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PM: Nato and its members 'will not be intimidated'

David Cameron has said Nato and its members "will not be intimidated" by Russia in the wake of its actions in Ukraine.

Speaking ahead of the Nato summit in south Wales next month the prime minister said the gathering marked a "pivotal" moment in Nato's history.

He said: "In 2014, the world is more unpredictable than ever. To the East, Russia has ripped up the rulebook with its illegal annexation of Crimea and aggressive destabilisation of Ukraine.

"To the South, an arc of instability spreads from North Africa and the Sahel, to Syria, Iraq and the wider Middle East.

"So we must use the Summit to agree how Nato should adapt to respond to and deter such threats; and to ensure the continued collective defence of all its members."

The summit near Newport is the first in the UK since Margaret Thatcher hosted the alliance in 1990, as the Cold War was ending and Nato started to chart a course for a new relationship with Russia.

Violence in Libya forces British embassy to shut down

Escalating violence in Libya has prompted the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to shut down its embassy in the country.

Many staff were evacuated earlier this week following intense fighting in Tripoli but now the FCO says it will suspend its consulate once it has assisted the departure of British nationals.

An FCO spokesman said: "The protection of our staff is paramount, and we assess that the current environment in Tripoli does not allow us to operate safely. We have therefore decided temporarily to relocate UK-based staff from the country."

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40 extra baggage staff drafted in at Gatwick Airport

Forty extra baggage staff are being drafted in at Gatwick Airport to prevent any repeat of the chaos they experienced last weekend.

Passengers have been advised to pack important items in their hand luggage.
Passengers have been advised to pack important items in their hand luggage. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Staff shortages meant baggage-handling company Swissport was unable to cope with a succession of off-schedule arrivals late last Saturday night.

Arriving travellers were told to go home without their bags or face long delays.

But Swissport, who has apologised for the problems, said it had drafted in 40 extra staff to cope with demand this weekend, which is expected to be one of the airport's busiest.

Gatwick management is also laying on staff to assist with the baggage operation.

They stressed last week's problems only affected incoming flights and said they were expecting a "smooth weekend."

Millions in foreign parking fines owed in Britain

Millions of pounds worth of unpaid parking fines have to be written off each year by councils unable to trace drivers of foreign vehicles, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

The LGA said it is unfair as Britons can be chased for parking fines abroad but not vice versa.
The LGA said it is unfair as Britons can be chased for parking fines abroad but not vice versa. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Some councils have had to rip up thousands of parking tickets with one local authority - Brighton & Hove Council - being owed more than £750,000.

EU laws allows European vehicles to drive on UK roads for six months before having to register with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) but the Government does not keep a record of the estimated three million entering the UK each year.

Currently the DVLA only records information about non-UK-registered vehicles when they are notified through offence reports provided by the police or from tip-offs from the public.

This means foreign vehicles are able to disappear within the system by going unregistered.

The LGA said this left town hall parking bosses facing an impossible task to chase down drivers for payments while laws in other countries mean British drivers parking illegally abroad can be tracked and chased.

Probe into '£42 million UK arms sales to Israel'

Questions were tonight being asked about whether military equipment manufactured in the UK has been used in Israel's offensive on the Palestinian enclave.

Israeli soldiers load shells on to a tank near the Gaza Strip.
Israeli soldiers load shells on to a tank near the Gaza Strip. Credit: Reuters

Documents obtained by The Independent showed arms export licences worth £42 million were granted to 130 British defence manufacturers since 2010.

This allowed them to sell military equipment to Israel, ranging from weapons control and targeting systems to ammunition, drones and armoured vehicles.

The Government said it was now reviewing all licences to Israel.

At least 1,600 Palestinians - most of them civilians - have been killed and 8,000 injured during the assault, while Israel has lost 63 soldiers and three civilians.

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Missing Israel soldier 'may have been killed' in ambush

Missing Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin may have been killed during an ambush, Hamas has claimed.

The militant group insisted it had "no clear indication of the whereabouts" of the 23-year-old Israel accused them of abducting.

A statement by the group said: "We have lost contact with the group of fighters that took part in the ambush and we believe they were all killed in the (Israeli) bombardment.

"Assuming that they managed to seize the soldier during combat, we assess that he was also killed in the incident."

Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris is 'spat at in prison'

Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris has been spat at in prison, it has been claimed.

Rolf Harris wants to appeal against his five year sentence for 12 indecent assaults on young women.
Rolf Harris wants to appeal against his five year sentence for 12 indecent assaults on young women. Credit: PA

The 84-year-old was allegedly targeted during an incident at HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire.

A source told the Press Association there was a scuffle and "someone aimed a spit" at Harris.

The source said the perpetrator missed and Harris "was not spat on and was not physically hurt."

News of the incident came as it was announced Harris has applied for permission to appeal against his convictions for a string of indecent assaults.

A spokesman for the Judicial Office confirmed that lawyers had lodged papers at the Court of Appeal this week.

PM: Nato must rethink its relationship with Russia

Prime Minister David Cameron has said Nato must rethink its long-term relationship with Russia in the wake of its "illegal" actions in Ukraine.

Prime Minister David Cameron is calling on Nato to act after Russia's "illegal" activities in the Ukraine.
Prime Minister David Cameron is calling on Nato to act after Russia's "illegal" activities in the Ukraine. Credit: PA

He also called for Nato's members to take measures to ensure it can respond quickly to any threat from Moscow.

In a letter to his Nato counterparts, Mr Cameron said the measures should include sustaining a "robust" defensive presence in eastern Europe, keeping equipment and supplies in key locations and beefing up Nato's Response Force of swiftly deployable land, air, maritime and special operations troops.

The letter comes just days after a government report warned the trans-Atlantic military alliance was not adequately prepared for a potential threat from Russia.

Genome project could help find cure for blindness

The government-backed genome project could help find a cure for a deadly eye disease which is the leading cause of blindness in children.

Professor Graeme Black, strategic director at the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, said it was a "very, very exciting development" in the search for a possible treatment for the condition known as retinitis pigmentosa or RP.

At the moment around 200 genes relating to the illness have been identified which if mutated can cause sight loss, but there are thought to be more than 500.

RP Fighting Blindness chief executive David Head said: "For people faced with blindness as a result of inherited retinal dystrophies, this is really important."

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