for a viable agreement to end the discussion (about a Grexit) and offer the prospect of finally exiting the crisis."

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